Everything You Should Know About Decaf Tea
Tea, in the present-day, has diversified into many unique variants. Decaffeinated tea, or decaf tea is just one of the newer variants. There are many interesting ways to make Decaf tea. Each process can affect the tea in varying ways, from the taste to its health benefits. But before understanding the processes of how decaf tea is made, let us first understand what decaf tea really is.
What is Decaf Tea?
Put simply, decaf tea is the reduction of caffeine during the manufacturing process. While regular tea is generally low in caffeine, the decaffeinated beverage has much lower levels. For teas to be labelled as ‘decaf’, the caffeine content should not exceed 0.4% by dry weight, which is equivalent to approximately 4mg of caffeine per 170ml serving.
Decaf tea can be made from flowers, roots and leaves of several plants, however, the most common plant used is the Camellia Sinensis plant. In other words, decaf tea can be your regular black tea, green tea, or oolong tea reduced in caffeine, while maintaining flavour, texture, and health benefits.
Processes of Manufacturing Decaf Tea
This is one of the more popular decaffeination processes and the most eco-friendly, since it does not use any chemicals, and maintains the flavour composition along with similar health benefits.
The tea leaves are mixed with carbon dioxide and undergo high pressure and temperatures, until the carbon dioxide turns into a solvent. This solvent is what attracts the small caffeine molecules from the tea leaves. The larger flavour molecules, caffeine molecules, and antioxidants are left in the tea leaves, which is what maintains the taste and health benefits.
How Most Tea Brands Produce Decaffeinated Tea
Ethyl Acetate & Methylene Chloride
Methylene Chloride - This is similar to the above method and is known to retain the flavour profile of the tea better. However, Methylene Chloride has been linked to a few side effects, which has made several authorities to impose regulations on the levels used in the decaffeination of tea leaves.
Although more popular in the decaffeination of coffee beans, this method can be used for extracting caffeine out of tea leaves as well.
The tea leaves are soaked in water, and passed through a carbon filter, which then attracts the caffeine molecules. Once passed, the water is added back to the leaves to develop the flavour. However, it has been identified to give a watery taste and does not maintain the potency of regular tea.
Health Benefits of Decaf Tea
The health benefits provided by decaf tea is very similar to that of regular tea, however, not to the same effect of regular tea. This is because the decaffeination process extracts the flavonoids and antioxidants.
However, a recent study shows that decaf tea only has 16.6 to 64.2 milligrams less flavanol, when compared to regular tea. Therefore, still aiding in good heart health, a healthy digestive system, reduced LDL (bad) cholesterol, and a good immune system overall. Since it is decaffeinated, individuals who are sensitive to caffeine can now enjoy all these benefits. Additionally, due to the reduced caffeine levels, you’re guaranteed a much better sleep too, without the jitters caffeine usually has!
Caffeine Quantity in Decaf Tea
As mentioned before, decaf tea still has some amounts of caffeine. How much caffeine though? According to research, there is typically less than 2 milligrams of caffeine depending on the decaffeination process used. Unless you are sensitive to even the smallest amounts of caffeine, decaf tea is perfectly fine to consume.
Decaf Tea for Pregnancy
Decaf tea is popular among pregnant mothers, since it contains less caffeine, which in turn reduces the risk of birth defects. But that is not to say that regular tea is completely bad.
Research shows that caffeine consumption equivalent to 3 ½ cups to 5 cups per day does not affect the foetus. However, since caffeine retention is longer during this period, caffeine metabolism is hampered. In other words, the consumption of regular tea may have adverse impacts on the digestion system of pregnant mothers.
How to Brew Decaf Tea
- 220ml of fresh spring water
- One tea bag of Dilmah Decaffeinated Tea per person
- Sugar or sweetener (optional)
- Boil the fresh spring water until it reaches a temperature of around 95˚C-100 ˚C.
- Add tea bags or tea leaves, according to number of servings you want (one tea bag or 2.5g per person)
- Let it brew for around 3-5 minutes
- Add sugar or sweetener to your liking
Using Dilmah Decaffeinated Tea helps you to experience the best taste and its complementary health benefits. Using black tea as its base, the decaf black tea bags are processed by Dilmah using the most eco-friendly processing aids, retaining the flavour and chemical composition of fresh tea leaves. Therefore, giving you a fresh start to the day.