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Caffeine Content in Tea

Have you ever wondered how much caffeine is in that cup of tea? Is there really a higher caffeine content in coffee? Let's find out!

caffeine molecule on a backdrop of tea

The Basics of Caffeine in Tea

The amount of caffeine in your tea depends on a couple of factors. First, the type of tea you drink will determine the caffeine content. Black, green, white, oolong, and matcha all have differing amounts of caffeine. Secondly, how the tea is brewed can have an effect on the amount of caffeine in your final beverage. The amount of time the tea is allowed to steep, the temperature of the water, and the amount of tea leaves all affect the amount of caffeine that can be found in the liquor. Additionally, tea bags, with their broken leaves, provide more surface area for extracting caffeine than loose-leaf teas, which results in a higher caffeine content.

Caffeine Content in Various Teas

Let's take a look at how much caffeine is generally found in various teas. These amounts are estimates based on a 6-ounce cup, as we pointed out the reasons for possible variances.

Type of Tea Caffeine Content
 Black Tea 55mg
Green Tea 22mg
Oolong Tea 34mg
White Tea 11mg
Matcha Tea 60mg
Decaf Tea 8mg
Coffee 112mg


What About Decaf Tea?

Even decaffeinated tea has a small amount of caffeine. There is no way to remove all of the caffeine from tea leaves. The only way to enjoy a caffeine-free cup of "tea" is by drinking herbal teas and tisanes. These "teas" are not made from the Camellia Sinensis plant, and therefore do not contain any caffeine. The one exception is yerba mate. This herbal tea naturally contains caffeine.

Caffeine in Tea vs. Coffee

It's generally considered that a cup of coffee has more caffeine than a cup of black tea, but is that actually the case? Well, the answer to that is complicated at best. Basing the answer on the resulting beverages, coffee does have more caffeine than tea. However, the brewing methods of the two mean we are comparing apples to oranges. After all, we use a higher volume of coffee grounds--10 grams per 6 ounces of water--compared to tea leaves--2 grams per 6 ounces of water.

A Gentler Boost

The effects of caffeine from tea may be a little less jarring than those from coffee. Tea contains L-theanine, which is an amino acid. This particular amino acid promotes feelings of relaxation and calmness. It is believed that L-theanine works with caffeine in synergy to provide alertness without the jitters. The antioxidants found in tea are also credited with a slower increase in caffeine absorption as well as a reduction in caffeine crashes.

Depending on how much caffeine you feel you need, you can determine which tea you want to drink. Which tea do you think you'll try next?

Next article Methods of Brewing Tea