Many people use caffeine to help them wake up or stay alert and focused throughout the day. In fact, caffeine is one of the most-consumed dietary ingredients worldwide, with a good 80% of the population consuming at least one-caffeinated product daily.
In this article, we cover teas that have the highest caffeine content and their benefits. We also cover safe dosages and the side effects of caffeine you need to be aware of. We'll also tell you which tea has the highest caffeine content out of all the teas.
Which Tea Has the Most Caffeine? Top High-Caffeine Teas
Black tea stands apart from the rest when it comes to caffeine content. Cup for cup, you'll get more caffeine in your black tea brew followed by green, oolong, and then white teas. With that said, let's look at each tea type with the highest caffeine content that can benefit you when taken within the recommended doses:
Green Tea (Including Matcha)
Research suggests that green tea leaves have a lot of healthy bioactive compounds like antioxidants, polyphenols, and other nutrients that can benefit your body in several ways. Green tea may help with the following:
- Improving brain functions like memory, mood, alertness, and reaction time
- Boosting fat burn, helping you lose weight
- Lowering the risk of certain cancers like breast, colorectal, and prostate cancers.
- Protecting the brain from the effects of ageing
- Preventing Type II Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease
Matcha, a type of green tea, is generally higher in caffeine than green tea. Matcha is green tea in powdered form, meaning you're consuming the green tea leaves instead of just seeping them like you do with loose-leaf tea or tea bags.
The amount of caffeine in 1 cup of green tea varies between 30 to 50 mg of caffeine per 120 ml serving (1 g of tea roughly works out to 1/2 teaspoon, which is generally the portion size for a serving's worth of tea)
Tea made from matcha contains 19-44 milligrams of caffeine per gram.
White tea is the least processed tea on this list. It's also a wonderful tea to help fight free radicals, which can damage cells and cause disease and premature ageing. Based on what we know, drinking white tea may help:
- Protect your teeth from harmful bacteria because of the presence of compounds like fluoride, catechins, and tannins
- Reduce the risk of heart disease, and cancer
- Help you lose weight
- Reduce the risk of insulin resistance, which is linked to many chronic health conditions like Type II Diabetes and Heart Disease
- Protect against Osteoporosis
- Fight against ageing
- Protect from Alzheimer's and Parkinson's' Diseases
1 cup of white tea can contain between 6-55 mg of caffeine, depending on the type of white tea (per 250ml serving). In general, though, white tea contains about 15% lower caffeine than green tea.
Oolong tea is simply traditional Chinese tea that's been uniquely processed. It's full of health-promoting nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Regularly drinking oolong tea may help:
- Protect against Diabetes
- Boost heart health and reduce the risk of stroke
- Promote weight loss
1 cup of oolong tea contains 10-60 mg of caffeine per 237ml serving.
Black tea is a popular variety and it is the tea with the most caffeine content. In addition to caffeine, black tea is also rich in antioxidants and polyphenols. Drinking black tea may help:
- Boost heart health by reducing risk factors and lowering blood pressure
- Lower bad cholesterol called LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol
- Improve gut health
- Lower blood sugar levels
- Reduce the risk of cancer
- Improve focus
Typical black tea contains 46 mg of caffeine per cup or per 237 ml serving
Caffeine Content in Tea Can Vary - Here's Why
It may surprise you to know that even though we have so much variation in the type of teas that are available - black and green teas, oolong tea, and other types of teas and tea blends, all come from the same tree plant species, i.e. the Camellia Sinensis.
But the total caffeine content in tea can vary from type to type depending on various factors:
- When the tea is harvested
- Whether the tea plant grows in sunlight or in the shade
- How they're processed
- Whether you're using hot or cold water to brew your tea
- How long you seep your tea leaves
- The quantity of tea leaves you're using
The Benefits of High-Caffeine Tea
Caffeine is known as a stimulant drug. It speeds up the activity in our brain and nervous system and the passing of messages between them and the body. It may also help increase the circulation of chemicals like cortisol and adrenaline, which contribute to increasing your heart rate and blood pressure and boosting the way energy gets used by the brain.
Because it's a drug, it can be helpful in small doses, but it's possible to develop a tolerance to it, in which case you may feel like consuming more and more caffeine to achieve the same results. Caffeine can be harmful in higher doses. We'll cover more about the side effects and recommended caffeine consumption limits later in the article.
Because tea is one of the most consumed beverages in the world, it makes sense for tea enthusiasts to want to double up by having a good amount of stimulating caffeine in the drink. High-caffeine tea is seen as a great way by some tea drinkers to get a higher dose of caffeine in their daily cup as compared to coffee, decaf tea, or other types of tea with trace amounts of caffeine.
Caffeine Risks and Side Effects
Caffeine is a drug, so it's important to be aware of its risks and side effects and stick to the recommended limits. The effects of caffeine can vary from person to person depending on:
- How much they weigh and their state of health
- Whether they are regular tea drinkers and are used to consuming the beverage
- Whether they're consuming caffeine with other drugs or alcohol
- How much caffeine they're consuming
It's unlikely that people can experience serious side effects from consuming too much caffeine because most people don't consume as much in their drinks. But it's possible to overdose if you're taking caffeine in powdered or tablet form. If you've had too much caffeine, you may experience the following, in which case, call triple zero (000) straight away:
- Very fast and irregular heartbeat
- Rapid breathing
- Abdominal pain
- Confusion and panic attacks
- Nausea and vomiting
Generally, it's recommended not to exceed the suggested doses to prevent adverse side effects from developing over time. Some people can be sensitive to caffeine - they may experience rapid heart beating from consuming just one cup of tea or coffee. in that case, it's best to give up the chosen beverage altogether.
How Much Caffeine Is Too Much?
Food Standards Australia and New Zealand recommend that you don't exceed the following maximum amounts:
- Under 18 years of age – No more than 3 mg of caffeine per kilo of body weight per serving. For a 40kg child, this would work out to about 120 mg of caffeine which is the equivalent of what you would get in 2 cans of cola.
- Over 18 years – A maximum of 400 g of caffeine per day, with a maximum of 200 g of caffeine per serving.
Remember that products like coffee, colas, energy drinks, weight loss powders, and dark and white chocolate also contain caffeine.
Who Should Limit Their Intake of Caffeine in Tea and Other Products?
- Pregnant women should limit their consumption of caffeine to no more than 200mg per day, although it is ideal to give it up altogether. Consuming high amounts of caffeine may lead to miscarriages or other complications at birth.
- Athletes should take extra care, as too much caffeine can lead to an increased heart rate and performance issues.
- Taking into account the effect that caffeine can have on sleep patterns and anxiety levels, children should avoid consuming it altogether.
- Those who are highly sensitive or taking certain medications should limit their caffeine consumption.
Be sure to check labels for information about how much caffeine is in each food and beverage item. With some awareness and restraint, we can all keep our caffeine intake at a safe level.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Which tea has more caffeine than coffee?
On average, a cup of black tea contains around 28-46 mg of caffeine, while brewed coffee has 107-151 mg. However, some tea varieties may have more caffeine than some types of coffee.
To accurately compare caffeine levels, consider the specific blend and brewing method of each beverage and the quantity consumed.
Longer steeping times or increased quantities of tea leaves can raise the caffeine content of tea, while different styles of coffee brewing, such as drip, espresso, or French press, also affect the concentration of caffeine in coffee.
As teas and coffees come in different variants, always check the packaging for precise caffeine amounts.
Which tea has no caffeine?
Rooibos, hibiscus, turmeric, and chamomile teas are known to have little to no caffeine.
Additionally, decaffeinated tea is available for those who want to enjoy the taste of tea without the stimulating effects of caffeine. It comes in a variety of types, including green, black, and herbal.
Which black tea has the most caffeine?
The amount of caffeine can vary depending on the type of black tea you're consuming. Check the labelling on your tea packaging to be sure. In general, 1 cup of black tea contains 46 mg of caffeine (per 237 ml serving).
Caffeine is a great choice to bring you out of a slump and help you feel alert and focused. Opt for black tea if you're looking for teas with the highest amount of caffeine. Remember to stick to the recommended doses to protect against long-term side effects.