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Tea and Caffeine

There is no simple way of saying one tea type has more or less caffeine than another.

It is a falsehood to state that white tea is low in caffeine, whereas black tea is high in caffeine. In fact a silver needles white tea, picked in early spring will have considerably more caffeine than a late picked, low grade China black tea.


Here are some key factors that impact the level of caffeine in tea.

1. Picking season: Spring teas typically are higher in caffeine.

2. Picking grade: Tippy teas with a high proportion of buds in them will be higher in caffeine.

3. Clonal, large leaf Assamica (Camilla var. Assamica rather than the China Camilla var Sinensis) varietals typically has higher levels of caffeine.

4. Longer brewing times tend to release more caffeine than shorter brewing times as caffeine is water soluble.

In short, a course, leaf only, summer tea will be lower in caffeine than an early spring picked silver/golden needle tea. White tea is probably a good example of the extreme variation possible in one 'type' of tea. For example a Yin Zhen Silver Needle white tea will be significantly higher than a summer picked Shou Mei.

Interestingly, organic and wild teas tend to have lower caffeine level for a number of reasons, including no use of nitrogen fertilisers and better biodiversity. 

We will look to explore more about caffeine in future articles and have included some notes in a number of our Tea Facts for reference. For this post we wanted to keep the information as short and accessible as possible. Please let us know your thoughts and comments.

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