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What Affects The Caffeine Content In Tea

Posted by Path of Cha on

We know that many tea enthusiasts barely pay any attention to caffeine content in teas and just drink what they feel like drinking, when they feel like drinking. However, we also know many who have to control their caffeine intake. And those who purposefully choose teas with a higher caffeine content for energy and motivation. By the way, for those who are interested in getting the most energy out of their tea we recommend checking out Amazing Tea Substitutes For Coffee

We’re sure you’ve read many articles along the lines of “stop drinking coffee and switch to tea because of the lesser caffeine content” or “actually black tea has a higher caffeine content than coffee so switch back to coffee and forget tea”. We won’t tell you what to do, but we will try to break the myths and explain the caffeine content in teas.


What Affects the Caffeine Content in Tea

First off, what greatly affects caffeine content within teas is the fermentation level. Otherwise referred to as oxidation.

A simple way to spot the fermentation of an individual tea is by the color of the brew — the darker the color, the more fermentation. Subsequently, black teas are the most fermented. However, this is not a direct correlation to the caffeine content.


A list of the main tea types, from least to most fermented:


We know that all teas (except herbal) come from the same plant — our beloved Camellia Sinensis. In its pure form, the fresh tea leaves all have a caffeine content of 2-5%.

Aside from fermentation, other qualities which will affect the caffeine content in a particular tea may be:

  • part of the tea plant (buds are known to contain more caffeine)
  • cultivar
  • origin
  • brewing time (of course the longer we brew, the more caffeine will be released into the tea brew; this will also be evident by the astringency of the tea)


Is Drinking Tea With a Higher Caffeine Content Bad For You?

Generally speaking — no. Unless you have a strong sensitivity to tea.
The fermentation process does not only increase the caffeine content. Similarly to other fermented things (sauerkraut, yogurt, kombucha, etc.), it transforms the product and adds good elements. Teas with a higher fermentation level have positive effects on our stomach, blood pressure, and blood sugar, among other benefits.

Although green teas, or teas with a light fermentation, also have plenty of benefits such as high antioxidant content, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, they are harsh on our stomach. People with a weaker stomach may experience this in the form of nausea when drinking green tea and should be careful with the quantities they consume.

Caffeine Content in Tea Versus Coffee

This is the myth breaker. All teas, including the most fermented black teas, have a lower caffeine content than coffee (meaning a properly brewed cup of tea vs. a properly brewed cup of coffee). To see the exact caffeine content of our teas in comparison to coffee you can always check our tea descriptions. Many will range somewhere in between 10-40% caffeine of a cup of coffee.


For more information on the subject check out our article Caffeine: Tea Vs. Coffee, where we break everything down step by step. 



Caffeine Content In Some of Our Popular Teas (ranging from low to high):

Dragon Well Green Tea6.4 % Have you noticed the super vegetal, grassy scent of our Dragon Well? This is one of the main characteristics of low caffeine content.
Huo Shan Huang Ya Yellow Tea6.9% One of our personal favorites. A rare tea with an amazing aroma. This tea also has one of the lowest caffeine contents.
Organic Bai Mu Dan White Tea  — 7.6%
Da Hong Pao Oolong Tea8.1%
Dian Hong Ancient Tree Black Tea9.2%
Fengqing Golden Buds Ripe Pu-erh Tea11.8% Perhaps this is our tea with the highest caffeine content!

Do you pay attention to the caffeine content when you drink tea? Let us know in the comments below! 

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