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Sunday, February 25, 2024

On the Couch: Coffee, tea or me?

Coffee, tea or me?

Originally the title of a “true” fake raunchy 1960s story of two air stewardesses, a song title and numerous cafés (according to the couch’s extensive research with Professor Google), it appears the “me” is vastly different, depending on your brew of choice. And proper research alleges it is so.

This enlightening information landed in the inbox on behalf of Adele du Toit, the spokesperson for the SA Rooibos Council.

The mail said international market research agency OnePoll had found significant personality differences among 2 000 Americans they questioned about themselves and their morning beverage of choice. As a scientific observer, the sample size seems a bit small to be definitive, but here’s what they found.

Apparently, one common denominator was that 75% of coffee and tea drinkers have their first cup before 8am and it’s often on-the-go, battling traffic, school drop-offs and other early-morning mobile matters. That probably says more about our hectic lives than whether you choose the bean or the leaf.

Coffee drinkers are more introverted and creative than tea drinkers, who describe themselves as extroverts who enjoy social interaction and crave adventure.

For entertainment, tea fans enjoy Friends, The Big Bang Theory and The Walking Dead, while most coffee aficionados prefer Seinfeld, The Office and Grey’s Anatomy. No survey date was included, but these seem to be a bit outdated. Perhaps they only asked older people but that would probably contradict the school run data.

Those who favour coffee listen to jazz, blues, punk and rock and tea lovers prefer a combination of classical, country, pop, hip hop and rap.

Both love pets but, overall, coffee drinkers prefer dogs, while tea drinkers are more fond of cats.

Nearly half (41%) of coffee drinkers said they couldn’t start their day without coffee, relying on a morning dose of caffeine to get them going. They liked coffee buzz to get them off to their fast-paced, always on-the-go lifestyle. More reflective tea drinkers (37%) said too much caffeine was a turn-off and they liked living in the moment.

Coffee drinkers described themselves as light sleepers – either waking up at the slightest noise or blaming it on racing thoughts that kept them up at night, whereas most tea drinkers (57%) said they generally slept well.

Du Toit said that was because most teas contain less caffeine (adding that Rooibos has none) and that it “lowers cortisol (stress hormone) in the body. The higher the level of cortisol, the greater the likelihood of interrupted sleep”.

The OnePoll study refers to coffee drinkers being addicted to caffeine with another (unnamed) report said 49% of coffee drinkers would rather give up their cellphone for a month than go without coffee.

Du Toit said several studies over the years had yielded similar results, so there must be some truth to it.

“Other studies concur that coffee drinkers tend to be ‘morning’ people while tea drinkers describe themselves as night owls. Cleanliness and orderliness are a lot more important to tea drinkers than their coffee drinking peers, who often self-identify as ‘messy’.”

Make of it what you will. All the couch can add is that early signs of cooler weather have the coffee pot out and brewing without raising a sweat just thinking about either one.

The dogs are snuggling a little closer. And, a personal best-time-ever – the hunt for the hot water bottle stopper has begun.

  • Lindsay Slogrove is the news editor

The Independent on Saturday

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