Let’s clear something up: caffeine isn’t bad, it’s just not for everyone - and that's okay! In moderation, caffeine makes some people feel alert, energized, and even provides certain health benefits. But having caffeine sensitivities or drinking too much caffeine can also increase your heart rate, jitters, anxiety, and cause disrupted sleep.
Whether you’re simply looking to cut back on caffeine or go completely caffeine-free, we demystify the world of caffeine-free and low caffeine tea so you can still enjoy a heartwarming cuppa.
Sips by is a personalized tea discovery subscription. Each month, we match tea drinkers across the U.S. with delicious teas from over 150 global tea brands that we’re sure they’ll love. Members receive 4 teas chosen just for them in every box. Learn more about our tea subscription service.
SHOP BEST CAFFEINE-FREE TEA
Discover the best caffeine free teas as rated by Sips by's 700,000 tea-loving Members. From loose leaf herbal tea to bagged herbal tea, these are the best herbal teas from different tea brands around the world. Find your favorite herbal tea, from fruity herbal tea to spicy herbal tea, from chamomile tea to sleep tea to teas for anxiety relief. These teas are naturally caffeine-free with many health benefits. No matter the type or flavor of herbal caffeine-free tea you're searching for, Sips by has options you'll love. Discover your new favorite caffeine-free tea.
NO VS. LOW CAFFEINE TEA: WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?
Learn about the teas with the most caffeine to the least amount of caffeine and find your perfect caffeine-free tea on our list of the best blends. Start discovering the world of caffeine-free vs. low caffeine tea!
There are two surprising characteristics that set caffeine-free teas apart: they aren’t actually a “tea” and they never contained caffeine originally. Most true caffeine-free teas are actually herbal infusions or herbal tisanes made from mixtures of herbs, flowers, roots, spices, or other plant material.
Common types of herbal caffeine-free teas are rooibos, chamomile, cacao tea, hibiscus, lavender, rose, peppermint, ginger, and tulsi (holy basil). These herbal teas are packed with unique health benefits, including natural energizing effects, and taste delicious when blended and steeped in a warming tisane.
Try out these popular herbal caffeine-free teas for your next cozy cuppa!
LOW CAFFEINE TEA
True tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis, which is a naturally caffeinated plant. The six types of true teas are black tea, green tea, oolong tea, white tea, purple tea, and yellow tea.
It is difficult to quantify exactly how much caffeine is in different types of tea. The exact levels vary considerably based on harvesting season, region, varietal, processing, and brewing method. A few common myths are that darker color teas always have more caffeine than light teas, or that green tea will always have less caffeine than black tea. While sometimes these might be true, factors like the region where the tea is grown or the water temperature and steeping time is a more valuable indicator of caffeine levels.
However, when generally ranking the main types of tea from the most to least amount of caffeine, we can say the typical order is: black tea, oolong tea, green tea, and white tea.
When black tea has the most, it still only has about half of the caffeine in a cup of coffee, and green tea generally has half the caffeine of black tea. Plus, green tea is known as a ‘gentle stimulant' that provides clean energy, meaning its caffeine is balanced by l-theanine, an amino acid that reduces stress, relaxes, and sharpens mental focus. Always complex, oolong tea has caffeine levels in between green and black tea, while white tea typically has the least caffeine due to its short steeping time. Hot Tea Tip: using a tea filter and timer will keep you from over steeping your tea.
Try out these low caffeine true teas for your next cozy cuppa!
WHAT ABOUT DECAF TEA?
Is decaf tea completely caffeine-free? The short answer is no, not really. Decaf teas, such as decaf black tea or decaf green tea, usually undergo a chemical process that removes most of the caffeine from the leaves.
The four main decaffeination processes are CO2, Ethyl Acetate, Methylene Chloride, and Water Decaffeination. These methods remove most of the natural caffeination from the tea leaves, but also strip the healthy polyphenols and antioxidants at the same time and even alter the natural flavor of the tea.
If you decide to drink decaf tea, blends decaffeinated with the water processing or CO2 methods are the best because they're the most “natural” ways to decaffeinate tea. They leave the best tasting cup in comparison to other methods like Methylene Chloride and Ethyl Acetate which are cheaper and often leave behind a chemical or bitter taste.
Finally, it’s important to note that it is impossible to make even decaf tea (and decaf coffee) completely “caffeine-free” as 1-3% of caffeine will always be leftover.
BEST CAFFEINE-FREE TEA
Don’t feel limited by the label “caffeine-free” - one of the best qualities of tea is the sheer variety! With thousands of blends available you can always find a tea tailored to your health needs, caffeine preference, and of course, taste.
Here’s our list of the best naturally caffeine-free teas for every need, from the sweetest herbal teas or the best caffeine free teas for energy, to the most refreshing caffeine-free iced teas and substitutes for coffee lovers.
CAFFEINE-FREE TEA FOR ENERGY
It’s a common misconception that caffeine is the only way to get a boost of energy from a beverage. In the long run, cutting back on caffeine will actually give you more natural and sustained energy!
CAFFEINE-FREE TEA FOR DESSERT
Craving something sweet? Here are the best nighttime blends that’ll satisfy your sweet tooth without keeping you up all night.
CAFFEINE-FREE TEA FOR ICED TEA
While a hearty black tea was typically the go-to for iced tea, sipping a light, delicate, and complex herbal tea with floral, citrus, or fruity notes will take your iced tea or cold brew game to the next level!
CAFFEINE-FREE TEA FOR COFFEE LOVERS
Coffee lovers, rejoice! We know cutting back on caffeine is hard, so we rounded up the best herbal teas that taste bold and malty like strong black tea or coffee. With ingredients like cacao or chicory, these herbal blends imitate the look and taste of coffee without the caffeine or jittery side effects.
CAFFEINE-FREE TEA FOR SLEEP
Caffeine-free tea helps you achieve a regulated sleep schedule and increases the quality of your sleep. Health experts recommend switching to caffeine-free beverages at least 4-6 hours before bedtime and with tea blends as delicious as these, we don’t mind!
ARE ALL HERBAL TEAS CAFFEINE-FREE?
Yerba mate is a naturally energizing herbal tea made from a South American holly with a seriously uplifting effect - it has nearly as much caffeine as coffee! Guayusa is made from an Amazon rainforest holly with a smooth, clean flavor, and yaupon is an herbal tea made from a North American holly with a sweetly roasted or bright, vegetal flavor. Fun fact: yaupon is the only type of tea native to North America!
While herbal tea is usually caffeine-free, watch out for the few exceptions if you’re trying to live a no caff life. We recommend common herbal teas like hibiscus tea, rooibos, or cacao tea as they taste delightfully refreshing and are always naturally caffeine-free.
TEA TIPS FOR A NO-CAFF LIFE
Are you trying to live completely caffeine free? We know it’s hard, but with limitless herbal tisanes and caffeine-free teas you can still indulge in your favorite treats without worrying about the effects of caffeine. Here are a few tips for how tea can help you start your caffeine-free journey!
- Start slow. Caffeine is addictive and quitting cold turkey just sets you up for failure and withdrawal headaches. Instead, start cutting back on caffeine slowly. Start by substituting your second or third cup of morning coffee with an herbal tea that tastes like coffee, or resist drinking an afternoon iced coffee or black tea by trying a fruity, herbal cold brewed tea instead!
- Don’t drink any caffeine before bed. If you’re starting to wean yourself off caffeine, it’s helpful to be motivated by the benefits. Drinking caffeine even 6 hours (or more) before your bedtime often leads to difficulty falling asleep and disrupted rest when you do - so cut back! Be conscious of when you are drinking caffeinated beverages and try limiting them to the morning or early afternoon. If you enjoy winding down with a warm cuppa before bed, make sure it’s a nice chamomile for a good night's sleep.
- Distract yourself. Ultimately, living caffeine-free will allow you to be more productive, have more energy, and get better sleep. But it’s a process that takes time to start reaping the benefits, so it’s completely normal to want to give in to old habits. Instead of seeking a short-term fix to your afternoon crash or morning fogginess, try doing something else that will boost your energy and mental focus like a short workout or reading a book.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
SHOP BEST HERBAL TEAS
Discover the best herbal caffeine-free teas as rated by Sips by's 700,000 tea-loving Members. From loose-leaf herbal tea to bagged herbal tea, these are the best herbal teas from different tea brands around the world. Find your favorite herbal tea, from fruity herbal tea to spicy herbal tea, from chamomile tea to sleep tea to teas for anxiety relief. Herbal tea is naturally caffeine-free and has many health benefits. No matter the type or flavor of herbal tea you're searching for, Sips by has options you'll love. Discover your new favorite herbal tea.
About Sips by: We’re a female-founded and led startup that makes discovering tea fun, personalized, and affordable. The Sips by Box is the only multi-brand, personalized tea subscription box. Each month, we match tea drinkers across the U.S. with delicious teas from over 150 global tea brands that we’re sure they’ll love. Based out of Austin, Texas, we are adept at savoring a hot mug even when it’s seasonally inappropriate.