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How Much Caffeine Is in Herbal Tea? 2024 Breakdown

herbal tea

Caffeine (serving: 6 fl oz)
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Traditional herbal tea is a beverage that is made by steeping or infusing herbs, spices, and other plant materials in warm or hot water. It does not use any tea leaves and it is naturally caffeine free, although there are a couple of exceptions that we will look at below.

Naturally caffeine-free drinks like herbal tea contain absolutely no caffeine, unlike decaffeinated drinks which can still contain a small amount of caffeine per cup. Herbal teas can use any of a long list of ingredients with some of the most common including chamomile for its calming effects, ginger for its nausea-reducing effects and anti-inflammatory properties, and cinnamon for its anti-inflammatory properties and strong flavor.

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How Much Caffeine Is in Herbal Tea?

peppermint tea in a teacup
Image Credit: Mareefe, Pexels

Although traditional herbal tea is caffeine free, there are a couple of notable exceptions. Infusions made with guayusa or yerba mate do contain caffeine because the plant leaves naturally contain some caffeine. And any herbal teas that are listed as containing black tea or green tea also contain some amount of caffeine. If you are looking to avoid caffeine avoid guayusa, yerba mate, and infusions including green or black tea. Alternatively, these can make good replacements for coffee or tea: they have a small caffeinated kick while incorporating a host of medicinally beneficial ingredients.

Apart from a couple of notable exceptions, herbal tea is completely caffeine free and contains 0mg of caffeine per cup. This is true of all flavors and brands, as long as you avoid infusions containing green or black tea, guayusa, or yerba mate. It is also true regardless of whether you steep your own brew from natural ingredients or buy herbal tea bag infusions.

Tea Caffeine per Cup
Harney & Sons Chamomile Tea 0mg
FGO Organic Ginger Tea 0mg
Teatulia Organic Lemongrass Tea 0mg
Teapigs Peppermint Leaves Tea Bags 0mg

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Caffeine Free vs Decaffeinated

Traditional herbal teas are naturally caffeine free. This means that they contain absolutely no caffeine. They are beneficial for those looking to completely avoid caffeine, including people that are sensitive or allergic to caffeine. They also make a good nighttime alternative to caffeinated drinks.

Drinks that are labeled as decaffeinated are made using ingredients that naturally contain caffeine but have undergone a process to remove most of the caffeine. They must contain less than 2.5% of the original caffeine, but this means that they can still contain some caffeine, potentially up to 2mg of caffeine per cup. 2mg of caffeine isn’t much compared to the 90mg found in a traditional cup of coffee, but it may still be enough to trigger a reaction in people that are very sensitive to caffeine.

Tea Caffeine per Cup
Lipton Decaffeinated Black Tea 4mg
Decaffeinated Early Grey 4mg
Decaffeinated English Breakfast 4mg
Herbal Tea 0mg

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Herbal Teas That Contain Caffeine

hand holding a yerba mate in wooden gourd
Image Credit: MESSALA CIULLA, Pexels

Although the vast majority of herbal teas do not contain any caffeine whatsoever, there are exceptions. These teas are made with plant ingredients that naturally contain some caffeine. Specifically, these plants are yerba mate and guayusa. The amount of caffeine found in herbal teas with these ingredients depends on what other ingredients are included.

Tea Caffeine per Cup
Yerba Mate 80mg
Guayusa 41mg

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Herbal Tea Compared to Other Teas

Traditional teas are made using leaves from the Camellia sinensis plant. Hot water is poured over the leaves and left to rest for a couple of minutes before the leaves are strained out. Because the plant naturally contains caffeine, it produces a caffeinated drink. Green tea comes from the same plant as black tea but undergoes different processes once it has been harvested. Because it comes from the same plant, it also contains caffeine.

Other teas, such as Rooibos, which is also known as Red Bush, are made using the leaves of different plants including some that do not contain any caffeine at all, making them naturally caffeine free.

The actual amount of caffeine in a cup of tea depends on the amount of tea used, as well as the steep time, and even the temperature of the water used. Below, we have used generally accepted caffeine levels that you are likely to achieve when brewing at home and following recommended guidelines.

Tea Caffeine per Cup
Black Tea 45mg
Green Tea 28mg
Earl Grey 45mg
Rooibos (Red Bush) 0mg
Herbal Tea 0mg

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Herbal tea can contain any of a number of plant-based and herbal ingredients, most of which do not contain any caffeine. This results in a naturally caffeine-free drink. Yerba and guayusa are two notable exceptions, as the leaves of both of these plants contain caffeine. And you may see some herbal tea infusions that contain black tea or green tea and these, too, will have some caffeine content.

However, caffeine-free herbal teas are seen as a good alternative to black tea and green tea because they offer some of the health benefits of their constituent ingredients and do not contain any caffeine at all.

Featured Image Credit: Zadorozhnyi Viktor, Shutterstock


Kate MacDonnell

Kate is a lifelong coffee enthusiast and homebrewer who enjoys writing for coffee websites and sampling every kind of coffee known to man. She’s tried unusual coffees from all over the world and owns an unhealthy amount of coffee gear.

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