The Science of Caffeine

How much do you know about the science of caffeine? The world’s most popular stimulant does a whole lot more than you’d think.  

Where To Find Caffeine

Most commonly found in tea, cola drinks, chocolate and coffee, caffeine is a naturally occurring chemical compound and psychotropic. We typically consume coffee caffeine by drinking infusions of the beans of the coffee tree (coffee), whereas tea is an infusion of the leaves of the tea bush.

The amount of caffeine varies based on the type of beverage you consume and how it’s prepared. Here’s a chart detailing the average quantity of caffeine for coffee and tea:


Av. Serving (ml / US fl oz)

Av. mg Caffeine / Serving

Drip Coffee

207 (7 fl oz)


Percolated Coffee

207 (7 fl oz)


Espresso Coffee

207 (7 fl oz)


Decaffeinated Coffee

44-60  (1.5–2 fl oz)



177 (6 fl oz)


There are three to four times as many caffeine molecules in coffee as in tea. Even decaffeinated coffee contains a little caffeine. While tea leaves contains more caffeine by dry weight than coffee, the smaller quantity typically used in tea preparation means the average serving size contains less caffeine than a cup of coffee.

Is Caffeine Bad For Me?

barista making pour over coffee
Caffeine impacts our body chemistry in a number of ways. These complex interactions include improved alertness and mood.
Caffeine blocks adenosine, a natural substance made by your body, from triggering drowsiness. At the same time it stimulates portions of your nervous system regulated by the hypothalamus by interacting with the dopamine signaling in the brain, your body’s mood receptors.

These effects typically last
four to six hours. How quickly your body digests caffeine depends on how well a particular gene produces an enzyme to digest it.

High doses of caffeine (400–600mg) can temporarily increase resistance and strength, though can also trigger unwanted side effects such as heart palpitations. Guidelines established by the European Food Safety Authority (FESA) in 2015 recommend limiting intake from all sources to 400mg a day.

Since everyone’s body chemistry and nervous system are a little different, not everyone reacts the same to caffeine.

Some people, for example, may find caffeine intake triggers unwanted side-effects such as
sleep deprivation or increased anxietyOthers may have such an extreme reaction to caffeine they choose to avoid it altogether.

Is All Caffeine Created Equal?

First discovered
in 1819 by German chemist Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge who was studying coffee beans, caffeine is present in a number of forms in the natural world. In the 20th Century, scientists discovered tea also contains caffeine, which they named theine. While the names differ, the caffeine molecule in tea and coffee is identical.

The difference lies in how your body processes caffeine from each plant.

Caffeine molecules in coffee beans are easier for your body to absorb, meaning you feel the effects of coffee much more quickly than in tea.

With tea, your body has to work harder to digest and absorb the available caffeine. As a result, the effects of tea are subtler and longer-lasting than with coffee, taking roughly six to eight hours to digest.

Chocolate also contains a compound similar to caffeine, called theobromine. However the chemical composition of theobromine doesn’t trigger the central nervous system as much as caffeine. As a result the effects of eating or drinking either tend to differ.

Why Is The Caffeine In Cultured Coffee Different?


At eatCultured, we work with controlled natural fermentation, which adds a consistent level of fermentation - and health benefits - in every batch of Cultured Coffee.

Naturally-occurring microbes digest some of the caffeine found in each coffee bean and converts it into theobromine. That means that unlike other coffees, Cultured Coffee provides more sustained, less spiky energy boost. Nature gives us the power to create a refreshing, tasty coffee without the downsides of caffeine!

Learn more about eatCultured's first healthy fermented product: Cultured Coffee 

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published