Caffeine – a good guy after all?


Mim Beim on caffeine and the benefits that drinking a small amount of caffeine daily could bring. She compares teas, and instant coffee against espresso.

For many years, caffeine has had the reputation of being harmful to your health. However, recent studies show that a certain amount of caffeine is actually beneficial.

Caffeine is a naturally occurring substance found in coffee, tea, cocoa, mateand guarana. Recent studies have shown that small to moderate amounts of caffeine will increase alertness, mood, concentration, motivation, stamina and reduce fatigue. Bring me a cuppa NOW. The beneficial range is from 40 to 400mg caffeine daily. Larger amounts of caffeine can be problematic with symptoms including anxiety, restlessness, insomnia and irritability. Some people are very sensitive, and as little as one cup of tea or coffee can cause them to feel a bit jumpy.

The amount of caffeine in beverages varies significantly. For instance, a cup of instant coffee contains around 75mg of caffeine, whereas a strong espresso contains a whopping 200mg of caffeine per serve. Tea contains around 50mg of caffeine per cup. Green tea contains slightly less than this. This is surprising because green tea and black tea are made from the leaves of the same bush, Camelia sinsensis.

The explanation lies in a bit of caffeine chemistry. Caffeine is water soluble. The hotter the water, the more caffeine is released. Black tea is generally made with water temperature over 200ºC, whereas it is recommended to make green tea with water temperature no hotter than 170ºC. Another fact about caffeine is that it is one of the first compounds released from the tea leaf. If you want to reduce even further the amount of caffeine, pour a small amount of hot water over the leaves, strain, return leaves to the pot, then fill with hot water.

Caffeine, like all things in life, is best in moderation. But I have to say I love my Assam Dimakusi. Do you have a caffeine beverage you can’t live without? Or maybe you’ve come off caffeine and are loving the new you? Share it in the comments…