Decaffeinated tea is a popular alternative for tea drinkers who don’t want that extra caffeine content. While tea contains far less caffeine than a cup of coffee, it is still present. A moderate amount of caffeine each day is perfectly safe, too much can be a bad thing though. The general rule is if you consume between 200 and 300 milligrams of caffeine each day you are safe, surpassing this can have negative side effects.
To put it into terms that are easier to understand, the average 8 oz cup of coffee contains about 140 milligrams of caffeine, an 8 oz cup of green tea brewed correctly will have 20 or less milligrams.
Two Popular Decaffeinating Techniques
Ethyl Acetate is the most commonly used technique for decaffeinating tea, this is a chemical solvent that extracts the caffeine from the tea leaf. It does leave a residue on the tea leaf, the amount of which is considered “safe” to consume by humans. The unknown effects of this over a long period of time and general un-natural nature of it are a couple reasons to steer clear of tea’s decaffeinated using this method. This residue left on the decaffeinated green tea leaf can cause flavor contamination, and its one more chemical going into your body. If this wasn’t enough of a reason to avoid this technique, green tea polyphenol levels drop by about two thirds after treated with Ethyl Acetate. This is not the ideal method of decaffeinating your tea, avoid products that use this method whenever possible.
The more natural but less popular option is tea decaffeinated using CO2. This process involves treating the leaves with a water and CO2 effervescence. A natural and harmless way to remove caffeine from the plant, more importantly it maintains almost all of the green tea’s polyphenol content. Making it the ideal way to decaffeinate tea, no negative side effects or harmful chemicals, while maintaining the natural antioxidant properties in the tea. Source your decaffeinated tea carefully and choose only tea’s that have been decaffeinated using this method.
How to Decaffeinate your own Tea at Home!
Instead of digging through all the different tea’s out there trying to source one that is not only naturally decaffeinated, but one decaffeinated using the CO2 method, simply purchase a high quality organic loose tea and remove some of the caffeine yourself.
To decaffeinate green tea at home simply immerse the leaves in hot water (the same temperature you would use to brew) and let it sit for about 20-30 seconds. Pour this brew out and then proceed to fill your cup and steep your tea.
This process doesn’t eliminate all the caffeine, but considering green tea’s naturally low content and removing a majority of what it does have, even those who are sensitive to caffeine’s effects should have no issue with this brew. It doesn’t only work with green tea either, try it with white tea, black tea or oolong tea!
Want to Avoid Caffeine All Together?
Try replacing your cup of green tea with a cup of herbal tea. Rooibos is another popular option for a completely caffeine free brew, similar to black to in flavor and aroma. Neither of these options will provide the Polyphenol content of a cup of green tea, most herbal tea’s have health benefits all their own. Rooibos has a unique antioxidant known as SOD, exclusive to this delicious tea!