I have a confession. Although I myself am a passionate tea enthusiast proudly promoting its goodness to anyone that shows a slight interest, even I start to get those coffee cravings as the clock ticks towards that 9am slump. Working in a cafe it’s hard to resist when the smell of the fresh grind hits you. By about 9:01 I’ve caved and am loading my espresso shot, and then it begins, my heart beats a bit faster, my hands shake and I get a little agitated. Sound familiar? A lot of people don’t realise that some of these symptoms are caffeine related, and when you’re experiencing them daily they become familiar and often just get put down to general stress. If this is you, there is still hope… you can still get your morning pick-me-up without all the adverse effects on your body!
Although teas generally still contain caffeine, the difference is in the other elements involved. The caffeine in tea is neatly balanced with a unique amino acid, L-theanine. This additional element has been proven to calm and relax the mind without causing drowsiness, which together with the stimulating effects of caffeine gives alertness without effecting the nervous system. There are still different levels of caffeine in tea, and with so many options in processing and flavour, you can find one that suits your palate, your body and your lifestyle.
Black tea is generally the highest in caffeine. As the leaves are oxidised to 100% the caffeine content is more concentrated, but still only contains approximately a 1/3 of the caffeine in 1 cup of coffee. Green tea would follow closely behind. Still with traces of caffeine, green tea is oxidised to 70%. So the levels are lower, equivalent to approximately 1/5 of the caffeine found in 1 cup of coffee. If you are wanting to cut caffeine out of your diet completely, the best options are herbal or fruit infusions. Both are caffeine free, as caffeine is only found in tea leaves, not fruits or herbs.
Choosing what to drink and when to drink it is a personal choice depending on your sensitivity to caffeine. Personally a rough guide I follow is… black tea in the morning, to stimulate your brain for the day, green tea in the afternoon, to aid in digestion and help pick you up for those last few working hours, and fruit or herbal infusions in the evening, as its void of any caffeine and will help calm and wind-down body, mind and soul, for a deep and refreshing sleep.