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Tea and Caffeine

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It’s been said that you’re either a coffee drinker or a tea drinker, and each comes with its own unique culture. But when it comes to caffeine, are the two really that different?
 
Whether you’re considering lowering your caffeine intake, swapping black coffee for black tea every now and then or just curious about caffeine, we’re here to help.

 

What exactly is caffeine?

Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant that increases activity in your brain, increasing focus, alertness and energy. The most well-known sources of caffeine are coffee, chocolate and (increasingly) energy drinks.
 
Too much caffeine can contribute to headaches, anxiety and negatively impact sleep quality. Not everyone absorbs caffeine in the same way, though. For some, even a little caffeine can make them jittery. Others can down a triple shot latte and then have a nap.

 

Coffee vs tea

The caffeine content of coffee can be anywhere from 100 to 170mg for instant coffee and 240 to 720mg for espresso. By comparison, tea contains anywhere from 0mg for herbal teas, to 60mg for strong black teas.
 Tea and Caffeine Chart
 
So, it’s clear that coffee has a lot more caffeine than tea, but there’s more to the story. You see, tea has a couple of secret weapons: amino acids and water.
 
Sure, coffee has water too, but caffeine tends to cancel out a lot of hydrating benefits of that water. Tea, on the other hand, is lighter and provides more overall hydration.
 
Tea also contains an amino acid called L-theanine which regulates caffeine absorption, giving you a more gentle and sustained release of energy. It can also have a calming effect. That’s right, one cup of tea can hydrate, provide a gentle caffeine boost and bring you a sense of calm all at once.
 
Did you know?
Tea leaves have been used to purify water since their discovery 5,000 years ago.

 

Other sources of caffeine

Energy drinks

Unlike tea (which is a moderate energy providing drink), energy drinks are formulated to give you a big hit of caffeine (and often sugar or artificial sweeteners). The problem with a big, fast boost like this is that it’s usually followed by a big, fast crash.

 

Guarana

Guarana is one of nature’s caffeine sources. While it’s most well known for its use in energy drinks, it’s also fabulous when paired with tea. Tea is a great carrier of guarana because it balances the big energy boost with the slow-release energy of L-theanine.

 

Yerba Mate

Pronounced mah-tay, this South American energy drink is a way of life, and a favourite of the Argentinian football team. Mate is similar to tea but with a very high caffeine content.

 

Guaysa


A smoother, more chocolatey cousin of mate, this high-caffeine tea made from the leaves of the Ilex Guaysa plant is relatively new to those of us outside the Amazon, where it’s been enjoyed for countless centuries.
 
Did you know?
A bundle of guaysa leaves were found in the tomb of a medicine man in the Bolivian Andes and are estimated to be 1,500 years old.

 

Top 3 tea blends for coffee drinkers

Thinking about introducing tea to your daily ritual but don’t know where to start? We can help. Here are three easy ways to dip your toes into the world of tea.

 

Start with an Extra Strong English Breakfast. When we say strong, we don’t mean it’s high in caffeine, just that this black tea is strong on the palette, with a full body and lots of tannins to give you the colour and the briskness that you enjoy.

 

Try a Green Tea with Guarana, both delightfully flavoursome blends with that caffeine boost that you love. They’re great chilled on hot summer days.

 

Lastly, if you’re committed to going cold turkey on caffeine, try a decaf English Breakfast for a delicious, hydrating, full-body black tea.