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Red Bull VS Coffee: Caffeine Content, Flavor & More Compared

We’ve all been there. Working a late shift, cramming for a test, or trying to meet a deadline. When we’re in these situations, we need all the help we can get. 

But what is the best beverage to help us get that quick energy boost?

Below we compare Red Bull VS coffee to see which drink has a greater amount of caffeine and which is the more nutritious option.

coffee compared to red bull

Key Takeaways: Red Bull VS Coffee

  • Red Bull contains 80 mg of caffeine per 8.4 oz can.
  • A cup of coffee has about 100-145 mg of caffeine per 8 oz cup.
  • Red Bull has less caffeine than coffee but contains additional energy-boosting ingredients. 
  • The long-term nutritional benefits are better with coffee.

How Much Caffeine in Red Bull Energy Drinks?

If you’ve ever taste-tested a Red Bull, the flavor differences compared to coffee are pretty obvious. Determining the difference in caffeine content is less straightforward. 

But caffeine is a nervous system stimulant. So it’s important to understand how Red Bull caffeine can impact our bodies. 

Red Bull has 80 mg of caffeine per standard, 8.4oz can. The 16 oz can packs a caffeine punch of 150mg, definitely enough to keep you energized for your project!

To understand what these numbers mean, let’s look at how much caffeine is in coffee vs other beverages.

How Much Caffeine in Coffee?

So how much caffeine is there in coffee VS Red Bull? 

Well, it depends on what kind of coffee you’re drinking, how it’s roasted, and how you brewed it. You probably think of espresso as the coffee with the most caffeine. And you’re technically correct!

An ounce of espresso contains roughly 60 mg of caffeine. An ounce of drip coffee has less than 20 mg of caffeine. 

But that comparison is misleading because you don’t drink coffee and espresso ounce for ounce. You drink a greater volume of drip coffee than espresso. 

Espresso beverages that use one shot contain 60 mg of caffeine. A regular-sized drip coffee will contain over 100 mg of caffeine. 

The brew method and volume of coffee make a significant difference in caffeine content. 
But there are a few other factors to consider: bean type and roast profile.

Robusta coffee beans contain more caffeine than arabica coffee beans. And by volume, light roasts contain slightly more caffeine than dark-roasted coffee beans.

pouring coffee

Does Red Bull Have More Caffeine Than Coffee?

Still trying to decide which drink will give you that much-needed energy boost? Here’s a breakdown of Red Bull vs coffee caffeine. 

The energy drink comes in at 80 mg of caffeine for 8.4 ounces.

The average 8 oz cup of joe comes in at 100-145 mg of caffeine.

Yep. Coffee tends to have more caffeine than Red Bull. No wonder coffee is the most popular psychoactive substance in the world.

So why do we think of Red Bull as the go-to energy drink?

Caffeine isn’t the only ingredient in Red Bull that gives you wings. An 8.4 oz can of regular Red Bull contains 27 grams of sugar. (Sugar-free Red Bull does not, of course, contain sugar.) 

Our bodies convert sugar into energy. So if you feel a bigger boost after drinking a Red Bull than a coffee, the sugar content might be to blame. 

Coffee has no sugar unless you add it either directly or in things like syrups. 

Red Bull also contains taurine and glucuronolactone, which also might energize your body. So comparing Red Bull and coffee comes down to more than just caffeine.

Red Bull vs Coffee Nutritional Comparison

If you rely on Red Bull and coffee for energy you might want to compare their nutritional benefits.

Red Bull contains B vitamins 3, 5, 6, and 12, vitamins our bodies need.

It also contains an amino acid called taurine. Taurine exists naturally in our bodies and may enhance athletic performance

It’s important to note that we don’t yet know the effects of long-term taurine consumption.

With the sugar in Red Bull, its calorie count comes to 110 calories per 8.4 oz can of the regular drink. Sugar-free Red Bull has around 10 calories per 8.4 oz can.

Black coffee is sugar-free. It contains vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, higher caffeine levels, and water. Black drip coffee vs other drinks comes in at a scant two calories per cup

Keep in mind, I’m talking about a cup of coffee with no milk or sugar. If you drink a latte with whole milk and several pumps of caramel syrup… you get more calories.

milky coffee in a cup

Red Bull vs Coffee: Which One is Healthier?

So, which drink is more nutritious? 

Both coffee and Red Bull are well within the FDA’s recommended daily limit of 400 mg of caffeine per day.

Red Bull contains more nutrients, more sugar, and less caffeine. Coffee may contain fewer nutrients, but it also contains fewer calories.

It comes down to your habits. If you need a quick boost for your workout, Red Bull might be a good option. 

But drinking several Red Bulls in one day is probably not a good idea. Yes, you can drink five regular cans of it without exceeding the FDA caffeine limit for healthy adults. But five cans would also give you 135 grams of sugar and 550 calories. 

A plain coffee will give you the energy benefits without the sugar overload.

Wrapping Up

Energy drinks can give you a quick boost. But regular coffee or espresso has fewer calories and more caffeine than Red Bull.

So, coffee is probably the healthier option for everyday drinking.

The next time you consider drinking Red Bull, maybe go for a great coffee or a tasty shot of espresso instead. There will be more caffeine and fewer artificial ingredients in these coffee bean beverages.