Experts shed light on this long-debated topic. By Linette Lai
Photo: Dean Drobot / www.123rf.com
Both tea and coffee contain caffeine, but which has more? And what impact does caffeine have on the body, apart from serving as a morning pick-me-up? The general consensus among experts seems to be that coffee contains more caffeine than tea, although it also depends on how the beverages are prepared.
While the origins of coffee and tea are unclear, it is safe to say that mankind has been drinking both for at least 1,000 years. Caffeine, which works as a stimulant, is naturally found in both. Dr Heng Kiang Soon, a lecturer at Republic Polytechnic’s school of applied science, said a cup of brewed coffee contains between 95mg and 165mg of caffeine. But an identical cup of instant coffee has only 63mg of caffeine.
The caffeine content of a cup of brewed tea is about 31/2 times lower than that of a brewed coffee, said Dr Heng. The effects of caffeine can be felt throughout the whole body and go beyond just making a person feel more alert.
Dr Ooi Yau Wei, a cardiologist at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital, said caffeine can improve reaction time, alleviate headache symptoms and protect against Parkinson’s disease. It can induce the need to urinate more frequently and might help with constipation.
However, Ms Claudine Loong, a lecturer at Nanyang Polytechnic’s school of chemical and life sciences, said that too much caffeine can also cause problems. These include insomnia, anxiety, irritability, stomach discomfort and muscle tremors.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 25, 2017, with the headline ‘Coffee vs Tea‘.