Among the reasons people drink tea, one of the most common is caffeine intake. Whether folks are just trying to cut down their levels from coffee or eliminate caffeine completely, tea can be the perfect solution.
Before we get into the different levels of caffeine in tea, let’s first get the science out of the way. True caffeine, as we know it, comes from the coffee bean (hence the root “caffe” in”caffeine”). However, this word has become the generic term for the xanthine alkaloid compound (which acts as a stimulant in the human body) found in many foods and beverages.
Not all caffeine is created equal, though. Different types of caffeine effect the body differently and therefore there should be a distinction made. For example, the type of caffeine found naturally in all real teas (real tea comes from the tea plant), known as theine (not surprisingly, from the root “the” or “tea” has been shown to be fairly gentle, slowly invigorating the body. This is in contrast to the caffeine found in coffee, which quickly stimulates (and three hours later, just as quickly, fades).
Tea also has the added benefit of naturally containing an amino acid known as L-Theanine. This chemical has been shown to help promote alpha wave production in the brain, reducing mental and physical stress and producing feelings of focused relaxation.
This is why tea is so amazing to me: the small amount of caffeine it contains gives you the perfect amount of pick-me-up, the L-Theanine calms and focuses you. Plus, it tastes great hot or iced, if you need to warm up or chill out. No other drink can do all of this as effectively.
Now as for the levels of caffeine, if you are just looking to just lower your intake, any real tea will help you with that. If you still need a fair amount, reach for a black tea. A little less? Go for an oolong. Less still? Try green tea. And if you want barely any caffeine, white tea is the way to go.
Still want to enjoy the taste of a hearty black tea but don’t want all that caffeine? No worries, there is a simple way to decaffeinate in the comfort of your own home! You see, practically all the caffeine is imparted into the cup within the first 30 seconds of infusion. Therefore, if you add the tea leaves to the water, then after 30 seconds take them out and infuse them in different water, you will have a great cup of tea with a fraction of the caffeine.
To help those folks trying to cut out caffeine completely, we are going to have to leave the tea leaf for a moment. For a truly caffeine-free infusion, you have to reach for an herbal tea, or tisane. Herbal teas, since they do not come from the true tea plant, are not imbued with the same chemical compounds as those found in tea. Most markedly missing from that list is caffeine. Practically all herbal teas are completely and naturally caffeine-free. The one noteworthy exception to that rule is yerba mate, an eye-opening South American herbal tea, which contains a form of stimulant similar to that found in tea and coffee.
With this newfound caffeinated knowledge, you can now go make yourself the appropriate cup of tea. Drink deep, knowing that it is not only good for you, but right for you as well.