Hey there and welcome to the BigAppleSchool podcast. My name is Sam.
And today we’re asking what’s the craic about tea versus coffee. So we’re gonna find out what a typical cup of tea or a cup of coffee is – maybe you’ll learn what those things are. We’ll talk about our history with each drink, our tea journey and coffee journey through life.
How they make us feel – it’s the way you make me feel, there’s just a song about it somewhere. I’m not singing it properly. The advantages and disadvantages of each of them. The varieties of both of them. The marketing connected with them.
And we’ll ask the question which one is best in our opinion. So we’re gonna get into really the nitty-gritty about these two wonderful drinks, very much enjoyed throughout the world. Is there anywhere where they don’t drink tea or coffee?
I believe that Belgians don’t drink tea. I think they think it’s rather poisonous. And the French aren’t very keen on tea either. But I think other than that – apart from America, the Americans don’t know how to make tea.
It’s generally if you speak to someone from the UK they’ll say they couldn’t get a good cup of coffee or a cup of tea in America. Haven’t had bad experience yet, but yeah.
But I think it’s pretty universal. I think the Russians and the English are the biggest tea drinkers according to some statistics.
My wife, who is Russian, loves her tea and varieties of it too. So I’m not… I am on the side of coffee, I’ll tell you now. I’m not argue coffee is better or at least try to and see how I get on. Whereas you’re more of a tea lover, right?
Yes, I drink more tea, although I don’t dislike coffee, I don’t drink it. But I think I could do without coffee, but I couldn’t do without tea.
Oh yeah. I couldn’t do without coffee. The idea of that makes me scared, scares the life out of me. Okay. Well let’s get into it and we’ll have a little bit of a debate. But we won’t fight.
What’s a typical up of tea? I’ll let you answer this.
Well, in England there’s always a lot of conflict about tea, which tea to drink and which is better. I suppose it divides between black tea, or Indian tea as we call it in England, and China tea. China tea was the drink of England, because it’s much more expensive.
But now the typical cup of tea in Britain I suppose in working homes, in working class, it would be made strong with milk and sugar.
Right, yeah. Maybe one sugar, maybe two sugars. Or no sugar.
But generally in the UK it’s with milk. If it’s black tea. I think if you… It’s not to say that you can’t have it black with no milk, but I think people will look at your and think ‘that’s strange!’
It’s unusual to drink it without milk, unless you’re having Earl Grey, which is quite popular.
Some of them, yeah. And then green tea – you wouldn’t add milk. Where do you typically enjoy a cup of tea?
Well, I always if I’m at my home in France, I always get up in the morning and make a pot of tea straight away.
And I drink it throughout the morning.
Right, right, right. And do you keep it warm on the cooker?
No, I‘ve learned to do it like the Russian way. I let it go cold and then warm it up like concentrate. But not, just for the morning, if it goes cold, I’ll heat it up. The only thing is at about 11 o’clock I make my morning coffee. That’s the only time I will make coffee.
11 o’clock seems very late for me to make coffee. I can’t survive till 11. Okay. So, a typical cup of coffee, and I guess I’ll answer this one. Well, I’m not speaking about myself, but many coffee drinkers enjoy it with maybe cream or creamed milk of some kind, like a latte for example.
Or just with milk, black coffee with milk, so I guess for majority of people in my experience, or at least in the UK, it’s you get your coffee granules from a jar, you put in a spoonful, teaspoonful, you heat up your kettle and you mix that in with your coffee granules and then you add your milk.
And bob’s your uncle as we say. And you’ve got your cup of coffee. Maybe you want to sweeten it, you put in a sugar or two and stir that round, give it a nice mix and slop it down the throat. Nice, warm, rich, wonderful tones. Maybe a bitterness to it if you haven’t’ added sugar.
And yeah, delicious. And you can enjoy it of course in your home, you might drink it at the office, which you would do with tea of course too. But maybe you go to a café as well. Yeah, well, in that respect tea and coffee are the same. But it’s not…
Correct me if I’m wrong, but there aren’t so many tea houses, most places are called cafes, which is after the word coffee. Am I right?
I suppose, they have tea rooms where they serve afternoon tea. But that’s in more sort of tourist places.
It’s not so common I think. It does happen.
In the café you tend to drink it. But talking about the way you make coffee – I never make coffee like that. I make it the way my grandmother made it for me when I was a little boy.
And how is that? Tell us more.
Well, she took the beans and ground them. I still have the same machine.
Turn it round. Kind of like starting an old car.
Yes, like a crane candle. And you can adjust the blades.
Coarse. And then it drops into a tray and I use a pot. I put it into like a teapot, but a coffee pot with hot water concentrate. And then I boil milk.
Not boil it, just heat it, because I don’t like the skim. And then I put the milk in the pot of coffee and into the cup, and the hot milk, and the spoon of brown sugar.
I think it wouldn’t go so well with coffee. I think…
You’re a connoisseur really. I’m impressed. Well, we’re gonna get into that, because we’ve talked about the typical cup of tea and coffee. But we’re gonna talk about our tea journey and our coffee journey.
Because I have a bit of a journey with coffee. And a little bit with tea actually too. But tell me more about your tea journey.
Well my tea journey actually began at the same time with my coffee journey. It was my grandmother – she was also a connoisseur of tea. She ordered tea from London. And she mixed it into different like mixtures and would make it in a pot.
And usually she had China tea and put three spoons of China tea and one spoon of black tea, and right from being a small boy, she made me tea like this with milk in a china tea cup. And I still have this china tea cup.
It’s like porcelain, yeah? People might know what porcelain is.
Yeah, porcelain, china porcelain. Yes. And of course I didn’t always make tea like that. But I don’t like to make tea with leaves.
Is it with a strainer or…? I mean, is the tea inside the water or you drink it with the…
The tea is in the water and usually it sinks to the bottom.
But you can use a strainer, if you don’t want any tea leaves at all. Tea leaf when wet will go to the bottom of the cup.
Yeah, so it’s not a problem when you’re drinking.
That’s from the gypsies – read the tea leaves.
Yeah. We’re not allowed to call them gypsies. Okay. Hopefully we’ll be okay. Right, so you’ve had a bit of a tea… And that’s where you got your method for making coffee too. And has it changed over the years?
It’s only changed if I don’t have the time to do it. If I want a quick cup of coffee, I usually… Well I sometimes have coffee from the granules, but I still like it with milk. Tea – I’ll drink with tea bags if I don’t have time to make normal, or I’m at the office, or at school or something like that.
Punjana or Teple is very popular. Maybe you don’t have them in France.
Well, I get my tea from England, and it can be bought in Novosibirsk actually. It’s called Taylors of Harrogate, Yorkshire Tea.
I think I’ve seen it, yeah. In fact it’s probably in my flat – my wife has it probably.
And they have quite a good marketing in tea in Russia, Taylors.
Lots of different varieties too, lots of different companies.
Most people drink Tetley, Tetley is quite popular.
It’s a popular tea company in the UK. Absolutely. Well let me tell you about my tea and coffee journeys. Two separate journeys, really. Well I think, I mean, I don’t remember when I started to drink coffee or tea.
I think my mom gave me coffee as a sort of… not very young boy, maybe 10 or something like that. I think I was going to school and we had a flask, you know, for keeping hot liquids, thermos as someone might know it. And she gave me a lovely milky coffee. Very milky. And I really liked this.
Oh, this lovely… It was more milk than coffee. But it was very soothing and very refreshing and I really liked it, so I enjoyed that, I remembered that. But I suppose when I really started to get into tea and coffee would’ve been when I started working and particularly in an office.
So I mean I would’ve drunk a lot of tea and coffee, I would’ve started out with a coffee in the morning at home, and then go to work and get another coffee. Maybe two if I was feeling particularly tired.
And then I would’ve started into tea the rest of the day, I mean, I would’ve drank tea, maybe 2 or 3 cups of tea depending on my mood, or depending on workload or whatever. But get a wee cup of tea, come back to your desk, keep working.
And so I would’ve drank quite a lot of tea. And then I started to drink tea as an alternative to… I found that the amount of caffeine and stuff – I felt a bit… Not focusing, not comfortable.
Maybe even had a headache at times, yeah. Absolutely. And so I tended then, I sort of thought well less coffee, more tea, and less of the black tea, and more of green tea. And I started to get into green tea and I heard it was quite healthy and all that, and cleansing.
And I don’t know how much of it is true or not. But I got into drinking green tea, and then of course I got into… I gave way drug as they say - one thing leads to another. I got into fruit teas – nothing wrong at all, so herbal and fruit teas. I started to drink a wide variety of tea.
Opened a drawer in my desk you would’ve found fruit teas and all kinds. And then I honestly don’t know why, and I still to this day don’t know why, it’s been years and years and years, maybe 6-7 years or more- one day I just woke up and I was like ‘I don’t like tea’.
And I don’t drink tea regularly now at all. And it’s not that I can’t drink it, it’s not that I hate it. I just don’t enjoy it so much. And so I actually drank tea at the weekend, but I rarely drink it. I rarely choose to drink it. It’s never my first choice.
But if it’s the only option available for whatever reason, as a guest or if it’s the only thing on the table that’s left or whatever I will drink it. And I don’t dislike it. But I just…. I just never choose to drink it really.
And I don’t know what changed my mind about that. So that was my tea journey. It’s kind of over. But my wife still loves tea and so…
I think she’ll be educating you back into tea before too long.
Maybe. But I drink a lot of water instead, I mean, I still… I have one cup of coffee, I try not to drink too much coffee to avoid any problems. And I drink one cup of coffee and the rest of the day I’ll drink juice or water, mostly water. And I’m happy enough.
To be honest, I can happily drink water over tea. But I guess if it’s a cold day and it’s the only option, then tea is great in that regard, but… Are you okay with me? I’m gonna tell you my coffee journey.
So, about coffee. I started out with granules as most people do. And I drank granules for years and years and years – no problem. Although I think it does make me a bit drowsy. Especially if I drink a few of them.
And then I one day – it was sort of recommended to me, it was recommended to me a few times to drink filter coffee, and actually my brother, my younger brother, had a filter coffee machine and I occasionally drank one of his coffees.
And my mom actually had or has a latte machine, but it’s not quite the same you know, it’s quite similar I think in one way, in one respect – the granules, this latte machine. My brother’s machine is quite good, and there is a difference. But I never really fully appreciated it.
I had some good coffee here and there when he made it for me, so I don’t really use the machine myself. Then there was an old coffee machine that was spare in our house, and I decided that I would try this out one summer and I would try this coffee machine.
I got some filter coffee, pre-ground and I started out with this coffee machine and I started to drink it and I realized that I can drink a few cups and it doesn’t give me a headache, it doesn’t make me feel drowsy. Not to say that there’s no effect – there is an effect.
But I think it was not as strong, not as pronounced. And there’s much more of a flavor – it’s more different, I’ll say that. It’s not necessarily that granules are bad, but filter coffee is very very different I think. It’s maybe richer, the flavor.
And so I really enjoyed and to this day I enjoy filter coffee. But now I grind my own beans as well. I almost feel like a connoisseur of coffee now. But, yeah.
I always grind my own beans, but it’s quite difficult. Only at home, I do it in France.
It’s not easy when you travel.
Not easy when you travel to make it.
How does a good cup of tea or coffee make you feel?
Well, in the morning, I think it’s the best time it makes me feel better. If I get up feeling not very active, then after I’ve drunk two cups of tea I’m raring to go.
And I… So I’m in my coffee I stick to one good mug of coffee, not too strong. And I… You know what? I enjoy the experience of drinking it. I sit and relax, or stand and relax at times and I drink my coffee. And that to me is my morning ritual – I read some as well.
When I doing that, I read the Bible too, or do other things. Whatever I’m busy at in the morning. And it’s my morning ritual to do that with my cup of coffee. I enjoy the flavor. Some people say, you know, I just want it for the effect, to keep me awake or whatever.
But for me it’s the flavor too, I enjoy it. So it’s not only the effect, which is great, but the flavor. The heat, you know, it’s warm, it’s rich, it’s flavorful and I very much… And I take it black now, I should’ve said.
I used to drink with milk, I used to add sugar, but now black coffee. But not as strong as I used to.
Well I have it black when I’m in France. I know because at a restaurant… because that’s how they serve it after a meal, rather like espresso, but it’s not quite strong. Same.
I think I’ve tried one of those actually. And I’ve tried Arabic as well, as they’re very small and very strong.
That’s right. I don’t really like it, but I drink it.
It’s not quite the same as what I’m used to. Yeah. So what is good, speaking medically maybe as well, and not just medically, about tea and about coffee? What are the good things about it?
Well, I think doctors are always changing their mind about tea and coffee. Too much coffee is bad for your head and bad for your blood, and now they’ve said that you should drink coffee for that effect.
Tea I think is generally good for you as long as you don’t drink it all day. I suppose if you’re drinking it all day…
You can get the shakes if you’re addicted to it I think.
Yes. But I think it’s good for health generally. And especially for making you feel better, it had that effect I think. Boosting your…
Giving that energy lift. So someone would say weight loss? From coffee and maybe from tea too, but because it stops your craving, stops your… But I think if you overdrink it, it can actually have a negative effect and you can actually put on weight.
So in moderation at least you’ve the energy boost. Antioxidants – I think it’s predictive for tea. And it might, both of them might prevent about against different diseases, like heart diseases and cancer and so potentially certain diseases they might prevent.
So in moderation. I mean, who knows for sure, but I’m not a scientist or a medical doctor or anything, but I think in moderation as in anything in moderation, I think in moderation they’re absolutely fine and good for you. And have advantages.
I have some people disagree, but I think and I was always told that in hot weather tea is good for you and it cools you down. Hot tea in hot weather, you do feel cooler afterwards.
Science’s illogical, isn’t it?
But for me, it does sort of restore…
I’ve heard that it’s because it starts you to sweat.
That can actually help you cool down. I’m not sure if…. So it works for you, is that…?
Yeah, if I was feeling very hot and tired I would have a cup of tea. Rather than water.
So that’s true that there’s something refreshing about tea. I remember walking, I was busy in the city once in England, and I’ve been walking all day, I got a bit lost actually. In Leeds. And I finally got to my hotel and I got myself a cup of tea after been out.
And it was summer, it was fairly hot, it wasn’t super hot. And I got this cup of tea and you know what? It was really refreshing. And it was quite late in the evening, but I decided to get another cup of tea. I thought it was so nice, I‘ll have another one.
And I didn’t sleep properly after that actually. Because, well, tea as coffee also has caffeine which keeps us awake, or potentially keeps, depending on the person. And this… Well this is a disadvantage of course, not an advantage. Well, depending on..
Maybe it’s an advantage if you want to stay awake. But tea has a slow release of caffeine, and it can happen sort of throughout the day, so it gives you that energy, but it lasts throughout the day I think, so whereas coffee is tenderly an energy boost.
And you can go down again if you have nothing else to pick up the energy, you can go down again, so. So it could be an advantage, depending on why you drink it. But it could be a disadvantage too, if you want to sleep. So, any more disadvantages that you can think of?
Well I think Russian people they don’t often give coffee to children, which I think is a drug. They would give them that other drink, chicory coffee. When children come they always give chicory.
I know what you’re speaking about.
It’s the same in Russian I think.
It’s from a plant isn’t it?
Like a flower or something.
In England it was very popular because coffee was very expensive about 20 years ago for some reason, I can’t remember why. And everybody started drinking chicory coffee or half coffee and half chicory.
But there’s still caffeine in it, isn’t there?
Yes, I believe there is. But not as much. I think it’s much milder.
As well I would say… I mean, my parents would’ve been reluctant to give us coffee very very young. I mean, as I say I was maybe 10 or 12 when I got it, but I wouldn’t have got it when I was very young.
Unless it was really really watered down with much more milk than tea, or much more milk than coffee. Another negative might be dependence. I think you can become…
You can become addicted to it.
You can become addicted to tea and coffee, especially if you don’t notice maybe any negative effects on you, you can tend to drink maybe too much of it. And you don’t… You could have a real problem if you want to cut it down, cause it could be, if you’re not drinking it in moderation…
it could be bad for you. And your doctor may want you to cut it down or cut it out. And I think you could have a real problem, so it’s an addictive thing.
As I said, it can keep you awake. And it can… Actually, maybe it’s more coffee than tea, but it can give you anxiety. I mean, it can give you u a heart palpitation.
So you can get heart palpitations when your heart is speeding too quickly from drinking too much coffee. So I think you really have to be careful about how much you do drink.
I think one or two cups once is okay, but I know some people drink it all day and it’s not good.
It’s quite normal I think, it’s quite common, particularly in the UK to drink tea throughout the day. And you can get maybe too much and overdo it. So what varieties… We talked about varieties of tea and varieties of coffee. What varieties of tea can you tell me about? I mean, different types.
Well there’s a traditional china tea which in Britain of course, when tea first was introduced, it was all china. And Lapsang Souchong. Well, Earl grey came later, but there was sort of delicate flavored teas that come from China.
Which is still quite popular. But two or three times the price. And when India became opened up and British Indian tea came in abundantly – there was so much of it. Just come from there, the only Indian black tea.
And then we mentioned fruit teas, and green tea. Have you ever drunk green tea?
Yes, I think in Britain that’s quite a new thing.
Not so common, but it’s quite popular, it’s becoming quite popular. I’ve seen them in the supermarkets – fruit tea and tea with flowers in it and things like that.
All kinds of different fruits or flowers or herbs and everything. Put it all in tea! See what happens.
A lot of people are into herbal tea, which isn’t really tea, it’s grass.
Mint tea, yes! It’s quite popular.
My grandmother used to make it with mint.
Nothing like mint leaves to eat. I found a mint, outside our friends’ house a kind of bush of mint one day, and I picked a leaf off – I’d never before eaten mint and I was a grown up man and I really enjoyed it.
And every time I get like a drink, you can get a nice cool drink here, mojito, it’s not alcoholic, it’s nice like ice cold rink with different fruit flavors. And I take the mint out and eat it. And I really like it.
In traditional England they were drinking cold tea as well. It was very much a working class thing that they used to take the tea in a bottle to work and… The Americans drink a lot of cold tea I believe. If you ask for tea in America, they’ll probably give you cold tea.
Really? You have to specify – give me hot tea!
The Americans of course don’t make tea with boiled water.
We have to teach them. Have you heard of something called rooibos?
I believe it comes from South Africa and it’s another plant entirely, but I think it’s also got good health benefits and I think it doesn’t have caffeine. So maybe look out for that if you’re interested, rooibos.
Have a look at that maybe. You can get it in the UK, I know, because I’ve bought it there. Types of coffee – I’m gonna dazzle you with my knowledge. Well, I’ve written this down.
If I know any more if you’ve missed.
I’ve written this down in advance. So, four different kinds of bean, we’re gonna get the beans first, right? So Arabica – and sorry if my pronunciation… It’s a high quality, and it’s mostly from Latin America, but found everywhere.
And it’s about 60% of the world’s coffee comes from that. And you’ll find it – if you grind at home, it’s usually Arabica or if you go to a café, it’s usually Arabica. Robusta beans, which is twice the amount of caffeine as Arabica. And it comes mainly from Africa and Indonesia.
And Liberica is another variety which is from the Philippines. It’s got a woody smoky flavor. Only from the Philippines. And then there’s one, it’s not used so much, Excelsa which is about 7% of world’s beans and it’s from South East Asia.
And it’s tart and fruity flavor. So there are four main types of bean which is.. I don’t know, I feel like there aren’t as many varieties of coffee as there are of tea. But I’m gonna argue that’s because you can’t get better.
Well, I’ve heard of this Arabica. But I now there are different variants of coffee, because if you go into coffee shops in London, I mean, my grandmother for example, she used to buy Kenyan Blue Mountain – that was mostly very rich, and it is very rich and smooth.
And maybe that was Robusta.
The other one – Brazilian of course. But I don’t know the difference…
Don’t know what beans it came from.
I think it’s not only the variety, it’s a place in the bush where they get it from, on a tree.
The most expensive tea is from the tips at the top of the plant.
Right. Wow. And then there’s coffee that has been passed through the animals, the cat or is it?
Oh yes, I’ve heard of it.
We don’t want to talk about too much about that, but it’s been eaten and then come out in the toilet, let’s say of the animal. And then it’s used to make coffee, and it’s very very expensive. I’ve never tried it.
And how they roast it as well – that makes a big difference. Methods of roasting,
Yeah, maybe more so than the beans, I don’t know. And then you’ve got things like lattes. if you go to the café, you’ve got a latte, a cappuccino, americano, which is probably my favorite, flat white, espresso, and lots and lots of different Arabic coffee and lots of different…
Oh there are quite a lot of different varieties I suppose. But I feel like it’s always essentially the same thing like coffee from a bean and that’s it.
Whereas tea there’s a lot more different types of leaves and stuff. Maybe I’m wrong. Marketing. How is… Do you think tea is marketed better or different to coffee?
I don’t know. There are a lot of different adverts, advertisements for tea and coffee. I think they’re all… I’ve never really thought about it, they all seem to be really the same sort of advertising.
I think so actually. I imagine coffee there’s a woman drinking maybe, Kenco?
She’s enjoying this nice black cup of coffee and just Aaah! It’s refreshing. But I think the same could be used for tea too. Maybe with not a woman, with a man or someone.
The chimpanzees – they advertise, what was it? Brook Bond, PG Tips?
PG Tips was the one advertised with a monkey.
That’s right. And you used to be… Not so long ago they brought the monkey back to their advertisement. And you could buy the toy. Soft toy. Do you think tea is more suitable for kids than coffee?
I think so, I think it’s better to give them tea than coffee. Although if you… Milky coffee I think is good.
Well, I really should argue for coffee here. I think if you add enough milk to either of them you’re okay. But don’t do it too late in the day or else they’ll stay awake, and you don’t want kids staying awake at night.
I think cocoa is better for children.
Cocoa’s good. But coffee might be more healthy than cocoa?
Depends on the cocoa I suppose.
I think the cocoa makes you sleep.
Yeah, that’s true. Where was the best tea or coffee you ever tried?
Well, my grandmother’s tea and coffee. That’s where it started. She seemed to make the best of everything for me. I can still can’t get the tea quite the same as she.
Yes, it was biscuits, not sweets, we don’t eat sweets in England with tea.
With eat biscuits with our tea or coffee, yeah. I usually drink it without anything, but well, try to have something to eat beforehand. Maybe I will have a biscuit beforehand to get my stomach juices go on.
So which is the best? This is our million dollar question. Have I not persuaded you that coffee is the best?
Well, I would say once a day a coffee is the best for me, I want a cup of coffee. That’s for me, that time is the best. The other times of the day I think tea is the best. But I don’t like that coffee, different varieties. It’s not that I don’t like them, I just don’t drink it very often.
Yeah. I’m gonna be controversial. I’m supposed to argue for coffee. I’m gonna say that tea is better. More versatile, more varieties. And you can drink it more regularly throughout the day. Maybe not…
For me I still wouldn’t drink it too late in the day, but it’ll give you that level of energy that lasts throughout the day. I’m gonna say tea is better, but I won’t drink it.
I’m gonna drink my coffee, one or two in the morning. Still gonna stick with my coffee, cause I love the taste. And I still think that energy boost is great too.
So that was the craic about tea versus coffee. We kinda found out that tea is better, but personally we still love our cup of coffee. Maybe we could say that both better. So we talked about the typical type of tea and coffee, our tea journeys, coffee journeys.
How it makes us feel, different types of teas and coffee out there. And the advantages and disadvantages. The best we’ve ever had. That was the craic about tea versus coffee.