If you're a diehard caffeine loyalist, you likely are reaching for your daily dose of coffee. And while your triple espresso is certainly packing in an energy boost, it also may be contributing to anxiety, jitters, or an afternoon slump.
If you're looking to better manage your caffeine dose, or to avoid caffeine entirely, you may find that tea is your best beverage option. And luckily, there are tons of different kinds of tea to keep your routine -- and caffeine intake -- varied.
In this blog, we break down the caffeine content in different types of tea, so you can find the best tea for you.
What Factors Influence the Caffeine in Tea
The caffeine content of tea depends on several different factors:
- Tea varietal: Tea plants are categorized into two main categories: Camellia Sinensis (also known as "true tea") and herbal tea. Black, oolong, green and white teas come from the same plant – Camellia Sinensis. Teas that come from this plant generally contain caffeine.
Herbal teas come from different herbs or plants that have been dried out for use in hot water. The caffeine content of herbal teas depends on the plants that go into them, but they usually have very little or none at all.
- Harvest time: There are two main harvesting seasons for tea – spring and autumn. Spring harvests tend to have more caffeine because the new growth of leaves is higher in antioxidants. Autumn harvests have lower levels of caffeine but a higher level of sweetness. This is due to a change in the tea's metabolism during autumn, making tea leaves more likely to produce sugar rather than caffeine.
- Growing practices: How a tea plant is grown also affects its caffeine content. For example, if the leaves are shaded from the sun before harvest, it will decrease the level of caffeine in the tea. Tea leaves produce more caffeine when exposed to sunlight.
- Processing methods: Caffeine is lost during the withering, oxidization, firing/drying process. The caffeine content will vary depending on how long the leaves are left to sit after harvesting and how long they're exposed to air before drying. Caffeine is also lost during the rolling/shaping process from applying pressure to the leaves, which may cause them to break open and release their juices (containing caffeine).
- Water temperature: Caffeine will leach out of tea leaves at a higher rate when steeped in hotter water. Green tea is usually brewed with cooler water than black tea. Water temperature also influences how much tea you use as well. If the water is hotter, you'll need more tea leaves to compensate for its higher rate of leaching out caffeine.
- Steep time: Caffeine is more soluble in hot water and will leach out of the leaves over a longer period. The longer you steep, the more caffeine you extract from the tea. This is why tea bags are often steeped for a shorter time than loose leaf tea.
- Amount of tea leaves: Caffeine content increases as the number of dried tea leaves increases. For example, brewing with one teaspoon of tea leaves will have less caffeine than two teaspoons of tea leaves. Tea leaves have a certain amount of caffeine in each leaf, and if you add more tea leaves, there will be more tea to steep which means more tea leaves leaching out their caffeine into your water.
Tea Types and Caffeine Levels
There are many different types of tea, but the major tea varieties come from the same plant – Camellia Sinensis. The difference in caffeine content between tea types comes down to how the leaves are processed and brewed.
Here is a breakdown of the caffeine content in different tea types:
Black Tea and Caffeine
All black teas come from the Camellia Sinensis plant. Their caffeine content ranges from 47 mg to as much as 90 mg (which is very close to a cup of coffee, which typically sits around 95 mg per cup). The longer the tea is brewed, the more caffeine it will extract. Some popular black teas include English Breakfast, Irish Breakfast, Darjeeling, and Assam.
Try Mosi's Morning Black Tea, which has the highest caffeine content of all of Mosi's delicious, garden-picked loose leaf teas.
Pu-erh Tea and Caffeine
Pu-erh tea is a fermented variety of Chinese tea. It comes in two different varieties: raw (sheng) or ripe (shou). Pu-erh tea can be steeped for much longer than other teas, which may result in more caffeine being extracted into your cup.
The exact amount of caffeine in Pu-erh tea depends on the tea's processing method, but caffeine levels in Pu-erh tea can range from 30–100 mg per cup.
Oolong Tea and Caffeine
Oolong tea is a partially oxidized tea from the Camellia Sinensis plant. The exact amount of oolong tea's caffeine content will depend on the tea's growing location and processing method, but it usually contains less caffeine than black tea.
A cup of brewed oolong tea contains trace amounts of calcium, magnesium, and potassium. It also has about 38 mg of caffeine. Try Mosi's Everest Oolong to enjoy a woody yet sweet flavor, a medium caffeine content, and a dose of l-theanine to power your focus.
Green Tea and Caffeine
All green teas come from the Camellia Sinensis plant and contain about 20–45 mg of caffeine per cup. While green tea contains less caffeine that black tea, it also contains l-theanine, which is a compound that helps you focus. Pairing l-theanine with caffeine results in a jitter-free energizing experience.
Powdered green teas like matcha, which is a concentrated form of green tea, have higher caffeine and l-theanine content than both bagged and loose leaf green tea. Try Mosi's Vanilla Matcha for the perfect dose of morning caffeine and l-theanine.
White Tea and Caffeine
All white teas come from the Camellia Sinensis plant and contain about 6–60 mg of caffeine per cup. White tea is brewed has a shorter infusion time than black tea, so it contains less caffeine.
Herbal Tea and Caffeine
Most herbal teas do not come from the Camellia Sinensis plant and therefore are usually caffeine free. However, there are a few exceptions, such as guarana and yerba mate, containing caffeine.
Mate Tea and Caffeine
Mate tea is not technically considered a tea, because it comes from the Ilex Paraguariensis plant instead of Camellia Sinensis. Mate tea contains about 85 mg of caffeine per cup, making it one of the most caffeinated teas available.
Rooibos Tea and Caffeine
All rooibos tea comes from the Aspalathus Linearis plant and is entirely caffeine free. This is a great option if you prefer the taste of a black or green tea to the floral or fruity taste of an herbal tea, but are looking for a caffeine free option.
How Tea Affects Your Health
Tea is a great way to improve your overall health. It has been shown to help with weight loss, lower blood pressure, digestion, and even preventing cancer. Tea also contains antioxidants that can protect your body from harmful toxins.
Tea is a great way to improve your overall health and protect your body from harmful toxins. It's a great beverage choice for those looking for a healthy lifestyle change.
Caffeine in Tea vs. Coffee
Tea and coffee are both beverages containing caffeine, a stimulant that can increase alertness and energy levels. Tea contains less caffeine than coffee on average, but coffee drinkers can still get energy from tea. Tea also offers a great variety of caffeine levels that you can integrate into your routine at different points in the day. Tea is a great option for those looking for a healthy caffeine alternative.
As tea contains less caffeine than coffee, and also contains l-theanine, tea drinkers do not experience the same jitters or anxiety that some people get from drinking too much coffee.
Caffeine is a natural stimulant that can have all sorts of effects on the human body. It increases heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rates, and can help improve mental focus or energy levels. If you're looking for a natural source of caffeine, tea may be your perfect solution for a quick energy boost.
So, when should you drink different kinds of tea? Many enjoy a black tea or matcha to start the morning because both have a high caffeine concentration. The l-theanine in matcha is also a great way to improve your focus throughout the day.
Herbal teas are perfect for the evening because they are caffeine free and often have contain calming herbs to which can help you wind down after a long day. If you're looking for something in between, green tea is a good choice because it has less caffeine than black tea, but more than herbal varieties and rooibos.Whether you're a caffeine fiend or highly sensitive to the stimulant, there is a tea variety for you to enjoy. Check out Mosi's range of high quality, garden-picked loose leaf teas to find your next go-to favorite.