This section has two parts, Health Benefits and Caffeine.
been much already said elsewhere about the benefits of green tea, I
believe it's important to note that there are specific differences and
benefits between the tea types ranging from lowering blood pressure,
dental caries, and bad breath, to antioxidants preventing or reducing
the risk of cancer. Some benefits overlap across the types and some are
more/better within a type, black teas having certain qualities not in
green teas, etc. (For more information, Google is your friend.)
Tea is a viable alternative to coffee because there's much less caffeine per cup. However, for those needing to restrict their consumption of caffeine, there are decaffeinated teas and it's easy enough to reduce the amount of caffeine in a cup of tea yourself.
When purchasing decaffeinated tea, it's a good idea to find out by what process the tea is decaffeinated because while ethyl acetate is naturally contained in such products as peaches, watermelons, citrus fruits, tomatoes and in trace quantities in black tea; and both ethyl acetate and methylene chloride are allowed by the USFDA and CFIA up to 10ppm and these two processes are fully approved by U.S. government agencies to remove caffeine, the carbon dioxide (CO2) process, also known as effervescent decaffeination, is the only process that does not affect a tea's taste and does not leave residual chemicals. Also, ethyl acetate can destroy most of the antioxidants found in green tea.
In the U.S.A., at least 98% of the caffeine needs to be removed in order for a tea to be legally labeled "decaffeinated" but you can remove up to 80% of any caffeine present within 30 seconds very easily yourself if you can't find a decaffeinated version of a favorite tea since caffeine is highly water-soluble.
All you have to do is:
1. Brew as usual but for only 30 seconds.
2. Discard the water.
3. Continue brewing in a fresh cup or pot of hot water which will be your beverage when the brewing's complete.
Don't go over 45 seconds on the first, decaffeinating, steep because the rate of caffeine released drops off sharply after the first 30 seconds yielding a negligible amount and you'll be over-releasing the tannins which will make the tea bitter during the second steep as well as losing flavor.
For teas that yield multiple infusions, brew the first cup or pot as above and the subsequent ones as usual.
If this sounds too simple to be true, all you have to do is try the method for yourself, as many other people have, and see if you're as jittery as before you tried it.
Please note: There's a myth going around that says that some types of tea contain more caffeine than others. While this is false, there are varying amounts of caffeine in the different leaf sizes; the small, youngest first and second leaves have more caffeine than the larger, older leaves. This is evidence of the high water-solubility of caffeine in general since the older leaves, being around longer, receive more rain than the younger leaves.
Return to the table of contents for The Newbie's Guide to Loose Tea
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