The Sweet Spot
8 of Your Favorite
By Camille Bacsa
In light of recent news of a young American teenager dying after drinking a café latte, a large Diet softdrink, and an energy drink within a 2 hour period, it’s probably wise to take a second look at what we put in our body to crank it up. If you’re like most people, your first flirtations with coffee and its energy drink cousins probably began in high school when you found yourself chasing deadlines, whilst simultaneously Yahoo Messengering your crush with a silly, giddy look pasted on your face. By college though when cramming is the norm, your ability to stay up late is no longer just a feat but an honorable badge, and when work came – well, the rest is history.
While the caffeine boost is a life saver, too much of anything good is definitely bad. According to Caffeine Informer, a healthy adult can safely consume 300-400 mg of caffeine, spread out during the day, unless they have hypertension, arrhythmia, or other similar complications wherein 200 mg should be the limit. For teenagers, the cap is at about 100 mg since they need longer sleep hours for their brain and body’s development.
So in case you need to mix up the way you drink your favorite elixir to survive this week’s hustle, here’s the lowdown on your favorite caffeinated products:
A Starbucks Venti Brewed Coffee is already a full day’s dosage at 400 mg, equal to drinking 5.2 shots of espresso. A cup on average ranges between 65-120 mg. While you might wind up looking like an overcharged gorilla if you max out your daily dosage, this might just give you the boost to survive the next 4 loooong meetings this afternoon.
An average 8 oz cup of instant coffee can range between 60-85 mg of caffeine, according to Coffee Chemistry, depending on the type of coffee beans used. On average, Robusta coffee beans have a 2.2% caffeine content, whilst Arabica beans stand at 1.2% but is more flavorful. Our local, budget friendly 3-in-1 coffee is typically made from Robusta beans, so with its potency, a couple of sachets should get you through the rest of your reports.
Our Kapeng Barako is a rare gem, being of the Liberica variety that is only grown in 3 out of about 70 coffee harvesting countries. Though it has a bolder flavour and a stronger aroma, it has about 50% less caffeine than Robusta coffee blends, but is believed to be more acidic for the tummy compared to its counterparts. While its golden age has passed due to increased competition in global trade, its hometown Batangas will always be proud of it.
Green tea is known for a lot of things, but if a caffeine kick is what you’re after, it’s probably not your best bet. One cup packs in only 25 mg of caffeine; although it does have theobromine and theophylline which may have a similar awakening effect to your heart rate and nervous system as coffee. The L-Theanine amino acid also has a calming effect to help you concentrate better. If you’re planning to switch to green tea, you might feel the drop initially, but hey, if you can claim its antioxidants and slimming properties just by regularly drinking it, then it’s totally worth it.
Ahh the lifeblood of the weary all-nighter who prefers refrigerated beverages – energy drinks! Each can’s caffeine content ranges between 70-200 mg – so ward off your temptation to consume the entire 6 pack just to sprint through that quarterly budget report, unless you want to have unusual, involuntary spazz-outs during your presentation, which might be entertaining for everyone else, except for you.
Regular and Diet Softdrinks
Soft drinks drive kids wild and we all know it’s not just the sugar. Their little bodies can’t quite handle the caffeine, which is at about 34-55 mg per can according to Kids Health, which is pretty much cutting it close to the daily 45 mg “safe dosage” for kids under 12 yrs old. Surprisingly, diet soft drinks actually contain more caffeine, with a minimum of about 45 mg per can. While it can’t compete with a cup of java, it certainly can spike up the energy in your bloodstream.
Best friends of the broken-hearted and overstressed, chocolate bars have long been known for their mood enhancing properties. It can also give a little bit more alertness. Dark chocolate tops the list with 20 mg of caffeine per oz, while your sweet and hearty milk chocolate packs in 6 mg per oz. Even if you didn’t know this is how much caffeine it contains, you’ll probably be grabbing that chocolate bar anyway, right?
Coffee candies seem like a lie to the naked eye because they are just too small and too sweet. Surprisingly though, your favourite Kopiko is actually pretty competitive at 25mg per candy, according to Caffeine Informer. To get the boost of one cup, you’ll need to eat 4-5 pieces. Makes for a good alternative when your forgetful co-worker insensitively neglects to refill the thermos. Again.
Got any more trivia about coffee and other caffeinated products? Let us know in the comments below!