How Much Caffeine Is In Tea?

This kitty should switch to tea.  Visual from NiceFunnyJokes.com
This kitty should switch to tea. Visual from NiceFunnyJokes.com

Well, that depends what tea you are talking about. Anything that has leaves from the tea bush - whether black, green or white - will contain some traces of caffeine. Black tea contains the most, some more so than others. The name of the tea will give you a big clue. A beloved episode of Mad About You had Paul Reiser give Morning Thunder tea to Helen Hunt when she was desperate for sleep, because it was made by Celestial Seasonings (infamous for Sleepytime tea and other non-caffeinated herbal blends).

But even Morning Thunder does not contain as much caffeine as soda pop or coffee (especially espresso!). If you are looking to cut back on caffeine but still enjoy a refreshing beverage, then tea is a great choice.

Caffeine - You Love It, But It Doesn't Love You

Most of the human population consumes caffeine in one form or another daily. This makes it the world's most popular drug. Drug? Well, you won't black out and wake up in Atlantic City nest to a Barbie doll if you overdo it on caffeine, but too much will still damage your health. Any chemical that affects your behavior and how you feel is technically classified as a drug.

You can get addicted to caffeine easily. This writer happens to be caffeine-dependant, meaning that if I don't have at least four cups of black tea a day, I get migraines and the shakes. Yup - those are withdrawal symptoms. They can only be alleviated by - you guessed it - eating or drinking with caffeine in it.

It is because of this effect that some religious sects, like the Mormons, ban their followers from consuming any kind of caffeine. Caffeine is also found in chocolate and some painkillers.

This caffeine dependence disturbs your sleep patterns, which affects your body's overall health, including raising your blood pressure, causing digestive difficulties and mood swings. Cutting back on caffeine can help you feel better overall. I used to drink the equivalent of three liters of Pepsi per day, now I'm down to four cups of tea. And yes, I sleep better and have less stomach upsets. You need to be aware of how much caffeine you consume in a day.

The Numbers

COFFEE (5 oz cup) CAFFEINE CONTENT (mg)

Drip method 110-150

Percolated 64-124

Instant 40-108

Decaffeinated 2-5

Instant Decaffeinated 2

COCOA 6

SOFT DRINK (12-oz. serving) CAFFEINE CONTENT (mg)

Jolt 72.0

Sugar-Free Mr. Pibb 58.8

Mountain Dew 54.0

Mello Yello 52.8

TAB 46.8

Coca-Cola 45.6

Diet Coke 45.6

Shasta Cola 44.4

Shasta Cherry Cola 44.4

Shasta Diet Cola 44.4

Shasta Diet Cherry Cola 44.4

Mr. PIBB 40.8

Dr. Pepper 39.6

Big Red 38.4

Sugar-Free Dr. Pepper 39.6

Pepsi-Cola 38.4

Aspen 36.0

Diet Pepsi 36.0

Pepsi Light 36.0

RC Cola 36.0

Diet Rite 36.0

Kick 31.2

Canada Dry Jamaica Cola 30.0

Canada Dry Diet Cola 1.2

 

TEA (one tea bag or equivalent in 8oz cup), from Stash Tea Website

Black Tea 40mg

Oolong Tea 30mg

Green Tea 20mg

White Tea 10mg

Decaffeinated black tea 2mgs

Herbal tea 0mgs

The numbers above are averages. If you like your tea strong, there will be more caffeine in it.

Well, now that this issue is clear as mud, let's go put the kettle on.

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Comments 12 comments

Red Tea Touter 7 years ago

Very interesting information on the amount of caffeine in various types of drinks. I generally don't worry about the amount of caffeine in my teas but if you are looking for a good non-caffinated tea try Rooibos tea, since it is from a different plant that the tea buch it has no caffiene. It is also being used to make an espresso tea which is rather interesting.


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

tea is also very good for you


Indiana 7 years ago

Tea is a very good diet as well, especially if you drink a lot of cokes. I went from drinking about 4-5 cokes each day to 4-5 cups of tea (Green & Black), without any sugars or sweeteners and I did not change my eating habits at all. I did not change my exercise habits either. The weight just starting falling off. I highly suggest this to everyone.


Organic Tea 7 years ago

Tea is very good for health. specially <a href="http://www.grutea.com">GRU TEA</a>.


CoffeeAddict profile image

CoffeeAddict 7 years ago

I love oolong and green tea. I didn't know that mello yello has caffeine in it! Thanks for the info.


Smireles profile image

Smireles 7 years ago from Texas

I enjoy English Breakfast tea, Wild Sweet Orange (Caffein free TAZO), and Organic Chai Black Tea (The Noir) by TAZO. The blend of spices are wonderful and make me feel like I am drinking a big slice of pumpkin pie! Awesome!


cazort 7 years ago

I think this is an oversimplification and I think the conclusions you draw here can be misleading. You can't trust all information you find online unless it's backed by rigorous research, whether it's from Stash's website, or even the USDA (the USDA and other government websites have some misinformation about the caffeine content of tea too).

See this study:

http://ddr.nal.usda.gov/handle/10113/1807

This article explains a study in which caffeine content and other chemicals (antioxidants, catechins, flavonoids, etc.) were measured in 70+ different teas. The results show that while in some very crude sense, black teas may tend to have more caffeine than green (and this could just be an artifact of which teas were chosen for the study), the variation from one tea to the next is so huge that a statement that black tea has more caffeine than green tea is almost meaningless.

Caffeine content also varies hugely by the amount of leaf used and the length of steeping. The amount of leaf used varies hugely even in teabag teas.

If you really must avoid caffeine for medical or other reasons, you should drink herbal teas which have no caffeine or teas such as hojicha (roasted green tea) or certain Fujian oolongs or pu-erhs which are known to contain very little caffeine.

If you're sensitive to caffeine but do not need to avoid it for medical reasons, the safest thing to do is to experiment. Drink different teas, and see how they make you feel. Take each tea on a case-by-case basis.

Don't assume that tea has less caffeine just because it's green (or white!). Some white teas are made exclusively out of buds, like silver needle tea, and these contain more caffeine! Also...the effect of the caffeine is mitigated by various other chemicals in the tea. So some teas might not have as much caffeine but might make you more jittery than other teas with more caffeine.


Chris Carey 6 years ago

People should eat or drink whatever they like. Doesn't matter either it harmful or not.


fiona_33 profile image

fiona_33 6 years ago from UK

Terrific hub. A little caffeine isn't a problem but so many of us are consuming it in such large quantities.


Tracy 6 years ago

Thank you.


rover23 4 years ago

I'm curious does fountain drinks and canned /bottled soda vary in caffeine amounts?


B Noelle profile image

B Noelle 4 years ago

Thanks for this article Rena! I am not supposed to have caffeine so I tried decaffeinated only to find out that it doesn't mean that it doesn't contain caffeine, rather, it is just a much lower dosage. Unfortunately, I got hooked onto iced chai tea and love it so much I cheat and drink one every now and then. I have been searching the internet, high and low, for one that has absolutely no caffeine, and of course, I have yet to find one. I appreciate the layout of drink to caffeine content. Let me know if you find the magical NON caffeinated iced spiced chai tea!!

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