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Caffeine Pills vs Coffee: Which Should You Try?

caffeine pills vs coffee

When you’re faced with an all-nighter or a tough morning, it may be tempting to turn to caffeine pills. They do not require any brewing equipment and they are even faster than instant coffee! But are caffeine pills better than an old-fashioned cup of coffee?

We’re taking a close look at caffeine pills vs coffee, investigating which has more caffeine and which is better for you. The results may surprise you!

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All About Caffeine Pills

caffeine pills in blister packaging
Image Credit: mady70, Shutterstock

Caffeine pills are supplements made with caffeine. They can be made with natural or artificial caffeine sources. As the name suggests, you swallow these pills like vitamins. Because they’re full of caffeine, you can expect an energy boost without the mess or time involved in brewing a pot of coffee.

One of the most famous caffeine pill brands is NoDoz, but there are quite a few on the market. Some caffeine pills, like Zhou Energy + Focus, contain extra supplements like L-Theanine (an amino acid found in green tea), B vitamins, and fiber to help with digestion. Others, like Genius Caffeine, offer slow-release caffeine for steady energy throughout the day.

  • Fast and easy
  • Simple to control dosage
  • May be easier on the stomach
  • Can contain vitamins and other supplements
  • No calories
  • May be easier to overdo it
  • No delicious flavors or aromas
  • Can be expensive

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All About Coffee

Black Coffee
Image Credit: MKDigitalArt, Pixabay

Coffee can be made in many different ways, using brewers as diverse as French presses, Kyoto-style coffee towers, and single-serve Keurig machines. You can make espresso, regular coffee, cold brew, lattes, iced coffee, and more! The basics are the same, though: start with freshly ground coffee beans, add water, and enjoy.

One thing that separates coffee from caffeine pills is the availability of decaf. Though it gets a bad rap, there are several delicious decaf coffee brands that provide all the joy of coffee with none of the caffeine side effects. We particularly recommend Lifeboost’s low-acid decaf coffee beans.

  • Delicious flavors and aromas
  • Scientifically-backed health benefits
  • Many roasts and drink varieties available
  • Requires coffee brewing equipment
  • Takes more time and effort
  • May bother your stomach
  • High calorie if you add milk and sugar

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Which Has More Caffeine?

Caffeine pills typically have 100 to 200 milligrams of caffeine, while the average eight-ounce cup of coffee has 95 milligrams. Looking at it that way, these caffeine sources seem fairly similar — but keep in mind that you may be drinking multiple cups of coffee. And some coffee brands contain way more caffeine than that!

a cup of coffee

Which is Healthier?

The health benefits of drinking coffee are backed up by a plethora of studies. Coffee may protect you from diseases like Alzheimer’s and diabetes, among other things. Coffee itself doesn’t contain any calories, making it a no-stress addition to a diet, but if you start adding cream and sugar, that can change quickly.

Caffeine pills do include caffeine — which will give you the better focus, improved mood, and increased alertness you’d expect — but don’t have the oils and antioxidants found in coffee. If you switch from coffee to caffeine pills, you may miss out on some of those health benefits! But of course, caffeine pills don’t have calories, and unlike with coffee, you won’t be tempted to add any!

So which is healthier? Both offer the health benefits — and detractions — of caffeine. Coffee may have more health benefits overall, with antioxidants and protection from certain diseases. But caffeine pills can be easier on the stomach and more straightforward on dosage.

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Caffeine Pills vs Coffee: Which Should You Choose?

Whether you should get your caffeine fix from coffee vs caffeine pills depends on what you’re looking for. Caffeine pills are certainly convenient, but there’s one good reason you may want to stick with regular coffee: enjoyment! If you enjoy your morning coffee, you probably won’t get the same pleasure from swallowing a caffeine pill. On the other hand, if you don’t like the taste of coffee or can only drink it with lots of milk and sugar, a caffeine supplement can be a good way to get a morning boost without adding unwanted flavors or calories to your day.

Make sure you pay attention to dosage — the FDA recommends consuming less than 400 milligrams of caffeine per day — to avoid unwanted side effects or possible caffeine overdoses.

Still curious? Read one of our other coffee comparisons:

Featured image credit: Pixabay, Unsplash


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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