Myth #: Green Tea Is ‘better’ For You Than Other Teas
We don’t talk much about food and health on Serious Eats, and I don’t plan to start now, but considering how many people start drinking tea for its purported health benefits, it’s worth looking at green tea in some detail.
The most common claims in favor of drinking green tea are its low caffeine content and high antioxidant value. We’ve already dealt with the first claimsome green teas have just as much caffeine as other varieties. As for antioxidants, well, yes, thanks to its low oxidation, green tea possesses more antioxidants than black and oolongs. What those antioxidants do when you’re drinking tea is far less clear, and there’s far less scientific consensus on the practical benefits of regularly drinking green tea.
As the Western world learns more about tea’s hidden complexities, these myths should die out on their own. But for now, it’s good to remember: no set of rules is a substitute for open minds willing to play with their food. Or their tea.
A Brief History Of Tea
Shennong was preparing to sip from his bowl of freshly boiled water, but as it was cooling, a gust of wind blew leaves from a nearby tree into it.
The Yunnan Province in southwestern China is said to be the birthplace of tea. The oldest cultivated tea tree in the world, estimated to be around 3,200 years old, can be found there in the city of Lincang.
There are many legends surrounding the discovery of tea in China, but one of the most popular attributes it to the legendary Emperor Shennong, who lived about 4,500 years ago. As the story goes, at the time there was a decree that all water must be boiled before drinking. Shennong was preparing to sip from his bowl of freshly boiled water, but as it was cooling, a gust of wind blew leaves from a nearby tree into it. The leaves changed the color of the water and imparted it with a light and pleasant flavor. The Emperor immediately felt its restorative power, and shared his discovery with his subjects.
While the Emperor’s story is compelling, it’s probably a myth. Historians believe tea drinking comes from ancient, pre-Dynastic traditions in southwestern China. Whatever its roots are, there’s no denying tea’s importance in Chinese culture and its global impact.
Some Notes About Tea And Caffeine
Contrary to popular belief, tea is actually more caffeinated than coffee, at least by weight. However, it takes far fewer grams of tea leaves than it does of ground coffee to produce a single cup, so a mug of coffee does tend to contain more caffeine than the same amount of brewed tea.
There are a host of other factors that can effect your tea buzz.
While a cup of coffee usually contains around 100 mg of caffeine, only the blackest of teas extracted in the perfect conditions can come close to that mark. A cup of unadulterated black tea usually hovers in the 60 to 90 mg range. Green tea comes in second, with between 35 and 70 mg, while white tea typically has a bit less than that amount.
The body absorbs tea’s caffeine more slowly than that of coffee, which means you might get more bang for your buck from the steeped stuff despite its lower content. The slow release also helps you avoid the jitters and crash often associated with coffee consumption. In addition, tea naturally contains an amino acid called L-theanine, which promotes calmness and relaxation and tends to produce a mindful alertness when combined with caffeine, as opposed to a wired feeling.
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Davids Tea Jumpy Monkey
This tea gets its name because of the fact that it will energize you, but also because its composed of myriad exotic ingredients. This tea actually gets a much needed boast with roasted peaberry coffee beans, Argentine mate, and various herbs, roots and barks. The main ingredients are yerba mate, green yerba mate and white chocolate. The best part? This tea has so few calories that you can drink it every morning, guilt free. Link
What You Need To Know About Caffeine
Around 80% of people in the world reported that they drink caffeine in some kind of beverage daily. Caffeine itself is found in over sixty plant species. It is recommended that a safe intake of caffeine should be no more than 400mg each day, and only 200mg of caffeine for each dose.
Another way to think about safe caffeine intake is to only consume 1.5mg daily for each pound of body weight. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, you should be consuming a maximum of 300mg of caffeine each day. Caffeine is meant to give you an energy burst, and this will come usually 20 to 60 minutes after consumption.
Overall, if you are looking for drinks with lower caffeine levels, you can drink both coffee or tea. Regular coffee has the least amount of caffeine, and white, herbal, and decaf teas have the least caffeine amounts.
If you are trying to find drinks with high caffeine levels, you should look for espresso or cold-brew coffee, and green or black tea. Coffee is usually considered a stronger beverage than tea, so after brewing it usually contains more caffeine than tea does. To put it into perspective, coffee usually has twice the amount of caffeine that matcha tea has.
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Why Drink High Caffeine Tea Over Coffee
There are several reasons you may want to drink tea instead of a cup of coffee. Firstly, tea is unlikely to give you the jitters. Tea generally contains less caffeine than coffee, which makes it more difficult to overdose on caffeine. Next, tea doesnt need to be bitter, especially if you brew it correctly. There are thousands of different flavors to enjoy, and you are likely to find the one you enjoy the most. Tea may offer other health benefits too, such as antioxidant activity, promoting weight loss, anti inflammatory activity and others.
Silver Needle China White Tea
This high caffeine tea is one of the most potent on the list. Although most varieties of white tea dont have that much caffeine, this specific type has around 75 milligrams of caffeine per cup. This tea is created through much younger tea buds, avoiding all the stems and creating a much more powerful tea. White Peony tea is another white tea with moderate caffeine levels.
Our recommendation: Twinings of London Jasmine Tea for a full-bodied and tasty choice.
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How Much Caffeine In A Cup Of Coffee
However, cold-brew coffee uses 1.5 times more grounds, so it could be more caffeinated than other coffees. An average 8-ounce cup of coffee has 95mg of caffeine. Depending on the roast and how much coffee grounds you used, it can certainly be a lot higher amounts of caffeine in a cup.
If you use espresso, which is a more concentrated source of caffeine, the caffeine amount will be greater, since each espresso shot contains 100 to 150mg of caffeine. If you make coffee with k-cups, your coffee will contain anywhere from 75 to 150mg of caffeine.
Using instant coffee will give you a cup with 65 to 100mg of caffeine. Basically coffee has anywhere from 95 to 200mg of caffeine in each cup.
Which Type Of Black Tea Has The Most Caffeine
Tea is a unique source of caffeine because it contains other compounds such as L-theanine, which is an amino acid that offers you a calming effect. As such, tea drinkers will enjoy the effects of caffeine for a more extended period than coffee drinkers.
A six-ounce cup of black tea contains approximately about 50 milligrams of caffeine.
As a rule, the tea with the most caffeine is the one that has gone through steeping for the most prolonged period and at high temperatures.
Additionally, the size of the leaf will also affect the amount of caffeine to be extracted. For instance, a tea bag with cut leaves will release more caffeine when steeped than full leaf tea because the cut leaves will take longer to steep.
Typically, black tea has the most type of caffeine because it takes longer to steep and at high temperatures. White tea has the highest amount of caffeine in terms of content in the leaves, but it takes the least time to steep.
Apart from the steeping time, the amount of caffeine in tea will also depend on the type of plant and where it is grown.
For instance, Camellia Sinensis is the natural plant used for tea, and it is mostly available in Asia.On the other hand, Camellia Assamica, which was initially grown in India but has now spread all over the world. Assam teas come from the Camellia Assamica plant.
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How Does Tea Grade Affect Caffeine Levels
Tea grades are categories that are assigned to tea depending on the condition of its leaves. There are whole leaf grades, broken leaf grades, fannings grades and dust grades. As a general rule, broken leaves typically dispense more caffeine into your drink than whole leaves. Teabags hold very broken grades, so they tend to give your tea greater caffeine levels than if you use loose tea leaves. However, using tea bags prevents the tea from reaching their full flavor and aroma potential, so the taste is more subdued than if you were using loose leaves.
Assamica Vs Sinensis Leaves
Another difference between tea types in terms of caffeine is the exact tea plant used.
The most common tea plant used is the Camellia sinensis plant. This is the Chinese version, and is the one thats been first used, as tea was developed as a common drink.
Its also what the British brought back from China, and what we all know as tea.
Camellia Assamica is a close cousin of this plant, and it was given its name by the region in India where it grows. It gained popularity after the British offered real estate to anyone who wanted to grow tea, in India, to destabilize Chinas monopoly on tea.
As such, the two plants became fairly balanced in terms of how well known and used they were.
Assam teas have more caffeine than Sinensis versions, though exactly how much more is not clear.
Youll usually find Assam tea leaves in teas grown in India, Sri Lanka , and some parts of Africa.
Many breakfast teas a blend of black teas also use Assam in their blend. Some are entirely Assamica teas, and this gives them a stronger, bolder, nuttier flavor than Sinensis black teas.
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Myth #: Boiling Water ‘burns’ Delicate Teas
Conventional Western tea-brewing wisdom says black teas must be brewed with near-boiling water while delicate, prissy green and white teas need, nay, demand cooler water, usually around 160 to 175°F, lest you irreparably ruin their subtle flavors and transform their antioxidants into deadly neurotoxins.
In broad strokes, this isn’t wrong. Black teas and darker oolongs do benefit from very hot water to extract the full range of their flavors with just the right dose of tannins, while many green teas will taste sweeter and less bitter with cooler water. But not every green or white tea is made the same wayas a category, green tea is as vast as white wineand some greens and whites do just as well in fully boiled water as black teas.
Here’s a good rule of thumb: the hotter you brew, the darker and more robust your tea will be; the cooler your water, the sweeter and more mild it’ll taste. You can brew any tea with this in mind, see what tastes best to your palate, and adjust your brew parameters accordingly. A white tea or lightly oxidized oolong, for instance, will make two different brews at 175° and 205°. If it’s a good tea, both brews should good; which you prefer is up to you. For what it’s worth, I tend to start brewing a new tea with boiling water and dial it down from there if I need to. The same holds true if I’m brewing an herbal tea.
When The Tea Was Harvested
Another important thing to remember is that tea plants can be harvested several times throughout the year.
Generally, the beginning of the year is for white tea and very young tea leaves. As the year progresses, the leaves get older and youll get leaves which are better for black tea.
So for example Darjeeling teas.
These have two versions, first flush and second flush.
The Darjeeling first flush is a more delicate tea, and is the first round of tea buds that open up and sprout their leaves.
Second flush happens a few months later, and there is a definite difference in taste.
- First flush is February April
- Second flush is April-June
- Monsoon flush is June- October
- Autumnal flush is October-November
The first flush is the most tender and delicate, and will also have the most caffeine. All tea plants have 4 flushes, but very few are picked other than first flush.
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Side Effects Of Caffeine
Caffeine consumption can cause mild to moderate side effects for certain healthy adults. Some common side effects of caffeinated drinks include diarrhea, headaches, and upset stomach. To limit these potential side effects, it’s best to keep caffeine consumption to a minimum. The good news is that most types of green tea have low caffeine levels that won’t trigger these side effects for the majority of consumers. While you won’t be getting as much caffeine as you would in a cup of coffee, you’ll still get the energy-boosting benefits thanks to other ingredients like l-theanine, all without the negative side effects. If you do suffer from caffeine sensitivity, but still want to enjoy these teas, look for decaf options such as decaf green tea or decaf white tea.
Tea With The Most Caffeine: Final Thoughts
While you might be surprised that black tea leaves generally contain the least caffeine out of all the tea types, you are probably not surprised that a brewed cup of black tea usually ends up stronger.
In the end, it is the steeping time that has the biggest impact. Use that knowledge to your advantage to increase or decrease the amount of caffeine in your cup to your preference.
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Which Tea Has The Most Caffeine Know Your Safe Dose
Which;tea has the most caffeine?;If you are a tea lover;then you should know how much of this invigorating substance is in your drink.
Yes, some teas contain caffeine that can also be found in coffee, guarana products, chocolate, cocoa, energy drinks, and other beverages.
Some products have it for relieving pain and lowering fever which are available without a prescription.
It is important to know what kind of tea has the most caffeine because you can overdose with it.
I will mention the tea that has this invigorating substance so you will be more careful with consumption.
Guide To Caffeine Content In Tea
Black tea typically has the most caffeine of all the tea types. One of the reasons for this is a longer infusion time versus green along with higher steeping temperatures, typically boiling. Because black tea is oxidized, it allows more caffeine to be extracted from the leaf versus other types of tea.
There are other influences that can alter the caffeine content in tea, including which part of the plant the leaf comes from, altitude and local conditions, leaf grade, type of tea, fertilizer used, and much more.
As a general rule, the Assamica tea variety is higher in caffeine than other varieties. These are teas grown in India, Africa and Sri Lanka. Assam is a classic example of this tea variety.
The Chinese “camelia” variety of tea leaves tend to be lower in caffeine. Lapsang Souchong is made from lower, older tea leaves, and thus it is among the lowest in terms of caffeine content. Older bushes, typically found in certain areas of China also result in lower caffeine levels. Some shade grown green teas like Gyokuro tend to have higher caffeine levels than their non-shaded cousins.
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Benefits Of Caffeine In Black Tea
If you drink black tea you will consume caffeine. It will stimulate the activity of the central nervous system, improve mood, increase energy levels and improve muscle stimulation.
It will clear the mind and increase alertness to some extent, increase mental abilities and ability to concentrate.
Those effects vary from one individual to another and depend mostly on body weight, frequency of use, metabolic rate, physical activity and sensitivity to caffeine.
How To Enjoy Tea While Sensitive To The Effects Of Caffeine
Tea lovers who experience caffeine sensitivity can still enjoy their favorite teas from Teatulia. Consider brewing fewer tea leaves and using slightly cooler water, which will extract less caffeine from the tea. You can also choose green and white teas, since they naturally have lower caffeine contents than black tea and have shorter steeping times.
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Why Should You Drink Tea For Energy
It’s easy to see that most teas have less caffeine than a cup of coffee. So why do so many people recommend replacing coffee with tea when you want to boost energy levels? Tea offers a smoother, more steady energy boost than coffee does. That means you can stay alert and focused without experiencing the downside of a crash afterwards.
In coffee, caffeine is released immediately, resulting in that perky feeling you experience almost immediately after consuming. In contrast, the caffeine in tea is released more slowly due to its chemical composition. Tea contains chemical compounds known as tannins, astringent polyphenols that give tea its sharp, fresh aftertaste. These tannins bind to amino acids and caffeine, delivering a more even energy boost. The slow release of caffeine results in a longer-lasting energy boost that doesn’t come with the spikes and dips associated with coffee.
In addition to a moderate amount of caffeine, tea also contains a non-dietary amino acid known as l-theanine, which helps boost mental acuity. L-theanine is found only in tea and certain fungi. This rare amino acid works to reduce stress and improve mood by triggering chemical responses in the nervous system that result in a calming effect. L-theanine is powerful in that it induces relaxation without any sedative effects. This helps to take the edge off caffeine, which can make people feel jittery.