Have you ever wondered why and how much caffeine is in chocolate?
Unlike sugar and milk powder, caffeine is not an ingredient that’s actively added to chocolate by manufacturers. It is in fact a natural component of cocoa, which is the foundational product of all chocolate produce – including our deliciously indulgent dark and milk chocolate bars, smooth-melting truffles, decadent pralines and more. Even chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa has very minimal amounts of caffeine (less than 0.1%), which means those wishing to avoid caffeine do not have to worry when it comes to chocolate.
But what is the caffeine content of different types of chocolate, and where exactly does the caffeine come from? And how does this compare to the amounts of caffeine in coffee?
From Bean to Bar - The Making of Chocolate
The chocolate-making process starts with the cocoa tree - grown in warm climates close to the equator, 20 degrees of latitude north and south. Cocoa beans are harvested from the trees before being fermented, dried, and roasted. This is just the start of the chocolate-making process, and caffeine is a component that’s naturally derived early on in this process from cocoa beans.
Caffeine in Chocolate – Where Does it Come From?
At Lindt & Sprüngli, we carefully select the highest-quality, sustainably farmed cocoa beans from world-renowned countries of origin, including Ghana, Ecuador, and Peru. Raw cocoa beans are soft and chewy in texture and coated in a yellow, orange, red or purple cocoa pod.
When cocoa beans are liquefied, cocoa butter and cocoa solids are produced as a result. Both ingredients are used to make dark chocolate and milk chocolate , though the concentration in each differs depending on the end result.
One key difference is that cocoa solids naturally contain caffeine, whereas cocoa butter does not. That means the amount of caffeine in chocolate depends on the percentage of cocoa solids used.
Does Dark Chocolate Contain Caffeine?
Dark chocolate does contain caffeine, and the caffeine content is directly influenced by the intensity of the chocolate. This is because dark chocolate is made with more cocoa solids[EA4] , making the final product darker in appearance, richer in taste, and higher in caffeine content .
Milk chocolate, which typically contains between 30% and 65% of cocoa solids, has lower levels of caffeine due to its more even ratio of cocoa butter and cocoa solids. To compare, 30g of dark chocolate contains around 20mg (0.07%) of caffeine, while 30g of milk chocolate contains around 6mg (0.02%). The exact amounts can vary depending on the product and type of cocoa bean used, however, the caffeine contents are still very low compared to other highly caffeinated products like coffee. The Lindt Swiss Maîtres Chocolatiers choose from three[EA6] different varieties of cocoa beans within our ingredient portfolio to produce the finest cocoa – these are Criollo, Trinitario, and Forastero.
Does White Chocolate Have Caffeine?
In most instances, white chocolate does not contain any caffeine. This is because white chocolate is generally made using cocoa butter but no cocoa solids. If cocoa solids are used, the amount of caffeine will be minimal – less than 2mg per 30g piece of white chocolate (0.01%). One 8-ounce cup of brewed coffee contains roughly 95mg in comparison (0.04%).
The absence of cocoa solids makes white chocolate lighter in appearance and sweeter in flavour. At Lindt- & Sprüngli, our high-quality ingredients and passionate craftsmanship makes our white chocolate smooth, creamy, and beautifully rich.
Caffeine in Coffee vs Chocolate – What’s the Difference?
Just like cocoa solids - one of the raw ingredients that makes up the foundation of chocolate – caffeine is naturally found in substances like tea and coffee. But caffeine levels in coffee are much higher than what’s found in even the darkest chocolate bars, like our Lindt EXCELLENCE 100% cacao. The caffeine content in coffee varies depending on multiple factors like the type of coffee and serving size.
When looking at the standard serving size of chocolate and coffee, 30 grams of dark chocolate contains just 20mg of caffeine. Comparatively, an 8-ounce cup of brewed coffee contains between 95-200mg.
Therefore, eating a bar of chocolate is very different to drinking a cup of coffee or energy drink. With very minimal amounts of naturally derived caffeine contents, those wanting to avoid caffeine don’t need to worry about keeping chocolate in their diet.
Chocolate and coffee do however make an excellent pairing thanks to their complementary flavours and ingredients. Here at Lindt & Sprüngli, we like to pair our dark chocolate with artisanal coffee to create a more intense tasting experience. But there are plenty of other ways chocolate and coffee lovers can experience these sensational flavours together: in chocolate-based recipes, for example, coffee helps to enhance the chocolate flavour. Try our Espresso Chocolate Ganache, Hot Chocolate Mocha or Chocolate Tiramisu Birthday Cake - and take your tastebuds to a whole new level of pleasure and indulgence.
Ready to experience pure chocolate bliss? Choose the right chocolate to suit your tastebuds – explore our full range of irresistible chocolate bars, truffles, pralines, vegan chocolate, and chocolatey treats today.