The 7 Best Caffeinated Teas (Boost Your Energy Without Coffee)
Getting your caffeine fix can be tricky. Too much caffeine can cause jitteriness, lack of sleep, and exacerbate health conditions like migraines. Too little caffeine and you can find yourself foggy all day. But the right caffeinated tea can help you not only reset your day, but give you improved clarity, focus, and energy. In this guide, we ranked and reviewed the best caffeinated teas.
If you want to get some for yourself, we have a collection of the best caffeinated tea right here in tea bags, loose leaf, or iced tea pouches.
What is the Best Caffeinated Tea?
1. Yaupon Tea
Yaupon is the only naturally caffeinated plant native to North America. This means that unlike other teas that are traditionally made with Camellia sinensis, yaupon has unique properties in addition to caffeine. One of these is the pairing with theobromine (the same compound found in chocolate that boosts your mood). When combined with caffeine, theobromine improves performance while minimizing susceptibility to distractions. In general, yaupon has about 25 mg of caffeine, which is less than a normal cup of coffee (about 90 mg).
- Gives the gentle boost of energy from caffeine tempered by an interaction with polyphenols that can reduce the negative effects on mood.
- Improved attention and improved reaction time thanks to the effects of caffeine and theobromine together.
- Lack of jitteriness in part due to the combination with l-theanine that increases GABA release in the brain and has a relaxing and anxiety-relieving effect.
Try our CatSpring Yaupon tea to receive a gentle boost of energy all day long. It’s organic, non-gmo, kosher, sustainably grown, and naturally caffeinated.
2. Matcha Tea
Matcha is a powdered green tea made from ground tea leaves. Each cup of matcha contains the entire tea leaf, meaning each cup tends to have a higher concentration of the benefits of tea, including caffeine. Similar to yaupon, matcha and other traditional teas have l-theanine that trigger the release of GABA and alpha waves, both of which contribute to a relaxed sensation. Matcha tends to have a higher concentration of caffeine, around 75 mg a cup, in part due to the use of the entire tea leaf directly in the powder.
- More caffeine than most other teas due to intentional shading during the end of the growing period to concentrate the caffeine in the leaves.
- Supports a healthy immune system with catechins (natural antioxidants found in plants) and the addition of polyphenols with antioxidant properties.
- Elevated brain function including enhanced memory from high caffeine levels paired with l-theanine.
3. Black Tea
Similar to matcha, black tea tends to have a higher caffeine concentration than other teas. This comes in part from the variety of tea plant used for them, the style of cutting them into larger loose leaf pieces, and the tendency to steep black tea for longer and at a hotter temperature which extracts more of the caffeine into the tea. Typical black teas have approximately 50mg of caffeine per cup.
- Bolster the immune system with polyphenols and the addition of theaflavins that support antioxidant properties.
- A similar flavor profile to coffee to make the transition from your traditional coffee each morning to an invigorating cup of tea easier.
- Supports a healthy blood pressure as the caffeine increases vasoconstriction which can improve blood pressure in those with low blood pressure.
4. Pu-erh Tea
Pu-erh tea is a fermented tea that, similar to black tea and matcha, has a higher caffeine level than other varieties. This higher caffeine level comes in part from a similar process to black teas, where pu-erh tends to steep longer at hotter temperatures, allowing more of the caffeine to infuse the tea. Ripe pu-erh tea (also called shou) that is fermented via a wet-pile method usually has more caffeine than raw pu-erh tea (also called sheng). Pu-erh tea often has approximately 60mg of caffeine per cup.
- Enrich your gut microbiome with the probiotic qualities from the fermentation process.
- Aid in weight loss through pu-erh’s suppression of fatty acids synthesis (decreasing fat production) and the presence of lovastatin (reduces the amount of cholesterol).
- Defend against the cold and flu with the vitamin C and antioxidants present in each cup.
5. Yerba Mate
Like yaupon, yerba mate doesn’t originate from the traditional tea plant, Camellia sinensis. Rather, yerba mate is native to South America and is a cousin of yaupon. It also naturally produces caffeine. A traditional preparation of yerba mate, known as mate, involves steeping the leaves in hot water in a gourd and drinking it with a metal straw. Yerba mate has about 85mg of caffeine per cup, making it one of the most caffeinated varieties.
- Transition easier from coffee due to the high levels of caffeine that are just shy of a normal cup of coffee, though without the resulting crash.
- Encourage a healthy immune system with even more antioxidants than are normally found in green teas.
- Burn more fat during exercising as one study showed a 24% increase in fat burning when yerba mate is consumed before exercising.
6. Oolong Tea
Oolong is traditionally lighter and sweeter than a black tea. It comes in at about 40mg of caffeine per cup, just under half a normal cup of coffee. This gives you a boost of energy without jitteriness, anxiety, or a crash later. Oolong tea leaves are usually oxidized less than black tea, but more than green tea. This gives them a flavor that can vary widely, depending on the level of oxidation. They can range from a light floral flavor to a darker mineral based flavor.
- Get closer to your daily nutrition goals with the various minerals (calcium, potassium, and magnesium) found in oolong tea.
- Improved cognitive function including memory and processing speed, especially in older adults, from the caffeine and l-theanine pairing.
7. Green Tea
Green tea has not undergone the oxidation process that creates black tea and oolong teas. It tends to have a lighter flavor profile and appearance due to the lack of oxidation. Usually, green tea steeps for a shorter period of time than black teas as steeping too long draws out tannins that can make the brew bitter. A normal cup typically has about 25mg of caffeine, similar to the levels found in yaupon.
- Protect your cells with the polyphenols and catechins from green tea that reduce free radicals that damage your cells.
- Increase fat burning while exercising with green tea’s increase in calories burned paired with caffeine’s ability to utilize stored fat for energy.
- Have fresher breath as green tea catechins kill bacteria common in the mouth that are responsible for bad breath.
The Bottom Line
Given that all of these teas have caffeine to give you a boost of energy, they all carry some variation of the risks of too much caffeine. Because these teas have less caffeine than coffee, they are less likely to cause caffeine dependency or side effects (such as diarrhea, headache, anxiety, insomnia, etc), though having too much caffeine in any form is not advisable.
Owing to the incredible pairings of natural compounds that improve the benefits of caffeine while mitigating its negative effects, these are some of the best caffeinated teas. They each give the gentle boost of energy we all seek while avoiding the crash and providing great support to our bodies as well.
If you want to get our best caffeinated tea, check out our organic, naturally caffeinated CatSpring Yaupon tea here.
Medical Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and shouldn’t be taken as medical advice. If you have serious health-related issues you should reach out to a medical professional. While we have studied the scientific research available, this is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.