Does Chocolate Have Caffeine, Or Have We Been Lied To?
No, you haven’t been lied to, but maybe you’ve been misled. That’s because while chocolate has caffeine, it doesn’t have that much.
The biggest factor determining how much caffeine ends up in your favourite chocolate bar is how much cocoa nibs are in your chocolate. In other words, how dark your is chocolate determines how much caffeine there is.
Let’s answer one of the world’s biggest dilemmas: does chocolate have caffeine?
Is There Caffeine In Chocolate?
Yes, there is undoubtedly caffeine in chocolate. The amount of caffeine in chocolate varies widely depending on the type of chocolate and how much chocolate you’re eating.
Chocolate is made from cacao beans. The process cacao beans go through is similar to that of coffee beans. The beans must be harvested, roasted, and processed before they reach us (1). Cacao beans have a natural amount of caffeine, just like coffee beans.
The truth is that while there is caffeine in chocolate, there usually isn’t enough to make a massive difference in your day. That’s because it depends on what sort of chocolate you’re eating and what percentage of cocoa is actually in your chocolate. Or you can go crazy and make chocolate-covered coffee beans for a bigger kick.
How Much Caffeine In Chocolate?
Now that we know there is caffeine in chocolate, we have to talk about how much caffeine there is. The average 75% dark chocolate bar has about 54 mg of caffeine (2). However, that range is anywhere from 28 mg to 77 mg of caffeine, depending on where the cocoa beans come from.
Even if we take the upper end of the caffeine in a dark chocolate bar, it’s still not quite as much as the caffeine in a cup of coffee. Heck it’s even less than the caffeine in coffee ice cream.
The average cup of coffee has about 90 mg of caffeine, and espresso, on the other hand, has around 60 mg of caffeine, closer to a chocolate bar.
But all these numbers only talk about dark chocolate with a relatively high cocoa nibs content. Not everyone is a fan of dark chocolate, so is there caffeine in other types of chocolate?
White Chocolate Vs Milk Chocolate Vs Dark Chocolate
We already know that dark chocolate can have over 77 mg of caffeine. And that’s similar to a shot of espresso. But it’s lower than many different sodas’ caffeine content.
The darker the chocolate, the higher the caffeine content.
Milk chocolate has fewer cacao nibs than dark chocolate. Cacao nibs are the crushed-up parts of cocoa beans with the most caffeine. Therefore, milk chocolate has less caffeine than dark chocolate. One hundred grams of milk chocolate has about 20 mg of caffeine (3).
White chocolate is a different story. White chocolate is made from cocoa butter rather than cocoa nibs. Cocoa butter is an oil used in everything from cooking and baking to making white chocolate.
Since there are no cocoa nibs in white chocolate, that means white chocolate has no caffeine.
Caffeine In Chocolate Vs Coffee
Let’s break this down a little more. Chocolate can have a wide range of caffeine content that changes from cocoa beans origins to the actual processing of the chocolate.
Caffeine in chocolate is a more complicated question than caffeine in black tea vs coffee, for example. That’s because tea and coffee are made with similar amounts of caffeinated ingredients, while chocolate has a bigger range.
A good rule of thumb is that the darkest chocolate bar you can find will only have about as much caffeine as a single shot of espresso.
The bottom line is that chocolate does have caffeine. You haven’t been lied to. But you need to remember that chocolate doesn’t have that much caffeine. You probably won’t get anxious or jittery if you have a chocolate bar in the afternoon. Just enjoy it!
Hershey’s chocolate has very low levels of caffeine. Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate Bars only have 31 mg of caffeine, or about half that of espresso.
No, cocoa butter does not have caffeine. That’s because cocoa butter is made from the fat of cocoa beans instead of the cacao nibs, which is what contains caffeine.
One 30 g serving of chocolate covered espresso beans has about 227 mg of caffeine. That’s slightly more than a cold brew coffee.
- How is chocolate made? How is chocolate made — from bean to bar. (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2023, from https://www.scienceofcooking.com/chocolate/how-is-chocolate-made.html
- How much caffeine is in chocolate compared to coffee. To’ak Chocolate. (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2023, from https://toakchocolate.com/blogs/news/how-much-caffeine-is-in-chocolate-and-why-it-feels-different-from-coffee/
- Fooddata Central Search Results. FoodData Central. (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2023, from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/167587/nutrients/