German chemist Friedlieb F. Runge discovered caffeine in 1920. The original word was “kaffein” derived from the German word that means coffee. Caffeine is a naturally occurring chemical that’s found in various fruits, leaves and plant beans. In natural form caffeine provides the plant with natural pesticide protection.
When consumed by humans, caffeine acts on the central nervous system as a stimulant. Consequently it provides a boost to a person’s overall alertness and deters sleep. The most common way of consuming caffeine is in beverages including energy drinks, coffee, soda pop and tea. In the United States its estimated that 90% of all adults have come type of caffeine in their diet every day. The FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) recognizes caffeine as safe for consumption.
While caffeine has natural diuretic properties, people who drink coffee or tea seem to develop a tolerance to that effect. That means that contrary to some claims, drinking a lot of tea will not make you dehydrated.
Tea is one of the most common sources of caffeine. Tea is so popular that it’s only 2nd to water in world consumption. What many people don’t know is that tea has generally more caffeine than coffee when compared by dry weight. A serving, on the other hand has less caffeine because we brew tea weaker than we do coffee.
Why One Tea Differs from Another?
The processing techniques used in making tea alter the caffeine content. Japanese green tea, for example actually has far more caffeine than a lapsang souchong, which is a very dark colored brew.
Tea vs. Coffee
A five ounce cup of coffee has 80 milligrams of caffeine. By comparison, a 12 ounce can of cola has about 45 milligrams, black tea – 40 mg, green tea 20 mg. and white tea 15 mg. of caffeine.
When friends or family ask if tea has caffeine the answer is, “yes in different amounts.” Interestingly enough the best quality of teas have higher caffeine amounts. Nonetheless the tea seems to provide soothing qualities rather than the jitters from coffee. Better still some studies indicate that moderated caffeine consumption is good for you (moderate being defined as no more than 400 mg. per day).
For people watching their weight, the polyphenols in tea may actually help to burn fat. The problem is that caffeine occurs in far more beverages than just your tea – many soft drinks have it too. So you have to watch what you drink to enjoy healthful benefits.
If you start noticing irritability, sleep disorders, a racing heart or upset stomach you may be getting too much caffeine in any form, no matter how much you love your cup of tea. The key here, like anything, is careful moderation. If you want the taste of tea without caffeine look for decaf versions or herbal blends (which, while not true teas still offer a level of comfort and often have healthful benefits).