Does tea have more caffeine than coffee?
We all love drinking our regular cups of freshly brewed tea or coffee. Which beverage we choose to drink solely depends on our personal liking.
The tea versus coffee debate, however, has been continuing for ages. While some say that tea is a healthier alternative to coffee, others will vouch for coffee.
The caffeine content in both tea and coffee has also called for a lot of debate. Some say that tea has lower caffeine content, while others are of the view that tea has more caffeine than coffee.
Now, you might be wondering; what really the truth is?
Does tea really contain more caffeine than coffee or is it the other way round?
Don’t worry! We are here to clear all the confusion surrounding this age old question.
Dry tea leaves do have higher caffeine content when compared to coffee beans. However, the picture changes when the beverages are brewed.
A standard cup of brewed tea has lesser caffeine when compared to a cup of coffee. The caffeine content of tea however also depends on several other factors.
Let us understand this in detail.
What is caffeine?
Caffeine is a naturally occurring compound found in the leaves of the Camellia Sinesis plant (from which tea is made) and in the beans of coffee Arabica and coffee Robusta.
It is also a natural pesticide which keeps pests at bay.
Well, it gets even better.
It also acts as a natural stimulant. It works in the human body by stimulating the brain and the central nervous system.
Hence, it makes one feel energetic and fresh and keeps tiredness at bay.
Which contains more caffeine – a cup of tea or coffee?
While caffeine is present in both tea and coffee, the caffeine content varies greatly in both.
Dry tea leaves will contain more caffeine when measured alongside an identical amount of coffee beans. Things, however, change once the beverages are brewed.
Caffeine content in brewed tea
The caffeine content in tea becomes much lesser after brewing. This is because we use lesser quantity of tea for making a cup when compared to coffee.
While we use 2 grams of tea for an eight-ounce cup, we will make an eight-ounce cup of coffee using around 10 grams of coffee. The tea leaves are also diluted significantly during the brewing process.
Tea is also brewed at a lower temperature and steeped for a lesser time when compared to coffee. Even black tea, brewed at a higher temperature and steeped for a slightly longer period of time is less strong than coffee.
Want to know the best part?
Tea is also very rich in antioxidants. This slows down the process of absorption of caffeine in the body. Hence the caffeine levels increase very gradually in the system making you feel alert and energetic for longer periods of time.
And here’s the kicker.
The caffeine present in brewed tea works with L – theanine and helps considerably in relaxing the mind and reducing stress levels.
Now, you might be wondering what this L- theanine is?
Well, it is an amino acid found only in tea leaves.
Caffeine content in brewed coffee
Brewed coffee has much higher caffeine content than brewed tea.
We use a larger quantity of coffee to prepare a cup. Coffee is also brewed at a higher temperature when compared to tea. Hence a lot more caffeine is extracted from coffee during the brewing process.
Now, if you still aren’t convinced, you can try out something simple.
If you compare a cup of brewed black coffee to a cup of brewed black tea, you will notice the difference immediately.
You will be able to see through the cup of tea, but you will not be able to see through the cup of coffee.
This is because the cup of coffee has much higher caffeine content and is more concentrated.
Caffeine content varies greatly in both tea and coffee
We now know that brewed tea has lesser caffeine than brewed coffee. However, the caffeine content in the different kinds of tea and coffee varies greatly.
Well, this is crazy; but caffeine levels vary greatly in the two species of the coffee plant.
The beans of Coffee Robusta have almost twice the amount of caffeine when compared to the beans of coffee Arabica.
Similarly, the caffeine levels of the different kinds of tea also vary greatly.
While black tea has much higher caffeine content, both green and white teas have much lower levels of caffeine.
Tea bags, on the other hand, have much higher caffeine content since they consist of broken tea leaves which are high in caffeine.
Factors affecting caffeine content of different kinds of teas
The caffeine content in different kinds of tea depends on a number of factors.
- The caffeine content in tea depends on the temperature at which it is brewed and the steeping time. If the tea is brewed at a higher temperature and steeped for a longer period of time then the caffeine content in that cup will be higher.
- The method of growing tea, the location of the tea leaves on the plant and the type of tea leaves also affect its caffeine content considerably.
- The time of picking the tea leaves also affects the caffeine levels.
- The treatment which the tea leaves undergo after picking also affects the caffeine levels.
You must have got a clear understanding about the caffeine content of both tea and coffee.
Then, what’s the bottom line?
The brewed tea has lesser caffeine than brewed coffee. However, drinking either tea or coffee in moderation can actually be beneficial for your health.
Your daily intake of tea or coffee should not exceed 500 mg. The caffeine will keep you fresh and energetic. Also, the antioxidants present in tea and coffee have proven health benefits.
So then here’s the deal.
Drink your cup of tea or coffee in moderation and enjoy its health benefits.