Are you addicted to caffeine? Are you on a caffeine-restricted diet? Are you just tired of overdoing it on caffeine and finding yourself a sweaty, shaky mess by 10 a.m.? If so, you probably want to know all about caffeine: how to get the most, the least, or none at all. Does tea have less than caffeine? And what the heck is this “maté” stuff? Read on to find out the secrets your local barista has been keeping from you.
The caffeine in tea is released more slowly than in coffee, so if you want to have a relatively steady energy throughout the day (or night, if it’s an all-nighter), tea is generally the way to go. There are also a lot of health benefits to drinking tea, including reduced risks of cancer, heart disease, and depression. Black tea, which has the most caffeine, may give you a rush similar to coffee. Green and white tea, on the other hand, will generally make you feel less jittery, depending on how long you go between cups. And red tea, or Rooibos tea, doesn’t have any caffeine at all, like most herbal “teas.” Red tea tastes more like tea than Pomegranate Zinger, so it can be a nice substitute if you’re avoiding caffeine.
It may seem counterintuitive, but “bolder” tasting coffees, typically darker roasts, usually have less caffeine than the milder ones. If you’re desperate for the maximum amount of caffeine, go for a blond roast or morning blend, which are typically lighter roasts. Dark roasts, especially Italian and French roasts, have less caffeine, making them ideal for later in the day. This is also something to consider if you’re indulging in a coffee you’re not supposed to have, such as during pregnancy or certain illnesses. It is worth keeping in mind that decaf coffee still does have a small amount of caffeine in it, so if you’re extremely sensitive, you may need to cut out coffee altogether.
Mate or maté (both pronounced ‘mah-tay’) is a drink kind of like tea. Instead of being made with tea leaves, however, it’s made from a plant called Ilex paraguariensis. It’s known more commonly as “yerba mate.” Because it often has a nutty, tannic flavor, mate can taste like a cross between coffee and green tea. Although some people find it to be an acquired taste, most coffee drinkers enjoy it. Despite its caffeine content, a moderate amount of mate can be a good substitute for coffee lovers who are trying to switch to tea for health reasons.
Coffee and tea (including mate) can deliver some great benefits in addition to helping you power through your day. And whether you’re a caffeine junkie or you can’t tolerate even the slightest bit, there is a tasty hot drink out there for you. Even small children can enjoy a warm cup of rooibos tea with a bit of honey in place of their hot chocolate or apple cider.
Have you tried mate or rooibos tea? Which is your drink of choice: coffee or tea?