Caffeine: Tea Vs Coffee
In 1827, tea was discovered to have a caffeine of its own called "theine". It was soon realized that this caffeine and the caffeine found in coffee were identical. Yet, drinkers of tea and coffee experience stark differences in their effects on the body and mind, and questions have surrounded the topic ever since. So, what really influences the disparities between tea and coffee?
The first honorable mention is L-theanine. Though sometimes confused as a stimulant, L-theanine is an amino acid. Generally, amino acids have a calming effect on the brain, yet L-theanine has been shown to increase brain "alpha activity", hence, increasing brain awareness. L-theanine has also been shown to work synergistically with caffeine, improving motor functions.
Next, are theobromine and theophylline. Found in tea at up to 4.4mg per cup, these are considered stimulants but don't affect the central nervous system. They have almost identical properties.
The stimulants widen blood vessels, relax the bronchi muscles in the lungs, and lower blood pressure.
Coffee has hardly any theobromine and theophylline.
The biggest myth about the caffeine content in tea is that tea contains more caffeine than coffee.
Lastly, the largest topic of discussion - Caffeine. Yes, it is true that in its raw form, tea leaves contain more caffeine than coffee beans. The myth gains clarity when we look at modern-day methods of brewing. It usually takes about 5 times as much coffee as it does tea for the same quantity of water. Even tea bags which contain more caffeine than loose tea due to its smaller leaves yield about half as much caffeine as coffee for the same amount.
In conclusion, though tea technically contains more caffeine than coffee, our methods of consumption are so that we always obtain more caffeine from a cup of coffee than a cup of tea. And of course, for those concerned with any amounts of caffeine intake, there is always herbal tea!