Tealeaves come with natural caffeine as their basic component. According to scientists, this chemical has a lot of effects on the body, some of which are positive. Taking too much of caffeinated tea with an empty stomach is a potential risk to restlessness, anxiety, jittery, high blood pressure and increased heart rate.
While it is very true that the effects of caffeine in the body may go unrecognized, it poses both short and long-term risks. How your body will react to caffeine may be very different from how another person’s body reacts. For the allergic, even a drop of caffeinated tea can cause mild effects. On the other hand, the normal body will start reacting only when a certain range of amount is exceeded.
But, can you decaffeinate tea? Precisely and pragmatically, you can. There are different ways in which tea is decaffeinated. Some are complex and only applied in the processing industries. Some can be achieved through basic DIY process domestically. However, before delving deep into the topic, let us first understand what a decaf tea is all about.
What is a decaffeinated tea?
Decaffeinated tea—also decaf tea—refers to a tea with little or no caffeine. It can be a black, oolong, green or white tea that has undergone a basic process of decaffeination. The tea is an ideal cup for afternoon cuppa lovers. It is also a dietary recommended beverage for those who are sensitive to caffeine.
Almost all types of tea can be decaffeinated. However, decaffeinated black and green teas are the most popular.
In the scope of this definition, it is prudent to keep in the mind that a decaf tea gets its characteristics from an artificial process. It is very different from caffeine-free tea. A caffeine-free tea is biological constituted in a manner that it naturally grows without any trace of caffeine. It is a product of biotechnological advances geared towards creating caffeine-free seeds to cut down costs incurred during artificial decaffeination.
How to make a decaf tea at home?
The only viable and scientifically approved way to decaffeinating tea at home is through using carbon (IV) Oxide. This process removes chemical caffeine from a cup of tea without adding any chemical element into it.
A chemist called Kurt Zosel of Max Planck Institute in the year 1967 discovered the process of using CO2 to decaffeinate tea. According to Zosel, Carbon (IV) Oxide under incredibly high temperature can separate different substances from various mixtures without altering the chemical properties of the individual elements. Caffeine being alkaline easily dissolve in CO2 hence leaving behind a pure by-product.
Now that you have known about this process, you may be wondering how you can achieve such high pressure at home. Do not worry. Here is what you need to know about domestic carbonation of tea.
The whole process of decaffeination follows a distinct procedure. Having collected your tea, you will then enclose them in a container with highly pressurized gas featuring 3700 to 5000 pounds per square inch.
Rest the tea inside that container for about 10 Minutes. During this process, the tea will get soaked into the superficial carbon (IV) oxide. Finally, caffeine will be dissolved inside into carbon (IV) oxide and the mixture evaporates leaving tea behind.
Advantages of carbonation
Use of carbon (IV) oxide comes with sundry of benefits. One, it is a natural process that entails dissolving and eliminating caffeine through the process of vaporization. There is no chemical reaction attached to it. Secondly, unlike the use of ethyl acetate, carbon (IV) oxide does not cling onto the tea. Therefore, it does not affect the flavour of the tea. Thirdly, no antioxidant and any other basic elements of your tea are eliminated or affected.
If you have been in popular tea forums and followed most post on decaffeination, then you have probably met people talking about soaking. What do you think? Are there any scientific findings to back the allegations?
For decades, the Chinese and Japanese have been rinsing their teas before brewing. In this circumstance, they dip the tea leaves in the pot and steep for thirty seconds. The tea leaves are then removed and water discarded. The process is repeated three to four times while discarding the resultant tea.
In Gongfu tea ceremonies, the resultant brew of these three steepings is used to wash tea accessories such as trays and cups. However, several tea masters said, the process also remove 30-40 percent of caffeine contents from the leaves.
Several adept tea brewers say this process works. On the other hand, some people say it gives the tea a bald taste. It is a matter of taste and preferences. Before giving a remark on whether this process works or not, here is the process to follow whenever you want to soak your tea.
1. Insert tea leaves in a pot
Choose your frequently used vessel and insert an appropriate amount of tea leaves into it. Pour water into the vessel until the tea leaves are fully submerged. The amount of water should not be too much. But, appropriate enough to cover the tea leaves fully.
2. Steep for thirty seconds
Place the vessel over a stovetop or any other ideal heating apparatus. Heat for thirty seconds while carefully watching as the tea steep. Alternatively, you can boil water in a separate pot and pour the hot water on the second pot containing tea leaves.
Lastly, different types of tea contain varying amounts of caffeine. For example, the amount of caffeine in black tea is slightly higher than that in both green and white tea. For white tea, you can steep at a temperature range of between 79 to 85 degrees Celsius (175 to 185 Degree Fahrenheit).
For Green tea, keep the temperature range between 82 to 85 degrees celsius.Lastly, for black tea, make sure to steep your tea at exactly 97 degrees Celsius. High-quality Darjeeling and oolong teas should be steeped at 85 and a range 85 to 97 degrees Celsius respectively.
Related Article: Learn the Difference Between Steeping and Brewing Tea
3. Discard the steeped tea
Using another tea vessel, discard the tea from the pot to a second vessel. However, when using accessories such as Gongfu tea tray, simply pour the steeped tea over other vessels and leave it to seep into the drainpipe. Use a sieve to prevent your tea leaves from draining with the steeped tea.
4. Re-steep the tea leaves
Once you have filtered the tea leaves and drained all brews, refill your vessel with an appropriate amount of water. It is prudent to work with two pots. The second pot is for heating your water so that during the second steeping, you will not need to start over from zero temperature. This will not only save you time but also prevents fluctuations in the resultant taste of your tea.
5. Brew the tea
Once you have steeped enough, discard the second brew. Pour water into the pot and brew as per the normal guidelines. You can go ahead and enjoy your drink.
Limitations of soaking
There have been concerns about whether this process is viable in the removal of caffeine from tea. first, there is no valid scientific fact to back its viability. Most of the scientists who has carried this test say, the brew test for caffeine. However, they say, the process eliminates only a negligible amount of this chemical. To get full decaffeination, you must boil the tea for some good time, say 10 minutes and not 30 seconds.
Secondly, when you boil tea leaves in water, a substantial amount of its core elements is altered. Usually, all Camellia sinensis species of plants have flavonoids that give them their ideal taste. When you heat the leaves, the structure of these flavonoids is affected hence altering the general characteristic of the resultant brew. This is the reason why tea leaves in sun feature bald tastes.
So what next?
Your chances of having a decaffeinated tea through basic DIY processes without compromising the quality of your tea is very negligible. Even with carbonation, some amounts of caffeine remain in the tea. Meaning, those who are allergic to the chemical are not safe.
To stay safe, you can try either of these two options:
1. Caffeine-free tea
Caffeine-free teas come mostly in the name of herbal teas. These variants provide every single nutrient that is there in normal teas except caffeine. Besides, these teas are very flexible. You can add some tea leaves to them whenever you want to have a low caffeine content tea that cannot harm your health. Examples of caffeine-free teas include; Rooibos, tisanes, Thai Ginger tea, jasmine tea, Hibiscus tea, peppermint tea and many more.
2. Low caffeine content teas
Caffeine is only deleterious to health when consumed beyond what is required by the body. Otherwise, it is the energy powerhouse for both tea and coffee. If you are not allergic or sensitive to caffeine, there is an option of brewing low-caffeine content tea. For example, other than consuming black tea, you can opt for the white leaves. Leaves of Fujian and twig tea such as Kukicha and Hojicha are popular for their low caffeine contents.
There are several reasons why you need to start out with decaffeinated tea. Being insensitive to the chemical does not mean you are safe. Don’t use your incapability to decaffeinate your tea at home as a scapegoat. Try the recommended options in this article and change your overall health.