Red Bull Vs Coffee (Compared for Caffeine & Health)

Caffeine is the perfect solution if you need a quick energy boost. Most of us have incorporated it into our daily routine somehow, and if we go even a day or two without it, then we really struggle.  

Everyone has their own caffeine fix, but the two most consumed caffeinated beverages are Red Bull and coffee. This guide will help give you an insight into the similarities and differences of the two drinks and provide you with the full breakdown of Red Bull vs. coffee.  

Red Bull is a synthetic energy drink created in 1987 by an Austrian entrepreneur called Dietrich Mateschitz. It was the first energy drink to hit the market and took the world by absolute storm. There are many other popular energy drinks on the market, but Red Bull still has the largest market share, with over 7.5 billion cans being sold a year.  

Red Bull is a mix of sugar, synthetic caffeine, B vitamins, and taurine. It has about 30mg of caffeine which is enough to give you a serious energy hit. They’ve developed several different flavors of Red Bull and a sugar-free version for those on a diet that offers drinkers many choices.  

Red Bull is popular because of the caffeine boost and the unique flavor of the drink. Many younger people don’t enjoy hot drinks, and Red Bull gives a lighter, more refreshing way to perk yourself up. It’s part of the reason Red Bull is one of the most popular drinks out there.  

redbull can


  • Fast Energy Boost
    Red Bull provides a really fast energy boost that can take less than 30 mins to kick in.
  • Unique Flavor
    The unique flavor of Red Bull makes it a tasty drink even without the caffeine.
  • Increased alertness
    Red Bull has been proven to improve your alertness and can help you focus for longer.
  • Better reaction time
    Red Bull can improve your reaction time, perfect just before playing sports.
  • Easy to drink
    Red Bull is really easy to drink and can be mixed too.
  • Portable
    Red Bull is a portable energy solution that you can take with you or drink on the go.


  • Trouble sleeping
    This is a pretty obvious one, but Red Bull can impact your sleeping pattern
  • Nausea
    Red Bull can cause nausea if you drink too much of it.
  • High levels of sugar
    The sugar content of Red Bull means it’s not suitable for those on a diet. 

Natural Coffee: History & Ingredients 

Coffee has been around for over a thousand years in one form or another. It’s made from natural ingredients harvested from coffee plants. The beans within the plants are used to make coffee. Some of the most popular coffee beans come from South America, but they are grown worldwide. Each crop has a unique taste, and you might find you prefer one type of bean over another.  

Coffee is the 2nd most consumed beverage in the world after water. In the early 1900s, it exploded onto the scene with the rise of coffee machines used to make excellent coffee at home. Since then, the selection of coffees has increased massively, and it’s proven to be a very versatile drink. Americanos, cappuccinos, and lattes are among the most popular, but some people prefer a simple drip or instant coffee.  

Coffee is popular at home or out and about, and coffee shops are literally everywhere. The energy boost, taste, and ability to customize the drink makes coffee very popular. Coffee contains about 40mg of caffeine which gives it a real kick. It’s generally drunk by adults of all ages and part of people’s daily routine.  

coffee beans


  • Heightens your senses
    Coffee has been shown to make you more alert and lower your reaction times.
  • Wakes you up
    The 40mg of caffeine in coffee helps wake you up in the morning and keep you going throughout the day.
  • Customizable
    Coffee comes in all shapes and sizes, so you can pick one which suits you. It works hot or cold too.
  • Natural
    Coffee is all-natural with no synthetic ingredients within it.
  • Boosted metabolism
    Coffee has been shown to boost your metabolism and help your digestion. Perfect if you’re trying to lose weight.
  • Antioxidants
    Coffee contains antioxidants that are good for your overall health.


  • Staining
    Coffee can stain your teeth if you drink enough of it.
  • Caffeine crash
    The high levels of caffeine in coffee can result in a bit of a crash once it’s out of your system.
  • Heartburn
    The natural acidity of coffee can give you heartburn if you’re not used to it.
  • An acquired taste
    Coffee isn’t for everyone, and younger people tend not to like it. It's certainly an acquired taste, and you may need to add other ingredients to suit your tastes.

Red Bull Vs Coffee: Differences & Which Is Best For Energy? 

There’s been a debate for years about whether Red Bull or coffee is better for giving you energy. There are some similarities and some differences with the drinks, and we've given you a breakdown of all the key factors here:  

Caffeine Content  

Red Bull has, on average, 30mg of caffeine per can. This is quite a bit in one sitting and will definitely perk you up quickly. It’s designed to give you a quick boost, and you'll feel the effects very quickly.  

Coffee generally has 40mg of caffeine which is noticeably more than Red Bull. Some coffees may taste stronger than others, but they will typically still contain about 40mg. Despite being stronger, coffee releases the caffeine more slowly, so you generally won’t feel it as quickly.  

If you’re looking for extra energy to quickly perk you up, then Red Bull is probably best. If you want a slower release of energy, then coffee is probably the better choice.  

Sugar Content 

Sugary drinks have been flagged as a major health concern by the government, so it's good to understand how much sugar is in your beverage. Red Bull has a high sugar content of 11 grams per 100ml. This is a lot and helps explain the sudden rush of energy you get when you drink it. There are diet versions of Red Bull available, but you’re best off avoiding it if you’re on a diet.  

Coffee in its most basic form actually has no sugar in it at all. Many people choose to add sugar to help amend the taste, but it’s entirely in your hands how much you put in there. Black coffee is generally one of the best caffeine drinks for those avoiding sugar.  

black coffee and sugar

Calorie Content 

Those on a calorie-controlled diet know that you need to count the calories in your liquids as well as solids. A standard can of Red Bull contains 117 calories, which is the equivalent of eating an apple (without the vitamins and minerals). This makes it fairly calorific for a drink, but there are light and diet versions available.  

The calories in coffee massively depend on what type you order. A standard black coffee contains basically 0 calories, but milk and sugar will cause that to rise quickly. An Americano with skimmed milk is around 12 calories, but milky coffees are a lot more. A cappuccino has about 100 calories (not including any chocolate dusting), and a latte has 150 calories (without any sugar syrup added).  

If you're counting your calories closely, then coffee is the way to go, but be careful what you order because some coffees can be deceptively calorific. 

Taurine Content  

Taurine is a naturally occurring amino acid that is found in fish and meat. It’s used internally as part of our digestive process and essential for our metabolisms. Taurine is included in energy drinks because it has been proven to improve alertness and mental focus. There are some debates over the long-term effects of taurine on the body, and it’s not truly known what it’s doing to you.  

Red Bull contains a lot of taurine, and there's 80mg in 100ml of the drink. This, combined with the caffeine, is how the energy drink gives you that boost and stimulates your mind. Coffee, on the other hand, contains no taurine. This makes it the safer option but means you won’t get that same energy kick.  


Antioxidants are really good for you. They basically help your body overcome free radicals in your system, which, if left unchecked, can turn into cancer or other illnesses. It’s definitely worth keeping your antioxidant levels up to keep your body fighting fit.  

Red Bull only contains trace amounts of antioxidants and shouldn’t be used as a primary source. Coffee, on the other hand, contains a lot of different antioxidants, particularly hydrocinnamic acids and polyphenols. If you’re looking to boost your overall health, then coffee is the better choice. 

Energy Boosting 

Red Bull is known for giving you a big energy boost, and it's one of the main reasons people drink it. Within 15-30 mins of having a Red Bull, you should feel more awake, more alert, and more focused. This will typically last 2-3 hours before your body starts to crash.  

Coffee, on the other hand, is a bit more of a slow burn. You should feel the effects in about 30 mins, but it won’t be as much of a shock to the system. Coffee will continue to provide energy for about 4-6 hours before it starts to wear off.  

If you’re looking to quickly spike your energy before a workout or other activity, then Red Bull is the one for you. If you want to have energy released over several hours while working, then coffee is the better choice.  

Health Effects  

Despite being a sugary drink, Red Bull has several health benefits. It contains vitamin B, B6, which helps support your immune and nervous system, and B12, which helps support your digestive system. It also contains pantothenic acid, which can help with allergies or stress, and riboflavin can help reduce muscle cramps.  

Coffee also has some vitamin B in it, along with manganese, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus. All of these help to support your body and are particularly effective in helping your immune system.  

Neither Red Bull or coffee are made as beverages that support your health, but they both have ingredients your body will benefit from. Red Bull contains more vitamins and minerals than coffee, but your body may not be able to digest them all in one go.  

Price Comparison  

A can of Red Bull will cost about $2 across the US. A coffee shop coffee will cost you between $2 and $5 depending on your exact order, or you can make your own coffee at home for under $1. This makes coffee a lot cheaper if you make it at home.  

Red Bull Vs Coffee

Red Bull Vs Coffee: Adverse Health Effects 

It’s important to understand the health implications of anything you put in your body. There are some side effects to Red Bull or heavy coffee intake which you should be aware of:  

Red Bull 

  • Diabetes risk 
    High levels of sugar can increase your risk of type 2 diabetesStudies have shown that sugary drinks are really bad for you and are a key factor in causing diabetes. A single can of Red Bull can contain over 30 grams of sugar which can have an impact on your health. 
  • Heart risk 
    When considering heart health, you have to think about your heart rate and your blood pressure. Red Bull can considerably increase your heart rate and your blood pressure for 24 hours after consumption. This can lead to hypertension and heart disease. 
  • Kidney risk  
    A single can of Red Bull occasionally won’t impact your kidneys but having several a day for an extended period increases your risk of kidney damage 
  • Caffeine overdose risk 
    Caffeine is like any other drug, and you can overdose on it. If you have more than 400mg a day, then you can overdose, which could ultimately lead to death. Having more than 5 cans of Red Bull a day can be very dangerous and should be avoided.  


  • Headaches  
    Coffee can lead to intense dehydration and cause severe headaches. This is particularly common if you drink too much of it, and these headaches can come on suddenly. Remember, just because coffee is a liquid, it doesn’t replace your water consumption, and you should remember to stay hydrated.  
  • Heartburn   
    Coffee is quite acidic, and this can lead to heartburn if you consume too much. If you notice this becoming an issue, you may need to limit your intake. 
  • Anxiety   
    Coffee can make you jittery and anxious. This can make it hard to focus and can even make you paranoid. If you suffer from anxiety anyway, then it’s best to avoid coffee. 
  • Teeth damage 
    The acidic qualities of coffee can damage the enamel of your teeth. This can lead to staining, and you'll need specialized products to remove it. If you drink a lot of coffee, then you may need to brush your teeth more often. 

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Can you drink 2 Red Bulls a day? 

2 cans of Red Bull will be fine for most people, but if you’re under 19, then 2 cans could cause a caffeine overdose. Try to avoid drinking more than 1 Red Bull a day if you’re under 19.  

Can you become addicted to Red Bull? 

Yes. Energy drink addiction is becoming more common as young people start to drink them more often. The sugar and caffeine in Red Bull can lead to dopamine being released in your brain, which can turn into an addiction.  

What are the long-term effects of drinking energy drinks? 

Drinking a lot of Red Bull regularly can impact your metabolism, heart, and immune system negatively. If you have Red Bull in moderation, then you should avoid any severe side effects.  

Which is worse, alcohol or Red Bull? 

Alcohol doesn’t really contain anything that you want in your body. Red Bull does contain some vitamins and substances your body can use, so alcohol is worse. Alcohol and Red Bull are often mixed together, which causes issues for your body because you're combining a stimulant with a sedative. Make sure not to drink too much Red Bull on a night out, or you could have a caffeine overdose.

How many cups of coffee is equivalent to 1 can of Red Bull? 

There’s actually more caffeine in a cup of coffee than in a can of Red Bull; it's just that Red Bull releases the energy more quickly. Your body can only handle so much caffeine, so you should try to limit yourself to 2 cans of Red Bull a day and no more than 3 coffees.  


Both Red Bull and coffee are great ways to get caffeine into your system quickly. Red Bull helps perk you up more quickly, and coffee gives a bit of a slower release over a few hours. It all comes down to personal preference, and hopefully, this article has given you enough information about coffee and Red Bull to make an informed decision.