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Caffeine In Green Tea

by Sugimoto Tea Company
Health, Wellness

Is there caffeine in green tea? Here's what you need to know about how much caffeine is in green tea, including some of the teas we offer.

Guide Contents:

Caffeine In Green Tea | Everything You Need to Know 

What Caffeine Is And Its Effects on the Body

Caffeine is a naturally-occurring component in certain plants such as tea and coffee. It acts as a stimulant to the central nervous system, which controls functions like cognition and movement.


Benefits of Caffeine

  • Boosts energy and focus -- Feeling sleepy? Caffeine can provide that “caffeine rush” that wakes you up and provides a boost in focus.
  • Accelerates metabolism -- If you’re trying to lose weight, caffeine can accelerate metabolism, which will help you lose weight faster.

Downsides of Caffeine

  • Can keep you up at night -- While a benefit of caffeine is it wakes you up, it can actually be a disadvantage, especially if you’re trying to sleep at night. Aside from this, another sleep-related condition that has been linked to excessive caffeine consumption is insomnia.
  • Jitters -- A common side effect of caffeine, whether you’re highly sensitive to it or have had too much, is it can cause jitters.
  • Increased anxiety levels -- Aside from the jitters, caffeine can also raise anxiety levels, which come with symptoms like sweating and palpitations.
  • Caffeine withdrawal -- In 2004, a Johns Hopkins study recognized caffeine withdrawal as a disorder. In their study, they identified symptoms such as headache, difficulty concentrating, and drowsiness within 12-24 hours in respondents who stopped consuming caffeine.

The FDA puts the amount of caffeine that doesn’t generally cause negative side effects at around 400 mg/day. However, it should be noted that certain factors, like body weight, medications, and individual tolerance to caffeine, affect the amount of time needed for a person to break down the caffeine.

The key here is moderation. For most people, the benefits of caffeine can be enjoyed without the side effects, if consumed in moderate amounts.

Does Green Tea Have Caffeine?

Yes, green tea contains caffeine, though it has a lower caffeine content compared to other beverages that contain caffeine.

  • Coffee vs Green Tea: According to the FDA’s estimate, an 8 oz. cup of green or black tea contains 30 to 50 mg less caffeine than an 8 oz. cup of coffee.
  • Energy Drinks vs Green Tea: On average, energy drinks have 40-250 mg of caffeine for every 8 oz. This means energy drinks have around 10-200 mg more caffeine than a cup of green tea.
  • Soda vs Green Tea: Green tea can have as much caffeine as soda, but certain types of Japanese green tea, such as genmaicha, hojicha, and bancha, typically have lower caffeine levels than soda.

How Much Caffeine Really Is In Green Tea?

The FDA estimates the amount of caffeine for an 8 oz. cup of tea to be between 30 and 50 mg.

How much caffeine is in your cup depends on how much tea you are using to brew with.

Here’s how some of our teas stack up:

  • Hojicha — When brewed according to our recommended guidelines, our Hojicha doesn’t exceed 20 mg of caffeine per cup.
  • Sencha Fukamushi — Our signature Sencha can range from 27 mg to 41 mg of caffeine per cup, depending on brewing time.
  • Organic Ceremonial Matcha — A cup made with 1g of our Organic Ceremonial Matcha will contain 29 mg of caffeine.

The difference in caffeine content for green tea, which ranges from 1.6-3.5%, depends when the tea leaves were harvested. Another factor that can contribute to the levels of caffeine in green tea is brewing time.

To find out how much caffeine is in green tea, let’s compute based on the example given by the FDA.

If you have 8 oz of water with roughly 2.5 grams of tea leaves, you should have around 40-88 mg of caffeine. However, it doesn’t end there because not all of the caffeine is extracted into the water.

In the first 60 seconds of steeping, around 60% of the caffeine will be extracted if you use water that is 176° F. If the water is cooler, you will extract less caffeine. To extract 90% or more of the caffeine, you must steep the tea leaves for a full two minutes. This is represented in the chart below.

This chart also shows how water temperature affects how much caffeine is released from the tea leaves. Thus, cold-brewed tea is less caffeinated than hot brewed tea.

Why Should I Choose Green Tea?

Aside from containing caffeine, green tea also contains theanine, known to produce calming effects.

While caffeine gives you an energy buzz and focus, it can also cause jitters and increased anxiety. Yet, when combined with theanine, green tea can energize without causing the ‘racing’ feeling often associated with caffeine consumption. This is because theanine inhibits the absorption of caffeine in the brain, hence slowing the effects of caffeine.


Japanese Green Teas With the Lowest Caffeine Content

Caffeine-sensitive or trying to cut down on your caffeine consumption? Try a Japanese stem tea! Tea stems have a much lower caffeine content than the leaves. Here are the Japanese green teas with the lowest caffeine content:

  • Hojicha —-- Made from roasted Kukicha, this caramel-colored tea has the lowest caffeine content of all Japanese green tea, which makes it a favorite among tea drinkers of all ages. Our Hojicha is roasted at high temperatures, giving it a rich aroma and flavor. It’s naturally sweet, with a body-warming roasted aroma, perfect for a cozy night in.
  • Kukicha —Our Kukicha is made from young stems separated during the Sencha refining process. It has a mildly sweet, umami flavor, and an intoxicating floral fragrance.

Japanese Green Teas that Have the Highest Caffeine Content

On the other side of the spectrum, here are the Japanese green teas that have the highest caffeine content. Note that while these have the highest concentration of caffeine among our green teas, they still generally contain less caffeine compared to other beverages like coffee and energy drinks.

Additionally, like all green teas, they also contain theanine, which counteracts the jitters that come with caffeine consumption. This allows you to enjoy a balance of increased energy, focus, and relaxation.

  • Shaded teas like Matcha and GyokuroShaded teas refer to those that have been grown in full sunlight then shaded prior to harvest. This prevents the leaf from going through its normal life cycle, decreasing caffeine as it ages. This can result in higher levels of caffeine compared to unshaded Japanese green teas.
  • Powdered Green Teas — When consuming a powdered tea you’re consuming the entire ground-up leaf rather than an infusion. (An infusion is the result of steeping whole tea leaves or tea bags in a liquid.) Thus, when consuming a powdered tea, you are ingesting all of the caffeine rather than what is able to steep into your brew.
  • Sencha — When brewed according to our recommended guidelines, our Sencha Fukamishi will have around the same levels of caffeine to our Organic Ceremonial Matcha.

Sencha vs Matcha: Comparing the Caffeine Levels of our Sencha Fukamishi and Organic Ceremonial Matcha

Technically, our Organic Ceremonial Matcha has a higher caffeine content than our Sencha Fukamishi, but one could argue that Sencha Fukamushi provides more caffeine to the drinker. Here’s a more in-depth look at this.

Organic ceremonial matcha prepared according to our guidelines (using 1g) will yield 29 mg of caffeine. In contrast, 3g of Sencha Fukamushi contains 45mg of caffeine. However when brewed for 1 min. the resulting brew will contain 27 mg. of caffeine. Brewing it for a further one minute will extract 90% of the caffeine into the brew, increasing the total extraction to 41 mg.

Just remember that for whole leaf tea and tea bags, how much caffeine is extracted into the brew depends on brewing time. The longer you brew, the more caffeine is extracted.

If you’re looking for an alternative to your morning cup of coffee or just want to cut down on your caffeine consumption without going cold turkey, Japanese green tea is a delicious alternative. If you’re not sure which tea will be great for you, contact us and we’ll be happy to assist you.

READ NEXT: Can Green Tea Help Fight Off Viral and Bacterial Infections?

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