Are Tea Drinkers Happier Than Coffee Drinkers?

So what gives? Are tea drinkers really happier than coffee drinkers? Well, it’s probably a bad idea to make such bold and sweeping statements that take in millions (billions?) of people around the world. But that didn’t stop the British press from reporting not so long ago on a study comparing the two groups.

Happy Tea Drinker (ETS image)
Happy Tea Drinker (ETS image)

There’s not a whole lot of background available on the alleged study, which was conducted by a British firm that makes water heating gadgetry that can be used by both groups. Their study showed that “84 per cent of tea drinkers claim to be a team player in their job compared to just 74 per cent of coffee fans.” Another version of the story also claimed that coffee drinkers in the office are more likely to be “hot-headed, argumentative and live on a knife-edge.” Even though they make less money on the average tea drinkers are still said be more laid back.

While I’m not sure how seriously I take this study (and while I think tea drinkers are still mostly an oddity in offices on this side of the Atlantic), that won’t stop me from throwing in a few thoughts on the topic. Though I’m a tea-drinking person who lives with a member of the coffee-drinking species and who finds even the smell of coffee rather hard to take, I’m not sure which of us is happier – and ditto for those coffee drinkers that I work with.

But I can see how, at least theoretically speaking, tea drinkers might be predisposed to be happier than those coffee types. It’s commented on quite often that tea offers a gentler type of jump start than coffee, even though both substances contain caffeine. The difference with tea is that it also contains a compound called theanine, which has been found to promote calming and relaxation, two qualities that are considered to be crucial to the pursuit of happiness.

While I don’t claim to be anything close to an expert on coffee, right off the top of my head I’m not aware of any Japanese (or other types of) ceremonies that use coffee as their focal point. Ditto for books. I can think of a number of books that take a look at the contemplative and (some would even say) spiritual aspects of the tea drinking experience. While coffee might have its counterparts, I kind of doubt it.

So in closing I’ll just quote that great singer who encouraged us to “don’t worry, be happy, drink tea.”

Or something like that.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

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