Does Oolong Tea Have Caffeine?

Does Oolong Tea Have Caffeine?
As you are considering different drinks, you may ask yourself “Does Oolong Tea Have Caffeine?”

The short answer is yes! Oolong tea has similar caffeine content as any other tea.

Does Oolong Tea Have Caffeine? – Oolong Tea vs. Other Teas

All teas (oolong tea, black tea, green tea, and white tea) are made from the leaves of an evergreen shrub called camellia sinensis. In this shrub, caffeine is a naturally occurring pesticide that protects the plant leaves against insects.

What makes each tea different is the amount of oxidation. Oxidation is a technical term for the process that turns an apple brown when it is cut open.

Below is the amount of oxidation by type of tea:

  • Green and White Tea: Not oxidized
  • Oolong Tea: Partially oxidized
  • Black Tea: Fully oxidized

While oxidation impacts the flavor of the tea, it does not impact the amount of caffeine. The amount of tea and the length of steeping time actually have the greatest impact on the caffeine level consumed. Oolong, Green, Black and White tea leaves themselves have similar caffeine content as demonstrated by a 2008 study in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology (2).

Just to repeat, different tea types (Oolong, Green, etc.) have the same caffeine content. From a caffeine perspective, the type of tea makes no difference!

However, two things strongly impact the amount of caffeine you end up consuming from tea. The more tea used and the longer the steeping time, the higher the caffeine content consumed. If you want less caffeine in your Oolong tea, use less tea and keep the steeping time to a minimum.

Oolong Tea vs. Coffee

Caffeine is found in both tea and coffee.

Before brewing, by dry weight, tea leaves (including Oolong tea) actually have more caffeine than coffee beans (3). However brewed tea has a lot less caffeine than coffee, because to make a cup of tea, a lot less tea leaves (by dry weight) are being used than ground coffee for a cup of coffee.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the average caffeine content for an 8 oz cup of tea is between 25 and 48 mg and the average caffeine content for an 8 oz cup of coffee is between 95 and 165 mg. In other words, an 8 oz cup of coffee has about 3 to 4 times more caffeine than an 8 oz cup of tea (including Oolong tea).

How To Reduce Caffeine Intake From Oolong Tea

If you want to reduce the caffeine in Oolong tea, other than purchasing a decaf version of Oolong tea, the key is to use less tea and to reduce the steep time. Here is the impact of different steep times (2):

  • 1 min steep time: 26 mg caffeine
  • 3 min steep time: 36 mg caffeine
  • 5 min steep time : 44 mg caffeine

Does Oolong Tea Have Caffeine? – Fun Facts

Tea originated in China, and only during the 17th century became fashionable with the British. It may seem strange as the custom of an afternoon tea is seen as typical British nowadays, but that custom started only about 200 years ago with Anna Russel, Duchess of Bedford (4).

Oolong Tea For Weight Loss

A 2009 study showed that drinking Oolong tea reduces body fat and body weight through improving the break-down of body fat (5), confirming a traditional Chinese belief that Oolong tea is effective in the control of body weight.

Sources
(1) Wikipedia; Tea – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea
(2) Journal of Analytical Toxicology; Caffeine Content of Brewed Teas – http://www.pkdiet.com/pdf/Caffeine%20BrewedTeas.pdf
(3) Encyclopedia of Lifestyle Medicine and Health; Page 170 – https://books.google.com/books?id=H3dsIeXKa9wC&pg=PA170&lpg=PA170&dq=tea+leaves+have+more+caffeine+than+coffee+beans&source=bl&ots=VVql6zOAnb&sig=MpqKHIjRNkgY5diVtryLzVHgV2Q&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwirgKXYkOfVAhUY4WMKHbwxDrc4FBDoAQhPMAg#v=onepage&q=tea%20leaves%20have%20more%20caffeine%20than%20coffee%20beans&f=false
(4) Wikipedia; Anna Russell, Duchess of Bedford – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anna_Russell,_Duchess_of_Bedford
(5) Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine; Beneficial effects of oolong tea consumption on diet-induced overweight and obese subjects – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19271168

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