Caffeinated Drinks Ranked From Highest To Lowest, and What They Do To You.
Updated: Sep 2
Caffeine and the different effects it has on individuals can be... confusing. While some people rely on coffee in the morning to start functioning for the day, others get the jitters from only a small amount, and then there are those who can drink it before bed or have 4 cups in a day with no issue. But before understanding how your own body reacts to caffeine, it's important step would be to understand how much you're actually consuming to create that caffeine reaction.
All that said, I thought it might be fun to explore how much caffeine is in coffee, tea, matcha, and more—plus the health benefits of each!
Caffeinated drinks ranked highest to lowest.
*** Note: These different caffeine levels are based on one cup (8 oz.) of each beverage, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) food database.***
1. Cold Brew: 96+ mg caffeine
Cold brew differs from brewed coffee in that a. it's cold :) and b. it has less acidity than brewed coffee, making it easier on the gut and less likely to cause acid reflux.
Although the USDA says cold-brew coffee and regular brewed coffee have the same amount of caffeine, that may not always be the case. According to registered dietitian, Desiree Nielsen, R.D., cold brew requires more coffee grounds and a longer steeping time that regular [brewed] coffee, it may contain more caffeine than your regular brew. However if the cold brew is diluted with water or milk, the caffeine content may be as similar as the FDA suggests.
2. Brewed Coffee: 96 mg caffeine
Now, your regularly brewed coffee may have one of the highest levels of caffeine, coffee is a good source of antioxidants, like the anti-inflammatory compound chlorogenic acid.
But that's not all! Coffee has also been shown to have a beneficial impact on brain health, fatty liver, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
3. Latte: 86.4 mg caffeine
Yummy Lattes <3 Lattes are generally higher in sugar than black coffees -- especially when they're flavored! Unfortunately, in addition to more sugar, lattes also contain fewer antioxidants than iced or cold-brewed coffee. :(
4. Iced Coffee: 74.4 mg caffeine
Don't be fooled, this is not the same as the cold-brewed coffee mentioned above. Iced coffee is essentially the same as hot brewed coffee, but served over ice. Cold-brew coffee is more concentrated and, therefore, contains more caffeine. However, both are preferred in hot weather!
5. Matcha: 70 mg caffeine
This is my go-to morning starter! Matcha is a type of green tea that has been ground into a powder. Of all the drinks on the list, matcha is said to be the healthiest! It contains the greatest amount of antioxidants (catechins-EGCG) as the entire leaf is used, may help the protect the liver, boost brain function, may help to prevent cancer, promote heart health, and help with weight-loss.
6. Black Tea: 48 mg caffeine
The antioxidants in black tea may not be as powerful as green tea, but the beverage still has a lot of health benefit such as promoting over all health. For example, black tea has been shown to reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
7. Green Tea: 28.8 mg caffeine
Hot green tea is a mild-tasting beverage with a moderate amount of caffeine and a high number of health benefits. Like it's whole-leaf friend, matcha, green tea is loaded with antioxidants and may also help with brain function and potentially protecting against cancer. Rumor has it that habitual green tea drinkers may even live longer!
8. Decaf Coffee: 0 to 15 mg caffeine
Decaf... most of the time. Occasionally decaffeinated coffee can really actually be low-caffeinated coffee, as it can still contain trace amounts of caffeine, which can build up over time if consuming multiple servings.
9. Herbal Tea: 0 mg caffeine
For those looking to eliminate caffeinated drinks altogether or have a hot bevy before bed, herbal tea is the recommended go-to. This is a good way to get the comfort of a warm mug, without the caffeine. And bonus: Many of these can also help reduce bloat and stomach discomfort!
The recommended daily intake of caffeine is 400 mg or less. Drinking too much caffeine may lead to unhealthy side-effects such as the jitters or a crash in energy. To avoid those outcomes and, instead, experience sustained benefits throughout the day, micro-dosing caffeine is recommended.