The Caffeine Equation.

Sometimes, I just need it. Caffeine. Without it, at times, I’m fearfully rendered a cranky monster or a walking zombie; it’s not a pretty picture.

As an addict in the first phase (I will eagerly admit it)—I’ve put together a guide to tea’s best adrenaline suppliers to de-crank anyone. Caffeine-addicts unite! (I know, I’ve got to work on that slogan…)

First up, the myth and the debate: black tea vs. green tea. Which contains the highest caffeine per serving? As health experts seem to always say, it depends. The variables are not complex in this case, but indeed many, the answer lies in the way the tea is seeped (the more time, the more caffeine) and the type of leaf used (the smaller the bud, the stronger the buzz). In the caffeine calculation, where the tea is grown, the type of leaf cut and the length of the tea’s fermentation (again, the greater the time, the higher the caffeine percentage) also factor into the equation to determine the ultimate caffeine content. This is all to say, it’s variable, but below is a rough outline of the target numbers.

Black tea, usually, contains on average 40 milligrams of caffeine per serving, just five short of a can of Coke. Oolong tea ranks second with 30 milligrams. Green tea falls next with 20 and white tea rounds out the last of the caffeinated teas with 15. Essentially, all teas that come from the Camellia sinensis plant (this excludes herbal infusion teas because they do not actually come from the plant and are not technically tea) contain some traces of caffeine, even if they have been decaffeinated; the process only removes most, not all caffeine (up to .4% may remain). Yet still, it’s important to state that with all the factors to consider, this is not to say that a white tea couldn’t jump a black tea in caffeine content; these are just the averages.

Is there any harm to drinking caffeine? Of course. Too much of anything can be bad, but like most other pleasures in life, moderation is the key. If your caffeine habits are obsessive, but also perfectly normal, research has shown that caffeine consumption poses no connected health risks. And remember, even if you drink several pots of tea a day, black, green or oolong, tea only contains half the caffeine that coffee holds (a serving can range from 40-170 milligrams). So, have no fear caffeine addicts, tea is always here.

If you are looking for a tea that really perks you up, try this one—Yunnan Golden Buds (the multiple small buds give the tea its robust character).

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