I’ll come right out and say it – I love coffee. It’s flavorful and a great way to wake up in the morning, but if you drink coffee more for the caffeine and less for the enjoyment of a good cup, you need to give coffee’s less famous counterpart a try. That’s right – tea! This list of the most caffeinated teas is a great place to start if you’re considering drinking less coffee, and you should! Your body will thank you!
1. Matcha Tea
Matcha is a variation of green tea where the whole tea leaf has been ground into a fine powder. Traditionally steeped and infused green teas boast the highest caffeine contents among teas, but because matcha contains the green tea leaves in their entirety, it contains even more caffeine than other green teas! As a reference, one 8oz cup of matcha tea has about 70mg of caffeine, which is similar to a shot of espresso, but without the jittery side effects later on!
When you drink matcha, you’re drinking the whole leaves that were used to make it, which means you’re getting all the nutrients and even more caffeine. Even better, matcha contains lots of healthy antioxidants that may help lower cholesterol and manage weight!
2. Sencha Tea
Sencha is another green tea like matcha, but it is produced by steaming the tea leaves rather than grinding the whole leaf into a powder. This means that sencha still contains caffeine, but the levels you’ll get from drinking a cup of sencha will be less than you’d get from matcha.
Most cups of sencha tea, depending on the type and brew time, contain between 20-30mg of caffeine, which is perfect for anyone who may need a pick-me-up in the morning without the worry of a crash or feeling jittery later in the day. Like many green teas, sencha is rich in healthy antioxidants that help improve blood flow and aid in weight loss!
3. Chai Tea
Chai is a type of black tea and differs greatly in its existence across the world. In many Asian countries, chai refers simply to tea, and in many Western countries, it refers to a more spicy and flavorful drink with many added sweeteners and spices. If you’re careful about the added sugars, a chai tea latte can be a really tasty way to wake up in the morning with lots of health benefits like improved digestion and a stronger immune system!
In terms of caffeine, it’s hard to say exactly how much is in a cup of chai tea because there are so many ways it can be prepared and so many different ingredients, but it’s generally assumed that chai contains about 1/4 of the caffeine in a cup of coffee. That means it’s great to start your day or as a pick-me-up throughout and you don’t have to worry about any negative side effects like you would with drinking several cups of coffee!
4. Earl Grey Tea
Earl grey is a popular black tea that is flavored with bergamot and naturally contains caffeine, like other black teas. It’s great in the morning and in the afternoon and provides lasting energy without any jitters like you might get if you were to have multiple cups of coffee throughout your day. Earl grey is one of the most recognized and most popular tea blends and is a great healthy alternative to coffee!
As for how much caffeine you’d get from a cup of this tea, it depends on the amount of steep time and other factors in its preparation. If you want more caffeine, you can steep the leaves for longer, about 5 minutes instead of the usual 1 or 2. It’s commonly estimated that one 8oz cup of earl grey contains about 40-60mg of caffeine, making this tea a perfect choice for waking up in the morning!
5. Assam Tea
Assam tea is a type of black tea that is traditionally grown in the northern Indian state of Assam and contains a naturally high caffeine content, making it a great option for anyone who drinks stronger coffee. This tea has a strong malty flavor and aroma that is sure to wake you up and get you going!
One cup of Assam tea, depending on how it is prepared, typically contains around 70-112 mg of caffeine, compared to the typical cup of coffee which is around 100-120mg. Assam tea contains many healthy antioxidants not found in coffee that can improve your immune system and support heart health!
6. Oolong Tea
Oolong tea is a great balance between green and black teas! The leaves of oolong tea are semi-oxidized, which gives them the freshness of a green tea as well as the boldness of a black tea. The caffeine content of oolong tea greatly depends on the age of the leaves being used in the preparation and the number of times the tea is infused, in addition to other important preparation factors!
A lot goes into properly preparing this delicious traditional tea, and the level of caffeine per cup depends on the process used to create it, although typically the caffeine content tends to be similar to that of green tea, around 20-60mg per 8oz cup. If you’re looking for a pick-me-up during your day, oolong is a great choice!
7. Yerba Mate
This traditional drink from South America is quickly gaining popularity around the world for its caffeine strength, health benefits, and delicious taste! Yerba mate is a type of herbal tea made from the leaves and twigs of the llex paraguariensis plant and contains about 85mg of caffeine per cup, similar to matcha! This tea is a great and healthy alternative to coffee for boosting your energy and improving your mental focus. The antioxidants in this tea have anti-inflammatory properties and can help protect against diseases!
Guayusa is an herbal tea that is made from the leaves of a holly tree that is native to South America and the Amazon rainforest. This tea is a healthy alternative to coffee and provides a great energy boost that is much healthier than the boost coffee brings, which is often accompanied by a crash later on or the jittery feeling of being “wired”.
The caffeine content in one cup of guayusa tea is very comparable to that of a cup of coffee at about 100mg! Opting for this tea over your typical coffee is a smart choice not only because the caffeine content is so similar, but because this tea is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and amino acids that aren’t found in coffee!
9. Yaupon Tea
The only caffeinated plant to be found in America is the yaupon holly tree. The leaves of this holly tree are used when making yaupon tea and contain naturally high caffeine contents and a strong, robust flavor that is similar to green tea. While the amount of caffeine of course depends on the process of making the tea and how it is brewed, it’s believed that the leaves of this holy plant naturally contain more caffeine than most coffee beans by weight!
Yaupon tea is a close relative to Yerba Mate, the tea that originates from South Africa, and the caffeine content and taste are very similar. Drinking Yaupon tea over coffee provides a strong energy boost without the negative side effects that coffee may have and is rich in antioxidants!
10. Pu’erh Tea
Pu’erh tea is a very unique type of fermented tea that is traditionally made in China from the leaves of a special tree grown in that region. Unlike Kombucha or other popular fermented teas, Pu’erh is different because the entire leaf is fermented, not just the tea that is brewed from the leaves. This unique tea is commonly sold in packed cakes but can be purchased loose-leaf as well and offers many health benefits that coffee does not.
The amount of caffeine in one cup of pu’erh tea can vary from between 60mg to 80mg, depending on the fermentation process and how it is prepared. This tea is a great choice for anyone who may be sensitive to caffeine because it offers an effective energy boost without the jitters later on!