7 random facts about coffee and tea

Are you Team coffee or Team tea?

It’s no secret how we love our kopis, coffees, tehs or teas. There will always be someone coming into a class or work with a cup, and many of us do not consider our days started without downing one first. In fact, I’m drinking a cup of tea as I type this—I suspect you’re reading this with a cup of caffeine in hand yourself!

I thought it’d be fun to share some fun facts about our favourite drinks!

1) Drinking coffee (or tea) doesn’t dehydrate you

You may have heard from friends or family that you should drink a glass of water right after having some coffee, because too much caffeine will make you thirsty or cause dehydration.

While caffeine is a diuretic, you needn’t worry, as studies[i] have shown that coffee does not cause dehydration when drank in moderate amounts[ii]. Tea has way lower caffeine content than coffee does, so tea lovers can rest assured too.

In fact, coffee and tea can even count towards your recommended daily water intake! Just don’t exceed 400 mg of caffeine daily, and remember that plain water is still the best drink out there.

2) In Asia, tea is king

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We love our coffee, but tea reigns in our region for ready-to-drink and brewed beverage options!

According to information from Euromonitor that examined the volume sales of caffeine-containing beverages[iii], countries such as Japan (no surprise there), India, Indonesia, China and Vietnam reach for tea often.

We can’t be sure how much coffee or tea is consumed in Singapore today, but 100,000 bags of coffee weighing 60 kilogrammes each were sold here in 2020[iv].

3) Tea and coffee (may) have surprising health benefits

It turns out that our fondness for coffee and tea may have unexpected bonuses.

According to a recent observational study[v], tea may lower risks of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality[vi]. Another study found that regular tea-drinking may also aid against age-related decline in brain organisation[vii]. Tea polyphenols has also been purported to be beneficial in sebum reduction and the treating of acne[viii], which is why you see green tea featured in many facial products.

What about coffee? Well, higher coffee intake has been linked to lowered risks for prostate cancer[ix]. Coffee has also been positively linked to metabolic health, mortality outcomes, and more[x].

Again, however: drinking too much of either can have bad side effects. Consume everything in moderation, guys!

4) Tisanes are to teas what decaf coffee is to coffee

Tisanes are ‘teas’ that contain no leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant. These would include peppermint tea, chamomile tea, rooibos tea, hibiscus tea, lemon verbena tea, and more. Most of them, if not all, are caffeine-free!

A fun-fact: caffeine is still present in decaffeinated coffee in small amounts, at around three percent on average. The caffeine is extracted from the beans when they are still green (pre-roast), via the swiss water method, carbon dioxide method, the methylene chloride method or the ethyl acetate method.

5) Coffee (or tea) right before bed may be a bad idea

If you’re a coffee or tea lover, you may be ready to drink your favourite blend anytime and anywhere.

Here’s why you may want to hold off your cuppa until the next day if it’s the evening, however: scientific studies have found that caffeine can stay in our systems for up to six hours[xi]. You will not have the restful sleep you’ll need to get you through the next day in this case!

Try to get that last cup of coffee in by the mid-afternoon and all should be good. It’s hard to go cold turkey, though, so you could also try to halve your coffee intake in the evenings and work from there.

6) You can reuse your teabags and coffee grounds

Do you toss out the teabags, loose tea leaves, or coffee grounds that no longer hold any flavour? Don’t be too quick to do so—there are other eco-friendly things you can do with them!

Used and drained tea leaves can be used in compost, and dried teabags as deodorisers or air fresheners. You could even add a drop or two of your favourite essential oil. Coffee grounds can be reused to make a coffee scrub (for the hair or face) or natural dye for paper, for example. You can use them in compost or as fertiliser too. Isn’t that cool?

7) Coffee beans aren’t actually beans

Surprised? Coffee beans are actually the seeds of the fruit of the Coffea plant! These fruits are known as coffee berries; they look a lot like cherries when ripe and are commonly referred to as such.

I hope you had a fun time learning about our favourite brews! Do share with us below more fun facts that we have missed, and don’t forget to consume (any type of) caffeine responsibly!

[i] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19774754/
[ii] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24416202/
[iii] https://www.visualcapitalist.com/coffee-vs-tea-vs-soft-drinks-what-caffeine-drinks-do-countries-prefer/
[iv] https://www.statista.com/statistics/877309/singapore-coffee-consumption-volume/#:~:text=In%202020%2C%20100%20thousand%2060kg,coffee%20consumption%20in%20recent%20years.
[vi] https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/2047487319894685?journalCode=cprc
[vii] https://www.aging-us.com/article/102023/text
[viii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5384166/
[ix] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5384166/
[x] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/301308535_A_Comprehensive_Overview_of_the_Risks_and_Benefits_of_Coffee_Consumption_Coffee_consumption_and_human_health
[xi] https://jcsm.aasm.org/doi/10.5664/jcsm.3170

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