Which Has More Caffeine: Coffee or Tea?

If you’re a fan of caffeine, you’ve probably wondered which has more caffeine – coffee or tea? While both of these beverages have their own unique flavor profiles, they also have different caffeine contents. In this article, we’re going to explore the answer to the age-old question of which has more caffeine: coffee or tea?

Understanding Caffeine Content

If we’re going to compare the caffeine content of coffee and tea, it’s essential to understand how much caffeine is in each drink. The caffeine content in beverages is measured in milligrams (mg). Typically, the amount of caffeine in a drink is dependent on many factors like the size of the cup, brewing method, brewing time, and type of coffee or tea used.

Caffeine Content in Coffee

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages around the world, and it’s known for its unique taste and aroma. Besides, its caffeine content makes it a popular choice among people who want to kick off the day or need an energy boost. Typically, an eight-ounce cup of coffee contains around 95 mg of caffeine.

Caffeine Content in Tea

When it comes to caffeine content, tea is not as high in caffeine as coffee, but it still contains some. Typically, an eight-ounce cup of tea contains around 47 mg of caffeine. Black tea has the highest caffeine content among all the types of teas, while green and white teas contain the least amount of caffeine.

The Factors Affecting Caffeine Content in Coffee and Tea

As we mentioned earlier, there are several factors that influence the caffeine content in coffee and tea. Let’s take a closer look at some of these factors:

Brewing Method

The brewing method used has a significant impact on the caffeine content in both coffee and tea. For instance, espresso coffee is brewed differently from drip coffee. Espresso is brewed under high pressure and uses a lot of coffee grounds in a small amount of water, resulting in a more concentrated and robust coffee with a higher amount of caffeine.

Brewing Time

The longer the brewing time, the more caffeine is released into the tea or coffee. For instance, cold brewing coffee for an extended period can result in a coffee concentrate with a higher caffeine content. On the other hand, brewing tea for a shorter time results in lower caffeine levels.

Roasting and Type of Coffee Beans

The type of coffee bean and roasting level determine the caffeine levels in coffee. Dark-roasted coffee contains less caffeine than light-roasted coffee. While it is commonly believed that robusta coffee, which has a more robust flavor than arabica, contains more caffeine, the reality is slightly different. Robusta coffee contains less caffeine than arabica coffee, and it is typically used in espresso.

Quality and Type of Tea Leaves

The quality of tea leaves used plays a significant role in determining the caffeine levels in tea. Additionally, the type of tea plant used also affects caffeine levels. For instance, Camellia sinensis var. sinensis, which is commonly used in green, white and black teas, contains less caffeine than Camellia sinensis var. assamica which is used in Assam tea.

The Health Benefits and Risks of Coffee and Tea

Besides tasting great and providing an energy boost, both coffee and tea have several health benefits and risks.

Health Benefits of Coffee

  • Reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, and liver disease.
  • Can improve cognitive performance and brain function.
  • May lower the risk of developing some cancers, including liver, colorectal, and endometrial cancer.

Risks of Coffee

  • Can cause insomnia, anxiety, and jitters in some people, especially in those who are sensitive to caffeine.
  • May increase blood pressure and heart rate in some people.
  • May cause heartburn or acid reflux in some people

Health Benefits of Tea

  • Contains antioxidants, which can help prevent cell damage and delay aging.
  • May help reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
  • May improve mental alertness, focus, and cognitive performance.

Risks of Tea

  • High tea consumption may lead to caffeine-related problems such as insomnia, nervousness, and irregular heartbeats.
  • May cause GERD and acid reflux in some individuals if consumed in large amounts.
  • May negatively interact with some medications and supplements.

Caffeine Consumption Guidelines

Caffeine affects each person differently, and while it’s relatively safe for most people, excessive consumption can cause adverse effects. To avoid health problems related to caffeine, it’s vital to consume it in moderation.

  • The FDA recommends that pregnant and breastfeeding women limit caffeine consumption to less than 200 milligrams per day.
  • For an average healthy adult, up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day is considered safe.
  • Children should not consume caffeine in large amounts, and experts recommend limiting their caffeine intake to no more than 100 milligrams per day.

The Final Verdict

The debate on which has more caffeine – coffee or tea – depends on several factors. While tea generally contains less caffeine than coffee, the caffeine levels can vary considerably based on tea types, brewing methods, and steeping times.

Ultimately, the caffeine content of your drink should not be the only factor when deciding which to consume between coffee or tea. The flavor profile, personal preferences, and the desired health benefits should also be considered.


  • Q: Does tea have more caffeine than coffee?
  • A: No, tea generally has less caffeine than coffee, but the exact amount of caffeine depends on several factors.
  • Q: How much caffeine is in a cup of coffee?
  • A: An eight-ounce cup of coffee contains around 95 mg of caffeine.
  • Q: How much caffeine is in a cup of tea?
  • A: An eight-ounce cup of tea contains around 47 mg of caffeine.
  • Q: What methods can be used to reduce caffeine content?
  • A: Methods such as decaffeination and cold brewing can help reduce caffeine content.
  • Q: How much caffeine can I safely consume?
  • A: For an average healthy adult, up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day is considered safe.


  1. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2021, March 6). Caffeine content for coffee, tea, soda, and more. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/caffeine/art-20049372
  2. Lovallo, W. R. (2020). Individual Differences in Caffeine Effects and Use. The Journal of Nutrition, 150(12), 3146S–3156S.
  3. Gilbert, R. M. (2003). Caffeine consumption. Prog Clin Biol Res, 158, 185–213.

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