Until I have my own caffeine testing kit, I will continue to present information about tea and caffeine without coming down with final judgments. Yesterday, I found new fuel for the fire when I stopped at Starbucks to try out a vanilla rooibos latte (too sweet if you would like to know). While I was waiting for the milk to steam, I picked up the latest copy of their nutrition facts, which now has information on caffeine. You might be surprised by what I found when comparing a few tall (small if you prefer) beverages. A tall espresso latte has 75 mg of caffeine. Not so surprising. But what you might find surprising is that the same sized chai latte has the same amount of caffeine. So don't order a chai latte thinking you are going to get less caffeine. (Just so you know, chai lattes are made with a concentrated tea syrup.) What might be even more surprising is that the green tea latte has only slightly less, with 55 mg of caffeine, while the black tea lattes (Awake and Earl Grey) have only 10 mg of caffeine. That's right folks, black tea with less caffeine than green tea.
Now Starbucks doesn't list ingredients, so there might be other factors affecting caffeine. But basic lattes consist of either tea or coffee with milk and sugar syrups. It appears that the tea is the only source of caffeine. The green tea bag might have more tea in it than the black, but not necessarily. Remember, studies are starting to show that it's not the processing of the tea but the growing conditions that affect tea level. All the same, feel free to have a cup of Awake or Earl Grey later in the day. (And does anyone else find it amusing that the tea called "Awake" has the least amount of caffeine of any of the teas that they offer?)