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Hearing the term tea high might give you the impression of smoking Camellia Sinensis. After doing a lot of research, we can tell you it’s nothing to do with smoking and everything to do with drinking, lots of it (thank god!)
Tea high or tea drunk is a subtle alteration in one's physical and mental states often linked to the number of tea cups consumed. The change in sense of being isn’t the same as the way alcohol or other intoxicants can do.
It is a completely different feeling and much safer compared to getting high or drunk.
So before we begin exploring the sensation and experience of getting tea high, let’s answer the most important question.
Cha zui in Chinese culture means a person who enters an altered state of being after drinking tea. Like intoxication, this shift can change how you feel physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Tea, a product made from the Camellia Sinensis plant, contains unique compounds that have been found to give people the environmental boost of a drug high, but with the added thrill of social interaction.
Tea has been drunk for centuries by people across the world. During that time, many tea drinkers have reported feeling “Tea drunk” which is described as a great state of mind in which you are full of energy and focus, but are still
Unlike drinking alcohol or coffee, you will not be forced into a jittery state that rattles your nervous system when you’re tea drunk. You also won’t feel negative side effects like anxiety or paranoia when you're in a state of tea high you may feel after consuming THC from cannabis or cannabis tea (commonly known as marijuana tea).
Although it is possible to overdo it and not feel great, being tea drunk is nothing like a caffeine crash or alcohol hangover. And that’s all thanks to the compounds causing this unique reaction.
The main compounds in Camellia Sinensis leave - caffeine, l-theanine, and catechins are the main contributors to the sensation termed tea drunk.
Caffeine is a stimulant that helps overcome fatigue and drowsiness while increasing alertness. Caffeine is a common addition to popular carbonated drinks and is naturally available in coffee and tea.
Though feeling alert and having higher energy are its benefits, it is possible to experience an adverse effect when consumed from beverages like coffee and soda pops. Caffeine consumption is known to cause jitteriness and fidgeting, and wakefulness when consumed on the later side of the evening.
The caffeine compound in tea however reacts differently in the body because it binds itself to catechins – a crystalline compound full of antioxidants.
When the caffeine in tea leaves binds to catechins, it takes longer for our body to metabolize the two ingredients as one. It takes longer for the caffeine to break down inside and essentially gives the body a smoother transition to wakefulness.
Coffee and caffeinated drinks only have caffeine and lack catechins. Drinking tea gives a more level and softer taps of caffeine. You end up with smaller microdoses of caffeine spaced throughout a four- to six-hour period.
This is why feeling tea drunk doesn’t cause racing jitters. You get sustained energy, relaxed yet focused alertness, and a euphoric feeling.
L-theanine is a powerful, naturally occurring amino acid in teas.
The amino acid has the opposite properties of caffeine and essentially helps calm the nerves. L-theanine—found naturally in tea—helps combat the stimulant effects of caffeine and help provide a steady, mellow energy boost.
Thus, the combination of caffeine, catechins, and the amino acid l-theanine is attributed to provide the cocktail that leads to tea’s getting you high reputation.
If you’re looking to get tea drunk, the goal isn’t to consume a lot of tea in a short amount of time. Sure, this process might alter your state of being but it wouldn’t be completely enjoyable.
To enjoy the feeling of being tea drunk or tea high, follow these step-by-step instructions:
We don’t recommend you try this on empty stomach. Load up on light snacks and assess how you’re feeling physically.
The best teas have enough l-theanine, catechins, and caffeine for you to feel tea drunk. You can add loose-leaf tea to an infuser, use tea bags, or try easy and mess-free tea crystals. We’ll share more about the best types of tea to get tea drunk next.
Whichever you choose, always look for high-quality tea. Your tea should be free of harsh chemicals and pesticides. And the higher the quality, the higher the amount of l-theanine may be.
But remember, this is not the time for herbal kinds of teas like chamomile, peppermint, or red tea. These do not contain caffeine and lack the same compound makeup that Camellia Sinensis tea leaves are prized for.
Different types of tea call for different tea recipes. While you may need boiling water for black tea, steeping green tea calls for hot water below this temperature. You must also steep your tea for the correct amount of time.
Steeping your tea longer won’t give you a better buzz. In fact, it could turn your tea bitter and make the taste unpleasant.
It’s best to sip your cup of tea slowly and savor each sip. Pay close attention to how you feel, and see if you can pinpoint each sensation, so you can fully experience what it means to be tea drunk or tea high.
Don’t obsess over what you’re feeling; just try to enjoy the experience as it unfolds and relax into it.
You can get tea drunk with white tea and pu-erh tea (a type of fermented tea).
But if you’re looking for a strong tea drunk feeling, choose rich black teas with higher caffeine levels, such as Chai tea, Earl Grey tea, and oolong tea (a type of Chinese tea that’s a cross between black and green tea).
Green tea boasts fantastic l-theanine levels, which may be why some tea drinkers feel a special type of high when they consume matcha green tea in particular.
Matcha is a type of Japanese tea that’s made from grinding up green tea leaves into a beautifully bright powder. Heritage farmers grow matcha in shaded areas, which produces a 35% increase in l-theanine.
Just like the terroir of certain wines affects their flavor compounds, the environment where matcha grows contributes 137 times more catechins than traditional green tea. This extra l-theanine and catechin content may be why you feel more euphoric when drinking it (4).
If you’re not a fan of matcha, choosing other shade-grown teas may increase your chances of getting tea drunk. Gyokuro, another Japanese green tea, is also popular for getting tea drunk because it’s strong in flavor and catechins.
Just because you can get tea drunk on white tea, green tea, black tea, and pu-erh tea doesn’t mean you necessarily have to each time you drink tea, or that you will.
In fact, many tea-drinkers have gone their whole lives without thinking of their relaxed tea-induced state as a “high” or being “drunk.”
If you consume a full meal before you sip your cup of tea, you shouldn’t experience a jarring tea-drunk feeling, if you experience one at all. Ensuring that you sip slowly and don’t consume too many cups at once can also help prevent you from getting tea drunk.
And if you don’t want to feel tea high, you may want to steer clear of tea tasting at a tea house. Similar to wine tasting, you may drink multiple cups of tea in a short period, which may lead to tea drunkenness.
If you find yourself in this position, there are ways to remedy it.
First, don’t panic if you feel a bit tea drunk. Doing so may cause your heart rate to increase, which will only make things worse. Instead, try to go somewhere quiet where you can relax and take it easy as your symptoms subside.
The answer depends on many factors, similar to drinking alcohol. How much you consume, your body weight and metabolism, the type of tea you drank, and what you ate earlier can all play a role in how long the effects linger.
Typically, tea drunk effects last between four to six hours. But that’s only if you consume a high-quality cup, didn’t over-pour, or over-steep your brew.
That also depends. If you’re over-caffeinated, consumed too much tea, or drank it too fast, you could feel dizzy. It’s best to lie down and relax until you start feeling like yourself again.
Eating some food and drinking water can also help your body process the tea faster and speed up tea drunk recovery.
You should try to view getting tea drunk or tea high differently than you think of getting drunk on alcohol or eating edibles or tea made with marijuana. Instead of altering your state of mind so much that you can’t function, being tea drunk is more of a relaxed yet alert feeling.
You can still go about your day, and you shouldn’t experience any negative side effects, as long as you don’t overdo it. In fact, you may find it easier to be productive and get tasks done!
How tea affects you depends on so many factors, which means you can either lean into the feeling or prevent it from happening altogether.
Remember, just because it’s possible to get tea drunk doesn’t mean you have to or will every time you drink tea.