Do you know how much caffeine is in decaf black tea? this is one of the questions our readers ask a lot. Well, we´ve got you covered.
Decaffeinated tea may have anywhere between 2 milligrams and 20 milligrams of caffeine in it. It’s because the decaffeination process removes most of the caffeine but can’t get all of it.
By law, there can only be 2.5% of the original caffeine left after the decaffeination process is completed.
So, how much caffeine is in decaf black tea? On average decaf, black tea starts with between 40 and 120 milligrams of caffeine. That means there could be anywhere from 1 to 3 milligrams of caffeine or more in a cup of decaf black tea. The more caffeine tea leaves start with allows for more caffeine to be leftover in decaf tea. However, decaf black tea has the highest caffeine level of different teas. Black tea has the most caffeine of various types.
In this article, you’ll find out more about the decaffeination process for tea leaves. We’ll look into the caffeine content of black tea relative to other types of tea.
Then we’ll touch on what effect if any, the caffeine in decaf tea has on those who drink it. Read further for a closer look at decaf black tea.
Table of Contents
How Is Black Tea Decaffeinated?
The most common method used for the decaffeination of black tea in America is one using ethyl acetate.
Ethyl acetate is a naturally occurring chemical compound found in fruit. It’s used as a solvent to extract caffeine from tea leaves.
Tea leaves are soaked in ethyl acetate. The caffeine and the solvent molecules bond together. That allows for the extraction of the caffeine from the tea leaves.
Then the ethyl acetate is rinsed off. The only downside is it’s difficult to remove the ethyl acetate from the leaves, which sometimes changes the flavor.
Read also: Does Decaf Tea Have Caffeine? (Best Tips!)
Supercritical CO2 Decaffeination
This method allows for the purest flavor and nutrients to remain with the tea leaves. There’s no solvent soaking involved.
All the tea leaves are moistened first. Pressure is applied after. Highly pressurized heated CO2 gets accelerated through the leaves. This process extracts the caffeine from the tea, blowing it out in a steady flow.
The CO2 goes through a carbon filter and is recycled through the tea leaves again and again. The process is complete when enough caffeine is removed. The tea leaves are dried then.
Read also: Is Kirkland Decaf Coffee Water Processed?
How Much Caffeine Is in Various Teas?
When we look at how many varieties of tea there are around the world, the number is in the thousands. That number represents types of tea with various characteristics.
The number of tea types is much lower. The thousands of varieties are based in six types of tea. They are black tea, white tea, green tea, oolong tea, dark tea, and pu-erh tea.
Sometimes you’ll hear people refer to herbal tea, also. Examples of this “type of tea” include peppermint tea, chamomile tea, or wintergreen tea.
Technically, these are not teas. They’re sourced from different kinds of plants. True tea leaves come from the Camellia sinensis plant.
Here’s a breakdown of the caffeine levels for each of the tea types:
- Black tea – 40 to 120 mg
- White tea – 6 to 75 mg
- Green tea – 12 to 75 mg
- Oolong tea – 50 to 75 mg
- Dark tea – 40 to 120 mg
- Pu-erh tea – 30 to 100 mg
True herbal teas do not have caffeine in them. As was stated above, they’re not even made with actual tea leaves. You’ll likely find some herbal teas that have real tea mixed in them, though.
What Are the Effects of Minute Amounts of Caffeine?
One cup of decaf black tea in the morning shouldn’t be a problem for anyone. The trace amount of caffeine in the tea will likely go undetected by the body.
If you tend to have a few cups of decaf black tea in the morning, another in the afternoon, and even one after dinner, you may experience some effects from the caffeine.
For instance, let’s say there are 6 milligrams of caffeine in each cup you drink. You have 6 cups of tea throughout the day. That’s 36 milligrams of caffeine you’re taking in.
Those who are sensitive to caffeine or have been told by a doctor to avoid caffeine should be mindful about the number of cups of decaf black tea they’re taking in.
Are There Caffeine-Free Alternatives?
You can avoid caffeine altogether by switching to a caffeine-free alternative. Three options that are similar to black tea include:
- Red raspberry leaf
- New Jersey tea
These all give you a black tea-like taste but without the unwanted caffeine.
Buying Decaf Organic Black tea
Decaf black tea is decaffeinated but still contains a small amount of caffeine. While it’s not an issue when drinking one cup, the caffeine in multiple cups adds up enough for some people to experience the effects of caffeine.
You have options for caffeine-free alternatives that are much like black tea.
If you’re sensitive to caffeine, be mindful of how much decaf black tea you drink or switch to something without the stimulant in it.
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