9 facts about caffeine in your coffee and tea


In all the previous articles on the effects of coffee on human health, caffeinehas featured promin ently as themost prominent active ingredient in coffee. Despite the fact that coffee and tea have been consumed by mankind for several thousand years, caffeine was first identified in the 1820s. It was discovered by the German chemist Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge.

Another famous German chemist who was interested in coffee was Peter J. Schlumbohm, who gave the world one of the most popular (and beautiful) methods of making filter coffee, Chemex.


This alkaloid can be found in beverages other than coffee. Caffeine is naturally present inall coffee beans and acts as a natural pesticide. However, the coffee plant is not the only plant containing caffeine. It is also found in varying degrees in other deciduous shrubs or trees. Caffeine is also found in tea. Even its content in tea leaves ishigher than in coffee beans. How is this possible when your cup of tea doesn't have as strong a stimulant effect as coffee?


To clarify this context, let's look at how caffeine is extracted. Themoment hot water touches ground coffee or tea leaves, extractionbegins . Theextraction time is the time when the caffeine and other substances from the coffee or tea pass into the water to produce a fragrant drink. This means that the longer the extraction time the more time the caffeine will have to do this.

Itfollows thatmore caffeine will be contained in the drink that has taken longer to extract. Take, for example, the simple, almost basic method of alternative coffee brewing - the French Press. In this pot with a special plunger, you can prepare both coffee and tea. The preparation (apart from the raw material itself) will differ in the following parameters:

  • the amount of coffee/tea
  • water temperature
  • extraction time


Typical coffee extraction times using the French Press are around 4 minutes. Whereas tea takes about 2-3 minutes to brew. In addition to the shorter extraction time, less tea leaves are needed to make one cup of tea than coffee beans for the same volume of coffee. The last factor is the temperature of the water. Caffeine is better extracted in hot water. When pouring coffee , the water in our kettle is probably around 92°C. We would burn green and white teas with water this hot.

The amount of caffeine in tea or coffee is usually given in milligrams in research. From a health point of view, the appropriate daily dose of caffeine for a person is between 20 and 400 mg. The limits of the beneficial amount of caffeine for your body vary from person to person. Depending on the individual's ability to metabolize caffeine. At the same time, we must also include other sources of caffeine in the total caffeine intake. These include cocoa and chocolate.


One cup (approx. 2 dl) of filter coffee contains around 100 mg of caffeine. The same cup, but this time with black tea that has been extracted for 3 minutes, will have about 30 mg of caffeinein it. The green one a little less. If we let the tea steep for up to 5 minutes, we can get to 60 mg and 40 mg of caffeine in the green cup. However, we probably won't like the taste of such tea any more.


These abilities of caffeine to be extracted into water over a certain period of time also explain thedifferences in the amount of caffeine in relation to the chosen drink - coffee. Or rather, to its preparation. It is not unusual for a businessman in a hurry to walk into a café and demand an express coffee at the bar. But not an espresso, a ristretto.

"Hello, give me a ristretto. I need a caffeine boost and I'll run again." says the customer. It's based on the idea thatespresso isthe most concentratedway to make coffee. It is aconcentration of flavours, aromas and oils. True, you don't get that strong body and distinct flavour in filter coffee. However, if you want a higher concentration of caffeine, then instead of espresso, ask for filter.


The ristretto itself is a bit of a mystery even in any coffee shop. It is awell-known fact that it is aneven smaller espresso. How does such a coffee come into being in a café? In the simplest way. By shortening the extraction time of the original espresso. The barista simply turns off the machine earlier, about halfway through the espresso. Voila! The ristretto is made.

The correct preparation of a ristretto is based on its resulting small volume. Therefore, to obtain coffee up to 20 ml, assuming the same amount of coffee in the lever of the machine as for espresso, thegrindingmust be adjusted . Which is why the first faster procedure of shortening the extraction with the coffee machine button is usually used.

Considering that one espresso contains around 60 mg of caffeine, that doesn't leave much chance for the ristretto to be a concentrated energy in the cup. In fact, it contains about as much caffeine as one cup of tea. This is where the ability to metabolize caffeine plays a significant role. When for some, even a cup of tea can be enough of a boost.


Just as there are differences in the amount of caffeine according to the type and preparation of coffee, the caffeine content of certain types of tea also varies. We mentioned above that black tea has more caffeine than green tea. White tea has even half as much caffeine in it.

However,these teas are all from the same type of plant, the Camellia sinensis - tea plant. The leaves grow on it, which produce teas that fall into any category. Whether white, green, black or oolong. Whether the tea is black or green is then determined primarily by further processing such as drying, oxidation and fermentation.


We also like to refer to leaves and flowers that do not come from the tea plant as tea. The term 'tea' has become generalised to include any extract from any herb or fruit. Some such non-teas also contain caffeine.

A representative of such a drink is Mate. This non-tea is prepared from the leaves of the Cesmina Paraguaya. Apart from caffeine, one such drink has about 50 mg, it brings a lot of vitamins. Although it originates from South America, it is also popular here and especially in tea houses it keeps its tradition, when it is served in a special container - calabasa with a typical straw - bombilla.

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