"Does green tea really have more caffeine than black tea or coffee? Where does it fall on the caffeine scale?" - Emily
The simple (and incomplete) answer is: no. A cup of green tea usually has less caffeine than a cup of black tea, and a cup of black tea has less caffeine than a cup of coffee. Generally speaking, the caffeine ladder from most to least per cup is: coffee > black tea > oolong and green tea > white tea. “Decaffeinated” black or green teas still contain some caffeine. Herbal and fruit infusions (i.e. not made with any tea) and alternatives like rooibos are naturally caffeine free.
But there are some caveats. First, just as tea flavour varies as a result of geography, climate, weather, picking time, grade of leaf and processing, so too does the caffeine content. Here are some interesting stats about caffeine in green tea. Second, if you’re really keen to track your intake, it’s more important to note the caffeine content of your brewed tea than the dry leaves - the content per cup will vary depending on the amount of tea you use and how long you brew it. Also, if your tea contains non-caffeinated ingredients (like flowers, herbs or rice) your cup will contain less caffeine. Finally, if you’re reusing leaves (this is traditional for some teas) the caffeine content decreases with successive brews.
"Where do you stand on tea cosies? I feel they leave the tea too hot to drink." - Dr G
Where do I stand on tea cosies? In the kitchen, in the living room, the bathroom or the street, wherever there is a tea cosy to stand on, I will stand on it. (Sorry.)
Tea cosies can be delightful to look at - my mum made a few gorgeous patchwork tea cosies when I was a kid - and in some cases they serve a practical purpose. I don’t use them because: (1) I brew tea immediately before drinking it; (2) I don’t have any teapots large enough to warrant keeping warm; and (3) I pre-warm my pot and cups, so the tea retains its heat for longer.
But here is a situation in which a tea cosy could be handy. Let's say you make a four-mug pot of Assam tea for you and a friend (removing the leaves after a few minutes to stop it from overbrewing). You pour two mugs of tea and are left with a half-full pot of tea that you want to keep warm. Tea cosy time! If you have thought ahead, you may have already warmed up the cosy, either by putting it on the pot during the original steeping time (though Dr G finds this makes the tea too hot) or by placing the tea pot on top of the cover while brewing (this works fine with a traditional soft cosy, not so much with those insulated metal covers). Now you and your friend can admire the craftiness of your lovely tea cosy as it sits on the table between you.
"What tea are you drinking right now?" - Everyone, ever
I’ve just received two tea deliveries, so I have lots to choose from! I ordered my favourite Keemun and a Lapsang Souchong from Hazelmere Cafe and Bakery. They also sent me two free samples - a Darjeeling (which I am yet to try) and an Assam (which I have finished). The Assam is from Dinjan Estate and Hazelmere describes it as, “A malty and full-flavoured red tea with a neat tippy sized leaf. It has a briskness and strength (typical of Assams) that make it an ideal morning tea or partner for strong or fried foods.” I say it has a good colour while the aroma has faintly fruity undertones along with the malt. The flavour not quite as deep or rich as I expected from the description, but is has a refreshing mid-palate zestiness. Four out of five stars from me.
I also ordered three teas from Imperial Teas: Earl Grey Cream, Osmanthus Black Tea and Ceylon Montecristo. The smell of the Earl Grey Cream leaves is incredible - delicious and almost overwhelming. I’m looking forward to my next cup. Finally, a month or two ago I bought some expensive fruit tea at Borough Market: a sweet and sour cinnamon and hibiscus infusion from Organic Life. It is delicious (which it should be at ~50p per cup) and I’ve enjoyed it both hot and iced.
I think it’s time for a cuppa. I’ve addressed the two big milk-in-tea questions, I’ve discussed bitter tea and tea bags and now it’s time to talk about caffeine and cosies.
NB: All photos in this post are used free of charge under Creative Commons licensing. Click an image to be taken to the source and to find out about the specific license.
Do you have a pressing question about tea? Let me know and I shall endeavour to answer it. Do you use a tea cosy? Let us know if you have a preference - quilted, knitted, felted - and please share your cosy tips!
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