Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Decaf Anyone?

Tea offers lots of great benefits, including the steadier absorption of caffeine due to the presence of polyphenols in tea, which naturally reduce the caffeine intake your body is capable of. However, not everybody wants to be caffeinated, and certainly not all the time! A cup of tea before bed is an inviolable night-time ritual for many (myself included), and caffeine disrupts that.

Not to mention that many people complain about teas which have been processed and artificially decaffeinated. I think it may be that they taste processed and artificial!

What's a tea-drinker to do? Well, you do have options beyond chamomile, lemongrass, and rose hips.

80-90% of tea's caffeine is infused into tea during the first 30 seconds of steeping, while BBC News reported that "volunteers who drank tea that had been brewed for five minutes had blood antioxidant levels which were 60% higher than those who consumed a one-minute infusion." So you can easily ditch the first 30 seconds of that infusion if you don't want caffeine right then, or you can recycle tea leaves for a second or third cup (I find a fourth is usually pretty pointless).

If you have a late-night black tea craving, you could even make a first cup and save it 'til morning when you need that wake-up call!

And for five bonus summer points, put that extra first cup in the fridge overnight for a nice, cool, undiluted cup of iced tea the next day.


VeeTea said...

Interesting blog so far. I hope you keep up with it! I have a question and a comment.

The question: Could you point me to the BBC article? I'm curious because the BBC often focuses on black tea because it's, well, the BRITISH Broadcasting Corporation and the British do love their black tea. I'm wondering if perhaps the results would be different if a different type of tea were studied and would love to investigate it further. Thanks!

The comment: Not many sources (besides Wikipedia, in an uncited statement) say that 90% of tea's caffeine is removed in the first 30 seconds of steeping. Most sources I've seen cap it at 70% for 30 seconds, or 80% for one minute. It's probable that dust and fannings release their caffeine more quickly due to their higher surface area. (It's known that they release more in general.) Maybe the figure you read was in reference to dust or fannings? Anyway, thought you'd want to know.

I look forward to hearing back from you!


Samantha said...


The BBC article is linked in the post at the words "BBC News" but here it is again: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/north_east/6698539.stm

I didn't get those numbers from Wikipedia, but my sources could have well gotten their numbers from it!

It's clear to me that the majority of caffeine can easily be removed, and that there are a large number of factors involved in just how much of it.

Thanks for reading!