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Decaffeinated Tea

Posted by Luminosity , in Tea Blog, Food & Drink, Recommended 13 February 2015 · 3,634 views

decaf green tea decaf black tea where to buy methods
Decaffeinated Tea




Finding Decaffeinated Teas


I've written this to help people find decaffeinated black or green tea in the US, preferably in bags. I omitted the least expensive common supermarket brands. If you find brands like that here, it might be that they are English and I wasn't familiar with them.


The vast majority of decaffeinated black tea offered in the US is English Breakfast, Earl Grey and "black tea," often flavored. Those appear to be the most popular varieties of black tea, probably because that's all we know. Unfortunately wonderful varieties of tea like Darjeeling and Ceylon aren't well known in the US. Besides the common decaf teas above, I have found Irish Breakfast, Ceylon, Darjeeling, Chai, Yorkshire, Russian Caravan, Christmas Spice, Kenyan, East African, Spice Teas, black tea with rose petals, Baltimore Clipper, and some loose Assam.


Stores devote very little shelf space to decaffeinated tea, although tea manufacturers do make it, as the list below shows. Reading the tea leaves (ahem), it seems that customers don't buy enough of this to make it worth the store's while.


Buying Decaffeinated Tea, Besides What Is On The Store Shelves


1) Order it from the manufacturers and some third parties below


2) Amazon


3) Health Food Store Special Orders Possible For Some Brands


4) Special Order into a gourmet store? I've never tried it, but you could


5) Vitacost http://www.vitacost.com or
Swansons https://www.swansonv...com/index3.html.


Some of these decaffeinated teas are sold by these online retailers, especially decaffeinated green teas. If you find a decaffeinated tea you like, consider asking them to carry it. Their prices are low and they are open to carrying new products.


Vitacost Product Requests http://www.vitacost....product-request
Swansons Product Requests https://www.swansonv.../ProductRequest


6) Grocery Special Orders???? Where I live grocery stores do not encourage special orders and may require a minimum order of six.


Decaffeination Methods: Find a discussion of this below


Recommended Decaffeinated Green Teas


Triple Leaf: makes a variety of decaf green teas, plain, jasmine and mixed with other herbs. They state that their decaf green teas are naturally decaffeinated with carbon dioxide. I think that Vitacost and Swanson's both sell this brand? I use their plain decaf green tea. It seems o.k. to me. http://www.triplelea...caf-green-teas/
Health Food Store Brand :) Recommended


Uncle Lee's: is a good brand. I think Vitacost and Swanson's both sell it. Uncle Lee's Organic Decaf Green Tea http://www.unclelee....nated-Green-Tea I use this product. Health Food Store Brand :) Recommended


An herbal substitute for green tea is green Rooibos. It is free of caffeine. Numi brand is excellent. :) Recommended


Decaffeinated Green Teas -- In Alphabetical Order


Allegro: Decaffeinated Green Tea Whole Foods Store Brand
Low quality tea, with a fishy taste. Not recommended. :sad:


Baltimore Coffee and Tea Company: Haven't dealt with this company but they sell a selection of decaffeinated green teas from Eastern Shore, Liquid Shade, and Stash brands. Eastern Shore Brand says it is pesticide free, uses the CO2 process, has non-bleached bags whitened with oxygen, no staples and no strings or tags. http://www.baltcoffe... green tea bags


Numi Decaffeinated Green Tea: I haven't tried this product but I use a number of their herb teas regularly. The Numi products I'm familiar with are the highest quality but expensive. Health Food Store Brand http://shop.numitea....re@Teabag@Black


Stash Brand: decaf green tea was just so-so, for me. Health Food Store Brand, also in Supermarkets


Teavana: has no decaffeinated teas


Twinnings: I don't like Twinnings Decaffeinated Green tea. Normally I like their products, but this one has a flat devitalized taste. :sad: Not Recommended


Uncle Lee's: One of Uncle Lee's green teas is not recommended, Uncle Lee's Decaf Green Tea English Breakfast Tea. I didn't think this came off well. :sad: Not Recommended


Need more decaffeinated green teas? The brands listed below often make decaffeinated green teas.


Decaffeinated Black Teas - In Alphabetical Order


I haven't tried most of them so I can't recommend which one is best.


Adagio: has a large selection of loose decaf black teas and one in bags. They don't say which one is in bags. They use the CO2 process. I'm including them because they have some harder to find varieties and use the C02 process. I've never tried this brand. http://www.adagio.com/decaf/index.html


Ahmad Tea of London: They sell decaf Earl Grey and "Evening Tea" in bags. I haven't tried this brand. Here's a link to their decaf black teas: http://www.ahmadtea....result/?q=decaf
Here's a link to one of their products on Amazon:http://www.amazon.co...caffeinated tea
I saw some other black flavored teas they say are caffeine free on their website, but I think that's a mistake.
Baltimore Coffee and Tea Company: Haven't dealt with this company but their website lists the awesome-ist selection of decaffeinated black tea in bags I've ever seen. Many of them are Eastern Shore Brand, which says it is pesticide free, CO2 decaffeinated, with oxygen whitened non-bleached bags, and no staples so they are microwavable. The only bad thing for me is that they have no strings and tags, but they say customers requested this. Some of their many flavors are: Darjeeling, Chai, Russian Caravan, Chanticlear Breakfast with Keemun, berry, vanilla, Christmas Spice, black tea with rose petals, and Baltimore Clipper. They carry other brands as well, Ahmad, Bewleys, Baltimore (their store brand), Twinnings, Stash and Liquid Shade. Bewleys has tea sourced from East Africa and Kenya. This store sells a Baltimore Black Currant Tea that may have natural flavoring. http://www.baltcoffe... tea black bags


Barry's: Decaf Black Tea in Bags I haven't tried this brand. http://www.amazon.co...caffeinated tea


Clipper of England: Decaffeinated Tea in bags, decaffeinated with the CO2 process. I haven't tried this brand. Available on Amazon through British Grocery http://www.amazon.co...caffeinated tea


Choice Organic Teas: has a selection of decaffeinated black teas. They are decaffeinated with CO2. I tried their regular Darjeeling. It was fresh and organic but had an unfinished quality. Health Food Store Brand http://shop.choiceor...ffeinatedTeas


Davidsons Tea: Organic, and decaffeinated with the CO2 process. This company sells a variety of decaffeinated teas, some flavored, and a decaf green tea. Some of them are also found on Amazon. I haven't tried this brand. http://www.davidsons...decaf_teas.aspx


English Tea Store: Their store brand is CO2 decaffeinated. They remove the caffeine with CO2 early in the process, at the green leaf stage, and then allow the tea to mature as usual, per this tea blog: http://www.secondcup...affeinated-tea/
They make decaffeinated English Breakfast, Irish Breakfast, and Earl Grey in bags: http://www.englishte...-decaf_tea.html
This store also sells other British Commonwealth brands mentioned in this article, Barry's, Bewleys, PG Tips, Taylors of Harrowgate, Twinnings, Typhoo. Here's a link to all their decaf black tea in bags: https://www.englisht...a-bags-ols.html


Harney & Sons: Decaffeinated Ceylon Tea in bags. I've tried some of their other products. I didn't like that they had what seemed to be plastic tea bags. I was not really impressed with their other products, but I haven't tried this one. Decaf Ceylon is hard to find, harder in bags, so I include this. http://www.amazon.co...caffeinated tea


Hayes Coffee: Haven't heard of this company. This might be link to some decaffeinated loose Keemun, that is supposed to be decaffeinated with the Swiss Water Method. http://www.hayescoffee.net/7019.html


Lupica: They have a few stores and apparently also sell online. Their website has twelve decaf black teas, mostly loose leaf flavored teas. There is one plain black tea, and Earl Grey. A few are in bags. I haven't tried any of their teas but I've looked at them in their stores. Their flavored teas smell somewhat like scented candles or potpourris. Clearly added flavors are used besides the pieces or fruit or flower petals. http://www.lupiciaus...&show=10&page=1
Lyons: Uses dichloromethane aka methylene chloride for decaffeination per this source:


MarketSpice: Decaffeinated Black Tea Variety Pack, Orange Cinnamon, Earl Grey and Northwest Breakfast Haven't tried this brand http://www.amazon.co...M6HM3Z0K13TT2FC


Paul Newman's Organics: has no decaffeinated teas


PG Tips: is supposed to be a popular tea in England. It is owned by Unilever. Decaffeinated with dichloromethane aka methylene chloride according to this source. http://sallys-site.b...bad-choice.html I've seen the caffeinated version at Whole Foods. According to their website, they do sell decaffeinated black tea in bags. There is a discussion of decaffeination methods below. http://www.pgtips.co...ry/293279/decaf


Republic of Tea: Fourteen Decaf teas in bags: black, green and flavored, including Mango Ceylon which says it has natural flavors. I believe there are no mango pieces in it, however. They say their teas are decaffeinated using an all natural process, but they don't say what that is. Health Food Store Brand http://www.republico...118&sb=&pgnum=1


Stash: A variety of options, including two Chai's, Chocolate Hazelnut, Pumpkin Spice, Earl Grey, English Breakfast, and Iced Tea I haven't tried any of them. Health Food Store Brand. Also in Supermarkets http://www.stashtea....ame,color_map


St. Dalfours: has no decaffeinated teas


Taylors of Harrowgate: Uses the CO2 process. Yorkshire Decaffeinated Tea in Teabags http://www.amazon.co...caffeinated tea Decaffeinated Breakfast Tea http://www.taylorsof...s-black-tea.asp


Tazo: House Brand at StarbucksI'm not impressed with this brand. I only found one decaffeinated product on their website, a decaf Chai Latte Not sure of its availability. Haven't tried this product http://www.tazo.com/tea/index.html


Tetley: Decaffeinated with ethyl acetate You can read about that here, as well as this person' review of it http://www.secondcup...h-blend-review/


Twinnings: Has a selection of decaffeinated black teas in bags: English Breakfast, Irish Breakfast, Earl Grey, Lady Grey, and Chai. Years ago, I believe they had decaffeinated Darjeeling and Black Currant Darjeeling. Let me know if you see these anywhere as well as their Ceylon.


Typhoo: Owned by Unilever Decaffeinated with dichloromethane aka methylene chloride


Teavana: has no decaffeinated teas


Upton Tea in Massachusetts: Their teas are decaffeinated with either CO2 or ethyl acetate, but they tell you which. All loose leaves but have some hard to find varieties: Darjeeling, Ceylon, Assam, Blackcurrant (with artificial flavor), Sweet Orange Ceylon (with artificial flavor), Chai Agni, Apricot with flowers (with artificial flavor), Green Earl Grey, Ceylon English Breakfast and more. I haven't tried this brand. http://www.uptontea....0&categoryID=47


Need more decaffeinated black teas? Do a Google search for British Grocery, and look in the store sites that come up there. I didn't get through all the Amazon entries, so you also can try that. This is the Amazon search for decaffeinated teas: http://www.amazon.co...=Decaff,aps,373


Herbal Substitutes for Black Tea


Recommended: Honeybush tea mixed with green Rooibos. I place two Numi brand Honeybush tea bags in a cup with one green Rooibos teabag. I add a little sun dried sea salt and some flakes of red pepper. This last is optional. It replicates some of the edge that tea has. Add hot water and brew as usual. :)


Good Earth Spice Tea: Some people remember the popular orange spice tea from the Good Earth Restaurants. They still sell it. This seems to be a caffeine free herbal version based on Rooibos and chicory http://www.goodearth...12-ff0000e5fd96


Rooibos or Red Tea: Some people like this as a substitute for black tea. Caffeine free, low in acids and tannins. Numi is the best brand.


Honeybush: Like Rooibos but I like it better. Caffeine free, low in acids and tannins. Numi is the best brand.


Herbal Chais: There's a bunch of them out there, mostly based on Rooibos. Teavana has one, but it is loose leaf.


Other Herbal Orange Spice Teas: Are out there. I think Teavana has one but it is loose leaf.


Decaffeination Methods


Some say you can decaffeinate any tea at home by steeping it in a little hot water for 30-60 seconds. Discard that water, then make tea as usual. Others say that isn't so. I've used this method and thought it was fine, but now I don't know. As far as commercial decaffeination:


According the the website of Choice Organic Teas, the CO2 method is the only one allowed for organic teas. Clipper
Teas of England adds that this method is approved by the Soil Association. Leo Kapusta of the tea blog SecondCuppa http://www.secondcup...affeinated-tea/ explains tea decaffeination options: [Spacing abnormalities are due to glitches on this website]

Commercial Tea Decaffeination Processes


In the United States, tea must have 98% of its caffeine removed to be sold as decaf. Three decaffeination methods exist today -- all involve the use of solvents to extract the caffeine from the tea leaves. These solvents are as follows:

  • Methylene Chloride: Also known as dichloromethane, trace amounts of this solvent remain in the tea leaves after decaffeination. Because large amounts of this chemical have been linked to cancer, many tea drinkers avoid tea decaffeinated this way. As of this writing, most teas are decaffeinated using methylene chloride.
  • Ethyl Acetate: This chemical occurs naturally in tea. Although this decaffeination process is considered safe, much of the tea's flavor is removed as a result.
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2): Considered to be the safest and least destructive to the tea's original flavor, this decaffeination process involves pressurizing the CO2; so that it liquifies. The carbon dioxide is then used as a solvent to remove the caffeine.

Sadly, many brand-name tea makers do not use the CO2; process. For example, Unilever, the manufacturer of the popular PG Tips and Lyons brands, uses dichloromethane (according to this source) to produce its decaffeinated teas.


Tea manufacturers typically dont place caffeine extraction information - especially if it involves ethyl acetate - on the packaging. If you are uncertain or concerned, simply contact the company via email.


This is what some tea companies emailed a concerned consumer about their decaffeination methods. From the blog of Sally Jane Turner of the UK, sallys-site.blogspot.com http://sallys-site.b...bad-choice.html


PG Tips:

The solvent extraction process for decaffeination involves the tea leaves being 'washed' in a solvent that removes almost all of the caffeine. The tea leaves are then dried and packed in the ordinary fashion.


If steam treatment is used to remove the caffeine, it is inevitable that some of the other water soluble components will be removed at the same time, notably the water soluble antioxidant flavonoids which contribute to the taste and the leaves' antioxidant activity. We intend that the black tea leaf blend in PG Decaf provides you with a tea infusion that has the taste you would expect to find in cup of standard PG tips tea. Similarly, we intend that PG Decaf continues to give you a brew that is rich in antioxidant flavonoids. While taste is obviously a matter of personal preference, we know we could not make any claim about antioxidant flavonoids if the caffeine had been removed from the leaves using a water based steam treatment . . .


. . . the typical solvent of choice for PG tips is Dichloromethane.


That consumer was concerned about this because, she wrote, "Dichloromethane is a carcinogen."


[Wikipedia says Dichloromethane is a possible carcinogen.]








we decaffeinate our teas using dichloromethane [aka methylene chloride], which is removed by heating the tea leaves to 40°C. It's checked by our labs and the level of residue left is well below 5 parts per million, the level required by legislation. We believe this method delivers the best tasting decaf blend.


Dichloromethane is still widely used in the food and drink industry because it can so effectively be removed from products due to its volatile nature. Product safety and consumer concerns are a top priority for us at Tetley and we regularly review our methods and look at alternative processes of decaffeination.








Typhoo currently uses the widely used method known as Methylene Chloride [aka Dichloromethane] for decaffeination. During this process the tea is 'washed' with Methylene Chloride, which is highly selective for caffeine, and is therefore thought to give a better flavoured decaffeinated tea than by using some other methods.


The caffeine is dissolved into the solvent. Tea is treated to remove the solvent by gentle heating - Methylene Chloride has a low boiling point of approximately 41 C and is therefore evaporated off and collected separately. Caffeine can be recovered from this solvent and purified for re-use.


All teas are made with hot water (70 C-80 C or more), ensuring that any minute traces of solvent remaining in the decaffeinated tea (normally less than 1 mg per kg of dry tea) will evaporate before the tea is drunk.


Recent research has shown that the healthy antioxidants in tea are not removed during decaffeination using Methylene Chloride.


This consumer remained concerned that according to references she found, "this chemical cannot be fully removed from the tea and so will be ingested."


Recommended Herbal Coffee Substitute


You may also be interested in Teeccino, an herbal coffee substitute. It's free of caffeine and acids. The Java flavor is delicious and tastes just like coffee. I like the brewed version better than the tea bags. Of the tea bags, the Chocolate version is best. I have seen this brand at Whole Foods, but it is much cheaper if you order it from Swansons or Vitacost. You could also special order it into a health food store if they don't already have it. http://teeccino.com I endorse this product. :)


I'm Still Looking For:


Decaffeinated: green tea with rose petals, Pu-erh, Keemun, and more sources for Darjeeling and Ceylon, and Black Currant flavored tea, all preferably in bags. Also want to know about sources of caffeinated Yellow Tea and something like Pohnee, a black tea from China. If you know of a good sources of rose petals/buds, that would help too.


P.S. Someone on Longecity said they get their tea from Teasource. Someone else said they drink Sea Buckthorn as a substitute for black tea. They said they thought Himalayan brand was the good one.


Care To Add To The Discussion?


Feel free to post here or contact me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Luminosity3

find more of my writing on food and drink here: http://www.longecity...at-9-food-drin

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