How to Naturally Reduce Caffeine in Tea

Jill Caren

You have a favorite caffeine-rich tea and want to know if you can reduce the caffeine content of your tea at home. Lowering the caffeine …

Categories Tea

You have a favorite caffeine-rich tea and want to know if you can reduce the caffeine content of your tea at home.

Lowering the caffeine in tea at home is the main topic that I’ll cover in this article. In addition to methods for lowering caffeine levels in tea, I’ll show you which teas are naturally caffeine-free.

Key Takeaways

Caffeine cannot be removed completely from tea at home.

You can simply reduce the caffeine content of your favorite tea by a small percentage.

Lowering the caffeine content of your tea can be done by brewing at a lower water temperature, steeping for a shorter period of time, using less tea leaves, or re-steeping.

How to Reduce Caffeine in Tea

You may decrease the caffeine concentration of your tea by brewing it at a lower temperature, steeping it for a shorter period of time, and using less tea leaves than suggested for a cup.

Before I show you how these factors affect the caffeine levels in tea, there are a few things you should know.

First of all, you should know that you can’t remove the caffeine content from your tea at home. You can reduce it by a small percentage, but your tea will still be caffeinated.

Removing caffeine from tea is a process where tea manufacturers use different chemicals and methods, such as:

  • Ethyl acetate method
  • CO 2 method
  • Methylene chloride method

Decaffeinated tea is a tea that has had most of its caffeine removed. Decaffeinated tea is NOT caffeine-free.

The decaffeination method leaves a trace of caffeine in the leaf. Tea labeled “decaffeinated” cannot contain more than 3% of its original caffeine content. Caffeine levels in a cup of decaf tea can range from 1 to 4 mg.

Now that you know that removing the whole amount of caffeine from tea can’t be done at home, there are some simple ways that can help you get a small amount of caffeine out of your tea.

Here are four ways to decrease caffeine levels in tea:

Lower water temperature

Caffeine’s water solubility rises with increasing water temperature. You’ll extract more caffeine from your tea using hot water for brewing than using cooler water.

For example, caffeine’s solubility in water at 25 °C (77 °F) is only 2%, according to a study on caffeine in green tea. Caffeine, on the other hand, dissolves well in boiling water, reaching a solubility of 70% at 100°C (212°F).

So, if you want to minimize the caffeine levels in your cup of tea, make it with colder water. 

It is important to understand that using a lower water temperature for your tea than recommended may weaken the flavor profile.

Also, if you brew your tea at a lower temperature than recommended, you may not extract all of the beneficial compounds.

Caffeine levels cannot be reduced by brewing tea with hot water and then cooling it in a cup with ice. It isn’t the same. 

So-called “cold brew” tea is something quite different. Cold brewing includes using cold water and steeping the tea for 2–10 hours. 

Cold brewing decreases the caffeine content of tea by half to two-thirds of that of hot brewing.

Shorter steeping time

The longer you steep your tea, the more caffeine will infuse from the tea leaves into the mug.

This is backed up by research published in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology.

According to the research, the caffeine levels of brewed teas steeped in hot water increase as the steeping duration increases.

For example;

Brand1 min
mg/6 oz
3 min
mg/ 6oz
5 min
mg/ 6oz
Stash Earl Grey
Twinings Earl Grey
Stash Premium
Exotica China
Caffeine Content of Teas with Different Steep-Times (6 oz Serving) 

Longer steep times increase caffeine levels overall, but if your tea infusion time is too short, you won’t extract enough flavor. As a consequence, you’ll receive weak tea.

So you have to balance the flavor and caffeine levels. 

Shorter steep times result in less caffeine in your cup, but you may also end up with a flavorless cup of tea.

Less tea leaves than recommended

When making tea, the standard rule is to use at least 2 grams of loose-leaf tea per 6 fl oz of hot water.

If you want a stronger tea, add more tea leaves. If you like lighter tea, use fewer tea leaves than recommended.

So to decrease the caffeine levels in your cup of tea, use fewer tea leaves than recommended. Again, by doing this, you’ll lower the caffeine content, but you may also end up with very light or maybe even flavorless tea.

In addition, the query “Does adding milk to tea reduce caffeine?” is frequently presented. The truth is that adding milk to your tea has no effect on caffeine levels.


The second and third infusions of the tea you’re brewing are not the same as the first.

The first brew extracts most of the caffeine and flavor, but not all.

According to some studies, the caffeine concentration in the first brew is between 65-75% and drops to 20-25% in the second brew.

To get a cup of your favorite tea but with less caffeine, make the first brew but don’t drink it. Then re-steep the tea and taste the second brew, which should be lower in caffeine.

Additionally, re-steeping a tea is a perfect way to discover new flavors in your tea using the same leaves. You can expect lower caffeine levels after the second or third infusion, but not full flavor.

Naturally Low-Caffeine Teas

It’s always better to opt for naturally low-caffeine teas rather than try reducing the caffeine content of certain teas at home.

Certain types of green tea, such as Hojicha and Kukicha, are low in caffeine. Additionally, you can always opt for herbal tea (tisane).  Except for yerba mate tea and herbal tea blends that are chemically caffeinated, most herbal teas (tisanes) are caffeine-free.

More on this subject can be found in my article about Low-Caffeine Japanese Green Tea Types.

The Takeaway

You can try reducing the caffeine content of your loose-leaf tea at home, but it can only be reduced by a few percent.

To do this, use a lower water temperature, a shorter steeping time, less tea leaves than suggested, or prepare a second or third infusion from the same tea leaves, which are nearly always lower in caffeine than the initial brew.

All of these methods will only lower the caffeine in tea leaves by a small percentage; you cannot remove caffeine from tea leaves at home.

Removing the caffeine or making decaffeinated tea is done industrially by using chemical agents.

Finally, it’s always better to opt for low-caffeine teas or caffeine-free herbal teas rather than trying to lower the caffeine level of your preferred tea.