Is it true that tea has no caffeine/What is theine, theobromine, etc?

From “Principles of biochemistry”, Horton and al, 1993.

Caffeine is sometimes called “theine” when it’s in tea. This is probably due to an ancient misconception that the active constituent is different. Theophylline is present only in trace amounts. It is more diuretic, more toxic and less speedy.


Coffee and tea contain caffeine and theophylline, respectively, which are methylated purine derivatives that inhibit cAMP phosphodiesterase. In the presence of these inhibitors, the effects of cAMP, and thus the stimulatory effects of the hormones that lead to its production, are prolonged and intensified.

Theobromine and theophylline are two dimethylxanthines that have two rather than three methyl groups. Theobromine is considerably weaker than caffeine and theophylline, having about one tenth the stimulating effect of either.

Theobromine is found in cocoa products, tea (only in very small amounts) and kola nuts, but is not found in coffee. In cocoa, its concentration is generally about 7 times as great as caffeine. Although, caffeine is relatively scarce in cocoa, its mainly because of theobromine that cocoa is “stimulating”.

Theophylline is found in very small amounts in tea, but has a stronger effect on the heart and breathing than caffeine. For this reason it is often the drug of choice in home remedies for treating asthma bronchitis and emphysema. The theophylline found in medicine is made from extracts from coffee or tea.

Lighter roasted coffees, such as a white coffee beans, would contain negligibly higher levels of caffeine, but a good amount more of the health-based other chemicals found in green coffee beans.

19 thoughts on “Is it true that tea has no caffeine/What is theine, theobromine, etc?”

  1. Herbal tea: any caffeine or dimethylxanthenes?

    Do various “herbal teas” have caffeine-like effects on the heart? How about decaffeinated “regular” teas?

    1. PaulineI was wondering


      I was wondering about decaffeinated tea as I am starting to have the same dizzy effects after drinking it. Anyone know?

      1. From what I know, the

        From what I know, the process to extract caffeine from tea or coffee requires exposing it to a slew of other chemicals. That may be why you’re experiencing similar negative effects.

        1. decaf

          There are a couple of methods. One uses a chemical one method. The other is “swiss-water”. In either case the chemicals used are destroyed by heat.

          1. caffeine

            Methylene Chloride is the chemical used to remove caffeine from the bean. I am a roaster and have roasted both MCl and Swiss Water processed coffees, and I found the MCl raw beans have odd brown spots on them and the smell during roasting (usually toasty, sweet and pleasant) is sharp and unnaturally acidic, but the flavor of the roasted product is delicious and is free of any trace of chemicals. Swiss Water beans are a greyish color, a little more difficult to roast since the roaster’s eye is used to watching the bean color transition from green to brown (this can be crucial in the resulting flavor), but otherwise roasts the same with no unpleasant smells, and the resulting flavor is very good but a bit mellower than MCl process decaf or regular, I believe from the displacement of the original bean moisture due to the extra washing process. As a specialty coffee roaster, I use only Swiss Water.

      2. decaf tea

        Go for it!! Tetley do a good decaf tea. Not much difference in taste, but you don’t get the buzz when you drink it. Or the headaches when you need a cup. This is only if you stop caffeine altogether. And start to use decaf everything!! Lol

      3. Could be a placebo effect.

        Could be a placebo effect. You get yourself hyped over it and your body will react to it itself.

    2. Caffeine in herbal tea

      Some herbal teas are simply Ceylon tea with flavour added. Other herbal teas may have varying amounts of caffeine.

      For a truly caffeine free tea, which is quote common in South Africa and not regarded as a “herbal” tea by the locals there, try rooibos tea (fairly easy to get outside South Africa) or heuningbos tea (a little more difficult to get).

  2. Withdrawal From Tea?

    Can you get withdrawal symptoms from herbal tea? I drink a lot of camomile. I haven’t had any in the last 3 days. Yesterday, when I thought about making myself a cup and realized I was out – shortly after I got a really bad headache. Same thing happened today. It seems like I trigger the headaches myself when I think of having a cup of tea. Are my headaches being caused by something else or am I a tea addict?

    1. chamomile addiction

      while there is a possibility  that your worrying about missing your tea  could  contribute  to a  headache,  or ( more  likely)  the  contributing  factors  that  led  to  messing  up  your  tea  routine are also  directly  contributing  to  your  headaches, a  couple  things  to  consider:  chamomile is  not  physically  addictive. it  is  an  herbal  tea  and  it  is  actually  made  from a  very  gentle  medicinal  flower  that  is   even  safe  for young  children  and  pregnant  mothers.  while  chamomile  tea  it’s  naturally  free  from  caffeine,   it  does  have  stress  relieving  properties.  So  if  your  missing  it,  get  back  to  it.  

  3. Hey I’m fourteen and I have

    Hey I’m fourteen and I have been drinking alot of AriZona Green Tea lately. And yesturday and today my eyes have been really dialated and I have terrible sensitivity to light. So much so, i was wasn’t able to be outside playing kickball in PE. I wear contacts but i don’t think this was the problem for i haven’t worn them in a few days. I’m trying to figure out what is causing it. Please comment back if you have any ideas.

    1. I’m just guessing but I think

      I’m just guessing but I think the light sensativity has to do with your contacts and not the ice tea. That happened to be when I was younger so I know exactly what you mean when you say “terrible”. Mine was due to an eye infection from sleeping in my lenses. If it continues, you might want to see an Opthamologist.

    2. Caffeine stops the absorption

      Caffeine stops the absorption of Vitamin B and there is caffeine in tea. Without Vitamin B your eyes become very sensitive to light, plus other things may happen over a long period, e.g. your hair thins and goes a bit wild, you may get burning feet, etc. If you give up caffeine and eat a lot of food with Vitamin B in it like natural yoghurt, wheatgerm, liver, you will soon see the difference.

  4. caffeine withdrawl

    I have been drinking iced tea.. very strong, iced tea every day for a long time.. years. I’m also a coke drinker, but last week I decided to stop doing caffeine all together.. I was having trouble staying asleep.. falling asleep was easy, staying asleep was a big problem. I’ve gotten a grip on the headaches, they’re under control, but I’ve noticed the past couple days that all of my muscles, neck, legs, back, hips, even stomach muscles, everything has become so stiff. Also I’ve been a bit constipated.. I have always had regular bowel movements, no stress.. so I don’t know. Could the lack of caffeine and maybe sugar cause any of these things to occur? I’ve been drinking nothing but water since I stopped caffeine, just trying to flush my system clean.. so any ideas?

    1. Hi! I suffer from

      Hi! I suffer from constipation also and after telling this to my fiance he told me that he drinks one Coca-Cola a day and it keeps him regular. I have tried this when I get really constipated and I think he’s right, I think it helps me to occasionally drink a Coca-Cola. I also enjoy Kellogg’s All-Bran Fiber Drink Mix. They make Pink Lemonade and Iced Tea. I don’t know about the caffeine content in either, but they do have 10g of Fiber per serving (40% DV). As for the body pain, I have no suggestions. I used to work out at a gym – basically just run on a tread mill and do curl-ups, but I think that also helped with my constipation and maybe it would help with the muscle pains to get them nice and stretched out every day.

    2. caffeine withdrawal

      Yes, everything you mentioned could be caused by caffeine withdrawal – note the “could be”, not “is”. If you continue, the symptoms should abate along with the headaches. I went through a similar detox about four years ago, and had similar symptoms.

    3. Fighting the withdrawal

      Last month I stopped drinking all caffeine to help me with my diet and exercise program. It was more of a challenge then I was expecting it to be. After just 3 days off of morning coffee I had a very severe headache that lasted days at a time and shakes from the withdrawal. I found drinking around 10 bottles of fresh water helped a lot and Gatorade to refill my body from working out. It was a rough month but now after being off I have seen major improvements in my workout and I am gaining muscle even faster.

  5. Tea better than Coffee? Same Caffeine

    As coffee will bring you up, then put you down quickly, causing a chain reaction “More Cups” Where as Tea may have just as much caffeine, it takes longer to hit you. All tea comes from the same plant, and contains some amounts of caffeine. Theine (tay-eene) “Tea Caffeine” will metabolize differently in the body, compared to a cup coffee, and its caffeine-coaster.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *