Highest Teas in Caffeine

Are you looking for a tea thats higher in caffeine? In this article we’re going to cover 5 high caffeine green teas you may want to incorporate into your morning routine. If you enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning, but want to go for something that won’t give you a crash later on in the day, green tea can be a good option. Green tea contains an amino acid called l-theanine which buffers some of the negative effects of caffeine. When you drink green tea, you’ll notice a calm, long-lasting energy throughout the day with less of a crash and less of that jittery feeling.

The first tea on our list is Gyokuro, the only Japanese green tea that really has more caffeine than a cup of coffee. This is considered to be the most premium Japanese leaf tea, because of the careful production process. This tea has to be shaded for 3 weeks prior to the harvest in order for it to develop this characteristic sweet and savory flavor. When the theanine in the tea plant is exposed to sunlight, it is converted into catechins. These will have a slightly drier, more bitter flavor than the theanine, so if you are looking for a sweet and savory tea, you will want to go for a shaded sencha or a Gyokuro. Other than matcha, Gyokuro has the longest shading process. This allows the tea to develop its unique flavor and also its high caffeine content. When the tea plant is cut off from sunlight, it begins to produce more caffeine as a defense mechanism to avoid insects. A cup of premium Gyokuro can contain anywhere from 120-140mg of caffeine, which is more than most small cups of coffee. You may not feel like it has quite as much caffeine, because instead of this sudden jolt of energy, you will get a longer lasting boost that should last throughout the day. This is good for long periods of work, study or even meditation.

The second tea on our list is of course matcha. A lot of people are using matcha to make the switch from coffee to green tea and there are a few reasons why. The first reason is because it’s a powder, it’s much easier to prepare in the morning. You can mix a couple of scoops into water, or whisk it up into a latte. This can be a great way to start your day, and it can be a relaxing part of your morning routine. The second reason people use matcha as a coffee replacement is because it also is quite high in caffeine. 1 teaspoon of ceremonial grade matcha powder contains about 68 milligrams of caffeine. If you add more powder to your matcha bowl, you will get even more caffeine. This puts the tea on a similar level to a cup of coffee, depending on how you make it. If you want a lot of caffeine in your tea, make sure you are going for the higher quality ceremonial grade matcha, instead of the culinary matcha. Ceremonial grade matcha is made from young, first harvest tea leaves, shaded for 3 weeks prior to the harvest. They later have their stems removed and are ground into a fine powder using a large stone mill. Sometimes, companies will skip a few of these steps in the production process to create a cheaper matcha, but these lower quality matchas miss out on the flavor as well as caffeine and nutrients. If you go for a premium matcha, you should not only get a better taste but also more caffeine and more theanine.

The third high caffeine tea on our list is Kabuse Sencha. After Gyokuro, Kabuse sencha is considered to be the second highest quality leaf tea in Japan. These teas are shaded for between 10-20 days before the harvest to develop a sweeter and smoother flavor with less bitterness. While not shaded as long as Gyokuro and matcha, these teas still develop plenty of caffeine and theanine. These green teas will have more caffeine than a regular sencha, but less caffeine than a Gyokuro. We find that the flavor profile of this tea is lighter and sweeter, without being too strong on these savory or brothy notes. If you like sweeter teas, but are a bit turned off by the more seaweedy flavors of Gyokuro, this may be the perfect tea for you. 

The fourth tea on our list is sencha. Sencha is the most common type of green tea in Japan, and it also spans across the widest spectrum of flavors. You can have a drier unshaded asamushi sencha, or you can have a sweeter and fruitier shaded fukamushi sencha. The major factors that influence the flavor of a sencha is what cultivar it comes from, how its shaded, how its picked and how its steamed. Gyokuro is shaded for 21 days or more prior to the harvest, Kabusecha is shaded for between 10-20 days prior to the harvest but a normal sencha can be unshaded or shaded for up to 10 days before it is picked. The longer its shaded, generally the more sweetness the tea will have. Also, a farmer can change the flavor profile of the sencha based on how long they steam the tea leaves. Normal sencha teas are shaded for 30-40 seconds, but fukamushi sencha can be shaded for an additional few seconds to break down the leaves and cause them to produce a richer, fruitier flavor and a deeper green color. You can also have short steamed or asamushi sencha that is steamed for less than 30 seconds. Most sencha teas will fall somewhere in the neighborhood of half the caffeine as a cup of coffee, so if you are sensitive to caffeine, these might be a good choice for you. Sencha is a good way to get a little bit of caffeine in the morning, without being overwhelmed.

Finally, we get to the fifth tea on our list, Shincha. While shincha is really a type of sencha, it refers specifically to the first harvest of the springtime. These shincha teas are the first ones to be picked in April or may, and sometimes people wait around all year in anticipation of the new harvest. These teas will be on a similar caffeine level to sencha, but because they are always going to be made from the top sprouts of the tea plant, they will tend to have more caffeine than a typical sencha tea, all else being equal. Thats because these younger, more tender buds produce more caffeine. The tea plant uses caffeine as its primary defense to ward off insects, and because the younger leaves are more vulnerable, they need to produce more. The stems and the older leaves of the tea plant are much tougher, and therefore they don’t need as much protection. Thats why a tea like Bancha, made from the older leaves and stems of the tea plant is much lower in caffeine.

I hope you have found this short guide helpful when it comes to navigating the world of tea. Hopefully now you can find a great tasting high caffeine tea to drink in the morning. Thank you all so much for reading. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments below, otherwise, we’ll see you next time.