True tea is made from the leaves of an Asian evergreen known as Camellia sinensis. White tea, green tea, oolong tea, and black tea all come from this plant, and all contain caffeine. Our herb teas are made from other, unrelated plants and do not have any caffeine. One exception is Yerba Maté, an herb tea that does contain caffeine.
Researchers believe that in plants, caffeine works as a natural defense system to deter insects and other herbivores with the compound's bitter taste and stimulating qualities. And, not so surprisingly, it's the vulnerable, growing buds and young leaves of tea plants that manufacture the highest amounts of caffeine.
Many factors influence how much caffeine is present in plucked tea leaves. These include the growing region, plant varietal, plant age, leaf age, length of the growing season, field conditions, soil nutrients, rainfall, and stress by pests. Final caffeine content may be further affected during production of the leaves into the finished “style” (white, green, etc.).
How the tea is actually prepared plays an important role in how much caffeine makes it into your cup. Everything, from the amount of tea used to water temperature and brewing time to whether the leaves are steeped loose, in a tea bag, or strainer, becomes a factor. In general, though, more tea, hotter water, and longer steeping all contribute to more caffeine per cup.
Given all of these variables, it really is difficult to answer the question, “How much caffeine is in this tea?” Because we know that caffeine is a concern, we offer these general ranges based on some of our products. Please keep in mind that these numbers reflect varying steeping times and amounts of tea leaves per cup.
Beverage Caffeine Per 8 oz Cup
White Tea 30-55 mg
Green Tea 35-70 mg
Oolong Tea 50-75 mg
Black Tea 60-90 mg
Coffee 150-200 mg
Our decaffeination process uses carbon dioxide naturally present in the air around us to remove most of the caffeine from the tea leaves. It's important to keep in mind that decaffeinated tea is not caffeine-free, and a trace amount of 2-4 mg per cup remains. For those who must avoid caffeine all together, we recommend our herb teas (except Yerba Maté).
A Thought About Serving Sizes
Caffeine levels are often reported in terms of mg per 8 oz cup, but people seldom drink only 8 oz of tea or coffee. Trying to relate reported caffeine to actual personal consumption doesn't always give an accurate comparison. Why?
If an 8 oz cup of brewed coffee contains 150 mg of caffeine, a 16 oz cup of coffee will have 300 mg.
Similarly, when you drink an 8 oz cup of tea served from a brewed pot of tea, doubling the serving size to 16 oz results in double the caffeine.
But steeping tea in a mug is different.
If you were to brew a mug of tea using 8 oz of water and one tea bag, the total caffeine could be around 40 mg. If you were to brew a larger mug of tea using 16 oz water and one tea bag, the total caffeine would not double. It would still be only around 40 mg!