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Does caffeine potency diminish over time in tea?


Sqthreer

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I am beginning to use caffeinated tea to help ween me off of larger doses of caffeine. I leave for work around 4am and really have to minimize the amount of prep time I spend in the morning (partly so I don't wake my roommates, and partly so I can have a little more time to sleep) so I do all my prep for the following day before bed.

 

If I brewed tea before bed (around 7pm), kept it in an insulated container and drank most of it by 8am the next day, would I be getting as much caffeine as I would if I drank it right away? I've tried looking this up and haven't gotten any answers I am satisfied with. 

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Not that I'm aware of. BUT, much of the caffeine in the tea is on the outside of the leaves. If you're using a decent-quality tea (not a teabag with tiny bits of tea dust) then the first cup of tea you brew with your leaves will probably have more caffeine than the second cup. If you're using good-quality leaves then the second cup usually tastes better than the first anyway. (Because the leaves will have had a chance to uncurl fully.) I think that the taste of tea tends to go off if it sits around brewed for too long--chemical reactiony thingies with the amount of oxygen in the water and tannins and stuff I can't remember because I only ever took the one chemistry class.

 

So, if you're wanting a lower-caffeine cup of tea that doesn't taste like green or white tea, try reusing your leaves, or brewing them for a minute and tossing that water out. If that doesn't appeal, try mixing black tea with rooibos/red bush tea--rooibos has no caffeine and my non-tea-snob friends can't tell much difference in taste.

 

If you're wanting MORE caffeine, look for black teas that have been oxidized longer. There's a lot of variation, so maybe just try to compare the teas in the store with each other. The longer the oxidization, the more caffeine and the less antioxidants.

 

I think that tea is great for getting off caffeine because you can just phase yourself down the color spectrum. Black, blue (oolong), green, yellow (if you can find it), white.

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Tea hee! (Sorry, that was a horrible pun I couldn't resist making.)

 

I've been into tea for a long time. I even worked at a tea shop for a few months--apparently I'm still the only employee they've had who knew anything about tea.

 

I know I've seen tea websites that have sections for their high-caffeine teas. Republic of Tea does. The Tea Farm's looks like they'd be better since they're loose-leaf. And apparently Celestial Seasonings has an extra-high-caffeine tea called Fast Lane for online purchase.

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Lalie has basically said everything I wanted to say!  Goodness, it's nice to see another tea snob here!

 

You can get more caffeine/make black tea stronger by brewing more than the recommended amount of leaves per cup as well, though it does start getting bitter.  Skip tea bags, honestly - they taste like sawdust and are processed in a way that you won't get nearly as many benefits (including caffeine).

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It might not taste as good kept warm that long, but I don't think caffeine content would go away. this link about coffee says that caffeine is a pretty stable molecule and it wouldn't break down in any significant way in coffee left for a similar amount of time.

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Once I finish the bags I have left I'm going to buy some legit stuff!

 

I think an angel just got its wings. Pretty sure that's what happens whenever someone switches from teabags to loose-leaf. ^^

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TEA!!!
I'm just posting because I'm excited that people are talking about tea. :D

And to add that one of the benefits of getting your caffeine from tea is that the caffeine releases slowly. It's not the peak and crash you get from coffee or soda. However this is also a good reason not to have a cup of tea at 8 p.m. if you intend to go to bed before midnight. ;)

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AND unless you load it up with sugar and stuff tea WILL hydrate you well, unlike soda. (Maybe not the extra-caffeine-added tea. I don't know what they do to it to add caffeine in.)

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Lalie, I am just as impressed that you have worked at a tea shop as I am annoyed that no one there but you knew anything about tea. People who know nothing about tea seems to be the standard at shops that serve it. My town has this one coffee shop that actually brews a cup of tea for you when you order it. Meaning they don't drop a tea bag into a cup of hot water and hand it to you, they BREW loose tea leaves, and you don't get it until it's done brewing. I felt a little like I was falling in love when I found that place.

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I was their very first employee. They didn't serve food or drinks when I worked there--just the tea stuff to go brew at home. I think they might have a limited menu now. I think other employees have just viewed it as another retail job--can't say I really blame them. Small business often can't afford to pay for insurance or wages much above minimum.

 

I've just stopped ordering tea at most restaurants because they never brew it correctly even if they have good tea leaves. They really oversteep it. I guess that would be one way to get more caffeine in there, but then it tastes lousy, so what's the point? Might as well take a caffeine pill.

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At a lot of restaurants I've been too, they bring you boiled water in a cup and a tea bag, so it's the opposite problem - the water is too cool now, and it's going to under-steep. Tea, in general, is often mishandled. But then I also live in a city where Starbucks dominates the coffee shop market, so. It's not like they handle coffee any better than they handle tea. ;)

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I got a cup of tea at an otherwise lovely wedding a couple months ago. I was served a bag of Red Rose (which isn't great to begin with, but it's usually tolerable with milk) steeped in somewhat warm, coffee infused water. I mainly wanted something warm at that point, and this cup of tea was like warm tap water - it was a cool, rainy, evening and the reception was in a tent. Later on they also had a self serve coffee/tea station out, I tried another cup there - the water was hotter at least, but still coffee infused.

It would seem like a fairly basic thing to at least have separate urns for coffee vs. hot water - once something has had coffee in it for a while the flavor never really goes away...

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Ugh. Sounds like no one bothered to clean the urns that well, either.

 

I hadn't even heard of Red Rose brand previously. I wonder if it's just not something we get around here?

 

I had a wonderful pot of tea this morning after my breakfast. I'm pretty much a black tea girl - I like a little green tea now and then, but mostly I like my fully caffeinated black tea. I get all my tea from Adagio.com, and I had some Black Dragon Pearls today. So good.

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