Resource Centre 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.

The level of caffeine in tea depends on many factors, including the type of tea, brewing time, the quantity of tea leaves that are used and the size of the leaves. A typical cup of tea contains approximately half of the caffeine of a typical cup of instant coffee (see Table 1).

When included as part of a healthy lifestyle, caffeine in moderation; i.e. up to 300-400 mg per day has no adverse effects on health and may even have beneficial effects on mood and mental and physical performance. Moreover, a number of caffeine reviews have demonstrated that caffeine, at levels found in commonly consumed beverages, is not dehydrating┬│. Caffeine-sensitive individuals, children, and pregnant or lactating women, should seek professional advice from their registered dietician and or doctor regarding caffeine consumption.

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


  1. Larson NI et al (2007).JADA, 107: 1502-10
  2. Slimani N et al (2009). EJCN, 63: S206-25
  3. Maughan RJ & Griffin J( 2003). Caffeine ingestion and fluid balance: a review. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 16(6): 411-420.