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The Caffeine Professor: Does Tea contain more Caffeine than Coffee?

By Peter Brooks

The Office Beverage caffeine professor is here to set the record straight and dispel the myths and misconceptions when it comes to caffeine, that most ubiquitous of stimulants we all get in our coffee or tea. Whislt we're on the subject of coffee and tea, which one of these fine beverages actually contains the most caffeine? It’s a question that gets asked a lot with a whole host of mixed and confused  answers. So we thought we’d clear up the confusion once and for all?

The truth is that it really depends on how you pose the question. If we’re comparing tea leaves and coffee beans before either have been brewed then the answer is that tea contains more caffeine; that is more caffeine by dry weight. Tea is very light and only 2 to 3 grams of it are used to brew a typical 8oz cup of tea. A larger weight of coffee beans would be used to make the equivalent sized cup of coffee.

Prepared tea though does contain less caffeine than coffee with a typical mug of tea containing anything from 35 to 75mg of caffeine compared to around 100mg for a cup of instant coffee and 140mg for a cup of filter coffee. Of course the longer tea is brewed the stronger it will become and the more caffeine will be in it but it is unlikely that even the strongest cup of tea will contain as much caffeine as your average cup of coffee.

So there you have it. By dry weight tea has more caffeine in it but beverage for beverage coffee far outstrips tea in terms of caffeine content. The answer all depends on how you ask the question at the end of the day. 

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