Is decaf tea better for you?
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! In fact, the only way to enjoy a truly caffeine-free tea is to choose one that has naturally caffeine-free ingredients, such as rooibos or peppermint. (Check out our Caffeine Free Tea Collection for over 50 (naturally) decaf teas to choose from!) Also shocking: 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!
What is a decaf tea?
'Decaf' or ‘Decaffeinated tea’ is a hot beverage made from the leaf from the tea plant that has been through a process to remove its caffeine. Caffeine occurs naturally in tea leaves and the two most common methods of removing the caffeine are to use a chemical solvent or carbon dioxide to strip the leaves.
What is caffeine?
Caffeine is a molecule found in leaves and seeds such as tea and coffee. It acts as a stimulant in humans and is a natural pesticide in plants. That is why the tea plant loves it so much; it kills all those pesky bugs that are trying to eat its lush leaves!
What is 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 can 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, like the antioxidants.
But isn't caffeine in tea 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, that is 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! Exactly what you are trying to do whilst detoxing! For example, our Skinny Minny tea blend contains two types of tea leaf - an Oolong and a Pu'erh - both contain caffeine! We choose to use these ingredients because the metabolism boosting properties of Oolong tea and the digestive properties of Pu'erh are more helpful for soothing digestive issues like IBS and bloating as well as helping slimming 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.