Coffee vs Tea – What Are They and How Are They Different?

As I’m sure you’re aware, here at Two Chimps Coffee we sell… Coffee!

However, that doesn’t mean we don’t fancy a good ol’ cuppa from time to time. There are some pretty obvious differences between coffee and tea but, we wanted to dive in a little deeper. Here’s what we found.


After water, tea is the most consumed drink in the world. Us Brits sure love it, and it has become an integral part of our culture. But what actually is it? Read on my friends, read on.

Tea comes from the plant Camellia sinensis, which was originally native to Asia. However, it is now grown all around the world. This plant is best grown in loose, deep soil at high altitudes in sub-tropical climates. Teas that have come from the Camellia Sinensis include Black, Green, Oolong, White and Pu’erh. Herbal teas are something completely different, but we’ll get onto those in a minute.

tea leaves

Similar to coffee, tea is grown in a variety of different settings; from small farms to huge estates which cover thousands of acres. Due to the terrain in which tea leaves are grown, they have to be hand-picked.

It’s worth bearing in mind that it takes two thousand of these little leaves to make one pound of tea! Teas that are produced for large companies will often be grown on flat, lowland areas so machinery can be used to harvest the leaves. With that said, some of the finest, hand-plucked teas are actually grown at low altitudes and in flat fields.

So, the way it is grown rather than where it is grown is something to consider.

Caffeine in Tea

The caffeine content in tea is something that is often ignored. When tea and coffee are in their ‘dry’ form, tea does, in fact, have more caffeine in it. However, after brewing you will find there are higher levels of caffeine in coffee. This simply because coffee is a stronger drink than tea.

cup of tea

The amount of caffeine in tea is varied and depends on the type of tea you are drinking.

White tea doesn’t contain much caffeine at all. White tea is one of the most delicate teas in the world due to it being the least processed. It has between 15 to 30 milligrams of caffeine per eight-ounce serving.

On the other hand, black tea has between 40 to 70 milligrams per eight-ounce serving. In comparison, coffee as around 95 to 200 milligrams.

Herbal Teas

Right, onto herbal teas. If we’re getting technical, herbal tea isn’t true tea.

As mentioned before, they do not come from the Camellia Sinensis plant. Instead, they are blends of various leaves, fruits and flowers. In some European countries, herbal teas are commonly known as tisanes.

herbal tea

Although herbal teas have been around for a very long time, they have risen in popularity in recent years as a result of their many health benefits. The herbs, spices and plants that are blended in herbal teas have their own individual health benefits. However, you may be reluctant to have these in their raw form. But with herbal teas, you can enjoy these healthy ingredients in a nice, warm beverage instead.

Herbal teas can be created from almost any combination of natural ingredients. With this in mind, I’m sure you can imagine how many varieties of herbal tea there are. Some of the most popular include Chamomile, Hibiscus and Peppermint.


An estimated two-thirds of Americans drink a cup of coffee every day and those that do will have drank 18.5 gallons of the stuff over a year. But what is actually in a cup of Joe? All will be revealed.

espresso pouring from an espresso machine

Coffee comes from a tropical evergreen plant of African origin. Although coffee can be used as an ingredient in a huge variety of food and drink, the main reason for its popularity is due to a little thing called caffeine.

Coffee species

There are two species of the coffee plant, Arabica and Robusta. Arabica coffee beans generally create a milder, more flavourful and aromatic brew than Robusta beans.

On the flip side, however, Arabica is a more delicate bean which makes it more susceptible to insects. This adds in part as to why Arabica beans need to be grown in a cool subtropical climate and at higher altitudes.

Arabica coffees also require a lot of moisture, sun and shade. Latin America, Eastern Africa, Asia and Arabia are the leading producers of Arabica coffee.

Robusta coffee does not need to be grown so high up, nor is it as susceptible to insect damage. This makes Robusta beans a lot cheaper to produce which is why it often makes up part of a coffee blend for large, commercial coffee brands.

Arabica coffee is segregated by two further categories: commercial and speciality coffee. Speciality coffee is what we hand roast here at Two Chimps Coffee, and it is a much higher grade of coffee. For a coffee to be given the ‘speciality coffee’ title, it must gain a quality score of 80 or above. The coffee will be scored on things such as its aroma, mouthfeel and taste.

Coffee drying patios

Our speciality coffees come from small farms and cooperatives around the world. We pay between 30 and 150% more for our coffee than the ‘going rate’, making sure that the farmers are paid better for their hard work. We also like to keep the supply chain as short as possible, meaning more of this money makes it back to the farmer.

Instant coffee

Coffee, once roasted, can be separated into two other main categories. Instant coffee and ‘proper’ coffee. Here at Two Chimps, we only produce the proper stuff!

Instant coffee can be quicker to make, but it isn’t as fresh, nor does it hold the same flavours as whole bean or freshly ground coffee.

When it comes to producing instant coffee, there are two main methods used. The first is where liquid coffee is sprayed in a fine mist through very hot and dry air. By the time the coffee droplets reach the ground they will have dried into a powder.

wholebean, ground and instant coffee

The second way is the freeze-dried method. Coffee is roasted and then brewed to make a concentrate. This is then rapidly frozen. Finally, the frozen coffee is placed in a vacuum chamber where the remaining ice water is heated and turned to vapour. This will leave behind the coffee granules.

So there you have it, a more in-depth look at some of the differences between tea and coffee.

All this tea and coffee talk making you thirsty? Head over to our shop where you will find our coffees.

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