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Taking a Closer Look at Caffeine in Coffee VS. Tea

Posted on5 Years ago by

What is Caffeine?

Caffeine is the most widely consumed stimulant in the world. Caffeine is used primarily for its ability to promote wakefulness, decrease fatigue, and increase mental alertness. It is produced naturally in coffee beans, kola nuts, tea leaves, and cacao seeds and present in everyday foods and drinks like coffee, pop, chocolate, and of course tea.


Caffeine’s Effect on the Body

Caffeine is a methylxanthine and can block and inhibit both adenosine and phosphodiesterase. When these enzymes are blocked, the central nervous system is not slowed down and the body experiences higher levels of stimulation. Caffeine can increase performance and enhance endurance. The increased alertness and awareness is a large reason why athletes take caffeine prior to engaging in activities that require physical endurance.


A Different Kind of Buzz: Coffee Vs. Tea

You may have noticed that coffee and tea provide a different kind of buzz. Coffee is traditionally known to be an instantaneous energy boost and tea provides sustainable energy over a longer period of time. Let’s examine the short-term and long-term benefits and side-effects of coffee and green tea to determine why this is.

The Beverage

Brewed Coffee

Green Tea

Caffeine (mg)

95-300 mg in 8 oz. (237 mL)

20-60 mg in 8 oz. (237 mL)

Recommended Dosage

Less than five 8 oz.cups/ day

Less than ten 8 oz. cups/day



Caffeine, Theobromine, Theophylline, L-Theanine

Short-Term Benefits

Mental alertness, increased focus, wakefulness, increased physical endurance & performance, contains antioxidants, increases blood flow, elevated mood

Mental alertness, increased focus, wakefulness, increased physical endurance & performance, elevated mood, anti-anxiety properties, stable & sustainable energy, increased metabolic rate, contains antioxidants, can kill harmful bacteria in the mouth

Long-Term Benefits

Helps burn fat, may decrease risk of cancer, reduces risk of stroke, decreases insulin sensitivity to lower risk for Type II Diabetes, fights depression by boosting neurotransmitters

Helps burn fat, may decrease risk of cancer, protective effects against Alzheimer's & Parkinson's, improve dental health, lower risk for Type II Diabetes, lower LDL cholesterol to protect against heart disease

Short-term Side Effects

Shakiness, tremors, bad breath, nausea, diarrhea, accelerated heart rate, anxiety, restlessness, dehydration, headaches

Shakiness, tremors, constipation, nausea, restlessness, frequent urination, toxicity during fasting  

Long-term Side Effects (Over-Consumption)

Insomnia, heartburn, ulcers, IBS, yellowing teeth, osteoporosis due to loss of calcium, high-blood pressure, dark roasts contain carcinogenic substances that could cause cancer, dependency

Iron-absorption issues can cause iron deficiency or anemia, osteoporosis due to loss of calcium, lower testosterone levels

What Does Green Tea Have That Coffee Doesn’t?

Theobromine: An alkaloid similar in structure to caffeine that can be found in black and green tea leaves. It is most commonly found in chocolate..


  • Stimulated nervous system

  • Increased heart rate

  • Dilated blood vessels

  • Reduced blood pressure

  • Sleeplessness

  • Frequent urination


Theophylline: A methylxanthine drug that relaxes muscles and is used to treat asthma. A very small quantity (1 mg/ 5 oz. cup of tea) is found in tea compared to the tablets used for treating asthma.


  • Stimulated nervous system

  • Increasing heart rate

  • Increasing blood flow

  • Relaxing bronchial muscles

  • Anti-inflammatory  


L-Theanine (also known as Theanine): A gamma-ethylamino-L-glutamic acid derived from tea leaves and some other forms of vegetation. This amino acid is able to cross the blood-brain barrier and reduce stress.


  • Reduced physical & mental stress

  • Improved cognition

  • Elevated mood

  • Improved mental & physical performance

  • Anti-anxiety properties

  • Protects against dementia


Let this Steep In

It is clear that tea contains less caffeine than coffee. Green tea has the highest level of caffeine content compared to other white, black, oolong, and herbal selections. Overall, both coffee and tea have their benefits and disadvantages. The main take-away from this investigation into the consumption of caffeine includes the following:


The Facts:

  • Brewed coffee contains more caffeine than green tea (up to 280 mL more per 8 oz.)

  • Green tea has less short-term and long-term side effects than coffee

  • Brewed coffee and green tea boast similar awareness, alertness, and performance enhancing benefits

  • Green tea contains three additional amino acids (Theobromine, theophylline, L-Theanine)

  • It is recommended that the average person consumes less than 400 mg of caffeine/ per day (roughly 4 cups of coffee or up to 10 cups of tea)

  • Some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others


No matter what your preference may be, coffee, tea, or both, make sure to stay aware of how much caffeine you consume a day. Other foods and beverages like pop, energy drinks, or chocolate contain caffeine and may contribute more than your recommended daily dose. Enjoy the benefits that caffeine can provide you with and check out our best matcha green teas for a mix of antioxidants and caffeine. We’ll let this steep in.  



  1. 2015. Andrews, Ryan. Precision Nutrition. “All About Caffeine”. Accessed January 5, 2017.

  1. 2014. Daily Health Post. “6 Surprising Facts You Need to Know Before Drinking This Popular Type of Tea” Accessed January 5, 2017.

  2. 2014. Mayo Clinic. “Caffeine content for coffee, tea, soda, and more.” Accessed January 5,2017.

  3. 2015. K. Nina. Livestrong. “The Negative Effects of Green Tea” Accessed January 5, 2017.

  4. 2016. Warrior Coffee. “12 Health Benefits and 6 Disadvantages of Coffee.” Accessed January 5, 2017.

  5. 2009. Wolters Kluwer Health. “Green Tea.”  Accessed January 5, 2017.

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