Green Tea Caffeine Content - Is It Too Much?

Many coffee addicts turn to tea for a healthier, less caffeinated alternative to their usual java, but they might be surprised to find out how much caffeine green tea has. Many people mistakenly believe that green tea has no caffeine. However, green tea does contain caffeine. The good news is that the green tea caffeine content is significantly lower than the amount found in coffee.

Many factors determine the amount of caffeine in green tea, including the variety of the plant. For instance, it has been found that the Indian variety has more caffeine than the Chinese variety of tea. In addition, tea preparation greatly contributes to its caffeine content. The longer it steeps, the higher the caffeine content. The amount of caffeine also depends on the number of times a batch of tea leaves has been used. The more times the leaves are brewed, the less caffeine they yield. A cup of tea can contain caffeine amounts ranging from 3 mg to 30 mg—well below coffee, which can have as much as 200 mg per cup. Even cola soft drinks, with 34 mg per can, have more caffeine than green tea.

Some individuals may be apprehensive of drinking green tea because of its caffeine content. But the caffeine in green tea affects people differently. Many people who are sensitive to caffeine report that they do not get the insomnia, shakes or jitters that are typically linked to caffeine from coffee. In fact, many people get a soothing and relaxed feeling after sipping a cup of green tea. Why is this so? This is because of two components present in green tea: theanine and epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG. When tea is infused with hot water, the EGCG binds with caffeine and neutralizes its effect. Theanine induces alpha waves inside the brain that promote a calm state of mind. Both EGCG and theanine therefore counter the effects of caffeine and can induce a relaxed and calm mood instead.

However, some people are so sensitive to the effects of caffeine that even little amounts can adversely affect them. There are ways to reduce the green tea caffeine content and its effects.

  • Start slowly. Take a few sips at a time, and see how you feel. Often, the caffeine effects disappear as the body gets used to it. Slowly increase your intake level as you begin to tolerate it.
  • If you experience insomnia, try drinking green tea in the morning.
  • Instead of tea bags, try tea leaves instead. Tea bags may contain fillers, like black tea, which has a high caffeine content.
  • When preparing a cup, discard the initial infusion. This will remove about 80% of its caffeine content. Drink the second or third infusion instead.
  • Drink your tea hot. EGCG binds to caffeine while hot. On cooling, the bonds break down, thereby making caffeine more potent.

It is not necessary to avoid green tea altogether because of the caffeine content. In fact, the caffeine effects are minimal. Green tea is known to have health benefits, so including a cup or two in your daily regimen can be good for you.