Confessions of a Tea drinker: caffeine…Coffee or Tea? Oh my!


Confessions of a Tea drinker: caffeine…Coffee or Tea? Oh my!

Monday morning. You would think that after a weekend, that should have been restful, I would be fully ready to embrace everything that this week is ready to throw at me…but I’m not. Hmmm, I’ve run out of my usual green tea, and that planned run to the grocery never happened. So this morning, after that all-nighter, I checked my pantry to find that opened, a half-used bottle of coffee.

It’s been a while since I’ve had coffee and as I sit weighing the options for my daily caffeine intake (energy drinks, coffee or my favourite green tea), I remember when my go-to was coffee, with the occasional buzz in a can. But, I also remember the drawbacks that came with that timely boost of energy, headaches, bouts of anxiety, insomnia (with whom I had a very long relationship) when I tried to cut back on the four 12 oz cups of coffee daily. I guess that could have been expected, after all, the levels of caffeine in an 8oz cup of coffee (70-140mg) far outweigh the typical range in the average cup of green tea (20-50mg). Today, I can definitely say that as a healthy adult, the FDA may be right, a daily excess of 400mg of caffeine is not necessarily a good thing. Notably, it took me a while to get to the point of actually researching why caffeine can be such a boost and why I was so addicted that I needed to figure out an alternative to coffee because God forbid…I call it quits entirely from having that
boost…albeit a bit more in moderation.

So what did I find? Why does caffeine feel so yummy?
As a naturally occurring compound in more than sixty (60) varieties of plants, including coffee and tea, caffeine is…no big surprise, a central nervous system stimulant, which ultimately means, it helps to provide the body with that oftentimes much-needed boost of energy. It can aid with giving focus and lengthening your attention span, as well as improving your reaction time…very needed after long nights or excessively hectic and demanding days of work or family time, and for those of us who are into physical activities…perhaps the gym, running, swimming, the energy provided can add strength and endurance needed to take you through that gruelling hour or two while you get that healthy body you are working towards.

Additionally, I learned that honestly, I didn’t learn it, because anyone who has that first cup of coffee in the morning would have found this out on their own, caffeine is also a gastric stimulant, simply put, after that first cup, your best friend will become the porcelain throne. However, what I had not realized, and what really
made me reconsider my daily intake of caffeine was that it is also a vasoconstrictor, so every cup meant a narrowing of blood vessels and the raising of my blood pressure, and truth be told, when your life is as hectic as mine, high blood pressure, which consequently also runs in my family, is not worth that extra 70-140 mg of caffeine…not that I am ready to completely give up caffeine, especially since, when used in moderation, can provide much-needed benefits. 

Caffeine tolerance differs for everyone, and while one person may be able to easily metabolise 1000mg of caffeine daily, for others, 70mg is too much and can result in anxiety and insomnia and a general sense of unease. For me, I needed to find an alternative to match my hectic work and family life. My research continued and I found out that the caffeine content of tea and coffee, depends on the product itself and how the product, be it beans or leaves are treated/brewed. However, Green tea, be it, matcha, sencha or bancha, still resulted in less caffeine per oz than a cup of daily brew coffee from your favourite, local coffee house. So the solution…Green Tea! I like the taste, and in no way was I interested in having the additional 40-240mg of caffeine per serving than the average energy drink in a can rocketed into my system…I can do without the headaches and crash that comes with that amount of caffeine in one sitting.

Life is about balance, and these days, that balance is struck with my morning cup of Twigs Naturals Green tea. With its special blend, this full leaf tea is described as Chinese gunpowder green tea… (interesting factoid: Gunpowder tea was given this English name because of the shape and appearance of the tea leaves. The tea
leaves are rolled into pinhead pellets which resemble gunpowder. To create the distinctive appearance of gunpowder, the leaves are withered, then steamed and rolled into small pellets. The pellets are rolled tightly and carefully to prevent breaking the veins in the leaves, then dried). Gunpowder green tea is known for its smokey undertones and copper colour when brewed. For me, the best part is that it makes my senses quiver and say YES!!! Now that’s the way to start the day! That lower dose of caffeine is never missed. I’ve added it to my balanced diet and a daily exercise regimen, which gives me the energy I need to get through my busy mornings, with focus and calm. Then, when I have my mid-morning tea break, the extra boost, not only helps with the curbing of my appetite and sugar cravings, but it also makes the day a lot more doable.

So this Monday morning, when I look at that half-used bottle of coffee, instead of brewing a cup, I will be turning to the reserve Twigs Naturals Green Tea sachet, that I hid away for emergencies like this, and on today’s agenda, a mental note to make that grocery run, or perhaps, I will order my tea from their website and have it brought to me! Ain’t the life of a Twigs Naturals tea drinker grand?

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