Monday, 9 January 2012

Tea or Coffee - Come out fighting

So ... which beverage has the most caffeine? Tea or coffee?

Whatever answer you give, you're right ... depending on the circumstances.

It's absolutely correct that tea has more caffeine than coffee if you're measuring the levels using dry weight; in other words there is more caffeine in a pound of tea than a pound of coffee. But a pound of tea has a much greater volume than a pound of coffee because tea is lighter and people generally use far less tea to make a brew than they do coffee. Consequently, the average amount of caffeine in a 5oz cup of tea is less than 60mg while the caffeine in the same sized cup of coffee is around 65mg (instant) or 80-115mg (fresh). So tea does have more caffeine than coffee but a cup of tea has substantially less than a cup of coffee. As I say, you're both right!

The world’s most expensive coffee comes from the Philippines and is called Kopi Luwak. It sells for over £300 per pound; all the more extraordinary when you realise that it goes through the digestive system of an animal before it gets to you.

The Asian Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) eats coffee cherries from the coffee plant and the enzymes in its stomach digest the outer fruit. They then break down the protein in the seed (the coffee bean), which reduces the bitterness of the flavour. The civet then excretes the beans and they are harvested from the animal’s droppings.

Absolutely true. However, before you go to rush out and try it, it's worth talking to people who already have. Just because something costs a lot, it doesn't mean it tastes better. Lobster costs a lot more than crab but I'd take the far tastier crab any day. Do have a read of this - there is a dark side to Kopi Luwak, especially in respect of animal rights.

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