Although most people who seek out caffeine jump straight to coffee for their morning ritual, many forget that tea can also contain a quality amount of caffeine to get your day started. What can be confusing though is that, while coffee always has an acceptable amount of caffeine (sans decaf), tea’s caffeine levels can vary from the leaf you choose to your preferred steep time and method. Today, I’d like to go over a few ways to get the most caffeine out of your tea, along with, which teas to choose if you’re looking to lower your caffeine consumption.
Let’s remember there are two kinds of tea. First, Tea, created from the Camellia sinensis plant is split into three variations: black, green, and oolong tea. The separation comes from how long the is fermented before being used, black the longest, green almost not at all, white tea which skips fermentation, and oolong a mix of several teas. Second, there is Tisanes, which isn’t actually tea. Most people refer to this as herbal tea and it contains no caffeine at all.
Every cup of tea’s caffeine will vary depending on several factors. First, the most important process to determine the amount of caffeine a tea will deliver is through fermentation. The longer the fermentation, the more caffeine the tea will possess. Black tea, then, will have the most caffeine followed by oolong, green, and white. The different variations of each tea will posses different amounts of caffeine, but as a general guideline you can follow this:
Tea Caffeine Guidelines
- % Of Caffeine Vs. A Cup of Coffee
- Black Tea: 20%
- Oolong Tea: 10-15%
- Green Tea: 5%
- White Tea: 1%
- Tisanes (Herbal Tea): 0%
Along with the fermentation time, tea’s caffeine content can also be determined by how long you steep your tea. The longer you let it steep, the more caffeine it will have. Also, when trying to determine the content of two different types of a black tea, know that the smaller the tea leaf, the more caffeine it will have.
Although a cup of tea may not have the drastic effect that comes with your morning coffee, studies show tea contains polyphenols, which is thought to slow the absorption process of caffeine into your body. What this means is the caffeine doesn’t hit you as hard when first consumed and, as well, doesn’t drop off drastically which loses the risk of a crash.
There are pros and cons to having a tea over coffee every so often. The smaller amount of caffeine, while still able to wake you up, can keep your caffeine tolerance low, which prevents withdrawal if you miss your coffee one-day. The slower absorption that tea provides with your caffeine can allow a more natural feel of waking up as keep you from crashing hard. Last, you can determine the amount of caffeine you desire by choosing the type of tea and how long you let it steep. Tomorrow morning, consider having a strong black tea with your breakfast, perhaps it will change the way you think about your morning rituals.
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