How Much Caffeine Is in Decaf Tea? (Is It Healthy?)

How Much Caffeine Is in Decaf Tea

Do you know how much caffeine is in decaf tea? Well, you are at the perfect place to find the answer to such a question.

Did you know decaf tea has some caffeine in it? Decaffeinated teas have trace amounts to small amounts of caffeine in them. Legally, companies may label their teas as decaf if they have under 2.5 percent of the caffeine they had before the decaffeination process. Various tea leaves start with varying levels of caffeine.

We’re exploring the amount of caffeine left in decaf tea to help you determine if it’s ok for you to drink certain types.

We’ll look at different kinds of tea, as well as the different decaffeination processes used to remove the caffeine. So, read on to find out if decaf tea is a healthy choice for your specific needs.

Why Does Decaf Tea Have Any Caffeine in It?

All decaf tea comes from tea leaves that originally contained caffeine. The amount of caffeine depends on what type of tea it is.

For instance, white tea has one of the lowest caffeine contents, ranging from about 10 to 15 milligrams per cup. Matcha tea has a much higher caffeine content at around 60 to 80 milligrams.

Decaf tea is made from leaves that have been put through one of the decaffeination processes. The processes are designed to strip the tea leaves of their caffeine and then wash them away.

The decaffeination methods remove almost all of the caffeine but leave behind trace amounts.

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Decaf Tea vs. Caffeine-Free Tea

Those looking for a tea that has no caffeine at all need to buy caffeine-free tea. There’s a big difference between decaf tea and caffeine-free tea.

Caffeine-free tea never had any caffeine from the start.

There’s no need for the leaves to go through the decaffeination process because there isn’t any caffeine to remove. Rooibos and herbal teas are examples of caffeine-free options.

Decaf is a tea that’s made from the same leaves that caffeinated tea is but has had the caffeine stripped away. 

Is Decaf Tea Healthy?

Tea is often thought of as a healthy, soothing beverage. And it’s for good reason. Tea does provide a lot of good benefits for your health. 

White tea is quite high in antioxidants that help your body fight off bacteria and illness. Antioxidants give your immune system a boost that protects you against disease and infection.

White tea also has fluoride in it, which is good for strengthening the enamel on your teeth.

Green tea is good for lowering your bad cholesterol and blood pressure. It in turn improves on your overall heart health.

Green tea contains flavonoids, which is what lowers the cholesterol and reduces your risk of blood clots.

Black tea also has flavonoids. It has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. What’s cool about black tea is you can use it on cuts and other injuries on the outside of your body to help alleviate pain and take swelling down.

You can simply steam the tea and then allow it to cool. Once it’s cooled off, press and hold the tea on the cut to help with healing.

Oolong tea is sort of a hybrid that falls between green and black teas. Black tea’s dark color comes from the oxidation of the tea leaves. Green tea isn’t allowed to go through oxidation. It’s stopped in its tracks before it gets there. Oolong tea starts to oxidize but is stopped somewhere in the middle.

Oolong tea contains l-theanine. It’s an amino acid that helps wake you up and allows you to focus better. It also levels out anxiety and reduces stress. This tea may help stave off Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

The decaf versions of each type of tea contain the healthy substances mentioned in this section. The only factor to consider is the small amount of caffeine left in the tea.

If you’re extremely sensitive to caffeine, you may want to avoid decaf tea and switch to herbal. You could also stick to decaf white tea because it has the least caffeine to start. 

Is There a Decaf Chai Tea?

Chai is both tasty and aromatic. It’s spiced with flavors like cinnamon, vanilla, cardamom, and ginger. It’s delicious cold or hot.

Chai does come in decaf versions. Some of the popular brands of decaf chai tea include Tazo, Twinings, Stash, and Maud’s. 

Decaf chai tea has antioxidants, as well as flavonoids. It also has some added benefits that come from the spices added to create the chai tea variety.

Is There Decaf Yorkshire Tea?

Yorkshire tea is a tea blend that’s made with leaves from two completely different regions of the world. The leaves come from India and Africa.

This type of tea has various tastes derived from blending the leaves at varying levels. 

Just as with other kinds of caffeinated tea, Yorkshire tea is offered in a decaffeinated version. The leaves are put through the decaffeination process the same way other tea leaves are.

Which Has More Caffeine: Tetley Tea or Lipton Tea Bag?

Tetley tea and Lipton tea both offer decaf tea bags that are convenient for making a cup of tea fast. But which has more caffeine?

Tetley tea contains from 4 to 6 milligrams of caffeine. Lipton tea has about 4 milligrams per cup. In general, decaf Tetley tea has slightly more caffeine than decaf Lipton tea. 

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Decaffeination Processes

Generally, there are four decaffeination processes. Others may exist, but there are four main ones. Read on for brief descriptions of each.

Swiss Water Process

This process is preferred by many. It’s done with water and without chemicals. Raw tea leaves are put into hot water for soaking. This causes the caffeine to dissolve into the water. The water gets pushed through a charcoal filter that catches most of the caffeine molecules. The water is then used for another batch of leaves until the process is complete.

Indirect-Solvent Based Process

As above, raw leaves are soaked in hot water. The caffeine dissolves into the water. Several hours later, the leaves and the water are separated.

The leaves then get washed for 10 hours or more with a chemical called ethyl acetate or methylene chloride. 

The chemicals adhere to the caffeine molecules and are eventually evaporated out of the mixture by introducing enough heat.

CO2 Process

This process replaces the chemical solvents with liquid CO2. The soaked leaves are placed in a sealed canister.

Then, liquid CO2 is blasted through the leaves at an intense pressure that causes the extraction of the caffeine. This process is good at getting the caffeine out but leaving the flavor behind.

Direct-Solvent Based Process

This is similar to the indirect method, however, the leaves are only steamed long enough to open their pores, allowing better access to the caffeine molecules.

The chemicals are introduced earlier but for just as long to remove the caffeine. 

Final Thoughts

There are trace amounts of caffeine in decaf tea. Most people won’t feel any effects from the minuscule amount left behind after the decaffeination process, but it’s still something to be aware of. 

Decaf tea is a healthy beverage choice. Many teas are full of antioxidants, flavonoids, amino acids, and even some other minerals.

Though there is some small amount of caffeine left behind, it’s less than 2.5 percent of what’s in caffeinated tea.



Lindsey graduated with an MBA in 2009. Since then, Lindsey has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Lindsey is also the head writer and Co-founder of Lindsey is based in Morgantown, West Virginia.

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