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How Much Caffeine is in Tea? How to get more or less caffeine in every cup.

caffeine molecule

Caffeine molecule necklace by Molecule Store

More than 85% of adults in the United States drink at least one caffeinated beverage a day. But you may not know how caffeine in tea differs from other caffeine drinks, such as coffee, soda, and energy drinks. 

Tea Versus Coffee: Sustainable Energy or Quick Burst?

Coffee's energy comes from caffeine. Tea's energy is more complex because tea contains both caffeine and amino acid L-theanine.  On its own, caffeine provides a short burst of energy, then a crash. Tea provides more sustainable energy than coffee. This is due to the unique combination of L-theanine and caffeine in tea. L-theanine slows the absorption of caffeine into the bloodstream. This slower absorption is what creates tea's gradual energizing effect. The energy you get from tea leads to greater focus and performance for longer while reducing anxiety and levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Also, tea doesn't produce the jitters or crash that coffee is famous for.

The average cup of tea has about half as much caffeine as the average cup of coffee. A 10-12oz cup of tea typically has 14-61 mg of caffeine, while coffee can contain 80-100mg per 8 oz serving. So, coffee has a short, intense burst of energy, while tea has a gradual, longer-lasting energy.

If you're looking to cut down on your daily caffeine intake, drinking tea instead of coffee is a great way to go. You can drink more tea per day and get about half the caffeine in the same amount of coffee without a big crash. 

Can You Control Caffeine in Tea? Yes, but how might surprise you.

Some claim that there is more caffeine in black tea, or more in green tea, or white tea. The truth is, all types of tea have the roughly same amount of caffeine. This is because all tea comes from the same plant. Researchers in this study found little correlation between tea type and caffeine based on a sample of 20 different teas.

How you brew your tea affects how caffeinated it is.

Here are the 4 main factors that affect the amount of caffeine in a cup of tea. Adjusting these factors will strengthen or weaken the caffeine and flavor.

1. Steep Time

The longer you infuse tea, the more caffeine isextracted. A shorter infusion will extract less caffeine. Infusions longer than 5 minutes won't extract much more caffeine. If you want to limit your caffeine intake, shorten your infusions.

2. Water Temperature

The higher the temperature of your water, the more caffeine is extracted. Tea of all different types brewed at boiling contained more than twice the amount of caffeine of the teas brewed at 80 degrees C or 176 degrees F, according to one study.

3. Tea Amount

The more tea you put in your infuser, the stronger your cup will be. We recommend 3.5g per 10-12oz. So, if you want a stronger cup of tea, use more tea. Just be aware that more tea will increase the intensity of the flavor too!

For a tea that contains 50mg of caffeine per tablespoon, brewed in a 10 ounce mug for 5 minutes with boiling water, here's what you can expect in terms of caffeine per cup:
  • 1 teaspoon of tea = 17mg caffeine
  • 1 tablespoon of tea = 50 mg caffeine
  • 2 tablespoons of tea = 100 mg caffeine
  • 3 tablespoons of tea = 150 mg caffeine (at this point this is a LOT of tea and the flavor might get too intense for most)

Our tea lattes give you twice the amount of caffeine as an average cup. Use this tea latte recipe to create a delightfully strong cup of tea with any tea blend. 

4. For less caffeine, choose teas that have lots of non-tea ingredients

Tea blends that have other non-tea ingredients have less caffeine than pure teas. August has many tea blends with dried fruit, nuts, and different herbs. For example, our blend Big Easy has less than 50% tea leaves by weight, and therefore less caffeine than teas with only tea leaves. If you want more caffeine, choose teas that have only tea leaves, like Golden Arrow or Low Country.

Want Even More Caffeine? Try Coffee Tea.

If you love coffee aroma, but want to drink less coffee, try our unique coffee tea, Jet Black. This is a tea for coffee lovers. Jet Black is our most caffeinated tea blend, with 66mg of caffeine per 12 oz serving when brewed as directed. It has less caffeine than coffee but a little more than the average cup of tea. This high energy tea blends is a magical combination of black tea, ground coffee, and yerba mate, a caffeinated South American energy herb. With notes of steamed milk and hazelnut, this tea has all the delicious coffee flavor and aroma without the harsh caffeine crashes.

Caffeine-Free Doesn't Mean Flavor-Free.

If you want to cut caffeine altogether without sacrificing flavor, we recommend  our Herbal Teas. Created with amazing flavor combinations inspired by desserts and cocktails, these teas will delight your senses without overwhelming your mood or energy.