There are a few misconceptions about tea and the amount of caffeine it contains. Caffeine originally called “theine” was discovered around 1827 in tea. It was later found that the theine in tea was identical to the theine found in coffee. While the compound caffeine is identical, the experience is different so I’ve put together a guide to caffeine in tea.
A Guide To Caffeine In Tea
See the image below:
Dry Tea Vs. Brewed
Dry tea shows that it has high amounts of caffeine, but when brewed this number may change. Attaining specific amounts of caffeine in tea depends on a few things:
-Leaf location on a plant
All parts of the tea plant contain a bit of caffeine however, the leaves highest on the plant also the youngest, contain the most antioxidants and also the most concentration of caffeine. The lower you go the less caffeine you’ll find.
Different tea grades will also affect the amount of caffeine found. Fannings and dust are considered to be the lowest grade of tea. You find fannings and dust in tea bags and these are still relatively pricey considering.
Steeping Time And Water
Good water and water temperature will affect not only your tea experience, but also the caffeine released in the process. You can find more information on water and temperature here along with a chart.
An example of this is, white tea that is brewed for a short period of time at a lower temperature will ultimately have low amounts of caffeine. However, white tea could have higher amounts of caffeine if brewed longer, at a higher temperature, and with more tea leaves added.
See the steeping time chart here.
Any tea white, green, or black can have high or low amounts of caffeine depending on how it is prepared. So one is not technically stronger than the other.
Another thing to keep in mind with water is that the higher the PH the more caffeine is reduced. Again you can find more information on temperature and water here.
Interestingly enough, green tea that is grown in shade change the way chlorophyll is formed, which results in higher caffeine content. Majority of all tea starts in the sun, then after about three weeks some teas are then covered by a shade to block out the sun.
The reason being is that shade growing helps the plant to produce more chlorophyll, green pigment, and more caffeine. How so? Because chlorophyll is the main way a plant feeds, cutting off the sun makes the plant produce more in order to feed the plant. As a secondary result, more caffeine is generated as a natural defense mechanism to protect the plant.
To better understand this let us compare matcha and a regular green tea. Matcha is a shade grown tea. It's flavorful, and buttery. Sun grown tea is a little more astringent and tends to be a bit more plain unless specifically ordering Gyokuro or Tencha which are shaded and closely related to matcha.
You'll find that black, Oolong, Pu'erh teas are all made with sun grown tea leaves. This is because they need to be oxidized, and shading them would change the flavor too much.
How Caffeine In Tea Works
L-theanine is an amino acid found in green and white tea, this amino has a relaxing effect that counteracts what some may call the jitters found in caffeine, but without reducing the brain function and alertness.
Because of the high levels of antioxidants found in tea it helps the body slow down the absorption of caffeine and you get a slower release of alertness, for a longer period of time, and almost none of the crash.
Head here to see our range of Caffeine FREE teas. These are mostly botanicals and have zero caffeine.
Teas that are relatively higher in caffeine:
SILVER NEEDLE (White)
Teas that are relatively lower in caffeine:
GENMAI CHA (Green)
There are many ways to enjoy tea - and properly so that you can get exactly what you are looking for in that daily cup of joy. If you are sensitive to caffeine try lower temperature and less time brewed. Remember to always use good water, and check the tea charts provided. Drinking coffee might give you that immediate jolt, but the hill down isn’t always the best. Switching it up with tea could be that long haul of energy that one might need.
Check out this post on common mistakes tea drinkers make.