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Caffeine is found in tea made from the Camellia Sinesis plant. These teas include white, green, yellow, oolong, black and puer. As a seller of teas, I’m often asked which type of tea has the lowest caffeine levels.  Some people say white tea is lowest in caffeine which is slightly misleading. If you were to steep Silver Needles which is made from tea buds, in very hot water then that would be a highly caffeinated tea.  Why?
Caffeine and Tea have a complicated relationship because there are a number of factors that contribute to caffeine levels in a cup of tea. The terrior or environmental factors such as location, soil conditions, season of harvest, weather has a major impact. Human controlled elements can be included in terrior such as the picking standard; bud only, bud and two leaves or as is the case with Matcha the whole bud, leaves and stems are ground to a fine powder. As mentioned in the white tea example, brewing tea in hot water will extract more caffeine than brewing at lower temperatures. Of course, how long you brew the tea means more caffeine is extracted. I did mention it is a complicated relationship!
Caffeine is the tea plant’s first line of defence against insects that want to attack the tender new buds. The bud only teas will have higher levels of caffeine. But let’s talk about HOW caffeine in tea works for you.
 Caffeine in tea and coffee work in different ways because of the amino acid, L-theanine with is found almost exclusively in the tea plant Camellia Sinensis. L-theanine works with caffeine for a slow and sustain release. Giving you that gentle lift, unlike the roller coaster ride of coffee - quick lift and fast low.
You can find more information here which links to scientific studies in this area.

Note: Herbal teas are infusions or Tisanes created from different botanical plants not Camellia Sinensis.

Tania Stacey – Co founder & Tea Mixologist at East Forged, a new style of iced tea.

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