Is Green Tea Caffeine Free?

While green tea is not totally caffeine free, it has much less caffeine in it than black tea for example. Still, it does have some caffeine.

Black tea, green tea and oolong tea all come from the same plant. The difference between the teas is the amount of oxidation they undergo and the type of processing the tea leaves undergo. Black tea is the most oxidized, green tea the least oxidized.  How does this affect the caffeine levels in tea? The more oxidation the tea leaves receive, the greater the amount of caffeine they produce. Thus, out of all of the different types of teas made from the Camellia sinensis plant, green tea has the least amount of caffeine.  Oolong has slightly more, but not as much as regular black tea has.

One regular sized cup of green tea has between fifteen to forty mg. of caffeine. A comparable cup of drip coffee contains over one hundreg mg. of caffeine.

Photo By: Mariela M.

Unless you have no tolerance at all to caffeine or you have a medical condition which precludes your having any caffeine, you may find that a little caffeine such as exists in green tea is actually beneficial to your body.  Recent studies have shown that not only does a small amount of caffeine help increase a person’s alertness and energy levels. There also may be some links between caffeine content and the anti-cancer polyphenols present in green tea.  If you are trying to lose weight and are thinking about including green tea in your diet program, you may want to consider the fact that the combination of caffeine (remember, caffeine levels in green tea are very minimal) and catechins in green tea help reduce abdominal fat.

Decaffeinated Green Tea

If you really do not want any caffeine at all, you could opt for drinking Decaffeinated Green Tea. There are many different types available, however did you know that decaffeinated drinks may not be that good for you because of the processes they go through?

First of all, it strips out a lot of the good antioxidants found in natural green and oolong teas. In fact, some studies have shown that decaffeinated Green Tea has only around half the amount of antioxidants that regular green tea has.  There are different methods for decaffeinating tea. The carbon dioxide process is the best method of decaffeination in that tea undergoing this process retains higher levels of antioxidants. Another natural method of decaffeination using Ethylene acetate, strips both antioxidants and lessens the flavor of the tea.  Another method which uses Methylene chloride during the process is actually restricted in some countries and it may be damaging to your health to drink teas decaffeinated using this process.

It’s All In The Brewing

You can lessen the amount of caffeine in your green tea by:

  • using less leaves when brewing your tea
  • letting it steep for a shorter amount of time
  • tipping out the first brewed cup without drinking it (whole leaf teas can be steeped several times using the same leaves.)

In Summary

So, does green tea have caffeine?  Yes. Green tea is not caffeine free unless you specifically buy decaffeinated green tea. However, even though it does contain small amounts of caffeine it is much less than you will find in coffee, black or even oolong tea. You can lessen the amount of caffeine by changing the way you brew your tea.  It is thought, too, that the small amount of caffeine in green tea actually aids the antioxidants contained naturally in green tea. In contrast, decaffeinated green tea may not be as healthy for you as regular green tea.  Will you experience any green tea side effects relating to the amount of caffeine in a cup of green tea? Probably not, unless you have an intolerance towards caffeine in general.


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