White tea is a popular beverage full of flavor and health-promoting properties.
Unlike black and green teas, which lend bold flavors, white tea is known for its light, delicate aroma and taste. Therefore, many people wonder whether it contains the same amount of caffeine as its counterparts.
This article tells you how much caffeine is in white tea.
What is white tea?
White tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant and is generally defined as a type of green tea coming from Fujian, a province on the southeastern coast of China. It’s harvested from young tea leaves or buds that are covered in tiny white hairs — hence the name “white” tea.
The most popular white tea grades include Silver Needle (Bai Hao Yin Zhen) and White Peony (Bai Mudan), which are the least processed and mostly involve the tea buds rather than the leaves.
The main difference between white tea and other teas is that white tea undergoes minimal oxidation — also known as fermentation. As a result, it’s very delicate with a uniquely light aroma and flavor.
Summary: White tea gets its name from the tiny white hairs found on young tea buds before harvest. Unlike other teas, it’s minimally processed, resulting in a light flavor and smell.
Does white tea contain caffeine?
White tea is a form of green tea, and it likewise contains caffeine. Though, experts estimate white tea contains 15% less caffeine than traditional green tea.
White teas contain 6–55 mg of caffeine per cup (250 mL), though this varies depending on numerous factors, including:
- Type/grading. Silver Needle (Bai Hao Yin Zhen) contains the least amount of caffeine, as it’s only made using tea buds, rather than leaves. The buds contain hydrophobic — or “water-fearing” — hairs that may make extracting caffeine more difficult.
- Brand. Depending on the processing and harvesting techniques used, significant differences in caffeine content can exist between white tea brands.
- Size. Loose leaf tea is usually lower in caffeine, compared with crushed tea leaves in tea bags.
- Temperature. Steeping white tea above 194°F (90°C) leads to significantly higher caffeine levels.
- Time. The longer tea is steeped, the more caffeine that’s extracted from the tea leaves or buds. Studies show that steeping tea for over 7–10 minutes significantly increases its caffeine content.
However, compared with other caffeine-containing beverages, white tea is still a much better option if you’re trying to lower your caffeine intake. Here is a caffein content comparisson per cup/250 mL:
- White tea: 6–55 mg
- Green tea: 30–70 mg
- Black tea: 47–90 mg
- Coffee: 96 mg
- Energy drink: 164 mg per regular can (16 ounces/473 mL)
- Soda: 34 mg per regular can (12 ounces/354 mL)
Summary: One cup (250 mL) of white tea contains roughly 6–55 mg of caffeine. However, it largely depends on the type of tea buds and leaves, their size, brand, brewing temperature, and steeping time.
If you still want to drink regular white tea but reduce its caffeine content, be sure to only steep it for 1–5 minutes below 194°F (90°C).
Alternatively, you can opt for decaffeinated white tea. Though, be sure to read the label to make sure it clearly states “caffeine-free” or “decaffeinated.” Even then, trace amounts of caffeine may remain.
To ensure no caffeine at all, give herbal teas a try. Unlike other teas, herbal teas aren’t true teas, as they don’t come from the Camellia sinensis plant but rather from dried fruits, flowers, spices, or herbs.
Finally, you can opt for caffeine-free sodas, juices, or flavored water.
Summary: If you’re looking to reduce your caffeine intake, opt for decaffeinated white tea or other beverages. Furthermore, try steeping your tea for less than 1–5 minutes at temperatures below 194°F (90°C).
Despite white tea’s delicate flavor and aroma, it still contains caffeine.
Generally, a cup (250 mL) of white tea contains 6–55 mg of caffeine. However, it largely depends on the type and size of the buds and leaves, brand, brewing temperature, and steeping time.
Suggested read: 10 foods and drinks with caffeine
To reduce your caffeine intake, steep your white tea for a maximum of 5 minutes in hot water that’s no more than 194°F (90°C). Alternatively, opt for decaffeinated white tea or other beverages.
If you want to give white tea a try, it’s widely available in both loose leaf and teabag form.