Green Tea and Caffeine

Many people including me, think that we can get way with our daily coffee cups by turning to the tea pot! Green Tea to be specific is i believe the best healthy option.

The Chinese has been taking tea for more than 4,000 years and you can see health benefits. One in particular that I see is long life. Who wouldn't want that? There are lot of diseases like cancer, arthritis and heart diseases are believed to be improved, if not prevented, by drinking green tea. Green tea is even able to lower the bad cholesterol and increases our immune system against infections.

But you see, if you are taking Green Tea just to avoid caffeine, please think again. Things are not as simple as it is. Being one of the most popular drink in the whole world, Coffee is also widely known as a notorious source of caffeine.

Caffeine can really give us a boost. It stimulates the central nervous system, the respiratory and the circulatory systems. And because of this "stimulating effect", caffeine loading is currently banned in many athletic competitions.

Green tea, not known to many, actually contains caffeine also. Not unless it's a green tea decaff or decaffeinated, of course. Compared to coffee, green tea may normally contain more caffeine. However, the lengthen hot water infusion period and the number of times the green tea leaves are being used, can greatly reduce your caffeine intake.

As per experiments done by various experts worldwide, The tea on its first 5-minute brew contains 32mg of caffeine. But using the same leaves for the second and subsequently third 5-minute brewing, the caffeine ultimately drops to 12mg and 4mg respectively.

I am not implying that you throw away the first brew because of it's high caffeine content. But I must say, the second and third brew as good as green tea decaff already! So do not throw away the spent tea leaves after the first brewing.

In anyway possible, it should be noted that green tea should not be brewed with boiling water. If you have read my article on how to make homemade green tea, I have stated there that you must let the boiling water set for a few minutes first, before using it. The reason behind is that the high temperature of the boiling water destroys the valuable therapeutic compounds in the green tea. It kinda defeats the purpose.

1 comment:

Alex Zorach said...

I think it's good that you're working to dispel misconceptions about green tea and caffeine.

I want to add an additional comment. You talk about the caffeine content of different infusions of the tea -- this is going to vary hugely based on which tea you are brewing.

In particular, loose-leaf tea with unbroken, whole leaves will infuse slowly, whereas finely broken tea will infuse very quickly.

Also, the total caffeine content is influenced by the portion of tips (leaf buds) in the tea, as the tips are higher in caffeine than the larger, mature leaves. If you want some citations backing this up, you can find them on a page I maintain about the caffeine content of tea.

Another thing that you might want to recommend for people to look into if they really want green tea but don't want any caffeine is green rooibos. It's rooibos that has been processed similarly to green tea. It is somewhat green-tea-like, but naturally caffeine free.