A typical Thursday morning for me includes skipping the first exit off 74 coming east from my Indianapolis home and getting off at the second exit. This puts me strategically closer to the Starbucks and the Dunkin on SR-44.

And while we could have a debate about whether or not I prefer Starbucks or Dunkin, I’d rather not pit the two against each other – I typically alternate between them because one tastes better and the other is cheaper.

Whichever I choose also depends on whether I am in the mood for coffee or tea, and we could have that debate too, but the two drinks are so different that I don’t feel like that argument is a good one to have.

But a great argument pertains to the temperature of the beverage. That said, leaf water is better hot, and bean water is better iced. Let me tell you why.

Tea, and all its varieties (or at least the ones I’ve tried) naturally includes ingredients associated with tranquility and calming its consumer down. That’s why it’s marketed as “Sleepy Time Tea” and other snoozy names. This is also why tea is the common (nonalcoholic) beverage to drink before bed.

When I was in college I hardly ever slept so I drank tea all the time to help myself doze off. Now, I drink tea in the newsroom on stressful days when I’m writing a million articles and driving around all over the county and I have like ten obituaries to process. Or if I have nothing else to drink.

If bringing tranquility to your routine is the goal, a hot tea is better than an iced tea because the heat also brings calm: for example, hot baths, hot tubs or heated pads/rice bags are common treatments for muscle soreness. Heat physically relaxes humans.

So combining the heat of the liquid with the relaxing ingredients in the liquid is peak relaxation material.

Which is why I don’t drink hot tea when I’m driving to Shelbyville at seven in the morning. I’d fall asleep driving and probably die.

Iced tea is good in the mornings. Something about the bitter cold flavor – not the actual flavor of the tea but the sharpness that cold on the tongue brings – wakes me up. I mean, I’ve heard of taking cold showers in the morning to wake the body up faster, so this can’t be too different.

The same applies to coffee. Coffee itself is actually so bitter that most people I know don’t drink it unless it’s doused up with sugar or cream, further adding to the idea that we put chemicals in our bodies to make us have energy. So a hot coffee is good to wake up with because it’s just enough energy to wake the body up, but is still hot so it wakes you up more slowly. A hot coffee eases you into the day.

Iced coffee is not like that. Iced coffee is all the adrenaline of drinking something that literally freezes your mouth combined with the energy-restoring power of caffeine. It wakes you up like a slap in the face from your half-asleep significant other, who also happens to be pushing you out of bed in the morning on accident because they need more room to sprawl out.

And because I am not a morning person who likes to have tomorrow’s paper done by noon, iced coffee is where it’s at.

Iced coffee also waters down the bitterness of coffee and I appreciate that too.

So there. I said it. Iced coffee is better.

Hannah Gunnell is a reporter for The Shelbyville News. Her opinions do not necessary reflect those of the paper or her editor, Travis Weik. Hot coffee is better.