Most of us love coffee – it’s a great way to start your morning, your best friend on a cold, blustery day, and the facilitator for thousands of social interactions. How many first dates happen over coffee? How many people meet up at a coffee shop to shoot the breeze and talk with their buddies about how to solve all the world’s problems? And it’s also a source of stimulating, energy-producing caffeine. Of course you can get caffeine from other sources, but how much caffeine is in those coffee alternatives? Sometimes it can actually be as much or more than you find in a cup of coffee, and sometimes nowhere near as much. Keep reading for some surprising answers.
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How Much Caffeine is in Coffee?
Of course we can’t reasonably talk about caffeinated alternatives to coffee without first devoting a bit of attention to how much caffeine is in coffee itself. Determining the caffeine level in your cuppa joe is actually a little more complicated than you may think, because there are so many variables involved.
How much caffeine is in a cup of coffee depends on the beans used, the roasting time, the serving size, and whether you dilute your coffee with milk or cream. You could Google “How much caffeine is in a cup of coffee” until the cows come home, ready to produce milk (and cream as a by-product) to add to said coffee, and get a huge range of answers. If you took the time, though (as we did), to work out an average based on the answers you got, you’d come up with something around 110 milligrams of caffeine in a typical serving of coffee. Unless…
…You Have a Death Wish
There’s a brand of coffee known as Death Wish. We’re going to talk about that for a bit, since it’s at the extreme end of how much caffeine is in coffee. That same serving size that delivers you 110 milligrams of caffeine using a typical blend of coffee is nothing compared with the 472 milligrams that Death Wish offers up. Death Wish’s caffeine content comes in at a whopping 59 milligrams of caffeine per fluid ounce, compared with 12-16 milligrams in most coffee blends.
Now, let’s keep a few things in mind. First of all, according to the FDA, if you’re consuming more than 600 milligrams of caffeine in any given day, that’s a bit much. Second, it’s generally assumed that you’ll consume your minus-600 milligrams of caffeine in a few cups of coffee or other caffeinated beverages – not all at once. However, the third thing you need to keep in mind is that there are many, many people out there who will consume far in excess of 600 milligrams of caffeine per day and not suffer any ill effects.
So, Death Wish. Really? No, it’s “marketing-speak,” plain and simple.
If you consume extreme amounts of caffeine, your blood pressure could become elevated, and it pretty much goes without saying that you could develop “the jitters.” If you have an underlying medical condition, you might be at risk for a heart attack or stroke. But for a typical, healthy person, the likelihood that you will die from enjoying a cup of Death Wish coffee is slim to none.
Of course, staggering amounts of caffeine could cause you harm. But when we say “staggering amounts,” we’re talking off-the-wall, off-the-charts, totally insane amounts of caffeine – like ten times what you’d get in a cup of Death Wish Coffee (more on that later). So if you want a blast of energy and you haven’t been warned by your doctor to avoid caffeine, you can probably enjoy your Death Wish. Just remember, though – all things in moderation.
Now, with that out of the way, let’s talk about how much caffeine you might expect to consume if you forego coffee in favor of other caffeinated beverages. We’re going to start with various types of tea, since tea is the second most popular hot beverage. Then we’ll move on to other beverages like energy drinks, soft drinks and more.
How Much Caffeine is in Earl Grey Tea Compared With Coffee?
Earl Grey tea is a type of black tea, and black tea is actually the most common variety of tea when it comes to North American consumption.
To make black tea, the tea leaves are dried in such a way as to ensure that the maximum possible flavors and caffeine levels are retained. Then, they’re rolled into pellet form to allow the oils and sap to be released, resulting in an even more intense flavor. Because of its intensity, many people find that drinking black tea “straight” is overwhelming, so they dilute it with milk or cream, and add sugar to soften the strong flavor, which also reduces the amount of caffeine consumed.
Black tea like the Earl Grey variety has been shown to lower the levels of “bad” cholesterol in the body, and also to offer various antioxidants that can work to reduce damage from free radicals in high-fat diets and environmental pollution. In fact, black tea (and many other varieties as well) can deliver as much or more in the way of antioxidants as colorful berries and vegetables. Even better, it can work almost instantly – tests have shown that people who consume a up or two of Earl Grey tea after a fat-laden meal show less cellular damage than those who simply consume the meal and do not drink black tea.
As to the caffeine level, a typical serving of Earl Grey tea will usually contain about 40 milligrams – considerably less than what you would find in a cup of coffee.
How Much Caffeine is in Oolong Tea Compared With Coffee?
Oolong tea is another type of black tea. If you weren’t familiar with it before, you may have heard of it in recent years, since it’s been touted as a weight loss aid. The reality is, though, that there has been no proof that drinking Oolong tea will help you to drop the pounds. It is, however, every bit as powerful when it comes to antioxidants as other types of black tea.
As to how much caffeine is in Oolong tea compared with coffee, it also comes out low by comparison, with anywhere from 33 to 41 milligrams in most blends.
How Much Caffeine is in Rooibos Tea Compared With Coffee?
If you’re looking for a very pleasing tea that delivers no caffeine whatsoever, then Rooibos tea might be the perfect pick. What we need to tell you here, though, is that you shouldn’t confuse the terms “caffeine-free” and “decaffeinated.” There are decaf teas that you can buy – in fact, many black tea blends have had the caffeine removed. “Caffeine-free” tea, though, is tea that has never contained any caffeine to begin with. It’s not “decaffeinated” because there was never anything to remove.
Rooibos is a bold-tasting red tea, originating in South Africa, and it is naturally without caffeine. It’s very robust, though, so if you love the flavor of black tea, but you’re worried about your caffeine intake, you will probably also love Rooibos. And if you find the flavor a bit strong, you can do the same thing that many people do with black tea – dilute it with milk, and add sugar.
One thing to keep in mind when it comes to Rooibos tea, though, is that it requires a longer steeping time than most other teas. While other teas might be ready to drink in a couple of minutes, you should allow Rooibos to steep for at least five minutes.
Roobios is also an ideal tea to use if you’re making iced tea. You can brew it, allow it to cool, and then add lemon and sugar, or spices. If you’re looking for a low-calorie beverage, you can always substitute artificial sweetener for the sugar. However you make it, iced Rooibos tea makes for a wonderfully refreshing summer treat.
On a further word about caffeine-free tea, keep in mind that it’s very rare that any blend you buy will be truly caffeine-free. So if you’re trying to cut back on caffeine or avoid it entirely, make sure to read the label.
How Much Caffeine is in Green Tea Compared With Coffee?
You may have heard the health benefits of green tea touted in recent years, particularly as a supposed aid to weight loss. Essentially, it was a fad that came and went along with a number of similar weight loss fads, and is no more effective than Oolong tea when it comes to facilitating weight loss. The only way you’re going to lose weight drinking green tea is if you substitute it for other beverages that contain calories – there is no “magic bullet” in green tea that is going to work as a fat-burning agent.
That is not to say, though, that there are no health benefits to consuming green tea. It is rich in antioxidants (although realistically, no more so than any other tea), and has been linked to improved brain function.
Like any other type of tea, with the exception of Rooibos, green tea does naturally contain caffeine, and this might be a concern for you if you’re considering reducing your caffeine intake. Green tea has only a little less caffeine than black tea, coming in at about 35 milligrams per serving. There are some variables, though – usually, you’ll find more caffeine in a cup of green tea made with a tea bag than if you make it using loose tea. Powdered green tea will be higher in caffeine than both bagged and loose tea. And of course, if you double-bag or use a heaping spoonful of loose tea, then you’re going to be consuming far more caffeine than if you make your tea using the approved amount.
The amount of caffeine that will be released from green tea will also depend to a large extent on how long you allow the tea to brew. This is the case with every type of tea, not just green tea.
How Much Caffeine is in Hot Chocolate Compared With Coffee?
You probably think of hot chocolate as a very soothing beverage – it’s something that you mix up on a cold winter night, and then you lie down on your sofa under a blanket, with your dog or cat, and binge-watch Netflix until you doze off.
The reality is actually something different. Hot chocolate is actually a bit of a pick-up, since it contains caffeine.
Hot chocolate doesn’t contain a lot of caffeine, though. How much caffeine is in hot chocolate compared with caffeine is actually pretty low – about 12 milligrams per 8-ounce serving.
That said, if you buy your hot chocolate from a shop like Starbucks, it’s going to contain more caffeine than if you buy a mix like Swiss Miss at your grocery store or online. The mixes don’t generally taste quite as good as what you’d buy from a coffee shop, though, so it’s up to you what the trade-off is going to be – you’ll sleep more easily with something you make at home, but there’s no denying the flavor boost that you’ll get from the genuine article at a coffee shop.
How Much Caffeine is in Red Bull Compared With Coffee?
You may have heard that there’s enough caffeine in the average energy drink that if you consume a couple, you’re risking your life. This isn’t really true, and might even be a marketing ploy – an urban legend created by the manufacturers of energy drinks, who want you to believe that their product is a lot more powerful than it actually is. Most energy drinks like Red Bull actually contain a lot less caffeine than a cup of coffee. Red Bull, for instance, comes in 8.4-ounce cans, and each can contains approximately 80 milligrams of caffeine – less than a cup of coffee.
So why do energy drinks get a bad rap? Well, it’s because they contain other stimulants. Red Bull, for instance, contains taurine (Taurus, bull, you get it). Taurine, like caffeine, also occurs naturally, and it is a stimulant. That might not necessarily be such a bad thing, though, since taurine is known to be an antioxidant and to work to improve retinal and musculoskeletal development as well as cardiovascular health.
The problem is that we don’t know all that much about the effects of taurine. Nobody really knows if the long-term effects of taurine are positive or negative. The current belief is that if Red Bull is consumed in moderation, the consumer will not likely experience any ill effects from ingesting the amount of taurine in the drink. Keep in mind, though, that the jury is still out on this one.
One thing that’s worth mentioning is that Red Bull actually contains a lot more sugar than most coffee drinks other than, of course, plain black coffee.This kind of gives the edge to coffee, health-wise, since we do know for sure that too much sugar most definitely has adverse health effects.
The other advantage that coffee has over Red Bull is that coffee contains numerous antioxidants. Red Bull has virtually none.
When comparing coffee and Red Bull, it’s also worth considering the psychological impact.
What, you say? Psychological impact from a beverage?
As we’ve already pointed out, coffee is soothing. Coffee warms us up and makes us feel good. We drink coffee with our friends as part of a social interaction. Nobody ever calls up their friends and says “Hey, how about we get together over a couple of cans of Red Bull?” Nobody ever meets a hot-looking guy or gal and, deciding that they’d like to get a little better acquainted, suggests meeting for Red Bull.
The sole purpose of drinking Red Bull is to get a sudden influx of energy, but as we’ve just mentioned, you get more caffeine in coffee. Sure, you have to invest a little more energy in getting your caffeine from coffee – you’re not just popping a tab. You have to go to the drive-thru, brew a pot, or make a Keurig cup. But it’s really not all that much more effort, and you get the soothing aroma of fresh-brewed coffee, plus a bit more in the way of caffeine.
How Much Caffeine is in Other Energy Drinks Compared With Coffee?
We started off talking about Red Bull because it is, indisputably, the most popular energy drink out there. That’s not to say, though, that there aren’t tons of other sweet beverages that will help you to feel alert. They’re not all created equal, though.
The caffeine levels in energy drinks can vary wildly, from around 6 milligrams to a huge 242 milligrams per can. If you really want an energy boost, keep in mind that the average cup of coffee will give you about 110 milligrams of caffeine, and if you want more, then you can go for something like the Starbucks Grande at 330 milligrams. On average, an energy drink is going to give you about 70% less caffeine than a cup of coffee, and contain a pile of calories. From our perspective, if you’re thinking about how much caffeine is in coffee as opposed to coffee alternatives, and caffeine is what you want, then go with the genuine article – coffee.
Something else that you should keep in mind when considering energy drinks is that they are not recommended for women who are pregnant or nursing, or for children. However, for that matter, neither is coffee, so take it in context.
What you should also take in context, though, is that there are no regulations when it comes to reporting the level of caffeine in beverages or foods. Many companies will say that they’re perfectly onside with since, because of course they’re not going to put anything into their products that would harm anyone. The FDA has consistently said that it doesn’t have the authority to make companies disclose how much caffeine is in their products. Nearly half of the manufacturers of energy drinks do not disclose the amount of caffeine in their products – because they don’t have to.
Why are they so secretive? Shouldn’t you have the right to know how much caffeine is in the product you’re consuming? Most of the time, though, the veil of secrecy will be removed if you ask a direct question. So if you’re worried about the level of caffeine in your energy drink, get in touch with the manufacturer. Chances are they’ll offer up the information when asked.
Moving on from energy drinks, let’s talk about the levels of caffeine in the sodas and other drinks you buy every day.
How Much Caffeine is in Coke Compared With Coffee?
Coca Cola is indisputably the most popular soft drink in the world. It comes in variations like Coke Classic, Diet Coke and others.
So how much caffeine is in Coke compared with coffee? It depends on the flavor, although there’s really not all that much difference except when it comes to Caffeine Free Coke Zero which, as you might expect, has no caffeine. Classic Coke and Diet Coke each have 45 milligrams of caffeine. Cherry Coke and Vanilla Coke each have 34 milligrams.
How Much Caffeine is in Pepsi Compared With Coffee?
People often seem very passionate when it comes to defendingtheir cola of choice – Coke drinkers insist that Pepsi consumers are drinking a substandard product, and Pepsi drinkers will be equally vocal in telling you that the Coke drinkers have ruined their palates and have no clue what they’re talking about. In blind taste tests comparing Pepsi and Coke, though, many will tell you that they can’t perceive a difference. A few, however, would note that Pepsi is sweeter, and they’d be right – Pepsi has more sugar than Coke. It also has more caffeine, but not by much. There’s only a couple of grams in the difference.
How Much Caffeine is in Jolt Cola Compared With Coffee?
Jolt Cola is enjoying a bit of a revival. It originated in 1985, but the soaring popularity of energy drinks took its toll, and Jolt was unable to compete. Recently, though, the manufacturers decided that it was time to re-invent Jolt and compete in a serious way with energy drinks. The original formulation was advertised as having twice the caffeine of regular cola. New Jolt is taking it to the max, containing about three and a half times as much caffeine as Coke Classic. If you have a sensitivity to caffeine, Jolt might not be the right cola for you, but if you want a burst of energy and you’re a cola lover, you’ll probably find it pleasing.
How Much Caffeine is in Mountain Dew Compared With Coffee?
Since Mountain Dew is made by Pepsi, and since Pepsi contains more sugar than Coke, you might also assume that Mountain Dew isalso higher in sugar content than Coke is.
It’s actually not – Mountain Dew and Coke come in about the same in terms of sugar content.
When it comes to caffeine, though, Mountain Dew tops the charts over Coke, coming in at 55 milligrams. The caffeine content is the same whether you’re drinking regular Mountain Dew or diet.
Over the past few years, a number of versions of Mountain Dew have come on the market, most of which have about the same caffeine content as the originals. Other varieties are considerably higher. One such variety is Mountain Dew Kick Start, which offers up 83 milligrams of caffeine – nearly 3 times as much as Coke.
And get this – Pepsi represents this product as being a healthy alternative to other breakfast beverages!
Come on, guys, it’ssoda pop! And you’re telling us it’s a healthy breakfastdrink?
It will give you a kick start, all right, with all that caffeine!
By the way, it’s available in six flavors. Some varieties contain 5% real fruit juice, but taken in context with the high sugar and caffeine content, that’s still not something that would qualify Mountain Dew as a beverage that’s actually good for you.
The Hydrating Boost variety contains 10% juice along with 92 milligrams of caffeine. The reality here is that despite the name, the hydrating benefits of this variety of Mountain Dew are no better than with any other type of soda drink.
Let’s get real here, people. We love a nice, refreshing drink as much as the next person, but to represent this as a healthy breakfast drink is just demented. Enjoy it for what it is but please, please, do not consider it to be a part of a good breakfast.
How Much Caffeine is in Dr. Pepper Compared With Coffee?Dr. Pepper is a highly popular soft drink, especially in the southern United States. The manufacturers tell us that this drink is created using a secret recipe of 23 flavors. It contains 150 calories in every 12 ounce can, and about 39 milligrams of caffeine on average. Diet Dr. Pepper is actually the highest in caffeine, at 41 milligrams.
It’s probably not surprising that Dr. Pepper is so popular in the south, where the days can feel so long and sluggish that you need a nice, cold pick-up. And what could be better than a nice, cold soda on a hot day? Well, how about…
…Coffee Flavored Beer
We’re not kidding! This is a trend that’s taking the nation by storm, and not just among college kids who think they’ve found a way to drink into the wee hours while still staying semi-alert.
So how much caffeine is in coffee beer compared with coffee?
Not nearly enough.
When you combine coffee and beer, for sure you get a unique flavor. But if you think that you’re going to get enough caffeine to keep you up and partying, you’re going to be very disappointed. Coffee in beer is a flavor enhancer, nothing more.
Usually, coffee beer has no more than 50 milligrams in a 12-ounce serving of beer. It’s about as much in half a cup of coffee, so think of it this way – you drink a beer, and then half a cup of coffee. How sober are you going to be, realistically? If you think that drinking coffee flavored beer is going to allow you to serve as the “designated driver,” you are very much mistaken. It’s going to get you every bit as loaded as beer that doesn’t contain caffeine, and if you consume too much, don’t think that telling the nice officer who pulls you over that you’re fine to drive because you were drinking coffee beer is going to get you a pass.
It’s worth mentioning, though, that coffee beers are usually very robust – they’re based in stout or dark ale. In other words, coffee beer is something that you’ll probably drink a little more slowly than you would regular beer. It doesn’t mean that you won’t ultimately end up drunk, though.
By the way, if you can’t find coffee beer locally, there are actually coffee beer home brewing kits you can buy so you can still enjoy this full-bodied, flavorful beverage.
How Much Caffeine is in Kahlúa Compared With Coffee?
Moving from coffee beer to coffee liqueur, if Kahlúa is your beverage of choice, you’ll actually be consuming very little in the way of caffeine. Kahlúa is typically consumed in small quantities – a serving is considered to be about an ounce and a half. Given that an entire liter of Kahlúa contains only about 100 milligrams of caffeine, that means that whether you enjoy your Kahlúa over ice or in a drink like a Black Russian or White Russian, you’ll be consuming 5 milligrams of caffeine per drink, tops.
How Much Caffeine is in Hint Kick Compared With Coffee?
Hint Kick is a flavored caffeinated water that comes in flavors like black raspberry, apple pear and lemon cayenne. When compared with energy drinks and sodas that are full of sugar and other stimulants besides caffeine, caffeinated water can actually be a healthier alternative. All that you’ll find in a bottle of Hint Kick is water and natural fruit flavors – oh, and 60 milligrams of caffeine. If you don’t like plain water, this alternative will help to keep you hydrated while also delivering a bit of a pick-up from the caffeine. Of course the caffeine level is only about half what you’d get in a cup of coffee, but if you’re sensitive to caffeine or trying to cut back a bit on your caffeine consumption, caffeinated water can be a good choice.
How Much Caffeine is in Coffee Treats?
Most of us wouldn’t consider a coffee flavored treat to be an alternative to coffee per se, but we do love our coffee flavored treats, so we’ll devote a bit of space to some of the most popular. Some of these treats are very low in caffeine, so if you want a sweet something to enjoy before bedtime, you can indulge without having to worry about being kept awake. Others pack a pretty decent caffeine punch.
1. Coffee Ice Cream
The caffeine content in coffee ice cream varies quite a bit according to brand. Ben & Jerry’s Coffee CoffeeBuzzBuzzBuzz is on the high end, with 45 milligrams of caffeine in a half-cup serving. Häagen-Dazs coffee ice cream contains a little over 21 milligrams of caffeine per half-cup serving. From the name, you might think that Häagen-Dazs Espresso Chocolate Cookie Crumble would be considerably higher in caffeine content, but it’s really not, coming in at 23 milligrams of caffeine per half-cup serving. If you forego ice cream in favor of gelato, and you want to keep your caffeine consumption to a bare minimum, try Talenti Coffee Toffee or Coffee Chocolate Chip – each has between 5 and 8 milligrams of caffeine per half-cup serving.
2. Kopiko Coffee Candy
This delectable treat is manufactured in Thailand and Indonesia, and exported world-wide. Real coffee extract is used in the manufacturing process, and just 5 pieces of Kopiko candy will deliver as much caffeine as the average cup of coffee.
3. Coffee Thins
Coffee Thins are available in latte and espresso flavors. These treats look like chocolate, and taste like chocolate, but don’t be fooled. Coffee Thins actually contain no chocolate at all – they’re made from coffee paste. Each Coffee Thin contains approximately 100 milligrams of caffeine.
4. Coffee Crisp
For a long time, you could only buy Coffee Crisp candy bars in Canada. This treat consists of a coffee-flavored confection sandwiched between crisp wafers and coated in chocolate. Due to overwhelming public demand, you can now buy Coffee Crisp bars in the United States. You won’t find much caffeine in a Coffee Crisp bar, though – it’s actually only a few milligrams. With so little caffeine, you can also safely hand out the spooky Coffin Crisp variety to trick-or-treaters on Halloween!
This has been fun – we’ve enjoyed talking about how much caffeine is in coffee alternatives. But now, for your own good, we have to get serious, because there’s a product out there that could actually cause you serious harm, or even kill you if you misuse it.
Remember how we talked about Death Wish coffee, at 472 milligrams per serving? Well, imagine 4706 milligrams of caffeine – nearly ten times that much – in a single spoonful. That’s what you get when you buy pure caffeine powder. You’d think that would be a controlled substance, wouldn’t you?
It’s not a controlled substance. In most states, anyone can buy pure caffeine, and as little as two teaspoons can kill an adult. Even one teaspoon can cause a life-threatening overdose.
The FDA does not regulate this product.
The only way that you should ever consider using pure caffeine powder is if you are a food chemist with a high level of knowledge. And even then, you should measure very carefully, using a digital scale. Keep in mind that a “teaspoon” has to be an accurate measurement, not your grandma’s teaspoon, which, depending on her cutlery pattern, could vary a lot from someone else’s “teaspoon.” Even the measuring spoons that you buy in stores can vary quite a bit when it comes to accuracy, and with pure caffeine, precision is of the utmost importance.
We really can’t overstate this – pure caffeine powder can kill. In fact, there have already been reports of deaths due to people accidentally ingesting too much caffeine powder. In some states, caffeine powder is considered to be a restricted substance. If that isn’t the case in your state, you are still bound by law to exercise due diligence in order to make sure that nobody is harmed due to ingesting this substance.
If you have caffeine power in your possession, you should treat it as you would any other very dangerous drug – in other words, keep it in a sealed package, and well out of the reach of kids and pets.
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Most of us just love our morning coffee, and we don’t sweat the caffeine content, which is usually about 110 milligrams per serving. How much caffeine is in our coffee? Most of us don’t care.
Some of us, though, would like to cut back on caffeine a bit. Others don’t want to cut back – realistically, there are people who blissfully consume whatever they feel like drinking, while being totally unaware that their beverage of choice might contain as much caffeine as a cup of coffee, or even more.
In the material that you have just read, we have endeavored to show you how much caffeine you might be consuming, without even realizing it. Coffee isn’t the only beverage that contains caffeine – it’s also found in tea, hot chocolate, energy drinks, and that soda that you slurp up when you buy your value meal at the local fast food outlet.
We’re not saying that caffeine is bad for you – it can be very good, since coffee, tea and other caffeinated beverages contain valuable antioxidants and other substances that can work to improve your overall health. It’s like anything else, though – best when consumed in moderation. It’s also generally best avoided in its pure form.
So if you’re worrying about your caffeine consumption, we hope that this article has helped you to learn more about how much caffeine you’re taking in daily. If you’re not concerned about your caffeine intake, then we hope that you have at least found this to be an interesting read!
Last update on 2019-08-25 at 07:30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API