What Type of Tea Has the Most Caffeine?

A white tea cup and saucer with tea being poured into the cup from a teapot

Tea has been a popular beverage choice for many across the globe for centuries. For some, grabbing a tea over a coffee is preferable because there is less caffeine.

Or is there? 

Tea has been drunk in China since before 2000 BC. Back then, it was not yet used as a milder way to wake people up, but instead as a medical beverage to aid with detoxification (which, of course, is one of the ways it’s still used today). Tea in China was consumed by chewing and drinking and over the centuries, tea slowly became a daily drink for many. During the Tang Dynasty in China, 618-906 AD, tea was established as a national drink. 

While tea still contains less caffeine than coffee, you might be wondering what teas measure up, and what type of tea has the most caffeine. Let’s find out!

The Basics of Caffiene

Caffeine is a natural substance that is found in plants and is present in over 60 of them. The most common places that caffeine is found is in coffee, tea, sodas, and chocolate. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system making those that drink it feel more alert. 

While many choose to consume caffeine most days it is wise to follow the US Food and Drug Administration recommendations of caffeine intake. The FDA suggests that healthy adults can consume 400 milligrams of caffeine per day.    

Many choose to start their day with a cup of tea or coffee to get the burst that caffeine has to jump start your day. Caffeine can provide mental alertness due to the stimulating qualities that it possesses. But, too much can also cause a caffeine crash. 

The Four Types of Caffeinated Tea

There are four different types or categories of tea. All of the different forms of tea are made from the same tea leaves known as camellia sinensis. While they are all the same plant, the difference comes from how the plant is treated after it is harvested. The process for getting different types of teas from the same plant comes down to the drying and processing of the tea once it has been harvested. White tea, for example, is dried for about 72 hours in the sun while oolong is dried over heat. 

Black Tea 

Black is a well-known tea, and maybe because it’s also the most caffeinated tea! But, more on that later. Black tea also accounts for over 80 percent of the tea that is drunk. 

Popular Black Teas

  • Earl Gray
  • Assam 
  • Darjeeling 
  • Chai 

Green Tea 

Green tea is the most popular tea in China, Korea, and Japan. Green tea has also grown in popularity around the world because of its supposed health benefits. Varieties of green teas are a popular choice among many who are looking to reduce their amount of caffeine intake. Green teas are much lower in caffeine than other types and typically do not cause the jitteriness and anxiety that can happen with consuming drinks with higher amounts of caffeine. 

Popular Green Teas

  • Matcha 
  • Sencha
  • Hojicha

Oolong Tea 

Oolong is traditionally served to accompany meals such as dim sum. Oolong tea combines the leaves from the processing to make green tea and black tea. Oolong tea can contain about 38 milligrams of caffeine per eight ounces.  

Popular Oolong Teas

  • Tieguanyin
  • Jin Xuan
  • Da Hong Pao

White Tea 

White tea is much rarer and more expensive than the other three types of tea. White tea is made from harvesting the camellia sinensis plant earlier and leaving it to dry for a shorter amount of time. White tea has a sweeter taste than the others; it also contains the lowest amount of caffeine that the other types. 

Popular White Teas

  • Baihao Yinzhen
  • Bai Mudan
  • Shoumei
A glass cup with a matching saucer with a tea bag steeping

What Type of Tea Has the Most Caffeine?

The highest caffeinated tea is black tea. Black tea contains between 64 and 112 milligrams of caffeine per 8 oz serving. Compared to a cup of coffee that has 90 mg of caffeine, black tea could be another way to wake up without having quite as much caffeine. But, be sure to check!

What Tea Does Not Have Caffeine? 

Generally speaking, caffeine is safe to consume for most adults. But, there are still some reasons why people want to go caffeine-free. Children, pregnant people, and those with anxiety disorders may choose to be caffeine-free until it is safe for them to do so,but there are some people who avoid caffeine altogether due to other health concerns or personal choice. Before changing any part of your diet, it is best to consult with your healthcare provider.  

Teas that are decaffeinated are typically herbal teas, fruit teas, or root teas. These are naturally decaffeinated because they aren’t exactly teas, meaning that they are not derived from the camellia sinensis plant.    

Teas that are caffeine-free do not contain any caffeine, while decaffeinated tea does contain a small amount of caffeine. Typically, a decaffeinated tea will contain about two milligrams of caffeine per eight ounces. 

What Type of Tea Is Right for Me?

Tea is a popular beverage for those wanting some caffeine as well as the suspected health benefits that tea may possess as well, as its extremely low calorie levels. Most teas contain about two calories per serving. If you are looking for a way to track your calorie intake, try using our online calorie calculator

This entry was posted in Health, Lifestyle and tagged . By Emily DiFabio