Which tea has the most caffeine?
If you're looking for a caffeine boost for the afternoon slump, a morning pick-me-up or just knowing which blends to avoid then you're in the right place!
There are a couple of different factors but the main factor is actually you and how you make your cup of tea!
Most places will tell you that black tea contains the most caffeine and this is and isn't true, let me explain...
A cup of black tea is normally brewed at a higer temperature and for longer than green and white teas, this means that more caffeine can be extracted from the leaves. If you let your kettle cool off a little before brewing your cup of tea or if you brewed it for less time, then you would automatically get less caffeine in your cup of black tea than even a cup of green tea or white tea.
This can be a good or a bad thing depending on what you're looking for!
The tea harvest can also make a difference, whether it's grown in a high altitude environment or even the variety of tea plant used. Camelia Sinensis var. Sinensis or Cameila Sinensis var. Assamica the assamica variety has a higher level of caffeine and it normally points to tea grown in India (Assam Tea).
Now, back to if the time of year affects caffeine. If you thought yes, then correct, it does.
At the start of the season, springtime, the leaves and buds are smaller so there is a higher concentration of caffeine in these smaller leaves.
Different growing processes are also a factor, take Matcha for an example. The whole leaf is ground into a fine powder which equals more caffeine in your cup than just drinking the infused liquid as with normal tea drinking.
Another one to note is Genmaicha which is a green tea but the leaves are steamed will have a higher amount of caffeine compared to if the leaves were roasted, as this stops fermentation occuring.
Let's break it down.
Usually made from younger leaves which have a higher caffeine content, they can be roasted or steamed which we now know equals more caffeine.
However, the optimal way of making a cup of green tea is with 80 degree water which will draw less caffeine out of the leaves and it generally isn't brewed for that long. If you do make a cup of green tea and use boiling water, you will get a more caffeinated drink but it will proabaly taste bitter, as this does burn the leaves. (See our other blog for more info!)
As we've mentioned, black tea is normally brewed for a while and with boiling water, this makes for more caffeine in your cup.
Even though older tea leaves are generally used for black teas (less caffeine in these leaves) and normally the Assamica variety is used which also has more caffeine. It does all get balanced out by the longer brew time and water temperature.
Overall, if you want a totally caffeine-free experience then look for blends that say 'infusion' as this means a herbal drink of berries, herbs, spices etc with no tea leaves.
For a higher caffeinated drink, look for Matcha or start steeping your black tea for longer. Tea is such a personal drink and it can be extremely fun finding our your favourite type of tea, whether you prefer to draw out as much caffeine and tannins (can lead to bitterness so be careful!) as possible or if you like a nice and gentle steamed green tea instead! The choice is up to you!
The general rule of thumb is seen at 400mg of caffeine per day which equates to around 4 cups of coffee but 8 cups of tea.
If you'd like a little more info on coffee, tea and their caffeine properties take a look at this article!