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Which Tea Has The Most Caffeine? (High Caffeine Teas)

Whether you’re trying to limit your daily caffeine or just want to make sure you get a caffeinated jolt, knowing which teas are high in caffeine is essential for any tea drinker.

Generally speaking, the teas that are known for having a high caffeine content are black tea, mate, matcha, and pu-erh.

But it’s not as simple as giving you this list of teas because there are other factors than just the type of tea that affect its caffeine content.

So, if you’re ready to take a nerd journey on all things caffeine and tea, then keep reading.

Everything You Know About Caffeine In Tea Is Wrong

Before I started researching the caffeine amounts in tea for health reasons, I just always assumed that black tea was the highest no matter what.

Obviously, that was an incorrect assumption, as I’m about to explain to you.

What really matters is the brew time, or how long you leave that tea bag in the water to steep.

Brew time has more effect on a tea’s caffeine content than the type of tea.

I know what you’re thinking – this goes against everything you know about caffeinated teas.

But, it’s true.

Let’s say you brew some black tea for only one minute while you brew some white tea for five minutes – that cup of white tea will have more caffeine than that cup of black tea.

It’s witchcraft, right?

This means that theoretically you could steep black tea for so long that it ends up having a caffeine content similar to a cup of brewed coffee.

And that’s just madness right there!

Factors That Affect Caffeine Content In Tea

Now that I’ve blown your mind, let’s take a closer look at all of the things that affect the amount of caffeine in your cup of tea.

Brew Time

As mentioned above, the longer that you leave that tea bag (or loose tea) to steep, then the more caffeine you end up with in your cup of tea.

Of course, this means that you can effectively reduce the amount of caffeine in your daily cuppa simply by reducing the brew time.

Tea Variety

The first thing you need to know about tea varietals is that all tea comes from the same plant, but that plant has two varietals that the tea leaves may come from.

  • camellia sinensis var. sinensis
  • camellia sinensis var. assamica

The first variety comes primarily from China and the second primarily from India.

Now here’s what’s really crazy about this – tea leaves from the camellia sinensis var. assamica variety naturally have more caffeine.

How It Was Grown

Though it’s likely not something that you’ve ever thought about, the growing practices of the tea influence it’s caffeine levels.

Shade-grown tea plants, like matcha, Gyokuro and Kabusecha, are higher in caffeine than tea plants that are not shaded.

The Harvest Time

Another factor that you likely never spare a thought for is the harvest time of the tea plant.

Spring-harvested teas tend to have higher caffeine levels.

This is because the early harvest time means that the leaves and buds are smaller, and that equals more caffeine.

How It’s Processed

There is more than one way that tea is processed, and that processing method affects caffeine levels.

For teas that resemble a fine powder, like matcha, the tea leaves have been ground up so that when you drink the tea you are consuming the entire leaf.

And that results in more caffeine in your cup of tea.

For teas where you have whole leaves, the caffeine content is lower due to you not actually consuming the leaves when you drink a loose leaf tea.

How Many Tea Leaves Are There?

This may be common sense to you, but the more tea leaves you have steeping in your cup, then the higher the caffeine level of your cup of tea.

So, if you are using loose leaf tea, then you can choose to brew fewer leaves for a reduced caffeine content.

And if you want a really strong, highly caffeinated tea, then you just use more tea leaves.

The Water Temperature

When you pour boiling water from your kettle onto your tea bags or tea leaves, as is common with black tea, that heat stimulates the caffeine and results in a more caffeine being released into your cup of tea.

If you let the boiling kettle water cool off a bit before brewing your tea, as is common with green tea, then you end up with a lower caffeine content in your cup of tea.

This is why black tea is traditionally known as having more caffeine than green tea – but as you know from above, that’s not always true.

The 7 Highest Caffeine Teas

If you’re a caffeine junkie, then you may be most interested in the teas that give you the biggest jolt of caffeine.

Here’s a list of the teas with the most caffeine:

  1. Yerba Mate (85mg of caffeine per cup average)
  2. Matcha Tea (75mg of caffeine per cup average)
  3. Pu-erh Tea (65mg of caffeine per cup average)
  4. Black Tea (50mg of caffeine per cup average)
  5. Oolong Tea (40mg of caffeine per cup average)
  6. Green Tea (25mg of caffeine per cup average)
  7. White Tea (13mg of caffeine per cup average)

Just keep in mind the factors above that affect caffeine levels, so you can make these teas have more caffeine simply by steeping them longer in your cup.

FAQs About Caffeine In Tea

Here are the answers to a few common questions about caffeine levels in teas.

Does all tea have caffeine?

Yes, all tea from the camellia sinensis plant have caffeine, however the natural caffeine levels vary by type of tea (i.e. black tea, green tea, oolong tea, white tea, pu-erh tea, and purple tea).

Though not from the tea plant, mate also has caffeine.

Teas that do not have caffeine are herbal teas and rooibos teas.

Does green tea have caffeine?

Yes, green tea has caffeine as it comes from the camellia sinensis plant.

The naturally occurring levels of caffeine in green tea are lower than black tea and oolong tea.

The only exceptions to this are shade-grown green teas, Gyokuro and Kabusecha, which are higher in caffeine than green teas that are not shaded.

Which tea type has the most caffeine?

A cup of matcha tea tends to have the most caffeine per-cup than any other type of tea.

This is because the tea leaves have been ground up so that when you drink matcha you are consuming the entire leaf.

The runners-up for this title of most caffeinated tea are black tea and pu-erh tea, but keep in mind that is assuming average brew times and not shortened brew times.

How much caffeine is in a cup of tea vs coffee?

Assuming that you’re using average brew times, or the brew time listed on your tea, then you’re definitely going to get more caffeine from a cup of coffee.

Here’s a quick look at average caffeine content:

  • Black tea: between 14 and 70 milligrams of caffeine
  • Green tea: between 24 and 45 milligrams of caffeine
  • White tea: between 6 and 60 milligrams of caffeine
  • Coffee: between 95 and 200 milligrams of caffeine

Does steeping tea longer increase caffeine?

Yes, steeping tea longer increases the caffeine.

Does boiling tea destroy caffeine?

No, boiling tea does not destroy, remove, or lower caffeine levels in tea.

However, shorter steeping time does reduce the caffeine in your cup of tea.

Which has more caffeine coffee or green tea?

On average, a cup of coffee is going to have a higher caffeine content than a cup of green tea.

Here’s a comparison of the caffeine in coffee vs green tea:

  • Green tea: between 24 and 45 milligrams of caffeine
  • Coffee: between 95 and 200 milligrams of caffeine

Which has more caffeine black or green tea?

Black tea traditionally has more caffeine than green tea, but you can reduce the amount of caffeine in your black tea by steeping it for less time.

Here’s a comparison of the caffeine in black tea vs green tea:

  • Black tea: between 14 and 70 milligrams of caffeine
  • Green tea: between 24 and 45 milligrams of caffeine

Does caffeine in tea expire?

If you’re wondering does expired tea still have caffeine, then the answer is – Yes.

When a tea expires, that just means that it loses its flavor and gets stale.

But expired tea has no effect on the tea’s caffeine level.

Does tea raise blood pressure?

Yes, if you are sensitive to caffeine, then the caffeine content in your cup of tea may raise your blood pressure. (source)

Does tea lose its caffeine when refrigerated?

No, refrigerating your tea, or even making iced tea, does not change the amount of caffeine in the tea.

Will 2 tea bags double the caffeine?

Yes, doubling the tea bags in your cup of tea effectively doubles the caffeine amount. Assuming you are using identical tea bags.

The more tea bags you steep into a cup of water, the stronger the caffeine content is going to be.

Can you reduce caffeine in tea?

Yes, but only by reducing the brew time, or length of time that you let the tea steep in the water.

You can also use less tea, if you’re using loose leaf, in addition to shortening the steeping time.

As a result, there tends to be less caffeine in weak tea since it did not steep as long.

Which green tea has the least amount of caffeine?

Bancha green tea tends to have a lower amount of caffeine compared to Sencha green tea.

This is due to Bancha green teas using older leaves than Sencha green tea.

Which Japanese green tea has low caffeine?

Hojicha green tea is probably has the lowest caffeine level among Japanese green teas.

This is because Hojicha tea is roasted green tea and the process of roasting breaks down the chemical of caffeine.

Hojicha tea has roughly the same amount of caffeine as Sencha green tea.

Which has more caffeine Matcha or Sencha?

Matcha green tea has more caffeine than Sencha green tea.

How much caffeine if you reuse a tea bag?

Wondering if reusing a tea bag reduces caffeine?

Generally speaking, 65-75% of the total caffeine comes out in the first steeping, while 20-25% comes out in the second steeping.

So, if you are going to have more than one cup of tea anyways, then, yes, reusing the tea bag does reduce the total caffeine amount you’re consuming.

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