We already know that tea, like coffee, contains a certain amount of caffeine. And just like coffee, the amount of caffeine in tea can vary greatly depending on the preparation and type of tea we choose.
The first thing to clarify, because many people still get confused, is that caffeine and theine are exactly the same molecule and have the same effect. They are simply called one way or the other depending on the plant in which they are found. In this guide you can learn more about this topic: Is theine the same as caffeine?
So where does the belief that tea is “milder” than coffee come from? Simply because, due to the way each drink is prepared, there is less theine in a cup of tea than in a cup of normal espresso coffee.
As we say, if we want to know how much theine the tea has, we should first look at the origin of the plant. For example, teas from China tend to come from older trees and therefore have less caffeine. And then we must also be clear that the figures given in this article are only guidelines: the amount of theine in the tea will vary according to the way it is prepared, the infusion time, and so on.
For our references, we will always consider the contents of a cup of tea (approximately 0.25 litres). So if you need to know approximately how much theine is in a cup of tea, take a look at the following sections:
- 1 How much theine is in black tea?
- 2 How much theine is in Earl Grey tea?
- 3 How much theine is in red tea?
- 4 How much theine is in green tea?
- 5 How much theine is in matcha tea?
- 6 How much theine is in chai tea?
- 7 How much theine is in Rooibos tea?
- 8 How much theine does chamomile tea contain?
- 9 How much theine is in white tea?
- 10 How much theine is in Oolong or blue tea?
How much theine is in black tea?
All English teas (such as English Breakfast, Earl Grey and the like) are designed as breakfast teas. Therefore, they have to be strong to start the day well, and come from blends or mixtures with a high presence of theine.
Whatever the variety, a black tea will always be a high theine tea. On average, a 0.25 litre cup of tea will contain around 35-40 milligrams of theine (this amount can be higher or lower depending on the variety of tea).
How much theine is in Earl Grey tea?
As mentioned above, Earl Grey falls into the category of black teas, and therefore the theine content of Earl Grey is always of a moderate to high level. It also depends on the exact blend of leaves used to make this variety.
How much theine is in red tea?
Red tea, along with white tea, is one of the lowest theine teas. It may have slightly more or slightly less than white tea, depending on the particular variety of red tea we are considering, but in any case it will always be a small or moderate amount. Around 30 mg per cup.
The post-oxidation fermentation that red teas undergo does not affect the presence of theine at all… on the contrary, it helps to reduce it.
How much theine is in green tea?
We already know that green teas are not oxidised and are low in theine. On average, a cup will contain around 20 mg of theine. The theine in yellow teas can also be equated to that of green tea.
How much theine is in matcha tea?
Interestingly, matcha tea is a high theine tea. At first you might think otherwise (as it is a green tea), but the fact is that matcha tea has up to twice as much theine as normal green tea.
Surprised? Well, the reason is very simple: matcha tea, as you know, is made by grinding or crushing the whole leaves of the tea plant (i.e. without discarding the stems), so the presence of theine in the same amount of tea is much higher.
How much theine is in chai tea?
Chai tea is a black tea, but mixed with various spices and infused in a somewhat different way to the rest (with milk, not just water), so the amount of theine has nothing to do with that of a normal black tea.
We could place it in the range of 20-25 mg per cup… which leads us to conclude that chai tea has a low amount of theine.
How much theine is in Rooibos tea?
Good news: Rooibos does not actually come from the tea tree (it is not really a tea, in the strict sense of the term), so Rooibos tea does not contain theine.
How much theine does chamomile tea contain?
This is the same as with Rooibos. Chamomile is not actually a tea, but it is brewed or infused in the same way, and therefore many people talk about “chamomile tea” as if it were a normal tea.
No, chamomile tea has no theine, not least because it is not even a tea. In fact, its function is purely relaxing, not stimulating.
How much theine is in white tea?
White tea, generically speaking, is a variety of tea that does not undergo any processing (apart from drying the leaves). Therefore, it undergoes little oxidation and consequently the amount of theine in white tea is very low.
The amount of theine in white tea is around 15-25 milligrams per cup, similar to that of green tea and therefore the low theine group of teas. In general, white tea tends to have less theine than green tea.
How much theine is in Oolong or blue tea?
This is the most difficult question to answer, because Oolong teas are semi-oxidised, and can have widely varying levels of oxidation.
If it is slightly oxidised, it will have less caffeine, but if it is a highly oxidised blue tea (without being black), the amount of theine in this Oolong tea can be high. We could place its range between 15 and 55 mg of theine per cup… as we say, very variable and difficult to classify.