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Which Tea Has the Most Caffeine?

One of the reasons tea is so popular worldwide is its energizing effect, and a large part of this stimulant effect comes from caffeine. Caffeine is the most widely used psychoactive drug in the world. 

The type of tea with the most caffeine is black tea due to oxidation during processing and its relatively high brewing temperature. The caffeine levels in tea are affected by several factors including harvest time, growing practices, processing methods, steeping time, and temperature.  

If you want to drink tea for a caffeinated boost, there are some strong ones on the market. However, you might have to deal with some risks when you consume caffeine too. Keep reading to learn more about which tea has the most caffeine and how it can benefit you. 

Teas With the Most Caffeine

The tea varieties with the most caffeine are black tea and pu-erh tea. Here’s a breakdown of these types: 

  • Black tea: Black tea is one of the most common forms of tea and is formed from the leaves of the mature tea plant. These leaves are cured through a process known as oxidation, which gives black tea its distinctive deep and malty flavor.
  • Pu-erh tea: Pu-erh tea (also known as pu’er tea) is a specialized black tea from the Yunnan province of China fermented with beneficial bacteria. Along with high amounts of caffeine, pu-erh tea also contains microbial cultures that can help aid digestion. 

For a strong caffeinated tea, black tea is definitely the way to go. 

Which Tea Has More Caffeine Than Coffee?

If you’re looking for a tea that has more caffeine than coffee, you’re out of luck. Even the strongest black teas on the market only have about half of the caffeine present in black coffee. While an 8 ounce serving of coffee has around 95 milligrams of caffeine, the same serving of black tea only has around 47 milligrams. 

smiling girl with cup of caffeinated tea

What Is the Strongest Tea on the Market?

Black tea is the strongest tea if you’re judging teas based on their caffeine level. But which black tea should you pick if you want the most intense caffeine buzz possible from your morning cup? 

  • Assam: Assam tea is a rich, malty black tea that originates from the Assam region of India. The lowland microclimate of this region creates tea that has a distinctly malty and earth flavor compared to tea grown in other parts of Asia. 
  • Chai: Chai is an Indian preparation of black tea boiled with sugar, herbs, milk, and spices. Because of the high water temperature used in this preparation, the amount of caffeine in chai is increased. Chai tea also uses strong black tea as a base, such as Assam or Darjeeling tea. 

Going with one of these two tea varieties guarantees you a solid caffeine buzz. And a major advantage of drinking your caffeine in tea rather than coffee is that the drug’s effect comes on gradually. This effect makes you less likely to experience a crash later in the day when the caffeine wears off. 

Which Green Tea Has the Most Caffeine?

Green tea doesn’t have as much caffeine in it as black tea, but it still has enough caffeine to give you a decent boost of energy and focus. The green tea that has the most caffeine is matcha. Here are a few reasons why matcha is the most caffeinated green tea you can find: 

  • Growing conditions: Matcha is one of Japan’s many varieties of shade-grown teas. When grown in the shade, tea develops higher caffeine levels.
  • Preparation: Unlike other forms of green tea, which are consumed in whole leaf or partial leaf form, matcha tea is made of finely ground tea leaf powder. More caffeine in the tea can be infused with the water it’s steeped in when the tea is ground down. 

Even though matcha tea has a good amount of caffeine in it, it’s still a very mellow drink unlikely to give you the jitters. This is because in tea caffeine is combined with L-theanine and other chemicals that soften the effects of the caffeine without diminishing its positive benefits. 

Which Teas Have No Caffeine?

If you’re drinking tea for the caffeine, you’ll want to avoid any popular herbal teas such as ginger tea, lemon, or hibiscus tea. This is because most teas that aren’t from the plant Camellia sinensis don’t contain any caffeine at all.

Black, green, oolong, and white tea can all be decaffeinated through processing with chemical solvents or carbon dioxide. However, even after decaffeination, these teas will still contain a small amount of caffeine. 

two cups of tea with caffeine and a white teapot

Is Tea High in Caffeine?

According to the Mayo Clinic, a person’s maximum caffeine consumption daily should be around 400 milligrams, and a cup of tea contains around 47 milligrams. You can easily drink 3-4 cups of tea in a day without getting close to the limit of caffeine you should be drinking. 

Tea has plenty of caffeine to help energize you and help you concentrate. It doesn’t really contain enough caffeine to induce the negative side effects and health risks associated with the drug in large doses. 

Health Risks of Drinking Caffeine in Tea

If you only drink the recommended amount of tea a day (3-4 cups maximum) you shouldn’t have to worry about any kind of side effects or health risks from drinking caffeinated tea. 

On the contrary, the caffeine in tea is one of the active ingredients that makes the drink so healthy. Even though caffeine can be helpful, it may be harmful in excessive amounts. 

Here are some of the issues you may run into by consuming large amounts of caffeine in tea: 

  • Insomnia: Drinking too much caffeine right before bed may interrupt your sleep cycle or make it difficult to fall asleep.
  • Restlessness/irritability: Excess caffeine can agitate your nerves and cause irritability, making you more likely to lash out at others aggressively or feel jittery.
  • Nausea: Too much caffeine can make you sick to your stomach or give you indigestion. Caffeine has a stimulating effect on the GI tract, and too much of it can upset your digestive system. 

These are just the minimal risks of drinking too much caffeine. While it’s difficult to drink enough tea to put yourself in danger of a serious caffeine overdose, an overdose on caffeine can potentially be lethal since fatally high doses can eventually lead to hallucinations, respiratory distress, seizures, arrhythmia, and death. 

The best way to avoid a caffeine overdose while drinking tea is to drink a moderate amount. This way you can still benefit from the tea’s caffeine without getting ill. Drinking tea gradually throughout the day and staying hydrated can also help minimize or eliminate the negative side effects of the caffeine you consume. 

Caffeine in Tea is a Useful Tool

Many people may reach for a cup of coffee or soda to get their caffeine fix, but the caffeine in tea is easier on your body. Getting your daily caffeine fix from tea also ensures you’ll consume all of the other beneficial vitamins, minerals, and botanical chemicals that tea has to offer. 

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