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Ask the experts: Decaffeinated drinks

Q: "How much caffeine is in instant decaffeinated coffee? And how much caffeine is in decaffeinated tea compared to normal tea?"


A: HFG nutritionist Claire Turnbull responds:

Decaffeinated tea and coffee have a lot less caffeine than regular coffee and tea: the amount will depend on the brand of tea/coffee as well as how strong you make your drink. However, here are some estimations:

  • 1 shot (30ml) of espresso coffee = 65mg
  • 1 shot (30ml) of decaffeinated coffee = 4mg
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee = 56mg
  • 1 teaspoon instant, dry powder decaffeinated coffee = 3mg
  • 1 cup English breakfast tea = 55mg
  • 1 cup decaffeinated tea = <0.1mg

Apart from in pregnancy, when it is recommended to keep caffeine below 200mg/day, there are no set guidelines for the upper level of caffeine recommended for adults. However, at Healthy Food Guide we suggest considering limiting your intake to around 300-400mg as above this level some people can start feeling anxious and agitated.

It is important to remember that caffeine stays in your system for a long time (you will still have half the caffeine in your system six hours after you have had a drink containing caffeine), and although it may not stop you from going to sleep, it can interfere with the quality of your sleep meaning you may wake up not feeling rested and need a coffee to get your day going. For this reason, decaffeinated drinks can be a good option for people who are trying to manage their overall intake of caffeine.