Understanding Tea and Caffeine

Do you know how much caffeine is in a cup of tea? Most people are confused. Caffeine occurs naturally in coffee, tea and cocoa beans. It is added to cola to enhance flavor.

Since black and green tea come from Camellia sinensis, the tea plant, both contain caffeine. Most herbal teas are made from herbal blends and contain no real tea. As a result, most herbal teas, such as chamomile, are caffeine free.

Red tea or rooibos, a South African herb, contains no caffeine and has many of the health benefits as green tea. Honeybush tea, another increasingly popular herbal tea, also is caffeine-free.

On average, a cup of tea contains 1/3 the caffeine as a cup of coffee. According to the USDA, an 8 ounce cup of coffee brewed with tap water has 137.7 milligrams of caffeine; an 8 ounce cup of tea brewed with tap water has 37.5 milligrams of caffeine; a 16 ounce cola has 49 milligrams of caffeine.

Caffeine levels in tea bags and loose tea are similar. The amount of time you steep the tea is the biggest factor in determining the level of caffeine.

Here is a tip in case of emergency and you are without a decaffeinated teabag. First, place a standard tea bag in a cup and fill with boiling water. Then, let the tea steep for 30 seconds and discard the water. Most of the caffeine in tea is released in the first 30 seconds. Next, place the tea bag back in the cup and re-fill with boiling water and allow to steep for 3 to 5 minutes. Now, you had a good cup of tea.

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