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Can You Make Tea Out of Coffee?

Coffee might not be your cup of tea, or vice versa, but those who love both might be in luck. Researchers have just brewed a new tea made from leaves of the coffee plant

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Coffee might not be your cup of tea, or vice versa, but those who love both might be in luck. Researchers have just brewed a new tea made from leaves of the coffee plant. The Daily Mail writes:

The coffee leaf tea, which is said to have an ‘earthy’ taste that is less bitter than tea and not as strong as coffee, boasts high levels of compounds which lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease, experts said.

It also carries far less caffeine than traditional tea or coffee and contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Most, if not all of the claims about the healthiness of this new coffee-tea are unproven. But those who brought the new tea over to England claim they’ve seen its effects in Africa. The Telegraph interviewed Dr. Aaron Davies, a botanist at Kew Gardens in London:

“In 1851 people were touting it as the next tea and there were all these reports at the time about its qualities. I spent some time in Sudan and met a village elder who made it every day – she would hike for a couple of hours to collect the leaves to make tea.

“What was surprising was how many antioxidants are in the coffee leaves. They are much higher than those in green tea and normal black tea.”

But coffee lovers might be disappointed. Apparently, coffee leaf tea doesn’t really taste like coffee. The Telegraph writes:

Master tea taster Alex Probyn, who runs his own tea blending business and also advises Marks and Spencers on tea, tried coffee leaf tea while on a trip to Ethiopia and tested a sample that we obtained by mail order from a health food shop in the United States.

He said: “When I tried it in Ethiopia, it had a very fresh flavour, a bit like cut grass that is similar to what you would expect from a green tea. There is not any hint of coffee in there and most people would struggle to identify it from other leaves.

“The coffee leaves have quite a pungent and greenish character – they are bitter but not unpleasant. The sample that you have has a slightly menthol and eucalyptus taste that makes me think something else has been added to it to soften the bitterness.

Perhaps this drink can serve as some sort of peace offering between coffee and tea drinkers. Or perhaps it will simply a new front in the battle over which caffeinated drink is the best.

More from Smithsonian.com:

The History of Coffee Culture in America
360-Year-Old Advertisement Extolls Coffee’s Virtues

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About Rose Eveleth
Rose Eveleth

Rose Eveleth is a writer for Smart News and a producer/designer/ science writer/ animator based in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Scientific American, Story Collider, TED-Ed and OnEarth.

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