Calling all tea lovers! There are bucket loads of benefits of drinking tea from supercharging your morning to soothing an upset stomach and reducing stress and anxiety. Tea is also an excellent energy booster, but if you are experiencing caffeine jitters, it’s time to make a switch.
Want to cut back on caffeine but still want to enjoy your morning fix with the rich flavors and oh-so-intoxicating aromas? We’ve got you sorted. caffeine has entirely fallen out of favor with the Gen Z consumers and health-conscious millennials. Most people want to optimize their day without the adverse effects of caffeine like unstable energy levels.
If you have been skipping out on your morning fix in an effort to cut back on the caffeine, the best decaf tea is a great alternative.
What’s in your Cuppa? Decaf tea vs Caffeine-free tea
Let’s get this right. Decaf tea is not caffeine-free tea.
Decaf or decaffeinated tea is tea whose tea leaves have been stripped of most of its caffeine content. As per the regulations, for tea to be labeled “decaffeinated”, it must contain at most 2.5% of the original caffeine content.
Decaf tea is stripped of 97.5% of its caffeine content which is at most 2mg per cup. The caffeine levels vary with the decaffeination process. Decaf tea is not caffeine-free.
Black, oolong and green teas are popular teas for decaffeination and contain naturally high caffeine content. Black tea has 30-60 milligrams of caffeine while green tea contains 25-50 milligrams of caffeine.
Decaf tea is a great relief for persons who suffer from caffeine sensitivity. Too much caffeine has been linked to wavy sleep cycles, and adverse side effects such as aggravated acid reflux, nausea, triggers migraines and upsets the stomach.
There is a wide variety of types and blends of decaf tea including chai, black tea, oolong, Earl Grey, Darjeeling, green tea and English breakfast.
Caffeine-free tea is tea which does not and did not contain caffeine beforehand. These include herbal tea blends (chamomile, chamomile, peppermint, rosehip), rooibos and honeybush. Caffeine-free herbal teas have a natural calming effect and are excellent for quality snooze time.
How is tea decaffeinated?
There are four methods used to take out caffeine naturally from tea leaves. These four methods fall under two categories: chemical and non-chemical processing.
Ethyl Acetate: Also termed “natural decaffeination” since ethyl acetate occurs naturally in tea leaves. This process is popular due to its low toxicity and cost, although it alters the tea’s flavor profile. Tea leaves are soaked in ethyl acetate to wash off the caffeine. The ethyl acetate, however, gives the tea a chemical or bitter taste which is undesirable.
Methyl chloride: Unlike the former chemical process, this one maintains the tea’s natural flavor profile. However, the tea can still contain residues of methyl chloride, a chemical linked to birth defects and cancers.
Water processing: This process is popular with decaffeinating coffee beans but also works well with loose tea leaves. Tea leaves are soaked in water and channeled via a carbon filter to trap the caffeine molecules. The water is then re-added to the tea leaves for a flavor boost. Decaf teas of this method usually have mild flavors, unlike regular teas.
Carbon dioxide: This is the safest decaf process and preserves the tea’s entire flavor profile. Tea leaves are passed across high-pressure liquid carbon dioxide which attracts caffeine molecules off the tea leaves leaving behind the large molecules that build up the flavors. This process also helps preserve the health benefits of tea.
Is decaf tea good for you?
Are you thinking of switching to decaf? There are tons of benefits to drinking decaf teas.
Knock off the Caffeine:
Decaf tea has less than 2 mg of caffeine saving you from the adverse effects of caffeine consumption. Caffeine has been linked to triggering migraines, giving you unstable surges of energy, raising your blood pressure and causing abnormal heart rhythm. Caffeine also worsens anxiety, lowers collagen synthesis, making you age faster and disrupts your snooze time.
Supercharge your heart’s health:
Flavonoids in both black and green decaf teas help keep your heart healthy. The antioxidants in tea help prevent atherosclerosis, a condition in which the arteries harden leading to a heart attack or stroke.
The flavanoids also lower blood cholesterol levels lessening your risk of heart disease by 11 percent. Green tea increases the high-density lipoprotein levels in the blood, also known as good cholesterol which keeps heart disease at bay.
Fill up on rich antioxidants:
Black and green teas are rich in flavonoids also known as polyphenols which offer a ton of significant health benefits. Organic decaf teas that have undergone C02 decaffeination are especially rich in catechin and quercetin which are potential antioxidants that help rid the body of free disease-causing radicals.
Without antioxidants, your health takes a dive. Tea packs a hefty punch of antioxidants and nutrients with green and black teas bursting with chock-full of polyphenols, theaflavins and catechins. These protect against antioxidative stress which plays a crucial role in the onset of age-related disorders, cognitive impairment and dementia.
The drawbacks of decaf tea:
Even though decaf tea is harmless, it packs a few unpleasant qualities.
Dip in flavor profile:
The decaffeination process takes a toll on the tea leaves’ exotic aromas and flavors. The aromas are enveloped in the solvents and stripped away during decaffeination, leaving you with quite a bland tasting tea.
The decaf processes alter the flavor profile of the teas leading to a less satisfactory experience. For better tasting decaf teas, go for the ones using carbon dioxide or water processing methods. These processes preserve the tea’s natural flavors and aromas.
If you’re trying to get away from caffeine, decaf tea will still give you issues. And even though the caffeine content is stripped off to a threshold of 2.5% of the original content, you can still face the adverse effects of caffeine, including irritation if you are hyper-sensitive. Opt instead for herbal teas like rooibos, lavender or jasmine teas which are not caffeinated.
Planning to switch to decaf? Decaf tea offers a ton of health benefits and comes in a wide range of herbal blends. If you are sensitive to stimulants or a mum-to-be, decaf is an excellent option.
But is it worth it? The decaf processes strip the tea of its flavors and nutrients.
Plus, there’s still some caffeine present so if you’re super sensitive to caffeine you might just go caffeine-free. There are so many options of decaf teas to consider when shopping for a low-caffeine alternative.
Herbal teas are a choc-full of antioxidants. if you’re thinking of going cold turkey, herbal teas are the way to go.
image source: lipton.com