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Caffeine in Coffee vs Soda: Which Has More?

coffee vs soda

If you’re a caffeine fiend, you may wonder about your favorite drinks. Which should you turn to when you need a pick-me-up, and what are the strongest (most-caffeinated) sodas and coffees in the world?

The Short Answer
Coffee has about three times as much caffeine as soda. Want the most caffeinated drink? Brew a cup of coffee!

We’ve thoroughly investigated this question, taking a close look at the caffeine in all kinds of soda and coffee. Scroll down to find out! The amount of caffeine in coffee vs soda might surprise you:

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What is Caffeine?

Caffeine occurs naturally in coffee, cocoa, and tea plants, and humans have been consuming it to feel more alert for centuries. Caffeine was officially discovered in 1819, but it’s been a popular psychoactive drug throughout all of recorded history. Now that’s a long time!

How does caffeine affect your body? Caffeine is a stimulant for your central nervous system. It can make you feel more awake and help you focus. It takes one to two hours to fully kick in and stays in your body for several hours.

SEE ALSO: Try our simple caffeine calculator!


Caffeine in Soda

caffeine in soda

The amount of caffeine in soda depends on which brand — and variety — you buy. A 12-ounce can of Pepsi has 38 milligrams of caffeine, while a can of Coca-Cola has 34. Some types of soda, like root beer, are generally caffeine-free. And don’t forget the no-caffeine versions of all the major soda brands! But the average caffeine content of a can of soda is around 35 milligrams.

Caffeine in Diet Soda

Interestingly, diet sodas typically contain more caffeine than their regular counterparts. They make up for the lack of calories with extra caffeine. Sodas like Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi have about 46 milligrams of caffeine in each 12-ounce can. That works out to 3.8 milligrams of caffeine per ounce!

types of sodas

What’s the Strongest Soda?

The strongest soda in the world comes in at 55 milligrams of caffeine per 12-ounce can. What brand is it? Lime green Mountain Dew.

So does Mountain Dew have more caffeine than coffee? No, but it does have more caffeine than any other brand of soda. Coffee has about 2.5 times as much caffeine as Mountain Dew.

Keep in mind that unlike coffee, the FDA limits caffeine in soda to 71 milligrams per 12-ounce serving. That’s why you’re unlikely to find any soda brands deadlier than that.

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Caffeine in Coffee

death by coffee caffeine overdose
Image: beerblur, Shutterstock

How much caffeine is in coffee? The average cup of black coffee has around 140 milligrams of caffeine. That’s about 12 milligrams per ounce, much more than you’ll find in soda. If you prefer espresso, you’ll find even more concentrated caffeine. A one-ounce shot of espresso has about 63 milligrams of caffeine.

What’s the Strongest Coffee?

The most caffeinated coffee in the world is Devil Mountain Black Label, which has an eye-popping 1,555 milligrams of caffeine in a 12-ounce cup. That’s 130 milligrams per ounce!

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Caffeine in Soda vs Coffee: The Bottom Line

So which drink has more caffeine? The average cup of coffee has about three times as much caffeine as a typical can of soda. If you’re looking for the best caffeine boost, brew a cup of coffee or pull a shot of espresso! Prefer a drink that won’t give you the jitters? You may want to pick up a soda — or try a surprisingly tasty decaf coffee.

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Kate MacDonnell

Kate is a lifelong coffee enthusiast and homebrewer who enjoys writing for coffee websites and sampling every kind of coffee known to man. She’s tried unusual coffees from all over the world and owns an unhealthy amount of coffee gear.

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