Is Black Coffee or Black Tea Better For You?

Don’t talk to me until I’ve had my morning coffee. Yep, we’ve all heard it. That caffeine boost from black coffee is what many college students and working professionals rely on to lift them out of their morning mood. But what about caffeine-rich black tea? Only one in five American adults drink tea on any given day. Are there added benefits to steep instead of brew?

Black coffee

This popular choice of morning joe has received a bad rap over the years. It’s been blamed for boosting your odds of developing heart disease, yellowing your teeth and stunting your growth. Though a tinted grin may be true, recent research suggests drinking three to five cups of coffee a day could actually lengthen your life.

Beyond the obvious energy boost, black coffee also contains antioxidants, magnesium and potassium, little warriors that help fight sickness and reduce your sweet tooth cravings (hello, weight loss!). Your java not only helps kickstart your daily routine, sipping a mug each day has been proven to decrease your chance of developing a number of health issues later on in life, like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Type II diabetes. Caffeine also aids in preventing prostate cancer in men, endometrial cancer in women and basal cell carcinoma, the most common type of skin cancer. Everybody wins!

Black Tea

When you sip a spot of tea, you’re benefiting from much more than its energy boost and cozy warmth. Black tea contains polyphenols, which are antioxidants that help block toxic chemicals from entering your body. These polyphenols kill bacteria-causing plaque, lower the chance of ovarian cancer (drink up, ladies!), and build strong bones. Black tea also contains alkylamine antigens and tannins, big words that translate into a fortified immune system that can fight off viruses like the flu and defend against gastric and intestinal illnesses.

As for the energy boost you’re looking for? Black tea not only helps you relax and concentrate better, it’s lower amount of caffeine content (compared to black coffee) enhances blood flow to the brain without over-stimulating the heart.

The winner is…

Both black coffee and black tea are calorie-free (if you skip the cream and sugar) and packed with antioxidants, but if you’re looking for an extra pep in your morning step, grab for the grounds. An 8-ounce cup of coffee contains about 85 milligrams of caffeine compared to 40 milligrams in a cup of tea. But if it’s 3 o’clock in the afternoon or you want to fight off that bug flowing around the office, you’ll want to stick to your tea leaves.

Emily is a recent graduate and proud Midwesterner who just moved to the big city to start her career in magazine journalism. When she isn't commuting between Brooklyn and Manhattan, she enjoys browsing bookstores for her next read, sipping chai tea lattes at local coffee shops, and playing tourist in the city she always dreamed of living in.