Orange Pekoe tea is a very popular black tea, so how much caffeine does orange pekoe tea have and how does it compare with other teas and caffeinated beverages?
What is orange pekoe tea anyway?
The term orange pekoe is part of the British tea grading system. Think of grading a little like cuts of meat, octane rating of gas, or the type of seat you get in an airplane. Unlike coffee, tea has a pretty complex grading system. The British system applies mainly to teas that originate from India, Sri Lanka (aka Ceylon), and parts of Africa, all of which were influenced by the East India Company. It's also normally applies to black tea.
When you hear the term Orange Pekoe - in simplest terms it refers to the size of the leaf and where on the plant the leaf was picked. So in this case, Orange Pekoe refers to a full leaf near the top of the tea plant, roughly 20-30mm. And yes, it has nothing to do with oranges.
How much caffeine content does orange pekoe tea have?
Assuming your talking about black tea, the caffeine in the various grades can vary based on a variety of factors. 45 milligrams per 8 oz serving is the average. But there are all sorts of other factors that contribute to caffeine content:
- Altitude of the tea
- Soil and climate conditions
- Sun exposure
- General geographic region
This doesn't mean that you'll see a massive difference in different orange pekoe teas. In reality, you are probably talking a few mg difference. For additional caffeine using a higher grade ('tippy' or 'flowery') grade of orange pekoe - basically the "tippy top" of the plant will have more caffeine, and the broken grade means the leaf is in smaller pieces, which means more surface area and more caffeine infusion.
How much caffeine content does orange pekoe tea have compared to coffee?
Because more coffee is used per cup versus tea, the net amount of caffeine in an average cup of coffee is higher than tea. So when comparing orange pekoe tea to coffee, it is around 100mg of caffeine versus the 45mg in tea. The good news is, that since the serving size is 8 ounces, you can enjoy much more tea without going over the FDA recommended max caffeine limit of 400mg per day.
Orange Pekoe Recommendations
For straight, single source Orange Pekoe tea that offers that classic crisp character with some lively astringency, we recommend our Lovers Leap tea. Perfect hot or iced.
For a potent breakfast tea - we recommend German Breakfast which uses the more potent Broken Orange Pekoe grade. A great morning pick me up.
For a traditional flavored tea, our Earl Grey collection uses Orange Pekoe as the main tea.