Tea is a much loved beverage around the world. Beverages like tea and coffee often contain certain amounts of caffeine. The National Library of Medicine has defined caffeine as a plant product that is a nervous system stimulant.
It can either be created in a laboratory or found in plants that have been grown in the wild. Most teas contain caffeine, even green tea. In this article, we will discuss the caffeine content in Japanese green teas.
Caffeine In Green Tea VS Coffee - How Is It Different?
Coffee has always been known as a beverage that contains a lot of caffeine. Research shows that caffeine can be found in around sixty plants. Out of these plants, this includes tea bushes that produce green tea.
Caffeine is naturally produced in green tea, and like any drinks with caffeine content, it has positive and negative side effects. It is said that drinking green tea can increase your mental alertness, but drinking too much can cause headaches and difficulty sleeping.
When compared to coffee, green tea doesn't contain as much caffeine. When drinking coffee, it will provide you with more than three times the amount of caffeine than green tea. A 240 ml/8 ounce cup of coffee will offer you 96 mg of caffeine. Compared to the same amount of green tea, which will give you only 29 mg of caffeine.
L Theanine In Tea
In green tea, the amino acid L-theanine is present. The combination of caffeine and L-theanine is said to have the ability to increase your concentration. While also providing you with a calming sensation. Therefore, the combination of caffeine and the L-theanine compound, can help the person drinking the tea’s brain function.
Effect Of Shading VS Non Shading And Caffeine Content
By shading tea plants, this means cutting off the sunlight that the plants receive. This first began in the 15th to 16th Century in Japan, as people were concerned that the colder winter months would destroy the growing tea leaves.
However, they discover that by covering and shading the tea plants, it changes the flavor of the tea. The flavor changes from bitter to a very pleasing sweet taste.
Not every green tea is shaded, as shielding the plants from sunlight for too long can take a lot of energy out of the plants that they had stored up. Without sunlight, the plants cannot perform photosynthesis. Therefore, the plants then have to work harder to produce chlorophyll, for it to survive.
Some types of teas that are shaded include matcha, gyokuro and kabuse-cha. However, each tea is shaded for different amounts of time. This then is what gives all these teas their own unique flavors.
The shading process also affects the caffeine content in the tea plants. The caffeine content is more concentrated. An average cup of shaded green tea has around 35 mg of caffeine, compared to green teas that haven't been shaded and contain around 29 mg of caffeine. This slight difference makes the tea stronger.
High Caffeine Japanese Teas
The Japanese teas with the highest caffeine contents are matcha and gyokuro, however they still have far less caffeine than coffee. Both of these teas are shaded, so they are grown and shaded at certain points, which alters their flavor and appearance.
They are both the ideal choice for your morning drink, when you need an energy boost, and a healthier alternative to coffee.
Matcha is a Japanese green tea, which is commonly seen as a powder from finely grinned and powdered dried tea leaves. The taste of matcha is slightly bitter, with a plant-like flavor. Matcha is easily recognizable for its bright green color, which is caused by the high levels of chlorophyll in the plant's leaves.
In recent years, matcha has become increasingly popular around the world, due to its many health benefits. Matcha contains high levels of antioxidants which can lower your blood pressure, boost your metabolism and reduce your risk of heart disease.
By whisking the powder into hot milk or water, you consume the full leaf of the plant. Nothing is gone to waste. Although, matcha is a required taste. It contains more caffeine than regular green tea, but it makes you feel focused, calm and energized. You don’t get a rush off this tea.
Gyokuro is also known as Jade Dew. It was first discovered in 1835 and since then has grown in popularity. This is another shaded tea that is covered for up to three weeks before harvesting.
The flavor of this tea is smooth, sweet and a bit creamy. Unlike matcha, gyokuro doesn’t have a green color in appearance. Instead, it is a more creamy looking tea with a slight hint of green.
This is a high quality tea, which is produced in the South East of Japan. Gyokuro has established itself as a luxurious tea. However, like matcha, this tea has a very high caffeine content. There is 35 ml of caffeine per eight ounce serving.
Medium Caffeine Japanese Teas
When you want a moderate caffeine boost, then you want to choose a drink that doesn't have as much of a caffeine content as shaded tea plants. Sencha and Wakoucha are both great alternatives.
Sencha is one of the most popular teas in Japan. This type of green tea typically has a refreshing and grassy flavor. The flavor can differ depending on the different types of sencha and how they are brewed. Sencha teas are produced in Japan, China and South Korea, but these are normally blended and have a much more nutty flavor.
It is common for Sencha to be consumed at any point in the day, due to its moderate to low levels of caffeine content. Due to these lower levels of caffeine, you can easily drink this tea for a little energy boost, but it won’t keep you up at night.
Wakoucha is also known as Japanese Black tea. This was discovered in the 19th century, it isn’t overly popular today as green tea has taken over the market. The Japanese black tea isn’t consumed as much as when it was first put out onto the market. It is quite expensive to produce due the machinery needed. While also cheaper competitors were favored.
Compared to the Indian and Sri Lankan black teas, the Japanese black tea has a less bitter taste. It is known for its honey and floral like aroma. This black tea is recommended to be enjoyed without milk. The tea plant is non-shaded and Wakoucha is made from the whole tea-leaf, which results in a slightly lower caffeine content.
Low Caffeine Japanese Teas
Some people enjoy drinking low caffeinated teas, especially if they enjoy a cup just before going to bed. There are three different low caffeine Japanese teas that you can enjoy.
Kukicha green tea is made using a mixture of the leaves of the plant and the stalks. Due to using the stalks, it is also commonly referred to as twig tea or bancha. By using the leaves and the stalks, this then results in a sweet tasting profile, with a slightly savory and grassy aftertaste.
This is a very healthy tea that is used with traditional; Japanese yoga therapy and as Chinese medicine. Kukicha tea has six times more calcium than cow's milk and has twice the amount of vitamin C from oranges.
It is high in a range of vitamins and minerals and assists to reduce high blood pressure, bladder infections, weight loss and more. As this is such a healthy green tea, the caffeine content is very low, being only around 3 ml per fluid ounce.
Hojicha is a type of roasted green tea. It has a sweet yet smoky flavor and has an appealing aroma. This tea is grown in the hills of Kyoto, and when they are ready, the leaves are steamed, rolled and dried. They are then roasted in smaller batches to remove any bitterness. As this is a roasted tea, the color of the tea is a more red-brown color.
The roasting process also reduces the amount of caffeine in this tea. With 20 ml per serving. Therefore, Hojicha is the perfect tea to serve at the end of a meal. It is also ideal for elderly people and pregnant women, who shouldn't be consuming too much caffeine in general.
Genmaicha is another luxury tea that is made with loose leaves and roasted rice grains. As a loose-leaf tea, this tea has a mellow character profile. There is a nutty and almost toasted taste which then makes way for the sweet grassy flavors. The tea leaves are picked while they are young and rolled and dried.
Grains of roasted rice are added to the dried leaves. This then produced an appealing blend of gold, green and white textures, which will brew into a clear pale yellow infusion.
Genmaicha is another low caffeine content green tea, with only 10 mg of caffeine per 100 grams. Making it one of the lowest caffeine green teas that you can drink.
Caffeine Free Japanese Teas
Not all Japanese green teas have caffeine in them. There are a few that are completely free of caffeine.
Sobacha, also known as Buckwheat tea, is brewed from buckwheat grains. This tea can be enjoyed warm or cold and drunk at any time in the day. Sobacha has many health benefits that will help you to relax and build up your immune system. Overall, this type of tea has a very earthy and nutty taste, which is also quite dry.
Each brand of Sobacha tea has a slightly different flavor and color. However, you will notice that this tea has a pale yellow color. Sobacha gives you all the same health benefits that any other green tea does. The only exception is that this product does not contain any caffeine.
Mugicha is a type of Japanese tea that is brewed from roasted barley. This results in a coffee-like flavor, but without any caffeine. You will commonly see Mugicha as a coffee substitute in a lot of countries. Alongside this, this tea is typically enjoyed unsweetened, making it a healthier alternative to sugary drinks. Although, it can be sweetened to taste, if needs be.
Mugicha can be enjoyed either hot or cold, but in Japan it is normally served cold. A pitcher of Mugicha can be found in the fridge, ready to be enjoyed on a hot summer's day. Again, as this tea is caffeine free, anyone can drink this tea and enjoy its flavor.
Best Teas For Morning
Sometimes, when you wake up in the morning, you require a little boost to get you going for the day ahead. Therefore, you may need a tea that contains a bit more caffeine to help you wake up and start your day.
As a result, we would recommend Sencha or Matcha teas in the morning. Both contain half the amount of caffeine than in a normal cup of coffee. Although, these teas have lots of other properties that make them great drinks to have. They are high in antioxidants and give you an energy boost, while keeping you calm.
Matcha tea can be enjoyed as a cup of tea, or it can be added to your morning smoothie.
Best Teas For Evening
When it comes to the evening, you want to reduce how much caffeine you are drinking. Otherwise, this can affect your sleep. Try to avoid caffeinated teas if you want to still have a good night's sleep. Hojicha is a great low caffeinated drink to drink in the evening and after a meal as it aids with digestion.
Although, you could also stick to caffeine free teas, like Mugicha. They still taste delicious and are quite soothing in the evening, but you don’t have to worry about the amount of caffeine you are drinking.
There is a wide variety of Japanese green teas that will suit everyone. Whether you enjoy a caffeinated tea to help see you through the day, or a low caffeine tea that you can enjoy after a meal or in the evenings.
Japanese tea has much less caffeine than a typical cup of coffee, and each tea will provide you with numerous health benefits. With so many options, you will be able to find a tea to suit your own preferences.