Does white tea have caffeine: detailed analysis of studies. Guide for tea lovers 2023

Caffeine intake has always been carefully considered.

Regarding white tea’s caffeine content in comparison to other teas like black and green, there is a great deal of misunderstanding. There are a ton of true and false opinions to be found in open sources.

Let’s resolve this problem for good.

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For many years, it has been a common misconception in the tea community that white tea contains less caffeine than black or green tea. Even well-known tea manufacturers have made this claim.

And it’s simple to understand why—good white tea is lighter and less tannic than, say, black tea, and it has a tad of a calming effect when you look at it or sip it. A cup of flavorful white tea makes you feel peaceful.

Describe white tea

Before considering the issue of does white tea have caffeine, it is worth delving into the topic of this drink, namely how the raw materials for it are extracted.

White tea is a type of tea with caffeine that is made from the Camellia sinensis plant tea leaves. Different kinds of this plant are used to make all traditional tea.

So, white tea has caffeine, polyphenols, L-theanine, and delicious tea flavors, just like green and black tea, pu-erh, and many other types of tea.

But, unlike most other types of loose leaf tea, most white teas, like silver needle, are made from the buds of the tea bush, not the big leaves. This is the most important factor in determining why a drink is a high caffeine content.

Fujian province in China was the first place to make white tea. This is why it is called the “Motherland of tea.” White tea is made in China and a few other places around the world right now. But it was in the province of Fujian that the first plants were chosen because they had big buds. White tea is made from these buds.

If you look closely at loose white tea, you can see that the tips of the tea buds are covered in tiny white hairs. This silvery-white color is what gives white tea its name.

How white tea is made

The way white tea leaves and buds are made is what makes them different from other types of tea. The Camellia sinensis plant is used to make all types of white tea, whether the leaves are young tips or fully grown. The next step in making tea is oxidation, but white teas aren’t oxidized very much. Not even as much as green drink!

Oxidation gives black tea its dark, rich, and malty flavor. Less oxidation means that the tea is more green, grassy, and sweet. So that white tea doesn’t turn brown, the leaves are quickly dried (usually by roasting or steaming) without being broken or crushed.

White tea, which looks like a silver needle, is made from young tea buds and is only lightly oxidized, so it has a very light flavor.

Health Benefits Of White Tea

Varieties of loose leaf white tea

The Camellia sinensis tea plant is used to make all types of white tea. Different flavors come from different kinds and types of leaves. Here are a few of the most common kinds.


White, soft tea buds from the tea plant are used to make the silver needle. These buds look like thin needles made of silver. China’s Fujian province is still where some of the best silver needle teas in the world are made.

When it comes to taste, silver needle tea nibs are mild and sweet. Most of the time, you can smell fruity and floral notes. Honey melons, lilies, orchids, etc.


For the silver needle, only the tips of the plant are used. For the white peony, the buds and the first few leaves that have opened are used. This means you can make white peony from a wider range of teas, not just ones with a lot of big buds.

Because there are several leaves in white peony, the brew is a little darker in color and has some greener flavors. No oxidation is done, so the process is the same as for the silver needle.

Shou mei and gong mei

The two lowest grades of white tea are shou mei and gong mei They aren’t as common and don’t have as many subtle notes because they are made from slightly bigger leaves that are left over from harvesting silver needle and white peonies.

They are still pretty light, but the notes are a little bit deeper. They taste more like green oolong than they do like a fine silver needle.

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White tea Darjeeling

Not only are traditional Chinese white teas popular, but so is Darjeeling white tea. This white tea is made from different kinds of tea grown in India’s Darjeeling region. Most people know Darjeeling for its fine black and green teas. Some people call them “champagne teas.”

So it’s no surprise that white teas made from Darjeeling teas are also very tasty.

Leaves vs buds

When it comes to white tea, the rule of thumb is that buds are better than leaves. People think that the best silver needles have the most buds on them. The worst kind of white tea is one that is mostly made from leaves, like gong mei.

But we don’t think white leaves are any less tasty than green teas leaves. They just taste different. So, if you don’t like how silver needle tastes sweet, fruity, and floral, try shou mei instead.

Describe caffeine. Why does caffeine come from tea plants?

Caffeine is a nitrogenous organic compound that belongs to the alkaloid group. Alkaloids are substances that have a substantial effect on the body. Caffeine can be found in tea, coffee, guarana, mate, kola nuts, and cocoa, among other plants and foods.

In its purest form, caffeine is a bitter white powder. It has a half-life of between 1.5 and 9.5 hours, after which the body breaks down and stops working. This bitterness is very important because caffeine is an antioxidant that plants make to fight off pests. Pests don’t like to eat bitter leaves, so caffeine is a good way to do this.

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In the spring, when the plant is actively feeding and growing, it tries to produce more caffeine to protect the young shoots. This is because the young shoots are the most important and vulnerable. This means keeping leaves and buds from being eaten.

Caffeine is the most commonly used legal mind-altering drug in the world.

As leaves age and grow, the amount of caffeine in them goes down (because they no longer need the same level of protection). So, it makes sense that the buds and the first two leaves of the tea plant are used to make teas with the most caffeine, especially if they are picked during spring floods.

L-theanine, not to be confused with theine, is another type of antioxidant that is made by the plant and is most concentrated in tea sprouts and buds. When you combine caffeine and L-theanine, you get caffeine’s wakefulness and L-calmness. calm’s theanine.

Caffeine makes you happy without a high and a low. Because of this, white tea has a reputation as a soothing tea, but not as a tea to help you sleep. Anyway, it’s a focused tea, just like green tea, and it has the same reason and antioxidants.

And what do we end up with? Do the leaves and buds that are harvested for white tea contain more caffeine than even other types of tea (like black)? The confusion lies in the fact that technically, this raw material actually contains more of an invigorating substance. But what do we have in practice?

Caffeine intake: How much caffeine is too much?

Сaffeine intake can cause certain effects. For healthy adults, the FDA lists 400 milligrams per day as an amount not usually associated with dangerous adverse effects. However, there are big differences in both how sensitive people are to the effects of caffeine and how quickly they metabolize (break down) it.

Different kinds of white tea have different amounts of caffeine. Can white tea keep you awake?

Well, let’s get to the point: does white tea have caffeine?

Several studies have tried to find out how much caffeine is in different kinds of tea, but the results have been mixed. Here’s a summary of the most important caffeine research I’ve found, so you don’t have to spend time and energy trying to figure out what they all say and what the names of the different teas are (only Silver Needle has more than one name and spelling!).


To obtain these results and answer the question “does white tea have caffeine”, data from the following studies were taken as a basis:

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To give you an idea, a cup of black coffee has about 95 mg of caffeine, while a cup of green teas has about 35 mg (but, as with white tea, this can vary a lot!).

Don’t worry if you don’t know what these different kinds of white tea are.

You would think that the Silver Needle, which has the most buds, would have the highest levels, and that the levels would go down as you went down the list. However, as you can see, they vary a lot because each tea is different. I suggest you review the data for three studies. For convenience, an average value was also derived.

All three studies used 1 gram of tea to measure the amount of caffeine (about 1 teaspoon, depending on how “fluffy” the tea is). In some studies, the amount of caffeine was measured per 100 ml (3.38 fl oz). To make it easier to compare, I changed the results to 8 fluid ounces. It’s the size of a regular coffee mug if that helps!

In their research, some scientists used three different kinds of Silver Needle white tea and got three completely different measurements from each one. A case of how it can be different!

Let’s take a closer look at the data I’ve presented in the table with indicators of caffeine content depending on the variety.

Variety of white teaStudy #1
Yang, 2001
Study #2
Czernicka, 2017
Study #3
Chen, 2007
Average value
Silver Needle61 mg34.07 mg (100 ml) = 80.6 mg (8 fl oz)
30.06 mg (100 ml) = 71.11 mg (8 fl oz)
13.11 mg (100 ml) = 31.01 mg (8 fl oz)
15 mg51.74 mg
Bai Mu tan57 mg38.33 mg (100 ml) = 90.68 (8 fl oz)39 mg 62.22 mg
Gong mei48 mg48 mg
Shou mei38 mg28.86 mg (100 ml) = 68.27 (8 fl oz)53.13 mg
The table with indicators of caffeine content depending on the variety

What’s really interesting about the above results is how much the sheet sizes differ:

  • The tea buds used to make the silver needle have the most caffeine of any part of the tea plant.
  • Bai Mu Tan is a mix of old leaves and tea buds, which may mean it has less caffeine. However, Bai Mu Tan is usually brewed in hotter water, often very close to boiling, and has many broken leaves (and usually twigs, too!).
  • Even though it is mostly made of old leaves, Shou mei is also taller than the Silver Needle. But they usually break down, letting more caffeine from the leaf into the cup.

So, does caffeine exist in white tea? Is white tea caffeinated or decaffeinated?

White tea is real tea, just like black and green tea, because it comes from the same plant. White tea is the least processed of the three, which is why it tastes so light and smooth. All real teas have caffeine in them, but the amounts vary:

White tea has the least amount of caffeine, with only 6-55 milligrams per 8 ounces, while black tea has between 47 and 90 milligrams per cup. Green tea has between 30 and 70 milligrams.

Only tisanes, some herbal teas, and rooibos, which comes from the South African Red Bush plant, are natural “teas” that don’t contain caffeine. Loose white tea has less caffeine than white tea bags because tea bags are often filled with finely ground plant dust and fans instead of a carefully chosen part of the plant.

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The amount of caffeine in white tea depends on a number of things:

What you have no say over:

  • Cut off a piece of the plant. Young leaves have more caffeine than older leaves.
  • Time of harvest: Tea that is picked in the summer has more caffeine than tea that is picked in the winter.
  • Position of the leaf: The first leaf closest to the bud has 40% more caffeine than the leaf farthest from the bud. About 10–50% of the caffeine in the leaves is also found in the stems.
  • Growing: Leaves from plants that were grown in a garden tend to have more caffeine than leaves from plants that grew in the wild.
  • Method of Production: Contrary to what some people think, oxidation doesn’t have a big effect on the amount of caffeine. There are different levels of oxidation in green, oolong, black, and white teas, but all of them have caffeine. But the tea stops oxidizing and the caffeine is taken out of the leaves during the process.

What You Can Change:

  • The type of white tea. Silver Needle tea, which is made from only the buds of the plant, has the least amount of caffeine.
  • Steep Temperature: Steeping white tea at temperatures above 194°C makes the amount of caffeine in it much higher. Because white tea is so delicate, we suggest brewing it at 175°C to 180°C. To keep the leaves from getting hurt, it needs to be brewed at a lower temperature than black or herbal tea.
  • Brewing Time: Taking more caffeine out of the leaves takes time. After about a minute, the leaves start to give off caffeine. When you steep tea for 7–10 minutes, you get a lot more caffeine.

White tea takes longer than green tea to get flavorful, but you only need 4-5 minutes to steep white tea. If you are making white tea from only the buds, you can let it steep for a minute or two more to get the full flavor.

How to cut down on how much caffeine is in white tea

Less caffeine is in white tea than in black tea, but it still has caffeine. If you like the taste of white tea, which is smooth and full-bodied, there are several ways to cut back on caffeine:

Use loose or whole-leaf tea. Most bags have more caffeine than loose tea.

Choose white tea from the Chinese province of Fujian, where it was first made. White tea can now be found in Indonesia and India, among other places. With this growth, white tea can now be made from different tea plants. These teas are made in the same way as white tea, but studies have shown that Fujian tea has less caffeine.

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Choose white tea that has no caffeine. If your caffeine intake is very important, this doesn’t mean that the tea will be 100% decaffeinated, but it will have less caffeine.

Choose white tea from the late harvest. Most of the time, white tea with buds or plant tips has more caffeine. Teas that are picked later, like white peony, have more mature leaves and less caffeine.

Which tea has no caffeine?

If you still want to drink delicious tea that will be completely caffeine-free, I recommend paying attention to herbal teas. For example, you can try chamomile, mint. You can find recipes for rosehip tea, which is not only caffeine-free, but also has a lot of useful properties.

White tea is easy to make, and it tastes great

Put tea leaves and buds in a tea infuser over a cup, pour hot water over them, and let the tea steep for a few minutes. After that, the tea will be light and fragrant.

White tea should be drunk “black,” which means it should not be mixed with milk, cream, honey, sugar, or anything else. Even though the tea isn’t very strong, it has enough sweetness and flavor.

As you’ll soon find out, white tea leaves and buds have a surprising amount of caffeine. If you want to drink more caffeine in the morning, this is the tea for you!

Why is it still thought that white tea has little caffeine?

Lots of reasons!

There are a lot of things that make it hard to measure caffeine. In the table above, you can see the different types of white tea that have been studied and black tea in general.

When so many things can change caffeine levels, it’s hard to get consistent results.

Because it has antioxidants that make you feel good, it seems like it should have less caffeine.

Compared to the darker, “more substantial” cup of black tea, it looks like it should have less caffeine.

Black tea seems to be related to coffee, and its rich taste makes you think “harder.”

Because of the above, a lot of blogs, tea shops, and tea experts keep saying that white tea is low in caffeine. I thought the same thing years ago before I started drinking tea.

The fact that caffeine in a leaf doesn’t always mean caffeine in your cup makes things even more confusing.

Just a few more words…

I hope this blog has been interesting and helpful. No one will remember how much caffeine is in a cup of tea, but you can learn important things from it, like the size and surface of the leaf, the temperature and length of the brew, and what tea leaves are made of in general. more caffeine.

This will help you figure out which tea is best for you and might make you want to try different kinds. For the experiment, take water at a lower temperature, for example, in the range of 60-90 degrees Celsius (about 140-200 Fahrenheit). You immediately feel the difference.

Fun fact: most of the caffeine dissolves in water in the first 30 seconds, so the second brew of tea leaves has much less caffeine. If you want to cut back on caffeine, this is an easy way to do it.

Helena Tasty

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