Crave a morning cuppa joe before checking off your to-do list? You're far from alone. Caffeine is wildly popular around the world, and with good reason: wherever you live, there's nothing like an energy boost to help those irritable early hours fly by.
If your caffeine knowledge ends at running the coffee maker, however, it's time to sort through the facts. From brewing to devouring, here's what you never knew you needed to know about everyone's favorite stimulant.
That's right, all three of them: coffee, cola, and tea. Despite popular belief, caffeine naturally occurs in more than just coffee beans. It's present in the cacao beans that produce chocolate, guarana fruit (whose extract is a common ingredient in energy drinks), cola nuts, and tea leaves.
The chemical was isolated back in 1819, and the urge for a morning sip is still picking up steam over 200 years later.
Caffeine doesn't kick in right away, so if you're still feeling groggy after a few sips, just give it some time. Generally, an energy boost will affect you about 20 to 30 minutes after consumption.
Caffeine's half-life is about 4 to 6 hours, so if you chugged too much, you'll have to wait for that edge to wear off. If you're working from home or have a lot on your plate, knowing this simple fact can help you arrange your schedule more effectively to get all the boosting benefits without those interfering jitters.
While espresso and tea are stronger than coffee, their serving size means you generally aren't getting as much per serving. Espresso is measured in shots, whereas drip coffee is portioned into cups. Likewise, tea leaves have higher caffeine content, but the brewing process is weaker and results in less caffeinated drinks.
A single shot of espresso contains about 65 mg of caffeine, whereas the standard teacup boasts about 25 to 30 mg and a cup of coffee has 95 mg. When making these beverages at home, always compare serving sizes and brewing methods so you know how much caffeine you're actually consuming.
Roasting is a complicated process, and it has a notable effect on caffeine content. If you haven't already heard, dark roast coffee is lower in caffeine than lighter varieties. This is because roasting itself affects coffee bean mass.
Caffeine is located within the water of fresh beans, so lengthy roasting evaporates most of the water out, leaving beans drier, darker, and significantly lower in caffeine. By contrast, rapid roasting results in lighter beans with high caffeine levels. You buy these off the shelf as light roast coffee.
The brewing process has a strong impact on caffeine content. Coffee requires hot water, which extracts more caffeine from a large mass of beans (compared to a smaller mass of tea leaves).
Black tea has 47 to 90 mg of caffeine because its tea leaves are oxidized, which increases how much caffeine infuses your hot water. Green and white tea leaves are not oxidized, so caffeine content stays within the 25 to 30 mg range. The longer you brew, the more caffeine you lose during the process.
Which one's more your flavor? That all depends on personal taste. Arabica is generally more popular due its sweet flavor and high acidity level, while robusta is preferred for its higher caffeine content (nearly double that of the former) and affordable price.
If you want a sweet-tasting beverage without getting the jitters, go with arabica. Want to power through blah-inducing daily meetings? Reach for robusta.
Most people don't consider caffeine an allergen, so they don't picture breaking out into hives the next time they grab a grande latte. Those who consume caffeine on the regular have built up a tolerance and likely don't have to worry, but some people (especially those new to caffeine, or those who don't consume it often) can hyperventilate or experience hives in addition to jitters, shaking, and interrupted sleep.
According to research, nearly 6 billion liters of energy drinks are consumed in 160 countries every year. These go-to beverages have significantly higher caffeine content than coffee, tea, and cola combined, averaging between 150 and 300 mg per can. For reference, 400 mg is the recommended maximum daily dosage.
These drinks also contain sugar and a hearty supply of stimulants, such as guarana and L-carnitine. While these ingredients increase alertness, too much could result in dehydration, insomnia, and heart palpitations. If you're a frequent drinker, play it safe and keep your caffeine intake within recommended guidelines.
If you're sensitive to caffeine or craving a slower, more gentle energy boost, it's worth giving kombucha a try. The trending drink contains about 15 mg of caffeine, depending on the type of tea leaves used during fermentation—white, black, green, or oolong.
This sparkling fermented tea beverage originated over 2,000 years ago, and it contains living cultures that could have some positive impact on gut health. You can learn more about kombucha in this informative post on Facty.com.
While alcohol is by far the most widely used drug in the world (followed by tobacco), caffeine isn't too far behind. It has fourth place on the list of most-used drugs. According to the FDA, the average American consumes a whopping 300 mg of caffeine every day!