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Is There More Caffeine in Coffee or Tea?

Caffeine in Coffee or Tea

Caffeine's popularity as a natural stimulant is unparalleled. It is found in more than 60 species of plants and is enjoyed around the world, especially in coffee, chocolate and tea.

The caffeine content of drinks varies with the ingredients and how the drink is prepared.

While caffeine is considered safe, excessive drinking may raise some concerns.

This article compares the caffeine contents of a variety of teas and coffees and explores which drink you should choose.

Why is caffeine a concern?

Caffeine content can vary greatly depending on the type of tea and coffee and how they are prepared. Black tea and espresso coffee are the most in both categories, while herbal tea and decaffeinated coffee have only trace amounts.

An estimated 80% of the world's population enjoys a caffeinated product daily.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) define a safe caffeine intake as 400 mg per day, 200 mg per single dose, or 1.4 mg per pound (3 mg per kg) of body weight (s, s).

Due to its stimulating effects, caffeine has been linked to health benefits such as enhanced alertness, improved athletic performance, elevated mood, and increased metabolism (s, s, s).

However, consuming large amounts - such as single doses over 500 mg - may raise some concerns (s, s).

When taken in large doses, caffeine has been linked to anxiety, insomnia, and difficulty sleeping. Additionally, some studies suggest that drinking it regularly, even in moderate amounts, can cause chronic headaches and migraines (s, s, s).

Furthermore, caffeine is considered moderately addictive, and some people may be more likely to develop a dependence (s).

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Does caffeine content vary by drink type and preparation?

The amount of caffeine in tea or coffee can vary greatly depending on the origin, type, and preparation of the drink (s). Tea leaves contain 3.5% caffeine, while coffee beans contain 2.2%.

However, the coffee brewing process uses hot water, which extracts more caffeine from the beans. You also usually use more coffee beans than tea leaves for a drink (s).

Therefore, one cup (237 ml) of brewed coffee generally contains more caffeine than a cup of tea.

1. Varieties of tea

Black, green, and white teas are prepared from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. What distinguishes them is the time of harvest and the level of oxidation of the leaves (s).

Black tea leaves are oxidized while white and green tea leaves do not.

This gives black tea a distinctly bold, sharp flavor and increases the extent to which caffeine leaks from the leaves into the hot water (s).

  • A medium cup (237 ml) of black tea contains 47 mg of caffeine but can contain up to 90 mg.
  • Green tea contains 20-45 mg.
  • White tea contains 6-60 mg per cup (237 ml) (s, s, s).

2. Coffee Varieties

An average cup of coffee (237 ml) contains 95 mg of caffeine (s). It is a common belief that coffee made from dark roast beans contains more caffeine than coffee from light roast beans.

However, since caffeine is not affected much by roasting, this may not be the case (s).

However, since dark coffee is less dense than light roast, you can use larger amounts of beans or beans when brewing this type, resulting in more caffeine per cup (s).

Espresso is a more concentrated source of caffeine (s, s). For example, one Starbucks espresso contains about 58 mg of caffeine per 1 serving (30 ml).

Most specialty coffee drinks, such as lattes and cappuccinos, are made with a double shot of espresso, containing 116 mg of caffeine (s).

Among decaffeinated drinks, decaffeinated espresso tends to have the most caffeine with 3-16 mg per 16 servings (473 ml), while decaffeinated coffee typically provides less than 3 mg per 8 servings (237 ml). Decaffeinated tea falls between these two types of coffee (s, s).

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