As a Tea Coach I am often approached by the question, “does tea have more caffeine than coffee?”
The answer is, yes and no! That depends. If we are talking one pound of ground coffee compared to one pound of loose tea in dry form, the answer is yes – then tea has more caffeine content than coffee. However, comparing tea and coffee cup by cup which is what we usually do, since this is what we consume, an 8 oz cup of coffee contains approx 110 mg caffeine compared to 60 mg in a cup of black tea. For green tea an 8 oz cup will contain approx 30 mg and white tea somewhere between 5-10 mg per cup. So if you are concerned about caffeine, definitely do go for the tea – the greener the better!
And tea in this connection is actual tea, made from the Camellia sinensis plant. Any other hot drink that does not contain leaves from the Camellia sinensis plant is not a tea as such, even though we tend to call a variety of hot drinks tea.
If you are looking for hot drinks without caffeine, a newer and less known product from South Africa is called rooibos, which is the African name of red bush. A drink made from this bush has approximately the same amount of antioxidants as a cup of real tea (from Camellia sinensis), but NO caffeine at all. The flavor and texture of this hot drink is somewhat different than real tea and may require some acquired taste to like it. A flavored rooibos, with e.g. fruits or spices, helps ‘get the medicine down’.
Herbal teas generally have no caffeine – except for tea. (Camellia sinensis is considered an herb, but not all herbs are teas!) A blend of peppermint and spearmint has no caffeine, but not the the good benefits from tea (Camellia sinensis) either. (To get the benefit of both, I usually recommend that you drink a green tea flavored with mint.)
Chamomile has no caffeine, but some soothing benefits and is one of the safe drinks to give both infants as well as well as seniors.
Another drink that has shown its appearance in the American market is yerba mate. This drink is drunk as a tea, and has shown to have some good health benefits, but unfortunately also about the same large amount of caffeine as coffee.
Caffeine is not necessarily bad. It has beneficial effects on the body and can increase alertness and stimulate metabolism. Much research has been done on the caffeine area and it is believed that the caffeine in tea works in a healthier way in the body, much slower, thereby increasing metabolism on a longer term, compared to coffee in which the caffeine works immediately as a booster. Some drugs, however, may be affected by caffeine, which is why a doctor’s advice is always recommended.
With the comparatively low amount of caffeine and lots of antioxidants green tea is a good companion. To get the benefits of tea in a healthy way of living, it is recommended that you drink four 8 oz cups of tea a day.
Kirsten Kristensen is a Tea Coach of Tea 4 U that carries a selection of great tasting flavored green teas. She conducts educational tea seminars and parties and teaches people some of the hidden secrets of this ancient and healthy drink. She has a background in psychology as a success coach but now dedicates her time guiding people in the exciting world of tea!