a compound revered by many and vilified by some. It is a natural substance that
occurs in varying amounts in different plant varieties, stages of growth and
parts of the plant. It's the magical substance that awakens us and keeps us
alert throughout the day. Because of this, people want to quantify and manage
moderation, caffeine can be a benefit - stimulating the metabolism,
increasing brain function and alertness. However, the stress of modern
life, and the prevalence of coffee and caffeinated colas, has lead
people to caffeine overload. The typical cup of coffee has approximately
125-185 milligrams of caffeine; the same size serving of tea, about
half that amount. Please remember that these are typical levels:
depending on how the
tea is prepared, caffeine levels can vary greatly. Caffeine is water
soluble, so if you lower the water temperature used, less caffeine will
be released. For those of you needing a powerful lift in the morning,
with this type of powdered tea, you consume the leaf itself, not an
infusion of the leaf- as it contains significantly more caffeine.
Because caffeine from tea does not take effect for 10-15 minutes, it
provides more of a subtle lift - not the rapid jolt in a cup of coffee.
effect of caffeine is also complemented by another compound found only
in tea, theophylline. While caffeine primarily is active in the brain
and muscles, theophylline is active in stimulating the respiratory
system, heart and kidneys. This corresponds to research that tea is
helpful in maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system.
Caffeine level can also depend on
how the leaf is processed and when it
was grown- not to mention the plant variety, and when and how it is
picked. For example, some Japanese green teas can have
more caffeine than Chinese green teas due nitrogen
fertilizer levels, specific cultivars and plant shading. Some white teas
have the high level of caffeine because the tea is derived from the new spring growth- buds and
young first leaf tips- after a period of plant dormancy. Assamica varietals (Indian teas) can have higher levels of
caffeine than most
black teas; some multiple harvest season teas tend to contain 1-5% more caffeine in the spring than in the autumn/winter. These differences can range from 5-30 milligrams per serving, and it is
difficult to get precise information from tea producers, who are not in the
business of scientifically measuring caffeine levels in their tea. In addition,
controlled studies need to be done in order to make accurate comparisons. We must consider that with all the array of factors involved, the
variance level of caffeine is still relatively small compared to how much is
typically in a cup of coffee.
The Process of Decaf
processes are used for decaffeinating tea. One, which makes use of the
solvent ethyl acetate, retains only 30% of the polyphenols. The other is
a preferable, natural process that uses only water and carbon dioxide
and is called effervescence. It retains 95% of the polyphenols. Be sure
to check labels to see which process was used. If it isn't specified,
you'll have to contact the manufacturer to find out.
Why donít we carry decaf teas?
that current decaffeinating methods produce a final product that is bland; the
flavor and subtleties are gone. We would prefer those who are affected strongly
by caffeine to have an herbal infusion when they feel that they would be
adversely affected by caffeine.
once influenced by the ever popular adage about removing caffeine from any tea
by a quick infusion in hot water. The idea was that because caffeine is water
soluble, a quick rinse in boiling water would remove up to 80% of the caffeine.
To adequately address the issue we invite you to read a piece by Nigel Melican, founder of Teacraft and one of the most
knowledgeable people on the subject of tea. This was initially published in the
CHA DAO blog and parts of it are reprinted here with permission from the author
and CHA DAO. We encourage you to follow the discussion on the blog via