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Blog 33: Getting Tea Drunk?

Updated: Oct 19, 2018

Drinking too much alcohol can get you drunk, and drinking too much tea can also get you drunk. Tea drunk(Chinese: 茶醉, pronounced “Cha Zui”), or the nausea feeling when drinking tea, can be common among some inexperienced tea drinkers. There are many discussions online about the causes and the solutions to tea drunk. While those discussions are not wrong, they’re not quite completely correct, either. In today’s blog, we’ll attempt to give you a complete guideline on tea drunk.

What is tea drunk?

Tea as a natural beverage contains a certain level of theophylline, a central nervous system stimulant also found in coffee. Consuming too much tea or strong tea (meaning tea is steeped for too long) can potentially lead to tea drunk. When this happens, a person’s blood circulation and respiratory rate would accelerate cause a series of side effects such as insomnia, shivering, nausea and so on.

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Why do we get tea drunk?

There are many reasons why tea drunk happens. Here is a list of what we think are the most common:

  1. Drinking tea with an empty stomach. This situation often happens with tea drinkers who prefer tea in the morning or afternoon without eating breakfast or lunch.

  2. People who are not daily tea drinker suddenly drink a lot tea. Just like wine/beer/liquor drinkers, if you don’t usually consume alcohol, you’re more likely to get drunk easily.

  3. People who usually consume more fermented tea, such as black tea, oolong tea and aged tea, suddenly switch to non-fermented tea or lightly fermented tea such as green tea and white tea. These “colder” teas(see our previous blog for cold/warm definition) have higher content of theophylline. If tea drinkers are not used to a higher theophylline, they can get tea drunk.

  4. Drink multiple teas at a time. This can happen easily in a tea tasting event because a tasting often includes at least 4-6 different types of teas. This is also why we often ask our customers to have a full meal before attending our tea events.

  5. New tea can get you tea drunk easily. “New tea” refers to newly harvested tea from the spring season, not a newly purchased or packaged tea. New tea has the highest nutrition contents thus the highest level of theophylline. Because of this fact, many new teas need to be stored for a while (we also call it “the waiting time”) before going on sale. The waiting time varies with teas. For example, modern Wu-Yi oolong (Yancha) generally requires about at least a couple months before it’s on the market.

What should we do if we got tea drunk?

There are ways to help relieve tea drunk symptoms. Eating some sweets and snacks is proven to be more effective. This is also why a formal Japanese matcha tea tasting would usually provide guests a full meal before the tasting and some sweets during the tasting.

How can we prevent getting tea drunk?

The best way to recover from tea drunk is to prevent getting tea drunk in the first place. If you’ve made it this far into today’s blog, you’d probably have some very good ideas already. The most effective way to prevent getting tea drunk is to not drink tea with an empty stomach. Also, a good tea doesn’t need to be steeped. Don’t steep your tea for too long and make it too strong (for authentic premium Chinese teas, you shouldn’t steep it for more than 15 seconds). If you prefer stronger teas, you should choose a strong tea instead of over-steeping a light tea to make it stronger. For example, Qi-Lan and Rou-Gui are both Wu-Yi oolong. If you find Qi-Lan is too light for your taste, instead of over brewing it, you should upgrade to Rou-Gui which is stronger by nature.

Finally, although tea is one of the most popular beverages in the world, it doesn’t mean tea is for everybody. People who have severe neurasthenia, insomnia, tuberculosis, heart and stomach diseases need to be very cautious about the amount of tea they consume. After all, as healthy as a tea is, any excessive amount of it can always cause troubles.

We hope you enjoyed today’s blog. As always, if you have any questions or suggestions, please leave a comment, tweet us @valleybrooktea or email us at Please also follow us on Instagram @valleybrooktea and join our mail list to get our daily tea updates and our latest promotions! Finally, we have a independence day sale!! Use code: INDEPENDENCEDAY and get a 20% off on all products!


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