Study reveals what your morning beverage says about you

Millions of South Africans reach for a cup of tea or coffee each morning. Ever wonder why you favour one beverage in particular? 

According to a study conducted by international market research agency, OnePoll, your morning cuppa says a lot about who you are. Researchers found significant personality differences among the 2 000 Americans they examined based on their morning beverage of choice. 

What will it be – coffee or tea?

Contrary to popular belief, researchers found coffee drinkers to be more introverted and creative than tea drinkers, who describe themselves as extroverts that enjoy social interaction and crave adventure.

Seventy five percent of coffee and tea drinkers have their first cuppa before 08h00 and it’s often on-the-go – taking their morning bevvy with them as they battle the traffic, school drop offs and the like. 

When it comes to entertainment, tea fans enjoy watching “Friends”, “The Big Bang Theory” and “The Walking Dead”, while most coffee afficionados prefer “Seinfeld”, “The Office” and “Grey’s Anatomy”. 

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

Both love pets, but on the whole, coffee drinkers prefer the companionship of a dog, while tea drinkers are more fond of cats. 

When asked about why they prefer coffee or tea, 41% of coffee drinkers said they can’t start their day without coffee as they rely on a decent dose of caffeine to get them going first thing in the morning. They like the buzz coffee gives them, which supports their fast-paced, always on-the-go lifestyle. Thirty seven percent of tea drinkers chose tea for the exact opposite reason – stating too much caffeine as a turnoff. They also tend to appreciate living in the moment and are more reflective by nature.

Adele du Toit, spokesperson for the SA Rooibos Council (SARC) says several studies over the years have yielded similar results, so there must be some truth to it. 

“Other studies concur that coffee drinkers tend to be ‘morning’ people compared to tea drinkers who 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’.  

“Sleep seems to elude coffee drinkers with many describing themselves as light sleepers – either waking up at the slightest noise or blaming it on racing thoughts that keep them up at night, whereas most tea drinkers (57%) say they generally sleep well.”

Du Toit says while most teas contain less caffeine than coffee, herbal tisanes like Rooibos are completely caffeine-free and has been proven to alleviate stress and anxiety, aiding in a good night’s rest.  

“The combination of antioxidants in Rooibos 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 report citing almost half (49%) of coffee drinkers saying they’d rather give up their cellphone for a month than go without coffee. The same can’t be said for tea drinkers as addiction isn’t a problem. 

“Caffeine is a stimulant that keeps you awake, so it’s best to limit these beverages to the morning. With Rooibos, the opposite is true. The more you drink, the better you will sleep.” 

While most teas contain caffeine, it’s not nearly as much as coffee. Homegrown tisane, Rooibos, is completely caffeine-free and up to six cups a day is recommended for optimal health.

Interestingly, 96% of coffee drinkers take their brew straight without any sweetener, milk or cream, yet tea drinkers are 35% more likely to add sugar to their tea. Du Toit says Rooibos is naturally sweet, which reduces the need for sweeteners. 

“Taste really comes down to individual preference. Some may enjoy the delicate floral or herbal flavour profile of teas and tisanes, while others relish the rich, malty flavours of a strong cup of java. 

“If you’re trying to reduce your caffeine intake, Rooibos is a great choice. It has a distinct woody-caramel taste and comes in more than 100 variety of blends to suit every palate. It also possesses powerful anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antiviral properties, which boosts general health and wellbeing.

“The switch from one beverage to another isn’t easy, but it’s important to weigh up the health benefits in the long run. Whichever one you choose, avoid adding too much sugar or sweeteners, which adds unhealthy calories,” she remarks.