Which Tea Has the Most Caffeine?

Picture of different kinds of tea and tea leaves
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The world is full of many different types of tea drinkers, from beginners to connoisseurs, and each of us have our own unique preferences. Arguably the best thing about tea is that we can all enjoy it so differently – there’s truly something out there for everyone. If you’re looking to make your morning cup of tea a little more caffeine-charged, this article will guide you through your options.

Comparing Different Types of Tea

Not all teas are created equal. Every cup of tea has its own distinct flavor profile, aroma, color, and effects. The good news is, you’ll never have to compromise. With so many unique types of tea out there, you’re guaranteed a perfect fit. Here’s your guide to the caffeine content in these various types of tea.

Green Tea

Green tea, aptly named after the color it takes when brewed, is a great choice for tea drinkers seeking a little caffeine content and mellow, smooth flavor. 

This tea is a great “middle ground” for those of us who aren’t ready to commit to an entire morning of jitters. Sitting at just 28 mg of caffeine per cup, green tea is an excellent choice for early afternoons when you need a slight energy boost.

Some types of green tea include:

  • Genmaicha
  • Sencha
  • Gyokuro
  • Tencha

Herbal Tea

Herbal tea is an umbrella category often used to describe various teas which don’t quite align with your usual green, white, and other styles. Most commonly, herbal tea refers to tea blends created from a unique blend of herbs and flowers. Most of the time, herbal teas have very little to no caffeine, as they are more often used for relaxation, sleep, focus, or other health-related purposes.

Some types of herbal tea include:

  • Peppermint
  • Chamomile
  • Hibiscus
  • Ginger


Oolong is a complex, traditional Chinese tea with a moderate caffeine content. Oolong is considered a category of tea in itself due to its distinct taste, which is often described as falling somewhere between the mellow, earthy taste of a green tea and the strength of a black tea. 

A cup of oolong contains about 37-55 mg of caffeine. For reference, a single cup of black coffee contains approximately 100 mg. Oolong is a popular mid-morning choice due to its energizing – but not overwhelming – properties. There are several types of oolong, which range in color from jade to dark brown.

White Tea

White tea is an extremely light, delicate tea made from the Camellia Sinensis plant. This tea contains very little caffeine, so if you’re looking for a significant energy boost, this is probably not your best bet. However, it might be perfect if you’ve hit a late afternoon slump and just need a small pick-me-up to finish the day.

With just 15-30 mg of caffeine in each cup, white tea is likely better suited to midday or late afternoon consumption. If coffee gives you the jitters, this might be a better alternative. White tea is also beloved for its naturally sweet, soft flavors, which are easily palatable for new tea drinkers.

Some examples of white tea include:

  • White Peony (Bai Mudan)
  • Silver Needle
  • Shou Mei

Black Tea

The most common type of tea by far is black tea. There are hundreds of thousands of varieties of black tea, and each of them vary slightly in taste, color, and other characteristics. It can take some time to find the right one for you.

Black tea contains a significant amount of caffeine, about 45 mg, which is comparable to half a cup of black coffee. Because of this, it’s enjoyed for breakfast more than any other type of tea. Black tea has a naturally bitter taste, so many tea lovers enjoy adding extras to improve the flavor. You can add cream or milk, honey, sugar, and even cinnamon to bring out the best in black tea.

Some examples of black tea include:

  • Earl Grey
  • Scottish/English/Irish Breakfast
  • Darjeeling
  • Assam


Matcha is a Japanese green tea made from finely ground tea leaves which resemble a light green powder. Although matcha has been enjoyed for centuries, in recent years it became trending in the U.S., and as a result can now be found in most coffee and tea shops across the country. Matcha tea is often praised for its unique health benefits.

Because it’s so densely concentrated, matcha tea contains anywhere from 38 – 176 mg of caffeine per cup, far exceeding the caffeine content of a cup of coffee. However, the feeling behind that caffeine is often described very differently than your typical coffee buzz. 

People who drink matcha often say that the energy boost isn’t a short, fleeting burst of energy like the kind coffee delivers – but is rather a slow-burning, sustainable source of energy which lasts all day and doesn’t set you up for a crash.

The Best Source of Caffeine

If you’re seeking a healthier alternative to your morning coffee, matcha is undoubtedly the way to go. The caffeine content in matcha has a longer lifespan than the caffeine in coffee, without the crash. You can even order it at most coffee shops just like you would order your morning coffee.

Matcha has other perks, too. It’s great for your overall health and has been credited for weight loss in regular consumers. It’s also very easy to make – all you need is matcha powder and hot water, and any fixings you may want to throw in.

Although other caffeinated teas have their own benefits, if you’re looking at caffeine content alone, matcha definitely takes the cake. Be warned though, matcha has a somewhat bitter, earthy flavor which can be an acquired taste. Brace your taste buds if it’s something you’re not used to!

Start Your Day Right

Whether you’re looking for a sweeter, milder tea or something intense that will get you through the day, the perfect tea for you is out there somewhere. Understanding the caffeine content in different types of tea can help you make a more educated choice, which will set your day up for success.