Unfortunately for many tea lovers, the truth is that there is no real way to escape caffeine in tea. As this post notes, the claim that one can “self-decaffeinate” tea by steeping it briefly, throwing out the water, then reinfusing simply isn’t true. Plus, there is no way to remove all the caffeine in tea, even through effective, industrial methods; even decaf tea has some caffeine, albeit very little. So, for those who want to avoid caffeine, or sharply restrict it, options include drinking herbals (though some herbals, such as yerba mate, also contain caffeine) or consuming decaffeinated tea. For those that love the taste of true tea, the notion of decaf may have some appeal.
The problem is that a lot of decaffeinated teas simply don’t taste that good. They aren’t necessarily bland, but they do lack the delightful intensity of flavors that makes tea so wonderful to drink. Some are considerably better than others, though, and many people do manage to find a decaf tea that they like. If you really crave tea and herbals won’t do, you should at least try the various loose and bagged decaf teas available to see if any suit your preferences. You may find that decaf tea tastes best with additives such as lemon (which can supply a nice, refreshing “kick”) or even milk and sugar.
Personally, I’ve found that flavored decaf teas can often be much tastier than their non-flavored counterparts. The other ingredients help boost the flavor of the tea, while the tea provides some body and additional flavor to the blend. Another option is to use decaf tea for making iced tea: As the flavor of cold/iced tea is often blunted anyway, you may not miss the nuance of flavor that decaf tea lacks. Use a generous amount of leaf to prepare the iced tea and, if possible, flavor it with some fresh lemon slices to produce a tasty, refreshing drink.
More great tea info on Lainie’s blog, Lainie Sips!
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