There has raged a war over the many contentious debates of this or that pertaining to the food world ever since the times when the human civilisation ceased viewing food as mere sustenance and began to indulge in it as a luxury necessary to life. Explore the substitute food options available in myriad parts of the world, where something culinarily iconic is always matched by something as gastronomically unbeatable, furthering this longstanding duel between naysayers of either as to why their choice of indulgence is better.
But among the many purported battles of superiority with some of the globally popular same- same but different elements of the food realm, holding an altogether different place of rivalry is two of our all time favorite beverages, both of which have even sustained humans through it all. Be it the emotions encompassed by every slurp of chai or the essence inherent in each sip of coffee, the two most popular drinks of the world has had fans and lovers and supporters each claiming their unwavering allegiance to the intoxication of their choice, which can of course be both for many! Such is the place of pride reserved in the very existence of a whole lot of humans for tea or coffee or both that they absolutely cannot do without their morning cuppa dragging them outta bed or those numerous cups of fixes that drive them to night all through the day, endowing their life a meaning in such profound understanding that belies at times even the more perplexing prejudices of this breathing entity.
With such surreptitiously immense powers to boast of their own, tea and coffee sure are ideal life companions in their own right. But as someone making up that percentage of the population that yields into the rich intoxication of coffee without fail every single time, we for once would like to establish the basis of this biasness that has us falling again and again for the lures of a perfect cup of coffee. That, even when we are as religious about sipping to the last drop the elixir that every single serving of chai is. Faced however with the daunting prospect of having to foresake one beverage in favor of the other because that’s what the human life is- mired in the irony inhibiting the freedom of choice, our heart seems to be a tad more attuned to the warmth of coffee, deriving perhaps from the dreamily romantic escapade that a coffee date guarantees over the nostalgic yearnings for a wholesome session of chai paired with spicy sprinklings of adda. Which is why to present our case- and rest it as well- we round up the wide volley of reasons that helped our cup full of coffee edge out that tumbler full of tea even if by merely a whimper.
The first way of course in which coffee manages to score it big is the sheer aroma of it. The smell of freshly brewed coffee that hits you first thing in the morning is indeed the most perfect way to start your day. For not only that mere whiff is enough to freshen you up all at once but it also is the first reminder of the day beautiful enough in revealing to you all the blessings of life you need to be grateful for. Philosophy aside however, the intoxicating smell of a strong cup of coffee is as efficient in giving you the kick to take on the day as is the leisurely sipping on it. And why just brewed coffee, even the coffee jar is resplendent in as robust a reminder of the exotic beauty of life in its unassuming, raw contents. As you drag your drowsy self to the kitchen and catch your hold of the coffee bottle, opening it in just as much strength as your just out of the bed renders you capable of, there it is- that unmissable flavor of indulgence hitting your nostrils with an intensity that is enough to jolt you out of your dazed mess. In such supernatural powers amassed by every grain of coffee that which serves you right out of the jar as well, it indeed is its aroma that coffee owes much of its reputation to.
That said however, as die hard tea lovers as well, let’s not forget to sing an ode also to the kadak aroma of chai that makes our drowsy self get lost somewhere in the midst of all that steaming goodness. Tea indeed has its own refreshing scent as well, as does tea leaves that makes us want to have that whole kettle to ourselves. But except when it is masala chai or some variant of flavoured tea, the aroma of it is really not as prominent enough to jolt us out of our reverie, whatever might have induced us into that. Or at least not as prominent as coffee when it comes to kicking senses into us. Which therefore makes for a slight reason why we proclaim coffee as being somewhat better than tea. Also as concerns the flavour, coffee seems to enjoy another advantage- with our favorite beverage coming with a range of 1000+ flavor compounds as compared to black tea’s 400, it is easy to see how this battle of superiority is going to settle once and for all.
The second reason coffee manages to eke out tea as our go to beverage rests in the visual appeal of it. Granted there’s no beating either a foamed cup of coffee as it is or an intense serving of tea, with that dark caramellish color and a thick layer of malai on top (we know we have got more haters than lovers with the latter bit but we said what we said) when it comes to both being drinks that make us go weak in our every resolve made to the contrary at the very sight of them. But there still is a way how coffee comes to gain the upperhand when it comes to being visually appealing- and uniquely appealing at that as well. That is a different world altogether, summed up in the world of coffee as something that is ascribed to latter art. A method of preparing coffee created by pouring microfoam into a shot of espresso and resulting in a pattern or design on the surface of the latte or even hot chocolate if you so please, latte art is at the center of what spells romance through coffee. Be it the intoxication of the heart or the endearment of a smiley or the sorrys spelled out in a way that make them all the more worthwhile, coffee stirs up emotions like nothing else, explaining therefore why the pursuance of the art makes this beverage so much a breeding ground for all the romance associated to it. Tea on the other hand, while ruffling the strings of the heart no any less, still lacks it when it comes to boasting a look that is stupidly but still smilingly romantic!
Equally steeped in exclusivity is the exoticness of coffee in being a beverage that allows for being traditionally alcoholic. Infusing the comfort of coffees with the warmth of liquor are special varieties of liqueur coffees that makes for an altogether different indulgence in intoxication. The Irish coffee should be the most notable case in point but other variants like the Italian Caffè corretto or the Swedish and Norwegian cocktail drink Kaffekask or even the namesake Scottish twist on the ‘most original’ Irish coffee are equally delightful discoveries that made our coffee love grow by a few notches more. Contrast that with the liquor infused modification of tea, which sure would be as commendable but still would lack the exotic nature attributable to classic liqueur coffees. Scoring our succour in coffee some brownie points is its ‘native’ pairing with another of our intoxicating weaknesses of alcohol which makes it the beverage we would not part with for even all the riches of the world.
A rather flimsy reason which counts nevertheless for us in explaining our biasness with coffee draws again from another parallel all time favorite ruling our taste preferences. That distinction goes to the scrumptious assortment of what makes the decadent deliciousness of the cake world, as coffee and cake is a match made in heaven. There’s nothing that spells elegant luxury and sophisticated indulgence and heartfelt warmth than what a slice of pastry or a whole loaf of cake does in the absolutely sinful pairing it comes to make with a perfectly brewed cup of coffee. Sipping on a creamy cup of sweet and milky hazelnut coffee with a panoply of dazzling pastries and cake slices to further the experience of the heavenly riches of the world that we so covet and deserve is a piquant taste of pleasure that few other things in the world can afford us. And why just cakes though, every single type of coffee tastes also as much delicious when you have also an assortment of cookies to dunk into it, with the coffee drink delicately permeating every crumble of the cookie crunch in such perfect measure that biting into one of those would endow you with a feeling so wholesome that you are unlikely to experience in any bite else. In summing up a world of such surprisingly diverse decadence that what you would expect from a mere cup of coffee is sure another reason more to claim it as our number one love in the world. With tea though, the experience is somewhat less exotic. While chai- biskut is a pairing as iconic as that of coffee with cake, and chai- pakora being a resident of a different dimension altogether the former comes across as an indulgence less celebratory and more emotional while the latter realm of the fritters is more occasional and less commonplace. Ultimately though, when it comes to the consideration of any thing food, or more specifically the lauding of it, the manner it appeals to the gourmet taste is as important, rendering therefore a coffee pick the absolute winner in catering to our senses.
The pairing of coffee with what accompanies it sure makes it the true queen of beverages despite popular notion associating the epithet with tea. But it also is as much about what coffee can and does indeed deliciously go into that lend it no less flattering a reputation of being the beverage to fancy by all and sundry. In lending itself as one of the central ingredient to some of the best tasting desserts in the world, coffee comes across as an absolute obsession we can never have enough of. Be it the ultimate addiction we harbour with the Italian tiramisu, that what is undoubtedly one of the world’s most worthiest desserts or our fetish for the coffee and cake pairing that takes form not just through the numerous coffee cakes we bake as novices but also in the more exotically exemplary slice of the French opera cake, or the yet again Italian dessert affogato as well as the Belgian specialty Café liégeois, coffee has been trickling down the traditional realm of desserts, delivering its punch since forever with such tasteful expertise and artisanal decadence that has the world go crazy over coffee in its amazingly versatile and rich servings of sinful succulence. With also more ‘modern’ workings of coffee into the ambit of dishes that include not just the sweet and the syrupy but also the savoury, this wonder beverage has further widened its mass appeal. Not to be left behind is tea as well, with present day fusions incorporating also all the goodness and flavour of it in a range of exquisite preparations. But in simply being not so ‘adventurous’ in its traditional beginnings, chai loses out on some of its charm over the more competent charisma of coffee, at least for us.
All said and done however, whether it is coffee that is better than tea or vice versa is a case that will drag and stretch as long as there continues to be life on earth. Sure, coffee is incredible but it can also be as ridiculous an offering like the civet coffee. Likewise tea can be and very well is what sums up a world of emotions for many but it also can be as bland both in feel and flavour in such conjurings of it like green tea. Ultimately the ensuing battle is one that can be attributed to personal preferences than universal claims of which beverage is indeed the best. Perhaps a delightful way forward, in keeping with the spirit of warmth encompassed by either of these beverages would be to embark rather on the terrains of what is called dirty chai for just the perfect infusion of two drinks that holds honour as being the absolute necessities for sustaining life itself and elevating it further in all its exotic experience.