Deemed a healthy substitute to caffeine packed tea and coffee, super-hydrating decaf tea is the latest health craze.
The stimulant that comes from decaffeination process has seen an abrupt rise in popularity. A few years ago, the only time one would drink decaf tea was when they were diagnosed with a heart disease or when desperately trying to lose weight. Fast forward to today, and it’s certainly the rage among coffee lovers and tea aficionados.
But is it all it’s touted to be?
Many people drink it because they believe it doesn’t produce side effects such as agitation and anxiety. Some believe it’s healthier than regular tea while others swear by the numerous health benefits it comes with.
Either way, decaf tea is a reasonable hydration source which quenches your thirst and makes you feel fuller for longer. Decaf tea fans say it’s better than any other tea – but, in reality, is it the wonder health sensation we should adopt? Here are the answers to all these questions.
How much caffeine does decaf contain?
Caffeine is naturally present in tea. According to a study published in the July 2005 issue of Obesity Research, the caffeine present in tea typically contains between 15 to 60 mg of caffeine in an 8-ounce serving. The same serving of decaf tea contains less than 12 mg of caffeine. This means that at least 90% of caffeine is removed.
Additionally, tea usually has much less caffeine, so most decaf teas have less caffeine than decaf coffee. However, it’s important to remember that decaffeinated and caffeine-free are two entirely different terms. Caffeine free drinks contain 0% of caffeine in them. They include chamomile and peppermint tea.
How is decaffeination done?
There are three different methods used to extract caffeine from tea. The first and most common method is the use of organic solvents. This process revolves around a method in which water resulting from the soaked tea leaves is treated with solvents until a point where equilibrium is reached without caffeine. By doing this, the caffeine is removed while the tea retains its original taste.
Another method popularly known as the Swiss water uses purely water and osmosis to decaffeinate the tea. Most recently, food experts have turned to carbon dioxide as a means of decaffeination.
Are all types of decaf healthy?
No. Recently, there have been serious concerns about decaf tea processed with methylene chloride. This is because it contains carcinogenic chemicals which pose a health risk to humans. In a research study in which animals drank the chemical, it was concluded that the residue in decaf is virtually nil.
The Food and Drug Administration in the United States approved the use of the compound in decaffeination. In fact, leading companies such as Starbucks use this chemical because consumers prefer its taste compared to other decafs which they say are bland.
How to make decaf tea at home – DIY tips
Wash your tea leaves with very hot (but not boiling) water for about 20 seconds. This will ensure that most of the caffeine is removed while theanine is left behind. Theanine is a healthy addition that imparts the soft and mellow feeling after tea consumption.
It also releases serotine and dopamine which work to induce the central part of the brain thus helping you rejuvenate after a hard day’s work. Low dopamine levels translate to addictiveness, depression, irritability and loss of sleep.
Can you drink decaf tea when pregnant?
Appropriately termed as the healthy substitute to caffeine-rich coffee and tea, decaf tea is becoming quite popular. Not only does it have no side effects, but it contains far less caffeine that its counterparts. Please note that there’s a difference between decaf and caffeine free.
Only caffeine free drinks have 0% caffeine. There’ll always be caffeine even in decaf. However, the amount is very low compared to the classics.
Regular tea contains between 20 to 60 mg of caffeine in 8 ounces while decaf has less than 12mg for the same serving. This is a 90 % difference making decaf safe to drink for pregnant women as well as people with certain medical conditions.
Why does decaf tea taste different?
Simple – for the same reason children prefer to eat junk food compared to veggies. Veggies are healthier, they just taste nasty according to kids. It would seem that there’s a universal conspiracy where some of the most delicious foods and drinks are also the worst health wise.
But on a serious note, the explanation for why decaf tea tastes different is purely scientific.
Unfortunately, the decaffeination process takes much more out of the tea than just the drug. The decaf methods and solvents used also leech away precious compounds, flavours and aromas leaving your decaf tea just a bit less tasty.
What are the benefits of drinking decaf tea?
Needless to say, there’s a lot of benefits that come with reducing your daily caffeine intake. Decaf tea has 90% less caffeine than regular tea or coffee.
So in addition to avoiding the stimulating effect of caffeine, users also get none of the side effects such as agitation or anxiety.
What’s more, it poses a healthier alternative for people diagnosed with diabetes, heart disease, obesity, or anyone just trying to live a healthier lifestyle.
All these benefits compound with those found in regular tea such as excellent hydration source and higher anti-oxidating power to make decaf tea the more superior beverage.
Best decaf tea – Barry’s Tea Decaf
Barry’s tea decaf is the next best thing to come out of Ireland after the missus. It is a refreshing blend of the finest tea minus the caffeine you find in traditional teas. Made from only the highest quality tea leaves, it packs richness and flavour to deliver an elation that can only be explained once you try it out. Common words used to describe its taste include strong, delicious and genuinely refreshing. With Barry’s decaf tea, you can now enjoy a good cuppa whenever you want to lay off the caffeine path.
Directions for preparation: Use one teabag of Barry’s decaf tea for each mug or two for a teapot. Leave to brew for around 3 to 5 minutes and serve while hot. Enjoy!
With all the acclaimed benefits, is decaf tea good for you? The answer is yes. If you want to stay away from caffeine but still enjoy the refreshing taste of black or green tea, then decaf is your safe bet. It’s pretty refreshing to drain one or two cups and just contemplate on the powerhouse of nutrition you get from each hearty sip.