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How Much Caffeine is in Green Tea?


Glass of green tea on coaster
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Question: How Much Caffeine is in Green Tea?
I heard that green tea is caffeine free, but it always gives me energy. Does green tea have caffeine? If so, how much caffeine is in green tea?
Answer: Although it's a common myth that green tea is naturally caffeine free, green tea does contain caffeine. *

The amount of caffeine in green tea varies from type to type. A cup of green tea can contain anywhere from 15mg of caffeine to 75 mg of caffeine, or even more for some types of Matcha Green Tea. There are many factors that influence the level of caffeine in tea, but you can reduce caffeine in your green teas with these techniques:
  • Drink "twig teas." "Twig teas" are made from the twigs, or stems, of the tea plant. They are naturally very low in caffeine. Popular twig teas include Kukicha and Houjicha.
  • Drink green teas that are not shade grown. Matcha and Gyokuro are naturally very high in caffeine because they are shade-grown teas. (Shade-grown teas react to a lack of sunlight by increasing their levels of chlorophyll and some other chemical compounds, including caffeine.)
  • Avoid powdered green teas. Powdered green teas, such as Matcha, are consumed as a suspension instead of an infusion. That means you're drinking the leaf instead of an infusion of the leaf, and you're consuming every last bit of caffeine it has to offer.
  • Opt for decaf green tea. Decaf green teas are NOT caffeine free, but they are lower in caffeine than other green teas. Just don't fall for the home decaf myth -- despite rumors to the contrary, there is no scientifically proven way to decaffeinate tea at home!
  • Drink whole-leaf green tea instead of green teabags. Teabags have more caffeine than loose-leaf tea (usually).
  • Drink less tippy green teas. Tea buds or "tips" are typically higher in caffeine than older, more mature leaves. For that reason, spring harvest teas (like Shincha) are often (but not always) higher in caffeine than late-harvest teas (like Bancha).
  • Drink green tea blends. A blended green tea, such as a 50-50 blend of lemongrass and green tea or mint and green tea, typically contains about half the caffeine of its unblended counterpart.
  • Brew green tea correctly. Many people use boiling water to brew green tea, or brew green tea for more than three to four minutes. This increases the level of caffeine in your cup. Instead, use simmering water and brew for 30 seconds to four minutes, with an optimal brew time of one-and-a-half minutes to three minutes for many green teas.
* If you want a caffeine-free "tea" with a flavor that's roughly akin to green tea, I suggest a caffeine-free herbal tea / tisane like jiaogulan, green rooibos or lemon balm.

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