How many cups of tea a day is too much?

Updated: 5 days ago

At YUYUN it's no surprise that we love a good cup of tea, but like all things to an extent too much of a good thing can become excessive, but what is too much?

Let's start with some tea facts. Brits drink 100 million cups of tea daily, 98% of people take their tea with milk, but only 30% take sugar in tea.

The average amount of tea per day on this 2019 Statista report shows 68% of participants had 3 more cups a day, other studies have said 3-4 and further have pointed to 4-5.

How many cups of tea a day do you have? A lot of the health benefits of tea depending on how long you brew it for, in simple terms, the stronger you brew, the more benefits you get, but there are some side effects.

What is healthy?

If you're unsure about how much you should be consuming talk to your doctor or dietitian.

Most have heard about the effects of caffeine, your morning booster can help increase metabolism yet it has a few strings attached, while it can increase productivity you need to watch how much you are consuming if you want to avoid increased anxiety, stress, and sleep deprivation. That being said tea contains nearly half as much caffeine as coffee, and as long as you know your limits, it can be controlled.

The daily limit for caffeine is about 400mg, but other studies have pointed to 200mg is a safe amount, a 330ml cup of black tea made with a teabag contains about 65mg of caffeine but this can go up to 125mg, by comparison, green tea 28mg - 63mg (330ml).

There are beneficial properties to tea, but however good they may be, there's always someone who eventually proves there is in fact, a limit; like a 56-year-old U.S. man, whose approximate daily 16 9oz cup (4,258 ml) iced tea-drinking habit lead him to kidney failure due to dangerously high levels of oxalate.

Calcium Oxalate is compound within kidney stones, and in excessive amounts, oxalate can build up an imbalance within your body.

Oxalate rich foods normally have high amounts of other good nutrition. They include leafy greens and other nutritional foods such as spinach, soy products, potatoes, beetroot, strawberries, and nuts. But generally, we don’t consume tea like we do other food.

Taking oxalate and caffeine into consideration, this study suggests 50-60mg of should be our daily limit. If you have a good diet then you can have up to 100mg a day. While this study might suggest we have at max 5-6 cups of tea, this study uses black tea bags, when compared to loose leaf tea, brew a lot faster, leaving you with a very strong brew after 5 minutes.

A bonus note, according to this study, if you drink tea with milk, the milk molecules can bind to the oxalates and not be absorbed, hooray for milk tea!

Tannins are compounds in tea that bind to iron in certain foods, making it unable to be absorbed. Products that contain tannins are Tea, coffee, wine and chocolate. Green tea is known as a 'negative calories’ as it has these iron-binding properties which stop certain nutrition from being absorbed in the stomach.

It’s suggested that tannins act like other polyphenols, and help prevent disease by providing antioxidant benefits.

What does that mean?

Do not fret, loose leaf tea like our Golden Tip is significantly better, this study on loose black tea in Iran showed how brewing time can affect oxalates; 4.4 mg/240 ml for the 5 min to 6.3 mg/240 ml for 60 minutes.

The average British mug is 330ml, at 5 minutes brewing, that’s 6.05mg per mug, therefore the absolute max you should be drinking is 8-9 mugs, or 5-6 mugs if you like to brew your tea for an hour, and that’s without adding milk.

What can we do?

If you love tea but are worried about the health impacts then learn to control your brew, loose leaf tea takes longer to steep and you can easily stop and restart the process. This means if you feel like a lighter tea you can put less tea, or brew it for a shorter time.

These studies focus on quick brew tea bags and powdered black tea. We can reason that our loose leaf black tea is better because it takes longer to infuse, naturally contains fewer tannins than other black tea, and because we can follow this one tip: repeat infusions.

Infuse and reinfuse! Using the same tea leaves, you can effectively brew up to several more cups depending on how long you infuse it for. We take a teapot and put a day's worth of tea inside, the first brew is the strongest and gets lighter throughout the day.

  1. In the morning you can brew it slightly stronger, it helps you wake up, warm up, rehydrates and soothes that morning dry throat.

  2. In the afternoon you may have a cup of tea for that boost of energy and a bit of comfort, but making a slightly lighter will allow you to keep going without the burnout.

  3. A warm drink before bed can help sleep, making the lightest tea with leftovers of the day, you can add in some other botanicals like safflower and marigold petals, or dried fruits like dried apricot and add in some honey, get creative with it!

As we mentioned before, green tea contains less of everything yet sustains the beneficial antioxidants, check out our Midsummer Dream (Yunnan Green tea).

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