Drinking tea can help keep you awake and alert throughout your day. However, some people avoid tea completely due to the caffeine it contains. Some teas have less caffeine content than others. Instead of avoiding tea altogether, opt for one that’s low in caffeine so you don’t have to give it up entirely.
What Tea Has the Lowest Caffeine Content?
Actually knowing how much caffeine is in your tea will help you decide which one is right for you. This is especially good for people who are trying to cut back on their caffeine intake.
If you consider herbal tea as a true kind of tea then it would be deemed as having the lowest caffeine content. Herbal tea grows naturally without containing any caffeine.
Real types of tea such as black, oolong, green, and white tea, only come from the Camellia sinensis plant. This plant naturally contains caffeine. Due to oxidation, the tea that comes from this plant can have more or less caffeine content.
How long you steep your tea and how the plant grows also contributes to the caffeine content of each tea. Read from the list below to find out the caffeine level of each tea.
- Black tea: 40 to 90 milligrams of caffeine per cup
- Oolong tea: 50 to 75 milligrams of caffeine per cup
- Green tea: 12 to 70 milligrams of caffeine per cup
- White tea: 6 to 55 milligrams of caffeine per cup
- Decaffeinated teas: 2 to 20 milligrams of caffeine per cup
Among the teas listed above, white tea stands out as naturally containing the lowest amount of caffeine. It is celebrated for its delicate flavor and minimal caffeine content, making it a popular choice for those seeking a milder tea experience.
However, for individuals looking to further reduce their caffeine intake, decaffeinated tea, often referred to as “decaf,” is an option. Decaf teas have undergone specific processing methods designed to extract the majority of their caffeine content. Although these methods are effective in significantly reducing caffeine levels, there may still be minute traces of caffeine remaining in decaffeinated tea.
It’s essential for those with strict caffeine restrictions to be aware of this residual caffeine, but for many, decaf tea offers a suitable compromise, providing the taste and comfort of tea with considerably less caffeine.
What Methods Affect Caffeine Content in Tea?
There are a few things that increase the amount of caffeine in tea. This includes brewing methods, oxidation, tea grades, and the way the plant is grown.
Oxidation gives the tea leaves a stronger taste and scent. It also increases the caffeine level. Oxidation occurs during the rolling of the tea leaves. Rolling the leaves creates tears through which the plant absorbs oxygen.
Most teas experience oxidation on the market and can provide a stronger flavor to tea leaves. More oxidation produces a higher quantity of caffeine.
Steeping your tea for an extended period can result in a higher caffeine content as well as a bolder flavor. Regardless of the tea type, a lengthier brewing time leads to more caffeine per cup. For instance, brewing white tea at a higher temperature for a longer duration yields a higher caffeine concentration. The water temperature during brewing also influences caffeine extraction, with hotter water enabling greater caffeine infusion into your cup.
Tea grades are determined by the degree of leaf preservation, which is closely tied to their condition. Leaves may be whole, broken, or ground into powder. In brewing, whole leaves retain less caffeine, while broken leaves and powdered tea release more caffeine into the infusion.
Powdered tea is very high in caffeine levels. This is because you are mixing the complete leaf into your tea and drinking the whole cup. You cannot use a strainer with powdered tea therefore, you consume the whole caffeine content that’s contained in the tea leaves.
Tea Plants Grown in the Shade
Tea plants that are grown in the shade have an increased amount of caffeine. Farmers will purposely cover the plant from the sun to shift the chemicals in the plant which causes it to produce higher than usual amounts of caffeine.
What Can I Do to Decrease The Caffeine Content in Tea?
If you want a cup of tea with lower amounts of caffeine, decaffeinated tea is something to think about. Although, a better option would be to blend your tea leaves with herbs of your choice. Blending regular and herbal tea will give you lower caffeine content and more varieties of flavor.
To make a tea blend, just replace half the amount of your regular tea with herbal teas such as mint, peppermint or spearmint. These herbal flavors add a very fresh taste without overpowering the main flavor of your tea. Doing this will cut your caffeine content in half per 8 ounces cup.
Keep in mind that herbal teas are completely free from caffeine. If you’re looking for a tea that has a low amount of caffeine, drink lightly oxidized, regular teas and brew them for a short time. This will decrease the caffeine content and allow you to keep drinking the tea you want.
Scott is the founder of TeaMinded. He enjoys tasting and discovering teas from across the globe, with green teas and ceremonial matcha from Japan being among his favorites. He’s grateful to be immersed in the tea community, always learning and sharing along the journey.