How much caffeine is in hot chocolate?

Although many people think of hot chocolate as a soothing winter beverage, it could actually serve as your afternoon pick-me-up.

Like coffee, tea, and soda, hot chocolate contains caffeine. Caffeine is a naturally occurring stimulant that’s often used to provide a much-needed energy boost.

The exact amount of caffeine found in hot chocolate depends on how your drink was made. For example, a 16 ounce (oz.), or grande, cup of Starbucks’ hot chocolate contains 25 milligrams (mg) of caffeine.

Hot chocolate made with cocoa mix is usually less caffeinated. Take Swiss Miss, for example. One packet of their standard hot chocolate mix makes one 6-ounce cup of hot chocolate and contains 5 mg of caffeine.

If you want to put hot chocolate’s caffeine content into context, you can compare it to the average caffeine content of other drinks. Read on to learn how hot chocolate stacks up against coffee, tea, and more.

How does hot chocolate compare to other chocolate drinks?

Anything made from chocolate is guaranteed to contain some measure of caffeine. That’s because chocolate is made from cocoa beans, which contain caffeine.

The exact amount of caffeine will vary depending on the manufacturer and whether other ingredients are used to make the drink.

As a rule of thumb, dark chocolate drinks are usually the most caffeinated. That’s because dark chocolate contains more cocoa solids than milk chocolate.

Here’s what you can usually expect with:

  • Ready-to-drink chocolate milk: 1 cup (8 oz.) contains 0-2 mg of caffeine
  • Chocolate liqueurs: Bailey’s Chocolat Luxe and many other liquors are caffeine-free
  • Mexican chocolate-based drinks: 1 cup (8 oz.) of Stephen’s Mexican Hot Chocolate contains around 1 mg of caffeine, and others are comparable

How does hot chocolate compare to different coffee drinks?

Coffee is usually high in caffeine. The exact amount will depend on the type of coffee, the amount of beans or grounds used, and the brewing technique.

Here’s what you can usually expect with:

How does hot chocolate compare to different teas?

Tea is usually moderate in caffeine. As with coffee, the exact amount of caffeine will depend on the type of tea, the number of bags or amount of leaves used, and the brewing process and time. Herbal tea contains no caffeine.

Here’s what you can usually expect with:

How does hot chocolate compare to soft drinks?

Although most soft drinks are high in caffeine, some contain no caffeine at all.

Here’s what you can usually expect with:

  • Pepsi, regular: one 20-oz serving contains 63 mg of caffeine
  • Coca-Cola, regular, or Coke Zero: one 20-oz serving contains 56-57 mg of caffeine
  • Dr. Pepper, diet or regular: one 20-oz serving contains 68 mg of caffeine
  • Mountain Dew, diet or regular: one 20-oz serving contains 91 mg of caffeine
  • Barq’s root beer, regular: one 20-oz serving contains 38 mg of caffeine
  • Ginger ale: one 12-oz serving is caffeine-free
  • Sprite: one 12-oz serving is caffeine-free

The bottom line

Hot chocolate does contain small amounts of caffeine, but much less than tea, coffee, and the majority of soft drinks. If you want a chocolate-based drink with no caffeine at all, go for ready-to-drink chocolate milk.