Caffeine Facts important for Tea Lovers

If you're a traditional tea lover, it's essential to stay abreast of caffeine facts, such as recommended maximum daily amounts and how to figure out how much caffeine you consume each day. This will help to ensure you're enjoying all of tea's wonderful benefits for good health and wellness, without have to worry about potential caffeine side effects or concerns. 

Here are some caffeine facts to help you get to know caffeine - and traditional teas - better. 

Caffeine Facts | The Tea Talk

About caffeine

Caffeine is a chemical stimulant produced naturally in the seeds, fruit, and leaves of certain plants, such as tea, coffee, cocoa, guarana, and yerba mate. 

While natural caffeine sources are sometimes used as food additives (like yerba mate or guarana added to energy drinks), caffeine is also produced artificially to add to soft drinks, energy drinks, and snack foods to provide increased energy, alertness, and other caffeine benefits for the consumer. 

Manufactured caffeine is an ingredient in some prescription and non-prescription drugs, such as pain relievers, cold medications, and allergy medications, too.

Guarana is a plant native to the Amazon rain forest, especially Brazil. Its red fruit contains black seeds that are rich sources of caffeine (much higher than coffee beans), making it a popular addition to South American soft drinks, as well as energy drinks and herbal weight-loss supplements in North America. 

Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, leaving us feeling more focused, energized, and in a better mood almost immediately. These and other benefits of caffeine can last up to six hours or more. 

How much caffeine is safe?

Figuring out how much caffeine is safe for each of us isn't an exact science. Each person has a different caffeine sensitivity, depending on age, size, physical and mental health, how adjusted to caffeine we are, and various other factors.

So, even suggested maximum amounts may be far too much for someone who is very sensitive to caffeine. A strong caffeine intolerance or allergy may mean you need to be vigilant in avoiding caffeine altogether. 

Caffeine Facts | The Tea Talk

Recommendations vary regarding the maximum amount of caffeine adults can safely consume each day, typically ranging from 200 to 400 milligrams (mg) for healthy adults. For example, the Mayo Clinic suggests that up to 400 mg caffeine daily appears to be safe for most healthy adults. Health Canada recommends no more than 400 mg caffeine per day for the average adult, and a maximum of 300 mg daily for women of childbearing age.  

However, if you are expecting a little one, planning to fall pregnant, or breastfeeding, please be sure to ask your primary care provider for advice concerning caffeine. AmericanPregnancy.org suggests avoiding caffeine as much as possible while pregnant and breastfeeding. You can also find some helpful information about teas and pregnancy on the BellyBelly website

Now, some caffeine facts for children and adolescents. For adolescents aged 13 and over, Health Canada recommends daily caffeine intake of no more than 2.5 mg per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight, while the Mayo Clinic suggests that caffeine intake should be limited for adolescents.

And for children, the Mayo Clinic suggests that "caffeine is not a good idea for children," while Health Canada provides recommended maximum caffeine amounts for children by age (no more than 45 mg/day for children aged 4 - 6 years, 62.5 mg/day for ages 7 - 9, and 85 mg/day for ages 10 - 12). 

| Related:  Rooibos Tea Benefits

Caffeine side effects typically begin to appear for many of us around 500 - 600 mg daily caffeine intake. But, staying within recommended maximum daily caffeine amounts may reduce the chance of experiencing troubled sleep, headache, irritability, or other common caffeine side effects.

You've heard that caffeine can be removed from tea by an extra steeping... But is extracting caffeine from tea just a myth? Read more here about removing caffeine from tea. 

And, keep in mind... because caffeine is a stimulant, it's possible to become physically dependent on it. Consuming even 100 mg of caffeine daily may result in caffeine withdrawal symptoms if you decide to cut back or eliminate caffeine from your diet.

Caffeine Chart

To get an idea of how much caffeine you may be consuming in a normal day, do a quick bit of math with this caffeine chart. Here are general ranges of caffeine amounts for a few common sources of caffeine:

Caffeine Facts | The Tea Talk

You'll see a caffeine range for some chart items. The amount of caffeine in a cup of tea, for example, depends on a variety of factors (including the growing season, processing methods, brewing time, and more). Learn more about caffeine levels in tea on our Tea and Caffeine page

When you're watching caffeine intake, be sure to read labels and consider serving sizes. In our society of "bigger is better" (when it comes to food and drink, anyway), we tend to underestimate how much we are actually consuming.


For those of us who love our traditional teas, it's a good idea to stay informed not only about general caffeine facts, but also how caffeine affects us as individuals. While caffeine can energize us and make us feel more alert for that important presentation at work or when we need an extra boost to get through the day, potential caffeine side effects can be very upsetting, and make us think twice about including caffeine in our days. 

Do keep in mind that many find traditional teas to be gentler and less apt to upset us than other caffeinated beverages. Naturally calming and beneficial, teas from the Camellia sinensis tea plant can be a lovely, delectable, fragrant way to enjoy caffeine. 

Tea and Caffeine Facts

Learn more about a favorite caffeine source around the world... Drop by our Tea and Caffeine page

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Sources


Borota D, Murray E, Keceli G, et al. Post-study caffeine administration enhances memory consolidation in humans. Nature Neuroscience. 2014;17:201–203. 

Caffeine may counter age-related inflammation. Retrieved from http://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2017/01/caffeine-may-counter-age-related-inflammation-study-finds.html

Clauson KA, Shields KM, McQueen CE, Persad N. Safety issues associated with commercially available energy drinks. J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2008 May-Jun;48(3):e55-63;quiz e64-7. doi: 10.1331/JAPhA.2008.07055. 

Doherty M, Smith PM. Effects of caffeine ingestion on exercise testing: a meta-analysis. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2004 Dec;14(6):626-46.

Doherty M, Smith PM. Effects of caffeine ingestion on rating of perceived exertion during and after exercise: a meta‐analysis. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports. 2005 Apr;15(2):69-78.

Eskelinen MH, Kivipelto M. Caffeine as a protective factor in dementia and Alzheimer's disease. J Alzheimers Dis. 2010;20 Suppl 1:S167-74. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2010-1404.

Glade MJ. Caffeine-Not just a stimulant. Nutrition. 2010 Oct;26(10):932-8. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2010.08.004. 

Gliottoni RC, Motl RW. Effect of caffeine on leg-muscle pain during intense cycling exercise: possible role of anxiety sensitivity. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2008 Apr;18(2):103-15. 

Hey E. Coffee and pregnancy. BMJ. 2007 Feb 24; 334(7590): 377. doi: 10.1136/bmj.39122.395058.80. 

Hicks MB, Hsieh P,  Bell LN. Tea preparation and its influence on methylxanthine concentration. Food Research International. 1996 Apr-May;29(3-4):325-330. 

Higgins JP, Tuttle TD, Higgins CL. Energy beverages: content and safety. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2010;85(11):1033–1041. PMC. Web. 25 Mar. 2015. 

http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/food-beverages/tea

Kim TW, Shin YO, Lee JB, et al. Effect of caffeine on the metabolic responses of lipolysis and activated sweat gland density in human during physical activity. Food Sci Biotechnol. 2010;19(4):1077-1081. 

Klein T. Energy drinks raise resting blood pressure, dramatic in those not used to caffeine. Mayo Clinic News Network. 2015 Mar 13. Retrieved from http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/energy-drinks-raise-resting-blood-pressure-with-effect-most-dramatic-in-those-not-used-to-caffeine-m/ 

Melican N. Caffeine and Tea: Myth and Reality. 2008 Feb 6. Retrieved from http://chadao.blogspot.com/2008/02/caffeine-and-tea-myth-and-reality.html

Prediger RD. Effects of caffeine in Parkinson's disease: from neuroprotection to the management of motor and non-motor symptoms. J Alzheimers Dis. 2010;20 Suppl 1:S205-20. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2010-091459. 

Ribeiro JA, Sebastião AM. Caffeine and adenosine. J Alzheimers Dis. 2010;20 Suppl 1:S3-15. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2010-1379. 

Rivera-Oliver M, Díaz-Ríos M. Using caffeine and other adenosine receptor antagonists and agonists as therapeutic tools against neurodegenerative diseases: A review. Life sciences. 2014;101(0):1-9. doi:10.1016/j.lfs.2014.01.083.

Smith A. Effects of caffeine on human behavior. Food Chem Toxicol. 2002 Sep;40(9):1243-55.

Vlachopoulos C, Hirata K, Stefanadis C, et al. Caffeine increases aortic stiffness in hypertensive patients. American Journal of Hypertension. Jan 2003;16(1):63-66.

Winston AP, Hardwick E, Jaberi N. Neuropsychiatric effects of caffeine. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment. 2005 Nov;11(6):432-439.

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