Tea. Coffee. Teaffee?

Today it seems like more and more people are holding thermoses full of coffee or freshly brewed tea. It’s no wonder why, considering that tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world and coffee sales have been rising 20 percent each year. But what’s so great about that cup of joe that gets people hooked? Why can you find more and more people requesting another spot of tea before heading off to work? Does it really matter where you go to buy it? After all, tea is tea and coffee is coffee, right? Then we have the most burning question of all: which one is actually better – coffee or tea? Americans’ love for coffee started to grow in 1773 after the Boston Tea Party, when the Continental Congress declared it to be the national beverage. When served black, some find the taste a little too bitter. However, that’s not a problem in today’s world where countless of other variations such as cappuccinos, lattes, and mochas are available. Unfortunately, with a sweeter flavor comes an extra handful of calories. When considering the benefits of coffee, its energizing caffeine seems to be the first thing we think of. “I drink coffee because of the good dose of caffeine that boosts me up for a long day of school,” said senior Robin Parlade who is an avid coffee drinker. One seldom thinks of the other hidden benefits that you can gain with every sip you take. Coffee contains antioxidants that help protect your body from disease including type 2 diabetes and cancer. Scientific studies have also shown that the rate of suicide is reduced by 13 percent by drinking one cup of coffee a day. Tea got an early head-start on coffee by arriving in the U.S. in the 1600’s. With over three thousand different types of teas in the world, the choices may seem a little overwhelming when having to decide on one. White, black, green, and oolong teas are the four major types, which can be served either hot or cold. Tea has become most famous for its long list of health benefits. Hibiscus teas including sour tea, red zinger tea, and sorrel tea have been found to reduce blood pressure. Black tea can save a trip to the doctor’s office by fighting off cavities and boosting your fight against the flu, while green tea helps ward off cells that may turn cancerous. Tea as a whole has also been found to reduce arthritis, make stronger bones, and prevent Parkinson’s disease. It also has a third of the amount of caffeine that coffee has. Senior Neo Mazur prefers tea over coffee any day. “I like the smell of coffee, but it’s too strong. Tea offers a lot of different variations, and it’s generally cheaper,” said Mazur, who loves to relax with a fresh cup of a red tea named Rooibus that she gets all the way from South Africa. “I drink it plain or with a little bit of milk,” said Mazur. Today it’s just as important where you go to get your drink as the type of drink itself. “First of all, taste is number one. If you buy cheap coffee it tastes like water,” senior Eric Miller said. “If you go somewhere with good quality coffee it tastes like good quality coffee,” he added. Although tea and coffee are offered in about every restaurant you step your foot into, and Starbucks continue to pop up on every corner, students seem to prefer one-of-a-kind cafés when placing their order. Café Diem, located on Main Street, and Stomping Grounds, on Welch, seem to be the most preferred places in Ames due to their welcoming environments as well as the quality of the drinks themselves. “I really like the atmosphere. I go and read and sometimes do homework,” said senior Erika Bjorklund, who enjoys the mochas at Café Diem. There’s something about the comfy seating, friendly service, and entertainment that makes these places stand out from all the franchises out there. So now it’s obvious why so many people get hooked on drinking coffee and tea, and that it actually does matter where you go to order if you really want quality, but the burning question still hasn’t been answered. Which is better? Coffee or tea? Sadly this question can never really be answered, for personal opinion is really the determining factor. However, when it comes down to the hard facts, tea is the clear winner. It’s true – coffee has been found to carry some benefits to one’s health, but tea outweighs them by a landslide. So for those looking to prevent anything from cavities to the flu bug, skip that cup of coffee and brew up a nice cup of tea to reap all of its bountiful benefits.