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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Scott Kull: The new Director of Athletics
Abigail Taylor, Contributing Writer • April 16, 2024

Coffee vs. tea

Coffee+vs.+tea

THE AGE OLD DEBATE REVISITED—

The cold weather brings in warmer drinks, as indicated by the red cup at Starbucks. The warmer drink season renews the time-honored debate and competition between coffee and tea.

Statistically, coffee has tea beat in the United States, with Americans consuming about $10 billion worth of coffee versus about $2 billion worth of tea according to AlterNet News and politics.

Globally, however, tea is the second most consumed beverage after water. Tea drinking is on the rise in America, but still comes in second.

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Both tea and coffee have been studied for their health benefits, and both have their fair share of benefits. The health benefits of tea range based on which tea you are drinking. For example, green tea speeds up metabolism, lowers cholesterol and strengthens tooth enamel, while black tea hones mental focus and promotes increased energy. Coffee on the other hand evidently helps prevent type 2 diabetes, protects the liver and improves short-term recall, among other benefits.

Wofford senior Savannah Paige Murray is on Team Tea.

“It provides more variety in flavor and strength, which is more interesting,” she says.

While Murray prefers tea, she remains in the in the minority in America. So why is coffee the preferred beverage for Americans? It could be deeply rooted in American history.

In 1773 the Tea Act initiated by Britain embittered Americans, inducing the famous “taxation without representation” campaign. The Tea Act more or less caused the Boston Tea Party (where Americans dressed up as Indians and threw tea into the Boston Harbor). The action of defiance would later lead to the American Revolution and arguably a resignation from tea drinking to last for centuries. Murray in large part agrees.

“Americans prefer coffee because the Brits love tea. The Boston Tea Party probably ended any potential for tea to be our favorite beverage,” says Murray. “Coffee seems to have become part of the American identity. It reminds us of cowboys roaming the west and the creation of Starbucks in Seattle. Coffee reminds Americans that we created a nation ‘from sea to shining sea’ and now have a coffee chain that has caffeinated the entire world.”

Gracy Olmstead in the American Conservative suggests that coffee culture in America is just that—a culture that people engage in with pride.

It has become a tradition – something that people can claim as their own, like March Madness. And perhaps that culture began as far back as 1773, but has now become so embedded in our day to day culture that we are no longer aware of its history.

While coffee culture is prevalent in the States, there is also a tea culture, says Murray. “I think there is definitely a ‘tea culture.’ One of my favorite places to visit in Asheville is the

Dobra Tea Room, a great place to spend an afternoon picking through a 75-page tea menu,” she says. “Ordering tea in a tea room is a solid two hour time investment, something many coffee drinkers who frequent the Starbucks drive-thru are not willing to make.”

Says senior Leigh Smith, who spends most of her Terrier Bucks at Acorn Café feeding her coffee addiction: “Coffee all day, every day. Coffee, coffee, coffee!”

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