Important facts about tea leaves - sorting out common misconceptions.
Caffeine content has nothing to do with the preparation of the leaves.
Caffeine content is determined by the quality of the raw material. Caffeine is a stable compound and do not degrade easily. Oxidation reduces antioxidant amount, not caffeine. Material with low caffeine content isn’t considered of high quality by the traders.
Antioxidants (EGCG being the most abundant) and l-theanine contribute significantly to the subjective effects of tea. High quality white and green teas have highest EGCG and l-theanine content. Above-mentioned compounds are the main contributors to the clear-headed, “zen”, “spacey”, relaxed stimulation that is unique to Camellia sinensis leaves infusions.
Wouldn’t Amazingly renown and sometimes expensive teas like silver needles, be considered ‘low quality’ by this logic? or is this for an specific tea type, like bagged black tea?
Quality silver needle has highest caffeine content out of all white teas.
So processing does affect caffeine. Otherwise a white tea could have as much caffeine as a the strongest black tea?
Some white teas do have as much or more caffeine than black teas. I understand that to relate to the leaf itself rather than processing. Of course I’ve never done the studies so I can’t be positive.
“Caffeine concentrations in white, green, and black teas ranged from 14 to 61 mg per serving (6 or 8 oz) with no observable trend in caffeine concentration due to the variety of tea.”