Caffeine in tea vs coffee: Which is the healthier boost of energy?

Hey there, tea drinkers and coffee drinkers! 

For so long, coffee and tea have been pinned against each other to determine which one's the better (or rather healthier) drink. Both are considered to be the best sources of caffeine, a well-known energy booster. Whenever we need to wake ourselves up or keep our minds alert for the day, a cup of coffee or tea would usually do the trick. 

However, in spite of caffeine's benefits, drinking too much of it may also cause some health concerns. In that case, some people try to figure out which one between coffee and tea contains less caffeine. The more controlled we are with our caffeine intake, the healthier we can be.

So which one is the healthier drink? Tea or coffee?

Let's find out in this blog post. 

What is caffeine and what makes it special? 

Did you notice that many employees order coffee especially during meetings? The same goes for students who are cramming over an exam or security guards who are on the night shift. There's only one explanation for that: caffeine. 

Caffeine is a type of natural stimulant that is usually found in coffee, tea, and cacao plants. Energy drinks have them as well. It functions by stimulating our brain and central nervous system, letting us stay alert and mentally awake. It also prevents the onset of tiredness which means even though you are physically exhausted, you can deceive your mind by giving it a buzz of caffeine, making it think that you are still full of energy. 

How does caffeine take effect? 

Once you consume the caffeine, it's quickly absorbed by your gut and goes directly into your bloodstream. Starting from there, caffeine goes to your liver and is broken down into compounds that are then affecting various organs in your body. But the main effect of caffeine targets your brain. 

How does caffeine give you energy exactly? Well, it blocks a neurotransmitter called adenosine, preventing your brain from feeling tired or relaxed. It can also increase adrenaline levels in your blood and increase the brain activity of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine. All these lead to an even stronger stimulation of your brain, promoting a state of alertness, arousal, as well as focus. 

This is exactly why caffeine is sometimes referred to as a "psychoactive drug". 

Why is caffeine a health concern? 

Wait for a second—isn't caffeine supposed to be good for us? Yes, it is in terms of being a great source of energy. 

However, just like anything else, too much caffeine consumption can lead to serious health conditions. 

According to studies, consuming caffeine in large doses might cause medical issues such as anxiety, restlessness, difficulty sleeping, headaches, migraines, and bitterness. Furthermore, caffeine can also be addictive just like a drug. Drinking beverages with high levels of caffeine content on a frequent basis might develop some sort of dependence. This means that we begin to rely on caffeine too much, therefore experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms whenever we try to stop it or avoid it.

So if you are an obsessive coffee drinker or tea drinker (in this case, we're talking about caffeinated teas), you better think twice before the negative side effects begin to show. 

Tea vs coffee caffeine content 

Understanding the amount of caffeine in coffee vs the amount of caffeine in tea

When it comes to the higher level of caffeine content, coffee and tea might be a little confusing. 

It might seem that coffee wins this category because the effects of its caffeine take place faster and you can actually feel it more. However, tea is said to have a better ability to sustain the energy that caffeine helps produce. But do any of these things say a lot about which beverage has the higher caffeine level? 

In actuality, the caffeine level in coffee and tea varies significantly. There are factors to consider in their comparison such as:

  • the type of tea (e.g. black tea contains 48 mg of caffeine while green tea only has 29)
  • amount of tea leaves or coffee beans used in the brew
  • water temperature
  • how long the tea was steeped or how long the coffee was brewed

Interestingly enough, here's the tea (no pun intended): tea leaves actually contain more caffeine than coffee beans. Shocker, right? 

Tea leaves contain approximately 3.5% of caffeine while coffee beans only have 1.1-2.2%. This is why we use more coffee beans to prepare our coffee drinks compared to how many tea leaves we use to brew our tea. But another interesting note is that everything changes once you brew them. When you brew coffee using hot water, you extract more of the caffeine from the beans. This is why a cup of brewed coffee (237 ml) is a much stronger drink compared to a cup of tea. 

So to our dearest coffee drinkers and tea drinkers, there really isn't one simple answer of which beverage has the higher level of caffeine content. It's a matter of how much coffee and tea you used and how you prepared them. This is great news because it shows that we can have control over our caffeine consumption. 

But if you are really adamant to reduce your caffeine intake, you can go for decaffeinated coffee or decaffeinated tea. There are lots of teas that are caffeine-free such as chamomile, rooibos, hibiscus, and our very own blend of dandelion root (which is a well-known coffee substitute that tastes similar to coffee). 

How much caffeine is there in each type of coffee? 

There are plenty of coffee drinks and blends. Find out how much caffeine is in each one of them:

Coffee type


Caffeine Content

Highly-caffeinated Coffee

12 fl. Oz. 

702 - 928 mg

Nitro Coffee

16 fl. oz.

325 mg

Cold Brew Coffee

16 f. oz.

200 mg


1 shot 

60 - 102.67 mg

Brewed Coffee

8 fl. Oz. 

95 mg

Brewed Coffee (decaffeinated)

8 fl. Oz. 

3 - 4 mg

Instant Coffee (decaffeinated)

8 fl. Oz. 

2 - 3 mg

How much caffeine is there in each type of tea? 

Tea also has plenty of variations. Let's see how much caffeine is there in each type: 

(The caffeine content is measured per 8 oz cup)

Type of tea

Caffeine Content

Black Tea

60 - 90 mg

Oolong Tea

50 - 75 mg

Green Tea

35 - 70 mg

White Tea

30 - 55 mg

Find out how much caffeine there is in the drinks of your favorite commercial coffee brands!

Just for the sake of it, here's a glimpse of the caffeine content in the different beverages of common coffee brands. Check them out below: 

A. Starbucks Coffee 

(For grande-sized beverages only/16 oz)


Caffeine Content

Blonde Roast

360 mg

Nitro Cold Brew

280 mg

Dark roast

260 mg


225 mg

Double shot

225 mg

Cold Brew

200 mg

Flat White

195 mg

Iced Coffee

165 mg


150 mg


150 mg


150 mg


100 mg


80 mg


45 - 55 mg


25 mg

B. Dunkin Donuts


10 fl oz

14 fl oz

20 fl oz

24 fl oz

Brewed coffee

132 mg

178 mg

244 mg 

284 mg


75 mg (single)

97 mg (double)

151 mg (triple)

Brewed coffee (decaffeinated)

9 mg

13 mg

18 mg

22 mg

C. McCafe 


12 fl oz

16 fl oz

21 - 24 fl oz

Brewed coffee

109 mg

145 mg

180 mg


71 mg

142 mg

178 mg


71 mg

142 mg 


71 mg

142 mg

178 mg


71 mg 

142 mg

178 mg

Caramel Macchiato

71 mg

142 mg

178 mg


86 mg

167 mg

200 mg

Iced Coffee


133 mg 

200 mg

Brewed coffee (decaffeinated)

8 mg

11 mg

14 mg

Which should I drink, coffee or tea?

Both are great beverages that are great sources of energy boosters. However, there's really no telling which one is better. It totally depends on your taste, preference, and health condition. If you really need the adrenaline rush, go for the coffee in the morning.

If you're sensitive to the effects of caffeine, then it's better to lay off the coffee and choose to drink decaffeinated ones or caffeine-free teas (which are safer). If you want a little caffeine that doesn’t cause a crash but more of a mellow sustained energy boost, go with black or green tea. 

The bottom line is that caffeine should be taken moderately. Take it as you need it just so that you can avoid being dependent on it. It's great having that wonderful boost of energy, but your health is more important.

If you're sure about reducing your coffee intake, you can check out our delightful variety of caffeine-free teas and coffee alternatives here




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