There are many factors that can affect the caffeine levels in tea – the time of year the leaves were picked, water temperature, steeping time and the type of tea used.
- The first cup of tea you steep with fresh leaves contains the most caffeine. Less caffeine will be extracted during each subsequent infusion.
- About 75 percent of the caffeine in tea is released during a 5-minute steeping. A shorter infusion time will have less caffeine.
- Higher water temperature will cause the leaves to release higher amounts of caffeine than cooler water temperature.
- The uppermost and young leaves (tea buds) in a tea plant contain more caffeine than older leaves and those lower on the stem.
- Growing tea plants in the shade (such as matcha) also increases the amount of caffeine.
- The leaves plucked during the first harvest in the spring have a bit more caffeine than those later in the season.
The more a tea is oxidized, the stronger it will be in taste and aroma. Green and white teas are unoxidized, oolong teas are partially oxidized and black teas are fully oxidized. They are rich in antioxidants, boost the immune system and aid in weight-loss. Herbal teas are not really a “tea” because they are not produced from the camellia sinensis plant. They are rather an “infusion” that are naturally caffeine-free but still a good source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Here’s a caffeine comparison of teas per 8fl oz. cup:
Beverage Caffeine per 8 fl oz cup
Coffee 150-200 mg
Black Tea 60-90 mg
Oolong Tea 50-75 mg
Green Tea 35-70 mg
White Tea 30-55 mg
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