Coffee vs Energy Drink, Caffeine & Sugar Compared

by Matthew Robertson October 21, 2021

Coffee vs Energy Drink, Caffeine & Sugar Compared - Down The Range Coffee

Coffee and energy drinks are the two most popular choices when it comes to a beverage that can provide the most amount of energy. 

But, is one better than the other? Read along as we compare these two energy-boosting refreshments.


Coffee is natural or of plant origin and depending on the brand, it has little to no additives or preservatives. It contains healthy nutrients such as potassium, vitamins B2 and B5, magnesium, and niacin, and it also contains no calories

This beverage can be strengthened or weakened according to your preference, which means you have more control over how you want it to taste and how strong you want the coffee brew to be.

When you buy a packet of coffee, you can also decide how much of the contents you want to pour into a cup, as well as what other condiments to include. Thus, you can control how much sugar you want to put in. With energy drinks, sugar and additives are already blended in, so you have no choice but to consume them.

Furthermore, you can save money by using the best coffee subscription, found on the product page for all our specialty coffee beans and pre-ground coffee range.

Energy Drinks

Although coffee has been around for a long time, energy drinks have become increasingly popular in recent years and are now also being used as a pre-workout supplement.

An energy drink can provide a high dose of energy in a short stretch of time and can be easily and quickly consumed anywhere. 

Coffee, on the other hand, is more of a social drink that should be sipped rather than gulped down. This is because it is hot and you have to wait for it to cool down a bit before you can drink it and receive more energy.

Energy drinks provide such a rapid and high dose of energy, thus it is important to remember that while they seem more of a convenient way to get a quick boost of energy, they can also make you suffer a severe sugar crash and may make you feel more fatigued than ever when the energy drink starts to wear off.

Additionally, a can or bottle of energy drink contains high amounts of sugar, flavorings. preservatives, additives, and even dyes as an ingredient. With that being said, energy drinks may be more unfavorable than coffee.


This is the world's most commonly used stimulant. Drinking caffeine can help the brain become more alert and attentive and this is what causes the energy boost after gulping down a cup of coffee or your energy drink.

Although caffeine is beneficial in providing both energy and focus, too much caffeine or caffeine concentration can disrupt your sleep patterns and cause jitters and anxiety.

It's recommended that a healthy adult should not consume more than 400mg of caffeine intake in a day.

How Much Caffeine in Coffee vs Energy Drink

How much caffeine is in a cup of coffee?

Caffeine consumption will depend on the size of the cup of coffee you are drinking.

For instance, a grande cup of coffee contains approximately 225 milligrams of caffeine content. However, a grande cup holds approximately 16 ounces and is double the size of an average cup of coffee.

In reality, you would probably need to drink around four regular-sized cups of coffee to reach 400 milligrams of caffeine per day. On average, a regular cup of coffee, which is 8 fluid ounces, usually has around 80-100 milligrams caffeine content.

How much caffeine is in a can of energy drink?

This depends on the brand of energy drink because manufacturers use different formulas and ingredients.

Common energy drinks that are found in convenience stores and gas stations have around 80 mg of caffeine per regular can of 8.4 fluid ounces. This means that a regular cup of coffee will typically contain more caffeine. But, as we have mentioned, not all products are created the same.

Coffee vs Energy Drinks: Sugar Content

Sugar content in Coffee

Coffee itself is sugar-free, therefore, you can decide on how many teaspoons of sugar you will add. 

In other words, you can adjust the sweetness, as well as your sugar intake! Furthermore, you may decide to skip the sugar altogether, if you like to enjoy a strong cup of black coffee.

Instant coffee, on the other hand, may or may not contain an artificial sweetener or synthetic caffeine, depending on the brand.

As an alternative to coffee with added sugar, try a healthier way to sweeten your coffee.

Sugar content in energy drinks

Energy drinks tend to have a poor reputation because of the sugar content, wherein one can of a leading energy drink contains 11 to 26 grams of sugar, while another popular energy drink like a monster energy drink, contains 54 grams, which is equal to a whopping 14 teaspoons of sugar that is over the daily recommended amount.

While sugar may have some benefits, having too much of it can result in a sugar crash that will leave you feeling tired and groggy, and sometimes with a massive headache.

The good news is that there are products on the market that contain absolutely no added sugar and can still have the ability to boost your energy.

Sugar free energy drinks are still flavourful due to the natural and organic juices that will not give you a sugar crash.

Coffee vs Energy Drinks: Calorie

A high amount of calories in food and beverages doesn't necessarily mean that it is unhealthy, as your body needs calories to function properly. However, it's good to remember where you're getting your calories from. It is advisable to get your calories from filling and wholesome sources.

Calorie in Coffee

A regular cup of coffee has no calories. However, for anyone who likes to add all the fixings like cream, sugar, and flavoring, the number of calories will quickly add up.

For instance, a tall 12 fluid ounces Caramel Frappuccino contains almost 200 calories because of all the added sugar.

Calorie in Energy Drinks

Calories are found in energy drinks and also in sports drink but tend to vary from brand to brand as well.

There are energy drinks on the market that have 450 calories per serving, and there are some that have zero calories per serving.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Coffee vs Energy Drinks

Advantages of Coffee

  • Increases metabolism - used as a dietary supplement
  • Help with longevity
  • Provide a sustained physical and mental energy boost
  • Can offer protection from Parkinson’s disease
  • Can offer protection from Alzheimer’s diseases
  • Lowers the risk of Type 2 diabetes
  • Lowers the risk of liver diseases
  • Lowers the risk of depression and suicide
  • Is packed with essential nutrients
  • A good source of antioxidants
  • Caffeine can enhance brain function and boost metabolism

Disadvantages of Coffee

  • Can be addictive
  • Can cause anxiety
  • Can disrupt sleep
  • Can raise blood pressure

While the disadvantages of coffee may sound a little off-putting, in reality, if you learn to choose the right coffee and if you are drinking coffee at the right time, you probably won’t have anything to worry about.

Advantages of Energy Drinks

  • Can improve physical endurance
  • Enhances alertness
  • Can boost reaction time
  • Provides a quick energy boost
  • Helps supply vital nutrients such as B vitamin

Disadvantages of Energy Drinks

  • Can cause headaches
  • May lead to tooth decay
  • Can cause high blood pressure
  • It can lead to kidney failure
  • It can be addictive
  • Contains more sugar
  • Highly processed
  • May cause dehydration
  • Can cause insomnia
  • It can cause anxiety

Energy drinks can also be more expensive, depending on the energy drink company, and are not an ideal choice for anyone with a tight budget. They cannot also be made at home, which can sometimes be more inconvenient for people who regularly consume energy drinks.

It is also wise to remember that if you have terrible anxiety, you should avoid coffee and energy drinks altogether and have a relaxing tea instead.

Coffee vs Energy Drinks Frequently Asked Questions

Should you drink coffee or energy drink instead?

Coffee is the healthier choice and has more health benefits than energy drinks. The only edge that energy drinks have over coffee is that it is more convenient to drink quickly on the go, which is ideal for anyone who does not have the time to prepare their coffee but needs a quick boost of energy. With that being said, if you need a beverage before sleeping, coffee or energy drinks are a poor choice, instead have milk or tea, such as green tea, instead.

Why do people say energy drinks are bad for you but not coffee?

People say energy drinks are bad and coffee are not because energy drinks are a highly caffeinated beverage, they contain a lot of sugar, they are highly processed and have more disadvantages than coffee, whereas coffee is a plant-derived beverage and gets natural caffeine from a coffee bean, and are a healthier choice for many

Can you mix coffee and energy drinks?

You should never mix coffee and energy drinks because it can add up to an excessive caffeine jolt and high caffeine absorption can result in an increased risk of injury. It can also disrupt your blood pressure and heart rhythm which can cause heart problems. It is also wise not to mix caffeine with alcohol, instead, have a separate caffeine drink a few hours before or after alcohol consumption.


Coffee and energy drinks are popular beverages for energy-boosting, however, they have their own advantages and disadvantages. 

Coffee seems to be the healthier choice for many because it has less to no sugar and it contains natural vitamins and antioxidants.

However, this is not to say that an energy drink should never be enjoyed, but rather that you’d probably want to consume in moderation. The same is true with coffee, as it also contains caffeine and can also have negative side effects if coffee consumption is not controlled.

Matthew Robertson
Matthew Robertson


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