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Does Dark Chocolate Have Caffeine?

dark chocolate

Dark chocolate is a popular candy that pairs great with coffee, and many people wonder if it contains any caffeine. It does contain caffeine, as does any chocolate (except for white), but keep reading as we take a closer look at exactly how much it contains, especially compared to coffee.

Yes, dark chocolate has caffeine. Very dark chocolate (75 to 85% cacao solids) has 22.7 milligrams of caffeine per ounce. Lighter dark chocolate (45 to 59% cacao solids) has 12.2 milligrams of caffeine per ounce.

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Does Dark Chocolate Have Caffeine?

The amount of caffeine that your dark chocolate will contain depends on its type. All cacao beans contain caffeine in the solids, so dark chocolate that contains 70–85% cacao solids will have more caffeine than one with 45–59%. Milk chocolate has less caffeine than dark chocolate, and white chocolate has none.

Chocolate Type Caffeine Milligrams per Ounce
Dark chocolate (70% to 85% cacao solids) 22.7
Dark chocolate (45% to 59% cacao solids) 12.2
Semisweet chocolate 17.6
Milk chocolate 5.6
White chocolate 0
stack up dark chocolate bars
Image Credit: amirali mirhashemian, Unsplash

How Much Caffeine in Dark Chocolate Compared to Other Chocolate

We can look at the various chocolates that Hershey’s produces to compare the caffeine amounts for the different kinds of chocolate. For example, HERSHEY’S BLISS Dark Chocolate contains the most caffeine, followed by the SPECIAL DARK Mildly Sweet Chocolate Bar and HERSHEY’S KISSES Brand SPECIAL DARK Mildly Sweet Chocolates. All its other chocolates contain less caffeine.

Type of Candy Caffeine Milligrams per Serving
HERSHEY’S BLISS Dark Chocolate 24
HERSHEY’S KISSES Brand SPECIAL DARK Mildly Sweet Chocolates 20
SPECIAL DARK Mildly Sweet Chocolate Bar 20
HERSHEY’S Milk Chocolate Bar 9
YORK Peppermint Pattie 6
REESE’S Peanut Butter Cups 4
ALMOND JOY Candy Bar 3

How Much Caffeine in Dark Chocolate Compared to Coffee

While dark chocolate has more caffeine than milk chocolate or white chocolate, it doesn’t contain nearly as much as coffee. The average cup of coffee usually has between 70 and 150 mg of caffeine per cup, with most averaging about 95, and many varieties can have much more than that. Like with chocolate, darker varieties contain more caffeine, and dark roasts have the most.

Type of Coffee Caffeine Milligrams per Serving
Regular coffee 95
Espresso 63
Dark chocolate (70% to 85% cacao solids) 22.7
dark chocolate bars on a white plate
Image Credit: Burhanuddin Rabbani, Unsplash

Why Doesn’t White Chocolate Contain Caffeine?

White chocolate uses cocoa butter that is pressed from the cocoa seeds. This butter tastes a little like traditional chocolate but does not contain any cocoa solids, so it doesn’t have any caffeine. However, some white chocolate candy can contain other ingredients that have caffeine, so it’s best to look up the type of candy that you are eating to get an accurate measurement.

How Much Caffeine Is Safe?

Most experts recommend limiting your caffeine intake to about 400 mg per day. Many people may start to experience health problems if they exceed that amount, like stress, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping. If you frequently drink large amounts of coffee, you may not notice any symptoms, but the health problems may still be present. You can develop heart and kidney issues after consuming too much caffeine.

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Summary

Dark chocolate contains about 22.7 mg of caffeine per ounce if you purchase high-grade chocolate that has 70–85% cocoa solids. With 45–59% cocoa solids, low-grade dark chocolate contains about 12.2 mg caffeine per ounce. Milk chocolate and white chocolate contain much less caffeine because they have fewer cocoa solids, making them better choices if you are sensitive to caffeine.


Featured Image Credit: Alexander Stein, Pixabay

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Ed Malaker

Ed Malaker, a veteran writer, has contributed to a wide range of blogs that cover tools, pets, guitars, fitness, and computer programming, and of course, coffee. He drinks a lot of it when he writes, making him an expert indeed. When he’s not writing, Ed is usually performing DIY projects around the house or working in the garden. He’s also a musician and spends a lot of time helping people fix their guitars and composing music for independent films.

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