Does Hot Chocolate Have Caffeine?

You can’t go wrong with a mug of hot chocolate. It’s the ultimate comfort drink, serving as the perfect soothing winter beverage when it’s cold. Because it’s so delicious, it’s also an ideal warm drink for people of all ages, from kids to elderly folk. 

Everybody knows that hot chocolate is sweet and packed with sugar, but does hot chocolate have caffeine? Should you avoid hot chocolate if you’re not allowed to have caffeine, or will it give you the same effects as coffee?

Does Hot Chocolate Have Caffeine?

So, if you’re wondering whether it’s wise to serve your kids a mug of hot cocoa before they go to bed, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s everything you need to know about hot chocolate and whether it contains caffeine. 

Does Hot Chocolate Have Caffeine?

Let’s set the record straight. Yes, hot chocolate contains caffeine, but a very small amount. 

It’s easy to assume that hot chocolate is a completely caffeine-free drink. After all, it’s just a mixture of cocoa powder and warm milk, so it can’t contain caffeine in the same way as coffee or tea, right? 

You would be wrong to have this mindset. Hot chocolate contains a very low amount of caffeine compared to coffee and tea, with the average cup of hot chocolate containing only 5 milligrams of caffeine. 

The more chocolatey and sweet the hot chocolate is, the higher the caffeine content. This is especially true for coffee shops that are notorious for selling sweet hot drinks.

For example, a hot chocolate from Starbucks will contain up to 25 milligrams of caffeine. 

Contrary to popular belief, adding more milk to a hot chocolate isn’t going to dilute the caffeine content. The caffeine content will stay the same, unless you add more hot chocolate powder to the mug.

The more powder or hot chocolate you add, the higher the overall caffeine content. 

Considering the average cup of black coffee contains 95 milligrams of caffeine, you’ll struggle to match the caffeine levels with hot chocolate.

Unless you plan on drinking around 19 cups of hot chocolate, you’re not going to experience the same amount of caffeine as coffee. 

The same also applies to black tea, which has around 26 milligrams of caffeine. This is more comparable to a sweet hot chocolate from Starbucks, which contains only one milligram less. 

Why Does Hot Chocolate Have Caffeine?

So, now we know that hot chocolate contains small amounts of caffeine, but why does it have caffeine in the first place? 

Caffeine is actually a naturally-occurring substance that can be found in plants used for drinks, including coffee beans, tea leaves, and cacao beans.

Considering that hot chocolate is made using cacao beans, it means that hot chocolate is inherently a caffeinated drink. 

How Much Caffeine Is In Hot Chocolate Compared To Coffee?

There is significantly less caffeine in hot chocolate compared to coffee, purely because coffee beans have a naturally high caffeine content. 

Decaf coffee, on the other hand, contains about 2 milligrams of caffeine, which is just slightly less than hot chocolate. Contrary to popular belief, decaf coffee isn’t completely void of caffeine.

Instead, it contains the smallest amount of caffeine, so you don’t feel the after effects. 

A mocha, however, is a mixture of coffee and hot chocolate. As a result, a mocha contains up to 150 milligrams of caffeine, making it one of the strongest types of caffeinated drinks.

This might come as a surprise to some coffee drinkers, who would assume that the addition of hot chocolate would dilute the caffeine content. 

The easiest way to remember the caffeine content of hot chocolate is knowing that hot chocolate has a lower caffeine content than coffee, black tea, and mocha. However, it has a slightly higher caffeine content than decaf coffee. 

Does Hot Chocolate Have Caffeine? (1)

Do You Feel The Effects Of Caffeine In Hot Chocolate?

While hot chocolate does contain caffeine, it’s such a small amount that you’re not likely to feel the effects of it. Instead of making you feel jittery and alert, you’ll probably feel a little more awake than usual, but that’s about it.

You’re also not likely to experience a crash later in the day, as you would with coffee. 

However, it all comes down to the individual’s caffeine tolerance. It might not be completely wise to give your kids a mug of hot chocolate before they go to bed, because their bodies aren’t used to caffeine.

They’ll probably experience effects similar to a sugar rush, which will only prolong their bedtime. 

Instead of giving your kids a full mug of hot chocolate before bedtime, maybe half the amount of hot chocolate you give them. By halving the amount of hot chocolate, you’re halving the amount of caffeine. 

You also have to keep an eye on what brand of hot chocolate you are using.

Each product will have their own levels of caffeine, and even though it might be tempting to reach for the sweetest hot chocolate known to man, make sure to look at the caffeine content.

Unless you don’t mind caffeine, it’s best to avoid caffeinated hot chocolates. 

Does White Hot Chocolate Have Caffeine?

Here’s where it gets confusing. While regular hot chocolate contains a small amount of caffeine, white hot chocolate contains no caffeine at all. 

This is because white chocolate doesn’t actually contain chocolate, as it isn’t made from cacao beans. Instead, white chocolate contains cacao butter, which is naturally caffeine-free. 

So, if you love hot chocolate but want to stay away from even the smallest levels of caffeine, opt for white hot chocolate instead!

Just keep in mind that a cup of white hot chocolate is still packed with sugar, so you’ll probably get a small sugar rush instead of a caffeine rush. 


So, there you have it! Contrary to popular belief, hot chocolate does contain small amounts of caffeine.

However, the caffeine content is not comparable to coffee or tea, so you’re not likely to experience the same rush or crash as more caffeinated drinks. 

Mark Williams
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