Friday, 9 May 2008

Caffeine myths and reality

I read a most illuminating (if at times somewhat technical) article at Cha Dao the other day, concerning the levels of caffeine to be found in different kinds of (Camellia spp.) tea.

It turns out that it is not actually true that black teas are the highest in caffeine and that green and white teas have little or none – in fact white teas may have the highest concentration of all! This is definitely contrary to everything that I’ve ever heard before but it appears to be backed up by good evidence (and certainly makes good common sense – e.g. if the tea is plucked from the same bush at the same time, it will have a similar amount of caffeine no matter how it’s processed).Not that the amount of caffeine in tea bothers me that much, apart from avoiding anything too strong too late in the evening. But I now have some handy facts up my sleeve that I can trot out to debunk myths when I hear people spouting off about them (so to speak).

I wonder if the Cha Dao people have any similarly high quality articles about the health benefits and antioxidant levels of tea. I would be interested to read those as well… I’ll have to have a look.

I am seriously considering taking advantage of the currently favourable exchange rate to purchase a Yixing teapot from the Jing Teashop… but that might have to wait until after I’ve moved house (an unfortunate necessity)…

Today I am drinking a blend called ‘Daintree Sunset’ from The Tea Party (which has a shop at the Vic Market in Melbourne, but also retails products in Canberra, a nice surprise) which is a rather tasty blend of chamomile, spearmint and lemon myrtle (although I think it’s a bit light on the lemon myrtle, personally) – I’ve been going through quite a lot of this over the last couple of weeks. It’s refreshing and non-caffeinated, calming and warm (especially important given some of the airconditioning issues in the building where I work), and – this may sound like the lunatic fringe here – it seems to go well in my work teapot… some other teas (French Earl Grey, for example) just don’t. I can’t explain it, but there it is. Maybe it’s just that my cubicle-ridden work environment isn’t the right place to drink them.

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