Chapter 2—Tea and Coffee

The stimulating diet and drink of this day are not conducive to the best state of health. Tea, coffee, and tobacco are all stimulating, and contain poisons. They are not only unnecessary, but harmful, and should be discarded if we would add to knowledge, temperance.—The Review and Herald, February 21, 1888. Te 75.2

Stimulants—Not Foods—Tea and coffee do not nourish the system. The relief obtained from them is sudden, before the stomach has time to digest them. This shows that what the users of these stimulants call strength is only received by exciting the nerves of the stomach, which convey the irritation to the brain, and this in turn is aroused to impart increased action to the heart and short-lived energy to the entire system. All this is false strength that we are the worse for having. They do not give a particle of natural strength.—Testimonies for the Church 2:65. Te 75.3

The health is in no way improved by the use of those things which stimulate for a time, but afterward cause a reaction which leaves the system lower than before. Tea and coffee whip up the flagging energies for the time being; but when their immediate influence has gone, a feeling of depression is the result. These beverages have no nourishment whatever in themselves. The milk and sugar it contains constitute all the nourishment afforded by a cup of tea or coffee.—Counsels on Diet and Foods, 425. Te 75.4

Because these stimulants produce for the time being such agreeable results, many conclude that they really need them and continue their use. But there is always a reaction. The nervous system, having been unduly excited, borrowed power for present use from its future resources of strength.—Testimonies for the Church 3:487. Te 76.1

What Tea Does—Tea ... enters into the circulation and gradually impairs the energy of body and mind. It stimulates, excites, and quickens the motion of the living machinery, forcing it to unnatural action, and thus gives the tea drinker the impression that it is doing him great service, imparting to him strength. This is a mistake. Te 76.2

Tea draws upon the strength of the nerves and leaves them greatly weakened. When its influence is gone and the increased action caused by its use is abated, then what is the result? Languor and debility corresponding to the artificial vivacity the tea imparted. Te 76.3

When the system is already overtaxed and needs rest, the use of tea spurs up nature by stimulation to perform unwonted, unnatural action, and thereby lessens her power to perform and her ability to endure; and her powers give out long before Heaven designed they should. Tea is poisonous to the system. Christians should let it alone.... The second effect of tea drinking is headache, wakefulness, palpitation of the heart, indigestion, trembling of the nerves, with many other evils.—Testimonies for the Church 2:64, 65. Te 76.4

Coffee Still More Harmful—The influence of coffee is in a degree the same as tea, but the effect upon the system is still worse. Its influence is exciting, and just in the degree that it elevates above par it will exhaust and bring prostration below par. Tea and coffee drinkers carry the marks upon their faces.... The glow of health is not seen upon the countenance.—Testimonies for the Church 2:64, 65. Te 76.5

Coffee is a hurtful indulgence. It temporarily excites the mind, ... but the aftereffect is exhaustion, prostration, paralysis of the mental, moral, and physical powers. The mind becomes enervated, and unless through determined effort the habit is overcome, the activity of the brain is permanently lessened.—Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 34. Te 77.1

Effects of All Caffeine Drinks—The action of coffee and many other popular drinks is similar. The first effect is exhilarating. The nerves of the stomach are excited; these convey irritation to the brain, and this in turn is aroused to impart increased action to the heart, and short-lived energy to the entire system. Fatigue is forgotten; the strength seems to be increased. The intellect is aroused, the imagination becomes more vivid.—The Ministry of Healing, 326. Te 77.2

By this continual course of indulgence of appetite the natural vigor of the constitution becomes gradually and imperceptibly impaired. If we would preserve a healthy action of all the powers of the system, nature must not be forced to unnatural action. Nature will stand at her post of duty, and do her work wisely and efficiently, if the false props that have been brought in to take the place of nature are expelled.—The Review and Herald, April 19, 1887. Te 77.3

Cause of Time Lost on Account of Sickness—Many who have accustomed themselves to the use of stimulating drinks, suffer from headache and nervous prostration, and lose much time on account of sickness. They imagine they cannot live without the stimulus, and are ignorant of its effects upon health. What makes it the more dangerous is, that its evil effects are so often attributed to other causes.—Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 35. Te 77.4

Habit-Forming Beverages—Tea and coffee are neither wholesome nor necessary. They are of no use as far as the health of the body is concerned. But practice in the use of these things becomes habit.—Manuscript 86, 1897. Te 78.1

An Unnatural Craving Produced—The continued use of these nerve irritants is followed by headache, wakefulness, palpitation of the heart, indigestion, trembling, and many other evils; for they wear away the life forces. Tired nerves need rest and quiet instead of stimulation and overwork. Nature needs time to recuperate her exhausted energies. When her forces are goaded on by the use of stimulants, more will be accomplished for a time; but as the system becomes debilitated by their constant use, it gradually becomes more difficult to rouse the energies to the desired point. The demand for stimulants becomes more difficult to control, until the will is overborne, and there seems to be no power to deny the unnatural craving. Stronger and still stronger stimulants are called for, until exhausted nature can no longer respond.—The Ministry of Healing, 326, 327. Te 78.2

Preparing the System for Disease—It is these hurtful stimulants that are surely undermining the constitution and preparing the system for acute diseases, by impairing Nature's fine machinery and battering down her fortifications erected against disease and premature decay.—Testimonies for the Church 1:548, 549. Te 78.3

The Whole System Suffers—Through the use of stimulants, the whole system suffers. The nerves are unbalanced, the liver is morbid in its action, the quality and circulation of the blood are affected, and the skin becomes inactive and sallow. The mind, too, is injured. The immediate influence of these stimulants is to excite the brain to undue activity, only to leave it weaker and less capable of exertion. The aftereffect is prostration, not only mental and physical, but moral. As a result we see nervous men and women, of unsound judgment and unbalanced mind. They often manifest a hasty, impatient, accusing spirit, viewing the faults of others as through a magnifying glass, and utterly unable to discern their own defects.—Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 35, 36. Te 78.4

The Tongue Is Loosened—When these tea and coffee users meet together for social entertainment, the effects of their pernicious habit are manifest. All partake freely of the favorite beverages, and as the stimulating influence is felt, their tongues are loosened, and they begin the wicked work of talking against others. Their words are not few or well chosen. The tidbits of gossip are passed around, too often the poison of scandal as well. These thoughtless gossipers forget that they have a witness. An unseen Watcher is writing their words in the books of heaven. All these unkind criticisms, these exaggerated reports, these envious feelings, expressed under the excitement of the cup of tea, Jesus registers as against Himself. “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.”—Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 36. Te 79.1

An Economic Waste—The money expended for tea and coffee is worse than wasted. They do the user only harm, and that continually.—Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 35. Te 79.2

Destructive Narcotics—All should bear a clear testimony against tea and coffee, never using them. They are narcotics, injurious alike to the brain and to the other organs of the body.—Counsels on Diet and Foods, 430. Te 79.3

Destroys Temple of God—The drunkard sells his reason for a cup of poison. Satan takes control of his reason, affections, conscience. Such a man is destroying the temple of God. Tea drinking helps to do this same work. Yet how many there are who place these destroying agencies on their tables, thereby quenching the divine attributes.—Manuscript 130, 1899. Te 79.4

Use Inimical to Spiritual Life—Tea and coffee drinking is a sin, an injurious indulgence, which, like other evils, injures the soul. These darling idols create an excitement, a morbid action of the nervous system.—Counsels on Diet and Foods, 425. Te 80.1

Those who indulge a perverted appetite, do it to the injury of health and intellect. They cannot appreciate the value of spiritual things. Their sensibilities are blunted, and sin does not appear very sinful, and truth is not regarded of greater value than earthly treasure.—Spiritual Gifts 4a:129. Te 80.2

Less Susceptible to Holy Spirit's Influence—To a user of stimulants, everything seems insipid without the darling indulgence. This deadens the natural sensibilities of both body and mind, and renders him less susceptible to the influence of the Holy Spirit. In the absence of the usual stimulant, he has a hungering of body and soul, not for righteousness, not for holiness, not for God's presence, but for his cherished idol. In the indulgence of hurtful lusts, professed Christians are daily enfeebling their powers, making it impossible to glorify God.—The Sanctified Life, 25. Te 80.3

Fosters Desire for Stronger Stimulants—By the use of tea and coffee an appetite is formed for tobacco, and this encourages the appetite for liquors.—Testimonies for the Church 3:563. Te 80.4

Some Have Backslidden—Some have backslidden and tampered with tea and coffee. Those who break the laws of health will become blinded in their minds and break the law of God.—The Review and Herald, October 21, 1884. Te 80.5

God's People Must Overcome—Those who have received instruction regarding the evils of the use of flesh foods, tea and coffee, and rich and unhealthful food preparations, and who are determined to make a covenant with God by sacrifice, will not continue to indulge their appetite for food that they know to be unhealthful. God demands that the appetites be cleansed, and that self-denial be practiced in regard to those things which are not good. This is a work that will have to be done before His people can stand before Him a perfected people.—Testimonies for the Church 9:153, 154. Te 80.6

Determined Perseverance Will Bring Victory—Those who use these slow poisons, like the tobacco user, think they cannot live without them, because they feel so very bad when they do not have these idols. Te 81.1

Why they suffer when they discontinue the use of these stimulants, is because they have been breaking down nature in her work of preserving the entire system in harmony and in health. They will be troubled with dizziness, headache, numbness, nervousness, and irritability. They feel as though they should go all to pieces, and some have not courage to persevere in abstaining from them till abused nature recovers, but again resort to the use of the same hurtful things. They do not give nature time to recover the injury they have done her, but for present relief return to these hurtful indulgences. Nature is continually growing weaker, and less capable of recovering. But if they will be determined in their efforts to persevere and overcome, abused nature will soon again rally, and perform her work wisely and well without these stimulants.—Spiritual Gifts 4a:128, 129. Te 81.2

In some cases it is as difficult to break up this tea and coffee habit as it is for the inebriate to discontinue the use of liquor.—Counsels on Health, 442. Te 81.3

A Pledge Embracing Tea and Coffee—All these nerve irritants are wearing away the life forces; and the restlessness, the impatience, the mental feebleness caused by shattered nerves, become a warring element, ever working against spiritual progress. Shall Christians bring their appetite under the control of reason, or will they continue its indulgence because they feel so “let down” without it, like the drunkard without his stimulant? Shall not those who advocate temperance reform awake in regard to these injurious things also? And shall not the pledge embrace coffee and tea as hurtful stimulants?—Counsels on Health, 442. Te 81.4

Some Need to Take This Step—We hope to carry our brethren and sisters up to a still higher standard to sign the pledge to abstain from Java coffee and the herb that comes from China. We see that there are some who need to take this step in reform.—The Review and Herald, April 19, 1887. Te 82.1

Proper Course at the Tables of Others—a Word to Colporteur Evangelists—If you sit at their table, eat temperately, and only of food that will not confuse the mind. Keep yourself from all intemperance. Be yourself an object lesson, illustrating right principles. If they offer you tea to drink, tell them in simple words its injurious effect on the system.—Manuscript 23, 1890. Te 82.2

Following Jesus in the Path of Reform—Jesus overcame on the point of appetite, and so may we. Let us move on, then, step by step, advancing in reform until all our habits shall be in accordance with the laws of life and health. The Redeemer of the world in the wilderness of temptation fought the battle upon the point of appetite in our behalf. As our surety He overcame, thus making it possible for man to overcome in His name. “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.”—The Review and Herald, April 19, 1887. Te 82.3