Is decaf tea better for you?
When asking if decaf teas are good or bad for you, you need to take a few things into consideration. Firstly, the simple answer is yes, decaf teas are better for you as they help to keep you hydrated (where teas with caffeine can dehydrate you) and naturally decaffeinated teas do not contain caffeine, which is a toxin.
However you must consider that although caffeinated teas- such as black and green teas- contain caffeine, they also contain a lot of other things that are good for you, such as antioxidants and minerals. It is also important to note that choosing a decaffeinated black tea over a naturally caffeine-free herbal tea could be worse for you. Let's explore further...
What is caffeine?
Caffeine is a molecule found in leaves and seeds such as tea and coffee that acts as an energy stimulant in humans. Caffeine occurs naturally in any tea leaves (black tea, green tea white tea etc.) because it is a natural pesticide in plants. The tea plant uses the caffeine to kill all those pesky bugs that are trying to eat its lush leaves!
What is a decaf tea?
'Decaf' or ‘Decaffeinated tea’ can either refer to a naturally caffeine-free hot drink such as a herbal tea, or it can refer to a tea (such as a black tea) that has been through a process to remove its caffeine.
How do they make decaffeinated tea?
For naturally caffeine free teas, you do not need to process them in any way. To remove caffeine from 'normal' tea (black tea, green tea etc.) there are two methods: using either a chemical solvent or carbon dioxide to strip the leaves. This is important when asking whether decaf tea is better for you, as many people don't realise that the processes used to remove caffeine from tea leaves can end up being more harmful than the caffeine itself!
Perhaps the most shocking fact about decaffeinated tea is that no tea containing tea leaves can ever be completely caffeine free, no matter what it says on the tin! So this means the only way to enjoy a truly caffeine-free tea is to choose one that has naturally caffeine-free ingredients, such as a herbal or rooibos tea.
We have a Caffeine Free Tea Collection of over 50 (naturally) decaf teas to choose from! Here are some of our best sellers...
More about the method for decaffeinating tea
To remove caffeine from tea, the leaves are soaked and stripped by a solvent and although rinsed after the process, there will always be some residual solvent and caffeine left behind. When buying decaf tea, you may think you are avoiding the 'bad stuff'- but you could end up drinking more bad stuff in the form of chemicals. Even worse, the decaffeinating process can also strip some of the good stuff away from the leaves, such as antioxidants.
Is caffeine in tea really bad for you?
Some studies suggest caffeine is bad for you which has lead people to ask 'is decaf tea better for you?’. But before we jump the gun, there are also lots of studies to suggest that caffeine in tea is good for you. The high content of antioxidants also found in tea actually help increase the positive effects of caffeine on your body; lifting you up for longer and smoothing out any crash and burn later on in the day.
Tea has less caffeine than coffee and the caffeine in tea is absorbed at a slower rate allowing the amino acids and antioxidants to cause a relaxing, calming effect. They also help improve brain function, bring down high blood pressure and help your immune system. For more information on the pros and cons of caffeine, please see our 'Is caffeine bad for you?' article.
Would I be better with a caffeinated tea after all?
Like many things, when it comes to health it is a case of weighing up what is most important to you and having everything in moderation. Lots of tea companies have a 'detox' tea or a 'skinny' tea, a herbal, caffeine free blend because caffeine is seen as a toxin. But giving our bodies the right nutrients isn’t as black and white as that! Our friendly little tea leaf may contain caffeine, but it also contains high levels of antioxidants- so they actually help flush out toxins from the body, which is exactly what you are trying to do whilst detoxing! For example, our Skinny Minny blend contains two types of tea leaf - an oolong and a pu'erh and both contain caffeine. We choose to use these ingredients because the metabolism boosting properties of oolong tea and the digestive properties of pu'erh can be helpful for soothing digestive issues like IBS and bloating, as well as helping slimming more than any naturally caffeine-free ingredient we could use.
A good compromise might be to enjoy a tea with lower levels of caffeine such as a green tea or a white tea. It is also worth noting that all of our teas are blends, so they have less caffeine in them than regular ‘straight’ tea. Bluebird has one of the largest selections of totally, naturally, decaffeinated tea in the UK and we ship worldwide. Check out our completely caffeine-free teas on our website!
Does tea have more caffeine than coffee?
I want decaf tea!
If you are wanting to avoid caffeine altogether, there are plenty of options out there that naturally do not contain any caffeine at all.
Good news! Bluebird has one of the largest selections of totally decaffeinated tea in the UK. Any of our blends that are orange (fruit), purple (herbal) or red (rooibos) are completely caffeine free.