While I prefer to drink caffeine-free herbal tea at home, occasionally I do drink coffee and green tea at the office, where it is usually available in Keurig k-cups. My favorite ones are “Breakfast Blend” (regular strength, just for slow mornings), “Black Tiger” (stronger and bolder blend, very helpful on those “zombie” mornings), and green tea (which I like to sip after lunch for better digestion and to burn fat). Most of the days I go without any caffeine, but if I feel like it, usually one k-cup is sufficient, and I make sure to log it in my Diet Log. But if you think that using k-cups makes it easier to track the caffeine intake, you are wrong. Up to this day, I have been logging the number of k-cups and blend name, instead of the actual amount of caffeine. It is because, to my great surprise, I could not find anywhere information on how much caffeine is in the individual k-cup. According to Keurig FAQs:
“Coffee contains between 75 and 150 mg. of caffeine per 8 oz. cup, depending on the roasting strength and other factors. It is difficult to measure the nutritional content of coffee, because it varies depending on many things. Generally, the darker the coffee is roasted, the less caffeine it contains.”
Let’s just say, range of 75-150 mg is not accurate enough for me. The Energy Fiend’s Caffeine Database suggests 120 mg of caffein per k-cup, but does not differentiate between the blends. So this mornig, with some free time on my hands, I decided to solve this mystery, and wrote an e-mail to the customer support at Green Mountain Coffee. Apparently, my request was taken seriously, because I received a nice response within 30 minutes:
“Thank you for writing to Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. The amount of caffeine in any single serving of coffee, tea, chocolate, cocoa or caffeinated soft drink depends on a number of factors, including:
– The variety of coffee bean, tea leaf or cola nut
– Where the bean, leaf or nut was grown
– The particular coffee grind or tea leaf cut
– How the product is manufactured
– The method of preparation, e.g., the length of brewing or steeping, and the proportion of coffee to water
– The size of the cup, mug, etc., in which the beverage is served
The relative caffeine content in a 6oz brewed cup is 75-125mg. Extra Bold K-Cup® packs contain over 20% more coffee than typical K-Cup® packs, creating a richer more concentrated brew and would contain a higher percentage of caffeine given the coffee to water ratio. For further detail on the nutritional information for our coffees, you may visit http://www.greenmountaincoffee.com/nutrition.aspx on our website. Each of the Perfect Iced Teas, Sweet & Creamy Iced Coffee, Hot Apple Cider, Hot Cocoa and Café Escapes items have specific nutritional information under “Tasting Notes”. The Nutritional label can be viewed in the product images.
Oh, boy. When it comes to measuring caffeine, things are much more complicated than I thought. At least, the nutritional table reassured me that straight black coffee (and that’s how I like to drink it) does not have any calories. As for the actual caffeine content, I will start logging it as 120 mg per k-cup from now on, per Energy Fiend’s Caffeine Database. If you, like me, track your caffeine intake, check their site out, it has an extensive list of beverages and foods!
Update (August 2013): I have stopped drinking coffee and switched to yerba mate, which in addition to caffeine has more healthy antioxidants and other amazing properties. Most important, it is less acidic, and as a result, I have been getting less of those obnoxious episodes of acid reflux (dry cough eating and feeling of a “heavy” knot in the throat and esophagus). It was the most beneficial change in my diet!