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How Much Caffeine is in Iced Tea?

close up of a glass of long island ice tea cocktail

Iced tea is an extremely popular type of tea drink, mostly enjoyed during the sweltering heat of summer. While iced tea can refer to a million things, most iced tea refers to black tea with ice. Whether you’re grabbing a bottle at the gas station or using iced tea powder, the classic bitter-yet-sweet taste is one that millions love. Iced tea is also a caffeinated beverage, so it’s no wonder that people are seemingly addicted to it. But how much caffeine does iced tea really have? Depending on how you brew it, iced tea contains between 10 and 75 mg of caffeine. Keep reading to learn more!

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How Much Caffeine Does Iced Tea Contain?

Iced tea can vary wildly with caffeine for several reasons, but it comes down to the fact that it’s really a broad term. Iced tea powder is a far cry from premium black tea leaves, so knowing how much caffeine comes down to the product. Generally, iced tea will not contain any more than 50–75mg of caffeine per 8oz serving. However, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of iced tea products that may exceed that amount. Things like steeping time for tea bags and the quality of store-bought products will influence the caffeine content.

Iced tea at its lowest caffeine content is usually around 10–15mg of caffeine in an 8oz serving, though this will also depend on the iced tea product. Black tea is not as caffeinated as coffee, but it’s usually stronger than white and green tea. Tea contains the same caffeine as coffee, but it’s called theine and contains polyphenols to slow down its absorption of it into the bloodstream. That means it delivers a less noticeable caffeine buzz but in a steadier manner than coffee. If you ever wondered why coffee made you crash but not tea, it’s most likely due to the polyphenols keeping the caffeine flow even.

top view of a clear mug of iced tea
Image Credit: StockSnap, Pixabay

Caffeine Content

Home-Brewed Iced Tea (from Black Tea)

Home-brewed iced tea is extremely popular and easy to make, using 2–4 teabags per batch, depending on how strong you like your tea. It’s not only quick to make, but it’s better than buying premade drinks or mixes that usually don’t taste nearly as refreshing.

Lipton: 25 – 55mg per 8oz
Bigelow: 30–45mg per 8oz
Tetley: 30–50mg per 8oz
David’s Tea: 40–60mg per 8oz
Celestial Seasonings: 30–45mg per 8oz
Tazo: 25–45mg caffeine per 8oz
  • Note: Caffeine per one teabag

Store-Bought Iced Tea (Most Popular Brands)

There are endless premade iced tea products in most grocery stores, convenience stores, and gas stations, with varying levels of caffeine. Let’s take a look at the big brand name iced tea products and the caffeine content of each:

4C Iced Tea Mix : 2mg per 12oz
Lipton Brisk: 11mg per 12oz
Arizona: 15mg per 8oz
Honest: 90mg per 16.9oz
Pure Leaf: 63mg per 16.9oz
Tazo: 31–45mg per 13.8oz
Gold Peak: 48mg per 18.5oz
  • Note: Caffeine per bottle/serving size
Arizona Green Tea
Image Credit: Connor Dickson, Unsplash

Coffee Chains & Fast Food

There are plenty of fast food and coffee chains that sell some form of iced tea, especially in locations with hot weather. Iced tea is a popular choice instead of soda, so it’s easy to find at most franchises. The caffeine content is the amount in one medium iced tea, which makes it easier to compare.

Starbucks Iced Tea: 25mg per 16oz
Dunkin Iced Tea: 67mg per 16oz
Seattle’s Best Iced Tea: 45mg per 16oz
McDonald’s Iced Tea: 125mg per 21oz
Wendy’s Iced Tea: 32mg per 16oz
Chick-Fil-A’s Iced Tea: 62mg per 16oz
Jack in the Box’s Iced Tea: 48mg per 20oz
  • Note: Caffeine per one medium-sized drink

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Iced Tea Caffeine Comparison

Here’s a quick comparison of iced black tea and other tea and coffee drinks:

Brewed Iced Tea (from Black Tea)

Iced Tea vs. Iced Coffee

Iced Tea: 45–65mg per 8oz
Coffee: 95–120mg per 8oz

Iced coffee is more caffeinated than iced tea by a longshot, but that doesn’t mean iced tea should be left out. It can still give you the energy boost you’re looking for while lessening the chance of getting caffeine jitters.

Iced Tea vs. Iced Green Tea

Iced Tea: 45–65mg per 8oz
Green tea: 20–35mg per 8oz

Iced black tea is stronger than iced green tea, but green tea is less processed than black tea. If you’re looking for a slightly healthier option, unsweetened green tea might be the better option. However, if you’re used to the taste of iced black tea, you may not like the earthy taste of green tea.

glass of iced tea
Image Credit: makafood, Pexels

Iced Tea vs. Iced Matcha Latte

Iced Tea: 45–65mg per 8oz
Matcha: 60–80 mg per 8oz

Iced Matcha Lattes come with a lot of caffeine, but they can potentially have added sugar if you order it at a coffee shop or chain. If you can get it unsweetened, an iced matcha latte can be a fun changeup from your usual iced tea.

Iced Tea vs. Iced White Tea

Iced Tea: 45–65mg per 8oz
White Tea: 15–35mg per 8oz

Iced white tea is lower in caffeine than iced black tea, so it may not be enough caffeine if you’re used to black tea. If you’re trying to cut down on caffeine, switching to iced white tea is a step in the right direction.

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All About Iced Tea

What Is Iced Tea?

Iced tea refers to any type of strong-brewed cold tea with ice, especially with black tea. Iced herbal and green teas are also popular, but “traditional” iced tea always uses black tea. By making tea stronger than it would be for hot, the ice chills it and makes it a tasty summertime beverage. Iced tea can come from many different things: loose leaf black tea, black tea bags, iced tea powder mix, and premade iced tea drinks. It’s a summertime tradition in many places in the US, especially in hotter states that reach sweltering temperatures.

a tall glass of iced tea with black straw
Image Credit: Marta Dzedyshko, Pexels

What’s the Difference Between Black Tea and Other Teas?

Black tea comes from the same plants as green, white, and oolong tea, so it can be confusing to know how it’s different. While they are related, the processing is what separates them. Darker teas like black tea are much more processed than white and green tea, which means it goes through a lot of stages before being ready for consumption.

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Fun Facts About (Unsweetened) Iced Tea

  • Less Caffeine than Coffee – Instead of reaching for your late afternoon coffee, swap it out for an iced tea instead. It still has a decent amount of caffeine without making you crash later as coffee would.
  • Healthier than Soda – If you drink it unsweetened or slightly sweetened with honey, iced tea can be a healthier alternative to soda. However, most premade and fast food iced tea is loaded with sugar, so you’ll have to make sure you’re drinking unsweetened iced tea.
  • Multiple Health Benefits – Black tea has a huge fanbase, even in the health and wellness world. Black tea has antioxidants and other healing properties, which may help boost your immune system and possibly help with weight loss.

Featured Image Credit: Andrei Mayatnik, Shutterstock

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Jaimie Wisniowski

Jaimie is a freelance writer fueled by coffee, whether it’s hot, iced, or made from a local coffee shop. She enjoys writing all things coffee, especially if it means trying the latest coffee shop trends (hello cold foam!). After spending years writing poems, college essays, and short stories, it only a matter of time to turn writing into a career. Writing about coffee simply combined two of her favorite things! When she’s not drinking coffee by the minute and writing at her laptop, Jaimie spends time hiking, exercising, and living an active life. She also loves to snuggle up with a good book and her dog, Margo. If you catch her without a cup of coffee, she’s probably on her way to the coffee maker now.

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