On the occasion of International Tea Day on May 21, let’s uncover one of the most common misconceptions about tea: that it’s caffeine free. If you weren’t aware that tea contains caffeine, then this blog is just what the barista recommends.
Secret Ingredient in All Teas
It’s not like we need a special day to talk about our love for tea and all things chai related. As tea connoisseurs, our day, our partnerships, conversations, and mission all revolve around tea and numerous benefits. But on the occasion of International Tea Day, which is celebrated around the world on May 21, we thought our readers would appreciate a blog that goes beyond the health benefits of teas. If you are new to the tea scene or are a hardcore coffee lover who's curious about tea, then today's myth-busting tea blog might come as a surprise. Not many people know this but all teas contain caffeine! However, the good news is that caffeine is not the villain it’s made out to be.
Tea Contains Caffeine & Other Magic Compounds
If you’re a tea lover, you may already be aware that all teas - black tea, green tea, oolong tea, white tea - are made using the leaves of the Camellia sinensis, an evergreen shrub native to China and East Asia that is also cultivated across tea estates of India. The tea leaves contain hundreds of compounds, including polyphenol, amino acids, vitamins, flavonoids, polysaccharides, fluorine, and yes, you guessed it, caffeine! Each of these compounds have been studied for their health and wellness benefits. Which is why we have teas that help with sleep and stress, teas that aid digestion, teas that are best consumed during summer months, and teas that are loaded with immunity strengthening properties. The caffeine content in most teas is about 11mg per 100 gms.
Tea Preparation Determines Caffeine
For the tea leaves to reach you in their packaged form, they have to go through several processes of plucking, oxidation, drying, and storage, and it varies for each tea. This process is what sets apart the flavours and brewing tips of a black tea (more caffeine) from a green tea (less caffeine). Caffeine levels in each tea are influenced by various things: cultivation conditions such as soil type and temperature, the inherent properties of the tea leaves, as well as the processing techniques.
In fact, studies show that the caffeine levels in tea leaves change from plantation to plantation and even from tea to tea! Which explains why some black teas actually have less caffeine than some green teas, and why matcha teas - which are made from ground tea powder - have the highest levels of caffeine amongst all teas!
Verdict on Tea and Caffeine Benefits
Caffeine has many benefits, it's not the villain by itself! Caffeine has proven benefits and helps improve memory, substantially decreases fatigue, and enables better mental functioning. However, too much caffeine every day can lead to side-effects such as anxiety, insomnia, rapid heart rate, and digestive issues. One can expect to get around 95 mg of caffeine from a cup of coffee, but this amount usually varies between different coffee brands. Up to 400 milligrams of caffeine a day is considered safe for most adults. However, there are coffee brews that contain more than 500 mg of caffeine per cup! In other words, coffee is an excitant and caffeine reaches the brain in less than 5 minutes, with aftereffects lasting for 2 to 5 hours. Tea, on the other hand, is a stimulant and caffeine in it is released gradually over 10 hours, turning this into a potent brew.
3 Reasons Why We Recommend Tea
Now that it’s clear that both tea and coffee contain varying levels of caffeine in their DNA, let’s look at why tea is still the beverage with the most amount of health and wellness benefits:
As we explained above, caffeine in coffee hits the brain faster compared to tea. That’s why tea keeps us energized longer and is easy on our bodies. You can drink multiple cups of tea a day without side-effects.
Tea is a better option to keep yourself hydrated, than compared to coffee. Coffee is a mild diuretic, which means that it causes your kidneys to flush extra sodium and water from the body through urine. While this does not mean that coffee leads to dehydration, it does mean that tea comes out as a better hydrating brew, especially during hot summer months when we need to replenish our fluids.
- Tea is loaded with magic compounds called antioxidants that help reduce inflammation, boost metabolism, increase blood circulation, aid digestion, reduce stress, and enhance mood. What’s not to love about tea!