Green Tea Caffeine Vs Coffee: Which One Should You Drink?
Are you a coffee lover or a green tea enthusiast? By the end of this article, you’ll be one of them if you aren’t already. But when it comes to the amount of caffeine in green tea vs coffee, which one should you drink?
One cup of coffee has more than triple the caffeine in the same amount of green tea, but that’s not the only thing you should consider. Let’s explore this significance, and a few other factors, to decide which drink is right for you.
What Is Green Tea?
Green tea is an unfermented type of tea made from the leaves of the Camellia sinesis plant. This type of tea is not oxidized, meaning its enzymes are not deactivated as they are in other teas. Two other types of teas are manufactured from the same plant’s leaves: fully fermented black tea and semifermented oolong tea (1).
Green tea has the least amount of caffeine of the three. Although, if green tea is harvested earlier in the season, it will actually have more caffeine than the same tea leaves harvested later. Younger shoots higher up the plant also contain more caffeine.
Black tea has the most caffeine of any tea, with 47 mg per 8 ounces, plus a strong taste due to the oxidation of its tea leaves. There is about half the caffeine in black tea vs coffee. Oolong tea’s caffeine content varies substantially, but it tends to be generally higher than green tea and lower than black tea.
For a fun Starbucks-themed recipe to try at home with green tea, check out Medicine Ball Tea.
What Is Coffee?
Coffee comes from the cherries of Coffea plants, of which there are about 25 to 100 species.
The 3 main types of coffee beans are Arabica, Robusta, and Liberica. Arabica makes up about 60% of global coffee production commercially, whereas Liberica only accounts for just around 2%. Robusta has about twice the caffeine content of Arabica, and Liberica has the least of all. However, the exact caffeine content of a cup of coffee varies depending on the roasting and brewing processes, grind size used, temperature of the water, and other factors.
What Is Caffeine?
Caffeine is the most commonly ingested psychoactive drug globally. It occurs naturally in plants such as coffee, tea, and cacao and is added synthetically to products like energy drinks and medicine (2).
Caffeine is a stimulant that produces neurotransmitters to bind to adenosine receptors in the brain, blocking them to prevent sleepiness and maintain alertness. Excess caffeine consumption results in elevated anxiety, gastrointestinal issues, exacerbated difficulties sleeping, and dependence.
The daily caffeine intake recommendation for a healthy adult is no more than 400 mg, or 4 cups of coffee. Kids, teens, young adults, pregnant or lactating women, and people with underlying heart or mental health conditions are considered vulnerable groups. They are encouraged to reduce or eliminate caffeine entirely for their safety.
How Much Caffeine In Green Tea and Coffee?
The amount of caffeine in green tea vs coffee is close to a 1 to 3 ratio.
An 8-ounce cup of hot brewed coffee has 96 mg of caffeine compared to 28.8 mg of caffeine in an 8-ounce cup of green tea.
Even though the amount of caffeine in black coffee may range between 70 to 140 mg, a tea drinker would still need roughly 3 cups of green tea to get the same caffeinated effect as a cup of coffee. Something interesting to note is that looking on a gram-per-gram basis, green coffee beans actually have a lower caffeine content than green tea, but fewer tea leaves are used per brew.
In addition to caffeine, an 8-ounce cup of green tea contains 2.4 mg of magnesium, 19.2 mg of potassium, and 2.4 mg of sodium (3). The same amount of coffee has 4.8 mg of calcium, 7.2 mg of magnesium, 7.2 mg of phosphorus, 118 mg of potassium, 4.8 mg of sodium, and 6.24 mg of choline (4).
Matcha Green Tea Caffeine Vs Coffee
Matcha is a form of green tea made from the same leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, but the dried tea leaves are ground into a powder. When brewing traditional green tea, the tea leaves are steeped in hot water before being filtered out. When making matcha, the powder is whisked into hot water and consumed by the tea drinker.
Matcha green tea thus has more than twice the caffeine as a standard cup of green tea. It also has more antioxidants and other nutrients. When it comes to matcha green tea caffeine vs coffee, they are similar. Depending on quality, matcha contains 20 to 40 mg of caffeine per gram. A typical serving is 2 to 4 grams, which amounts to between 40 and 160 mg per cup.
Caffeine in Decaf Coffee Vs Green Tea
There is far less caffeine in decaf coffee than in green tea. Depending on the decaffeination method, decaf coffee only has about 2 to 4 mg of caffeine per serving. If that still seems like too much for you, there are plenty of caffeine-free coffee alternative options to explore.
Health Benefits Of Coffee Vs Green Tea
Both coffee and green tea contain caffeine, have hundreds of years of history, are best enjoyed cold or hot, and originate from plants. But how your body reacts to the caffeine in each differs.
With coffee you get a sharp peak, which is an immediate impact, whereas tea is absorbed more gradually in the intestines as it is broken down.
The biggest difference between the two drinks is that caffeine and L-theanine interact positively in green tea, increasing calm alertness without jitters. But aside from just caffeine, there are other health considerations for both drinks.
Boost Your Body And Aid In Weight Loss
Coffee and green tea have been reported to help people lose weight due to increased energy, focus, and fat burning, decreased inflammation and muscle soreness post-exercise, and via appetite suppression. However, the evidence is more anecdotal and varies case by case. So if you have weight loss aspirations, a healthy diet and regular exercise are more ideal than relying on green tea or coffee.
Protect Your Mind
Coffee and green tea reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, dementia, and depression (5).
Contain Antioxidants And Polyphenols
Coffee and green tea have antioxidative properties and polyphenols, the latter of which reduce inflammation and protect your cells from damage. This is crucial to reduce the risk of cancers, improve blood control, and increase the body’s sensitivity to insulin as a way of lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes. In doing so, both of these drink types reduce the risk of developing chronic illnesses and lengthen a drinker’s lifespan.
Some of the specific cancers that caffeine in coffee protects against include colorectal, prostate, endometrial, and oral. It also lowers the risk of kidney stones and gallstones.
Coffee has twice the polyphenols as tea, plus necessary fiber. So in terms of green tea vs coffee antioxidant amounts, coffee is the winner. Coffee improves good cholesterol, whereas green tea reduces bad cholesterol. However, tea does not disrupt your sleep nor enable caffeine dependence. And the presence of L-theanine in tea helps to lower blood sugar and cortisol levels (6).
For more information on the specific health benefits of green tea, check out this YouTube video.
Coffee Vs Green Tea
So, which one should you drink? Tea is more popular than coffee, globally. In fact, it is the world’s second most popular beverage after water. But that doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for you.
Both are healthy options when consumed in moderation. If you’re strictly concerned about lower caffeine content, go with green tea. Your sleep and peace of mind will thank you. On the other hand, if you’re searching for a bigger antioxidant boost, coffee is the better choice.
Caffeine is the most common stimulant consumed all over the world. When it comes to the amount of green tea and black coffee, there’s about three times more caffeine in coffee – despite tea having more caffeine on a gram-per-gram basis.
Coffee and green tea do wonders for the body and the mind, but there’s such a thing as too much of a good thing. When it comes to choosing one, green tea is best for less stress and undisrupted sleep, whereas coffee is a better choice if you value high antioxidant levels or want a quick energy surge. Ultimately, it’s a matter of personal preference.
Enzyme coffee is an ambiguous term for a blend of coffee powder, green tea, green coffee bean extract, guarana, chromium, and yerba mate. It is marketed as a quick fix for weight loss, but it is unclear which enzyme is actually used in this coffee. Some speculate that the “secret ingredient” is Vitamin B5, or pantothenic acid, which is one of the enzymes derived from breast milk. Others think it’s all a hoax. We recommend more research or consulting a doctor
The healthiest way to drink green tea is by adding a lemon to increase the absorption of its nutrients. Adding milk is not recommended, as it contains the casein protein, which hinders nutrient absorption. It is also important not to use boiling water because the catechin antioxidants of green tea would be destroyed by the excessive temperature. To ensure your sleep remains undisrupted, drink green tea in the morning between meals rather than before bed.
Antioxidants are molecules that reduce the number of free radicals in your body. Free radicals aren’t inherently bad, but they are associated with many common diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Antioxidants occur naturally in your body as well as being found in many foods like fruits, vegetables, tea, and coffee.
- Hayat, K., Iqbal, H., Malik, U., Bilal, U., & Mushtaq, S. (2015). Tea and its consumption: benefits and risks. Retrieved March 23, 2023, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24915350/
- Temple, J. L., Bernard, C., Lipshultz, S. E., Czachor, J. D., Westphal, J. A., & Mestre, M. A. (2017, May 26). The Safety of Ingested Caffeine: A Comprehensive Review. Retrieved March 24, 2023, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5445139/
- USDA. (2018, December 31). Tea, hot, leaf, green. Retrieved March 23, 2023, from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1104262/nutrients
- USDA. (2018, December 31). Coffee, brewed. Retrieved March 23, 2023, from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1104137/nutrients
- Kakutani, S., Watanabe, H., & Murayama, N. (2019, May 24). Green Tea Intake and Risks for Dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, Mild Cognitive Impairment, and Cognitive Impairment: A Systematic Review. Retrieved March 24, 2023, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6567241/
- Petre, A. (2019, July 8). What Are Polyphenols? Types, Benefits, and Food Sources. Retrieved March 24, 2023, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/polyphenols#what-they-are