caffeine levels: black tea vs. coffee


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caffeine levels: black tea vs. coffee

Postby sippy cup » Aug 9th, '06, 14:03

a friend of mine is adamant that chai tea (specifically, the chai tea concentrate--hardly really tea, in my opinion--at starbucks) contains more caffeine than drip coffee or a double shot of espresso.

now, i know black tea has a significant amount of caffeine, but can any black tea really have more caffeine than a strong coffee? i was under the impression that the spices in masala chai helped to give a kind of kick to your tastebuds, but that the black tea in it would still be milder in terms of caffeine than coffee.

anybody else know enough to weigh in?
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Re: caffeine levels: black tea vs. coffee

Postby karia » Aug 13th, '06, 06:22

sippy cup wrote:a friend of mine is adamant that chai tea (specifically, the chai tea concentrate--hardly really tea, in my opinion--at starbucks) contains more caffeine than drip coffee or a double shot of espresso.

now, i know black tea has a significant amount of caffeine, but can any black tea really have more caffeine than a strong coffee? i was under the impression that the spices in masala chai helped to give a kind of kick to your tastebuds, but that the black tea in it would still be milder in terms of caffeine than coffee.

anybody else know enough to weigh in?


As far as i know coffee has more caffeine per cup because more grounds and coffee stuff are used to make a cup of coffee than leaves/per cup of tea. similarly if you wanted to get more caffeine you would have to use A LOT more tea leaves per cup... and i have a feeling that starbucks would not do that. so the short answer, is no.
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Postby keelyn » Sep 19th, '06, 12:19

mikeym,
Caffeine is extremely water-soluble and dissolves quite completely very quickly in your hot water. The coffee/tea caffeine difference lies in the amount of tea leaf vs. the amount of coffee bean you use to make a mug's worth of beverage, as Karia said. By weight, you are using more ground coffee bean than tea leaves, yielding more caffeine in a cup of coffee.

Sippy cup,
If there really is more caffeine in the concentrate, perhaps they might just add additional caffeine as a chemical additive. Chai tea shouldn't contain anymore caffeine than the Assam black tea its made with already has.
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Postby LadyGreyer » Sep 20th, '06, 10:17

A logical assessment of caffeine in tea might also be that fermentation of the tea leaf combined with extremity of water heat allows for the extraction of more caffiene from black tea than green.

Also, I have read that more lightly roasted coffee has MORE caffiene per brewed up because the roasting process somehow causes dark roast coffees to either release less caffiene or it somehow denatures the caffiene.

I must confess I am not exactly sure of what causes each, but this is what I have read over the last 15 years or so on the topic of caffiene in tea and coffee of the various roasts and fermentations.
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Postby xfxgeforced » Oct 3rd, '06, 19:21

i prefer the caffiene in tea to coffee any day. First, tea actually tastes good, and second, while coffee has a quick onset of energy, and a quick drop, tea offers a more gradual experience. The caffiene in tea will slowly take effect, and is slow to leave as well.

And I doubt any tea (excluding energy drinks with added caffiene) would have more caffiene that say, an expresso.
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Postby sippy cup » Oct 14th, '06, 15:44

LadyGreyer wrote:Also, I have read that more lightly roasted coffee has MORE caffiene per brewed up because the roasting process somehow causes dark roast coffees to either release less caffiene or it somehow denatures the caffiene.


that is true. "milder" coffees do contain more caffeine than darker roasted coffees, although it's a pretty marginal amount, and the taste of a dark roast tends to be about as important of a wake-up factor as the actual caffeine, as far as most people's preferences seem to go. i think the same applies for chai--it may have a little more caffeine than some other teas, but its edge over coffee is in the spices that wake up your tongue, not its caffeine content.

thanks for everybody's input. since chai concentrate contains less tea than a "real" cup of masal chai, i'm pretty sure my coworker must've just been a little overzealous...
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Postby jogrebe » Oct 14th, '06, 16:56

It depends upon how it is brewed, for example I've been told that by weight tea contains more caffeine than coffee, but at the same time one normally uses only a teaspoon of tea per cup as compared to a tablespoon of ground coffee beans per cup so relatively speaking a cup of coffee contains more caffeine. At the same time if one engages in Chinese gongfu brewing everything changes as then you might use as much as 2 teaspoons of tea with 3oz of water over numerous short infusions in which case you would end up getting even more caffeine. If you hang around the IM chat long enough you'll probably here the phrase "tea drunk" tossed around by a few of the gongfu brewers, which is actually an extreme caffeine high from drinking too much gongfu brewed tea at once, which I guess must somewhat resemble the feeling of getting drunk on alcohol.
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Postby xfxgeforced » Oct 16th, '06, 12:39

jogrebe wrote:which is actually an extreme caffeine high from drinking too much gongfu brewed tea at once, which I guess must somewhat resemble the feeling of getting drunk on alcohol.
well alcohol is a depressant, while caffeine is a stimulant, so a better comparison would be taking speed ;)
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