Low-caffeine options?

I’m writing to ask for suggestions. I’m not going to get into all the dirty details of the workings of my body, but I’m in a period of transition, and I have found myself incredibly sensitive to caffeine lately. I had a tall cup of chai last week from the tea room at work, and the jitters took over, later replaced by migraines.

This may pass, and I may be able to sip the sweet extractions of the camellia sinensis once again, but for now I am forced to pass on it. As the founder of a tea blog, this is incredibly frustrating. So I am writing this to beg you all for suggestions for my poor, deprived, tea-loving tastebuds! Vanilla rooibos and hojicha are high on my list, but I don’t want them to become tiresome over time.

I seem to be okay with occasional green jasmines and oolongs, as long as I don’t overdo it. I’m avoiding blacks and – oh, it’s so hard to admit – even pu’erhs. What’s your favorite low-to-no-caf tea or tisane? Is it available in the Seattle area or online?

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6 Comments

  1. On good days, you can “decaffinate” teas yourself by pouring an infusion, letting it steep, pouring it off, then steeping the leaves again. I can’t remember what the percentage is, but most of the caffine in tea comes out in the first steeping, so that might be handy to try. It works for blacks as well as greens and whites, as far as I know. Stash also has some very yummy flavored decaf teas – check them out, and I think you’ll be in heaven. Vanilla Nut Creme is one of my absolute favorites, and it’s only available in decaf. 🙂

    Adagio has some flavored white teas that are very good (I’m partial to the Pear and Blueberry myself). It’s a bit controversial as to how much caf. white tea actually has, but the good news is, all white teas are good for steeping multiple times, so you can simply steep them once, pour off the first infusion, and then drink the following infusions – voila, instant decaf.

    As for rooibos…go nuts! I buy Rooibos from Dragonwater, and love, love, love the Creamy Caramel, Strawberry Cream, and Macadamia flavors.

    Republic of Tea has a line of tisanes…they contain no tea, only herbs/florals, so you may want to check that out. I have a sample of a chamomille mixture that I haven’t tried yet, but they sound like they might be pretty good…

    Good luck, and I hope everything “stabilizes” again soon, so you’ll be back drinking tea in no time!

  2. Cat: White tea is a good idea – why do we overlook it so often? I try to switch up the amount of caffeine because being dependent upon it is almost as painful as having too much.

    Cinnabar: I’ve been talking with another friend about gingko biloba as well – I think I might give it a try on my “good” days and see how I feel.

    Jamie: Thank you for offering a method of drinking darker teas without the full impact of the caffeine – I can’t believe I didn’t think of it! And I am due for a trip to the Teacup, and you’ve inspired me to try all of their rooibos blends.

    Hopefully this will all pass soon, but in the meantime, I’m really glad I asked – I have a lot of things to try out!

  3. Brewing the tea for a mere thirty seconds removes something like 80-90% of the caffeine. If you use a high quality tea, you may still be able to get several infusions out of the same pot/cup/gaiwan even after being “decaffinated” in this manner. I use this method when i REALLY want a cup of tea, but fear it is too close to bed time. Good luck.

  4. Thank you – we were wondering about time and percentages, and this gives me a good idea of what to shoot for. All of the oolongs I have are high enough quality that I can get several tasty infusions. 🙂

  5. Thanks for the nice blog. I’m a great fan of Rooibos tea