A Quick Guide to Black Tea Caffeine, Flavor, and Benefits
Do you know how many mg of caffeine are in a cup of black tea? This is the place to find out. After winning the Best New Product Award at the World Tea Expo, we know a thing or two about tea and caffeine. Our four high energy black teas (plus two green tea blends), are firm fan favorites amongst energy tea drinkers. We even recommend our high energy black teas for anyone looking to replace coffee in their diet.
In this article, you'll find out the origins of black tea, some useful brewing tips, and we'll finally clear up the caffeine content of this highly popular tea type.
Pop the kettle on and enjoy.
(Edward Howell on Unsplash)
The Origins of Tea
Traditional caffeinated tea, from green tea to white tea to black tea, comes from one plant. The Camellia sinensis plant originates from China. The tea leaves are harvested from this plant, processed, dried and packaged into the dry, aromatic tea leaves we are accustomed to.
Types of Black Tea
Black teas are a specific type of tea. That doesn't mean there's a specific variety of tea plants that can only produce black tea.
What makes a black tea different to a green tea, for example, is the level of oxidation. Once the leaves are picked, they are oxidised. By exposing the leaves to oxygen, you alter the color and flavor of the leaves.
So, you could make both green tea and black tea from the same specific tea plant just by changing the level of oxidation during the process.
That being said, there are some varieties of the tea plant that we prefer for black tea. Some popular black teas include:
- Indian Nilgiri black tea - one that we love to use in our high energy teas,
- Indian Assam black tea - has a really bold and malty flavor. Great with milk,
- Ceylon black tea - grown in Sri Lanka, where the climate is perfect for tea plants,
- Kenyan black tea - another strong black tea type that's great in English breakfast blends.
What Does Black Tea Taste Like?
Black tea can be very complex, with different flavor notes depending on the tea variety. Black tea contains tannins, which gives it that slightly drying and distinct tea taste. In general, black tea tastes dark, deep, malty and rich. It's not as strong as an espresso, but it's definitely comparable to coffee.
The amount of caffeine in black tea doesn't impact the flavor.
3 Different Ways to Drink Black Tea
Drinking tea black plain can get boring - so here are three different ways to enjoy your daily cup.
Works great with Earl Grey.
Brew your Zest Tea long and hot, then add a good splash of milk to your cups. Almond milk or soy work amazingly, if you need to avoid lactose!
Sweet Iced Tea
Works great with Blue Lady.
Add sugar or honey to your brewed black tea, then chill in the fridge until completely cold. Serve over ice with a slice of lemon. This ensures you infuse all the Zest caffeine into your cup much quicker than cold brew methods.
Works great with Spicy Masala Chai.
Love your morning espresso but want to enjoy those tea antioxidant benefits too? A dirty chai incorporates a shot of espresso, milk, and spiced chai all in one serving.
Brew an 8 ounce serving of chai, add a shot of espresso, then top with milk.
Black Tea Caffeine Content
Black tea contains caffeine - there's usually around 47 mg of caffeine per cup, if you want to be precise. 3
But that's not all that black tea contains. There's also a significant amount of antioxidants in black tea (although they differ a little to green tea). One of the most important antioxidants when it comes to the caffeine content is L-Theanine.
This is what separates tea from a cup of coffee or energy drink. L-Theanine alters the effects of caffeine in your body. In a nutshell:
- It slows down the onset of caffeine's effects, for a longer and smoother energy boost,
- The antioxidant impacts alpha brain waves, promoting relaxation and creativity,
- Anxiety is reduced and you'll find it easier to focus without the jitters! 4
Is 47 mg of caffeine per cup a lot?
Per 8 ounce cup, 47 mg of caffeine isn't a lot. In comparison to highly caffeinated beverages, it's barely anything. Caffeine consumption is considered safe up to 400 mg per day. That's equivalent to 8 and a half cups of standard black tea.
Compared to a cup of coffee, which contains 96 mg of caffeine per serving (or 64 mg of caffeine for a single espresso shot), black tea doesn't contain a great deal.
But it's the effects of caffeine in black tea that make it so popular, even though it contains less caffeine than coffee.
Green Tea Caffeine Levels and More
We wrote an interesting article about the amount of caffeine in different tea types, so you can easily see which drinks contain less caffeine and which contain more. But here's a summary for you.
Herbal teas - 0mg
The herbs in herbal tea don't contain any caffeine.
Traditional tea types - 28mg to 50mg
This includes teas like white teas, oolong, green tea, and black tea. Typically, black tea has the most caffeine of these types, and green tea has the least. White tea and oolong fall in-between.
Matcha - 70mg
Even though matcha is green tea, the caffeine content is different. First, the growing conditions for different green tea types alters the levels of caffeine per cup. Furthermore, matcha is made by whisking powdered tea leaves into water, rather than infusing the leaves and removing them to create a traditional cup of tea.
As a result, matcha has closer to 70mg total.
Decaffeinated Teas - 1mg to 2mg
Decaf teas don't contain much caffeine... but there are still traces. The decaffeination process usually leaves 1 or 2 mg of caffeine per cup.
Energy Drink - varied caffeine content
The levels of caffeine in an energy drink can vary widely. Popular sodas contain a small amount, while high-performance energy drinks have a lot more. The key is, they usually contain a lot of sugar and flavorings. There's no L-Theanine either.
High Caffeine Black Tea
If you are hunting for the best cup of tea for caffeine intake, we recommend a highly caffeinated black tea. We have a range of green and black tea types with an enhanced caffeine level. But don't worry - there are no chemicals or tricks to be found.
We use natural tea extract to boost the caffeine, maintain the L-Theanine, and keep your cuppa as natural as possible.
Health Benefits from Drinking Tea
A cup of black tea can support your health in surprising ways.
- Blood pressure. Tea's amino acids notably reduce your blood pressure in high-stress situations. 5
- Enhance weight loss. UCLA found that black tea specifically can contribute to weight loss by benefiting the gut microbiome. 6
- Improve recovery after exercise. Another reason why tea is the best energy drink! Black tea improves recovery and reduces oxidative stress associated with a workout. 7
Which has more caffeine, coffee or black tea?
Comparing a standard cup of black tea to a standard cup of drip coffee? The coffee wins. Only Zest high energy teas can compete with (and surpass) the level of caffeine in coffee.
Is black tea high in caffeine?
In relation to green tea and other traditional tea types, yes. But unless you choose a high energy tea with boosted energy levels, a mug of coffee will still have more caffeine.
Which tea is highest in caffeine?
High energy teas, like our blends at Zest Tea, contain up to 150 mg of caffeine per serving, which is the highest we can find.
When should you drink black tea?
Drinking black tea with a meal does have an impact on your body. It can prevent the tannins irritating your stomach, and reduce iron intake. 8
So, a good time to drink black tea is a while after food consumption, but not so late that the caffeine keeps you up all night!
Is black tea healthy?
Yes, drinking black tea is healthy, especially when compared to drinking a sugary cup of coffee with plenty of cream. Caffeinated teas can benefit your health when consumed in moderation.