This blog post on tea and coffee is part of our Food Facts blog series meant to expose some of funny caffeine facts and nuances and illustrate why they matter for your food creations. At Whisk, we glean insights from the half a billion recipe interactions that take place on our platform every month. Accurately classifying and grouping ingredients yielded from these recipes are incredibly important in creating better food experiences. In addition to using AI (artificial intelligence) and ML (machine learning) to help improve our understanding of these nuances, we employ human intellect to train computers on more complicated information that is inherent in food experiences and recipes. Hopefully you learn a thing or two along the way.

Many of us cannot fathom a day without our caffeine fix and we warn people not to talk us before we’ve had our first cup. In America, coffee has become synonymous with productivity and tea has come to mean relaxation, but depending on which kinds of each you have, both can have efficiency-boosting qualities. Plus, tea and coffee don’t have to be the main attraction. Incorporating tea and coffee into dishes adds a surprising twist and depth to sweet and savory dishes alike. We’ll explain more below.

Tea comes in a few forms, bag, loose-leaf, and powder, but all are made from the leaves of Camellia Sinensis. It is thought to haveoriginated in the Yunnan province of China, the Indian state of Assam, and northern Myanmar in 2737 BC. Stronger teas, such as black and matcha green tea, contain 70 to 90 milligrams of tea. Herbal teas made of flowers and herbs, however, do not have any caffeine.

Tea has many proposed health benefits, including its potential ability to prevent cancer with its high level of antioxidants that eliminate free radicals, promote weight loss as a result of the antioxidant EGCG which speeds up fat oxidation, prevent heart disease by lowering LDL cholesterol, and protect brain function.

Coffee, made from the dried seeds of berries (called beans) of Coffea plants, is thought to have originated in Ethiopia and Yemen in the 9th century AD. It can be consumed in the form of drip coffee, espresso, brewed, and instant. An 8-ounce cup of coffee generally has 90 to 100 milligrams of caffeine.

While coffee has less studied health benefits when compared to tea, coffee may potentially prevent Type 2 diabetesincrease physical performance, and may boost naturally occurring B vitamins, which may support organ function and boost immunity.

According to Niamh Shields, author of Eat Like a Girl, it’s best to treat tea and coffee like cooking with wine. “They add flavor and structure to dishes as they both have tannins.” High quality coffee or espresso works great in a pork or beef rub or adds depth to stews or a ratatouille. Herbal teas like mint, ginger, and licorice add a surprising flavor profile to salsa verde, Indian curry, and rice, as well as fish, chicken, and tofo. For use in recipes, use loose leaf tea or simply cut open a teabag. 

Of course, both tea and coffee are a scrumptious addition to desserts and sweet breakfast foods. Cold brew can be added to the wet ingredients in waffles and cakes while tea can be melted into butter to add interest to churros, scones, and shortbread

However you choose to consume tea and coffee, either in your mug in the morning or as part of your daily food fare, your tastebuds will be delighted. Do you have other tea and coffee-infused recipes to share? Save to Whisk and then share on social.