Thursday, February 16, 2012

Coffee, Tea...


Peter Bryenton asked "I was wondering how much caffeine there is on average in an ordinary cup of instant coffee?"

Not an easy question as the consumer is in control of how strong they make the coffee and how big a cup they use.  Generally instant coffee powder is about 2-3% caffeine and instant coffee is about 330mg/L (about 75mg per cup).  But I know my first cup of coffee in the morning is considerably stronger than my last of the day.

Tea is generally only about 80% of the caffeine levels of coffee but, again, this varies with type, cup size and steeping time.  Herbal teas generally have none but be careful of flavoured green teas, they have similar levels to black tea.

Colas are about 100mg/L; a third that of tea and coffee.

The much vaunted 'Energy Drinks' are only permitted a maximum of 320 mg/L in Australia and so are on a par with tea and coffee.  Not that they would want an image of a little old lady sipping her cuppa to be equated to the macho image of the heroic energy drink urban warrior-rapper-sportsman.


  1. Thank you Lee. I'm reading the labels from an informed point of view now.

  2. I love coffee, but it gives me the shakes terribly. I settle for decaf instead, but have worked for quite unethical restaurants that serve only 'real' coffee even when decaf is ordered.
    At work my coffee is known as a Crappachino- but what's wrong with a halfstrengthdecafonsoy ? Maybe I'll stick to tea:)

    1. Definitely unethical. If they would lie about that what about vegetarian, alcohol-free, no peanuts, no added msg, etc etc.

      Not happy with your work mates - I'd challenge that comment, put them on the spot:

      Why is is a crappacinino?

      Because it doesn't have caffeine…

      Does everything your drink contain caffeine?

      No, but coffee is supposed to…

      Supposed to? According to who?

      It's natural.

      Oh, so you only drink natural things?


      OK, why do you drink coffee that has been roasted? Shouldn't you be using green beans?

      You get the idea. Make them defend their comments. This can be done calmly questioning and makes them back off. Don't accept what they say as true. While you ask the questions, you control the conversation.

      Remember, if coffee gives you the shakes, so will tea. If it doesn't, it's not the caffeine that's the culprit.

  3. Oh, bother. This is all so complicated. Besides, the correct answer is, "Yes."

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