"True" TEAS

  What Are The Typical Caffeine Levels Found In Tea - Sedona Arizona's Full-Leaf Tea Store
The term “tea" is normally separated into 2 main types: "true tea" and herbals.
 
Caffeine is found in all “true tea", that is, leaves that are picked and processed from the tea plant called Camellia Sinensis. However, caffeine is rarely found in herbal tea (mate’ from South America is one exception). Herbal teas, also called tisanes, generally include caffeine-free blends of herbs, botanical plants, flowers, roots, or fruits that are brewed like tea and called “tea". But herbal teas are not technically tea from one of the varieties of the tea plant. Maybe we’ll be able to focus on them in a future newsletter.
 
There are also decaffeinated teas with leaves that are harvested from the Camelia Sinensis plant, but undergo processing that greatly reduces their caffeine levels. The process is either chemical (which often reduces the aroma and taste), or a newer and slightly more expensive process using CO2/carbon dioxide steam. The CO2 process preserves much more of the original aroma and taste. In either case, both processes remove approximately 97% of the caffeine, but leave some trace amount.
 
Many visitors to our tea shop have arrived with the impression that the color of the brewed tea and the tea leaves indicates the level of caffeine. They have incorrectly heard that green or white tea is low or no caffeine, and that black tea has the most caffeine, and oolongs are somewhere in the middle with moderate caffeine levels. It is not true that the lighter or darker color of tea reveals the caffeine level.
 
Instead, brewed green and white teas overall have a pale color and light taste because they are lightly oxidized. Less oxidation means that the leaves, through processing, drying and rolling, were given less time for the leaves' enzymes to react with the oxygen in the air.  Usually just a couple hours.  Conversely, black teas are given much more time to oxidize and deepen the color and taste, as much as 20-30 hours.  Oolongs get approximately half a day (with sometimes a much more complex process). Many of you have heard us in the store using the analogy with an apple, cut and then left on the kitchen counter. The apples' enzymes combine with the air to darken it. But, if you slice the apple and heat it in an oven enough, the temperature deactivates the enzymes, halts oxidation permanently, which leads to little to no color change. Tea processing works the same way.
 
So after all that, how does the caffeine level of each category of tea compare on average?
 
Caffeine-Level - 8oz serving
  • Tippy leaf (buds) green teas    16-30 mg
  • Larger leaf green teas              27-33 mg
  • White teas                                18-20 mg
  • High grade oolongs                 16-30 mg
  • Lower grade oolongs               15-19 mg
  • Black teas                                19-32 mg
  • Puers (aged teas)                     18-30 mg
  • Matcha (powdered green tea)  68-70 mg  Ingesting the whole leaf, not just brew
  • Regular drip coffee                   130-135 mg

Caffeine levels in tea can be influenced by the tea master in the following ways:

  • The season the tea is picked: early spring leaf development tends to produce higher caffeine levels, late spring to fall is more average
  • Tea buds (young unopened leaves) often have slightly more caffeine than leaves.  The plant itself supplies extra nutrients to new tea buds to support the newest growth, including extra caffeine.  The extra caffeine is a pest repellent, naturally produced by the plant.
  • Elevation of the tea garden or estate, horticulture conditions such as temperature, rainfall, humidity, sunlight and wind, and terroir such as the makeup of the soil, affects caffeine
  • Picking (or pluck) position on the plant’s branch: younger end leaves and bud higher caffeine, lower larger/older leaves less caffeine
  • General quality of the leaves before picking can impact the caffeine level
  • Specific cultivated strain or sub-variety of the Camellia Sinensis plant that is used

Caffeine level in a cup of tea can be affected by the brewing process:

  • Tea blended and flavored with other additives/ingredients, like chai, usually have lower caffeine levels compared to pure tea.
  • Water temperature affects the amount of caffeine released from the leaf during each brew.  Namely, boiling water releases more caffeine fast (like when brewing black tea), whereas lower temperature (like brewing green tea) releases less.  
  • Additional infusions will eventually release all the leaf’s potential caffeine.
  • Brew time can affect caffeine, depending on which infusion. First infusions with long brew times like 5 minutes can release most of the caffeine in the leaf.  Short brews like 1 minute release about 40-50% less and take more infusions to release all the potential caffeine.

Most people feel the caffeine in tea does not make them jittery like caffeine in coffee. In another article we can reveal the substance naturally found in tea (and not in coffee) that is usually the cause of that, and makes tea even more special.

Let us know if this helps your understanding, and if you have any questions.

  Trailhead Tea:   Sedona & Northern Arizona's Full-Leaf Tea Department Store 
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SECRET CANYON SPICE

BLACK TEA BLEND with a BIG natural sweet and spicy cinnamon taste and aroma, and hints of orange.

$13.00

 

EARL GREY MOONLIGHT

A vanilla cream twist from the traditional version. Premium BLACK TEA from Sri Lanka blended with orange peels, natural bergamot oil, blue cornflowers, natural vanilla flavor, and natural cream flavor.

$12.00

 

RED ROCK PRICKLY PEAR BLACK

Sedona’s local tea. A great quality BLACK TEA from China, then flavored with actual dried fruit bits and extracts of the Arizona Prickly Pear Cactus.

$13.00

 

KOKOPELLI POMOGRANATE GREEN

A Japanese sencha GREEN TEA BLEND using pomegranate arils, freeze-dried red currants, freeze-dried raspberry pieces, mallow blossoms, and natural flavor.

$15.00

 

Anxi Hairy Crab / Mao Xie

An uncommon, low-production, specialty tea - but still affordable for every day use. Mao Xie is 100% OOLONG TEA called Hairy Crab, from the village of Da Ping, Anxi County, in the Fujian Province of China... (more below)

$22.00

 

Flower of Asia Oolong

Flower of Asia Oolong

$14.00

 

Three Sisters White GOP

Premium WHITE TEA from the Fujian Province of China, blended with GOP (ginger root, orange peel, peach pieces), and also adding marigold and safflowers, & natural ginger orange peach extracts.

$11.00

 

English Breakfast

100% BLACK TEA BLEND of four orthodox teas, to create a traditional yet more complex blend of these premium selections: desirable Yunnan & Keemum from China, bold Assam from India, and sweet Ceylon from Sri Lanka.

$16.00

 

Devil’s Bridge Green Jasmine Blend

Devil’s Bridge Green Jasmine Blend

$13.00

 

Our Family Blend (Black Cherry/Black Currant)

For cherry lovers. Premium Ceylon BLACK TEA from Sri Lanka infused with natural black cherry fruit flavor, and natural black currant flavor.

$11.00

 

Teapot Trail Earl Grey Lavender

An aromatherapy twist from the traditional version of Earl Grey. Premium BLACK TEA from Sri Lanka blended with lavender flowers, orange peels, natural bergamot oil, blue cornflowers, and natural cream flavor.

$12.00

 

Tie Guan Yin, Organic Top/Handmade Tie Guan Yin (Off-Trail Oolong)

Tie Guan Yin, Organic Top/Handmade Tie Guan Yin (Off-Trail Oolong)

$15.00

 

Sky Mountain Blackberry

A straight blackberry black tea. Premium Ceylon BLACK TEA from Sri Lanka infused with natural blackberry fruit flavor and blackberry leaves.

$12.00

 

SEDONA WEDDING (chocolate dipped strawberry)

How about chocolate dipped strawberry tea? BLACK TEA from Sri Lanka blended with rose petals, natural chocolate flavor, natural strawberry flavor, cocoa nibs, dark chocolate chips, and strawberries.

$12.00

 

Masala Chai

Traditional Indian spicy chai taste from a Ceylon BLACK TEA BLEND flavored with cardamom pods, ginger root, cloves, natural cinnamon flavor and cinnamon bark.

$15.00

 

Earl Grey (back)

The most familiar and traditional blend of all flavored teas. Ceylon BLACK TEA from Sri Lanka blended with orange peels, natural bergamot oil, and blue cornflowers.

$12.00

 

Yunnan Gold

100% BLACK TEA, identified by its abundance of golden tips, and cocoa and very slight black pepper note. It will not taste bitter when over-steeped. Creamy and sweet, with pleasant pepper notes becoming earthier and more layered as it cools.

$21.00

 

Cream Oolong

Higher grade Tie Guan Yin OOLONG TEA leaves from Anxi County, Fujian Province, China, which are rolled into lightly oxidized dark green pellets, bathed in real rich cream, then specially dried to preserve.

$38.00

 

Jacks Canyon Ceylon

Ceylon is a classic afternoon black tea from Sri Lanka, formally known as the island of Ceylon.  Ceylon tea is crisp and clean, slightly sweet, medium-bodied and tangy in a good way.

$12.00

 

SEDONA MORNING (rum/cream)

Rum/Cream BLACK TEA BLEND that contains coconut shreds, wild strawberry leaves, natural cream flavor, and safflower petals. Trailhead Tea’s flagship blend.

$13.00

 

MYSTIC TRAIL GREEN MINTY CITRUS

GREEN TEA BLEND with spearmint leaves, lemon grass, lemon verbena, orange peel, marigold flowers, natural lemon and orange flavors.

$14.00

 

Templeton Trail Thai Tea

An exotic blend of BLACK TEA, honey bush, apple pieces, cardamom, dried coconut pieces, natural vanilla flavor, safflower & natural Coconut flavor.

$12.00

 

On Sale at Trailhead Tea

Anji Flat Leaf (An Ji Bai Cha Off-Trail Green)

Our Anji Flaf Leaf is also called An Ji Bai Cha, or "white tea from Anji" due to its ghostly light green color, but it is really processed and recognized as a green tea. It is fairly rare, grown specifically and uniquely in Anji County, Zhejiang Province

$58.00 $49.00

 

Matcha (Ceremonial Grade)

Matcha (Ceremonial Grade)

$26.00