Is tea gluten-free?

Katarina Mollo MEd, RDN, LDN
Q: Is tea gluten-free?

Answer


Most teas come from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant and are naturally gluten-free provided they do not contain any added flavorings or other ingredients. Always read the label on anything you are going to ingest, including beverages such as tea. Look for a gluten-free label (many tea companies label the gluten-free status of their teas) and always contact the manufacturer if you are uncertain.

Teas That Contain Gluten

Some teas contain barley seed and those are not gluten-free. Barley seed can be mixed in with regular tea leaves or in herbal teas, as well as used on its own as a tea. Boricha is a type of Korean tea that is made from barley seed. Also, malted tea contains barley and is not gluten-free.

Note that barley, malt, and rye are not declared as allergens on the label - only wheat, so always read the ingredient listing carefully. Barley/malt can also hide in flavorings, contact the manufacturer if the source of the flavoring is not disclosed on the label. If wheat is included in the flavoring it has to be declared on the label per the Food Allergen Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA).

Teas That May Contain Gluten

As noted above, be careful with any teas that are flavored, as gluten ingredients can hide in the flavoring. Herbal teas may also contain gluten ingredients or grains. Matcha tea which is a type of powdered green tea sometimes has wheat added to it. Also, watch out for sprouted seed tea which can be made from sprouts from gluten-containing grains. Always read the label carefully.

Check out the table below for types of teas:

 

Naturally Gluten-Free

May Contain Gluten

Contains Gluten

Pure black tea

Flavored tea

Barley seed tea

Pure green tea

Chai tea

Boricha tea (Korean tea)

Pure white tea

Herbal tea

Malted tea

Pure oolong tea

Matcha tea

Pure puerh tea

Sprouted seed tea

Pure rooibos tea

Check out this post for how to do product research and how to contact the manufacturer:

https://nationalceliac.org/celiac-disease-questions/list-of-gf-foods/

Reference:

Types of Tea. Tea Class Website. https://www.teaclass.com/lesson_0102.html

 

Note: This information is provided by NCA and Katarina Mollo MEd, RDN, LDN, NCA's Director of Education. This information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for personalized medical advice or replace any medical advice provided directly to you by your health care provider. No liability is assumed by the NCA or Katarina Mollo, MEd, RDN, LDN by providing this information.

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