Most of us cannot (will not?) start our day without having a dose of caffeine in our system. That is just the truth of our lives. And, if you are a millennial with a couple of side hustles going on for you, caffeine is probably your self-proclaimed saviour. After all, do corporate yuppies even conduct a brainstorming session without the aroma of freshly brewed beverage wafting above the collective struggles of everyone in the room? Truth be told, caffeine has been helping humanity get through its daily grind for about zillion years now. So, let’s really get into its inner workings, and truly understand it for what it is.
Caffeine is identified as a psychoactive (mind-altering) drug that affects how we think and feel. It is a stimulant that is obtained from over 60 different types of plants worldwide, and it can speed up our breathing, heart rate, thoughts and actions. Caffeine is commonly found in a variety of everyday foods and beverages including chocolate, cocoa, coffee, tea, soft drinks and energy drinks.
Caffeine is absorbed through the stomach and into the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, it travels to the brain. Because caffeine is a stimulant, it increases activity in the brain and other parts of the central nervous system. Some people may be more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than others. Instead of feeling energetic, some may feel nervous or restless. The factors that can influence how caffeine will affect us include how much and how often we have used caffeine, our present mood and surroundings, and our mental and physical health condition.
It is widely observed that caffeine can have both positive and negative effects on our well-being. For instance, research shows the addition of caffeine to commonly used analgesics such as ASA and acetaminophen improves the pain relief benefits of the medications. Moderate amounts of caffeine may help increase our focus and attention. However, consuming larger amounts may lead to agitation, irritability and sleep problems.
Caffeine in coffee vs caffeine in tea
When it comes to caffeine content in tea and coffee, the common belief is that coffee has more caffeine than tea. Well, that’s actually not quite true. While brewed coffee does have more caffeine than steeped tea, that’s because coffee is a stronger drink than tea. Tea leaves actually contain more caffeine than coffee beans. Before brewing, tea leaves contain more caffeine than coffee beans. There is more caffeine in the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant, which is the only species of tea plant, than there is in the beans of either the coffea robusta or coffea arabica plant. After brewing, however, a cup of coffee has more caffeine than a cup of tea. Simply because coffee is a stronger beverage than tea. This can be understood better by taking a look at a cup of each - you’ll be able to see through the tea more than the coffee, even if you’re comparing black tea. Coffee’s stronger because its extracted more than tea during the brewing process.
The caffeine content varies for different types of tea. There are many factors that determine this, such as growing region, plant variety, plant age, leaf age, length of the growing season, field conditions, soil nutrients, and rainfall etc.
Besides, how the tea is prepared also plays an important role in how much caffeine makes it into your cup. From the amount of tea used, to water temperature and brewing time, to whether the leaves are steeped loose, in a tea bag, or strainer, are all contributors to caffeine levels. So, it may not be easy to determine the exact amount of caffeine in each type of tea, however, for a generic understanding we can look at this chart below:
White Tea : 30-55 mg
Green Tea : 35-70 mg
Oolong Tea : 50-75 mg
Black Tea : 60-90 mg
Coffee : 100 mg
Now that you know more about the workings of caffeine, feel like having a hot cuppa? Head over to Udyan Tea for some authentic tea varieties that can cater to your cravings.