When it comes to tea, some people like it with a little pep to start off the morning, while others may prefer their tea decaf for all-day consumption and flavor without the buzz. However, decaf doesn’t necessarily mean caffeine-free, despite popular misconceptions.
Lipton Decaf Tea has less caffeine than regular Lipton Tea, but it still has some, about 4-5 mg per 8 fluid ounce serving.
This article explores the caffeine content of ‘Decaf’ Tea, the benefits, the drawbacks, and where you can find a truly ‘caffeine free’ cup of tea if you want one.
How Much Caffeine is in Lipton Decaf Tea?
Generally speaking, a cup of Lipton Decaf Black Tea will have about 4-5 mg of caffeine remaining in it. That’s 4-5 mg of caffeine in 8 fluid oz of prepared tea.
That isn’t a lot, less than 10% of the caffeine found in a cup of Regular Black Tea, which has 55 mg of caffeine per 8 oz cup.
It’s less than 20% of the caffeine found in Regular Green Tea, which has 28-38 mg of caffeine per 8 oz cup, depending on which type of green tea it is.
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Why Isn’t Decaf the Same as Caffeine Free?
Removing the caffeine from tea leaves is a time consuming and sometimes expensive process. Besides, it isn’t really possible to remove all the caffeine from the leaves that make up the tea.
The caffeine molecules are part of the body of the plant, and to completely remove every trace of caffeine would pretty much leave you with…well, not much of anything, including the beneficial elements of tea.
Is Caffeine Free Tea Possible?
There are several teas that are actually caffeine free. Namely, herbal teas.
While common teas like black tea, green tea, or even white tea have caffeine, herbal teas like chamomile, peppermint, or ginger teas are actually caffeine free.
The plants used in these blends aren’t actually tea leaves in the strictest sense of the word, and as such, they don’t contain caffeine at all as part of their biological components.
So, if you’re sensitive to caffeine, or have concerns about having it in your beverages, you may want to look to herbal teas, rather than the more traditional blends.
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How Does Decaf Tea Become Decaffeinated?
There are several methods used to decaffeinate tea by major tea producers.
Lipton advertises an all-natural method of decaffeination, involving pure spring water, high pressure and heat, and naturally occurring CO2.
Among professional tea processors, this is sometimes called ‘Supercritical CO2 Decaffeination’.
How Does the Process Work?
For Supercritical CO2 Decaffeination, the following steps are taken:
– Tea leaves are soaked in water (pure spring water, according to Lipton)
– Pressure is added, along with a higher temperature.
– Pressurized and heated streams of pure CO2 are passed through the tea leaves, where the CO2 molecules bind with caffeine molecules.
– The CO2 is recycled and refiltered for the next round, while the now decaffeinated tea leaves are dried and packaged.
Is This Process Safe?
The process itself is not particularly dangerous, although the equipment can be expensive. However, there is also very little waste, since the CO2 is recycled.
Decaffeinated Tea produced through this method is perfectly safe to consume and contains much of the same flavor and benefits as regular tea.
Supercritical CO2 Decaffeination is considered one of the optimal methods of producing decaf tea, as it involves less waste, as well as no chemical additives that may be dangerous for consumption or alter the taste.
Is There a Safe and Inexpensive Method I Can Use to Make My Tea Decaf?
There is one way to reduce the caffeine in your tea if you’re concerned about the caffeine levels. This method is called the ‘Swiss Water Method’ in some cases.
– Place tea leaves in a pot and add hot water. Let steep.
– Pour out the brewed tea
– Run the brew through a carbon filter of any kind (think something like the filter in a Brita pitcher)
– Add the filtered brew back to the tea leaves to reintroduce flavors and beneficial oils.
This is often considered ‘watering down’ the tea, as it can leave a weaker flavor along with less caffeine.
If you consider using this method, you may want to brew the tea a little stronger than your usual preference, to ensure you don’t lose too much flavor.
Is Decaf Tea More or Less Healthy Than Regular Tea?
In many ways, decaf tea has the same benefits as regular tea. It has most of the same characteristics and will still give your immune system the same boost.
In cases where individuals are sensitive to caffeine, or prone to insomnia and other similar conditions, decaf may be beneficial in that it does not affect them as severely.
In other cases, where caffeine is considered beneficial – many migraine sufferers find caffeine can help fight off their headaches – decaf might not be the best choice.
The bottom line is that Lipton Decaf Tea isn’t totally caffeine-free, but it is as safe and healthy as any regular Lipton tea on the market, and if you’re looking to cut back without giving up caffeine altogether, then it might be a good option for you.
On the other hand, if caffeine is a real problem for you, you may want to look at herbal teas as an alternative, for a truly caffeine free beverage.
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