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How Much Caffeine is in Howling Monkey Energy Drinks? What to Know!

a glass of energy drink with ice

Energy drinks have skyrocketed in popularity over the last couple of decades, with new brands entering the market seemingly every week. Although distinctly different from coffee, energy drinks are similar in that they contain caffeine, the ingredient that provides most of their “energy.” One of the newest energy drink brands to be launched comes with a very distinct and, some would say, outrageous name: Howling Monkey.

Howling Monkey contains more caffeine than your average cup of black coffee. How much, you ask? A 16 oz can of Howling Monkey contains 160 milligrams (mg) of caffeine, which is more or less the same amount you’ll find in 2 cups of coffee. To find out how that stacks up to other energy drinks, read on!

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How Much Caffeine is in the Average Energy Drink?

The wild thing about energy drinks is that their caffeine content varies significantly from one brand to the next. As we’ve seen, Howling Money has 160 mg of caffeine per 16 oz can, but some energy drinks have as much as 300 mg, nearly double that! In the comparison below, we examine the caffeine content, sugar, and caffeine type in several of the most popular energy drinks.

Energy Drink Caffeine (mg) Sugar (g) Synthetic Caffeine? Yes / No
Howling Monkey 160 mg 44 g Yes
Jones GABA 100 mg 0 g No
Monster 160 mg 55 g Yes
Red Bull 151 mg 52 g Yes
Bang 300 mg 0 g Yes
Kill Cliff 150 mg 0 g No
Rockstar 160 mg 61 g Yes
Reign 300 mg 0 g No
NOS 160 mg 54 g Yes
Celcius 200 mg 0 g No
Zoa 10 mg 0 g Yes

What’s the Concern with Synthetic Caffeine?

One problem with the caffeine in many energy drinks is that it’s synthetic caffeine. Surprisingly, synthetic caffeine was created in the latter part of the 1800s and, during WWII, was used heavily by the Nazis to keep their soldiers alert in the field. As with most synthetic substances, synthetic caffeine is problematic for several reasons. First, it’s absorbed much faster by the human body than by the natural caffeine that is released by brewing coffee beans. That gives you a quicker “kick” but also means you get a faster and harsher “crash” when the synthetic caffeine wears off.

Another concerning fact is that much of the synthetic caffeine in energy drinks is produced in unregulated labs where the chance of cutting corners is high. Lastly, before it’s ready to be added to energy drinks, synthetic caffeine is treated with sodium nitrite, acetic acid, sodium carbonate, and chloroform: some very harsh and caustic chemicals.

Thankfully, not all synthetic caffeine is harmful, especially if it comes from a reliable, well-run lab. However, when you choose which beverage to drink, you should know which ingredients are included and which of them you should avoid. In our opinion, avoiding synthetic caffeine is a better choice and a healthy idea.

How Does Howling Monkey Compare to Regular Coffee and other Coffee Drinks?

If you’re curious how Howling Monkey stacks up against your favorite coffee beverage regarding caffeine, we have the numbers below. Remember that some of them aren’t exactly static since you can make regular coffee and other coffee-based beverages with more (or less) coffee based on your specific preferences. For example, a “weak” cup of coffee can have as little as 40 mg of caffeine in one 8oz cup, while a “strong” cup of coffee can have double that amount or more. Therefore, we suggest you use the numbers below as a guide only and not consider them written in stone.

Caffeinated Drink Caffeine per Cup (8 oz)
Howling Monkey 80 mg
Regular Coffee 40–80 mg
Decaf Coffee 2–12 mg
Instant Coffee 40–80 mg
Espresso 250–300 mg (Espresso is usually 1.5 oz)
Cappuccino 150–170 mg
Latte 160–170 mg
Iced Coffee 40–60 mg
Cold Brew Coffee 180–200 mg

What’s the Difference Between Energy Drinks, Sports Drinks, and Soft Drinks?

It can be slightly confusing to figure out the difference between all the beverages available on store shelves, especially between “energy drinks,” “sports drinks,” and “soft drinks.” Energy drinks, by definition, are any beverage that contains a stimulant, usually at high (or very high) levels. Not surprisingly, the most popular stimulant is caffeine, although sugar is in many energy drinks. Many energy drinks also contain carnitine and taurine, two ingredients that purportedly boost physical performance, alertness, and focus. The science is still out on these ingredients, however.

Sports drinks differ significantly from energy drinks in several ways. First, they aren’t intended to give you energy but are designed to replace electrolytes and H20 (water) lost during a strenuous workout or physical activity. More importantly, some sports drinks don’t contain caffeine because their main goal isn’t to give you energy. Then you have soft drinks, including Coca-Cola, orange soda, and the like. Most soft drinks contain much less caffeine than energy drinks, and some have no caffeine at all, but most are very high in sugar.

One last significant difference between energy, sports, and soft drinks is that some energy drinks aren’t considered drinks at all but instead are classified as supplements, which changes the way they are viewed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States. For example, energy drinks classified as supplements can legally put more caffeine in their products; Monster energy drink is one of them.

Fun Facts about Energy Drinks

  • The “price-placebo” effect was proved using energy drinks. Students that bought higher-priced but identical energy drinks did better on exams.
  • In Poland, an energy drink named Black Energy is marketed by none other than boxing legend Mike Tyson.
  • Posca was popular during the Roman and Greek empires and is considered to be one of the first energy drinks.
  • The feeling of being “drunk” is very similar to the feeling one gets from drinking several energy drinks in succession.
  • The FDA banned an energy drink called “Cocaine” after they found it being illegally promoted as an alternative to street drugs.
  • Although many energy drinks tout their products’ ability to increase muscle strength, studies have found no evidence to support this claim.
  • The size of energy drink cans was increased in 2002 so that manufacturers could legally increase the amount of caffeine they included in their drinks.

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Final Thoughts about Energy Drinks

Energy drinks are one of the most prevalent beverages being sold today. They typically have much more caffeine than regular coffee and are enjoyed cold rather than hot. Although probably not a healthy habit, many people enjoy mixing energy drinks with alcohol. No matter how you like your energy drink, or the brand you prefer, all of them, including Howling Monkey, will provide energy when you need it most.


Featured Image Credit: DenisMArt, Shutterstock

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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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