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Coffee Vs Energy Drink And Which Caffeine Is Best For You


Coffee Vs Energy Drink And Which Caffeine Is Best For You

Coffee Vs Energy Drink And Which Caffeine Is Best For You

This is dedicated to our caffeine takers (I’m kinda a local chief on this one) – especially those working in high demand environment, and thumbs up to our techies. 

In whatever format you get your caffeine, whether in a coffee cup from Cafe Neo or in a metal can with branded designs energy drink like Red Bull, Power Horse or Monster, the whole idea still remain the same – “stay alert”.

Without it, we’d be drooling over our keyboards using matchsticks or toothpicks or paper clips to prop open our half-closed eyelids. 

The caffeine within our coffee and energy drink, is a psychoactive substance, can be highly addictive and has a profound effect on our brain functioning. 

We all always need that little extra push to get us through a long hard day at work, especially if you live and work in an unforgiving city like Lagos City. If your caffeine intake isn’t at random at this time, then you’re a rare breed with hardness crafted on your DNA.

How do you get your caffeine? – Coffee or Energy Drink

Most people opt for a morning coffee, some go for an energy drink at lunch. And don’t get it twisted, some mix their coffee and energy drink in a cup with the aim of increasing its effectiveness. You know how you try to get the best of both worlds. 

Both do the job, but which is better at giving you that extra boost?

Coffee has a much higher caffeine content than Energy drinks.  A 12 ounce Starbucks Pike Place roast has 260mg of caffeine – compared to the 160-170mg found in a Monster drink.  So, it is hard to measure them all out based on their caffeine content.

Why Caffeine?

Caffeine puts us in a state of alertness; a coffee or energy drink before a meeting can raise your game, helping you to concentrate and decreasing your mental perception of how hard a task can be. It also makes us more productive as a workforce, as an MIT study from 2010 proved.

Coffee Vs. Energy Drink – which has higher caffeine?

Source: Caffeine Informer

A study at Washington State University is the first published comparison of caffeine absorption after consumption of coffee versus energy drinks and the impacts of temperature and rate of consumption.

“The study suggests that in terms of caffeine absorption and metabolism, coffee and energy drinks are very similar,” said John White from the College of Pharmacy, who was the principal investigator on the study. “And the rate of consumption and temperature of the drink don’t significantly alter caffeine absorption.

According to Psychology Today; ” Beyond activating the minds of revolutionaries, coffee drinking is highly social, and for centuries coffeehouse owners have tried to make their businesses centres of community life. You don’t bring kids to a bar. Coffeehouses can be a place to meet business colleagues, future mates, and listen to the lonely local poet as you surf the net. By comparison, you drink energy drinks alone unless your sports team is imbibing them together at half time”.

Here’s a cup of coffee and a can of energy drink.

Coffee drinking starts early but often extends through a lifetime. The ritual of awakening and brewing a fine cup to activate the still sleepy brain is common to teenagers and eightysomethings. 

Yet we wouldn’t expect grandma to down one or two cans of Energy Drink every night. It looks kind of absurd. 

The parents of caffeinated children drink coffee to get through working days and nights to meet deadlines or resort to the energy drinks that dare not speak their name.

Energy drinks are the perceived province of youth.

Some dosage that makes the little difference.

– Coffee comes in many different caffeine doses, from the 4 to 12 mg of decaffeinated brews to the 40-80 mg of the average cup to the hundreds of milligrams of special Cafe Neo and cappuccino brews. 

– Energy drinks can range upward from low numbers to 200 to 300 mg of caffeine. 

– Energy drinks have a lot of ingredients compared to a simple coffee. Often brands add amino acids, vitamins, and sometimes even herbs! 

– Sugar also gives you a boost, depending on how you have your coffee, you may have up to two sugars in your coffee or some sweetener.

– Depending on where you are in the world coffee often contains a lot more caffeine than energy drinks. 

What We Can Do To Fix the Caffeine Fix (source: Psychology Today)

1.    Recognize rest is like food – necessary for function and survival. Sleep deprive any animal long enough and it gets sick and dies. People need to get rest.
2.    Recognize that caffeine is a drug – an enormously pleasant and useful drug, but a drug whose “normal use” can abuse our bodies.
3.    Use caffeine the way it’s meant to be used – as a food we love. Energy drinks may have their use in sports, where even the slightest edge can mean everything to competitors, or for shift workers tending a nuclear reactor at 1 AM. But foods are social glues, cultural treasures, and forms of celebration. We want to dine, not feed. We want to talk to our fellow imbibers, appreciate the taste of whatever caffeinated brew we’re ingesting. It’s fun to sip a cup among peers, family, and friends, giving us a better chance to enjoy the buzz and enliven our brains.

How Much Caffeine Is In A Cup Of Coffee/Energy Drink?

Looking at the big brands that own energy drinks like Monster and Cafe Neo, the difference in the amount of caffeine is huge! The average cup of an average coffee has 22.5mg of caffeine per fl oz., whilst the average can of an energy drink only has 10mg of caffeine per fl oz. The difference is pretty big.

The suggested quantity of caffeine to have a day is 400mg, which is about four cups of coffee, 10 cans of fizzy drink, or two cans of energy drink. 

Therefore, for most people caffeine is pretty safe as it would be difficult to go over the recommended quantity on a normal day.

So, Which Is Better?

Coffee and energy drinks are very different drinks, so the answer to that really depends if you’re a fan of Coffee in the morning or an energy drink.

Well, coffee is well known as being healthy. Coffee can help with chronic tinnitus,  lower chances of suicide by over 50%, help fend off skin cancer, and many many more helpful issues.

Energy drinks can be great if you know what you are looking for health-wise, of course. Many have electrolytes to help with long workouts,  or packed with vitamins and nutrients, have amino acids and minerals like Ginko Biloba and Coenzyme Q to help brain function.

There is a lot of variation in the amount of caffeine found in both coffee and energy drinks though, so do well to check the label of your preferred drink.

If your concern is about calories, you are also not in much luck. Many full-caloric energy drinks can have up to 300 calories a can, but compare that against the Grande Caramel Frappuccino, which clocks in at 410 calories in a similarly sized amount. 

While your energy drink might have a lot of sodium, the creamed and sugared coffee will be packed full of saturated fat and a ton of cholesterol.

So it really depends on your tastes – you can go just as good, or as bad as you want in both categories.


There are suggestions that the caffeine from energy drinks is more hazardous than that from coffee are incorrect. Caffeine of any kind is potentially dangerous in high doses and should be consumed sensibly and in moderation.

It is good to know that the source of caffeine doesn’t matter. It’s how much total that counts. 

Too much can wire you up to the point of having heart palpitations, being overly excitable, and unable to sleep.

As our caffeine database shows, ounce per ounce coffee has more caffeine. For instance:

– A fluid ounce of typical filter coffee has 18mg of caffeine.
– A fluid ounce of a typical energy drink has 10mg of caffeine.

There are Other Factors Besides Caffeine that tend to favour your coffee

There are some legitimate reasons why coffee and energy drinks are not treated the same.

Even though coffee does have more caffeine than energy drinks, it’s how the caffeine is delivered that seems to be an issue.

– Energy drinks have very little long-term safety research behind them, while coffee has been used for centuries and has been extensively researched over the last 100 years.

– Energy drinks are more than just caffeine, but a combination of caffeine, amino acids, vitamins, and often herbs.

– Energy drinks are often high in sugar, while even sweetened coffee would contain less. A Monster Energy Drink has 54 grams of sugar, which is equal to 13.5 teaspoons!

– Coffee is an all natural beverage, while energy drinks are often laden with artificial preservatives, flavours, and dyes.

– Coffee is sipped, while energy drinks tend to be consumed quickly thus delivering their dose of caffeine quicker.

– Energy drinks are sweet and often fruit flavoured, which appeals more to children and teens that do often bitter tasting coffee.

– Energy drinks have generated an ever-growing list of overdose cases leading to hospitalization and even some deaths. Coffee, historically, has very few of these occurrences.

Therefore, energy drinks can’t really be viewed with the same lens as we would coffee, since essentially, they are two completely different beverages.

There are actually very few people that have or have had negative health consequences from drinking energy drinks

So, Coffee Vs. Energy Drink? 

You choose.

Sources: Psychology Today, WSU, Caffeine Informer, Telegraph

Image: Atlas Coffee Club

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