Earl Grey Tea vs Coffee: Comparing Caffeine Levels

Earl Grey Tea vs Coffee Comparing Caffeine Levels

Caffeine is a popular stimulant found in various beverages, including tea and coffee. Many people rely on these drinks to kickstart their day or provide a midday pick-me-up. Earl Grey tea and coffee are two beloved options, but how do their caffeine levels compare? In this article, we will discuss the caffeine content and explain which is best Earl Grey Tea vs Coffee for you, and also explore their differences, and discuss their effects on health.

How Much Caffeine Does Earl Grey Tea Contain?

Earl Grey tea is a flavored black tea infused with bergamot oil, which gives it a unique citrusy taste. Black tea, in general, is known to have higher caffeine content compared to other tea varieties. A typical serving size of 1 cup (237ml) of Earl Grey tea contains around 40mg to 120mg of caffeine(1). However, the caffeine content can vary depending on factors such as steeping time and the amount of tea leaves used. On average, Earl Grey tea contains approximately 50mg of caffeine per cup(2).

How Much Caffeine Is in Coffee?

Coffee is a well-known source of caffeine and is a staple for many people in their daily routines. The caffeine content in coffee can vary depending on factors such as the type of coffee bean used, the roasting process, and the brewing method. On average, a cup of black coffee contains around 70mg to 140mg of caffeine, with an average of approximately 96mg per cup, however, it can be between 0mg to 500mg depending on the type of coffee(3).

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Is Caffeine value higher in Coffee than in Tea?

While both tea and coffee contain caffeine, the composition of the beverages differs, leading to variations in how caffeine affects the body. Coffee not only contains a higher amount of caffeine but also possesses lower levels of tannins compared to tea. Additionally, coffee contains various chemicals that contribute to its stimulating effects(4).

In contrast, black tea, including Earl Grey tea, contains approximately half the caffeine of coffee. However, it also contains more tannins, a low dose of theanine, and other active compounds such as EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate). Theanine, found in tea, interacts with caffeine in a way that reduces the jittery effects and promotes a focused and relaxed state. EGCG has a calming effect on the brain and may have potential antidepressant effects.

It’s important to note that the effects of caffeine are not solely attributed to a single compound but rather the combination of different chemicals present in tea or coffee.

Caffeine Content in Other Teas and Drinks

Apart from Earl Grey tea and coffee, other beverages also contain caffeine. However, it’s worth noting that drinks like sodas and energy drinks, which contain high levels of caffeine, often come with a significant amount of sugar and lack the health benefits associated with tea and coffee.

Here’s a comparison of caffeine content in various teas and drinks:

  1. Coffee:
    • Caffeine Boost: Coffee contains more caffeine than tea. A cup of brewed coffee typically provides around 96 mg of caffeine. Regular coffee consumption can enhance alertness, improve cognitive function, and even reduce the risk of certain diseases.
    • Antioxidants: Coffee is rich in antioxidants, which help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.
    • Weight Management: Some studies suggest that caffeine can temporarily boost metabolism and aid in weight loss.
    • Better Choice: Overall, coffee is a better choice compared to energy drinks due to its lower sugar content and fewer calories(5).
  2. Earl Grey Tea:
    • Boosting Energy Level: Earl Grey tea provides a gentle energy lift due to its black tea base and the aromatic bergamot oil. Unlike coffee, it won’t give you an intense jolt but rather a sustained focus throughout the day(6).
    • Hydration: Like any tea, Earl Grey contributes to your daily fluid intake, keeping you well hydrated.
    • Weight Loss Support: Earl Grey tea, when consumed as part of a balanced diet, may aid in weight management. Its mild citrus flavor makes it a pleasant choice for those looking to cut down on sugary beverages.
    • Immune System Boost: The antioxidants in Earl Grey tea help strengthen your immune system, potentially warding off colds and influenza.
    • Skin Health: The polyphenols in Earl Grey tea act as antioxidants, protecting your skin cells from damage caused by free radicals.
    • Digestive Benefits: Some people find that Earl Grey tea helps soothe their digestive system. The combination of black tea and bergamot may have a calming effect on the stomach.
  3. Black Tea:
    • Gentle Energy: Tea caffeine behaves differently. It binds with an amino acid called L-theanine, resulting in a smoother, slower-release form of energy. Tea provides sustained focus without the intense jolt associated with coffee.
    • Reduced Health Risks: Tea consumption is associated with reduced risk of stroke, lower cholesterol, and blood pressure. It also contains L-theanine, which has a calming effect on the brain.
    • Variety: Black, green, white, and herbal teas offer diverse flavors and health benefits.
    • Practically Caffeine-Free Herbal Teas: Herbal teas are practically caffeine-free and can be soothing and beneficial(7).
  4. Soda:
    • No Health Benefits: Soda lacks any health benefits. It’s high in sugar and provides empty calories.
    • Zero Nutritional Value: Regular consumption of soda is associated with weight gain, dental issues, and increased risk of chronic diseases.
    • Minimal Caffeine: Most sodas contain minimal caffeine (around 22 mg per 8 oz), but they’re not a healthy choice(8).
  5. Energy Drinks:
    • High Caffeine: Energy drinks pack a punch with caffeine (around 71.9 mg per 8 oz). However, they often come with excessive sugar and other additives.
    • Short-Term Boost: Energy drinks provide a quick energy boost but may lead to crashes later.
    • Exercise Performance: Some athletes use energy drinks for improved exercise performance, but moderation is crucial(9).

These values are approximate and can vary depending on factors such as brewing method and the specific brand of tea or coffee used(10).

What Influences the Caffeine Content in Tea?

The caffeine content in tea can vary due to several factors. Here are some key influences on the caffeine content in tea:

  • Tea Varietal: Tea is derived from the same plant, Camellia sinensis, but it has two main varietals: Camellia sinensis var. sinensis (grown in China) and Camellia sinensis var. assamica (grown in India). Teas produced from the assamica varietal tend to have higher caffeine levels(11).
  • Harvest Time: Teas harvested in the spring generally have higher caffeine levels compared to those harvested later in the year.
  • Growing Process: Certain growing practices, such as shading the tea plants before harvest, can significantly increase the caffeine content.
  • Processing Method: The way tea is processed can also impact its caffeine levels. Finely ground teas tend to have higher caffeine content.
  • Steep Time: The duration of steeping directly affects the amount of caffeine extracted from the tea leaves. Longer steeping times result in higher caffeine levels.
  • Water Temperature: Using boiling water to brew tea generally yields a higher caffeine content compared to using cooler water.
  • Amount of Tea Leaves: Adding more tea leaves to your brew will increase the caffeine content.

It’s important to note that these factors provide general guidelines, and the actual caffeine content may vary depending on the specific tea and brewing method used.

What’s a Safe Amount of Caffeine to Consume?

While caffeine can provide various benefits, it’s essential to consume it in moderation. Excessive caffeine intake can lead to negative side effects and potential health risks. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends a daily caffeine intake of up to 400mg (approximately 4 cups of brewed coffee) for healthy adults and up to 200mg (about 2 cups of brewed coffee), for pregnant women(12).

It’s worth noting that the caffeine content in a cup of tea or coffee can vary widely depending on factors such as brewing method, serving size, and specific brand. These recommendations serve as general guidelines, and individual tolerance to caffeine may vary(13).

Earl Grey Tea vs Coffee: Which is Better for Your Health?

When comparing Earl Grey tea and coffee, it’s important to consider their overall impact on health. While coffee has a higher caffeine content, Earl Grey tea offers a range of health benefits due to its antioxidant content. Here’s a comparison of their effects on key aspects of health:


Earl Grey tea has a relaxing and soothing effect on the body, providing stress relief while maintaining focus. Individuals with anxiety issues may find that the theanine present in tea helps counteract the anxiety-inducing effects of caffeine. Coffee, on the other hand, can sometimes exacerbate anxiety symptoms due to its higher caffeine content.

Immune System

Tea, including Earl Grey, contains a variety of antioxidants that can support a healthy immune system. The bergamot oil in Earl Grey tea has antibacterial properties, further contributing to its potential immune-boosting effects. While coffee also contains antioxidants, its focus is primarily on caffeine rather than the range of beneficial compounds found in tea.


Both tea and coffee contain antioxidants that can help boost metabolism, making them suitable options for individuals looking to manage their weight. Caffeine in both beverages stimulates the body, including its fat-burning capabilities. However, it’s important to note that relying solely on caffeine for weight loss is not a comprehensive solution, and a healthy diet and lifestyle are crucial for achieving sustainable results.


Caffeine provides an energy boost, but the impact can differ between tea and coffee. While coffee delivers a quick and intense burst of energy, tea, including Earl Grey, provides a more stable and sustained energy boost over a longer period. This can result in fewer energy crashes once the caffeine effects wear off.

The Bottom Line

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Earl Grey tea better for you than coffee?

Both Earl Grey tea and coffee have health beFnefits, but it depends on factors like individual health and preferences. Earl Grey tea has antioxidants and less caffeine, while coffee offers antioxidants and potential cognitive benefits. Moderation and personal suitability are key.

Which is healthiest tea or coffee?

Both tea and coffee offer health benefits, such as antioxidants, but which is healthiest depends on individual preferences and sensitivities. Tea typically has less caffeine than coffee, which may be preferable for some.

Can I drink Earl Grey at night?

Yes, you can drink Earl Grey tea at night, but be mindful that it contains some caffeine which may affect your sleep quality.

Is Earl Grey tea healthy?

Yes, Earl Grey tea can be part of a healthy diet. It contains antioxidants and has been linked to potential health benefits such as reducing the risk of heart disease and improving cognitive function.

What is difference between Earl Grey Tea Vs Coffee?

The main difference between Earl Grey tea and coffee is their source and flavor. Earl Grey tea is made from tea leaves infused with bergamot oil, providing a citrusy flavor, while coffee is made from roasted coffee beans, offering a rich, robust taste. Additionally, Earl Grey tea generally contains less caffeine than coffee.

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