How Much Caffeine Is In Green Tea?

green tea potI started drinking green tea when I gave up coffee, and loved how refreshing it felt to drink in the morning compared to the gluggy feeling I felt after a big cup of coffee. And green tea is widely known as a healthier alternative because of its extremely high levels of antioxidants. But one thing about green tea is concerning me a lot – its caffeine content.

You may be surprised to learn that green tea can contain almost as much caffeine as coffee! So you really need to be careful with what type of green tea you drink if you have a sensitivity to caffeine (and lets face it, most of us do).

I avoid caffeine because I know it increases the stress hormone cortisol in my body, meaning it can make me feel stressed. And I suffer on and off from insomnia so caffeine in my body is never a good idea.

First lets look at how much caffeine green tea can contain -

Beverage (8 oz) Caffeine Content (in milligrams)
Coffee, regular 95
Coffee, instant 62
Coffee, decaffeinated 2
Black tea 47
Green tea 30 to 50
Cola soft drink 35

Diet cola soft drink 47

Source: http://herbs.lovetoknow.com/Caffeine_Content_in_Green_Tea

Pretty scary huh. But if you’re like me and you love green tea and you want to enjoy its health benefits, there are a few ways to minimize the amount of caffeine in the tea -

teabag1. Don’t drink green tea out of a teabag

Loose leaf green tea contains less caffeine than a tea bag so invest in a teapot and start brewing your own. I have a couple of tiny ceramic teapots that are perfect for my own cup of tea in the morning. They only cost me about AU$20 each from a tea store so were a good investment. You can also find cheaper teapots in kitchen warehouses or even dollar stores.

2. Choose a green tea that is naturally less caffeinated

The larger the leaf the less caffeine the green tea contains so if you buy your tea from a specialty tea store that allows you to actually see the leaves before you buy, definitely opt for the larger leaf.

The terminal bud and the adjacent two leaves (called the tea flush) also contain the most caffeine so avoid those too if you can. You can tell the tea is made from this part of the leaf because it makes a much sweeter tea. Green tea leaves picked from the lower parts of the bush, such as Bancha green tea, have much less caffeine content than those picked from the higher parts.

Bancha green tea kind of means “common” green tea in Japan, so its popularity is similar to Orange Pekoe in North America and regular English tea in Australia.

3. Try the “brew it twice” method

I learned this technique from my sister. She loves drinking tea at night but doesn’t like it keeping her awake. So she brews a cup for 5 minutes, throws it away then brews another using the same teabag. 75% of the caffeine in the tea is in that first brew so even though this method makes a weaker taste, it contains a lot less caffeine.

4. Only drink green tea in the morning

There are many other teas that you can drink later on in the day. Rooibus is one of my favorites because it contains 0 caffeine but you can drink it with milk so it’s almost like drinking english tea. If you can find a specialty tea store near where you live, also have a look at the range of options they have. I found a delicious natural decaffeinated organic vanilla and nut tea in Canada that I used to drink with milk.

Organic is important

Tea plantations, especially green tea plantations are one of the most heavily sprayed with pesticides, so you want to only drink organic green tea. Non-organic will often contain residues of pesticides in the leaves which means you’ll be drinking a cup of green tea mixed with pesticides and water. Trust me, you don’t want these pesticides in your body because they can lead to a range of health problems including contributing to an overloaded liver and therefore worsening acne.

Luckily there are many organic green teas around. I’ve never had any problems finding organic every part of the world I’ve been to. The last box I bought was in the town of Vouliagmeni in Greece. There whole box was covered in Greek writing so I couldn’t understand it, except for the words “Green Tea” and “Organic”!

48 comments… add one

  • DOES BENNER GREEN TEA WITH CITRUS CONTAIN ANY CAFFEINE. IF I DRINK IT IN THE EVENING I CANNOT GET A GOOD NIGHTS SLEEP. MIKE

  • Kristen

    Green tea with a few slices of lemon is my favorite. Cuts the bitterness without adding honey — added sugar.

  • Rob P

    Tea also contains theanine, which is rarely mentioned. In fact, there is more theanine in tea than there is caffeine. Theanine is also psychoactive – it is a calmative, and also slightly elevates dopamine levels. It is very good for restful sleep (when used alone – not from tea, which contains stimulating caffeine). Theanine is why a cup of tea is more relaxing than a cup of coffee.

  • Also the Ganoderma makes the caffine from the coffee or green tea last all day. Which I loved! I wouldnt get the 2pm need coffe now feeling. Plus the Ganoderma us good for me it lowers my blood sugar. Ganoderma is also the most potent anti-oxidants. What is ganoderma you can google it GANODERMA. Ganoderma lucidum is the scientific name for a species of red mushroom.

  • A friend gave me a cup of green tea because I was feeling under the weather but the green tea made me very sick! I got severe acid reflux because of the green tea!! Very scarry indeed! Even Snapple tea made me very sick because it contained very low levels of green tea! So U started checking labels in everything I drank.
    A friend of mine which interestingly enough became my business partner! Introduced me to green tea with Ganoderma. I had no idea what Ganoderma even was! I googled it and its an amazing chineese herb! He told me that the ganoderma in the green tea will not make me sick! So I tried it thinking I was going to suffer! Ugh!! But guess what I didnt get the acid reflux!!! OMG!! I was sooo happy!! He had other products for me to try but I was just happy drinking the green tea with the Ganoderma. So I decided to be a part of his company. Im now a distributor for Organo Gold Coffee. But the company not only sell coffee with the Ganoderma but also sell other things with the ganoderma infused. Its also 100% Certified Ganoderma Extract. If youd like you can check out my website at DCL74.ORGANOGOLD.COM

  • me

    Its tough to agree with the twice brewed method of minimizing caffeine in tea by tossing out the first cup and using the same tea bag to make the second, drinkable cup. I mean the logical–less wasteful– method would be to remove the tea bag from the water sooner. This way, not only are you not wasting the stuff but you can use the same tea bag for a few cups. Doy

  • Mike

    Yeah maybe it looks like green tea has a decent amount of caffeine if you’re comparing it to those numbers, but if you compare it to numbers that are actually correct, like at least 100 to over 200mg for a cup of coffee, then it’s not looking so bad. Everyone knows Starbucks right? Well a grande (16oz) drip coffee purchased there has 330mg of caffeine, a same size cup of green tea (tazo brand) has 70mg. Yeah it’s got caffeine of course as it’s still tea, but not enough to worry about if you’re comparing it to coffee. In this example it’s nearly 4 times less. And most decaf coffees have over 20mg of caffeine anyway. You don’t want any caffeine then drink something herbal like rooibos.

  • Taylor

    Thank you for this! My roommate had a cup of Green Tea before she went to bed, I did warn her there is caffeine in it, but she’d probably be fine…needless to say, she had a night of tossing and turning when I asked her this morning. I will direct her to this website!

  • Thanks for the info and the chart. Lots of great stuff there. But I fail to see how 30-50 mg of caffeine relative to 95 is almost as much. A third or half is not almost as much, not by a long shot. By drinking green tea instead of coffee I’m taking in half or maybe only a third of the caffeine. I would say that’s pretty significant.

  • Barbara

    I actually meant a Blood Type o secretor.

  • Barbara

    I am a Blood Type ) secretor and am actually very allergic to all caffine products and never realized that Green Tea had so much caffine and also the pesticide factors.

  • Barbara

    I have been drinking Green tea for over a year and it caused my liver enzymes to elevate , I had to stop drinking it all together.

  • ben s

    Didn’t know loose green tea had less caffeine.

    Regarding decaffinating your tea: it only needs to be steaped for 60-90 seconds to decaffinate tea.

  • Reg

    Why doesn’t she just save the tea bags she uses during the tea instead of wasting a good cuppa? :s

  • Ausbloke

    Izzy a lot of the time Organic means they do not use ANY chemicals etc, that’s why it is “natural” I’m not sure why you are comparing natural “chemicals” to synthetic ones, it is about the whole process of how it is grown also (maybe that’s where you are getting confused) and no chemicals, like my next door neighbour use to do (cover banana’s with nets / enclose them) so the animals couldn’t get to them, instead of just spraying them with chemicals to keep them from eating them instead, or how they / what they plant them with to begin with, the type of soil used, what is in the soil, all goes in to the food that is grown, this is the stuff you need to think of when you buy organic, it IS better for you, numerous studies have shown this, the only ones that are trying to discredit this are normally funded by “non organic” type firm / food industry.

  • Sandie Duggan

    If you find green tea too bitter try the 3 minute method.
    Boil the water, leave to cool for 3 mins, make tea (in pot) and brew for 3 mins.
    Any hotter the water or longer the brewing time adds to the bitterness. I try for 3 or more cups a day.

  • maxine

    Hey there. I got some mint tea…a chinese import…how artificial are the flavoured tea’s? And do they have any benefits?

  • briany

    It would be interesting to know if drinking small amounts of green tea in the morning consistently would build up tolerance to the point of not affecting sleep quality. That way you would still enjoy the benefits. But then you may have to take it every morning to prevent sleepiness.
    Personally, I feel my sleep is lighter if I consume a bit of caffeine, and consuming plenty of cacao regardless of the time of day would likely cause insomnia.
    Caffeine breaks down in half lives which means a small amount of caffeine would linger at night even though you consumed it in the morning. Based on my knowledge, I would pick sleep over tea.

  • Norm

    Anything wrong with decaffeinated green tea?

  • Great post! Green tea does have some percentage of caffeine but the good news is caffeine can help stimulate circulation and metabolism via the central nervous system. All in all, tea is not only a great source of antioxidants but is also beneficial to your health.

  • raha

    thanks for your recommendation,but i would like to know whether a person has simple fibr ocystic is allowed to drink green tea or not

  • Joel

    Coffee is not unhealthy. Google: Harvard study of coffee. Coffee is also full of antioxidants and has been proven to greatly reduce certain types of diseases.

  • Jen

    Hi Fran,
    Just curious about where you found your stats on green tea? I’ve seen/heard of green tea containing as little as 20-25 mg/80 oz prepared cup. From what I understand, it would be very rare for a cup of green tea to actually contain more caffeine than coffee, especially if you’re purchasing quality, loose-leaf tea.
    Thanks!
    Jen

  • Hey Fran, I’m wondering if you’ve ever heard of White Tea? I just started drinking it because I’ve heard that it’s even healthier than green tea because only the ‘young’ leaves are used. I’m just curious about it!
    I still love green tea though! Thank You! I LOVE Your Blog and Videos!

  • Brett- it depends on the green tea. Sometimes they use the part of the green tea plant that naturally does not contain caffeine, other times they extract it using natural methods, and then sometimes they extract it using chemicals. So if the tea says “naturally decaffeinated”, you’re onto a good thing.

  • Brett

    Hey Fran , like you i love green tea the refreshing taste and everything and i heard it does good for overall health and skin e.t.c however im drinking decaffinated even though it is decafinated will there still be some caffine in or more toxins to make it decaf? Thanks bit random but ive always wondered if they are really decaf and the toxins really in the tea. Thankyou :)

  • Aika

    Been a Green Tea lover since forever…I always opt for quality and when I’m feeling it, de-caf Green Tea; once I bought by mistake.

  • izzy

    But synthetic chemicals may not always be worse than natural. If the substance is structurally / chemically identical to it’s natural form it really doesn’t matter whether or not it was made in a factory or isolated from a natural source.

    (Sorry if I seem pushy!! Organics and farming practices have been drilled into me during the last 3 years at school..)

  • kevin

    Marta do you work with or manage some sort of Health related business? You seem to be very knowledgeable in the health field and I get the sense you know a lot about consumer’s demand.

  • Fran, Izzy, that is exactly what I ment.
    I separate conventionally grown food and locally grown. I would always buy from the local farmer ( after talk, as I said, that the soil and system he is using is safe – of course the reason of THE TALK is : because organic certification is so expensive).
    By organic is a MUST I mean if I have a choice : conventional=pesticides, fungicides and other guys OR organic I would choose Organic.
    Of course – as I said, if one has an access to locally grown or grows by himself – this one wins over even organic.

  • Izzy, you’re absolutely right, the amount of nutrients largely depends on the soil quality, NOT whether or not its organic. However, I do not want any synthetic chemicals (herbacides, pesticides) in my body when they don’t need to be so I choose certified organic. And I prefer to buy from local organic farmers to support my local community :)

    I had a chat to the owner of my local health store the other day and he said that small organic businesses are struggling in Australia to keep up with demand. They don’t have the funding to grow their business so they can’t keep up with supply. This is quite sad and I now realize why the organic market here is smaller than the US.

  • izzy

    Marta, that’s the misconception. Organic is NOT always better nor healthier than conventional.

    In terms of nutrients, there are still no conclusive, scientific results that says organic foods are MORE nutritional than those grown conventionally. Nor is there evidence to suggest that synthetic pesticides are worse for us than naturally-derived ones.

    Environmentally, organic is only better if the farm is more of a closed system, where the farmers use integrated pest management and not natural pesticides to control the weeds / bugs. Manure should also come from on-farm resources and not shipped hundreds of miles by truck. Industrial organic (supermarket organics) are typically on par with conventional in terms of their environmental damage.

    The problem is that people take the “little farm ideal organic” and think it applies to all organic out there. That’s just not the case. In fact, most small farms that are farming organically are not certified because they just can’t pay the high certification fees, nor can they find markets to buy their produce as it’s easier to get everything from one large company, than from 100 little ones.

  • Izzy, I agree.

    Locally grown is great ( yes, always talk to the farmer), but if there is no access to locally grown – wild foods comes next, but if this type of ‘hunting’ is to overwhelming-organic is A MUST!
    There is no misconception about it.
    Organic ( if the local one and wild one is impossible ) is always better, healthier than conventional.
    If I would set up the list of the healthiest foods ever it would be :
    1. Wild Food.
    2. Locally grown ( after talking to the farmer )
    3. Organic

    Cheers!

  • Hi Dayna, yep I mentioned Rooibos in the article, I like it because I can have it with milk so it’s sort of like English tea. Although I’m not overly keen on the smokey flavor so I still prefer green tea.

    I’ve got a head cold at the moment so I’ve been drinking a lot of hot water with fresh lemon and honey which has been really nice.

  • Dayna

    I drink red tea (rooibos) regularly ever since I learned that it’s caffeine free and has more antioxidants then green tea. Have you tried it?

  • John- I’ve never tried retin-a, try asking in the forums- http://www.highonhealth.org/forums/

  • izzy

    I drink loose leaf green tea from either China or Taiwan (some green teas smell really nice! almost like black tea with cream and sugar, although.. it still has the bitter taste but you get used to it) and depending on the type you can eat the tea leaves when you’re done or mix it with some honey and use it as a face mask. When I went the China the lady there said you can use the same leaves for an entire day, just keep refilling your cup with hot water. Of course your tea will get weaker and weaker as the day goes on but if you’re easily affected by caffeine then that might be a good thing.

    And from what I’ve been reading in the comments and blog posts.. I think there’s a very common misconception that organic is better / healthier than conventional products. That’s not always the case. Organic started out as a way to break our dependence on the chemical products made during the World Wars. The big factories used for chemical warfare production had nothing to do when the wars ended so they started manufacturing pesticides and fertilizers.

    Growing foods organically was meant to rely on natural processes. Instead of using chemicals, small farmers began rotating crops within a field and even bought a few animals to provide manure or to act as a form of pest management. I went on an organic farm tour awhile back where the farmer would stick potatoes in the ground and every day he’d dig them up, shake the pests out, kill them by hand, and put the potatoes back. That was his form of pest control. Yes it’s a lot of work but he didn’t need any additional chemicals. Unfortunately he wasn’t legally certified to be organic (certification costs are really high) but because of the way he managed his farm and the trust he’d built with restaurant owners he could still sell his products at a premium.

    I think this is the ideal “organic” that everyone thinks about when they buy their fruits and vegetables. But the reality is that with the increasing popularity in organics, large chain companies have joined the organic movement, as well as certifying organization to help consumers differentiate between the “real and the fakes”. These industrial organic chains DO use pesticides and fertilizers and in fact typically use MORE than conventional producers because they are limited in the types of pesticides they can use. The nitrogen in their fertilizers aren’t synthetically produced, instead they’re mined in Chile (usually by children).

    They also till their fields more often which totally goes against the point of organic because the organic movement is supposed to help IMPROVE soil conditions so that years, decades down the road the soil is still fertile. Instead, to get rid of the weeds that their organic-approved herbicides failed to kill they till the weeds into the soil, reducing soil fertility and increasing the rate at which soil erodes. They also don’t do much (if any) crop rotation and have fields upon fields of monoculture crops because people demand access to salad greens (or whatever seasonal fruits / vegetables) year-round.

    I think if people are really concerned about “no-pesticides” and environmental sustainability they should visit their local farmers markets and get to know their farmers. They should learn about how / what local farmers grow and what types of foods are naturally available during different seasons. Because shopping at the regular super market for organic foods that are from mega chains really defeats the purpose..

  • Ky

    The caffeine is why I don’t drink Green Tea.

  • An interesting post, as ever, Fran. I started drinking green tea flavoured with pineapple and grapefruit a while ago, – to vary my drinks intake and because of the antioxidants. Shame on me though – it’s non organic and in bags. I never have more than one cup per day but your article is getting me to rethink if it’s worth including. I also find it hard (lots harder) to resist a cup of coffee most days.

    I balance this out with cups of herbal teas and rooibosh tea as well as lemon and hot water – I really like this first thing on a morning before eating anything, good for flushing out the system.

  • a

    white tea.!!!!
    even better for you i. i buy it loose in the can.

  • Nico- buy some high quality organic green tea leaves, get a small teapot and brew away. Usually brewing times will be on the packet, or you can ask the staff if you buy from a specialty tea store.

    Jon and Brandon- Yeah I’ve seen matcha around and tried it at a juice bar in Canada, although their’s was too sweet. I might see if my local health stores has some.

    Marta- I’m a tea junkie from way back and actually like the boring taste! But I love any non-sweet tea really. Sometimes I’ll get into the habit of drinking lemon in warm water in the morning and that does get a little boring.

  • Julie

    I used to think green tea was bland until I found two options: Bigalow’s organic green tea with peppermint or organic green tea with acai and pomegranate. The organic has less of a punch than the regular, but if that means no pesticides then that’s worth it! I also like to add Celestial Seasonings Raspberry Zinger to the green tea with pomegranate and acai to give it an extra flavor boost while increasing nutritional benefits. I’ve started drinking Matcha Green tea as it has 137 times the antioxidant value of regular green tea. I read all about it in a book about scientific proof of the link between food/lifestyle and acne. I get it from the web site: teazonline.com. They offer the best prices and the most information about it.

    I’ve also read different things about the caffeine content in green tea. I’ve always thought the average cup has 15-25mg of caffeine. Matcha has the highest level of caffeine, though with an average of .3 grams per 1tsp serving. But, if it does all that it claims to, I’ll take the caffeine content. It seems we can’t win no matter what!

    I just found out my stevia, my favorite alternative sweetener, has lactose in it! Big bummer…

  • ive been drinking matcha for awhile.. i have noticed that matcha provides a really good energy but no side effects. if you learn to balance caffeine with certain other herbs, you can get all the highs with out the lows.

  • There is so many alternatives out there.
    Roasted dandelion tastes like coffee , but has all the goodies of dandelion —> http://www.dandyblend.com/
    Teccinno – 75%organic, basic ingredient : chicory root! – delicious! Tastes like coffee if somebody likes.—> http://www.teeccino.com/Default.aspx
    Telling the truth, for me – green tea is… boring…
    I used to drink it a lot while at the University, but got tired of the blend taste.
    Ron Teeguarden is one of the famous herbalist in US and his tea is amazing! It is called Spring Dragon Longevity Tea –> http://dragonherbs.com/prodinfo.asp?number=601
    It has Gynostemma which is consider in China as magical grass.
    I put schizandra berries in or goji berries..Just soak them in your tea..
    And actually there is even much better choice!
    I am preparing post about this and will make a contest ;-)
    This is a Secret of Longevity Drink!
    Be alert! ;-)
    All the best!
    Marta-Rawvolta http://www.rawfoodtip.com

  • Jon

    Fran have you heard of Green Tea Powder? It’s called Matcha powder. It’s pretty bitter but if you add honey its good. I also have found another use for Green Tea Powder you can not only use it internally but externally too. I used it as a face mask as well and my skin feel good.

  • John

    Hey Fran fantastic arcticle as usual :d ive just started drinking green tea because its healthy and decreases hormone activity and hormone is the route cause of my acne so ill be helping clear my acne alot by doing this however i absolutely hate the taste of green tea lmao and now ive heard it contains lots of caffeine what shall i do and should i ask for retin-a from my doctor if the benzoyl poeroxide n clindamycin she prescribed aint working too good

  • Nico

    So I could give up on coffee and drink green tea instead? (I need the coffeein push in the morning, otherwise I’m unable to wake up this early…)

    How to brew it? I’ve heard so many different methods specially about green tea.

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