I just read yet another article, typical of many others I have read, about ways to avoid the “stimulating” effects of caffeine in tea. I would like to propose that this may be a non-issue.

I have always loved the taste of coffee, but never drink it. Why? Because I am very sensitive to caffeine. Drinking coffee makes me want to crawl out of my skin and climb the walls. Why is it, then, that I can drink six to eight cups of whole leaf tea a day (including black) and not feel the same way I would if I were to drink coffee?

Like all plants, Camellia sinensis is made up of hundreds of chemical compounds. The most well known of these, EGCG and caffeine, are researched the most and get the majority of the media attention. Does this mean that the only effects we experience are from these two compounds? Not at all. If tea were so stimulating, why do you suppose the earliest primary users and growers were monks and monasteries? The most obvious reason is that there is much less caffeine in tea than in coffee. The less obvious reason is that there are numerous other compounds in the plant, like L-Theanine, that mitigate the effects of the caffeine in the body to produce a much softer, gentler, kind of stimulation along with a relaxation effect––the kind that allows spiritual practitioners to remain alert, but calm and peaceful while meditating.

Yes, you can easily eliminate 80% of the caffeine in your tea by doing an initial washing of the leaves, but is it necessary? Try it out and decide for yourself. If you find what I have found, and what the research supports, you might want to introduce tea to your kids. It could be the most significant life health lesson you provide them.