Caffeine - most people's favorite pick-me-up. Most people think of coffee and rarely of tea when they hear caffeine. Black tea also contains caffeine. Even more than you think.
In this article, we explain how much caffeine is in black tea and how it affects your body. In addition, we will explain how you can best get the caffeine out of your black tea and what alternatives there are to this drink.
the essentials in brief
- The tea plant Camellia sinensis naturally contains caffeine in its leaves. That means every black and green tea contains caffeine.
- The caffeine content in black tea varies depending on the variety. And can range from 30 - 90 mg per cup.
- Drinking tea has a positive effect on your health. It is believed that tea drinkers have a healthier lifestyle.
Black tea and caffeine: what you should know
Black tea is now one of the most popular types of tea in Germany too. In a statistic from 2017, black tea is in third place after fruit tea and herbal tea. Men prefer it more than women (1).
There are different types of black tea. These include Assam, Darjeeling, Ceylon, English teas and East Frisian tea. Each variety has its own taste. The difference between these species lies in the growing area and in the production.
How bad is caffeine?
Caffeine is found in some drinks, even tea. People take caffeine to increase alertness and performance and to reduce pain. You should note that caffeine combined with taurine has a stimulating effect and can be very dangerous for your circulation in larger quantities.
Scientists have found that caffeine in tea does not actually negatively affect human health. They even came to the conclusion that it is good to eat a certain amount a day. 6 mg of caffeine per 1 kg of body weight. However, women of reproductive age and children are more at risk. You should consume caffeine in moderation. These women should consume a maximum of 4.6 mg of caffeine per 1 kg of body weight and children, if necessary, only 2.5 mg per 1 kg of body weight (2).
Does black tea contain caffeine?
Yes, black tea contains caffeine. The tea plant is called Camellia sinensis and its leaves already show caffeine before processing. The caffeine content varies depending on the variety. And can range from 30-90mg for a 250ml cup. If you want a tea with a lot of caffeine, you should use the Darjeeling variety.
The only difference between loose tea and tea bags is the size of the tea leaves.
It doesn't matter whether you buy black tea loose or as a tea bag, the quality and caffeine content remain the same. In order not to consume too much caffeine, it is recommended not to drink more than 6 cups of tea a day. You should not take more than the 400 mg mentioned above, as this can have a negative effect on your health .
How does the caffeine get into black tea?
Since the plant naturally contains caffeine, it is not artificially caffeinated. The leaves are picked on tea plantations and processed depending on the variety. This also applies to green and white tea.
A study found that if you want to use tea as a source of caffeine, then you need to use green, black, and white tea. No caffeine can be detected in herbal tea. Decaffeinated teas contain less than 12 mg of caffeine per cup. Depending on the steeping time and cup size, the caffeine content can be influenced. The different steeping times used in the study were 1, 3 and 5 minutes. The result was that a longer steeping time increased the caffeine in the tea. Also, a larger amount in the same bag produces more caffeine (3).
Most assume that tea bags are filled with tea waste. But that's not correct. The tea and quality are the same, only tea bags contain smaller tea leaves than loose tea. (Image source: Rudy and Peter Skitterians / Pixabay)
After 2 - 3 minutes, the caffeine is released from the tea leaves and has completely combined with the water. However, the tannins and tannins in the tea take longer to dissolve. The tannins bind the caffeine in the tea. This is what makes the caffeine content in black tea vary. If the tea steeps for more than 5 minutes, the tannins make the tea bitter (4).
How does black tea with caffeine work?
Black tea is now very popular in Germany. According to a statistic, herbal and fruit tea was still the most produced in 2019. At 28,519 tons, these varieties are ahead of green and black tea. This has a production volume of 26,474 tons (5).
After about 20-45 minutes, the caffeine enters your bloodstream. It takes a little longer for non-smokers than for smokers. The caffeine stays there for 3 - 6 hours, depending on the amount and frequency.
There are always studies that report a positive effect of black tea on health. Black tea is also said to be good for the vessel walls. As a result, the muscles relax. This reduces blood pressure and cardiovascular disease can decrease between 7-10 percent (6).
What is the difference between theine and caffeine?
You may have heard someone say that tea contains theine. That was also true in the past. Various studies have now found that theine and caffeine are identical.
|Caffeine is also found in other plant species||Theine, that's what the caffeine in tea used to be called|
|Caffeine is not only found in coffee, but also in other drinks||Theine and caffeine have different effects|
|Coffee Caffeine acts faster but lasts for a short time||Theine acts slower and lasts longer|
So caffeine and theine are the same substance. Only through the different types of plants, the caffeine content and the processing do they affect your body differently. Coffee Caffeine is stronger than theine because you need fewer tea leaves than coffee beans to make a cup of tea.
How dangerous is the caffeine in black tea?
Another study from France was able to confirm that people who drink tea regularly had a lower mortality rate. Caffeine consumption has no effect on the death rate from heart problems. What was also exciting about the survey was that the people who drank more than four cups of tea a day were in better health. They had lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Aside from that, they exercised more and smoked less than the non-tea tankers (7).
Black tea leaves contain many polyphenols , amino acids and alkaloids. These can have a positive effect on health. Due to its antioxidant properties, the tea prevents and cures the development of various types of cancer. However, this effect in relation to humans needs to be further researched (8).
Who can drink black tea with caffeine?
What you've learned so far is that the caffeine in black tea doesn't have any serious side effects. But in a certain way it is also health-promoting. The amount of caffeine determines whether the tea is good for a person or not. So, black tea is suitable for all those people who need caffeine but don't like coffee. You can also alternate drinking coffee and black tea.
There are still a few exceptions. If you are pregnant, you should only drink black tea in moderation. It's best to avoid it altogether, as the caffeine won't affect you that much. But can also affect your fetus. And that can lead to bigger consequences.
However, you should not give children black tea. Small amounts can lead to tachycardia, abdominal cramps and sleep disorders. A guideline that children should not consume caffeine does not exist in Germany so far. Just a recommendation to avoid (9).
What alternatives are there to black tea with caffeine?
Black tea isn't the only drink that contains caffeine. For example, if you don't like black tea or you're looking for a caffeine alternative, you have the choice between other drinks. However, the effects of caffeine can vary. In the following table we have listed a few alternatives and their effects.
- Matcha is a harder pick-me-up that affects your metabolism, keeping you fitter for longer.
- Green and white tea also contain caffeine. The caffeine in these teas has the same effect as black tea.
- Mocca has the most caffeine and gets your circulation into shape.
- Coffee makes your blood pressure rise faster. This makes it work faster than black tea. However, its effect also wears off faster.
- You can also use soft drinks such as cola or energy drinks as an alternative to black tea. Keep in mind that these drinks are high in sugar, which will make you hit bottom faster. At the same time you are eating empty calories. The caffeine content of black tea is also higher.
- You can take caffeine pills if you don't want to drink tea or coffee. Just watch out for the dosage here and don't overdo it. If your body isn't used to caffeine yet.
If you want to drink black tea but want to avoid the caffeine, you can use the decaffeinated version. With this method, the tea leaf is first moistened. The caffeine is then isolated using carbon dioxide. This method is also used for decaffeinated green tea (4).
Black tea is now part of the everyday life of many people. There are different varieties of him. And each variety has its own caffeine content. You can also influence this somewhat depending on the brewing time and tannins. Make sure you don't exceed the recommended daily amount of about 6 cups a day. A few cups of black tea daily will boost your health . So that you don't give your body too much caffeine.
The caffeine is a gradual process. Your blood pressure rises more slowly than with coffee. As a result, you are more efficient and alert for longer. It doesn't matter whether you buy your tea practically in a bag or prefer to buy it loose. The quality is the same. However, it is better if you buy fair trade tea. If you don't feel like black tea but still need caffeine, there are various alternatives.
Statista.de: What kind of tea do you usually drink at home?, 2017. Source
Gonzalez de Mejia E, Ramirez-Mares MV. Impact of caffeine and coffee on our health. Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2014 Oct;25(10):489-92. doi: 10.1016 sources
Jenna M Chin, Michele L Merves, Bruce A Goldberg, Angela Sampson-Cone and Edward J Cone, Caffeine Content od Brewed Teas, Journal of Analytical Toxicology, 2008, Vol 32 Source
Paul-schrader.de: Black tea - What you need to know about the classic, 2018. Source
Statista.de: Production of tea products in Germany by product group from 2008 to 2019, 2020. Source
Aponet.de: Black tea lowers blood pressure, 2012. Source
Aerzteblatt.de: Study finds no effect of coffee and tea on cardiac mortality, 2014. Source
Brahma N. Singh, Prateeksha, AKS Rawat, RM Bhagat & B. R Singh, Black tea: Phytochemicals, cancer chemoprevention, and clinical studies, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 2017, Volume 57, Issue 7, Pages 1394-1410, DOI: 10.1080. Source
Kinderarzte-im-netz.de: Caffeinated drinks are not for children, 2010. Source