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Tea has got three types of active ingredients:
It is the essential oils in tea that give it its pleasant aroma and taste.
Tea contains a higher concentration of stimulants than coffee by weight. However, there is a lot less caffeine in a cup of tea than a cup of coffee. This is because tea is more diluted than coffee but most importantly because the stimulants in tea are not exactly the same as in coffee and they do not work the same way.
Caffeine only makes up to 30 to 50% of the stimulants in tea. The balance is made of three other elements: theobromine, theophylline and L-theanine (see Health benefits of tea). The caffeine of tea is less strong than in coffee because of the presence of L-theanine and antioxidants (the polyphenols).
Polyphenols have antioxidant effects. The higher the quality of the leaves, the higher the content of antioxidants – most tea sold in tea bags will have less antioxidants than loose leaf tea.