Conscious about the caffeine content in white tea? I got you!
A lot of people assume that because it’s called “white” tea, it must be low on caffeine, right?
Know that it’s not just about the color.
White tea is like the quiet hero of the tea world.
It’s got this elegant simplicity that can really pack a punch in the flavor department.
But it’s not as caffeine-free as you might think.
Does white tea have caffeine? Yes, a cup of white tea has anywhere from 6 to 55 milligrams of caffeine.
Not exactly a caffeine-free zone, but it’s not a caffeine explosion either.
White tea’s name actually comes from the fine, silvery-white hairs on the young tea leaves, not the color of the brew.
These little hairs are packed with flavor and nutrients, and that’s what makes white tea so unique.
Wanna learn more about its caffeine content and how you can reduce it?
Keep scrolling then!
How Much Caffeine in White Tea Leaves?
You might be surprised to know that white tea leaves, by dry weight, actually contain more caffeine compared to many other types of tea.
While it may seem counterintuitive because of its delicate flavor and pale color, it’s a fascinating fact.
On average, white tea leaves can have anywhere from 1.6% to 2.5% caffeine by dry weight.
Now, that might not sound like a lot.
But when you compare it to some other teas like black tea (which typically has around 3.5% caffeine by dry weight), you realize that white tea isn’t as caffeine-light as it seems.
A brewed cup of white tea might not give you a caffeine jolt like a strong espresso.
Still, those unassuming leaves are actually packing a bit of a caffeine punch when you look at them on a dry weight basis.
How Much Caffeine Is in a Cup of White Tea?
A typical cup of white tea, when brewed, contains approximately 6 to 55 milligrams of caffeine.
On average, an 8 oz cup of white tea contains 35 mg of caffeine.
Now, that’s a pretty broad range, but it largely depends on factors like the type of white tea, brewing time, and the amount of tea leaves used.
White tea is indeed a variety of green tea, and just like green tea, it does contain caffeine.
However, experts suggest that white tea might have about 15% less caffeine than your traditional green tea.
So, it’s not entirely caffeine-free, but it’s certainly on the milder side when it comes to caffeine content.
Decaf White Tea
If you’re someone who enjoys the soothing flavors of white tea but prefers to keep the caffeine content to a minimum, I have something for you!
Decaffeinated white tea!
Decaffeinated white tea offers the best of both worlds – the delicate taste of white tea without the caffeine buzz.
How Is White Tea Decaffeinated?
Decaffeinating tea is a bit like performing a magic trick, but it’s all about science.
There are a few methods used to remove caffeine from tea leaves, and one of the most common techniques is the CO2 method.
Here’s how it works:
- Steamed Tea Leaves
First, the tea leaves are steamed to open up their pores.
- Exposed to CO2
Then, they’re exposed to carbon dioxide (CO2) under high pressure.
CO2 is a natural and safe solvent that extracts caffeine from the tea leaves.
- Re-Infused with Flavor
After the caffeine is removed, the tea leaves are infused again with the natural flavors and oils that were initially present.
This step ensures the tea retains its delightful taste.
- Final Product
What you’re left with is decaffeinated white tea that’s remarkably similar in flavor to its caffeinated counterpart, minus the caffeine content.
How Many Milligrams of Caffeine is in Decaffeinated White Tea?
Decaffeinated white tea isn’t entirely caffeine-free, but it’s significantly lower in caffeine compared to its regular counterpart.
On average, a cup of decaffeinated white tea contains only about 1 to 5 milligrams of caffeine.
It’s a mere fraction of the caffeine you’d find in a regular cup of white tea, which can range from 6 to 55 milligrams.
So, if you’re looking for a tea that’s gentle on the caffeine front, decaffeinated white tea might be your new favorite brew.
6 Ways to Reduce Caffeine in White Tea
If you’re looking to enjoy the subtle flavors of white tea with less caffeine, there are a few effective methods to achieve this.
Here’s a what you can do:
1. Shorter Steeping Time
The simplest way to reduce caffeine in your cup of white tea is to steep it for a shorter period.
Caffeine is released into the water during the brewing process, so limiting the time the tea leaves spend in hot water will result in a milder infusion.
Try steeping for just 1-2 minutes (or less) instead of the usual 3-5 minutes.
2. Lower Water Temperature
White tea is best brewed with water that’s not boiling but rather around 170-185°F (77-85°C).
Using slightly cooler water 160°F (71°C) can help extract fewer caffeine compounds from the leaves.
3. Opt for Decaffeinated White Tea
If you’re looking for a virtually caffeine-free experience, consider choosing decaffeinated white tea.
It undergoes a process to remove most of the caffeine content.
4. Blend with Herbal Tea
This creates a unique flavor profile and lowers the overall caffeine content of your brew.
5. Use Fresh Water
Always use fresh, clean water for brewing.
Avoid reusing water from a previous boil as it can have a higher mineral content, which may extract more caffeine from the tea leaves.
6. Discard the First Steep
If you’re really keen on minimizing caffeine, you can discard the first steep after a very short infusion.
This “rinse” removes some of the caffeine without losing too much flavor.
Then, go ahead and brew your tea as usual.
10 Factors Affecting Caffeine Content in White Tea
Following are some factors that can impact the caffeine levels in your white tea:
1. Tea Leaf Type
The type of tea leaves used plays a significant role.
Young tea buds and leaves tend to have higher caffeine levels than more mature leaves.
Silver needle white tea, made from young buds, can have higher caffeine content compared to white peony tea, which includes more mature leaves.
2. Tea Plant Varietal
Different tea plant varieties have varying caffeine levels.
For instance, Camellia sinensis var. assamica typically contains more caffeine than Camellia sinensis var. sinensis.
3. Tea Leaf Part
The part of the tea plant used can influence caffeine content.
For example, buds and young leaves at the tip of the tea plant tend to have higher caffeine concentrations compared to older leaves lower on the plant.
4. Harvest Time
The timing of tea leaf harvest can affect caffeine levels.
Leaves plucked in early spring tend to have higher caffeine content than those harvested later in the season.
5. Brewing Temperature
The water temperature used for steeping white tea can impact caffeine extraction.
Higher temperatures tend to extract more caffeine, so using slightly cooler water can result in a tea with lower caffeine content.
6. Steeping Time
The duration for which the tea leaves are steeped also matters.
Longer steeping times will extract more caffeine from the leaves.
Shorter steeping times will yield a milder brew with less caffeine.
Some white teas are blended with other ingredients like herbs or flowers.
These additions can affect the overall caffeine content, as they may contribute extra caffeine or dilute it.
8. Leaf Size
Smaller tea leaf particles, such as those found in tea bags, generally release more caffeine into the water compared to whole leaf teas because of increased surface area.
9. Multiple Infusions
White tea leaves can often be steeped multiple times.
The caffeine content tends to be highest in the first infusion and decreases with subsequent steeps.
Discarding the first steep or using shorter steeping times for subsequent infusions can reduce overall caffeine intake.
10. Age of the Tea
The aging process can also influence the caffeine content in white tea.
Over time, tea leaves can undergo changes in chemical composition, including the breakdown of caffeine.
The caffeine content in white tea reduces by approximately 41.59% from 4.28% in fresh white tea to 2.5% after twenty years of aging.
Aged white teas may have slightly lower caffeine levels compared to their freshly harvested ones due to this natural degradation process.
Which White Tea Has the Most Caffeine
When it comes to white teas with a robust caffeine kick, look no further than the young and vibrant varieties.
Here are some white teas known for their higher caffeine content:
1. Silver Needle (Bai Hao Yin Zhen)
If you’re seeking a white tea with a caffeine punch, Silver Needle is your go-to.
It’s made from young tea buds, and these youthful leaves tend to have more caffeine.
The result is a tea that’s not only delicate but surprisingly high in caffeine.
2. Darjeeling White Tea
Darjeeling white teas, especially those from the first flush (early spring harvest), can pack a considerable caffeine punch.
The tender, freshly sprouted leaves contribute to their caffeine content.
3. Moonlight White Tea (Yue Guang Bai)
This unique Yunnan white tea is crafted from large leaves, but the buds used in its production are rich in caffeine.
The result is a white tea that’s bold both in flavor and caffeine.
Which White Tea Has the Least Caffeine
Now, if you’re leaning towards a more mellow and low-caffeine white tea experience, the aged and mature versions are your best bet.
Here are some white teas known for their lower caffeine levels:
1. Shou Mei (Longevity Eyebrow)
Shou Mei is made from more mature leaves.
Therefore, it tends to have a lower caffeine content compared to its younger counterparts like Silver Needle.
It’s a great choice for those looking for a gentle, caffeine-light cup.
2. Gong Mei (Tribute Eyebrow)
Gong Mei, another aged white tea, is known for its milder caffeine profile.
The leaves used in its production are larger and more mature, resulting in a tea that’s soothing and easy on the caffeine.
3. White Peony (Bai Mu Dan)
White Peony is often considered one of the milder white teas in terms of caffeine content.
It’s made from a combination of buds and young leaves, with less caffeine than Silver Needle, for example.
This makes it a good choice for those seeking a white tea experience with minimal caffeine.
4. Aged White Teas
Generally, aged white teas, which have undergone post-production aging processes, tend to have lower caffeine levels compared to their fresh counterparts.
The aging process mellows out the caffeine content while enhancing the tea’s unique flavors.
This is true for high caffeine white teas like Silver Needle, White Darjeeling, and Ceylon White teas.
Comparing Caffeine Levels of Different White Teas
|White Tea Type||Caffeine Content (per 8 oz cup)|
|Silver Needle (Bai Hao Yin Zhen)||30-55 mg|
|White Peony (Bai Mu Dan)||20-40 mg|
|Tribute Eyebrow (Gong Mei)||10-20 mg|
|Shou Mei (Noble Longevity Eyebrow)||10-20 mg|
|White Darjeeling||20-40 mg|
|Blended White Teas||Varies based on blend|
|Decaffeinated White Tea||1-5 mg|
Caffeine in White Tea vs. Other Teas
|Type of Tea||Caffeine Content (per 8 oz cup)|
|White Tea||6-55 mg|
|Green Tea||20-45 mg|
|Black Tea||40-70 mg|
|Oolong Tea||30-50 mg|
|Matcha Green Tea||70-100 mg|
|Herbal Tea (e.g., Chamomile, Peppermint)||Virtually Caffeine-Free|
|Decaffeinated Tea||Virtually Caffeine-Free|
Caffeine in White Tea vs. Coffee
White tea is approximately 85-97% lower in caffeine content compared to brewed coffee.
In simpler terms, white tea contains about 2 to 16 times less caffeine than brewed coffee.
Still, it depends on the specific coffee and tea types and brewing methods.
|Beverage||Caffeine Content (per 8 oz cup)|
|White Tea||6-55 mg|
|Coffee (Brewed)||95-200 mg|
|Coffee (Instant)||27-173 mg|
|Espresso||63-126 mg (1 oz shot)|
|Decaffeinated Coffee (Brewed)||2-5 mg|
White tea contains 6-55 mg of caffeine per 8 oz cup, which is notably lower than coffee.
Brewed coffee has 95-200 mg, while instant coffee ranges from 27-173 mg.
Espresso, in a 1 oz shot, contains 63-126 mg of caffeine.
Decaffeinated brewed coffee has the least caffeine, typically around 2-5 mg.
So, white tea offers a milder caffeine option compared to coffee varieties.
Does White Tea Affect Your Sleep?
White tea is generally low in caffeine, which means it’s less likely to disrupt your sleep compared to higher-caffeine drinks like coffee or black tea.
However, it’s still a good idea to avoid drinking white tea right before bedtime, especially if you’re sensitive to caffeine.
Give yourself some time to wind down before catching those ZZZs, just to be on the safe side.
Does White Tea Cause Dehydration?
Nope, white tea won’t leave you high and dry.
In fact, it’s a hydrating choice!
White tea is mostly water.
And while it does have a small amount of caffeine, it won’t dehydrate you like some stronger caffeinated drinks might.
Is White Tea the Best Source of Caffeine?
White tea might not be your go-to if you’re after a caffeine kick.
While it’s got a little caffeine, it’s much milder compared to coffee or even some other teas like black or green tea.
So, if you’re looking for a caffeine boost, you might want to explore other high caffeine tea options.
But if you’re into the subtle flavors and potential health benefits of white tea, it’s a great choice for a gentler pick-me-up.
What Is the Best Time to Drink White Tea?
The best time to enjoy white tea is typically during the day, especially in the morning or early afternoon.
Since it contains some caffeine, it can provide a gentle energy boost without the jitters that come with stronger caffeinated beverages.