Does Tea Need More Caffeine?

People have different reasons for drinking tea. Some do so because they grew up in a tea drinking household and that’s just the way things were done. Some people drink it for the taste – a group that I’d put myself in. Some like the contemplative aspects of the tea experience and the ritual of preparing and drinking tea. And of course there are those that drink it for the boost they get from the caffeine that tea contains.

PG Tips satisfies both those who and don't want caffeine (ETS images)
PG Tips satisfies both those who and don’t want caffeine (ETS images)

Tea is interesting in this latter respect. As a general rule it’s considered to contain less caffeine than coffee. However, the caffeine that tea does contain is offset, in a manner of speaking, by a compound called theanine, which has been found to produce a calming effect.

Which to my way of thinking makes tea a less than optimum choice if you’re just looking for a caffeine kick. But maybe I’m looking at things the wrong way. As it turns out, there are a few tea companies I’ve run across lately who are banking on the fact that there are tea drinkers who want tea with extra caffeine. Yes, that’s right. Tea with a caffeine content that’s over and above what it contains in its natural state.

I wrote about a few of these teas a while back in an article called Industrial Strength Tea. But recently I ran across yet another tea merchant, a rather well known one, who is introducing a line of high caffeine teas. As they put it, these teas are “boosted with green tea extract and pure caffeine from premium tea leaves for an invigorated calm alertness.”

I have mixed feelings about this sort of thing. First off, I drink tea in spite of the caffeine and if it were possible to find truly good decaffeinated tea I might consider going that route. I’m definitely not the target audience for this sort of thing and I’ve actually passed on an offer to sample this line.

As I’ve noted already, on the one hand it seems to me that tea is an odd choice for someone who wants extra caffeine, given that the market is already flooded with hyper-caffeinated energy drinks. And of course there’s coffee, in all of its many forms and varieties.

On the other hand, I’ve never been a fan of the taste or smell of coffee and the few energy drinks I’ve sampled over the years were plagued by a distinctly medicinal taste. So if I ever were to come to a point where I needed more caffeine in my day I guess I’d probably prefer to go with an enhanced version of a “premium” tea rather than any of the aforementioned.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

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One thought on “Does Tea Need More Caffeine?

  1. Deb

    Oh, what is wrong with this world? LOL Why does everyone need to much more caffeine? Why are there people out there “messing” around with our tea? Please leave it alone. Tea is tea. 🙂

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