Caffeine: the drug of choice for most people around the world…well I’m actually not sure caffeine would be considered a drug…but it works to wake us up in the morning and keep many of us going all day. Life is demanding and we want to be alert and awake for most of the day. With tea, the caffeine is accompanied by some other compounds—L-theanine and theophylline that help mitigate the often jittery effect of caffeine. Theabromine is a smooth muscle relaxer and L-theanine is a brain-calming amino acid.
Generally, a steeped cup of black tea has one third the caffeine of the same size cup of brewed coffee. Green, oolong, white and pu’erh teas also have caffeine—they all come from the same plant species as black tea and the tea plant, Camellia sinensis has caffeine. These other varieties ( except for pu’erh) are typically steeped at cooler temperatures and for shorter periods of time and they may have less caffeine in the cup because of this. No matter what the media may report, white, green, oolong, black and pu’erh teas all have caffeine.
And what is decaf tea? It is true tea that has been put through a process to remove most of the caffeine (5% still remains) and removes much of the other goodness in tea as well. Non-caffeinated “teas” such as rooibos, chamomile, peppermint, etc. are not true teas: they don’t come from the original tea plant. These are caffeine-free because their origin plant never had caffeine to begin with.
I wouldn’t be without my wake-up tea in the morning.