What is Caffeine?

Fact 1

Caffeine is a naturally occurring substance found in the leaves, seeds and/or fruit of more than 60 plants.

Fact 2

Whether derived from natural or artificial sources, “caffeine is caffeine,” and all sources have the same basic properties.

Fact 3

Caffeine is used to flavor some beverages, contributing to the taste profile of products to which it is added.

What Is “Moderate”?

Many of us enjoy a daily pick-me-up such as a freshly brewed cup of coffee, an ice cold soft drink, a hot cup of tea or an energy drink—all of which share a common ingredient: caffeine. It comes from a variety of natural sources but also can be synthesized.

Research has shown that beverages are the leading dietary source of caffeine. Not only is caffeine consumed on a daily basis by a major part of the population, it’s also one of the most studied food ingredients on Earth.

Moderate caffeine consumption is considered to be in the range of 300 to 400 milligrams per day (mg/day), or about three to four 8-ounce cups of home-brewed coffee per day. According to FDA, the European Food Safety Authority and Health Canada, caffeine consumption of up to 400 mg daily is not associated with adverse health effects in the general healthy population of adults.

History of Caffeine

2737 B.C.

Legend has it that tea was first discovered by Chinese emperor Shennong in 2737 B.C.

575 A.D.

Coffee originated around 575 A.D. in Africa, where beans were used as money and consumed as food.

11th Century

Arabians consumed coffee beverages as far back as the 11th century A.D.


Aztecs introduced chocolate to Spanish explorers in 1519.


The world’s first caffeinated soft drinks were created in the 1880s.

Natural vs. Artificial


  • Coffee beans
  • Cocoa beans
  • Kola nuts
  • Tea leaves
  • Maté
  • Guarana berries


  • Cola drinks
  • Energy drinks
  • Juice beverages
  • Flavored waters
  • Pain relievers and other medicines
  • Dietary supplements

WATCH “THE BUZZ”About Caffeine

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Let’s assume you’re one of the 85 percent of Americans who consume caffeine every day. Whether you like coffee, tea, cola, or energy drinks, once you’ve armed yourself with some basic facts, it isn’t difficult to make sure that your daily buzz is part of a balanced diet.


WHAT’S MYCaffeine IQ

Think you’re a caffeine expert? Try our quiz and find your “Caffeine IQ”.

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