coffee vs. energy drinks

Coffee vs. Energy Drinks: Which Option is Healthier?

When it comes to boosting energy levels, many of us rely on either coffee or energy drinks to wake up. Which one is truly better for our well-being?

In this article, we'll delve into the advantages and disadvantages of both beverages in terms of their caffeine content, nutritional value, vitamin composition, calorie count, and sugar content.

Coffee vs. Energy Drinks: The Showdown

Caffeine: Coffee vs. Energy Drinks


  • Caffeine Content: A typical 8-ounce (240 ml) cup of coffee contains between 80 to 120 mg of caffeine. However, it's worth noting that this can vary depending on factors such as the type of coffee bean used, the roasting process and the type of coffee being prepared (black coffee vs cappuccino).
  • Absorption Rate: Caffeine from coffee is absorbed steadily by our bodies, providing a sustained boost in energy levels.
  • Natural vs. Synthetic: The caffeine found in coffee is entirely natural. Often, it comes accompanied by beneficial compounds.

Did you know that we offer decaf coffee and half-caff coffee options?  

Energy Drinks

  • Caffeine Content: The amount of caffeine in energy drinks can vary significantly. An average 8-ounce can might contain from 70 to 200 mg of caffeine.
  • Absorption Rate: Due to the combination of caffeine with substances like taurine or guarana, commonly found in energy drinks, their effects tend to be felt more quickly.

  • Natural vs. Synthetic: Some energy drinks use synthetic caffeine, which might have a different impact on the body than its natural counterpart.

Nutrients: Coffee vs. Energy Drinks


  • Antioxidants: Now, let's talk about the nutrients found in coffee and energy drinks. Coffee contains antioxidants like acid, which can help fight inflammation and promote health.
  • Calories: Black coffee has few calories, with 2-5 calories per 8-ounce cup. However, adding sugar, milk or cream to your coffee will increase the calorie count.

Energy drinks

  • Sugar: On the other hand, many energy drinks are high in sugar. Consuming sugar from these drinks can lead to weight gain and increase the risk of heart disease and other health problems.
  • Other ingredients: Some energy drinks also contain acids like taurine or herbs like ginseng. While these ingredients may offer some benefits when consumed in moderation, they can pose risks if consumed excessively.

Vitamins: Coffee vs. Energy Drinks


  • Now, let's discuss vitamins. Coffee is a source of B vitamins, particularly vitamin B2 (riboflavin), but in small amounts. 

Energy drinks 

  • On the other hand, many energy drinks are fortified with a complex of B vitamins, which play a role in energy production within the body.
  • When it comes to vitamins, it's important to be mindful of B6, B12, niacin and riboflavin. While these vitamins can be beneficial, consuming them excessively can lead to an imbalance in nutrients or potential toxicity with fat-soluble vitamins.

Calories: Coffee vs. Energy Drinks


  • Content: A regular 8-ounce cup of coffee typically contains around 2-5 calories. However, if you add sugar, milk or cream to your coffee, the calorie count can increase significantly. 
  • Considerations: Keep in mind that flavored coffees or those from chains may have calorie content due to added syrups and other ingredients.

Energy Drinks

  • Content: The calorie content in energy drinks can vary greatly. Some brands contain as much as 250 calories per can due to high sugar levels.
  • Considerations: If you're watching your calorie intake, consider opting for sugar "zero" versions; however, keep in mind that these often contain sweeteners, like erythritol, which research suggests can be bad for your health.

Sugar in Coffee vs. Energy Drinks


  • Natural sugars: Black coffee itself doesn't contain any sugars. However, be cautious of any additives or syrups you might add because they can quickly increase your sugar intake.
  • Health: Consuming excessive amounts of added sugars—through coffee—can contribute to weight gain and metabolic issues.

Energy Drinks

  • Excessive Sugar Content: A lot of energy drinks contain levels of sugar, sometimes reaching 50 grams or more per can. For some perspective, the American Heart Association recommends that men have no more that 36 grams of sugar per day.
  • Health Concerns: Consuming energy drinks can cause a spike in blood sugar leading to energy level crashes and mood swings.

Coffee vs. Energy Drink FAQs

 1. What are some alternatives to energy drinks?

If you're looking for alternatives to energy drinks, consider herbal teas like green tea or yerba mate. These options provide caffeine and beneficial antioxidants without the added sugars and synthetic ingredients.

2. Does coffee have any value?

Absolutely! Coffee contains nutrients like B2, B3, B5 and manganese. It's also rich in antioxidants that can promote health by fighting inflammation and cellular damage.

3. Is coffee a better choice than Red Bull?

When comparing coffee with Red Bull, it's generally lower in calories. Doesn't have added sugars. Coffee also releases caffeine, resulting in sustained energy without the crash that often follows the rapid absorption of caffeine in energy drinks. However, individual preferences and how each beverage affects someone may vary.

4. Do energy drinks contain vitamins?

Many energy drinks are fortified with B vitamins such as B6, B12, niacin and riboflavin. However, it's important to be mindful of consumption to avoid vitamin overload.

5. Is it safe to drink coffee and energy drinks every day? 

While both coffee and energy drinks can be safe when consumed in moderation, it's crucial to consider your tolerance for caffeine and any underlying health conditions. We recommend consulting with a healthcare professional regarding your caffeine intake.


Both coffee and energy drinks provide a boost of caffeine. When consumed without additives, coffee typically contains less calories and sugars compared to many energy drinks. Remember the importance of reading labels, understanding what you consume, and practicing moderation. 

As a coffee company, we're definitely team coffee - sorry not sorry. Shop our full selection of small-batch craft coffee today! 



  1. Healthline - How Much Caffeine in a Cup of Coffee? 

  2. Mayo Clinic - Caffeine: How does it affect blood pressure?

  3. Caffeine Informer - Caffeine Amounts in Energy Drinks

  4. Healthline - Top 13 Health Benefits of Coffee 

  5. Nutrition Advance - What Are Energy Drinks, and Are They Good or Bad? 

  6. USDA FoodData Central 

  7. Healthline - Green Tea vs. Coffee: Which Is Better for You?

  8. National Institues of Health: Erythritol and Cardiovascular Events

Rachel Noall

Rachel Noall

Rachel Noall is one of the founders of Tiny Potato Coffee Company. She spent much of her 20's exploring Europe, and while in Rome for 6 months lived across the alley from the infamous La Casa del Caffè Tazza d'Oro. This kicked off her true love of coffee, it's history, and the routine surrounding the beverage.

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