How Much Caffeine is in a Cup of Tea?
Hot tea is one of my favorite fall indulgences. And I’m not alone. Sales of hot tea have grown 15% over the past 5 years, which many experts think is due to tea’s health benefits (more on this in a moment).
But how much caffeine is in a cup of tea? I like to have mine in the evening, after dinner and before bedtime. But I don’t want my tea to prevent me from going to sleep.
The answer to this question is: it depends. The amount of caffeine in a cup of tea depends on a number of different factors, which I’ll rundown in the space below. Read on to learn more about how much caffeine is in a cup of tea.
Caffeine in Tea
The amount of caffeine is your cup of tea is a function of what brand of tea you’re drinking. Just to be clear: That’s what “brand” of tea you’re drinking; not what “type” of brand.
There’s a myth that black teas have far more caffeine than green teas, which in turn have far more caffeine than white teas. But that’s not true.
A 2008 study showed no correlation between tea type and caffeine content. Rather, it found that almost all teas fall in the range of 14 to 61 milligrams per 6- our 8-ounce cup.
Is that a lot? Let’s compare caffeine in tea to caffeine in soda and coffee:
- 6–8 ounces of tea: 14 to 61 mg
- 8 ounces of coffee: 70 to 140 mg
- 12 ounces of Coca-Cola: 34 mg
- 12 ounces of Pepsi: 38 mg
- 12 ounces of Dr. Pepper: 41 mg
- 12 ounces of Diet Coke: 45 mg
- 16 ounce of Monster Energy: 160 mg
- 2 ounces of 5-Hour Energy: 200 mg
Caffeine Info: Not Required by the FDA
In a perfect world, you should be able to look at the label of a certain tea product to find the caffeine content. But that’s not always possible. Why? Because the United States Food and Drug Administration doesn’t always require manufacturers to include caffeine information.
This came as a shock to me, and I’m not alone apparently. The FDA felt compelled to write about why caffeine isn’t always required. The explanation makes sense: Nutrition facts include information on nutrients, while caffeine is a naturally occurring chemical in tea leaves and coffee beans — not a nutrient.
But, still, caffeine is a stimulant, and it would be nice to know how much of it we’re consuming. Some tea products do include information on caffeine, which I greatly appreciate. But most do not include caffeine info, which will leave you wondering.
Our Collective Caffeine Addiction
There are days when I get to work and I simply can’t keep my eyes open by 10 a.m. I need caffeine, plain and simple. And I get some through coffee. I drink at least three cups each morning, as do at least 68 million other Americans.
In fact, about 30 million Americans drink 5 cups of coffee (or more) each day. That’s a lot of coffee.
Coffee and tea have a lot of health benefits. But large amounts of caffeine can lead to restlessness, headaches, mood swings and anxiety, and they can even raise blood pressure and restrict blood’s circulation to the brain.
Yikes, that sounds scary when I read it aloud. I tried to quit drinking coffee once, but the headaches got so bad that I gave up after a few days. Apparently those headaches stop after a week or two, but I don’t think I could go that far.
I figure I’m fine as long as I’m staying within the recommended amount of daily caffeine consumption. But how much caffeine is too much in a day?
Much Caffeine to Consume Per Day?
The Mayo Clinic draws the line at 400 milligrams, and I’m willing to trust the Mayo Clinic. Anything more than 400 milligrams, they say, and you should consider cutting back.
I’m right on the border. My three cups of coffee most likely get me to about 250 or 300 milligrams, and I then I’ll have a cup of tea in the evening that inches me closer to 400. But I don’t think I’ve crossed the line yet.
But, if you’re having a 5-Hour Energy (and its 200 milligrams) plus a couple of cups of coffee and a Diet Coke each day, you may be pushing your limit.
The Health Benefits of Tea
Both coffee and tea deliver a ton of health benefits. Yes, there’s risk involved in consuming too much caffeine, but keep the caffeine in check and you’ll unlock a number of advantages.
The New York Times wrote in 2015 that tea is known to:
- Reduce risk of liver problems
- Reduce risk of depression
- Reduce risk of stroke
- Reduce risk of diabetes
- Reduce risk of heart disease
That’s a lot to like about drinking tea, isn’t it?
Final Thoughts on How Much Caffeine is in a Cup of Tea
If you’re concerned about the amount of caffeine in a cup of tea, consider finding a product that does include caffeine information. Also, consider the following questions:
- What time of day are you drinking tea?
- What other caffeinated beverages are you drinking?
- How does tea affect you?
If you’re drinking tea in the morning, it contains less caffeine than coffee and far less sugar than a soda. So go for it! If you’re drinking tea in the evening, you should be fine having just one cup.
But if you’re also drinking coffee and soda while pounding 5-Hour Energy, consider cutting back. Maybe you can replace soda with tea, which is a healthy decision. Or maybe you don’t need 5-Hour Energy like you think you do, which also looks like a health choice.
And, finally, consider how tea makes you feel. If drinking it before bed, do you find that it keeps you up? If drinking in the morning, are you getting the benefit you want?
I drink tea on autumn nights because it warms me up and gives me something to sip on while writing or planning my next day. It doesn’t stop me from going to sleep when it’s time to go to sleep. How does tea affect you?
Let us know about your tea experience in the comments section below, or write to us using our contact page.
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