Caffeine in Tea vs Coffee - Which Has More?

by Anne Franklin 4 min read

caffeine in tea vs in coffee

The question you might be asking yourself not for the first time. For some, the answer is obvious – coffee is many people’s preferred beverage for waking up in the morning, providing a much-needed boost of energy and motivation. 

But is it really that simple? No, not really.

So, which one has more caffeine, coffee or tea? And is caffeine harmful to us? We’re tackling these questions in our newest guide!  

Key Takeaways

  • Tea leaves actually have more caffeine than coffee beans.
  • However, brewed coffee generally has more caffeine than brewed tea due to several factors.
  • The amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee or tea can vary depending on brewing methods and specific types.
  • Black coffee contains the most caffeine (around 95-128 mg per cup) compared to black tea (14-70mg), white tea (up to 60mg), and green tea (up to 45mg).
  • Moderate caffeine consumption can have health benefits like improved alertness and focus.

Which Has More Caffeine – Tea or Coffee?

Getting this straight out of the way, the more caffeine is in… tea! Didn’t see that coming? You’re not alone. However, once we start getting to the bottom of things, we see that this question can have various answers.

Tea Leaves Have More Caffeine

Tea leaves contain approximately 3.5% caffeine, whereas for coffee beans, this number is around three times smaller –only 1.1–2.2%[1].

So, how do we end up with the widely regarded opinion that coffee is a more caffeinated drink? Well, everything hinges on the brewing process and how it extracts caffeine from tea and coffee.

extracts caffeine from tea and coffee

Brewed Coffee Is More Caffeinated 

There are a few important factors that result in coffee being a more caffeinated drink than tea.

  • Coffee is a more concentrated drink.You know that to be true from your everyday life. It takes less amount of tea leaves to brew a cup of tea than coffee beans to brew coffee. More or less 5g of tea leaves is needed as opposed to 10g of coffee beans to prepare a perfect brew. As a result, more caffeine gets extracted from coffee beans than from tea leaves. 
  • Coffee is brewed at a higher temperature. And that makes a difference. Hot water extracts caffeine from the plant material, so the end result is stronger when we use higher-temperature water – which usually takes place when we’re brewing coffee but is not always a requirement for tea. 
  • Coffee is also brewed for longer. Time plays an important role here, too. The longer beans have contact with the water, the more caffeine they will release. Most white and green teas require minimal steeping time, which results in a less caffeinated drink. 
For these reasons,brewed coffee will contain more caffeine than tea. So, if you were thinking of quitting your favorite coffee in favor of tea for more seamless mornings, hold your horses just yet!
brewed coffee

How Much Caffeine in a Cup of Coffee vs Tea

The exact amount of caffeine that you drink depends on various factors and can differ from cup to cup, regardless if we’re talking about coffee or tea.

But, as a general rule, we can assume that regular black coffee has around 95-128 mg of caffeine in 8 oz of drink.

For black tea, this number is somewhere between 14 and 70 mg.White tea usually has up to 60 mg of caffeine per cup, and the least caffeinated of all is green tea, with a maximum of 45 mg per cup.2

As you can see, the difference between coffee and tea in terms of caffeine content is noticeable. Those more sensitive to caffeine will likely feel it. 

Is Caffeine the Problem? 

Since we’re talking so much about caffeine in this article, it’s a good opportunity to discuss the health-related effects of this stimulant. Is caffeine unhealthy? And if so, can we enjoy our fresh and aromatic brews guilt-free?

Caffeine itself isn't necessarily unhealthy. In fact, moderate amounts of caffeine can havesome health benefits[3]. For example, caffeine can improve alertness and mental focus, boost physical performance, and even lower the risk of some diseases.

However, everything we consume should be done in moderation. The same goes for caffeine. If you want to avoid unpleasant jitters, headaches or problems with sleep, it’s best to stick to a recommended daily limit of 400 mg. 

Which Is Healthier – Tea or Coffee?

Good news if you love both – coffee AND tea can be a healthy choice. A lot depends on how you take them and in what amounts.

Both coffee and tea are rich in antioxidants3 and may improve your concentration and reduce the risks of some chronic illnesses.

If you want to keep your health-related goals at the forefront, you may want to avoid drinking excessive amounts of coffee or tea. Also, pay attention to how much sugar and cream you’re adding to your drinks. Too much of anything can have adverse effects on your overall health and well-being.
coffee without sugar and cream

Which Has More Caffeine Tea or Coffee – Closing Thoughts 

There you have it – a helpful breakdown of coffee vs tea and their caffeine contents. As it turns out, tea contains more caffeine than coffee. However, through the brewing process, more caffeine gets released from coffee beans, resulting in coffee being a more caffeinated drink.

No matter if you like your coffee and tea strong and capable of getting you out of bed after a tough night or delicate and low in caffeine, at Angelino’s Coffee, we have options for you.

Check out our collection of aromatic, highest-qualityclassic coffees and packed with flavorsorganic teas to start your day right! We make coffee-making easy and truly delicious! Join our family of coffee lovers today!

Sources:

  1. Komes, Drazenka & Horžić, Dunja & Belščak, Ana & Kovačević Ganić, Karin & Baljak, Ana. (2009). Determination of Caffeine Content in Tea and Maté Tea by Using Different Methods. Czech Journal of Food Sciences. 27. 213-216. 10.17221/612-CJFS.
  2. Wartenberg, Lisa. “Caffeine in Tea vs. Coffee: How Do They Compare?” Healthline, 7 Oct. 2019, www.healthline.com/nutrition/caffeine-in-tea-vs-coffee#caffeine-content.
  3. Coomer, Sarah Hays. “Coffee vs. Tea: Which Drink Is Healthier?” Forbes, 18 Sept. 2023, www.forbes.com/health/nutrition/coffee-vs-tea/.


Also in Welcome to Angelino’s Blog

Iced Lavender Coconut Coffee
Iced Lavender Coconut Coffee

by Symphony Ragan 1 min read

Read More
sustainable coffee practices
Sustainable Coffee Practices – How Sustainable Is Coffee

by Anne Franklin 4 min read

Read More
Decaf Coffee
How Much Caffeine Is in Decaf Coffee?

by Anne Franklin 4 min read

Read More