Decaffeinated tea and its benefits

Have you ever wondered how decaffeinated tea is made?  And if choosing decaf tea over regular black or green tea is a better choice for your health?

Then let’s explore.

Tea leaves contain caffein.   Caffeine is a natural stimulant that you can find in tea, coffee and cocoa leaves.   

Stimulant means that if you consume caffeine it will stimulate your nervous system keeping you awake, alert and more energetic.  

There are many opinions on whether caffeine is dangerous or harmless for you and you can further explore this topic.  (source)

decaf tea

So, How do they make decaffeinated tea?

There are few ways to remove caffeine from tea leaves

1.    Water processing

In this method tea leaves are soaked in water for some time and then go through carbon filter, which removes caffeine.  Then water is added back to tea leaves to maintain flavour.

This procedure results in very water and least aromatic tea.

2.    Ethyl Acetate

This method uses, as the name states, ethyl acetate.  Only 20% of leaves’ antioxidants remain in the tea leaves after this method.

This method is considered to be “natural” because tea leaves contain small amounts of ethyl acetate.  This is also non-toxic and non-expensive method.

During this decaffeination leaves are soaked in ethyl acetate for 10 hours.

Unfortunately, this process not only removes caffeine, but also alters tea flavour.

3.    Carbon Dioxide 

This is the most natural method of decaffeination and leaves about 90% of the original antioxidant content in the tea leaves. 

Tea flavour and its aroma are unaffected during this method.

During this method tea leaves are placed under enormous pressure and hight temperature in the chamber of liquefied carbon dioxide.  In this conditions carbon dioxide attracts caffeine molecules.  Then in about 10 hours the pressure is lowered and all caffeine evaporates together is carbon dioxide.

This method is much more expensive than other methods.

There was another method also used where tea leaves are soaked in methyl chloride.  However, many countries banned this way of decaffeination because of some links to cancer and other illnesses.

I still advise you to look at the label of the product and see what type of decaffeination was used to remove caffeine. 

jasmine tea

Let’s see how much caffeine is in some drinks (based on 100 grams per drink)

1 cup of coffee –        40 mg

1 cup of black tea –        20 mg

1 cup of green tea –        20-25 mg

How much caffeine is in decaffeinated tea?

If you are looking for drinks that do not contain any caffein at all, then unfortunately decaf tea is not the beverage of your choice.  Because despite all the manipulation they do with tea to remove caffeine, a cup (100ml) of both decaf green tea and black tea still contains 1-2 mg of caffein. 

If you need tea with Zero caffein in it, choose herbal teas.

Can decaf tea keep you awake?

The short answer – it should not.  

The more detailed answer is that it depends on your body and how it is sensitive to caffeine.

I know people who can drink  a cup of strong coffee at 9 pm and then go to sleep no problem.  I personally have to stop consuming caffeine before noon, otherwise it will be hard for me to fall asleep.

So, it all depends on your body.  Some people are so sensitive to caffeine, that even a 1 mg of it in

Will decaffeinated tea dehydrate you?

Caffeine is mild diuretic, meaning that it will remove fluid from your body.  That is why it is always advisable to drink a glass of water after having an expresso or even simple cup of coffee.  

Decaffeinated tea does not contain much caffeine.  So unless you are consuming litres and litres of tea and do not drink water at all, you might become dehydrated, but it is very unlikely. 

Is decaf black tea safe during pregnancy?

The safest answer is – talk to your doctor.

Both decaf green tea and decaf black teas contain some amount of caffeine.  The amount is very small and if you are healthy, you will be fine drinking 2-3 cups of decaffeinated tea.  

In general you can drink 2 small cups of caffeinated coffee and tea.  So, it is safe to conclude that 2-3 cups of decaffeinated tea should be acceptable as well. 

What tea does not have caffeine in it?

japanese tea

If you looking for 100% caffeine free teas, then you should look into herbal teas.  Herbal teas, as name states, contain herbs and do not contain any tea leaves.  

There is a huge variety of herbal teas on the market and you can always try few to find your favorite one.

Rooibos tea – this African tea is also called redbush tea.  It contains many anti-oxidants and can boost your immune system and protect your heart.

Rooibos Earl Grey – good news: if you love Earl Grey tea but are trying to stay away from caffeine, you can still enjoy your favourite beverage.  Bergamot is added to rooibos red rooibos plant so you will get that unique delicious aroma.

Chamomile tea is very famous for it’s calming properties.  Have a cup before bedtime and enjoy peaceful sleep. 

Rose hip tea contains vitamin C and antioxidants.  It also boosts your immune system.

Peppermint tea is very refreshing.  It will calm you before bedtime so you can sleep better.

Ginger tea is quite famous for its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.  It has slightly bitter taste so enjoy it with honey.  

Lemon Balm tea has very mild and pleasant taste.  It is also a good tea to drink before bedtime. 

As you probably figured out, if you are trying to stay away from caffeine, then herbal teas would be the healthiest option for you.  If you really love the taste of black tea and cutting down on caffeine levels, then look at the labels of decaf teas and try to buy a tea, that was decaffeinated with carbon dioxide process. 

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