Does tea have caffeine?

by Tina Sendin November 19, 2018 4 min read

Does tea have caffeine?

We’ve talked at length about coffee and how it can  change your everyday life for the better (or worse, if you go overboard). But there’s another amazing drink that hasn’t been given much love here - tea.

Tea is such a healthy, delicious drink that many people swear by it. There are many ways to drink it (high or afternoon) and different types to try (traditional or herbal).

Regardless of how you want your tea, it has the same benefits as coffee, including getting your usual dose of caffeine.

 

Caffeine in tea

You may be wondering - does tea have caffeine?

The quick answer - yes.

The tea plant,Camellia sinensis, naturally has caffeine, so all brewed teas are caffeinated. It’s also the only plantwith L-theanine, which gives that refreshing and relaxing feeling while drinking tea. Mixed with stimulant caffeine, it promotes that mindful sharpness you need for the day.

 

How much caffeine in tea

The amount of caffeine found in tea depends on the type.

If you’re looking for your caffeine fix in tea, then you might as well go for traditional/organic one. But if you’re only going for a tea date (and can do without the kick), then go for herbal tea, which has zero caffeine.

The rule of thumb is, black tea has the highest amount of caffeine, with 14 to 61 mg for every 8-oz cup, while decaf tea has the lowest at 5 mg for every cup of the same size. Go for other colored herbal tea for caffeine levels that’s anything in between.

Here’s a chart for more information: [1]

Caffeine content in tea

 

So why does tea have varying amounts of caffeine? There are different factors that may influence caffeine content in tea, like the following:

Part of the plant

The tea plant naturally has caffeine in its buds, stem, leaves and powder. These parts have varying amounts of caffeine, so how caffeinated you get on drinking tea depends on the part you brew.

Leaves, buds and powder have higher levels of caffeine compared to tea stems, which have very little.

How old the parts are also matters. Younger leaves, for instance, are more highly caffeinated than older ones.

How you brew your tea

Want to get the most bang for the cup? Brew your tea longer and in high temperature water.

For instance, if you brew black tea for 4 minutes, you’ll get 40 to 100 mg of caffeine. But if you brew it a minute less, you’ll only get 20 to 40 mg.

And if you brew for 10 minutes, you’ll get the most amount of caffeine out of a tea, according to the Shanxi University Environmental Science and Engineering Research Center. [2]

Whether you roast it or not

Roasting tea can bring down the amount of caffeine in it. A 2005 study published in the Journal of Food Science shows that roasted green tea and oolong tea have less caffeine than most teas, including decaffeinated ones. [3]

 

Does tea or coffee have more caffeine?

With all the people you see holding their own cup of morning joe on your way to work, it’s easy to think that coffee is the most caffeinated drink there is, right?

But this is NOT always true.

Coffee can be a great - almost routine - caffeine fix. But sometimes, tea is hands-down the better-caffeinated beverage.

There are certain factors, really! And it’s good to know them so you can pick which one’s right for you at the moment.

Before brewing: Tea leaves > coffee beans

Caffeine is found in both tea leaves and coffee beans. However, tea leaves have higher amounts of caffeine than in beans of both robusta and arabica plants.


After brewing: Brewed coffee > steeped tea

Want to know which is more concentrated between brewed coffee and steeped tea? Just look at the color. Which one’s darker?


Yep. Brewed coffee. Easily.


Brewed coffee has higher and more concentrated levels of caffeine because it’s usually brewed at longer times and at higher temperatures. Coffee’s chemical structure also allows it to extract more caffeine out of coffee beans than the strongest of teas.


Caffeine levels: coffee > tea

And it all boils down to caffeine content. Coffee naturally has more caffeine content than tea, approximately twice as much.


The strongest of teas, black tea can go from 14 to 70 mg while coffee can have 95 to 200 mg per cup. For more information on caffeine in coffee, check out this article on how much caffeine is in your favorite brand of coffee.

 

 

Caffeine effects: depends on the buzz you like

Because it has more caffeine than tea, coffee can hit you hard. It can get you all wired up. But tea has just the right amount of caffeine that it can still stimulate you without the unwanted jitters. If you like that first strong kick in the morning, then go for the java. But if you want something more chill that can keep you mindfully alert, then go make yourself a tea.

 

Conclusion

No matter what you prefer - coffee or tea - the most important thing is you enjoy your caffeine fix. As long as you keep your caffeine intake in moderation, you'll get the benefits of either drink.

Here's how much caffeine you should have in a day.

The good news is regardless of your preferred caffeine content, you can easily pop a caffeine mint or twoYou'll get your caffeine jolt of 40 mg a mint in literally just a second.

Yep - no need to make a trip down to your go-to cafe or going through all the brewing in the kitchen!

Tina Sendin
Tina Sendin


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