In this brief article, we will answer the question “does milk tea have caffeine?”. We will also tell you about the benefits of milk tea and who should avoid taking it.
Does Milk Tea Have Caffeine?
Yes, milk tea contains caffeine. However, the amount of caffeine depends on what type of tea is used to make the beverage, which in most cases is some type of black tea.
For an eight-ounce cup, chai tea contains 60 to 120 milligrams of caffeine, Assam black tea contains 80 milligrams, and Darjeeling tea contains 50 milligrams of caffeine. Green tea contains 25 to 50 milligrams of caffeine, white tea contains 15. Depending on the type of coffee, it contains 50 to 330 milligrams of caffeine per servings and chocolate contains up to 6 milligrams (1).
So, even though adding milk will dilute the tea and lower the amount of caffeine, it will still contain caffeine.
What is Milk Tea?
Milk tea, also known as bubble tea, is a term used for any tea drink that contains milk. It could be just a hint of milk or an intricate recipe with various ingredients.
Milk tea can be enjoyed as both a hot and cold beverage.
What Is Caffeine?
Caffeine is a compound found naturally in more than 60 plants such as tea leaves, coffee beans, cola nuts, cocoa beans, and guarana. It is well-known to stimulate the central nervous system and increase alertness. It is the most routinely ingested bioactive substance throughout the world. It is a natural alkaloid of the class of metyl xanthines, with stimulatory effects on the central nervous system and a positive effect on long-term memory (1).
The reaction and tolerance to caffeine and caffeine-based drinks vary among individuals. For healthy adults, consuming moderate amounts of caffeine in the form of tea or coffee as part of a balanced diet does not pose any health risks.
Even though there isn’t any internationally recognized health-based guidance value for caffeine consumption for average adults, certain vulnerable groups such as children, pregnant and lactating women, and people less tolerant to caffeine must monitor their intake. Children and adolescents are no more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than adults. The more caffeine youngsters consume, the less sleep they get, which plays a critical role in learning; this may eventually lead to other health problems (1).
Generally speaking, pregnant women should limit their caffeine intake to no more than 200-300 mg per day, and children must limit their caffeine intake to no more than 2.5-5 mg per kg body weight per day.
A daily intake of three to four 8-oz cups of brewed coffee (a total of 400 mg/day of caffeine) or five servings of caffeinated soft drinks or tea may be considered a moderate amount (110–345 mg/day) for most adults and appears to be associated with a neutral to potentially beneficial effect on health. Children (6–12 years) can consume 45–85 mg/ day and adolescents 100–175 mg/day (1).
Why Is Milk Added To Tea?
Adding milk to tea causes its flavor to become less astringent and less bitter. This happens because milk binds with the bitter chemical compounds present in tea and helps cover up some of its intense flavors.
Certain teas, such as the very bitter and strong black tea as well as the Assam teas from India, are commonly served with milk to counter their bitterness. Moreover, Assam milk tea is routinely consumed as British afternoon tea.
But remember: certain bitter compounds found in tea are extremely beneficial for health, so if you’re having tea to boost health, drinking it without milk would be a better option.
What Are The Health Benefits of Milk Tea?
Several research investigations, epidemiological studies, and meta-analyses suggest that tea and its bioactive polyphenolic constituents have numerous beneficial effects on health, including the prevention of many diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, arthritis, cardiovascular disease (CVD), stroke, genital warts, and obesity (3).
The nutritional impact of the addition of milk to tea is a controversial debate that has been ongoing for many years. The debate includes whether the milk addition will reduce the antioxidant properties of the tea. The effect of milk addition on tea polyphenolic activity depends upon the ratio of milk to tea, milk composition, tea type, temperature of brewing, and infusion method (2). By adding milk, however, the calcium intake in the diet tends to increase (3).
As mentioned, milk tea is most commonly made from black tea, and both combined offer the following health benefits:
- Improves Immune System Function: black tea contains antioxidants that promote overall health and lower the risk of chronic diseases. It also contains polyphenols and features antimicrobial properties that support the digestive system, reduce stress, improve energy levels, and even fight cancer cells.
- Provides Adequate Nutrition: milk is a powerhouse of nutrients, including calcium, protein, fat, potassium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12; only a few teaspoons of milk added in tea can also provide wholesome benefits.
Who Shouldn’t Drink Milk Tea?
The following people should refrain from taking milk tea and should preferably consume decaffeinated beverages:
- Children, especially under the age of 12 should avoid caffeinated drinks such as milk tea and maintain a balanced diet.
- Pregnant and lactating women should lower caffeine content and should monitor their daily consumption to avoid excessive intake.
- People less tolerant of caffeine should control their caffeine intake accordingly.
- Individuals on caffeine restriction; however, they can consider decaffeinated versions of milk tea.
How Do You Buy And Store Milk Tea?
Pre-prepared milk tea is available online and in specialty Asian markets.
For instance, royal milk tea is available in cans as well as packets in an ‘instant’ form prepared from powdered milk. Once prepared, it should be drunk immediately, or stored refrigerated, because the phenolic compounds of tea are lost with time (2).
Moreover, you can also buy black milk tea powder which contains the same type of ingredients used to make bubble tea in shops.
When it comes to storage, powdered or canned milk tea must be stored in a cool, dark place away from moisture. If the packaging is opened, immediately transfer the contents into an airtight container and store them in the pantry.
In this brief article, we answered the question “does milk tea have caffeine?” We also told you about the benefits of milk tea and who should avoid taking it.
If you have any more questions or comments please let us know.
- de Mejia, Elvira Gonzalez, and Marco Vinicio Ramirez-Mares. Impact of caffeine and coffee on our health. Trends Endocrin Metab, 2014, 25, 489-492.
- Rashidinejad, Ali, et al. Addition of milk to tea infusions: helpful or harmful? Evidence from in vitro and in vivo studies on antioxidant properties. Crit rev food sci nutr, 2017, 57, 3188-3196.
- Hayat, Khizar, et al. Tea and its consumption: benefits and risks. Crit rev food sci nutr, 2015, 55,: 939-954.