How Much Caffeine Is In Coffee? Caffeinated Drinks Ranked From Highest To Lowest
Caffeine—and how individuals react to it—can be confusing. Some people rely on coffee to stay awake; others can drink it before bed without a problem. Before figuring out how your own body reacts to caffeine, it's important to understand how much you're actually consuming.
To find out how different caffeinated drinks stack up, mbg spoke with integrative medicine doctors and registered dietitians. Here's how much caffeine is in coffee, tea, matcha, and more—plus the health benefits of each.
Caffeinated drinks ranked highest to lowest.
These different caffeine levels are based on one cup (8 oz.) of each beverage, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) food database.
Cold Brew: 96 mg caffeine
Cold brew has less acidity than brewed coffee, making it easier on the gut and less likely to cause acid reflux. While the USDA says cold-brew coffee and regular brewed coffee have the same amount of caffeine, that may not always be the case.
"Because cold brew requires more coffee grounds and a longer steeping time than regular coffee, it may have more caffeine per cup than a typical brew," registered dietitian Desiree Nielsen, R.D., once told mbg. However, if diluted with water or milks, the caffeine content may equal out.
Brewed Coffee: 96 mg caffeine
Regular brewed coffee may have one of the highest levels of caffeine, but registered dietitian Titilayo Ayanwola, MPH, R.D., L.D., says despite the caffeine, coffee is a good source of antioxidants.
Along with antioxidants, like the anti-inflammatory compound chlorogenic acid, coffee has also been shown to have a beneficial impact on brain health, fatty liver, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome, integrative medicine doctor Marvin Singh, M.D., tells mbg.
Latte: 86.4 mg caffeine
Lattes are generally higher in sugar than black coffees, especially when they're flavored. According to registered dietitian and diabetes educator Luisa Sabogal, RDN, M.S., CDE, lattes also contain fewer antioxidants than iced or cold-brewed coffee.
Iced Coffee: 74.4 mg caffeine
Iced coffee is often confused with cold-brew coffee, but they're made by different processes. Iced coffee is essentially the same as hot brewed coffee but may be better suited for warmer weather since it's served cold, over ice. Cold-brew coffee is more concentrated and, therefore, contains more caffeine.
Matcha: 70 mg caffeine
Matcha is a type of green tea that has been ground into a powder. Of all the drinks on the list, Sabogal calls matcha the healthiest. "It contains the greatest amount of antioxidants (catechins-EGCG) as the entire leaf is used, resulting in greater antioxidant content compared to hot green tea or black tea," she says.
Black Tea: 48 mg caffeine
The antioxidants in green tea may not be as powerful as green tea, but the beverage still has a lot of health benefits. "Hot black tea has been shown to promote overall health, such as reduced cholesterol and blood sugar levels," Sabogal says.
Green Tea: 28.8 mg caffeine
Hot green tea is a mild-tasting beverage with a moderate amount of caffeine and a high number of health benefits. "Green tea is loaded with antioxidants that have many beneficial effects as well, such as helping with brain function, lowering the risk of heart disease, and potentially protecting against cancer," Singh says. Plus, habitual green tea drinkers may even live longer.
Decaf Coffee: 0 to 15 mg caffeine
For people who are pregnant, decaf coffee may seem like a great alternative, Ayanwola says, but it still contains trace amounts of caffeine. "Even small amounts of caffeine add up over time if you consume multiple servings," she says.
Those who are simply trying to cut back on caffeine may switch to decaf and then slowly remove coffee altogether, to help reduce caffeine withdrawal symptoms.
Herbal Tea: 0 mg caffeine
For those looking to eliminate caffeinated drinks altogether, Ayanwola recommends herbal tea. This is a good way to get the comfort of a warm mug, without the caffeine. Herbal teas include chamomile, ginger, fennel, peppermint, and turmeric teas. Bonus: Many of these can also help reduce bloat and stomach discomfort.
The recommended daily intake of caffeine is 400 mg or less. "There may be unhealthy side effects if you drink too much caffeine all at one time," Singh says, like jitters or a crash in energy. To avoid those outcomes and, instead, experience sustained benefits throughout the day, he recommends microdosing caffeine.
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Abby Moore is an editorial operations manager at mindbodygreen. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from The University of Texas at Austin and has previously written for Tribeza magazine. She has covered topics ranging from regenerative agriculture to celebrity entrepreneurship. Moore worked on the copywriting and marketing team at Siete Family Foods before moving to New York.