Tea Quiz: Which Color of Tea Has More Caffeine

Time for a tea quiz: which of these teas has more caffeine? Rank them high to low.

(Photo source: A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)
(Photo source: A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Darker colors of tea liquid are often taken to indicate that something is stronger in flavor or more such-and-such. So, it’s only natural that this gets applied to tea when it comes to caffeine. That is, darker tea liquids are thought to have higher caffeine content.

One source claims: “…white tea has a little caffeine (about 15 mg per 8 oz), green tea has more than white (20-40 mg), oolong has more than green (about 30) and black has the most (40-70).” Another states: “…green tea in the form of a brewed beverage…One cup of tea contains approximately 50 milligrams of caffeine…” Yet another says: “According to the USDA loose leaf green tea has about 32 mg/100ml of caffeine.” Don’t worry about such contradictory information.

One of the best sources on caffeine in tea states:

1. Caffeine level varies naturally in types of tea and levels in one type may overlap with another type
2. Black and green tea manufactured from leaf from the same bushes on the same day will have virtually the same caffeine levels (within +/- 0.3%)
3. For a given bush, the finer the plucking standard, the higher the caffeine level

Actual caffeine level in tea is highest:

• when the tea is derived from buds and young first leaf tips (thus white tea has a high caffeine level)
• when the bush is assamica type rather than sinensis (can be 33% higher caffeine, thus African black tea tends to be higher than China black tea)
• when the bush is clonal VP rather than seedling (can be 100% higher caffeine, thus new plantings in Africa are higher than old seedling plantings in Asia)
• when the plant is given a lot of nitrogen fertilizer (as in Japan)
• during fast growing seasons.

Considering some of the dire effects on the human body attributed to caffeine, knowing which ones have how much is a rather handy bit of information to tuck away in your memory.

Oh, and let’s not forget the quiz answers:

A. Assam TGFOP – one of the highest
B. Golden Heaven Yunnan – one of the lowest
C. Margaret’s Hope Darjeeling – one of the lowest
D. Ti Kuan Yin Iron Goddess – one of the lowest
E. Gyokuro – one of the highest

See also:
Tea Caffeine Be Gone, Part I
Tea Caffeine Be Gone, Part II

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

5 thoughts on “Tea Quiz: Which Color of Tea Has More Caffeine

  1. Pingback: Kicking Tea Habits | Tea Blog

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  4. Years ago, I used to see articles in German on the web claiming that the longer black tea was steeped, the less caffeine it contained. So that after two minutes of steeping it reached maximum caffeine levels, or at least the peak of caffeine’s effects, and that thereafter, other compounds in the tea progressively diminished the customary effects of caffeine. So for a pick-me-up, steep black tea for 2-3 minutes, but for black tea’s calming effects, steep it more than 3 minutes. Sems quite counter-intuitive though. Ever come across such claims?

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