Caffeine in tea is found in over 60 different plant species and is loved worldwide. But did you also know that not all teas and coffees are equal regarding caffeine content?
While black tea, espresso, and coffee pack the biggest punch, green tea still has a decent amount. White teas can vary significantly in caffeine content, and herbal teas usually have none.
So, “how much caffeine is okay? While it’s generally considered safe, over-tea consumption can still be problematic.
In this article, we’ll compare the caffeine contents of different teas and coffees and help you decide which drink might be best for you
What is caffeine in tea?
Hey! Did you know caffeine is a natural stimulant in certain plant foods like tea, coffee, cola nuts, cacao, and guarana (sometimes found in energy drinks and bars)?
Caffeine speeds up messages through the central nervous system to the brain, which helps us feel more alert and awake (at least for a little while!).
But here’s the thing: caffeine affects everyone differently! Some folks can chug several cups of tea or coffee without issues, while others are super sensitive and can’t handle caffeine.
Speaking of tea, drinking is acceptable as part of a balanced diet. Avoid drinking it in the afternoon to avoid any sleep disruptions
And attention parents and parents-to-be: caffeine is a no-no for young children and pregnant women! If you want to keep everyone healthy and happy, avoid it altogether or limit your intake to 200mg daily.
Does tea have caffeine?
Yes, tea contains caffeine, although the amount can vary depending on the type and preparation method. A cup of tea can have between 15-70 mg of caffeine, with black tea having the highest levels ( about 20mg caffeine/100mg). However, tea’s caffeine content is generally lower than coffee’s.
How much caffeine in tea?
Tea can have varying amounts of caffeine depending on the type of tea and how it’s brewed. On average, an 8-ounce cup of tea contains between 15 to 70 milligrams of caffeine.
|Teas||Size in oz. (mL)||Caffeine (mg)|
|Brewed black||8 (237)||47|
|Brewed black, decaf||8 (237)||2|
|Brewed green||8 (237)||28|
|Ready-to-drink, bottled||8 (237)||19|
Caffeine can also be measured in milligrams per gram of dry tea. Generally, 1 tsp dry tea (2.5g) makes 1 cup, but this may vary by tea type.
A study revealed that tea’s caffeine can vary from 3 to 30 milligrams per gram of tea leaves, depending on the steeping time. It means a cup of tea can contain anywhere from 7.5 milligrams to 75 milligrams of caffeine.
Compared to coffee, milk tea usually has less caffeine. A typical cup of coffee contains between 80 to 135 milligrams of caffeine per brewed cup. However, serving sizes can vary greatly, and drinks like espresso can have even higher levels of caffeine. In the U.S., a standard small serving of coffee is 12 ounces.
A recent study in Australia found that some espresso samples contained over 120 milligrams of caffeine per serving, while others had as much as 214 milligrams.
Interestingly, the dry weight of tea contains more caffeine than coffee. The reason is that a smaller quantity of tea is used per cup than coffee, which typically requires an ounce or 30 grams.
The amount of caffeine in your tea can vary depending on how it is harvested and processed! Here’s why: Although black, green, and white teas are derived from the same plant, their caffeine levels can vary due to the harvest timing.
On top of that, black tea undergoes a process called oxidation, which increases the amount of caffeine extracted when you steep it for drinking tea in the morning.
How much caffeine is in a cup of tea? From Steeping to Sipping
Generally, a cup of tea contains between 30 and 50mg of caffeine, but this can be influenced by things like the type of tea in the blend, where the tea comes from, and even the weight of the tea bag.
For example, a tea bag with 3.125g of tea will likely have more caffeine than a bag with only 2g. So, if you’re curious about the caffeine content of your tea, it’s worth checking out these details!
Is there more caffeine in a tea bag?
There are a few things that can make a difference. For instance, using broken tea leaves, often found in tea bags, typically results in higher caffeine content than whole leaves.
So, if you’re looking for a low-caffeine option, consider brewing tea with entire leaves instead!
The Art of Brewing: Understanding Caffeine Levels in Tea
Different brewing methods and styles can significantly affect the level of caffeine in your tea.
For instance, using a higher water temperature, longer brewing time, or a more excellent ratio of tea leaves to water can increase the caffeine content in your tea. It’s also worth noting that the type of tea bags you use can also influence the caffeine level of your brew.
The Tea Leaf Chronicles
Finding the Right Amount of Tea
If you want to increase the amount of caffeine in your tea, you can add more tea leaves to your cup. Tea bags usually have a predetermined amount of tea leaves, but if you’re using loose-leaf tea, you can add more to your pot to increase the caffeine levels.
Brewing Perfection: The Science of Tea
The caffeine content in tea increases as the tea leaves steep in hot water for a longer period.
The temperature of the water used to brew tea
When water is hotter to brew tea, caffeine is released from tea leaves more quickly. This means that higher temperatures will result in an increased caffeine content in your tea.
Wired for Success
Caffeine is quickly absorbed by your body, and you’ll typically feel its effects within 5 to 30 minutes.
These effects can include increased heart rate, faster breathing, and a boost in mental alertness and physical energy. Depending on the person, these effects can last up to 12 hours.
Is Caffeine in Tea Harmful for Your Health?
Is tea made with caffeine bad for you? Having too much caffeine can lead to some unpleasant symptoms:
- Such as feeling hot
- Needing to pee more often
- Becoming dehydrated
- And experiencing headaches and dizziness.
- You may also notice your heart racing, feel restless and irritable, and have shaky hands.
- Trouble sleeping is common; you might initially feel energized before crashing hard.
Why is tea caffeinated a concern? Wake Up and Smell the Risks
About 80% of people worldwide consume some form of caffeine every day!
Yup, it’s true! According to USDA and EFSA, limiting your caffeine intake to 400 mg or less per day, 200 mg or less per serving is safest.
But watch out! Although caffeine in loose leaf vs tea bag can provide a quick boost of energy and increase alertness, it’s wise to avoid excessive consumption. Consuming more than 500 mg in one go can lead to unpleasant side effects like anxiety, restlessness, and trouble sleeping.
You might want to read: Loose Leaf Vs Tea Bag Caffeine
And get this – even regular, moderate caffeine intake has been linked to chronic headaches and migraines in some people. Plus, caffeine can be mildly addictive, and some folks may be more prone to developing a dependence. So, enjoy your cup of joe or decaffeinated tea, but remember to do so in moderation!
Caffeine is a well-known compound that can boost energy and is commonly found in various foods and beverages, such as coffee and tea. Limit caffeine intake to avoid potential health issues, despite its numerous benefits (benefit of tea).
Tea-riffic Caffeine: Which Cuppa Will Keep You Alert?
If you’re looking for a high-caffeine option, black and oolong teas are your best bet. On the other hand, decaf and herbal teas have very little to almost no caffeine.
Plenty of the best tea to drink has various health benefits thanks to its natural components. For instance:
- Antioxidants: These are often present in teas (what is in tea), and these powerful substances can help prevent or slow down oxidative damage. Taking these steps could lower the chances of developing serious health problems like cancer or heart disease.
- Phytochemicals: These natural plant compounds have the potential to enhance our immune system and may even contribute to reducing the chances of developing cancer and heart disease.
- Flavonoids: These belong to plant-based polyphenolic compounds with antioxidant properties.
- Flavonols: These compounds, called flavonoids present in tea and possess potent antioxidant properties.
- Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG): Both black and green teas contain a compound called catechin, which acts as a potent antioxidant.
- Theanine: This particular amino acid could potentially aid in alleviating stress.
#1 Mate & Guayusa:
Yeah! Yerba mate and guayusa can provide a caffeine boost similar to coffee. A cup of yerba mate contains around 180mg of caffeine, and guayusa has even more. The secret is the preparation method, which uses a high leaf-to-water ratio. Simply fill a gourd ⅔ of the way up with leaves and add hot water. Then, you can use a bombilla or metal straw to filter out the leaves while enjoying the drink.
However, it’s important to note that these herbal infusions are not technically considered tea. So, Yerba mate and guayusa are not the teas with the highest caffeine content. But, if you’re looking for a non-coffee beverage with a high caffeine content, these herbal options are worth a try.
Matcha is a particular type of green tea that comes in powder form and is mostly made in Japan. Compared to regular tea, matcha has more caffeine for a couple of reasons. By drinking matcha, you’re ingesting the whole tea leaves instead of just a weak infusion like with regular tea. This results in a potent serving of beneficial compounds such as caffeine, l-theanine, and antioxidants.
Additionally, the tea plants used to make matcha are shaded for a few weeks before they’re harvested. This process also contributes to the higher caffeine content found in matcha.
#3 Green tea
In Japan, certain specialty tea plants are shaded for a few weeks before they’re harvested. This shading process is done to increase the caffeine levels in the tea. Gyokuro and matcha plants are shaded for three weeks before harvest, while Kabusecha plants are usually shaded for about two weeks.
These teas have higher caffeine levels than other green tea types. Moreover, Japanese green teas are typically steamed to stop the oxidation process, which further boosts the caffeine content in the tea.
Did you know that an 8-fluid-ounce green tea typically contains about 24 to 39 milligrams of caffeine? But that’s not all! According to the Department of Agriculture, 100 grams of green tea contains no fats, sugars, or fiber. Pretty neat, huh?
Green tea contains:
- 1 calorie
- 1 mg sodium
- 1 mg magnesium
- 8 mg potassium K
- 0.22 g protein
- 0.01 mg zinc
- 0.02 mg iron
#4 White tea
The amount of caffeine found in an 8-fluid-ounce serving of white tea can range from 32 to 37 milligrams.
White tea got its name from the silver buds of the tea plant that are frequently used in blends. However, it’s made from buds and a type of tea that goes through minimal tea processing and is sun-withered. If you’re seeking a caffeine boost, popular white teas made exclusively from buds offer more than your average black or oolong tea.
Drawing from my experience, if you wonder about how to make tea good, it involves picking the leaves and drying them out in the sun to slow the oxidation process. When using mature leaves, the resulting tea will contain lower levels of caffeine. Conversely, if only the white buds are used, the tea will be highly caffeinated.
#5 Black tea
Black tea has the highest amount of caffeine, ranging from 64 to 112 milligrams (mg) per serving of 8 fluid ounces (fl oz).Black tea is devoid of calories, fats, protein, fiber, vitamins, and sugar, yet its flavonoids, flavonols, theanine, and antioxidants offer health benefits.
Studies suggest that consuming black tea may be helpful for various health issues.
- Heart attack: If you’re a fan of black tea, here’s some good news: it may lower your risk of heart attack. And if you’ve been drinking it for at least a year, there’s even better news: you may be less likely to die if you have a heart attack. So keep sipping that black tea!
- Increased mental alertness: Drinking black tea throughout the day, because of its caffeine content, can help increase alertness and improve attention.
- Low blood pressure: If an older adult experiences low blood pressure after eating, drinking caffeinated beverages might help increase their blood pressure.
- Ovarian cancer: If you drink tea regularly, you may be at a lower risk of developing a certain type of cancer than those who rarely or never drink tea. This comes from a reliable source.
#5 Oolong tea
Oolong tea delivers 29 to 53 mg of caffeine in just 8 fluid ounces, without any fats, sugars, protein, or fiber. In terms of 100 grams (g)Trusted Source, oolong tea has the following nutritional profile:
- 1 mg calcium
- 1 calorie
- 0.01 mg zinc
- 1 mg phosphorous
- 12 mg potassium K
- 3 mg sodium
- 1 mg magnesium
- 2 mg theobromine
- 0.06 mg niacin
If you’re looking to shed some pounds, you might want to consider sipping on oolong tea. Animal studies have shown that drinking oolong tea regularly and other types of tea can help with weight loss, thanks to EGCG, an antioxidant. According to research, oolong tea may benefit heart health by lowering cholesterol levels, and reducing the risk of heart disease.
#6 Pu-erh or Heicha
Some may answer “dark tea” or “post-fermented tea” when asked about the tea with the most caffeine. However, this response needs to be corrected. Dark tea can have one of the lowest caffeine content among different types of tea.
This is because dark teas are often produced from older tea leaves and are fermented for extended periods, sometimes for years or even decades after packaging. During the post-fermentation process, the caffeine content in the tea leaves is broken down. Therefore, the longer the aging time, the lower the caffeine content of the tea, and conversely, the shorter the aging time, the higher the caffeine content in Heicha.
#7 Herbal tea: chamomile, ginger, and peppermint
Of course, if you’re looking for a low-caffeine option, nothing beats “caffeine-free”. And for that, you can turn to herbal infusions like chamomile, ginger, and peppermint. Although not derived from the tea plant (camellia sinensis), we have included these beverages as an excellent caffeine-free option.
Thanks to these caffeine-free drinks, savor a warm and flavorful beverage in the evening without the jitters! Most herbal infusions, known as “tisanes,” are naturally caffeine-free, so you can drink as much as you’d like!
Other caffeinated teas: Tea-riffic Alternatives
Although some teas contain higher levels of caffeine than others, all teas made from the camellia sinensis plant will have some caffeine. The teas with the most caffeine are black and pu-erh, followed by oolong, green, white, and purple teas. However, the actual caffeine content can vary widely even among teas in the same category due to various factors.
Since caffeine can affect people differently depending on their body chemistry, it’s difficult to predict how a particular tea will affect someone.
For those concerned about consuming too much caffeine, limiting caffeine intake to one or two cups of tea daily and avoiding drinking caffeinated tea in the afternoon or evening is recommended.
On the other hand, for those seeking to increase their caffeine intake, high-caffeine teas such as rich and earthy pu-erh or meditative matcha may be a great option to power through the day.
How to handle tea while sensitive to caffeine?
If you’re a tea lover who struggles with caffeine sensitivity, don’t worry! You can still indulge in your favorite teas from Teatulia. Just brewing fewer tea leaves and using slightly cooler water. This will help to extract less caffeine from the tea, so you can still enjoy the taste without the jitters.
Another option is green or white teas, which naturally have lower caffeine levels than black tea. Plus, they require shorter steeping times, making it easier to customize your caffeine intake.
Caffeine and l-theanine: Which One Is Better?
Tea from the camellia sinensis plant differs slightly from caffeinated drinks like coffee or energy drinks. It has tea caffeine but also contains a unique compound called l-theanine. Unlike caffeine, l-theanine can help reduce stress and promote calmness and relaxation.
When caffeine and l-theanine are combined, some say it creates a meditative effect that can improve focus and concentration. Although certain types of tea, like Matcha and shade-grown green teas such as Gyokuro and Kabusecha, are exceptionally high in l-theanine, all authentic tea has caffeine and l-theanine.
This duo might cause you to experience the effects of caffeine in a slightly different way. Instead of feeling jittery and nervous, you may feel energized yet calm.
In conclusion, the amount of caffeine in tea varies depending on several factors, such as the type of tea, brewing method, and steeping time. However, the caffeine content in tea is generally lower than coffee’s. If you are trying to reduce your caffeine intake, opt for herbal teas or decaf teas. Tea is a healthy and delicious beverage with numerous benefits regardless of your preference.
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Can you change caffeine content in tea?
If you want to lower the caffeine in your tea, there are a few ways. One option is to give the first brew to a friend and drink the second one instead. Since most caffeine ends in the first brew, the second one might taste better.
Which Japanese tea has the most caffeine?
If you’re a fan of matcha, you might be interested to know that gyokuro is the Japanese green tea with the following highest caffeine content. A serving of Saemidori gyokuro can contain as much as 140mg of caffeine, twice the amount found in a typically shaded sencha.
Does all tea have caffeine?
All teas made from the camellia sinensis plant contain caffeine. This includes popular types like black, green, oolong, white, pu-erh, and even purple tea! But it’s not just tea that can give you a caffeine boost; mate, although not technically a tea, is also known for its high caffeine content.
How much caffeine is in a cup of tea vs coffee?
A small cup of coffee contains about 95-105mg of caffeine! Although some teas pack a bigger caffeine punch than that, most teas have less caffeine than coffee. For instance, a regular cup of green or black tea usually contains around 40mg of caffeine per cup, about ½ to ⅓ of caffeine in a cup of tea.
I’m Shanna, creator of Spiritea Drinks. I’m all about teaching people to grow their own food, tea, cook what they harvest, and eat with the seasons.