Caffeine in Tea or Caffeine in Coffee
While coffee is the more famous contender for the hot beverage with the highest caffeine content, premium tea blends can have the most energy-boosting stimulating effect to light up your day.
Caffeine in Tea or Caffeine in Coffee: What’s the Difference?
Does tea contain caffeine? The general perception seems to be that you drink coffee to wake up while you drink tea to calm down. However, the idea that caffeine is only present in coffee is deceptive. Although decaffeinated tea does exist, tea varieties, in general, do contain caffeine. So, what’s the difference?
It should first be noted that caffeine is a natural stimulant found in various foods and beverages, including coffee, tea, and chocolate. While its stimulating effects have been linked to health benefits such as improved alertness, athletic performance, mood, and metabolism, large amounts of it have also been associated with anxiety and sleeping difficulties.
That said, how do you get the best out of caffeine? And what’s the difference between the caffeine in tea and that in coffee?
Caffeine in tea was first identified in 1827 and called “theine,” although the two components are virtually identical. What is different, however, is the effect they have on the human body.
The stimulating effect of caffeine from energizing tea and coffee usually kicks in suddenly to make the drinker feel awake and alert, leading to jitters if an excess amount is ingested. That’s because the caffeine in coffee goes straight to the bloodstream and has a direct and powerful effect.
Theine, on the other hand, has a slower and more controlled effect. It works by binding to the amino-acid L-theanine to release energy more slowly and over a more extended period. In this sense, it takes about three cups of tea to equal one cup of coffee.
Not all drinks are caffeinated equally
Another critical difference between the caffeine in tea and that in coffee is the percentage of the stimulant in each.
In its dry form, tea contains more caffeine than coffee. However, this all changes during the brewing process. The hot water extracts the caffeine from the coffee beans or the tea leaves, and the higher the temperature, the more caffeine is extracted.
Furthermore, as the number of beans or leaves increases, so does the percentage of caffeine. Usually, more beans are used to brew coffee than leaves to brew tea, leading to a lower percentage of caffeine in a cup of tea than in a cup of coffee. Tea preparation also has an impact. The longer the tea leaves are left to brew, the higher the theine content in the final cup.
Does green tea or black tea contain caffeine?
Another consideration when it comes to caffeine is the type of beans or leaves being used. Arabica coffee beans are much weaker than Robusta beans. Likewise, young tea leaves tend to be more caffeinated. White tea, therefore, and in theory, has more caffeine in it because it uses young tea leaves, followed by green tea and then black tea.
Nonetheless, the final percentage of caffeine in a cup of tea actually depends on many variants: How long was the tea brewed? In what climate were the leaves cultivated? What temperature was the water? What was the detailed composition of the blend? Etc.
Whether white, green or black, every cup of tea is unique and steep time might be the most practical indicator of caffeine content. The longer a tea is brewed, the more caffeinated it has.
As for decaffeinated tea, it is usually green or black tea that has undergone a decaffeination process, or herbal infusions made from caffeine-free herbs.
All in all, whether you want to enjoy a cup of coffee or a cup of tea, choosing quality materials is essential. Quality tea leaves help increase the benefits derived from tea and better control the caffeine content to get the most out of every cup.