Many people choose to drink green tea because it is delicious and rich in antioxidants. The drink can also boost your energy and productivity, which is a common characteristic of coffee and black tea.

So Does green tea have caffeine?

Yes. Green tea contains caffeine.

So, how much caffeine is in green tea?

The figure largely used for reference purposes is 25 milligrams of caffeine per 8-ounce (ca. 225ml) serving of green tea. It is a fairly low amount of caffeine at .25 percent the amount found in coffee, or .5 the amount found in a cup of black tea.

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But it is hard to assign an exact number, since there are multiple variables that can alter the content of caffeine, including:

  • The length of brewing time – the longer the brew, the greater the content
  • The brand of green tea
  • Parts of water to tea
  • Serving size

In this regard, the Journal of Food Science lists the caffeine levels in different brands of green tea, all made from 8 ounces of water per two grams of dry green tea and brewed for three minutes:

  • Decaffeinated Stash Tea
  • – 7.6 mg
  • YamaMOTOYama
  • – 11.2 mg
  • Celestial Seasoning
  • – 12.0 mg
  • Zen Green and Herbal Fusion
  • – 15.6 mg
  • Ten Ren Tea
  • – 16.4 mg
  • Lipton
  • – 16.4 mg
  • Midori Tea and Ginseng Co.
  • – 17.6 mg
  • Herb Enterprise
  • – 20.2 mg
  • Stash Tea (organic)
  • – 27.0 mg
  • Stash Tea (premium)
  • – 30.2 mg
  • Peets Coffee
  • – 33.4 mg
  • Stash Tea (Exotica Dragonwell)
  • – 47.8 mg

    As you can see from the data, the amount of caffeine in green tea can vary significantly among types and brands of green tea used.

    But green tea is made from the same plant as black tea, known as Camellia Sinensis. The only difference lies in the production process, more specifically the fermentation or oxidation process. This stage is much gentler for making green tea, plus studies argue that green tea contains an amino acid that offsets the “frenzied” effect of caffeine.

    What does this mean?

    Owing to the production process, green tea gives a modest caffeine boosts that result in a milder and steady source of stimulation that apparently aids in concentration. Consuming green tea is also associated with calming the brain, which is an important effect when you want to unwind.

    green tea drying

    While green tea contains caffeine, it is not as much as that contained in black tea. So, if you’re looking to reduce the amount of caffeine in your diet, replacing a cup of coffee with the same measure of green tea will cut back your caffeine intake by nearly 70 percent. This is because a cup of coffee contains between 100 and 150 mg of caffeine compared to 25 mg of caffeine in green tea.

    If you’re already taking green tea and want to further reduce your caffeine intake, read on.

    . How to reduce green tea caffeine

    Green tea contains many nutrients that have been linked with considerable health benefits. However, as with any food or beverage that contains caffeine, there is a risk of addiction, while certain groups of the population should cut back or avoid caffeine, such as expectant or nursing mothers.

    Here are a few to ideas reduce caffeine in your green tea:

    1. Know your green tea

    The first thing you should know is that younger tea leaves tend to produce more caffeine in their tea. The most valued part of green tea is the tea flush, which comprises one terminal bud and two adjacent leaves. Though they are the sweetest, they also produce the most caffeine.

    Though color seems like a good indicator of the strength of a cup of tea, research suggests otherwise. High-grade teas are typically made from the tea flush, which means they have the greatest caffeine content. For instance, a top Japanese green tea called ‘Gyokuro’ contains higher caffeine content than a dark tea like Lapsang Souchong.

    2. Know your level of tolerance

    Experts suggest that a healthy adult can safely consume up to 300 mg of caffeine a day. Compared to other beverages containing caffeine, such as coffee, black tea, and soft drinks, the stimulation offered by green tea is gentle and steady, with few reports of the side effects associated with caffeine like headaches or nervousness.

    The reason caffeine in green tea produces a different effect is because it also contains L-Theanine – an amino acid known to create a calming effect on the brain. It is a caffeine antagonist, which means that it offsets the ‘hyper’ effect resulting from caffeine consumption. Theanine is unique to green and white tea because it is not destroyed by the steaming process.

    green-tea-served

    Theanine is also responsible for the characteristic sweet and elegant green tea flavor. Consuming two cups of green tea per day, or 14-16 ounces, can help you benefit from the cancer-fighting property of green tea. This translates to only 60 mg of caffeine (considering that 8 oz = 30 mg of caffeine), which is way below the recommended caffeine daily intake of 300 mg.

    3. Find green teas that are naturally low in caffeine

    Green teas are processed differently to contain low caffeine content naturally. Here are some common low-caffeine options:

    • Japanese houjicha green tea – This green tea is pan-fried at a high temperature or roasted. This process also improves the flavor and aroma
    • Japanese genmaicha – This is a mixture of bancha green tea and roasted rice grain (Genmai). The more Genmai in the blend, the more aromatic the tea.
    • Japanese Bancha – This is a heavier grade of green tea produced from a late season crop, which means that the tea flush is low in caffeine

    4. Purchase decaffeinated green tea

    Decaf green teas are not free from caffeine; they just contain less caffeine than other green teas. This can be achieved through one of two processes, so make sure to buy green tea that uses the healthier natural decaffeination process known as ‘effervescence’.

    This process relies on water and carbon dioxide, as opposed to chemicals, for decaffeination, which helps to retain 95 percent of the healthy polyphenols. The other process, though referred to as “natural decaffeination”, relies on the chemical solvent ethyl acetate that retains about 30 percent of the polyphenols.

    Most chemical decaffeination processes of tea leaves and coffee beans use ethyl acetate as the solvent because of its low toxicity, agreeable odor, and low cost.

    However, the solvent is also used in some nail varnish removers, paints as an activator, and to clean circuit boards.

    If you are used to consuming a particular green tea, you will notice some change in taste when switching to decaf due to the processing. Just make sure to check the label for CO2 process or effervescence when buying decaf green tea.

    5. Choose whole-leaf green tea over green tea teabags

    The teabags option for green tea contains a lot more caffeine than the loose green tea leaves. Additionally, you will experience some loss in quality because of the bad teabag flavor.

    High-quality green tea leaves can also be used about three times before they are fully spent, which makes them the most economical option, as well.

    6. Brew your green tea the right way

    The problem with using boiling water to brew green tea, or brewing green tea for 3-4 minutes is that it increases the caffeine content in your cup.

    Instead, it is recommended that you brew for between 30 seconds and four minutes in simmering water, with the optimal brew time for most green teas being between 90 seconds and 180 seconds.

    7. Brew your tea at half strength

    If you are suffering from intolerance for caffeine, you can try adjusting the amount of green tea you add to your brew. You have more room for adjustment with loose green tea leaves.

    If you use one or two teaspoons per cup of green tea, try cutting the number in half to see if it works for you. If the result feels too weak, make little increments until you have the right mixture.

    8. Discard the first infusion

    A good number of tea drinkers argue that steeping tea for 45 seconds and pouring out the liquid removes a considerable amount of caffeine.

    However, one study claims that to remove 50 percent of the caffeine, you would need to steep for tea for three minutes.

    Depending on your reasons for reducing the amount of caffeine in your green tea, you may consider using this option to bring down the caffeine content in your mug.

    You should, however, note that weak green tea loses much of its aroma and flavor when steeped for this long.

    Final Note

    Considering that the amount of caffeine in a cup of green tea can vary widely, from 15 to 75 mg depending on a range of factors besides the content indicated on the product label, it is recommended that you try your green tea in small doses as you assess your own response.

    Decide how you want to brew your green tea, and then prepare half a cup per day. Gradually increase your daily intake while taking note of your reaction to the increasing caffeine intake and adjust accordingly.

    You will know the right blends the instant you feel nicely stimulated, calm and content.

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    • Mike Namreka

      “It is a fairly low amount of caffeine at .25 percent the amount found in coffee, or .5 the amount found in a cup of black tea.”
      Sorry but I think you mean 25 percent!! If you mean .25%, people will think they can consume 400 cups of green tea to equal the amount of caffeine in a coffee. Bad advice, poor English, terrible maths and incorrect science.