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which tea has most caffeine

which tea has most caffeine

which tea has most caffeine

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which tea has most caffeine?

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.

which tea has most caffeine
which tea has most caffeine

Factors Affecting Caffeine Levels in Tea

Let’s explore the intricacies of tea to understand why any type of tea, be it black, white, green, etc. can have high levels or low levels of caffeine.

It depends on a number of factors. The type of tea is not one of those factors.

As mentioned, a cup of black tea has a higher caffeine content on average because of the longer infusion time. The higher steeping temperatures also extract more caffeine from the leaves.

But if you use cooler water and a shorter steeping time, the resulting cup of black tea will have far less caffeine than a cup of white tea or most green teas.

That’s because numerous other factors influence caffeine levels in your tea, from where you source the tea to how it is cultivated.

External conditions, like altitude, type of fertilizer, and the environment, can affect the caffeine level just as much as the grade of the leaf.

But remember that a long steeping time will always result in more caffeine. How long you steep the leaves has the largest impact on the amount of caffeine that actually ends up in your cup.

Let’s look at the main factors that affect how much caffeine is in a cup of tea.

Tea Variety

The first thing you need to know about tea varietals is that all tea comes from the same plant, but that plant has two varietals that the tea leaves may come from.

  • camellia sinensis var. sinensis
  • camellia sinensis var. assamica

The first variety comes primarily from China and the second primarily from India.

Now here’s what’s really crazy about this – tea leaves from the camellia sinensis var. assamica variety naturally have more caffeine.

Harvest Times

Harvest time is another consideration. Typically, if farmers harvest the tea in spring, it will have a higher caffeine level than teas harvested later in the year.

Teas that fall into this spring category include silvertip white teas, gold tipped black teas and the higher quality Darjeeling teas.

ince plants have smaller leaves and buds earlier in the year, you’ll find a higher caffeine concentration in the parts taken.

which tea has most caffeine
which tea has most caffeine

How It’s Processed

There is more than one way that tea is processed, and that processing method affects caffeine levels.

For teas that resemble a fine powder, like matcha, the tea leaves have been ground up so that when you drink the tea you are consuming the entire leaf.

And that results in more caffeine in your cup of tea.

For teas where you have whole leaves, the caffeine content is lower due to you not actually consuming the leaves when you drink a loose leaf tea.

Growing practices

Certain growing practices can also influence the caffeine content of tea. In particular, shading tea plants for several weeks before harvest dramatically increases the caffeine content. This is part of the reason why matcha, as well as other shade-grown Japanese teas like Gyokuro and Kabusecha, and especially high in caffeine.

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 that’s been first used, as tea was developed as a common drink.

It’s 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 China’s 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.

You’ll usually find Assam tea leaves in teas grown in India, Sri Lanka (also known as Ceylon), 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.

Steep time

The longer you steep tea, the higher the caffeine content will be. This is part of the reason why black teas, which tend to be infused for a longer period of time than other types of tea, are higher in caffeine. Shorter steep times tend to result in a lower caffeine level, which means that teas that are steeped for only one or two minutes, like green tea and white tea, are often lower in caffeine.

which tea has most caffeine
which tea has most caffeine

High Caffeine Teas Can Help If You’re Trying to Limit or Quit Coffee

The side effects aren’t the only difference when it comes to comparing coffee versus tea.

A typical 8-ounce serving of coffee can have anywhere from 90-200 mg of caffeine. The caffeine content in tea varies and depends on the type of tea you choose. Yerba Mate delivers 85mg of caffeine per cup, just 5 milligrams less than a cup of coffee.

Herbal teas that don’t come from the Camellia sinensis tea plant, such as chamomile and rooibos, are caffeine-free.

But white, black, and green teas each vary in their amount of caffeine per 8-ounce cup.

A white tea, for example, only delivers 13 mg of caffeine per cup as compared to matcha’s 75 mg.

With a wide range of caffeinated teas, you can easily go up or down in your caffeine consumption, depending on what you need.

As you can see with this example, switching from white tea bags to a high-caffeine tea such as matcha gives you almost six times the caffeine per cup!

Just remember that even teas with the highest caffeine per serving (85 mg per cup) contain less caffeine than the lowest caffeinated coffee (90 mg per cup).

So you may start drinking more tea during your transition than you’re used to drinking with coffee, which isn’t a bad habit to pick up. It contains a wide array of health-promoting polyphenols (antioxidants), and you’re more likely to experience benefits if you drink multiple cups per day.

Plus, making the switch from coffee to tea unlocks support for:

  • Aging
  • Brain health
  • Digestive health
  • Heart health

People usually begin their transition from coffee to tea with black teas

since they offer a rich, bold flavor similar to coffee.

What Is Oxidation?

A key influencer in a tea’s caffeine levels is oxidation,

which is a series of chemical reactions that browns the tea leaves and effects the caffeine, flavor,

and aroma of the final drink, according to World of Tea. To achieve oxidation, the tea leaves are rolled to produce cracks so the oxygen reacts with the plant’s enzymes. The less a tea is oxidized, the lighter it will be in caffeine, taste, and aroma. In general, black tea is the most oxidized and has the most caffeine,

while white tea is the least oxidized and has the least caffeine.

How to extract the most caffeine from tea

You’re always going to be limited by how much caffeine is in your tea leaves.

This means that if you’re trying to extract caffeine from a decaf tea, you’ll be able to do so if you extract it for long enough.

Decaf does not mean not coffee at all, but rather very little caffeine.

Longer steep times often extract more caffeine

Back to that great research on steep times, the final conclusion stated that steep time is the only thing that influences how much caffeine you can get in a cup of tea.

This means that brewing your teas for a minute longer, for example, will give you more caffeine. But, many of them might become bitter and overextracted in the process.

So, it’s best to try and cold brew your tea. More on cold brewing tea here.

Cold brewing allows you to extract every little thing out of your tea leaves, without the bitterness.

The aroma will be a bit fainter, yes, but ti sill be wholly different. Green tea won’t be as harsh. Black tea will be sweeter.

And caffeine will be pretty much the same, no matter what kind of tea

you use, provided that it has any caffeine to start with.

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