Every morning across America, war erupts on the granite/stone/laminate landscape of the kitchen counter. A war of epic proportions, waged over the centuries without any hope for resolution. The players are bitter enemies, strained after decades of losses and having faced the daily grinds of war. Trouble brews constantly, offering little solace from a situation that could easily boil over if left unattended.
It’s the battle between tea leaves and coffee beans.
On one hand, tea offers subtle flavor complexity and has a history that goes back almost to the dawn of man. It’s a staple across the world, and is great at any time of the day. Coffee packs a substantial punch in the morning and serves as fuel for the working man. There’s truth behind the slogan “America runs on Dunkin.”
As mentioned above, the subtle flavor differences in tea are astounding. They’re wildly different depending on the type of tea you buy, how it was stored and how you make it. Of course, its source of origin is chief among those.
Unlike its potent opponent, tea has less of a caffeine kick, allowing it to be used at night. With tea, there’s less of a chance you’ll be up into the wee hours of the morning with insomnia. While it lacks a hefty amount of caffeine, various tea blends have been used as health tonics for centuries. Green tea with a bit of lemon and honey is still a staple home remedy to soothe a bad throat, among other issues. It also does less color damage to your teeth in comparison to coffee or even black tea.
(Alton Brown has a perfect brewing method for those looking to begin their loose leaf tea devotion. And yes, using loose leaf tea makes a world of a difference compared to using bagged tea.)
This potent brown liquid downed by billions across the planet fuels us in the morning, fuels us in the mid-morning and even during the afternoon pick-me-up for some. Like tea, it’s picky in how the drink is brewed and varies depending on the method. And like tea as well, its flavor varies on the type of coffee purchased, as well as its roasting origins. Whether taken straight or with some sort of additive (milk, sugar or syrup), coffee has a wide array of flavors in its arsenal.
Unfortunately, due to its high caffeine content, many can’t drink it past the early afternoon. And, the decaffeination process, if not executed properly, can harm the drink’s flavor.
Coffee is more popular than tea in America, in most places, dating back to the Boston Tea Party. I’m not saying drinking coffee is more American, but it goes to show how a great beverage can have staying power when it’s coupled with a cultural mindset.
And my winner is…
Coffee, by an incredibly small margin. Either way you slice it, tea and coffee are the liquid foundation for most writers, and I’m hardly an exception.
Both have kept me hydrated and warm as I continue to write. Seeing “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” in January was a big part of my decision to pursue creating a novel. While it wasn’t a great box office hit, the movie’s pacing and character development really hit home. While other movies tried to be grand and offer some sort of soliloquy and heavy-handed dialogue, “Jack Ryan” was just a fun, fast-paced thrill ride.
In closing, thanks to Stoakes Books for his Liebster Award nomination. One of his questions served as the impetus to write on this topic.