The Bean vs the Leaf: The Coffee/Tea Divide


The war between coffee and tea drinkers is centuries old and rages on, with the bean and the leaf continuing to battle it out across the world today. In Britain, tea has maintained its national prestige as the gentleman’s beverage, offering effective relief for the stresses of everyday life - but the rise of the instant coffee phenomenon has thrown tea’s popularity into question. So how’s the war looking - and which tribe do you belong to?  

Global Trends

In 2013, tea sales plummeted by 6%, with global coffee brands like Nescafe continuing to rise in popularity - particularly on the home coffee solutions front. As it stands, Britain still consumes three times as much tea as coffee, with its national drink still very much a staple of UK society. However, the increasing coffee craving evident across the country throws the future of the tea leaf into question. Admittedly UK favourite Yorkshire Tea has seen a sizeable 6.8% sales increase over the same period, showing a steady and growing loyalty to this much loved beverage. Across the globe, coffee dominates - with more countries favouring the coffee bean, particularly in continental Europe and the Americas. The tides are certainly changing on the coffee/tea debate, though, as countries owing their names to historical coffee habits (e.g. Java and the Arabian Peninsula) are now making the move towards a nice cup of tea.  

The Culture Clash

While coffee and tea are constantly compared on account of their caffeine content and their position as rival early morning stimulants, the two are far from comparable beverages - especially for British loyalists. The meticulous perfecting of one’s tea-brewing methods can hardly be compared with the instant gratification culture of the global coffee chain movement, for better or worse. What tea offers in history, coffee competes with in efficiency. The employment world plays an undeniable part in the rise of coffee culture - with the ease and quickness of instant coffee posing obvious benefits for full-time employees on the hunt for an immediate caffeine hit, by any means necessary. High streets across the country are now saturated with coffee shops offering customers instant access to their next cuppa - not to mention the immense variety available. Custom coffees give consumers the opportunity to refuel in a way that perfectly suits them, whether that’s with a hint of vanilla or steeped in whipped cream - whereas a good cup of tea is all in the process, with much fewer variables involved. So it’s unsurprising that members of the tea tribe are deciding to convert as the working masses find themselves with less and less time available to brew their very best cuppa. In offices this is particularly evident, with employers providing their staff with office coffee machines to facilitate quick caffeine access and maximise efficiency in the process. As the war between coffee and tea rages on, we’ll see whether the traditional cuppa competes with the growing Starbucks sensibility - or makes way for a new British favourite. If you’re looking to take advantage of instant coffee’s instant benefits, Eden Springs can help. We provide offices throughout the UK with eco-friendly coffee machines and water coolers with the power to boost productivity and keep your employees happy and hydrated all day long.