Teas High in Caffeine: A Natural Alternative to Coffee

Jill Caren

Are you looking for teas with a high caffeine content to replace your morning cup of coffee? Your search ends here. A list of high-caffeine …

Categories Tea

Are you looking for teas with a high caffeine content to replace your morning cup of coffee? Your search ends here.

A list of high-caffeine teas and their caffeine levels will be presented in this article.

Additionally, you’ll learn about the primary characteristics of caffeine-rich teas, and in the conclusion, we’ll discuss some important points to remember about caffeine and tea.

Key Highlights

Matcha, black, green, white, oolong, and pu-erh tea are the most popular caffeinated teas.
Yerba Mate is one of the most popular caffeine-rich herbal infusions.
The caffeine levels in tea change based on how it is brewed (water temperature, steep time), the leaf-to-water ratio, whether loose leaf or tea bags are used, etc.

High-Caffeine Teas

Which teas contain the highest levels of caffeine? Our top highly caffeinated teas include the following:

  • Yerba Mate (70-85 mg of caffeine per cup)
  • Matcha (38-88 mg of caffeine per cup)
  • Pu-erh (60-70 mg of caffeine per cup)
  • Black (40-80 mg of caffeine per cup)
  • Oolong (16-55 mg of caffeine per cup)
  • Green (20-50 mg of caffeine per cup)
  • White (13-75mg of caffeine per cup)

Now, let’s have a look at some of the characteristics of these caffeine-rich teas!

Yerba Mate Tea (70 – 85 mg)

Yerba Mate is the tea with the highest caffeine content
Yerba Mate Tea

Yerba Mate is a herbal tea made from the Ilex paraguariensis plant’s leaves and twigs. This plant is indigenous to South America and is used to prepare Argentina’s, Paraguay’s, Uraguay’s, and Southern Brazil’s national drinks.

Moreover, yerba mate outnumbers coffee six to one in these countries.

Traditionally, yerba mate is consumed from a gourd and sipped through a metal straw (bombilla) fitted with a filter at the bottom to strain off the leaf pieces.

Yerba mate is frequently described as a beverage that combines the energizing properties of coffee with the smooth flavor of regular tea, the healing properties of herbal tea, and the feel-good aspect of chocolate.

Yerba Mate tea has around 70-85 mg of caffeine per cup (8 ounces), more than black tea but less than coffee.

As with any drink made from a caffeinated plant, the caffeine level changes depending on the plant’s variety, how it was processed, and how it was brewed.

While coffee users frequently experience caffeine jitters or a post-coffee slump, mate drinkers do not. In other words, yerba mate provides more energy than a cup of coffee without the negative effects associated with coffee.

Matcha Tea (38-88 mg)

The Camellia sinensis plant is used to make matcha, a type of Japanese green tea. It is prepared by finely grinding green tea leaves.

There are two significant differences between Matcha and normal green tea:

  • Because the green tea plants are shade-grown, the taste, L-Theanine, and caffeine levels are changed.
  • Veins and stalks are removed after harvesting and drying, and the tea leaf is ground into a fine powder.

When you drink matcha, the entire tea leaf is consumed. As a result, it contains an astonishing amount of caffeine, ranging between 38 and 88 mg per cup.

As is well known, the caffeine content in tea varies greatly depending on how the leaves are manufactured and the tea is brewed.

While drinking matcha, you also absorb a variety of other nutritious components, such as polyphenols and the antioxidant amino acid L-Theanine.

Matcha’s caffeine level offers energy, while the L-Theanine content promotes calm, concentration, and productivity. Additionally, this amino acid present naturally in the tea plant can help to delay the energy increase, resulting in more consistent and longer productivity.

Pu-erh Tea (60-70 mg)

Black Pu-erh tea
Pu-erh Tea

Pu-erh tea, also known as Pu’er tea, is a fermented tea that has historically been produced in China’s Yunnan Province. 

This tea has been aged and fermented naturally. Pu-erh tea is the most oxidized variety of tea, and like great wine, this tea leaf improves with age, resulting in a more mellow flavor.

Some of the most costly and rare Pu-erh teas have been aged for over 50 years. Pu-erh tea is often sold as compacted “cakes” of tea leaves, although it can also be purchased loose.

Caffeine levels in an 8-ounce cup of Pu-erh tea range between 60 and 70 mg.

The next high-caffeine tea on the list has somewhat less caffeine than Pu-erh tea, but only slightly.

Black Tea (40-80 mg)

When individuals in Western society talk about tea in general, they frequently refer to black tea. It is made from the Camellia sinensis plant and is frequently mixed with other plants to create a variety of tastes, including Earl Grey, English breakfast, and chai.

In general, black tea is more robust, powerful, and flavorful than green tea.

Brewed black tea’s color can range from amber to red to dark brown, and its flavor profile can range from savory to sweet, depending on the amount of time it was oxidized and how it was heat processed.

A typical 8 oz cup of black tea has between 40 and 80 mg of caffeine. Generally, the majority of black teas contain roughly 50 mg of caffeine per cup.

Again, keep in mind that the type and grade of black tea leaves might result in varying caffeine amounts. As a result, these figures are susceptible to change depending on the source.

Oolong Tea (16-55mg)

Oolong tea caffeine content
Oolong Tea

Oolong tea is a traditional Chinese tea prepared from leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant that have been partly oxidized.

The degree of oxidation in oolong varies between 8% and 80%, depending on the tea master’s manufacturing technique.

As a result, the flavor profile of some oolongs may be more reminiscent of fresh green tea (less oxidized), while others may be more reminiscent of a malty black tea (more oxidized).

Oolong tea has somewhat more caffeine than green tea but less than black tea – typically between 16 and 55 mg per 8 oz cup.

A lightly oxidized oolong may contain less caffeine (similar to green tea), whereas a heavily oxidized oolong may contain more caffeine (similar to black tea).

Here is a detailed article about the caffeine in oolong tea.

Green Tea (20-50 mg)

Green tea has less caffeine than oolong or black tea. The caffeine content in an 8-oz (230-ml) serving of green tea is around 35 mg.

This, however, might vary. Due to the fact that caffeine occurs naturally in green tea, the amount varies significantly depending on the variety of tea plants, its growing circumstances, and the method in which it is processed and brewed.

For instance, tea prepared with older leaves often has less caffeine than tea prepared with younger leaves.

The exact quantity in an 8-oz serving might range between 20 and 50 mg. The benefit of having less caffeine is that you may have a few cups of green tea throughout the day.

Just for curiosity, if you want to see what green teas are low in caffeine, here is a detailed post on naturally low-caffeine green teas.

White Tea (13-75mg)

High quality white tea rich in caffeine
White Tea premium quality Silver N.

White tea is likewise derived from the Camellia sinensis plant. Because of the tiny white hairs that cover the young tea leaves and buds, it is known as “white” tea.

White tea, on average, has the least caffeine of all true teas. This is partly due to the fact that it is brewed at lower temperatures, which prevents the leaves from extracting caffeine.

Silver Needle (Bai Hao Yin Zhen) and White Peony (Bai Mudan) are the most popular white tea grades because they are the least processed and mostly consist of tea buds rather than leaves.

White teas are diverse and include a broad variety of caffeine levels, from gentler, low-caffeine teas (about 15mg/cup) to the highest-caffeine teas (approximately 75mg/cup).

For instance, a Chinese white Silver Needle tea may contain more caffeine than another Chinese black tea but less caffeine than an Indian or African black tea.

Silver needle is the most caffeine-dense of the world’s most popular forms of Chinese white tea. Shou mei (longevity eyebrows), the darkest of these three grades, has the most robust flavor but the least caffeine, while White Peony falls halfway in between.

White teas of the highest purity, such as Silver Needle, have nearly as much caffeine as black teas.

This is because this sort of white tea is prepared from flower buds rather than the leaves used in other white teas. To ward off insects, these flower buds have a high concentration of caffeine, which results in an increase in the caffeine content of the finest white teas.

The caffeine content in white tea varies between 13 and 75 mg, depending on the variety of white tea used and the brewing technique used. The leaves produce more caffeine the longer they are brewed.

Things To Keep In Mind About Caffeine and Tea

The caffeine content in tea varies according to a variety of factors, including the method and duration of brewing or steeping.

The water temperature and steeping period have the biggest effect on caffeine content. The caffeine concentration of black, oolong, green, and white tea leaves is remarkably close.

However, tea steeped in boiling water for five minutes will impart far more caffeine into the cup than tea steeped for two minutes at 180°F (83°C).

The more tea leaves steeped in your cup, the stronger the caffeine content of your tea. Therefore, if you use loose-leaf tea, you may brew fewer leaves for a lower caffeine concentration. And if you want a very strong, caffeinated tea, simply add additional tea leaves.

Here is an interesting article on how to reduce the caffeine content of your tea naturally at home.

Additionally, the leaf placement on the tea plant has an effect on the caffeine level of the tea. There is more caffeine and antioxidants in young leaves at the top of the plant.

Keep in mind that, due to the fact that tea bags contain broken leaves of a smaller size, they make a stronger infusion with more caffeine than loose tea.

Caffeine consumption should be limited to 400mg per day

According to the majority of experts, 400 mg of caffeine per day appears to be a safe amount for healthy adults. Any more than that can result in anxiety, sleeplessness, etc.

The caffeine content in an 8-ounce cup of freshly brewed coffee can vary from 70 to 140 mg, with an average of 95 mg. That is approximately the caffeine content of 4 cups of brewed coffee or 4-6 cups of strong caffeine-rich tea.

If you’re a regular coffee consumer looking to cut back on your caffeine intake, you should give the tea a try.

While tea does not contain as much caffeine as coffee, it is an excellent substitute if you want that additional boost of energy without feeling jittery or restricted to one cup. Experiment with several types of tea to see which ones work best for you.

Since I’ve mentioned the energy boost from tea, here is a post with the best teas for energy. You can find some of these teas mentioned here as well as some new ones that are great energy boosters.

The Takeaway

Finally, all of the above-mentioned teas with a high caffeine content are excellent substitutes for coffee and other caffeinated beverages.

It’s entirely up to you which tea you select; if you want something with a higher caffeine content, opt for matcha or black tea. If you’re looking for lower-caffeine tea, opt for green or white tea.

Keep in mind that the caffeine amounts shown above are only averages; as previously stated, the caffeine content of tea varies based on a variety of factors.

Always read the label on your tea package to find out how much caffeine it has and how to brew it for a perfect cup of tea!

Extra Info on High Caffeine Tea

  1. Matcha Caffeine: How Long Does It Last?
  2. How Much Caffeine Is in Earl Grey Tea?
  3. Caffeine Content of Green Tea vs. Coffee