How Much Caffeine Is In Chocolate Vs Coffee? – BaristaHQ

Many foods contain naturally occurring caffeine, and chocolate is one of them. 

But does that mean when you go to coffee shops you can just ask for chocolate instead of coffee to get that much needed caffeine boost?

Find out here in this complete guide on how much caffeine is in chocolate vs coffee, as well as some pros and cons for both coffee and chocolate. 

Now that we’ve covered all the basics of caffeine in chocolate compared to brewed coffee, let’s do a full recap on the effects of the caffeine contained within each.

In the table below, not only will we cover the caffeine content but also the potential side effects that come along with both brewed coffee and chocolate.  

Header

Regular Chocolate 

Hot Chocolate (and Chocolate Milk) 

Coffee 

Average Amount of Caffeine 

At about 34mg per serving, milk based chocolate has the highest amount of caffeine when compared with dark and white chocolate.  

The amount of caffeine in chocolate beverages depends on how you make the drink. If you’re using a powdered mix, then there’s probably only about 5mg caffeine.  

A traditional cup of coffee has an average of 95mg caffeine. However, the amount of caffeine in your brewed coffee beverage depends on how the coffee is made, the beans used, the serving size, etc.  

Long Term Health Effects 

Eating too much sugary chocolate can have some negative long-term health effects, like obesity and diabetes.[1] However, consuming very dark chocolate (or unsweetened baking chocolate) in moderation can be beneficial since it is thought to contain several important antioxidants.  

Most chocolate beverages contain high amounts of sugar, which can cause weight gain, obesity, diabetes, and even heart issues. It’s best to keep your chocolate-sipping habits at a minimum.  

Coffee has some positive long-term health effects, like improved athletic performance, more mental sharpness, and the ability to increase metabolism. But as is the case with most things, it’s best to remember that moderation is key.  

Ability To Keep You Awake 

To be completely honest, eating a piece of chocolate probably won’t give you a major energy boost. However, there are some chocolate products that are specifically formulated with higher levels of caffeine.  

Hot cocoa/chocolate and chocolate milk are not the ideal beverage choices for staying awake. Most contain just 5mg caffeine, and there’s actually more caffeine in most decaf coffee drinks. 

If you’re trying to wake up in the morning or pull an all-nighter, drinking coffee can definitely help. Compared to solid chocolate and chocolate beverages, it definitely has the greatest ability to induce wakefulness and boost energy.  


Average Caffeine Content Of Milk Chocolate 

Before getting into the facts on caffeine content, let’s talk chocolate.

Chocolate is a food product that is made from cacao pods that have been roasted and ground. The cocoa butter is extracted from the cocoa beans and used by chocolate makers to produce the chocolate we all know and love.

It is available in many forms, including solid, liquid, and paste. As you probably already know, there are several different types of solid chocolate bar, including regular dark chocolate, milk based chocolate, and white chocolate.  

In terms of caffeine, very dark chocolate (which is considered the healthiest) contains 12 milligrams of caffeine from the cocoa beans (or cacao beans). Milk chocolate bars, on the other hand, has a whopping 34 milligrams of caffeine, and white chocolate contains 0mg. That means if you want to get the biggest energy boost from your chocolate consumption, milky chocolate is the best option.[2 

When comparing caffeine in chocolate vs. coffee, chocolate doesn’t quite match up (we’ll cover the details on the caffeine content of coffee later on). 

However, 34 milligrams of caffeine is enough caffeine consumption to give some people a slight increase in energy, so don’t underestimate the energizing powers of a milk chocolate bar.  

You do also get some speciality cacao bean based chocolate products - like a chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, or chocolate covered espresso beans. These don't tend to have the most caffeine, but it's worth checking each individual product to know for sure.

milk chocolate

How Much Caffeine Is In Hot Chocolate? 

So what about chocolate beverages like hot cocoa?  

This popular order in coffee shops is typically made by mixing either water or milk with a dried chocolate powder (usually dark chocolate based) and cocoa powder on top. This mix of ingredients affects the caffeine content. 

While a solid serving of milk chocolate has over 30 milligrams of caffeine, a cup of hot cocoa/chocolate only contains 5 milligrams of caffeine, and the same can be said about chocolate milk. 

So, when comparing the amount of caffeine in a cup of hot chocolate vs. coffee it's clear to see that coffee beans provide a lot more caffeine. That being said, it is possible to increase the caffeine content in your hot cocoa by using real, solid milk chocolate to make the beverage.  

hot chocolate

What Is The Caffeine Content Of Coffee 

Many people use coffee as their main source of caffeine, and why wouldn’t they? It’s delicious, healthy (more on that next), and a great way to get the day started. Best of all, coffee is one of the most energy-boosting substances out there.  

The amount of caffeine in your coffee depends on a few things, like the roast type, brewing method, and serving size.

If you were to brew a standard cup of coffee with a traditional coffee machine, then you’re looking at about 95 milligrams of caffeine per 8-ounce cup.  This means that 1 serving of coffee has significantly more than 1 serving of solid milk chocolate.  

There are, however, differences in the caffeine content for different types of coffee. Here’s a quick breakdown of the caffeine in coffee types:  

  • Espresso - 1 shot of espresso has an average of 64 milligrams of caffeine. 
  • Latte - An 8-ounce latte has an average of 85 milligrams of caffeine. 
  • Cappuccino - An 8-ounce cappuccino has an average of 85 milligrams of caffeine. 
  • French Press - The caffeine in a French press can range from 80 to 135mg depending on the beans used and the steeping time.  
  • Decaffeinated Coffee - Contrary to what you might think, decaffeinated coffee actually does contain some caffeine, usually about 12mg, which is the same as dark chocolate. 
  • Macchiato - A 2-ounce macchiato has an average of 85mg caffeine.  
  • Flat White - A 12-ounce flat white has an average of 130mg caffeine. 
  • Cold Brew Coffee - A single cup has 200-400mg of caffeine.
  • Instant Coffee - An 8-ounce cup of instant coffee can have anywhere between 30 and 75mg caffeine.  
Black Coffee Next To MacBook

Pros & Cons Of Drinking Coffee For An Energy Boost 

In addition to giving you a boost of energy, there are several surprising health benefits for coffee drinkers, but there are also some drawbacks.[3] Here are the pros and cons that come along with drinking coffee regularly:  

Advantages 
  • More caffeine to boost brain power and mental clarity 
  • Allows you to burn fat more quickly 
  • Contains essential nutrients like magnesium and niacin 
  • Can lower the risk of certain diseases, like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Type 2 Diabetes 
Disadvantages 
  • Has the potential to stain teeth 
  • Can negatively affect your sleep patterns 
  • Can cause heartburn in some individuals 

FAQs About Caffeine In Chocolate & Coffee

How much caffeine is in hot chocolate vs. decaf coffee? 

Decaf coffee can have anywhere between 2 and 12mg of caffeine, while a cup of hot chocolate has 5mg. However, if it's made with real milk chocolate rather than a dehydrated powder, then the amount of caffeine could be more like 35mg. 

How much caffeine is in chocolate-covered coffee beans? 

According to the USDA, a 1-ounce serving of chocolate-covered coffee beans contains as much as 227mg caffeine. However, this depends on the type of bean that is used; some manufacturers make them with decaffeinated beans, so in that case, the amount of caffeine would be a lot lower.[3]   

How much is considered too much coffee? 

Every individual has a different tolerance for coffee, but the general rule of thumb is to try and limit yourself to 400mg caffeine per day or less. So if you’re drinking regular coffee that has about 95mg caffeine per cup, you should have no more than 4 cups of coffee per day. 

How do hot chocolate and Red Bull compare? 

In our guide on Red Bull vs. coffee, we found that Red Bull has over 110mg of caffeine per can. Compared to hot chocolate, which typically has about 5mg caffeine unless made with real milk chocolate, Red Bull is much more caffeinated.  


Conclusion

When you compare the caffeine in chocolate vs coffee there's a clear winner - coffee. So if you're looking for an energy boost you're going to get more caffeine from a cup of coffee. 

However, many studies say that chocolate (particularly dark chocolate) in moderation is good for health, so feel free to go ahead and indulge in a sweet treat occasionally.[4]   

References:

1. https://herheart.org/health-benefits-and-risks-of-chocolate

2. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-benefits-of-having-a-healthy-relationship-with-chocolate

3. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/

4. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/dark-chocolate/