Whether you’re trying to find a replacement for your morning coffee or just looking for an extra jolt, tea can often be a great substitute. I love coffee and drink it a few times a week, and our friends over at CoffeeBitz love it too… And for the sake of comparison, a cup of coffee has right around 100mg of caffeine. But which tea has the most caffeine to help kickstart your day?
Tea comes in a very wide variety of types, so some teas have more caffeine than others. On the same note some have next to no caffeine so if a wake-up call is what you’re looking for you might want to try something else.
What Is Caffeine?
Caffeine is a substance that is naturally found in the fruits and leaves of certain plants. It’s well known as a primary ingredient in coffees, teas, energy drinks, and medications such as headache pills and cough syrup.
Caffeine is a stimulant which helps to increase alertness by increasing brain activity and nervous system activity. It also helps to circulate the chemicals around the body and has been linked to the production of adrenaline. However, if you have too much caffeine, it can make you feel anxious and sleepless, and if you have a heart condition, it’s also not recommended.
Which tea has the most caffeine?
With so many types of tea out there with different caffeine levels, we thought we’d look at a variety of teas that you can easily find anywhere. Remember, when drinking caffeinated tea that you should not have too much!
- Yerba Mate – 85mg per cup
- Silver Needle White Tea – 75mg per cup
- Matcha – 70mg per cup
- Black Tea – 48mg per cup
- Green Tea – 40 mg per cup
- And coffee, with about 100mg, give or take.
Here we’re going to cover 5 types of high caffeine teas that all contain a good amount of caffeine, as well as listing some others that are low on the caffeine scale. Generally, any cup of tea made with the traditional tea plant is bound to contain caffeine unless of course, they are decaffeinated. As well as covering the different types of tea with caffeine, we’ve also included some Amazon links to our favorites, so that you can try them out for yourself. Alright, here we go!
High Caffeine Teas
Sitting at around 48 milligrams of caffeine per cup, Black Tea is probably the most common type of tea you’ll find with a high amount of caffeine. It’s used in a lot of varieties of teas that are known for their caffeine content such as English Breakfast tea. Black Tea is typically stronger in flavor and potency than other common tea types such as White, Green, or Oolong.
We recommend Taylors of Harrogate Yorkshire Red as a great, English breakfast black tea.
At about 70mg of caffeine, Matcha is among the high caffeine teas. It’s created by mashing green tea leaves which causes it to be somewhat more condensed and potent than regular green tea. This tea comes in a large range of quality, but a typical cup of Ceremonial Matcha can be a great healthy substitute for your morning coffee.
We recommend Ito En Matcha Green Tea as a delicious and affordable choice for your cup of tea.
Out of the most common varieties of tea, the best green tea is typically only behind black tea for caffeine content. At anywhere from 30-45 milligrams of caffeine in a cup, it’s sure to pack a punch. Unlike black tea, green tea is made from unfermented leaves, leaving a much lighter color and flavor.
We recommend Ito En Matcha Green Tea as a delicious and affordable choice for a great cup of tea.
Silver Needle China White Tea
This high caffeine tea is one of the most potent on the list. Although most varieties of white tea don’t have that much caffeine, this specific type has around 75 milligrams of caffeine per cup. This tea is created through much younger tea buds, avoiding all the stems and creating a much more powerful tea. White Peony tea is another white tea with moderate caffeine levels.
Our recommendation: Twinings of London Jasmine Tea for a full-bodied and tasty choice.
Coming in at the strongest on the list, Yerba Mate has about 85 milligrams of caffeine in a cup. Which is close to that of a regular cup of coffee. So, if you’re looking for something to get your day moving this might be the best choice. Largely popular in South American countries, this tea is not made from the traditional tea plant, instead it’s made from the leaves of the South American holly tree. It’s long been praised for its healthy vitamin content and ability to provide a less jittery caffeine buzz.
We recommend Yerba Mate Cruz De Malta as a delicious and affordable choice.
Teas That Don’t Have So Much Caffeine
If you’re wondering which teas to avoid if your plan is to get more quick energy there is a number that contains little to no caffeine such as Herbal, Rooibos, or any decaf varieties. Other teas with particularly low caffeine content are Pu-erh and most varieties of White Tea and some green tea varieties.
So now that you know which tea has the most caffeine you’re ready to get your day going. Although this guide will serve you well for general tea caffeine levels, you should always check the specific type of tea to be sure because some teas like the Silver Needle mentioned above contain much more caffeine than other teas within the same family.
A Quick Caffeine FAQ
What is oxidation?
Oxidation is a series of chemical reactions that affect the overall caffeine levels in tea, as well as the taste and the aroma. Oxidation is achieved by rolling the tea leaves and producing tiny cracks, which reacts the oxygen with the enzymes already contained. The tea with the most caffeine will be the most oxidized and the darkest, while lighter teas will have less caffeine and color.
Does steeping time affect caffeine levels?
Black tea generally has the most caffeine, but the way you steep your drink will also affect caffeine levels. If you use more tea leaves with a higher temperature and brewing time, the overall caffeine levels will be higher.
Does the tea grade affect caffeine levels?
Tea grades refer to the condition of the tea leaves. For instance, you have whole leaves and broken leaves, as well as dusted ones and more. Generally, if the leaves are already broken, they will deposit more caffeine into your drink. Tea bags are a good example of this, as these are very broken leaves. However, loose leaf tea will generally have a stronger flavor and aroma.
Do powdered teas contain more caffeine?
The short answer is yes! The teas with the most caffeine are generally in a powdered form, such as Matcha tea – which can have double the caffeine levels of normal green tea. This is because Matcha tea is made from entire tea leaves which have been ground down as a whole.
Does the production method of tea affect caffeine levels?
No matter how long you brew your team, the caffeine levels are also affected by where and how the tea leaves are grown. Leaves grown in the shade (such as Matcha) contain higher caffeine levels because of how the chlorophyll and amino acids change depending on light availability.
What are the negative effects of caffeine?
The effects of caffeine are usually felt somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes after ingesting. While there are some benefits to having caffeine, if you do have too much, you may experience the following effects. If they persist after a few days of stopping your caffeine ingestion, please see a doctor.
- A rise in body temperature and frequent urination
- Anxiety and irritability
- Trembling hands
- Rapid heartbeat (palpitations)
- Restlessness and excitability
- Energy followed by deep lethargy
- Dizziness and headaches
A Whole World Of Caffeine Awaits
As long as you keep things moderate, the caffeine content of your tea can be a very good thing. Whether you like black teas, green teas, white teas, or even coffee, you can enjoy caffeinated drinks that will boost your energy levels and make you feel great. The best part of all? There are so many different varieties of tea out there, that you’re sure to find one that’s just right for you. Enjoy!