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Is There Caffeine in Chocolate?

Stack of chocolate pieces.
Chocolates covered in coconut flakes.
Chocolate cake.
Anything that has chocolate as an ingredient will mostly likely contain caffeine.
There are small amouts of caffeine present in chocolate.
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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 26 November 2014
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There is caffeine in chocolate, present only in small amounts. For those who must avoid caffeine completely, this may be bad news. However, for those who can have a small amount of caffeine, the caffeine in chocolate is not likely to be problematic unless one consumes vast quantities of chocolate on a regular basis.

The caffeine in chocolate varies according to the type of chocolate one chooses. Caffeine in chocolate that is unsweetened or is semi-sweet usually contains about five to 10 milligrams of caffeine per ounce of chocolate. Caffeine in chocolate with milk added is usually measured at five milligrams or less per ounce. Generally, caffeine in chocolate is present in higher amounts, as the chocolate gets darker.

Usually, the highest caffeine measurement for an ounce of chocolate is 10 milligrams. One can compare this to coffee to see that this is a relatively minuscule amount. The average cup of coffee contains about ten to fifteen times the amount of caffeine in one ounce of chocolate. Usually coffee contains between 100-150 milligrams of caffeine in an eight-ounce cup. This may vary slightly according to brand and roast style.

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The caffeine in tea also can be compared to caffeine in chocolate. Green tea is much lower in caffeine than coffee, containing between 15-40 milligrams per eight-ounce cup. Black tea has an average of 50 milligrams of caffeine per cup. Both green and black tea will have a higher caffeine rating depending upon amount of tea used and brewing time.

The average Hershey bar is approximately one and a half ounces of milk chocolate. If one eats the whole bar, this translates to consuming about seven and a half milligrams of caffeine. One would have to eat six bars in order to equal the caffeine in strong green tea, and seven and a half bars to equal the caffeine in black tea. To match a cup of coffee, one would have to eat approximately 20 Hershey bars.

If one must strictly avoid caffeine in chocolate and other sources, those with a sweet tooth can still take heart. White chocolate does not contain caffeine, since those ingredients that make chocolate dark are absent in the white chocolate production process. One may still get sugar rush from white chocolate, but it will be absent the caffeine in chocolate of the milk or dark varieties.

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anon315263
Post 31

I love chocolate but I'm not allowed to have caffeine. It's great to know that white chocolate is caffeine free! What a relief.

anon143659
Post 30

Chocolate has caffeine. Tea has caffeine. Coffee has caffeine, and I would be disabled without it. My meds make me so tired, I would fall into the ovens at work (I'm a chef). Plus the antioxidants are much needed.

anon133290
Post 29

Anon87431 is right. I just performed a hot water extraction of caffeine and theobromine from cacao beans and from milk chocolate and dark chocolate separately. I used HPLC to analyze the samples. HPLC is a technique to that can be used to separate theobromine and caffeine.

Theobromine is less soluble than the caffeine molecule in the methanol, water, acetic acid solution that is used to separate the two xanthines. They give two distinct peaks on the spectra and there is caffeine found in cacao. Granted there is much more theobromine found in cacao, there still is some caffeine.

The amount is next to negligible so no one should be worried. Palpitations do not come unless there is a much larger dose than that found in chocolate.

sedduck
Post 27

More info on caffeine in chocolate:

Journal of Chromatographic Science, Vol. 46, pp 892-899 (2008)

Standard Reference Material 2384 Baking Chocolate from the National Institute of Standards & Technology (Gaithersburg, MD), 90 % cocoa solids, was determined to have 26 mg/g (2.6% by weight) theobromine and 2.4 mg/g caffeine.

Food Research International, Vol 42, pp 707–716 (2009)

Chocolate with 60% cocoa solids (from a leading Croatian chocolate manufacturer) was determined to have 9 mg/g (0.9% by weight) theobromine and 0.8 mg/g caffeine.

Even taking the lower, latter figure for caffeine content, this translates into 23 mg of caffeine in 1 oz (28.35 g) of chocolate containing 60% cocoa solids (e.g. bittersweet baking chocolate).

anon94189
Post 25

I'd like to clear some of the confusion by citing the scientific literature. Cocoa solids contain both caffeine and theobromine, and the caffeine content is not insignificant.

anon87431
Post 24

If you perform a high liquid chromatography of chocolate you will more than often see two distinctive analytical peaks: one for theobromine and the other for caffeine. A very popular Analytical Chemistry textbook even illustrates a typical quantitative analysis for caffeine in chocolate bars.

anon77772
Post 23

there is no caffeine in chocolate. Although they are all in the same drug classification, chocolate, tea and caffeine are all different drugs.

Even tea, which is commonly considered to have caffeine in it doesn't, not unless it's added. But tea does have its own drug in it that's a stimulant.

The only way chocolate would have caffeine in it, would be if it was added.

anon74555
Post 22

Oh dear, I've recently given up caffeine and I really want to be completely free of it and if that means giving up chocolate which I love then I will.

Not once have I looked on a chocolate bar and seen caffeine labeled as an ingredient. I've never heard of theobromine either but I have now and I've never seen that labelled either.

Surely chocolate labelling in this way needs looked at so that consumers can make well informed food choices in relation to chocolate.

I thought I had given up caffeine completely but now I'm not convinced.

Caffeine addiction is widespread and caffeine withdrawal is really quite painful and hellishly difficult for a lot of people.

If I'm not 100 percent sure that it isn't a chocolate ingredient then I'm no longer eating any - such is my caffeine hatred.

anon63765
Post 21

Most companies process their chocolate with caffeine for that additional pick me up. Yes, chocolate itself only has theobromine, but caffeine is often added. Make sure to look at the label, as they usually put "cocoa processed with alkali" in their ingredients.

I think we're all aware that theobromine is what is naturally in chocolate. I've done much research into chocolate (both in vivo and in reading journal articles) and since I can have no caffeine at all, I can tell within a day if what I've eaten has caffeine in it.

White chocolate technically has no cocoa (which is typically what the caffeine is added to), so unless companies are being sneaky and not putting it on their labels, then white chocolate should be safe.

I wonder if the FDA knows about their practice because everything else in the world tells you if it has caffeine or not.

anon62142
Post 20

Cocoa is a bean just like coffee is a bean, the scientific method for testing them for caffeine is the same and I've seen how chemists do it in a lab. Spouting that there is no caffeine in cocoa and doing an apples to oranges argument about theobromine vs caffeine is asinine.

anon59134
Post 19

not all white chocolate is caffeine free. I called the 800 number for Hershey and theirs has caffeine, it was a smaller amount, but still... not worth getting heart palps over junk food.

anon37160
Post 17

Q. How much caffeine is in Chocolate?

A. The small amount of caffeine present in chocolate occurs naturally in the cocoa bean, unlike the caffeine in soft drinks which is added during the manufacturing process.

Here are some comparisons that may be helpful: Coffee 8 fl. oz. 65-120 mg

Cola-type soft drinks 12 oz. 30-55 mg

Milk Chocolate 1 oz. 5-10 mg

Dark Chocolate 1.4 oz. 7-50 mg

The amounts of caffeine in specific HERSHEY'S chocolate products are listed on the Chocolate Products Caffeine page.

anon35947
Post 16

chocolate doesn't have caffine, but a few chocolate types do have added caffine

anon35595
Post 15

There was a snickers called 'snickers charged' in a silver package that had added caffeine. I don't know if it is still around, as i think it was a "limited time" thing.

anon35522
Post 14

interesting.

anon34352
Post 13

Caffeine and theobromine are both "xanthine alkaloids" - they have the same base structure (a non-aromatic carbon ring joined with a nitrogenous ring), but they differ in one of the side-groups that stick off the basic structure.

The simple test for "caffeine" is actually identifying *all* xanthine alkaloids - caffeine, theobromine, theophyline, etc. The sources that say that chocolate has anything more than a trace of caffeine, are using the simple test as their final answer.

But as anyone who's taken organic chemistry knows, there are ways to purify out the different XA's based on their side groups. When you do that with the 'caffeine' in chocolate, you find out that it's not actually 'caffeine' - it's theobromine. Theobromine is also a stimulant - its just a *very* mild one. But be careful, it's mild in humans. But it's very strong in some animals - most notably, dogs. Too much chocolate, especially dark chocolate, will kill a dog...

anon33945
Post 12

Regarding the caffeine in chocolate. From my understanding, caffeine is an efficient pesticide which is used on the cocoa plant due to it's relative safety when compared to other chemical pesticides. The roasting process removes much of the caffeine but some still remains albeit in very low doses.

anon28148
Post 11

Chocolate does not contain caffeine! It contains a similar chemical called theobromine! Not caffeine! The chemicals are similar, but different. Different like methanol and ethanol. Their effects are different enough they should not be called the same name.

anon27112
Post 10

Theobromine is often confused with caffeine but while it is a stimulant it is much milder than caffeine.

ajh2000
Post 9

hello i was wondering if there was caffeine in hersheys cocoa unsweetened i was wanting to eat some of my wife's no bake cookies, but i am suppose to have no caffeine it makes my heart race any help>??

anon22876
Post 7

olittlewood: Try chocolate covered coffee beans.

funkball
Post 6

Anon8471 - Be careful not to put too much stock into what you find on Wikipedia. Sometimes the information is very accurate, other times... not so much.

Wikipedia should not be considered the definitive source of truth, considering the content is provided by anyone who wants to submit the content. It can be corrected by others as well.

bigmetal
Post 5

Does the MayoClinic and NIH have it wrong too? Run a search for "caffeine chocolate" and either of those sources and you'll find them citing caffeine in chocolate as well.

anon8471
Post 4

There is definitely no caffeine in cacao beans. Just check Wikipedia amongst other sources. The substance in cacao is theobromine which is not the same thing.

anon8180
Post 3

Hello,

I am pregnant and was wondering if it would be harmful to the baby if I had a glass of Chocolate milk or a slice of Chocolate cake?

Thank You

Moderator's reply: good question! there's really not enough caffeine in chocolate to make a difference. plus, the affect of chocolate on our neurotransmitters in our brains make us feel better, and according to a recent study in Finland, may result in happier babies! indulge yourself once in a while, and pack some antacids--chocolate is a notorious cause of heartburn in pregnancy!

anon6822
Post 2

I think you are wrong about caffeine in chocolate. It actually contains theobromine, which is similar to caffeine, but is milder. If you have a source to prove me wrong, send it to me.

olittlewood
Post 1

i'm sure that they'll figure out a way to add caffeine to chocolate so that people can have their favorite treat and get a needed pick me up at the same time! does anyone know of any chocolate confections that have extra caffeine added?

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