If you are like the majority of grownups—your day is not complete without consuming caffeine. Your preferred form of caffeine could be:
- Energy drinks
- Diet pills
- Ice cream
Tea—the black type is the most popular beverage in the world after water. In fact, nearly 160 million Americans drink tea every day. That is 4 out of 5 adults, with 87% millennials consuming tea every day.
Yet, do you know the volume of caffeine in your black tea?
You should start monitoring your daily caffeine intake if it is regularly exceeding 400 mg—particularly if you are bothered by anxiety, headaches, or restlessness.
It is because Caffeine is the only drug that is either added or naturally present in the tea leaves. This substance is also called theine and is present in tea leaves alongside two other alkaloids1. It is responsible for 3 – 5% of tea leaves’ overall solid contents.
Remember, caffeine is a stimulative with no aroma and a bitter flavor. It complements the tea’s bitter taste and adds to its flavor profile. Also, it safeguards the plant from the external environment as part of its defense system.
Factors Influencing Your Black Tea Caffeine Content
Your black tea caffeine content relies upon the following factors:
1. Which Tea Plant Part Was Plucked?
There is more volume of caffeine in the young leaves than mature leaves.
A comprehensive study undertaken by The TRES—Taiwan Tea Research and Extension Station discovered that the first leaf, which is nearest to the bud, carries nearly 40% more caffeine than the leaves away from the bud.
Caffeine amount is even lower in tea stems or stalks – about 10% ~ 50% of that in leaves.
In fact, the tea plant stalks or stems carry even less caffeine, which means most of the caffeine juice is in the leaves. Therefore, if you are consuming whole tea leaves i.e., Matcha green tea, then your theine intake would be much higher than a brewed tea.
2. Harvesting Time
The black tea caffeine amount depends heavily on the harvest season. In order of highest to lowest:
3. Cultivation methods
The systematic cultivation of plants generates more caffeine than the wildly grown plants.
4. Production Process
Research reveals that the oxidation levels do not substantially impact the eventual black tea caffeine content. However, the deal is sealed during the post-production roasting, as caffeine breaks and evaporates easily in steaming water during roasting.
The act of roasting reduces the tea leaves water content from 5 – 6% to 2 – 3%.
5. Tea Plant Variety/Cultivar
Wuyi and FuoShou are low caffeine varieties, while ChingXing Oolong, Assam, and ChingXing DaMao are high caffeine varietals. Yet, the variance is less noteworthy than that triggered by post-production roasting.
However, it is difficult to control your caffeine level if your tea consumption is through blended tea leaves or teabags. Therefore, the majority of brands are compelled to blend their teas to sustain a uniform flavor profile.
The table below shows the standard caffeine content in common beverages. Tea sizes are shown in milliliters (mL) and caffeine in milligrams (mg).
|Type of Tea||Size in mL||Caffeine (mg)|
|Brewed black, decaf||237||2-5|
On the other hand, 16 oz. Chai Latte by Starbucks packs as much as 95mg caffeine.
Caffeine Content in Different Black Tea
Black tea is cultivated and processed across the globe in contrasting climates and geographies.
Three of the biggest black tea producers today are India, Africa, and Sri Lanka. In fact, nearly 50% of the world’s tea supply comes from India. A few of the widely popular black tea regions from these countries are:
Image Source: Tuula VintageThe northeastern Indian state of Assam produces 680,000 tons of tea each year and is the world’s largest tea-growing region. In fact, it was the original “Empire Tea” that evolved from Chinese seeds sown alongside native tea bushes in the early 19th century.
The tropical, rainy climate brings out a tea famous for its bold, malty attributes that stand up well to sugar and milk. The tea itself is made from the Camellia sinensis var. Assamica plant leaves.
Assam tea offers a malty flavor with a savory aroma. This distinctive flavor profile is due to the tea’s exceptional production process.
The caffeine content of a 237ml cup of Assam tea relies upon the steeping time and is typically in the range of 60 –112 mg. Its naturally high makes it a fantastic breakfast option.
What We Recommend: Amazon’s Choice for “Assam tea”
TAYLORS of Harrogate pick premium quality tea leaves from the luxuriant soil of the Brahmaputra valley to produce a rich, powerful black tea with malty notes. The briskly invigorating nature of ASSAM TEA makes it a perfect breakfast option.
This type of tea is best consumed with hot milk.
The Darjeeling tea is grown in the Darjeeling district—a mountainous tea-producing territory— of the West Bengal state of India. It is a mild, more shrubby type of black tea that is considered one of the top-shelf tea varieties in the world. This black tea is often used as the primary ingredient in India’s favorite spiced refreshment: chai.
The uniqueness of Darjeeling tea lies in the elevation level (2050 meters from the sea level) of its production. These tea plants are grown at the highest elevation in the world experience a different temperature range across the day and night; different ultraviolet ray visibility for the plant, and contrasting atmospheric oxygen content.
All these unique factors combine to offer a sensually pleasant musky-sweet taste with delicate mossy, and fruity undernotes.
Darjeeling is often dubbed the Champagne of teas, and a 237ml cup typically carries 50mg of caffeine.
Each year nearly 10 million kg of Darjeeling tea is produced. However, due to its premium quality and scarcity, hordes of counterfeited Darjeeling teas made in Sikkim, Bihar Province, Nepal, and Bhutan are also available abundantly.
What We Recommend: Amazon’s Choice for “Darjeeling”
The 4th generation Tea connoisseurs—Vahdam Teas is a globally renowned tea brand that sources its leaves from the choicest tea gardens of India to make a robust black tea (loose-leaf) with a sensually rich flavor and fragrance.
You can consume this Premium Summer Black Tea hot and cold.
Ceylon tea is a globally renowned black tea from the small island nation of Sri Lanka. Despite an area of just 65,610 sq. km, this southern neighbor of India has an expansive range in climate and elevation—from chilly and highland to muggy and tropical.
Ceylon leaves are frequently characterized as “wiry,” because of their thinly long wire-like look. The diverse range of geographical terrains varies greatly the taste of the tea produced. However, a quintessential Ceylon flavor is considered to be briskly bold with medium-to-full tannins and undernotes of chocolate, spice, or citrus.
The traditional Ceylon black tea contains 50 – 90 mg caffeine in a 237 ml cup.
What We Recommend: Amazon’s Choice for “Ceylon tea”
Ceylon tea has a citrus-like, genteel character. The blend of rich soil, high altitude, and conducive climate have created a tea with exquisite citrus notes and a shiny, golden appearance.
This black tea is a perfect evening option with a slice of lemon or a dash of milk.
Kenya exports more than 408 million kg of tea every year. This East African country is the leading tea producer in Africa and spearheads the CTC tea production style across the world.
The equator divides Kenya, which results in year-round sunshine and the cultivation and plucking of tea every day. Also, at an elevation of 2000 meters, Kenyan gardens are tended at the highest peak in Africa.
The volcanic soil adds a distinguishable brownish color and richness to the Kenyan tea’s flavor profile. Its robustness melds well with milk.
This Luxury Gold Kenyan Tea is made from the premium tea leaves plucked from the Rift Valley in Kenya. This tea leaves accord this black tea its flavor, color, and strength.
Robert Roberts is serving tea to the world since 1905.
Black Tea Caffeine: Whatelse To Know
1. English Breakfast Tea Caffeine Content
English breakfast tea is generally a blend of Indian, Sri Lankan, Kenyan, and occasionally Chinese black tea. English tea typically offers a powerful, full-bodied flavor, which makes it an ideal early morning beverage.
More importantly, English tea carries loads of potassium—an electrolyte that improves hydration and boosts energy. Also present is magnesium, a nutrient renowned for enhancing the density of your bones.
A standard 237 ml English Breakfast Teacup carries about 42 mg of caffeine. However, if you are concerned about your caffeine intake, then only brew the English tea for one minute to reduce the theine by 66%.
More: How Does Lady Grey Tea Differ from Earl Grey Tea?
2. Black Tea Caffeine versus Coffee Caffeine
The caffeine content in your tea or coffee depends heavily on the origin of the leaves, type, and especially processing. Typically, coffee beans contain 1.1–2.2% caffeine, while tea leaves carry 3.5% caffeine. Yet, coffee is brewed with steaming water, which squeezes more caffeine out of the beans. Moreover, you use more beans than tea leaves for the relevant drinks, which also adds to the theine level.
Therefore, we are not far from the facts when we say:
2 tea cups = 1 coffee cup
100 grams of brewed tea contains 20mg of caffeine compared to 40mg in the same amount of coffee.
But the type of tea and the brewing process makes much of the difference.
3. Caffeine Precautions For Women & Kids
The 2015 – 2020 DGA—Dietary Guidelines for Americans cautions pregnant women and those breastfeeding to consult their health care providers for a safe daily caffeine count. According to the American Pregnancy Association, a pregnant woman’s daily caffeine intake should be less than 200 mg.
However, the AAP—American Academy of Pediatrics states that caffeine-loaded energy drinks should not be a part of a child’s diet. It is because regular consumption of such beverages can result in arrhythmia, tachycardia, hypertension, anxiety, hyperactivity, and spiked blood sugar levels because the majority of such caffeinated products are also loaded with high amounts of sugar.
Simply put, if you are concerned about your everyday caffeine intake, stop buying young tender leaves and buds such as BaiHao Silver Needles, avoid summer plucked teas, and avoid consuming whole-leaves (e.g., matcha). Instead, get yourself a tea that has undergone a slow, extended roasting process.