• HOME >
  • Tea constituents and functional effect

Is it true that pu-erh tea contains less caffeine?

[2017.01.22] Posted By

k566-1
I often came across with lots of internet media which explain that pu-erh tea contains less caffeine. Is that really true? I studied various science literatures to find out the truth.

Wrongly believed fact that ripe pu-erh tea contains lower caffeine

There are two types of pu-erh tea, raw pu-erh tea and ripe pu-erh tea. In the heart of tea production zone in Yunnan, people naturally refer to the raw pu-erh when they mention pu-erh tea. The raw pu-erh tea has about 800 years of history. As for ripe pu-erh tea, it was a newly invented tea product in 1970s. The ripe pu-erh tea was made by microbiological fermentation with refer to the production method of compost. The raw pu-erh tea in fact is one kind of green tea. The difference in process between green tea and raw pu-erh tea is only about the drying method. The green tea is dried with hot air, while the raw pu-erh tea is dried under the sunshine. The rest of the process is about the same.

IMG_8141

The color of raw pu-erh tea looks similar to green tea

Confirming the variation of caffeine during microbiological fermentation of ripe pu-erh tea

Jia-Hua Li, Japanese Society of Agricultural Technology Management 15(2) : 73-79, 2008(Japanese)showed the changes of caffeine content during the fermentation of ripe pu-erh tea. The Y is the concentration and the X is the duration of fermentation. CAF is the caffeine content.

スクリーンショット 2017-01-19 13.41.49

The data shows that caffeine content increased following the process. It could be due to the losses of some volatile substances during fermentation. The total weight of tea might have decreased. Eventually, the relative ratio of caffeine might have increased. Most importantly, it shows that caffeine is not decreasing by the fermentation.
Yuegang Zhou, Hao Chen, Yiwei Deng, Talanta 57 (2002) 307-316 carried out a quantitative analysis of caffeine using HPLC. In this literature, they compared between teas with various quality and plucking timing. So I cannot take it as a perfect reference. Nonetheless, the level of caffeine in ripe pu-erh tea is more or less the same as other tea.

スクリーンショット 2017-01-19 13.36.55

Based on the above data, the caffeine content in ripe pu-erh tea is not really decreasing even after the microbiological fermentation. It seems caffeine is a very stable substance. We concluded that caffeine content in pu-erh tea is as much as other teas. It is known that the caffeine content decreases if tea is plucked later in season. It means the later the tea is plucked, the lower the caffeine content. It could be the reason why Fujian oolong in the above table contains very low caffeine. Fujian oolong such as Wuyi oolong or Anxi Tie Guan Yin is plucked very late. Normally these teas are harvested when tealeaf is grown and the substances are well-matured.

Different quality of tea may contain different level of caffeine

In fact, caffeine is the substance that gives bitter taste. Usually, the lower quality the pu-erh tea is, the more it gives bitter taste, while the quality pu-erh tea gives very least bitterness. The bitterness of tea is in inverse proportion to the aftertaste. The better the quality the tea is, the longer lasting the aftertaste it has.
The lower quality tea means it is produced by mass production style. In order to cater for the mass production output, tea is grown with lots of nitrogen fertilizer. The quality of tea becomes better if it grows slowly. Naturally the tea grown without fertilizer grows very slowly and it gives very long lasting aftertaste. In a way, the bitterness of tea is determined by fertilizer. The interesting fact is caffeine is the substance that contains four nitrogen in its molecule. To me it looks like the nitrogen fertilizer has anything to do with the formation of caffeine. In other word, if you look for the tea that originally contains lower caffeine, we believe naturally-farmed tea (tea without fertilizer) should be the one. Nevertheless, this is merely my hypothesis since I do not have research data with me yet.

Related Articles

How to get the latest update on HOJO Tea?

1. Follow Twitter, 2. Click "Like" on Facebook, and 3. Subscribe in newsletter. You can have the latest tea news from HOJO Tea.

Subscribe the Newsletter to enjoy the privileges
You may receive a free sample upon purchase, or you may have the priority to purchase special products. So please remember to subscribe our newsletter as well as the social network.
HOJO TEA Malaysia online Shop

HOJO TEA Online Shop NEWSlist

New Release of Anxi Traditional Oolong
Anxi, located in Fujian province, China, is celebrated for its Tie Guan Yin tea. However, the Traditional Anxi Oolong from this region boasts a unique fruity aroma, distinguishing it from Tie Guan Yin. Anxi: A Renowned Hub for Oolong Tea Production in China Fujian Province, renowned for its rich tea heritage, boasts several prominent tea-producing …
New Release of Lan Yun Tie Guan Yin from Anxi
Lan Yun Tie Guan Yin from Anxi, is not just an ordinary Tie Guan Yin. It has a strikingly delightful flavor reminiscent of orchid flowers with silky-soft drinking sensation. Anxi, renowned as one of the three major Oolong tea production regions in China. Anxi is recognized as one of the three major Oolong tea-producing regions …

NEW ARTICLES

2024 Overview: Our Yunnan White Tea Quality, Process, and Weather Insights
One of the teas we’ve been focusing on in Yunnan Province is white tea. Historically white tea has been produced in both Fujian Province and Yunnan Province for a long time. While white tea from Fujian Province is well-managed during processing, we are dissatisfied with the quality of the raw materials due to the use …
Yunnan’s Hospitality Culture: Expressed Through Meals
In China, as a form of greeting, it’s common to say “你吃饭了吗?” which means “Have you eaten?” However, in Yunnan Province, the phrase “吃饭” is often used in various situations, more like “Eat, eat,” serving as an invitation to share a meal. Yet, with prolonged exposure to Yunnan, one comes to understand that these meal …
In Search of Wild Tea: Exploring Mountain Villages in Southwest Lincang, Yunnan
We are currently sourcing tea in the southwestern part of Lincang City, Yunnan Province. One of the crucial products for us is wild tea. While tea processing is important, securing the raw materials poses the biggest challenge. Recently, we received information about a new location where wild tea supposedly grows. To verify this, we visited …
New Release of Anxi Traditional Oolong
Anxi, located in Fujian province, China, is celebrated for its Tie Guan Yin tea. However, the Traditional Anxi Oolong from this region boasts a unique fruity aroma, distinguishing it from Tie Guan Yin. Anxi: A Renowned Hub for Oolong Tea Production in China Fujian Province, renowned for its rich tea heritage, boasts several prominent tea-producing …
Yunnan 2024 Spring Tea Sourcing
Yunnan Province is globally renowned for the exceptional quality of its tea leaves. However, lax production management often presents challenges in achieving the desired tea quality when relying solely on pre-made teas. To address this issue, we have committed to remaining on-site throughout the spring season to closely monitor tea production. We are meticulously inspecting …
The Relationship Between Greenness of Tea Leaves and Fertilizer
For both tea and vegetables, there’s a common misconception that a deeper green colour indicates better quality and greater health benefits. However, this isn’t always the case. Natural plants often have a yellowish-green hue rather than a vibrant green. If you observe wild plants in grasslands or along roadsides during spring, you’ll notice that they …
Creating Muscatel Black Tea Using a Unique Blending Method
I would like to introduce the unique creation of black tea with a distinctive muscatel flavor profile. Acquiring Exceptional Mi Xiang Black Tea Have you ever heard of a unique black tea called “Mi Xiang Black Tea” or “Muscatel Black Tea”? This tea is crafted from leaves that have been delicately nibbled by leafhoppers, resulting …
New Release of Lan Yun Tie Guan Yin from Anxi
Lan Yun Tie Guan Yin from Anxi, is not just an ordinary Tie Guan Yin. It has a strikingly delightful flavor reminiscent of orchid flowers with silky-soft drinking sensation. Anxi, renowned as one of the three major Oolong tea production regions in China. Anxi is recognized as one of the three major Oolong tea-producing regions …
The Difference Between Fermentation in Tea and Fermented Foods
Black tea and oolong tea are often categorized as “fermented teas,” but the extent to which they undergo fermentation raises questions about whether they truly qualify as fermented foods. In this article, I endeavour to offer a thorough exploration of the distinctions between tea and traditional fermented foods, shedding light on the nuances of their …
Easy Way to Prepare Flavorful and Warm Tea at the Workplace
Have you ever experienced the transformation of tea stored in a thermos or water bottle at work, turning into a brown hue and acquiring a bitter, astringent taste? As this has piqued the interest of many, I would like to offer a more in-depth explanation for a solution. Tea stored in a thermos undergoes oxidation …

PAGETOP