Caffeine Content: Coffee and Tea

Unfortunately, the caffeine content of coffee and tea is almost never reported on a label or a sign in a coffee shop or anywhere else.  This table will give you a fighting chance at estimating how much caffeine you are getting from some of your favorite drinks.

Preparation Method Mg of Caffeine
COFFEE (6 oz cup, arabica coffee) Filter drip 130 – 180  (average 150)
Percolated 75 – 150
Espresso (1.5 to 2 oz) 100
Instant 50 – 130
Decaffeinated 2 – 6 (?)
Type of Leaf Mg of Caffeine
TEA (6 oz cup, 3 minute brew) Green tea 10 – 15
Orange tea 25
Black tea 50
Brand Mg of Caffeine
BOTTLED ICED TEA (16 oz bottle) Snapple iced tea (all varieties) 42
Lipton iced tea (all varieties) 18-40
Nestea sweetened iced tea 34
Arizona iced tea (all varieties) 15-30

 

Most people think that an espresso has more caffeine than an ordinary cup of coffee.  This is a myth.  While espresso has much more caffeine per ounce, it is usually served in cups of between 1.5 ounces and 2 ounces.  Because regular filter drip coffee usually is served in cups that are 6 ounces or larger, the amount of caffeine in an espresso is actually smaller than the amount in a cup of regular filter drip coffee.

The reason for the question mark in the decaf line is that sometimes so-called decaffeinated coffees aren’t really as caffeine free as they pretend to be.   Instant decaffeinated coffees like Sanka are reliable and only contain a few milligrams of caffeine at most.

Remember that the caffeine content of Robusta beans is twice that of Arabica beans.  Robusta beans are harsher and more bitter, but they are cheaper because their higher caffeine content protects the plants from disease.  When the coffee you are served is bitter, you can assume you are getting Robusta beans.

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