How Much Caffeine Does Tea Have Compared with Coffee?
It's found in over 60 plant species and enjoyed across the globe, especially in coffee, chocolate, and tea.
The caffeine content in a beverage varies depending on the ingredients and how the drink is prepared.
While caffeine is considered safe, drinking too much 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?
An estimated 80% of the world's population enjoys a caffeinated product daily.
Both the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) define a safe caffeine intake as up to 400 mg per day, 200 mg per single dose, or 1.4 mg per pound (3 mg per kg) of body weight (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source, 3).
Due to its stimulating effects, caffeine has been linked to health benefits like enhanced alertness, improved athletic performance, elevated mood, and increased metabolism (4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source).
In large doses, caffeine has been associated with anxiety, restlessness, and difficulty sleeping. In addition, some studies suggest that drinking it regularly, even in moderate amounts, can cause chronic headaches and migraines (8Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source).
Furthermore, caffeine is considered mildly addictive, and some people may be more susceptible to developing a dependence (9Trusted Source).
Caffeine is a popular stimulating compound found in many foods and drinks, including coffee and tea. It's associated with many health benefits, but consuming too much of it may raise some concerns.
Caffeine Content Varies by Beverage Type and Preparation
Tea leaves contain 3.5% caffeine, while coffee beans have 1.1–2.2%. However, the coffee brewing process uses hotter water, which extracts more of the caffeine from the beans. Typically, you also use more coffee beans than you'd use tea leaves for a drink (12).
Therefore, 1 cup (237 ml) of brewed coffee generally has more caffeine than a cup of tea.
Black, green, and white teas are prepared from leaves of the same plant, Camellia sinensis. What sets them apart is the time of harvest and level of oxidation of the leaves (4Trusted Source).
Black tea leaves are oxidized, while white and green tea leaves are not. This gives black tea a characteristic bold and sharp flavor and increases the extent to which caffeine from the leaves infuses hot water (4Trusted Source).
An average cup (237 ml) of black tea packs 47 mg of caffeine but can contain as much as 90 mg. For comparison, green teas contain 20–45 mg, while white teas deliver 6–60 mg per cup (237 ml) (12, 13Trusted Source, 14).
Matcha green tea is another high-caffeine tea. It usually comes in powdered form and packs 35 mg of caffeine per half-teaspoon (1-gram) serving (4Trusted Source).
Similarly, yerba mate, a tea traditionally enjoyed in South America that's made by steeping the twigs and leaves of the Ilex paraguariensis plant, usually contains 85 mg of caffeine per cup (237 ml) (12).
It's also important to note that although herbal teas are marketed as caffeine-free, one mug of these may still deliver up to 12 mg of caffeine. That said, this is considered a negligible amount (4Trusted Source).
The preparation method greatly impacts the caffeine content of tea. Teas that steep for longer and in hotter water tend to produce a more potent cup (4Trusted Source).
For example, a mug of Tazo Earl Grey contains 40 mg of caffeine after 1 minute of steeping in 6 ounces (177 ml) of water heated to 194–203°F (90–95°C). This amount rises to 59 mg after 3 minutes (4Trusted Source).
For comparison, Stash Green Tea has 16 mg of caffeine after 1 minute of steeping under the same conditions. After 3 minutes of steeping, this more than doubles to 36 mg (4Trusted Source).
It's a common belief that coffee made from dark-roasted beans has more caffeine than coffee from light-roasted beans. However, since caffeine isn't affected much by roasting, this may not be the case (15).
That said, since dark roast coffees are less dense than light roast ones, you may use greater amounts of beans or grounds when brewing this type, yielding more caffeine per cup (15).
For example, a "single" espresso from Starbucks has about 58 mg of caffeine per 1-ounce (30-ml) shot. Most specialty coffee drinks, such as lattes and cappuccinos, are made with a double shot of espresso, containing 116 mg of caffeine (16Trusted Source).
Among decaffeinated beverages, decaf espresso tends to have the most caffeine with 3–16 mg per 16-ounce (473-ml) serving, whereas decaf coffee typically provides less than 3 mg per 8-ounce (237-ml) cup. Decaffeinated teas fall in between these two types of coffee (4Trusted Source, 16Trusted Source, 17).
Hotter water draws more caffeine out of tea leaves, and the same holds for coffee. Coffee is typically brewed hotter than tea at an ideal temperature of 195–205°F (90–96°C) (15).
You can also make cold-brewed coffee by soaking ground coffee in cold, filtered water for 8–24 hours. As you use 1.5 times more ground coffee using this method compared with regular hot-water brewing, it may result in a more caffeinated cup (18Trusted Source).
The caffeine content can vary greatly depending on the type and preparation of tea and coffee. Black teas and espresso coffee pack the most in both categories, while herbal teas and decafs have only scant amounts.
Which One Should You Drink?
Caffeine acts quickly — usually within 20 minutes to 1 hour of consumption (1Trusted Source).
If you're sensitive to the effects of caffeine, consider sticking to teas lower in caffeine like white or herbal teas. You may also brew high-caffeine teas for a shorter time, such as 1 minute instead of 3.
Opting for decaffeinated tea, coffee, and espresso is also a good way to enjoy these drinks without much caffeine.
On the contrary, if you're a fan of high-caffeine drinks, you may enjoy espresso, cold-brew coffee, and teas with higher caffeine contents, including green and black varieties.
To stay within safe amounts, drink no more than 400 mg daily, or 200 mg of caffeine at a time. This translates to no more than three to five 8-ounce (237 ml) cups of regular coffee daily, or eight 1-ounce (30-ml) shots of espresso (18Trusted Source).
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should also stick to no more than 200 mg per day. This is about one 12-ounce (355-ml) cup of coffee or up to four 8-ounce (237-ml) mugs of long-brewed black tea (20Trusted Source).
If you're concerned about your caffeine intake, look for white or herbal tea and decaf coffee. If you enjoy caffeine, keep your intake to less than 400 mg or 4 cups of coffee daily and aim for no more than 200 mg of caffeine at once.
The Bottom Line
How you prepare your tea and coffee affects their caffeine contents.
While black tea, espresso, and coffee bring the most caffeine to the table, green tea packs a moderate amount as well. The content in white teas varies greatly, while herbal teas are practically caffeine-free.
If you'd like to cut back on caffeine, try steeping your tea for less time, and opt for decaffeinated versions of your favorite coffee- and espresso-based drinks.
However, if you enjoy the effects of caffeine, aim to not consume more than 400 mg per day.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
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A stretch of coastline in the Philippine capital, Manila has received backlash from environmentalists. The heavily polluted Manila Bay area, which had been slated for cleanup, has become the site of a controversial 500-meter (1,600-foot) stretch of white sand beach.
Sand Makeup Crucial for Ecosystems<p>While UNEP/GRID-Geneva generally supports finding <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/not-enough-sand-for-construction-industry-despite-abundance/a-49342942" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">alternative sources of sand</a> so as not to disrupt ecosystems in rivers and oceans when extracting them, Vander Velpen stressed it was vital to use sand which closely matches the makeup of the native sand to protect beach fauna.</p><p>"If you change the core characteristics of the native sand, the original sand, you need to do an environmental impact assessment (EIA) to find out how it's going to impact the ecosystem and nearby ecosystems," he told DW.</p><p>But according to Torres, such an assessment was not done in Manila.</p>
Beautification Stunt Instead of Proper Cleanup?<p>Manila Bay's waters are heavily polluted by oil and trash from nearby residential areas and ports. A huge "No swimming" sign warns visitors to stay away from the ocean.</p><p>Philippines' <a href="https://denr.gov.ph/index.php/priority-programs/manila-bay-clean-up/25-priority-programs/1825-frequently-ask-questions-faqs-on-the-dolomite-and-the-beach-nourishment-project" target="_blank">Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)</a> has denied dolomite sand poses any risk to human health and the ecosystem.</p><p>However, scientists of the University of the Philippines have come forward disputing the DENR's claims. A <a href="https://biology.science.upd.edu.ph/index.php/ib-statement-regarding-dolomite-in-manila-bay/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">statement by the Institute of Biology</a> said that using crushed dolomite did not address any of the rehabilitation phases and instead was "even more detrimental to the existing biodiversity as well as the communities in the area," pointing to the case of water birds. "The dumping of dolomite in Manila Bay has effectively covered part of the intertidal area used by the birds thereby reducing their habitat."</p><p>At peak migration season, Manila Bay is home to 90 aquatic bird species, including species of international conservation concern that are facing a very high extinction risk in the wild. </p><p>Authorities should focus on protecting and conserving biodiversity, the Institute of Biology added. "Rehabilitating mangroves is an example of a nature-based solution that is cheaper and more cost-effective than the dolomite dumping project," the scientists said.</p><p>Moreover, <a href="http://www.msi.upd.edu.ph/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the Marine Science Institute</a> has warned that prolonged inhalation of finer dust particles of dolomite could "cause chronic health effects," leading to discomfort in the chest, shortness of breath and coughing.</p><p>They also warned dolomite sand grains would erode during storms and be carried out to sea, essentially being washed away.</p>
Rehabilitation vs. Reclamation<p>Environmentalists say covering up the beach doesn't address the real issues of the bay. Torres and others believe the best way to clean up Manila Bay is not to add anything, but rather remove trash and pollution.</p><p>"There have been studies saying much of the waste comes from already collected waste — so these are open dump sites along the coast that get washed up because of the rain," Torres said.</p><p>She criticized the authorities for continuing to push reclamation projects she says are at odds with each other. These projects will affect large areas of mangrove forests, she said, and experts warn that this, in turn, exacerbates coastal erosion.</p><p>"If you've removed the areas that helped trap the sand, like mangrove forests, then the likelihood increases that you will have to nourish a beach. Same as building right up to the waterfront," said Vander Velpen of UNEP/GRID-Geneva.</p>
Plenty of Sand in the Sea?<p>The question of Manila's contentious white beach echoes larger questions about sand mining worldwide. <a href="https://unepgrid.ch/storage/app/media/documents/Sand_and_sustainability_UNEP_2019.pdf" target="_blank">Global sand consumption has tripled</a> over the past two decades, UNEP/GRID-Geneva has found. A huge chunk of it is now taken up by construction.</p><p>"Many operate on the assumption that natural sand is endless in its supply," said Vander Velpen.</p><p>Sand scarcity is a concern shared by Stefan Schimmels of <a href="https://www.fzk.uni-hannover.de/fzk_start.html?&L=1" target="_blank">Forschungszentrum Küste</a> who's done extensive research on shore nourishment to stop coastal erosion. And as climate change and rising sea levels are threatening coasts, demand for sand will grow even more.</p><p>A large study, the <a href="http://www.stencil-project.de/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/STENCIL_SWOT_Analyse_191026.pdf" target="_blank">Strategies and Tools for Environment-Friendly Shore Nourishments as Climate Change Impact Low-Regret Measures (STENCIL project)</a>, focused on the German island of Sylt, a popular vacation spot.</p><p>About 1 million cubic meter of sand per year is used to maintain the coastal area of Sylt, STENCIL project head Schimmels said. That's about 100 million 10-liter buckets of sand.</p><p>When sand was extracted off the coast of Sylt, underwater craters were formed. "You can still detect these craters even decades later," Schimmels told DW.</p><p>"Also when you add a couple of meters sand onto the beach — you essentially bury all things that do creep and fly," he said. "How quickly will they recover?" Schimmels said more research was needed as there was still too little known about long-term effects on the environment. </p>
Criticism Piling Up<p>As for Manila's artificial white sand, it looks like some might have already been blown away by a recent storm. DENR claims it wasn't washed away, but said that grayish sand, stones and other material had simply piled up over the dolomite sand. People in Manila have tweeted photos showing how the storm has ravaged the beach. </p>
<div id="adc0b" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="98f9390db6bb81cb421aaf0bb9d9a6fb"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1318816633280851969" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Exactly one month after giving excited netizen a glimpse of Manila Bay white sands, look what happened now after ju… https://t.co/X0Z9i0bPB0</div> — M*A*S*H (@M*A*S*H)<a href="https://twitter.com/Magtira_Matibay/statuses/1318816633280851969">1603265362.0</a></blockquote></div><p>Authorities have been called tone-deaf for spending around 389 million pesos ($8 million) on a beach nourishment project in the middle of a raging pandemic.</p><p>An image of cake iced with the words "It really hurts - that's [worth] 389 million pesos?" has since gone viral.</p>
<div class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="4387aad52ea316e4db7330052318ca2f"><div class="fb-post" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/theweekendpatisserie/posts/144564207350008"></div></div><p>"It's just a waste of precious resources," Torres said. </p><p>The environmental activist now also worries that she might be labeled a terrorist for speaking out under the <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/philippine-anti-terrorism-law-triggers-fear-of-massive-rights-abuses/a-53732140" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Philippines' controversial new anti-terrorism law</a>. She says she could be arrested for inciting fear when talking about environmental dangers.</p>
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