Does Hot Chocolate Contain Caffeine?

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Does Hot Chocolate Contain Caffeine?

Hot chocolate is a common alternative to hot coffee, especially during the winter months. For those who don’t like the bitter, acidic taste of coffee, hot chocolate provides some much-needed warmth and indulgence. This drink has been around since 1400 AD and has made it this far for good reason – it’s absolutely delicious.

There are actually quite a few benefits to drinking hot chocolate outside of how satisfying it is. It contains antioxidants, flavonoids (good for blood flow), and a surprising amount of fiber and iron. It’s great for those cold weather days when holding a warm cup between your palms can be incredibly comforting – but can hot chocolate really go head to head with coffee?

The differences may seem distinct; hot chocolate is luxurious, rich, and quite sweet. Coffee can be altered with sweeteners and creamers to fit the preferences of the drinker, but it usually has either a bitter bite or a sickening sweetness to it.
The main benefit of coffee, and the reason many people choose to learn to like it, is the high levels of caffeine.

What Exactly is Caffeine?

To put it simply, caffeine is a stimulant. It can actually be labeled a psychoactive drug – a substance that alters perception, mood, behavior, and more. Unlike many other psychoactive drugs and stimulants, caffeine is legal.
It is naturally bitter and can be found in seeds, nuts, and many plants – most commonly, the coffee bean. The caffeine content of coffee depends on what type of bean has been used as well as how the drink is prepared. Tea, energy drinks, and mate are a few other examples of beverages that contain caffeine.

To be “caffeinated” usually refers to feeling jittery, very awake, and even anxious. Many people drink coffee for the caffeine and that push it gives you for the second half of the day when you start to hit a wall.

Does Hot Chocolate Contain Caffeine?

While it might seem like there’s no way such a luscious, delightful drink could be hiding something as naturally bitter as caffeine, most hot chocolate does contain about 5mg of caffeine (per 6 ounces). For comparison, a regular cup of coffee has about 95mg (source).
Larger drinks will, obviously, contain more caffeine – so if you love to start your day off with a large hot chocolate, you’re actually getting a decent hit of the stimulant.

Chocolate, made from cocoa beans, contains a small amount of caffeine. You’ll find caffeine in other chocolate products as well. So it might not be surprising that you’re not feeling as slow as you usually do halfway through the workday after consuming hot chocolate – knowingly or not, you’re getting a bit of a boost.

Perhaps the best thing about hot chocolate vs coffee is that the negative side effects usually associated with the stimulant – jitters, anxiety, withdrawal headaches – are uncommon in hot chocolate drinkers.

It is important to be aware that hot chocolate has some negative health effects, too, such as processed powders and high levels of sugar. But the occasional cup to warm yourself up in the morning won’t do any long-term harm – it might actually be giving you some much-needed encouragement to tackle your day!

If you’re now wondering whether hot chocolate is at all healthy for you, check out this post: Is hot chocolate healthy?

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