Tea or coffee, which is more refreshing?

Many people will naturally equate caffeine with coffee, but in fact, in tea and cocoa, caffeine is also present as an important presenting and functional component, so what is the relationship between theophylline and caffeine in tea, and what options can be chosen to reduce the caffeine in tea?

▐ What is the relationship between theophylline and caffeine?

Caffeine refers specifically to caffeine, which belongs to the methylxanthine group with theophylline and the theobromine that will kill the woofers, but both the molecular structure and physiological effects are slightly different. The latter two are structurally one methyl group less than caffeine, and their euphoric effects on the body are much milder than caffeine.

The three primary metabolites of caffeine that are broken down in the liver Photo: http://zh.wikipedia.org by Skirtick

Interestingly, coffee does contain only caffeine (about 1%-2% of the dry weight of coffee beans), and theobromine does account for most of the cocoa fruit (and some theophylline and caffeine), but tea is an exception: although theophylline is named after “tea”, the content of theophylline and theobromine in tea is Not enough to mention. Those so-called “tea is not as refreshing as coffee, because the tea contains mainly theophylline rather than caffeine” argument, it also naturally becomes nonsense.

▐ Is it easier to get excited with tea?

While it is true that the caffeine content in tea is higher than that in coffee beans, when we compare a cup of tea and a cup of coffee, we are not talking about dry tea and coffee beans, but brewed tea broth and coffee. The ratio recommended by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) is 8.25g of coffee beans per 150mL of water used for brewing, while the dry tea in the tea bag products on the market for a single cup of single brew is generally only about 2g, which shows that the amount of caffeine in coffee is much greater than in tea. In addition, the Chinese have a habit of drinking tea is repeatedly brewed. Fresh green tea we will also brew at least three times, and even black tea, oolong tea, pu-erh tea can withstand repeated brewing up to a dozen times. In other words, even if you drink a lot of cups of tea a day, as long as you do not change the new tea leaves, from the point of view of caffeine intake, it is just a “cup”.

▐ The relationship between theanine, tea polyphenols and caffeine

There are other important components in tea that influence the stimulating and exciting effects of caffeine on the body, the most important of which are theanine and tea polyphenols. Theanine, a water-soluble free amino acid unique to tea, can cross the blood-brain barrier and is useful for relieving stress and tension, relaxing the mind and body, improving cognitive performance, and improving sleep quality. Moreover, some studies have found that theanine can have an antagonistic effect on caffeine, which can partially offset the increase in blood pressure caused by caffeine and reduce physical discomfort. What’s more, other studies have found that theanine has a synergistic effect with caffeine, with simultaneous intake also having the effect of enhancing attention and improving responsiveness and accuracy in behavioral tests. Therefore, the body feels more awake and calm after drinking tea, rather than the exhilaration after a cup of coffee.

As for the tea polyphenols, under certain conditions, they will react with some of the coffee and make it exist in a bound form, thus delaying the absorption of caffeine and reducing the efficiency of the body’s use of caffeine. There is a study that shows that the proportion of bound caffeine in deeply fermented pu-erh ripe tea and some black tea that also undergoes microbial oxidation can reach about 20%, while the proportion of bound caffeine in green tea that is not oxidized and fermented is only <2%, and the rest of the teas are in the middle, which explains to some extent why some people think that green tea is refreshing and pu-erh tea is tranquilizing.

▐ What kind of tea has less caffeine content?

The decisive factor affecting the caffeine content of the finished tea is the biochemical quality of the fresh tea leaves, and the main factors affecting the caffeine content of the fresh leaves include: the variety of the tea tree (Assam varietal has a higher content than Chinese varietal, and the difference between different varieties belonging to the same varietal is also significant), the harvesting part (the content of fine and tender tea leaves is higher than that of coarse and old tea leaves), the harvesting time (the content of summer and autumn tea is higher than that of spring tea), and planting environment, etc. With so many influencing factors, it is really hard to draw a conclusion in a nutshell.

In addition to the absolute value of caffeine in tea, the amount of caffeine we consume is also related to the way the tea is brewed. If you want to get a cup of tea with lower caffeine content, it is actually very simple: you can try to put less tea leaves, use a lower water temperature, and brew for a shorter period of time, or you can choose to discard the first few brews of tea, except that along with the caffeine is discarded a series of flavor and nutritional components such as tea polyphenols, theanine, and so on, which is more or less worth the loss.

That said, for healthy adults, if tea is your primary source of caffeine, there is actually no need to worry too much about it. With the now generally accepted safe daily intake of 400mg, 10 to 20g of tea are relatively safe. However, if you are a child, teenager or in a stage of pregnancy where you need to control your caffeine intake, then decaffeinated tea or naturally caffeine-free herbal or fruit teas, which are substitute tea products, may be a more suitable choice for you.

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