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Caffeine in Tea vs Coffee: How Much in Each?

Caffeine is the beloved pick-me-up found in both tea and coffee. Many of us start our day with a hot cup of one or the other, but ever wonder which packs more of a punch? In this blog, we will unveil how much caffeine in a cup of coffee vs tea, and how different brewing techniques can alter caffeine levels in tea and coffee. Additionally, we'll explore the distinct health benefits each beverage offers and provide guidance to help you decide coffee or tea which is better suits your lifestyle and health goals.

Coffee VS Tea

What Is Caffeine and Its Pros and Cons?

Caffeine is a natural stimulant most commonly found in tea, coffee, cacao plants, and in some over-the-counter medications. It primarily affects the central nervous system, where it acts to ward off drowsiness and restore alertness.

Pros of Caffeine

  1. Helps improve focus and fight fatigue.
  2. Can aid in burning fat and losing weight.
  3. Improves endurance and strength during physical activities.
  4. Coffee and tea, rich in caffeine, contain antioxidants that protect against cell damage.

Cons of Caffeine

  1. Can interfere with sleep patterns, leading to poor sleep quality.
  2. Regular use may lead to addiction and withdrawal symptoms like headaches and irritability when intake is reduced.
  3. Might increase cardiovascular risks in sensitive individuals.
  4. Overconsumption can cause nervousness and discomfort.

Which Has More Caffeine Tea or Coffee?

Typically, coffee contains more caffeine than tea when measured by volume. An average cup of brewed coffee can offer about 95 milligrams of caffeine, whereas an average cup of brewed tea provides about 30 milligrams, though the exact amount can vary based on the type of coffee or tea and the brewing method used.

Black tea tends to have more caffeine than green or white tea, but still significantly less than coffee. Therefore, for those looking to maximize their caffeine intake, coffee is generally the stronger choice.

How Does Brewing Affect Caffeine Content in Tea and Coffee?

Hands Holding Tea and Coffee

The caffeine content in both tea and coffee can be significantly affected by the brewing method, including the water temperature, the amount of time the leaves or grounds are steeped, and the ratio of water to coffee or tea.


For coffee, the brewing method plays a crucial role in determining the caffeine content:

  • Drip Brewing: This common method typically uses a moderate brewing time and a high temperature, extracting a substantial amount of caffeine.
  • Espresso: Despite the short brewing time, the pressure used in espresso machines extracts a high concentration of caffeine, though in smaller servings.
  • French Press: The longer steeping time allows more caffeine to be extracted compared to drip coffee.
  • Cold Brew: This involves steeping coffee grounds in cold water for an extended period (12-24 hours), typically resulting in higher caffeine content due to the long extraction time.


For tea, the variables affecting caffeine extraction include:

  • Steeping Time: Longer steeping times generally lead to more caffeine being extracted. A quick dip does not allow much caffeine to leach out of the leaves.
  • Water Temperature: Hotter water extracts caffeine more effectively. For example, black and green teas, which are steeped at near-boiling temperatures, will generally have more caffeine than teas steeped at lower temperatures.
  • Type of Tea: The type of tea leaf also impacts caffeine content. For example, powdered teas like matcha contain more caffeine because the whole leaf is consumed, and finer leaf grades often release caffeine more quickly than larger leaves.

What Is Healthier Coffee or Tea?

When comparing the health benefits of tea and coffee, both beverages have their unique strengths. Let's delve into each benefit and see which is better for you coffee or tea:

Rich in Antioxidants

  • Tea: Tea is abundant in catechins and theaflavins, with green tea being particularly high in the powerful antioxidant EGCG.
  • Coffee: Coffee also has a strong antioxidant profile, primarily from hydrocinnamic acids and polyphenols.

Winner: Tie. Both tea and coffee are excellent sources of antioxidants, though the types differ.

Heart Health

  • Tea: Tea drinkers often show lower levels of cholesterol and blood pressure, which are beneficial for heart health.
  • Coffee: Coffee consumption has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, though it can temporarily raise blood pressure.

Winner: Tea. Tea's consistent lowering of blood pressure and cholesterol gives it a slight edge.

Cancer Prevention

  • Tea: Green tea is especially noted for its potential to reduce the risk of various cancers.
  • Coffee: Coffee is associated with a lower risk of liver and colorectal cancer.

Winner: Tie. Both beverages are linked to lower cancer risks, though the types of cancer they potentially protect against vary.

Weight Management

  • Tea: Green tea, and specifically its antioxidant EGCG, is well-known for assisting with fat burning and metabolism boosting.
  • Coffee: Coffee's caffeine content can enhance metabolism and promote fat burning, though primarily in the short term.

Winner: Tea. Green tea offers sustained benefits for metabolism and fat burning, especially when consumed regularly. That’s why tea is better than coffee.

Improved Brain Function

  • Tea: Tea is known for improving alertness and reducing the risk of neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Coffee: Coffee boosts various aspects of brain function and is linked to a reduced risk of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Winner: Coffee. The robust stimulatory effects of coffee on alertness and cognitive functions give it the upper hand.

Liver Protection

  • Tea: Tea consumption can also contribute to better liver health and may lower the risk of liver cancer.
  • Coffee: Coffee is particularly recognized for its protective effects against liver disease progression and liver cancer.

Winner: Coffee. Coffee's notable benefits in reducing cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma make it a standout.

Mental Health Benefits

  • Tea: Tea's calming effects can be beneficial for mental health and possibly lowering depression risk.
  • Coffee: Regular coffee drinking is associated with a lower risk of depression and acts as a mood enhancer.

Winner: Coffee. The mood-enhancing properties and lower depression rates among coffee drinkers give it an advantage.

Which One Should You Drink, Tea or Coffee?

Tea and Coffee

There is no all-in-one answer to which is healthier tea or coffee. Choosing between tea and coffee often comes down to personal preference and health considerations:

Consider Tea If:

  • You're sensitive to caffeine.
  • You prefer a more gradual increase in alertness.
  • You're interested in the diverse flavors and types of tea.
Consider Coffee If:
  • You seek a stronger, immediate boost in energy.
  • You enjoy the rich, bold flavors of coffee.
  • You're interested in the health benefits associated with higher antioxidant content.


Whether you lean towards the aromatic world of teas or the robust realm of coffees, both beverages offer unique benefits and pleasures. By understanding their differences, especially in terms of caffeine content and health impacts, you can make a choice that aligns with your lifestyle and wellness goals.

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