Coffee and Tea, Guilty or Free

Coffee and Tea, Guilty or Free

I thought it would be fun to blog about people’s emotions behind their morning coffee and tea drinking. Let me say up front, that I am a big advocate of caffeine. I learned a few years ago after studying it, that caffeine has an amazing effect on the human brain.

Paul Holmgren, retired cell biology professor from Northern Arizona University, reports that “caffeine improves neurotransmitter flow in the brain. Increased neurotransmitter flow is associated with increased information flow in the brain.” He also explains that caffeine altered his perception, “ Not only was my brain more active after my caffeine fix, it also changed the way I looked at the world. I attribute this altered perception to the increased activity/flow of three different neurotransmitters: norepinephrine, serotonin and acetylcholine.” Dr. Paul believes that caffeine can act as an antidepressant, making many of us much happier. (

Most people drink either coffee, tea, or caffeinated soft drinks in the morning to achieve this stimulating, pick-me-up, happier state of mind. Not being a coffee drinker, I used to be jealous of my café friends. They seemed to be having so much fun every morning, but I just didn’t like the taste of coffee. So I chose tea and quietly drank my tea every morning without a lot of affirmation. The first 20 years of tea drinking, I didn’t know much about it. The last twenty years, I’ve been learning. And low and behold, it turned out I was doing something really good for myself. Everyone knows now because of all the research that the Camillia sinensis plant is one of the healthiest things you can drink. Today I receive much more encouragement with my cuppa.

So what about the emotions behind all of our early morning drinking habits? I admit that I love my morning cup of black tea with a teaspoon of honey and whipping cream. I feel like someone wrapped a blanket around me and made me feel safe after I take that first sip. The only guilt I feel from those first few mugs is the teaspoon of whipping cream. But I’ve gotten over that. The comfort feelings far outweigh the health concerns. The rest of the day I drink my tea without any additives, so I’m guilt-free, really feeling good about  myself. Tea provides the perfect combination of caffeine, polyphenols, and theanine to stimulate and inspire my brain while relaxing my body at the same time.

Many coffee drinkers come into our tea shop admitting that they feel a bit guilty drinking coffee wanting to change over to tea. They love the effects of the coffee caffeine on their minds but not their bodies. They think the caffeine in coffee is the same as caffeine in tea, so they ask for decaffeinated tea. I try to encourage people to experiment, manage the caffeine in their lives, that tea caffeine is different, just as satisfying without making you nervous or stressed. The tea caffeine molecules attach themselves to the other polyphenols and theanine molecules (which coffee lacks), releasing in a more gentle way into our bodies, lasting longer and perhaps in a more fulfilling way.

I’ve discovered over my long life that most of us end up doing the things that really work in our lives, regardless of what the experts say, in a combination of how we feel physically and emotionally. My desire is to have truth reign in my body as well as my mind. Sometimes finding that truth is not always easy.

I know there are many proud, enthusiastic guilt-free coffee drinkers out there, but if you’re one of those coffee or soda people who feels a little troubled, I encourage you to try tea. There’s a whole world out there that is just as exciting and exhilarating, not a secret any more. If you’re one of those people who likes the hammer of coffee, you might try the velvet hammer of tea.

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