Towards the end of last year we commissioned antioxidant and caffeine tests by a laboratory on a range of our teas to find out conclusively whether the commonly-held beliefs on the caffeine levels contained in tea are accurate.
The results of the tests were very illuminating and have led us to reassess our approach to labelling caffeine levels on our teas. What the tests show is that it is difficult to make generalisations about the caffeine levels found in the different categories of tea, which are commonly made by tea companies.
Following these results, we will no longer be labelling our teas as low, moderate or high in caffeine, unless we have tested the specific batch of tea on sale.
Which teas contain caffeine?
All teas contain caffeine, but at moderate levels. The only products we stock that do not contain any caffeine are herbal infusions, with the exception of caffeine containing infusions like Mate. Herbal infusions are not tea, they are whole dried herbs, flowers or fruits.
It is important to note that decaffeinated tea and coffee still contains small
amounts of caffeine.
More so, in investigating the caffeine levels of different ranges of tea, we came to understand that these can vary quite dramatically from season to season, and crop to crop, even within the same tea. With the moderate level of caffeine presented in tea, however, this isn't too large a concern unless you're looking to drastically cut your consumption.
All caffeine-levels below therefore are indicative, but not absolute, serving as a guide and comparison in your beverages.
The results of our tests were as follows. The figures are shown in mg/serving (infusion).
Gunpowder Supreme Green Tea
Big Red Robe Supreme Oolong Tea
Assam Breakfast Black Tea
Silver Needle White Tea
Yellow Gold Oolong Tea
Dragon Well Supreme Green Tea
White Peony White Tea
Yunnan Gold Black Tea
To put these results in context, please see below table for comparison with other caffeine containing beverages:
Can of Coke
Average Black Tea Teabag
Is caffeine consumption harmful?
The recommended maximum daily intake of caffeine is 400mg, or 300mg for pregnant women. Drinking upto 300mg of caffeine a day poses no health risk for normal, healthy individuals. In order to exceed the recommended daily intake, you would need to drink 8 cups or more of tea a day.
While research into all the effects of caffeine consumption on health is ongoing, it is possible to dispel the negative perception of tea as a diuretic, when consumed within the recommended daily intake. When consumed within the recommended daily intake, tea has been found to be hydrating; at this level of consumption, there is not enough caffeine in tea to cause a diuretic effect.
Caffeine is often touted as a ‘toxin’. We believe that it is important to question what this label means in the context of tea drinking, and if there is any evidence to support it. This is especially important considering the very strong evidence which shows that tea is a good source of antioxidants which neutralise the effects of free-radicals.
Tea contains the amino acid 'L-theanine' that works with caffeine to uplift and relax the body and the antioxidants in tea are shown to slow the absorption of caffeine, rewarding you with a more sustained feeling of alertness without the sudden crash that comes with coffee.
If you are really looking to cut down on caffeine, then we recommend drinking either our herbal infusions, which are caffeine-free. Alternatively, try our decaffeinated Ceylon black tea, which still contains minimal amounts of caffeine.
If you are concerned, we suggest you discuss any matters related to your diet and tea and caffeine consumption with your doctor.
*The contents of this article has been checked for accuracy by a qualified nutritional scientist