Posted by Arbor Teas on March 17, 2009
We receive questions on a daily basis regarding the caffeine content of tea. It's probably one of the hottest topics we're asked about. Recently, a customer asked why we didn't carry a decaffeinated Genmaicha Green Tea, to which I offered the following explanation:
"Decaffeinating teas requires costly equipment and substantial amounts of energy, which typically make it cost-ineffective to decaffeinate small batches of specialty teas. Only the most main-stream varieties are generally considered for decaffeination - usually versatile black and green teas that can be sold "as is" or blended in some fashion to create products like Decaf. English Breakfast, Decaf. Earl Grey, etc. You'll almost never see a decaffeinated version of a limited-production premium tea, like our Jade Oolong, Silver Needle White, or Gyokuro Green. These products are already rather expensive and have a limited market demand, so creating a more expensive decaffeinated version to serve an even smaller group of customers doesn't make sense for the tea manufacturer."
After offering this explanation, I was reminded of a way for caffeine-conscious tea lovers to sidestep the limited availability of premium decaffeinated teas. If you just HAVE to have a particular variety of tea, and you're not able to find a decaffeinated version, consider using our "easy at-home decaffeination method."
- > Place your tea in your brewing vessel (teapot, etc.), and cover with a small amount of water (just enough to cover the leaves) heated to the appropriate temperature for the tea being brewed.
- > Steep for a minute, then remove the leaves and discard the water.
- > Re-infuse the same tea leaves in fresh water for the customary amount of time.
You’ve just made yourself a less caffeinated cup of tea! This method will not remove the caffeine entirely, but could take out as much as 20% of the caffeine (amended from our original thinking that it could remove up to 80% of the caffeine because of relatively new research released by tea "technologist" Nigel Melican). Keep in mind that small amounts of caffeine remain in tea decaffeinated by any method - only naturally caffeine-free herbal and fruit infusions lack it completely. It is also worth noting that the method described above may somewhat diminish the flavor and aroma of your tea.