Camellia Sinensis is just one of an estimated 60 plants that naturally contain caffeine. That means that every cup of decaffeinated tea must undergo a rigorous ‘decaffeination’ process in order for it to meet the industry’s strict standards. On average, between 95-98% of caffeine in tea is removed from all of our decaf beverages.
This is typically the maximum amount that can be extracted from any tea. First invented in 1905 by German Coffee Merchant, Ludwig Roselius, the art of decaffeination has greatly developed over the course of the 20th Century and into present-day. There are currently 4 widely used methods for decaffeination.
All of our decaf teas are created using the Carbon Dioxide processing method, this is largely considered to be the safest, while also extracting the highest quantity of caffeine content.
How is Tea Decaffeinated
The methylene chloride processing method: Extracting between 96-97% of caffeine content, the methylene chloride processing method is directly used as a solvent to extract caffeine from raw materials, such as tea and coffee. Although widely used within the industry, this method has been largely subject to much dispute regarding its overall safety. For this reason, we do not sell any teas using this form of chemical decaffeination.
The carbon dioxide processing method: The use of CO2 for decaffeinating teas is considered the safest processing method, and the process used for decaffeinating our decaf black tea and decaf green tea. This is conducted by using pressurised liquid CO2 to extract the small caffeine molecules found within the teas. Since the flavour molecules are larger with the use of this processing method, they typically remain intact, thus allowing the tea to retain much of its natural taste.
The ethyl acetate processing method: This form of decaffeination uses only the natural chemical known as ethyl acetate, which is found in many fruits throughout the world. Similar to the use of methylene chloride, this method sees ethyl acetate used as a solvent to extract the caffeine. Typically, this will extract between 96-97% of caffeine content. It is largely deemed as an ‘organic’ chemical method.
The water processing method: While the tea industry has just begun to experiment with this processing method in recent years, it is generally associated with the decaffeination of coffee, as opposed to leaves from the Camellia Sinensis plant. It is often dubbed the ‘Swiss water process’, and sees hot water extract the caffeine content, along with the tea’s flavour molecules. The water is then put through a carbon filter, which ultimately replaces the recently extracted flavour, while also retaining most of the tea’s caffeine content. This method accounts for between 94-96% of the caffeine removed from tea leaves.
If you wish to go completely ‘caffeine-free’, we have a wide selection of Herbal Tea, including our Camomile Pyramid Tea Bags, our Turmeric Herbal Tea, or even our Yerba Mate Kit. These herbal teas, as well as many more, do not contain leaves from the Camellia Sinensis plant. This means they contain zero caffeine.
Herbal Teas can also provide a variety of incredible health benefits, which may differ to the health benefits of our Black Teas, Green Teas, and of course our Decaffeinated Teas. This does not mean that the frequent consumption of decaf teas cannot also provide you with any health benefits. In fact, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient database, decaffeinated teas are often remarkably low in calories when taken without milk, cream or sweeteners.
This means that, when consumed as part of a healthy and active lifestyle, decaf teas are an excellent choice of beverage to aid with weight management.
Caffeine in Tea and Coffee
Contrary to popular belief, the average cup of tea does not contain more caffeine than a cup of coffee. For years, this rumour has circulated countless media outlets, as well as the internet, but we can confirm this is, in fact, false.
While the quantity of caffeine found within pre-brewed coffee beans is less than that of an equal weight of tea leaves, these statistics no longer apply after brewing of. This is a result of getting more cups of tea from a unit quantity of tea leaves than that of an equal unit of coffee. When brewed, the quantity of caffeine per cup of tea (an average of 40 milligrams) is less than that of an equal cup of coffee (an average of 105 milligrams).
If you would like to find out more information on decaf tea and decaf coffees, as well as how the we choose only the safest and most sustainable decaffeinated products, then please visit our How Much Caffeine in Tea article. You will also discover what caffeine actually is, find out the history of the decaffeination process, and even uncover what is fact and what is fiction in the world of these various, delicious beverages.