Does White Tea Have Caffeine?
White tea is one of the most precious and preserved cultural possessions of China. It is created by processing only the youngest leaves from the tea plant, from here that it has such a particular flavor and scent making a delicate silver or snowy colored tea. Producing this tea requires real expertise at the time of plucking the leaves and buds and that’s why it is one of the most expensive tea varieties available in the market.
A lot of people are constantly asking if white tea has caffeine. They also ask if there is a safe level of consumption of white tea to avoid dependence from the caffeine. And to be honest, this whole thing of the white tea and caffeine is cover with a lot of misinformation and untrue facts.
There has been some misinformation as some tea vendors just want to push sells. All they say is that caffeine is bad and antioxidants (which are highly present in teas) are good. They also say that white tea is caffeine free or has the lowest rates of caffeine.
Another this is the common assumption of that because the white tea usually have milder flavors and lighter colors that it is lighter in caffeine. May be because we associate dark color of coffee with caffeine.
All types of tea come from a plant called “Camellia Sinensis”. There are other types of tea, such as chamomile or peppermint tea, which are truly not tea. These infusions (because that’s what they are), are called herbal teas and have nothing to do with the real tea.
The “Camellia sinensis” plant is a plant that contains caffeine, so basically, all the types of teas produced from this plant have some level of caffeine. So if you were looking for a totally caffeine free drink, then tea might not be for you.
Is white tea the one with the lower caffeine level?
The answer to this question is a bit tricky as it is a bit more complex than just arguing that it has caffeine. Yes, in general lines, white tea is one of the beverages with least amount of caffeine. And no, not necessarily it is the one with the lowest rate from caffeine.
All this misinformation came from a study that was made to the tea leaves used in the production of white tea in the province of Fujian. The plants of “camellia sinensis” from this region are naturally (may because of the soil composition) low in caffeine, but really low. But teas white teas produced in other areas might not be as low in caffeine as it is believed. Another recent study proved that caffeine contained in white teas from India could be present in higher level than in Ceylon black tea.
The teas from the Fujian region of China can contain as little as 6mg of caffeine in a serving of the size of an 8 oz. cup
One of the mains reasons that white teas can have lower levels of caffeine at some points it is also due to the short process of fermentation it has to undergo before being ready for brewing.
There is something that is little known to normal people and mostly only the connoisseurs know. This is the fact that there are ways of preparing tea that highly reduce the level of caffeine contained in your brew. It is called “Gong Fu Cha” which literally translates to “To Make Tea with Great Skill”.
This is a highly controlled method for brewing teas, it consist on brewing your tea with very short steeping times in a lot of different brews. What you do is that basically you steep your tea in different teapots. In this method of brewing the first time you brew the leaves it’s actually to wash them and therefore it isn’t consumed. As caffeine is highly soluble in water most of the caffeine will stay on the first teapot.
This process of brewing can give your tea more intense flavors while leaving almost all of the caffeine in the leaves. Western methods of brewing are totally different. Something to keep in mind is that brewing many times the same tea leaves can greatly diminish its flavor but will also continuously reduce the caffeine level in it.
If you must avoid caffeine at all levels, it is better to try some herbal teas except for Yerba Mate as it is known to contain almost as much caffeine as coffee. If you are interested in reducing the amount of caffeine you put in to your body, you could try the Gong Fu Cha and drink the tea the way that the Chinese cherish and value so much.