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Coffee Or Tea: Which Is The Best Choice?

Aug 23, 2008
Coffee is the beverage of choice for hard working Americans. For doctors, lawyers, construction workers, and stay-at-home moms, it is the fuel that gets them through a long day. At the risk of turning an innocent debate about beverage preference into a cultural clash, I believe the preference of coffee over tea is as American as apple pie, served with a strong cup of black coffee, of course. Maybe it is because we dumped British tea into Boston Harbor, but the general stereotype is that the British love tea and Americans love coffee.

Im not alone in noting this stereotype. My favorite episode of Garrison Keillors radio show, Prairie Home Companion, draws a comparison of coffee people to tea people. The voice representing coffee people imitates John Wayne, while the voice representing tea people has an accent that is, you guessed it, British. We are coffee people, Garrison Keillor said. We have a coffee sensibility. Sometimes we try tea for a while-for a change- but eventually we come back to coffee. That is because we are Americans. We are about action. We are about saying what we want and what we think.

Coffee spurs us into action and productivity. Forget the rumblings from health nuts about the post-caffeine crash. Hogwash, I say! That is why twelve-cup coffee makers were invented. We can always brew more coffee in stronger, heart-racing quantities. When I am faced with a deadline, the stronger the coffee, the faster I work.

Tea, on the other hand, is associated with the need to maintain calm and exchange pleasantries. Fans of the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer may recall an episode in which the British character, Giles, switched to coffee while researching an enemy. Another character, Xander, asked, Are not you supposed to be drinking tea anyway? Giles replied: Tea is soothing. I wish to be tense. Apparently, the British can turn to coffee when the need for action arises, just as we can turn to tea on the rare occasion we allow ourselves a sick day and submit to the need for rest.

There have been a handful of dark times in my life when coffee was forbidden by sadistic doctors who claimed it was unhealthy during pregnancy and lactation. I dutifully set my coffee aside until the day each child was weaned, but each time I had that first allowed cup of coffee was a glorious moment. My nose lingered above the steamy, almost nutty aroma of that freshly brewed cup. The first taste of that strong, rich drink was like a heavenly reward for all the sleep deprivation I had endured. The taste of coffee was a welcome reassurance that I was slowly being allowed to acclimate into the world of grown-ups once again. I still keep some tea on hand, in case Supernanny ever pays a visit, but the coffee grinder and coffee maker hold the most prominent location in my kitchen.
About the Author
Before buying a coffee maker,check out the award winning Presso at Presso America. Focusing on the area of coffee makers, and espresso makers, Anthony Sastre writes articles for Presso America
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