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Tein vs caffeine, tea vs coffee

tein vs kofein

Do you remember from school that tein is the substance in tea and caffeine in coffee? And that their effects are similar but not exactly the same? Thanks to recent research, we know it's not that simple. Come and discover with us what is in you with our favorite drinks.

A bit of history

Before diving into the differences between these substances and their effects, we should take a brief look at their history. A lot of research has already been done, with some dating back over 200 years. However, their definitive truth has not yet been proven.

Caffeine

This substance was discovered by the German chemist Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge in 1819, i.e. relatively recently. He came across it while studying coffee and its elements, so he decided to call his discovery Kaffein (from the German Kaffee, meaning coffee).

This molecule is contained in a number of plants and foods. It mainly acts as a natural insecticide to ward off potential predators. It is not surprising that it is also found in the coffee plant and its fruits. (You can learn more about coffee processing and production here.)

Tein

A few years later, in view of Runge's findings, chemists began to wonder whether tea also contains the same or similar substances. In 1827, they performed the same tests on tea leaves. Alphonse Ourdy, Geradus Mulder and Jobat participated in the research.

They discovered that tea contained a similar molecule and named it tein (by removing the "prefix" -ko- connecting the molecule to coffee, and replacing it with the letter "t" from the German Tee).

But this story was not as simple as it seemed at first glance.

čaj vs káva
Source: https://www.sciencenews.org/

Are they two different things or not?

As we already know, the substances caffeine and theine were discovered relatively recently. Although given two different names and referred to as two different substances, a later comparison of the chemical composition of the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant (that is, tea) with that of the coffee plant revealed that they are in fact the same. They were given two different names simply because they were studied and analyzed ten years apart.

So we could say that coffee contains thein and tea is based on caffeine. Why don't we do that? And why do we think that the effects of the two drinks are different?

Quantity matters

It is true that coffee is much stronger and more invigorating than tea. The concentration of molecules of this substance is three to four times higher in coffee than in tea. In principle, it doesn't even matter what type of tea it is (black, green, white), as they all come from one and the same tree - Camelia Sinensis. The content of tein affects:

  • old tea leaves (young leaves and buds contain more substance than older ones),
  • ticket processing process,
  • the length of their leaching.

There will logically be more tein in a cup of tea steeped for five minutes than in a cup of tea steeped for two minutes. Interestingly, however, black tea releases tein faster than white tea.

Absorption rate

Here we come across a significant difference between the two substances. The tein molecule is bound to other substances found only in tea. However, they occur much more freely in coffee beans, are not bound to other substances and do not form any complex bonds. That's why we continue to call them caffeine.

And because our bodymust first break when absorbing substances from food bonds, caffeine is absorbed and released much faster. On the other hand, it is also the reason why tea works on us longer and is less stimulating.

Tolerance of the human body

Every body is unique, and even our reactions to coffee and tea, or to the substances contained in them, can be very different. Some people are more sensitive to coffee, others to tea. It is the same with different types of these drinks. And which of these drinks affects you more? The best way is to try it with teas and coffee from CG Foods.

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