What is Caffeine, and Where Does it Come From?
Caffeine is an alkaloid that activates the central nervous system, temporarily warding off drowsiness and restoring alertness.
It can be found in coffee beans, tea leaves, cocoa/chocolate, kola nuts (from which it gets its name), guarana berries, yerba mate leaves, the Yaupon Holly native to the southeastern US, South America, and East Asia, and in small amounts in the kratom leaf. It can also be found in smaller amounts in some citrus fruits.
Caffeine has a bitter taste and is a stimulant that affects many of the body’s systems: it can keep you awake and alert by increasing your heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature.
The caffeine in chocolate comes from the cocoa beans, so the darker the chocolate, the more caffeine it has.
Dietary sources of caffeine stimulate the central nervous system cardiovascular system and maintain acid-base balance. However, cocoa powder contains only about half as much caffeine as coffee due to its lower roasting time.
Caffeine Content Of Cocoa Powder VS Coffee
A cup of brewed coffee has about 95-200 mg of caffeine, depending on the blend. Instant coffee has slightly less caffeine, while drip coffee has the most.
According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, one serving (which weighs 5 grams) or one tablespoon of dry cocoa powder has 10.38 mg of caffeine, which is about 35% of the daily recommended value.
One serving equals one tablespoon dry or 4 grams wet cocoa solids (or 1 square of a chocolate bar).
By contrast, one 8 ounce cup of coffee ranges from 100-150mg, and an espresso ranges from 25-50mg. As with all things, moderation is key.
Caffeine is fine in moderation, but too much may cause stomach upset and interfere with sleep.
The Benefits of Caffeine:
1) It boosts brain function.
2) Caffeine increases stamina and helps with exercise performance.
3) It also helps protect against Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia.
4) Caffeine speeds up metabolism.
The Negative Effects of Caffeine:
It can cause insomnia (but if consumed early enough in the day, it may also decrease nighttime sleep latency, which has its own set of benefits).
It can cause restlessness and anxiety if consumed at the wrong time. Afternoon caffeine intake may interfere with sleep later that night. So, if you have trouble sleeping, avoid caffeine after 2 pm.
Caffeine is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. However, because it is a stimulant, using too much can actually deplete your body.
Comparison of the Two Drinks:
Caffeinated cocoa powder and coffee contain similar amounts of caffeine, but coffee contains higher levels of antioxidants.
Cocoa powder has a blood-thinning effect which is helpful for protecting cardiovascular health. In addition, it strengthens bones and teeth, relieves pain, and treats skin inflammation (including acne).
Unfortunately, white chocolate does not contain any actual chocolate, so it does not have any of the benefits of cocoa powder.
Coffee has been shown to help protect against diseases such as Parkinson’s, type 2 diabetes, and liver disease. In addition, coffee drinkers tend to live longer than non-coffee drinkers because caffeine may increase levels of HDL cholesterol.
Which One Should You Drink for the Best Results?
Both are good for you in moderation, but coffee contains higher levels of antioxidants. So, it is preferred if you want to have the most powerful effect on your health.
If you are drinking cocoa powder, remember that it has a blood-thinning effect which can be helpful if trying to protect cardiovascular health, but not great if you’re looking to lose weight.
What Drinks Can You Make with Cocoa Powder?
You can make hot chocolate with it, flavored cocoa drinks, baked goods, and a variety of desserts.
To maximize the benefit you get from caffeine, try these tips:
-drink it early in the morning to ensure you can get a good night of sleep
-take decaf after 2 pm if you are sensitive to caffeine
-avoid it if you have trouble sleeping or suffer from insomnia
-drink coffee for its antioxidant benefits and cocoa powder for the blood-thinning effect.
How to Make Delicious Hot Chocolate with Cocoa Powder?
-Mix 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder with 8 ounces of warm, nonfat milk
-Add sweetener (optional)
-Heat on low until hot
-Blend in a blender to make it frothy (also great for making shakes and smoothies if you’re on the go!)
How to Make Desserts with Cocoa Powder?
Cocoa powder, milk chocolate, and choco chips make a cheap and easy dessert: Melt some semi-sweet or dark chocolate in a double boiler (or the microwave) and stir it into 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder.
Stir to form a batter, then drop by teaspoonful onto wax paper; let cool. The melted chocolate also makes a great dipping sauce for fruit, pretzels, or anything else you’d like to dunk in it.
If you want, you can use unsweetened cocoa powder or decaffeinated cocoa powder for making your desserts.
What Drinks Can You Make with Coffee?
You can make all kinds of different drinks with coffee, including cappuccinos and lattes. Coffee works great as an ingredient in baking and desserts.
If you want to try something new, use it for cooking meats such as beef stew or pork roast. A crock-pot filled with hot coffee makes a unique marinade!
How to Make a Delicious Cappuccino with Coffee?
-First, boil 1 cup of water. Remove from heat.
Pour 4 tablespoons of coffee grounds into a small filter set in a drip-style coffee maker. Pour the hot water over the grounds and let steep for 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, warm a mug with hot tap water to prevent your cold glass mug from cooling down your drink.
Pour the steamed milk into the mug and add coffee. Sweeten with sugar or syrup to taste if desired.
How to Make Delicious Coffee Cake?
-Cream together 1 cup of butter and 2 cups of sugar until light and fluffy. Add 4 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in 2 teaspoons of instant coffee powder and baking chocolate.
You can also use unsweetened baking chocolate.
Stir in 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 cup of buttermilk or sour milk. If desired, stir in 1-1/4 cup of raisins and 3/4 cup chopped walnuts. Pour into greased 13 inches by 9 inches by 2-inch baking pan—Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 35 to 45 minutes.
Both cocoa powder and coffee have a variety of benefits to offer, though it seems that coffee wins out as the healthier choice.
If you’re looking for a potent antioxidant boost, then drink cocoa, but if you want to enjoy better cardiovascular health, try drinking coffee. In any case, both are delicious drinks to brew at home!