Tuesday, 17 April 2012

tasty tea goodness without the jolt of caffeine

I'm not sure if this has anything to do with sorrow, but I've had a bit of frustration regarding tea this week and what better place to share it than on my teablog. It all started with this question posed to me by Brian, who I know in *real* life:
That's an easy enough question, right? Well, I don't drink decaffeinated tea. I've been asked about this before, and politely pointed the person towards Rooibus or some sort of tisane, but the question here was specifically about tea. Black tea to be precise.

The easy answer is that there are tea companies that offer decaffeinated black tea. Normally, I try to actually try the stuff before talking about it here, but I just can't see myself purposely buying tea without all that wonderful caffeine.

Firstly, I found, with Jo's help, The Republic of Tea has a selection of decaffeinated options and some loose-leaf options that are flavoured, but the best option for me would be their Decaf British Breakfast Black Full-Leaf tea. The description's as such:

'The Perfect Cuppa - A robust blend of quality black leaves, hearty enough to make any Brit smile. A savory mixture of India, Ceylon and Kenya leaves is great with a splash of milk.' 

Yes, this tea might make a Brit smile. Until he realises you've taken away his caffeine.

But this whole search has actually led me down the rabbit hole. I'm really curious how they decaffeinate tea to begin with. The little I've heard about it until now is that there are still trace amounts of caffeine in tea even after the caffeine's been removed. The question remains: how do they do it?

What process takes away the caffeine without upsetting tea's delicious goodness? I'm on a sort of quest with this one, and welcome your support.

(thanks to June Stoyer over on google+ for introducing me to the photo above)


  1. Usually caffeine is removed using the swiss water method (look it up) or by using CO2. The caffeine is extracted and comes out as a white powder, then used in medicine, beverages, or in lab experiments!

    1. Thanks Sir William,

      I'd seen that mentioned in my brief research. I intend to write more about this.

  2. Here's the Wikipedia article on Decaffeination: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decaffeination

    I tried the "Ceylon OP Infre" decaffeinated tea from TeaGschwendner once, but did not like it, though they usually carry reasonable qualities. (Actually it made me feel a bit ill, I have to admit).

    1. As with many Wikipedia articles, reading it made me want to go look at the sources cited. Very interesting...

      About that Ceylon from TeaGeschwender, I'm surprised it was that bad. Like you say, I've had mostly good experiences with that brand.