How Much Caffeine is in That?

By Sonja Stewart on 4 March 2010 (Updated 18 April 2011) 32 comments

Whether you're trying to avoid your own caffeine intake due to breastfeeding, pregnancy, or health reasons, or trying to keep your kids from ingesting more than their fair share, here's a list of a few everyday items and their caffeine content. (See also: 7 Nutrients You Need More Of)

Coffee

Coffee varies in caffeine content drastically, even in the same coffeehouse, on the same day. Everything from roast styles to brewing methods affect the amount of caffeine you get. The lighter the roast, the more caffeine it has.

  • Starbucks (Grande) iced coffee, 16 oz: 190 mg. This is double-brewed. Without the ice it contains 380mg.
  • Starbucks brewed coffee, 16 oz: 330 mg. Brewed coffee has 50% more caffeine on average than instant coffee.
  • Instant coffee, 16 oz: 60-345mg
  • Starbucks latte, 16 oz: 150mg
  • Starbucks espresso, 1 oz (1 shot): 58-75mg

Tea

The longer a tea is steeped, the higher the caffeine content. If after the first steep, you add more hot water to the tea or tea bag, the tea becomes almost entirely decaffeinated.

  • Starbucks Tazo chai tea latte, 16 oz: 100 mg
  • Regular black tea, 8 oz: 40-120 mg
  • Stash green tea, 18 oz: 78 mg
  • Snapple iced tea, 16 oz: 18 mg
  • 12 oz Nestea: 17 mg
  • Decaffeinated black tea, 8 oz: 2 mg

Soft Drinks

All drinks are 12 oz servings

  • Mountain Dew: 54 mg
  • Mello Yello: 53 mg
  • Diet Coke: 47 mg
  • Tab: 47 mg
  • Dr Pepper: 42-44 mg
  • Sunkist Orange: 42 mg
  • Pepsi: 36-38 mg
  • Coke: 35 mg
  • A&W Cream Soda: 29 mg
  • Barq's Root Beer: 23 mg
  • A&W Root Beer: 0 mg
  • 7-Up: 0 mg
  • Sprite: 0 mg
  • Mug Root Beer: 0 mg
  • Fanta: 0 mg

 

Energy Drinks

  • No Name (formerly known as Cocaine), 8.4 oz: 280 mg
  • Monster Energy, 16 oz: 160 mg
  • Full Throttle, 16 oz: 144 mg
  • Enviga, 12 oz: 100 mg
  • No Fear, 8 oz: 83 mg
  • Rockstar, 8 oz: 80 mg
  • Red Bull, 8.3 oz: 76 mg
  • AMP, 8.4 oz: 74 mg

Food

  • Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate, 1.45 oz: 31 mg
  • Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar, 1.55 oz: 9mg
  • Ben and Jerry's Coffee Heath Bar Crunch, 8 oz: 84 mg
  • Haagen-Daz Coffee Ice Cream, 8 oz: 58 mg
  • Starbucks Coffee Ice Cream, 8 oz: 50-60 mg

Medications

  • No Doz, 1 Tablet: 200 mg
  • Excedrin Extra Strength, 2 tablets: 130 mg
  • Anacin Maximum Strength, 2 tablets: 64 mg
  • Midol Maximum Strength: 60 mg

Things get a little tricky when it comes to what has caffeine and what doesn't. I knew Barq's Root Beer had caffeine, but didn't know that A&W Cream Soda has it as well. And just to confuse matters more, A&W Regular Root Beer is caffeine free. Also surprising was the caffeine content in Sunkist Orange. This list will help you keep the caffeine out of little hands (because they absolutely do not need it), and keep the buzz where it belongs — in your hectic, parental world.

This list was compiled with help from the Mayo Clinic article on caffeine content.

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Guest's picture

I adored this article on caffeine content. Would you consider allowing it to be reposted on my site as a guest post? Thank you!

Guest's picture

Good list. I prefer tea myself, as it tastes good, is healthy, and only has minimal caffeine (especially green tea). I've never had coffee even once in my life.

Guest's picture
Greg

You can't really say you prefer tea if you've only had tea. That said, how is it possoble that you've never tried coffee? What's stopping you?

Guest's picture
Tina

I skipped my normal morning diet coke today and instead chose a chi tea latte from Starbucks. NOW, I understand why the caffeine headache never set in! Wowza, won't make that mistake again! Thanks for the great info.

Guest's picture

I also prefer tea myself, as it tastes good, is healthy, and only has minimal caffeine

Guest's picture

Good for me, I don't put any of that stuff in my body!!

Guest's picture
Elizabeth

As a former 7th grade teacher (I am staying at home with my kiddos now), I would hear about energy drinks and caffeine all the time. Reader's Digest did an article a couple of years back about the dangers of caffeine and young people. So I am always excited to see someone letting others know about the caffeine content in drinks/food. People, especially that early teen to teenage crowd, don't realize what caffeine in high amounts can actually do to your body.

Thank you for continuing my soap box. And keep in mind that those energy drinks listed have some of the smaller amounts of caffeine, some go as high as 400-500 mg in a bottle.

Eat right and get good sleep and stay away from caffeine!

Guest's picture
Guest

Could anyone explain why soda is caffeinated? I know that in some instances, the caffeine is not an additive but a natural occurrence based on the ingredients. Is it just to add the buzz factor, or is there some other reason?

Guest's picture
Guest

Somebody's gotta take care of the diabetic caffheads.

Guest's picture

As a therapist, when someone complains about not getting enough sleep, or having a hard time falling asleep, I ask about caffeine intake. In addition to the anxiety-like symptoms that make sense to link to caffeine, coming off of it, for example if someone drinks coffee to get energized for work, but not on the weekend, can cause the opposite reactions: apathy and depressive symptoms.

In general, people have no idea how much caffeine they consume.

Guest's picture
Guest

Could you source the comment on "The longer a tea is steeped, the higher the caffeine content"? I have been told for ages now that the opposite is true: more steep = less caffeine, as the tannic acid breaks down caffeine the longer they are in contact with each other.

Guest's picture
Guest

Thanks for this list! I just discovered I'm allergic to caffeine, so keeping this list in mind will definitely come in handy when I'm in a situation where I can't check labels. I've found that at restaurants, if I ask if a certain drink contains caffeine, they just stare at me for a few minutes and finally say, "I'unno."

Guest's picture
Guest

"Starbucks (Grande) iced coffee, 16 oz: 190 mg. This is double-brewed. Without the ice it contains 380mg."

So if I tell them to hold the ice the drink automatically doubles in caffeine? Is this a side effect of having twice the volume of coffee, or a magical byproduct of the double-brewing process?

Guest's picture
Guest

its both, duh. no ice = more space for coffee

Guest's picture
jake

I remember I once took 3 no doze at once when I was 18, not knowing you were only supposed to take 1 at a time. It was the worst feeling, EVER! Made the mistake of staying out the night before a long day at work and not reading labels.

Guest's picture
cile

Drink beer and wine and you will be healthier and happier - not these junk beverages...

Guest's picture
Guest

Chocolate does not contain caffeine. It contains theobromine which is a stimulant, but reacts with the body in a different way that caffeine and is not as harsh.

Guest's picture

Unfortunately just looking at the list makes me want to get out the headache pills. The past few years I get banging sick headaches 24 hrs after taking in caffeine (if I stop). It took a long time to work out what was happening but without fail i'd get a terrible headache on a Sunday because my intake fell dramatically at home.

I have the occassional drink so the list is handy to get a feel on what I can take and what to avoid. I guess if someone wants to kill me take me to Starbucks for a Grande without the ice! :)

Guest's picture
Guest

Can we have the caffeine content per oz or dl, instead of a difficult to grasp list of figures?

Sonja Stewart's picture

I actually lerned about the tea having more caffeine when I was in the U.K.  I researched about the tannins and caffeine breakdown but couldn't  find anything.  It's something worth looking into, as I know a lot of people are trying to avoid or cut down caffeine.  I do know that if you dump out the tea from the first steeping, and add more water to the tea bag, the tea leftover is almost entirely decaffeinated.  I learned that from the delightful vegan, Moby who opened a tea bar in New York.  No, I don't personally know him.  But, hey, throw a doctor's coat on him and he becomes believable, right?

 

Sonja Stewart

 

Sonja Stewart's picture

I had no idea about the caffeine.  Thanks for the information. 

 

Sonja Stewart

 

Sonja Stewart's picture

The reason the coffee has twice the amount of caffeine, is because they use two pots worth of coffee grounds and brew only one pot worth of water.  So the caffeine is more potent.  They do this to keep the taste of the coffee the same according to their measurements...which would be a full cup of ice, followed by the iced brew.  So, if you ask them to hold the ice you get twice the caffeine. 

 

Sonja Stewart

 

Sonja Stewart's picture

I'm not sure how you'd like this list to be reorganized, exactly.  I was trying to make it user-friendly.  I like nice round numbers, instead of dealing with decimals.  (However my next caffeine article will be entirely decimals.) 

A simple calculator with a division function should help you figure out what the mg are per ounce.  The main purpose of the article isn't to measure out the exact amount of caffeine millia per item, it's really more of an awareness issue, so people can monitor their (or their children's) intake.

 

Sonja Stewart

 

Guest's picture
Guest

I just read this - apparently decaf coffee (versus regular) can put pregnant women at risk of miscarriage?

Guest's picture
grover

Interestingly, here in China, the first brewing of the tea leaves is often discarded.

The hot water is poured over the leaves in the teapot, then poured off. (The first brew of tea is sometimes used for rinsing utensils and dishes at lower-end restaurants.) Then for the rest of the meal, the leaves are used as normal.

Perhaps the lower caffeine content has something to do with the well-noted benefits of Asian tea consumption.

Guest's picture
Wasted

Caffeine is mildly addictive, making it one of the world's most widely used drugs. It can cause a number of health problems.

It can prevent your body from absorbing vitamins and minerals.
It can increase the excretion of vitamins and minerals from the body, so you won't get the full benefits of healthy foods.
Caffeine overstimulates the central nervous system, increasing your heart rate and blood pressure.
It has an impact on the body's energy levels: following the initial energy surge, your levels fall due to the lowering of blood sugar.
It can irritate your stomach, and cause headaches and insomnia.
Caffeine has also been associated with a decrease in bone mineral density, increasing the risk of osteoporosis in women

Guest's picture
Guest

Your caffeine listing on coffee is misleading. Most people don't track coffee sizes, nor do they really know the difference between a latte and an espresso.

A latte is steamed milk with 1 shot of espresso in it. A latte does not contain more caffeine than 1 shot of espresso, unless the cow has been drinking energy drinks. . . however you used a GRANDE latte (16oz) which is a double (containing a double shot). If you wanted to skew the results, you might as well have used a triple Venti as comparison, or a bucket of a tea vs. a cup of coffee. Assuming the numbers are correct, it's interesting how little caffeine the energy drinks contain.

One thing of note, there are certain chemicals that increase your sensitivity to caffeine, i.e. gaurana and taurine which make small doses of caffeine much more potent. And "energy" drinks ALL contain them (as well as many weight loss supplements).

And to the comment as to why caffeine is added at all to soda's? The original mass market soda, Coca-Cola, had Cocaine and Caffeine (from a Kola nut) as the main active ingredients. Asking why caffeine is added is like asking why nicotine is added to cigarettes. There is a reason why Coca-Cola is a global force. Every single person on planet earth will likely have at least 1 can of soda at least one time in their life. You can even find it sold in plastic bags in remote jungles of third world countries. . .

Guest's picture
Chris

The new star bucks drinks (veinte?) I can only imagine will be 25% than the current Grande. That will bring you out of a deep slumber in no time.

Guest's picture
Pat S.

The stats for energy drinks are actually sometimes inaccurate based on what you read on the container. The FDA doesn't regulate these, as they are considered supplements, and so the manufacturer doesn't have to divulge caffeine content from things like guarana and other sources.
Pat
http://compoundingreturns.blogspot.com

Guest's picture
Jackson

Interesting read. I was surprised that expresso didn't have as much caffeine as I thought. Back in college I did a paper on caffeine. It is actually a banned substance and is tested for in drug doping because of it's stimulant effects. The banned limit is about the equivalent of about 8 or 9 cups of brewed coffee. More than most "normal" people would drink at a time.

Guest's picture
Guest

Just an FYI - the Rockstar I'm currently drinking (Zero Carb) has 120mg of caffeine per 8oz serving. There's another Rockstar type with this amount of caffeine as well. Thought you should know. =)

Carmen Grant's picture

wow! I assumed that espresso had more caffeine than regular drip coffee! AND drip coffee is cheaper. awesome