Lines to Love: Tea or Coffee?


I’ll readily admit that I cannot decide which beverage I prefer- tea or coffee. There are mornings when I wake up and want nothing more than a hot cup of Earl Grey tea with a dollop of cream and a spoonful of monkfruit. But then there are days when a dark cup of freshly ground Columbian with a soupçon of Natural Bliss Cinnamon Cream rings my bell.

The debate about which beverage is the better has raged since the first ground beans and dried leaves were steeped in hot water.

In fact, writers have clashed on this topic specifically. Some praise the fact that they were born post invention of tea. Others maintain the invention of coffee is the pin upon which history hinges.


Team Tea


Of course, there are those who are firmly in the camp of Team Tea. I know a few of those people. Heck, depending on the day, I’ll hoist by petard in honor of tea. Just like these authors:

Yes, that’s it! Said the Hatter with a sigh, It’s always tea time.
— Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Okay, this is the wisdom. First, time spent on reconnaissance is never wasted. Second, almost anything can be improved with the addition of bacon. And finally, there is no problem on Earth that can’t be ameliorated by a hot bath and a cup of tea.
— Jasper Fforde, Shades of Grey

In fact, a great deal of philosophical import has been ascribed to tea.

The assaying of tea is an art and not a science. It is the man, and not his instruments, which is the most important.
— Timothy Mo

Team Coffee


But enough of this tea talk, right? I mean, there’s another brew out there that holds our hearts. Authors of old and new have touted coffee as the elixir of life, or, at the very least, the ambrosia of the gods.

What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?… Was ever anything so civil?
— Anthony Trollope
Ah, coffee. The sweet balm by which we shall accomplish today’s task.
— Holly Black, Ironside

I think I like how Justina Chen Headley said it in her book, North of Beautiful:


Perhaps it’s the darkness of rendered coffee, but while many would say it’s an essential libration, it’s also had lugubrious and heavy attributes thrust, like greatness, upon it:

Coffee makes us severe, and grave, and philosophical.
— Jonathan Swift

However, I’ll let Mr. Hemingway deliver the rebuttal to all this heavy handed coffee talk:

‘Listen,’ I told him. ‘Don’t be so tough so early in the morning. I’m sure you’ve cut plenty of people’s throats. I haven’t even had my coffee yet.’
— Ernest Hemingway, To Have Or To Have Not

And, of course, it is important to remember Alex Levine’s words. After all, we all want to maintain a balanced diet.

This one is for those of you who have been tortured in an obscenely long line at your local coffee shop:

It is inhuman, in my opinion, to force people who have a genuine medical need for coffee to wait in line behind people who apparently view it as some kind of recreational activity.
— Dave Berry

Do you have a thirst for adventure? Are you an avid wanderer? Well, if you are, don’t forget the most important part of your backpacking gear- a travel thermos.

Sorry! I don’t want any adventures, than you. Not today. Good morning! But please come to tea- anytime you like! Why not tomorrow? Good bye!
— J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

But what you must remember is this truth:


Brew Me A Cup Of Comfort:

But perhaps what I love so much about both coffee and tea is that they are comforts. Whether you prefer one over the other or love each equally, there’s something warming about them that transcends their temperature on a cold day to soothe us.

I shouldn’t think even millionaires could eat anything nicer than new bread and real butter and honey for tea.
— Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle
If you are cold, tea will warm you;
if you are too heated, it will cool you;
if you are depressed, it will cheer you;
if you are excited, it will calm you.
— William Ewart Gladstone

So, regardless if you’re steeping tea now or waiting for coffee to brew, I hope you find comfort in your cup. What are you, dear reader, Team Tea or Team Coffee? Any quotes I missed that you like dealing with either beverage?