Caffeine Content Comparisons for Food, Coffee, Tea, Energy Drinks

There is a lot of information about caffeine, but it is hard to make comparisons between the content of caffeine in tea and coffee beverages, foods, energy drinks, candies and even caffeine tablets because the units and serving sizes are so different.

This article solves this problem because it includes a handy summary chart for a serving size of 100g for all foods and drinks.

The volume equivalent of 100g is 100ml. Caffeine occurs in chocolate, chewing gum, sweets and candies and even weight loss tablets and other drugs used for pain relief.

Caffeine is a stimulant for the central nervous system and can profoundly affect sleep patterns and can cause insomnia. There is wide consensus that too much caffeine, irrespective of its source can be harmful.

Perhaps its time for a stock-take to see where your excess caffeine consumption may be coming from.

It is hard to compare caffeine levels unless data is available for a standard serving. See date for 100g for tea, coffee, drinks and foods
It is hard to compare caffeine levels unless data is available for a standard serving. See date for 100g for tea, coffee, drinks and foods | Source
The caffeine molecule - small compound with large impact
The caffeine molecule - small compound with large impact | Source
The health effects of chocolate
The health effects of chocolate | Source
Many chocolate based desserts and candies have more caffeine than tea or coffee when similar servings of 100g are compared.
Many chocolate based desserts and candies have more caffeine than tea or coffee when similar servings of 100g are compared. | Source

Key Comparisons for Caffeine Sources

► 2 cups of tea = 1 cup of coffee

There are about 20mg of caffeine in 100g of brewed tea. There are about 40mg of caffeine in 100g of black filter coffee. But the type of tea, as well as the brewing time affects the amount of coffee in tea. Green tea has less caffeine than black tea except for very short brewing times. Coffee brewing methods and the decaf process also affects the caffeine levels in coffee. Brewed espresso coffee prepared in a restaurant or cafe can contain about 200mg of caffeine. Whereas instant coffee made with water may contain only 21g of caffeine.

  • Black tea; 1 minute brew time has 9g of caffeine
  • Black tea; 3 minute brew time has 20g of caffeine
  • Black tea; 5 minute brew time has 27g of caffeine
  • Green tea; 1 minute brew time has 9g of caffeine
  • Green tea; 3 minute brew time has 18g of caffeine
  • Green tea; 5 minute brew time has 21g of caffeine

► 2 colas = 1 tea

Surprisingly 100g of your average cola drink contains about 8mg of caffeine, but diet colas typically have twice that level at 15mg for a 100g serving.

► 1 moderate caffeine energy drink = 2 teas

Most of the moderate level caffeine energy drinks such as Red Bull, have about 30mg of caffeine per 100g.

► 1 very high caffeine energy drink = 10-20 teas

New energy shots like Ammo, contain extremely high levels of caffeine with 500-600mg of caffeine per 100g which is equivalent to about 15 cups of coffee and 30 cups of tea. See the summary table below for details.

► Caffeine tablets = 10 teas

Many over the counter head-ache and pain relief tablets contain about 50mg of caffeine per 100g. No-dose caffeine tablets designed to keep you awake have caffeine doses between 175mg and 200mg per 100g.

► Choc-coated coffee beans = 40 teas

Dark chocolate coated coffee beans have more than 800mg of caffeine for 100g, because you are eating the beans themselves. Most ground coffee powder and instant coffee preparation also have very high levels of caffeine (100-3000g per 100g of powder).

► Chocolate candies and sweets = 2-10 teas

As shown in the table below many chocolate candies and choc-coated items have more caffeine than tea of coffee in 100g.

Comparison of Caffeine in 100g (100ml) of a range of beverages and foods

Source Beverage and Food (100g)
Caffeine mg/100g of liquid or powder
Tea and Coffee Drinks
****
Brewed from ground coffee, preparedwith tap water, decaffeinated
1
Instant Coffee, prepared with decaffeinated, powder, and tap water
1
Instant Coffee, with chicory, prepared with water
21
Coffee & cocoa (mocha),prepared using powder, water, with whitener, low calorie sweetener, decaffeinated
25
Instant Coffee, regular, prepared with water
26
Brewed from ground coffee, prepared with tap water
40
Brewed, espresso coffee, restaurant or cafe-prepared
212
Black tea; 1 minute brew
9
Black tea; 3 minute brew
20
Black tea; 5 minute brew
27
Green tea; 1 minute brew
9
Green tea; 3 minute brew
18
Green tea; 5 minute brew
21
Filtered Black Coffee
40
Coffee Powders
****
Instant Coffee, decaffeinated, 100g powder
122
Instant, with sugar, cappuccino-flavor, 100g powder
302
Instant Coff, with sugar, mocha-flavor, 100g powder
360
Instant Coffee, regular, 100g powder, half the caffeine
1571
Instant Coffee, with chicory, 100g powder
2063
Instant, regular, 100g of powder
3142
Sodas and Energy Drinks
****
Cola
8
Reduced sugar cola
15
Energy drink, VAULT Zero, sugar-free
19
Alcoholic beverage, liqueur, coffee, 53 proof
26
Alcoholic beverage, liqueur, coffee, 63 proof
26
Red Bull
30
Energy drink, ROCKSTAR - Caffeine
30
Energy drink, RED BULL, sugar
30
Energy drink, FULL THROTTLE
30
Energy drink, AMP
31
Energy Drink, Monster
36
Energy drink, ROCKSTAR, sugar free
33
Jelly Belly Extreme Sport
176
NOS Power shot, concentrate
212
Monster Hitman Sniper
270
Health Energy Potion
271
OnGo Energy Shot
300
Charge supper shot
339
Jolt Endurance Shot
339
Extreme Energy 5-hour Shot
373
Mana Energy Potion
400
Redine Power Rush RTD
473
NOS Power shot, concentrate
570
Ammo
570
Foods
****
Candies, milk chocolate, with almonds
18
Puddings, chocolate flavor, low calorie
18
Malted drink mix, chocolate, powder
37
Chocolate, dark, 45- 59% cacao solids
43
Cookies, graham crackers, chocolate-coated
46
Candies, chocolate, dark
47
Candies, semisweet chocolate
62
Candies, sweet chocolate
66
Baking chocolate, unsweetened, squares
80
Chocolate, dark, 70-85% cacao solids
80
Milk chocolate coated raisins
122
Cocoa, dry powder, unsweetened
230
Candies, dark chocolate coated coffee beans
839
Dark chocolate coated coffee beans
869
Caffeine Tablets
****
4Ever Caffeine Tablets
200

© 2013 Dr. John Anderson

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