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Is There Caffeine in Chocolate?

Tricia Christensen
By
Updated May 16, 2024
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There is caffeine in chocolate. For those who must avoid caffeine completely, this may be bad news. However, for those who can have caffeine, the amount in chocolate is not likely to be problematic unless one consumes vast quantities of chocolate on a regular basis. It is also important to remember that caffeine content in chocolate depends on the type of chocolate. Sensitivity to caffeine also varies from one individual to another.

The caffeine in chocolate varies according to the type of chocolate. Semi-sweet chocolate usually contains about 10 milligrams of caffeine per ounce. Milk chocolate usually has at five milligrams or less of caffeine per ounce. Generally, the level of caffeine in chocolate is higher as the chocolate gets darker because dark chocolate contains more cocoa.

In comparison to chocolate, 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.

The amount of 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 higher levels, depending on how much tea is 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.

White chocolate does not contain caffeine, since those ingredients that make chocolate dark are absent in the white chocolate production process.

Those who are required to avoid or restrict caffeine in their diet due to health concerns ought to consult with their doctor before consuming chocolate.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a DelightedCooking contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon999101 — On Oct 26, 2017

It's too bad the author of this post did not bother to dig deep enough to discover that caffeine is not naturally found in cacao. Others who have replied have taken more time to at least get the facts.

For any that read this far, Theobromine is a natural chemical that is a wonderful, smooth energy booster found naturally in cacao.

Anytime caffeine is found in ANY chocolate, it has been added by the producer. So read the labels!

By sorntor — On May 13, 2015

As someone who suffers from hypertension and kidney disease, the amount of caffeine content (and other alkaloids) is incredibly important and plays a major impact to my health.

According to studies I've seen, there is 28.3mg of caffeine in raw cocoa. To put this in perspective, that means that 1OZ of 70% cacao dark Chocolate (at 0.4%) equals 80mg of caffeine. That's like drinking two Cokes, or more than 1.5 cups of black tea. That means 2OZ of 70% dark chocolate equals 160mg of caffeine. That's more than a cup of coffee!

For those who are interested, check out the study on "Extraction Of Theobromine From Natural Source: Characterization And Optimization."

By anon315263 — On Jan 23, 2013

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.

By anon143659 — On Jan 17, 2011

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.

By anon133290 — On Dec 10, 2010

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.

By sedduck — On Jul 09, 2010

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).

By anon94189 — On Jul 07, 2010

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.

By anon87431 — On May 30, 2010

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.

By anon77772 — On Apr 15, 2010

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.

By anon74555 — On Apr 02, 2010

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 labeled 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.

By anon63765 — On Feb 03, 2010

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.

By anon62142 — On Jan 25, 2010

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.

By anon59134 — On Jan 06, 2010

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.

By anon37160 — On Jul 17, 2009

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.

By anon35947 — On Jul 08, 2009

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

By anon35595 — On Jul 06, 2009

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.

By anon35522 — On Jul 05, 2009

interesting.

By anon34352 — On Jun 21, 2009

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...

By anon33945 — On Jun 14, 2009

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.

By anon28148 — On Mar 11, 2009

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.

By anon27112 — On Feb 24, 2009

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

By ajh2000 — On Dec 13, 2008

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>??

By anon22876 — On Dec 11, 2008

olittlewood: Try chocolate covered coffee beans.

By funkball — On Aug 19, 2008

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.

By bigmetal — On Feb 15, 2008

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.

By anon8471 — On Feb 14, 2008

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.

By anon8180 — On Feb 09, 2008

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

By anon6822 — On Jan 09, 2008

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.

By olittlewood — On Dec 28, 2007

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?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a DelightedCooking contributor, Tricia...
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