Patient Education Tea and Caffeine

There is a great deal of consumer confusion surrounding caffeine and tea. Caffeine is an alkaloid that can be found in varying quantities in coffee. However the level of caffeine in tea depends on many factors, including the type of tea, brewing time, quantity of tea leaves used and the size of tea leaves. A typical cup of tea contains approximately half the caffeine of a typical cup of instant coffee (see Table 1).

Caffeine in moderation i.e. up to 300-400 mg per day has no adverse effects on health and may have beneficial effects on mood, mental and physical performance. Moreover, a number of caffeine reviews have demonstrated that caffeine at levels found in commonly consumed beverages is not dehydrating3. Caffeine sensitive individuals, pregnant/lactating women or children, should seek specific advice from their registered dietician and or doctor.

Table 1: The caffeine content of beverages as consumed

Beverage Caffeine Content
Instant coffee 75 mg-190 ml cup
Brewed coffee 100-115 mg/190 ml cup
Decaffeinated coffee 4 mg/190 ml cup
Tea 50 mg/190 ml cup
Cola drinks 11-70 mg/330 ml can
Hot chocolate 1.1-8.2 mg/200 ml serving
Energy drinks (with added caffeine or guarana) 28-87 mg/250 ml serving