Does All Tea Have Caffeine?
A cup of tea can be many things. It can be an energizing morning tea, an indulgent afternoon tea, or even a relaxing wind-down tea for the evenings. With so many different tea types, flavors, and blend combinations, there's a tea for every occasion.
So, which teas have caffeine and which don't? Below you'll find every type of tea explained.
Why Caffeine Matters
It's fair to say that caffeine equals energy, so the amount of caffeine in tea really matters when you need a boost in the mornings! Different types of tea provide different amounts of caffeine.
The amount of caffeine per cup also depends on how you brew it. Hotter water and a very long steep typically result in more caffeine infusing into the water.
Did you know that some plants produce caffeine as a natural defence against pests? What gives us a quick zap of energy will actually kill some insects that try to eat the plant. Not that we blame them. The leaves of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis, are a great source of antioxidants and beneficial nutrients too.
Drinking tea comes with a range of health benefits, as the plant provides amino acids such as L-Theanine. Find out why L-Theanine is an important component of caffeinated tea in our article Tea vs. Coffee: Caffeine, Consumption, and Popularity.
Caffeine Content - From Low to High
Here we've covered the whole range of tea types. The caffeine is compared in milligrams, with 1 serving equalling a single 8 fluid ounce cup. Note that there is some natural variation within each tea type - two green tea bags from different packs will often contain different levels of caffeine.
Herbal tea is naturally caffeine-free. These types of tea are not made from the "true tea" plant and therefore have no caffeine levels whatsoever.
- Peppermint and spearmint
There are a few herbal teas that do have some caffeine content - read about yerba mate below.
Just like herbal teas, fruit teas are naturally caffeine-free. Most fruits do not have any caffeine content, so unless they're blended with caffeine-containing traditional teas, they won't give you a boost of caffeine energy.
Many tea drinkers enjoy the natural taste of fruit with their caffeinated teas, so we created some great fruity high caffeine tea blends. Check out juicy Superberry Samba hot tea, or sparkling Blood Orange Mango iced tea.
Rooibos is technically a herbal tea, but the bold flavor of rooibos (also known as red bush) is often mixed up with black tea. If you love the rich tannins and depth of black tea but need to avoid caffeine in tea at all costs, rooibos is the answer. Rooibos tea is caffeine-free.
We recently wrote a Guide to Herbal Tea, including their nutritional values, how to brew them, and some interesting health benefits.
Green teas are the first caffeinated tea types on our list. At the low end of the spectrum, green tea contains roughly 28 milligrams of caffeine per 8 ounce serving.1
To make green tea, the tea leaves are quickly fired and dried to preserve their freshness and grassy flavor. Tea plant varieties used to create green tea typically don't contain much caffeine.
Oolong, green and white teas are all low in caffeine, but if you're particularly sensitive to caffeine then avoid drinking them too close to bedtime. On the other hand, if you need a stronger caffeine content, check out matcha or Zest Tea below.
Oolong tea is a little trickier to calculate when it comes to the amount of caffeine per cup. Oolong can be made from a wide variety of tea leaves with a huge spectrum of flavors. Lightly oxidised oolong can have grassy flavors like a green tea, while a heavily oxidised oolong will taste more like black tea.
As for the caffeine, it ranges from 15mg to 55mg - the average is roughly 37mg of caffeine.2
White tea is a delicate tea type with a medium amount of caffeine. There's between 6 and 55mg of caffeine per cup of white tea.3 The caffeine levels depend not only on how long you brew your tea leaves, but which part of the plant the leaf comes from.
Many green and white teas are made from the larger, lower leaves of the tea plant. But some are made from the fresh new buds, which contain much more caffeine.4
Black teas are among the most popular. Teas like Assam, Darjeeling, and Yunnan black teas are consumed regularly around the world. Whether you opt for loose leaf or tea bags, the caffeine in the black tea leaves is the same - roughly 47mg of caffeine in each cup.5
The process of brewing and steeping black teas does impact how much caffeine ends up in your cup. However, adding milk and sugar tend to improve the flavor but won't affect the amount of caffeine you consume.
Pu-erh is considered a more specialist type of tea. Those who drink pu-erh tend to be tea-fanatics - it's not the kind you usually find in your local grocery store. Pu-erh tea goes through a lengthy process of aging, which alters the flavor of the tea, and it's often packed into tea cakes rather than left loose or in bags.
Once brewed with hot water, a cup of pu-erh has between 50 and 80mg of caffeine.6 The aging and fermentation process doesn't actually add more caffeine or erode it.
Matcha is a specific type of green tea that is popular in Japan and has growing popularity in the West. It's made by whisking powdered green tea leaves in hot water, rather than letting the leaves infuse with the water and then removing them before you consume the drink.
As you consume the whole leaves, you consume 100% of the caffeine contained in the tea! There's approximately 70mg of caffeine in 1 scoop (2g in weight) of matcha powder.7
Yerba mate is a herbal tea, in the sense that it isn't made from the traditional tea plant. But the plant that yerba mate is made from, Ilex paraguariensis, does contain caffeine!
Originating in South America, a strong cup of yerba mate can provide up to 85mg of caffeine so don't get it mixed up with the caffeine-free herbal tea types.
Did you know that coffee can technically be classed as tea? In the sense that tea is made by steeping organic material in water, coffee could be considered an infusion (although by this rule, so is gravy).
In terms of caffeine, a standard brewed cup of coffee contains 96mg of caffeine while a single espresso shot contains 64mg. A double shot of espresso in your latte, for example, equals 128mg of caffeine overall.
Another key difference between coffee and tea is L-Theanine. While caffeine in tea has a smooth, slow onset and wears off naturally, coffee has a different effect. After that caffeine buzz hits you, it tends to drop off or crash very suddenly.
Learn more about Caffeine in Tea vs Coffee.
Zest Tea - The Tea with The Most Caffeine
Finally, we come to the most highly caffeinated tea around - Zest Tea. We use green tea and black tea to create the base of our teas, but use additional tea plant extract to boost the caffeine levels.
Our green tea blends typically provide 135mg of caffeine per cup. Our black tea blends provide a little more, with up to 150mg of caffeine per cup.
What's more, this energy is completely plant-powered. Each blend is vegan, keto-friendly and sugar-free. So, you can enjoy natural tea flavors, get that strong energy boost you need in the mornings, and all the productivity and creativity your workday requires.
Don't forget, the L-Theanine in tea means that the caffeine boost is smoother with no jitters or crash. That's why even though some coffee beverages and energy drinks contain more caffeine, they won't provide the smooth, focused and alert feeling that a cup of tea will.
Which tea does not contain caffeine?
Several teas are caffeine-free, including rooibos, herbal teas like chamomile, and fruit teas. Watch out for decaffeinated teas - these tea leaves still contain small amounts of caffeine.
Does regular tea have caffeine?
Black tea, the most popular amongst tea drinkers, does contain caffeine. There is roughly 47mg of caffeine per cup of black tea.
Zest Tea contains the most caffeine, with a caffeine content of up to 150mg per serving. This extra caffeine is plant powered - we use extra tea extract from the Camellia sinensis plant.
How can you tell if tea has caffeine?
If the tea is from the Camellia sinensis plant, it will contain caffeine. The best way to tell is by checking the ingredients list. Tea leaves from the tea plant (and a select few herbal teas) will always contain caffeine.
Read our Guide to Herbal Teas to learn more.