You drank a large cup of coffee: you can’t seem to focus. You checked all of your social media accounts multiple times, feel like you can go to the gym and want to talk someone’s ear off. You’re restless and distracted.
Your friend drank a large cup of tea: she feels relaxed, calm and at ease. She is focused, but chilled out.
We all know that coffee is the more widely known go-to morning drink or energizing pick me up. But tea, coffee’s counterpart, has caffeine too. So why is there such a different experience when drinking the two?
Coffee is so stimulating, while tea is generally calming. Does coffee have more caffeine than tea?
The answer to that question is: it depends. Many teas do have similar amounts of caffeine as a cup of coffee. How much caffeine is in coffee? A standard 8 ounce cup of coffee contains 95mg of caffeine. Tea, on the other hand ranges from 0mg of caffeine up to over 100mg per cup depending on the variety. Teas with the highest caffeine content include green tea, oolong tea and black tea.
A lot of the time I opt to drink Yogi Tea’s Vanilla Spice Perfect Energy flavor, which has 80mg of caffeine, or a lighter tea like this Organic Oolong tea, which has around 40mg of caffeine, but neither affect me like coffee. With coffee, I am temporarily alert, energized and even hyper sometimes. Coffee can even have negative affects on me, and I feel like energizer bunny that really just needs to be shut off. (P.S. if this is the case for you, try any of these healthy substitutes instead.) With tea, I have an alert calmness. Sometimes I will feel a tiny bit of a kick from drinking a tea with a higher caffeine content, but not nearly as powerful as coffee. Realizing coffee is always a way more potent experience, I wondered “why does coffee affect me so differently than tea?” and did some research. Here is what I found.
The caffeine in coffee and the caffeine in tea are nearly identical, but have a two main differentiating factors that are affecting how we feel.
- Tea contains L-Theanine, an amino acid that promotes relaxation without drowsiness, reduces stress, and can aid as a natural support for sleep and mood. Instead of taking the affects of caffeine away, this amino acid works in a synergistic way. L-Theanine helps to keep the alertness caffeine provides, without over stimulating. In order to reap all benefits of L-thenanine, many people take it as a supplement on its’ own.
- Tea also contains a higher amount of antioxidants. Besides being insanely awesome for you, these antioxidants help slow down the absorption rate of caffeine in your body. This is why you don’t feel a crash after drinking tea like you do with coffee. While each variety of tea contains a different mix of antioxidants, rest assured you’ve chosen a healthy beverage option.
So, next time you’re opting for a caffeinated tea, know it won’t give you the jolt of energy coffee does. I love the way tea makes me feel more than coffee, and have become accustomed to choosing tea over coffee more often. What are your thoughts? Do you prefer tea or coffee?