Why I Switched Coffee for Green Tea October 14 2014

posted by Nick Schäferhoff

I used to love coffee. Black, a little bit of sugar or a spoonful of honey. Could life get any better? Yes, by having a second cup. Or a third.  These days, however, I can count the times I drink coffee in a year on one hand. Actually half a hand.  My hot beverage of choice has become green tea instead. Why?

You see, I'm a big fan of martial arts movies. Jet Li? Love him. Jackie Chan? Hilarious. Bruce Lee? Awesome! What that has to do with tea? I'll tell you.  If you watch the heroes in every of those movies, they all have a certain demeanor.  They are calm, collected, in control of themselves. They exude serenity and concentration, relaxation and alertness at the same time.  And you know what their drink of choice is? Green tea. (Ok, except for Jackie Chan's “Drunken Master”).  So I also drink tea because I'm a nerd and a fanboy, is that what I'm saying? - No, not entirely.

Meditation in a cup

When I started giving green tea a try, I noticed that while the beverage does provide the benefit of making me more alert (thanks to the caffeine) its “buzz” is very dissimilar to that of coffee.  While the latter will provide a sharp energy spike, the effect of green tea is much more sustained and level. I feel relaxed and focused instead of the wired and jittery.  After reading up on it, it turns out this if for several reasons:

Number one is that tea generally contains less caffeine than coffee. Secondly, the absorption rate of the stimulating substance is slower in the case of tea than coffee.  Most interestingly, however, is the fact that the beverage contains other compounds which counteract the effect of caffeine (get ready for some nerd talk).  The most remarkable of them is an amino acid called L-Theanine. This substance increases brain waves, which are associated with alert relaxation.  That's right, tea makes you both more awake AND more relaxed. No wonder these martial artists always look so in control of themselves.  Alright, I will now brew myself a cup and then pick a fight at Starbuck's. Coffee drinkers watch out.