Say the word “caffeine,” and we picture ourselves getting out of bed each morning for a cup of coffee. It is a naturally occurring stimulant for the central nervous system. Caffeine helps increase heart rate, blood flow, and the brain’s alertness; therefore, it makes us feel more awake and energetic. It is often found in coffee, tea plants, cocoa beans, and so much more. Since tea and coffee are among the most consumed beverage in the world, it is good to know the amount of caffeine in coffee vs tea. And let’s find out the similarities and differences that each does to our body and mind.
Caffeine in Coffee
The caffeine amount varies depending on the type of coffee beans used, and also the preparation method. For example, a Robusta coffee bean contains almost double the amount of caffeine compared with an Arabica coffee bean.
It is a common misunderstanding that dark roast coffee has more caffeine than a light roast. But the roasting method mostly interferes with the taste of the coffee, not so much on its caffeine content.
It would be best to check the coffee label or ask your barista if you want to know how much caffeine your daily drink contains.
One 8 fl. oz (237 ml) cup of brewed coffee contains 95 to 165 milligrams of caffeine. The same size cup of instant coffee contains roughly 63 milligrams of caffeine. Your favorite Latte or Mocha would contain between 63 to 126 milligrams of caffeine.
There is no caffeine-free coffee. Decaffeinated coffee still has a bit of caffeine left. But it can be the right choice if you want to limit your overall caffeine intake.
Caffeine in Tea
In 1827, people discovered that tea has its caffeine, and it was called “theine” or “theanine.” Later on, they found out that “theine” in tea is the same with caffeine found in coffee. So caffeine is used as the name of the natural stimulant for both tea and coffee until today.
Most of us know that a cup of brewed coffee contains more caffeine than a cup of brewed tea. However, raw tea leaves can contain more caffeine than coffee beans. The amount of caffeine in tea differs based on the cultivar, which part of the tea plant is used, and the methods of brewing.
One 8 fl. oz (237 ml) cup of brewed green tea contains 25 to 29 milligrams of caffeine. Brewed black tea like English breakfast tea or Earl Grey tea can have a bit more of caffeine at 25 to 48 milligrams per cup (Mayo Clinic). Supermarket and convenience stores also sell a variety of ready-to-go bottled tea.
The caffeine content in those drinks varies from brand to brand with different types of tea. If you are sensitive to caffeine, you can find caffeine-free tea on the market. Peppermint herb tea or Chamomile is often consumed in Asian countries for having a calming effect without the caffeine involved.
Differences between the caffeine in coffee vs tea
There is not so much of a difference between the caffeine in coffee vs tea. They both make us feel more alert and energize temporally. But the difference lies in the fact that tea contains an amino acid called “L-theanine.” It works well with caffeine to help keep our alertness but, at the same time, helps reduce stress level. Other stimulants found in tea are theobromine and theophylline, which coffee does not have.
Another difference between the two drinks is that tea has a high level of antioxidant that slows the absorption of caffeine. For people who are sensitive to caffeine, they can experience calmer wakefulness; or minimize the chance of feeling tiredness or restlessness after the caffeine wears off. That is why even though both tea and coffee contain caffeine, people who drink tea or coffee experience different effects on their body and their mind.
For people who love to drink coffee or tea but feel anxious about the caffeine content, both tea and coffee have decaffeinated versions. About 97 to 99% of caffeine is removed during the decaffeination process. Modern technology of decaffeination uses little to no chemical, therefore keeping the useful compounds, the flavor while eliminating the caffeine. It is not recommended for people to decaffeinate tea at home. The decaffeination process requires specific equipment and process. Doing it at home, based on unproved myth, will make tea lose its nutrients, health benefits, and also its pleasant aroma and flavor.
One 8 fl. oz (237 ml) cup of decaf brewed coffee or decaf brewed tea contains only 2 to 5 milligrams of caffeine (Mayo Clinic). That is a good choice if you love coffee, tea but do not want all the caffeine that they carry. Each person’s caffeine tolerance is different, so choose what is best for you. Information is for reference purpose unless you have a specific health issue; tea or coffee break should be an enjoyable time.