Does Hot Chocolate Have Caffeine? Comparison With Coffee And Tea & Healthier Alternatives

Does hot chocolate have caffeine? Should it be your go-to choice for a morning drink?

Hot chocolate is a popular morning drink, and most morning drinks contain caffeine. This may have you wondering if that cup you take every morning is adding to your daily caffeine intake or not.

There is so much in one cup of hot chocolate. Warmth, soothe, and a cozy hug for your insides. It’s just the perfect thing to indulge in after being out in the cold, on a lazy evening, or when you just need something to calm your nerves after a long day.

So, do all the goodies in a cup of hot chocolate include caffeine? Can you trust a cup of hot chocolate to keep you alert? Find out in this article.

What is hot chocolate?

Hot chocolate is a hot, sweet drink made basically with cocoa powder, milk, and a sweetener.

A cup of hot chocolate may also include optional ingredients like cinnamon, marshmallows, whipped cream, or vanilla extract to add flavor or texture. The ingredients in any cup of hot chocolate vary with brands or recipes.

Does hot chocolate have caffeine?

Yes, hot chocolate has caffeine. The caffeine content is low when compared to that of coffee and tea. Also, the amount of caffeine in a brand of hot chocolate depends on the manufacturer.

Brands like Swiss Miss contain 5 mg caffeine and some brands contain less. Most mixes are low in caffeine except they are made with dark chocolate.

However, the hot chocolate sold by Starbucks contains 25 mg of caffeine. Still, this caffeine content is nothing compared to the caffeine in coffee and tea.

The caffeine in hot chocolate comes from the cocoa powder. The amount of caffeine in a cup depends on the quantity of cocoa powder in the hot chocolate. Dark chocolate contains more cocoa, which is why it has more caffeine.

Caffeine content in hot chocolate vs coffee

The caffeine in hot chocolate comes nowhere close to the caffeine in coffee. One 8-ounce cup of coffee can contain 2 (decaf) to 125 (double shot of espresso) mg of caffeine. The average cup of coffee contains 95 mg of caffeine.

The strength of caffeine in a cup of coffee depends on the type of coffee, the method of preparation, and the amount of coffee beans it contains.

Caffeine content in hot chocolate vs tea

Teas do not have as much caffeine as coffee. A cup of green tea contains between 30 to 50 mg of caffeine and a cup of yellow tea can have 40 to 50 mg of caffeine.

You will have to take up to ten cups of hot chocolate to get up to the caffeine content in one cup of tea.

Will hot chocolate keep you awake?

The caffeine content in hot chocolate is not enough to keep you awake like coffee and tea do. If you find it difficult to sleep after drinking hot chocolate, it could be because of other reasons. If your hot chocolate contains a lot of sugar, this could be the cause.

Excessive sugar intake can cause blood sugar levels to fluctuate. These fluctuations increase energy levels and disrupt sleep. If your hot chocolate contains a lot of sugar, opt for a low-sugar option next time or use a low-sugar sweetener like honey.

Other reasons why you are awake after drinking hot chocolate are stress and anxiety.

Why does hot chocolate make you sleep?

Hot chocolate contains cocoa, and cocoa contains flavonoids which help you fall asleep quickly and improve the quality of your sleep.

Hot chocolate contains cocoa and milk. These two ingredients contain tryptophan, the amino acid responsible for the synthesis of serotonin. One of the several functions of serotonin is the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep.

Drinking hot chocolate before bed can boost the production of these chemicals, ensuring quality sleep. Furthermore, hot chocolate has a soothing effect that brings comfort and makes you relaxed. The heat from your cup of beverage has a physical effect on your body too.

Your body responds to the rise and drop in temperature your body feels as you begin and finish the drink. Your body receives this as a signal to rest, which is why you feel sleepy.

Another reason drinking hot chocolate makes you feel sleepy is the magnesium in cocoa. Magnesium helps to regulate the body’s stress response system, reduce blood pressure, and promote better sleep.

Should you drink hot chocolate before bed?

A cup of hot chocolate is a perfect choice for a bedtime drink. Enjoy the soothing aroma and calming warmth that will put you to sleep in minutes.

When is the best time to drink hot chocolate?

You can drink a cup of hot chocolate at any time of the day. However, at night is the best time to enjoy the benefits of the cup.

Is hot chocolate healthy?

Improves mood

The little caffeine in a cup of hot chocolate, the serotonin produced from tryptophan, and the flavanols in cocoa are responsible for the sudden cheeriness and lightness you feel while drinking hot chocolate. You can enjoy this benefit on the night you feel low and tired.


Not many people know this but drinking hot chocolate can support heart health. Hot chocolate contains antioxidants that help to lower LDL oxidation and reduce the risk of plaque buildup and subsequent rupture. Flavanols can also help lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Good for brain health

Hot chocolate is also good for the brain. The flavanols increase brain oxygen levels and boost brain metabolism as well.

Fights cough

There are other ways hot chocolate fights colds, flu, and coughs other than the warmth. It releases theobromine from cocoa and provides relief for cough.

Hot chocolate lowers blood pressure

Most people with high blood pressure would rather avoid this beverage because of the high sugar content.

You can get the best of this benefit with a low-sugar variety, adding less sugar, or using a low-sugar sweetener like honey. Cocoa contains nitric oxide, a vasodilator that helps to maintain healthy blood pressure levels.

Some other nutrients in hot chocolate support endothelial function, which helps to regulate blood clotting and the number of electrolytes that move from the blood to the tissues.

Good for weight loss

It’s cocoa, not sugar that supports weight loss. Cocoa increases fat oxidation, reduces appetite, and leaves you feeling full.

Cocoa contains catechins and flavanols, which produce antioxidants that aid fat loss. Also, drinking hot chocolate may reduce body mass index (BMI).

Can you make caffeine-free hot chocolate?

The only option for caffeine-free hot chocolate you have is to make yours with white chocolate. White chocolate has zero caffeine content which makes it a perfect choice for a cup of caffeine-free hot chocolate.

Healthier alternatives to hot chocolate

Here are some low-sugar hot drink alternatives you can take instead of hot chocolate:


coffee as hot chocolate alternative - millenora

A cup of hot coffee can also help calm your nerves. However, it is not likely to make you sleep. You can enjoy your coffee all black or add some milk for more taste and texture.

Make a healthy cup with low-fat milk and ground cinnamon instead of full-fat milk and sugar or other high-sugar sweeteners. Coffee is for people who prefer caffeine anyway.

Green tea

green tea - millenora

Green tea is also caffeinated, but it contains less than 50% of the caffeine content in the same amount of coffee. An 8-ounce cup of green tea contains about 30 mg of caffeine, whereas the same amount of coffee can have up to 96 mg of caffeine.

This is a healthier choice than coffee if you are trying to reduce your caffeine intake. You can make a latte with milk and a low-calorie sweetener for a better taste and texture.

Ginger tea

ginger tea as hot chocolate alternative - millenora

If you feel uneasy and unable to sleep due to stomachache or nausea, help yourself with a cup of fresh ginger tea. Instead of tea bags containing additives you may not like, brew your ginger tea yourself with a small piece of peeled ginger root and boiled water.

Fruit tea

fruit tea - millenora

You can get teabags or loose fruit tea blends from the stores. You can also make yours at home with a blend of fruits and boiled water. Add green tea if you prefer something stronger or leave it at just fruits for a fancy fruity flavor.

Hot water with lemon

slices of lemon in hot water - millenora

One of the healthiest low-calorie caffeine-free options you can try. Moreover, it is easy to make. In a matter of seconds or minutes, you have a cup of warmth and vitamin C ready.

All you need to do is add fresh lemon juice to a cup of hot water and sip. In a few minutes, your body will feel a sense of comfort and become relaxed.

Mint tea

mint tea as hot chocolate alternative - millenora

The warmth and minty aroma from freshly brewed mint tea is therapeutic. It is also a low-calorie option and popularly taken after meals to aid digestion.

Chai tea

chai tea - millenora

Chai tea is black tea brewed with a variety of aromatic Indian spices. You can make yours low-calorie by not adding milk. However, it is not caffeine-free. A 4-ounce cup of chai tea contains about 40 mg of caffeine.

Chai latte

chai latte - millenora

Instead of a bland chai tea, you can add milk and honey for extra flavors and creaminess. An 8-ounce cup of chai latte contains 35 to 50 mg of caffeine. You can add a shot of espresso for more caffeine.

Lebanese white coffee

Lebanese white tea - millenora

In reality, Lebanese white coffee does not contain coffee. It got its name from its clear color, and it is usually served in Turkish coffee cups. Lebanese white coffee is made with water, orange blossom water, and sugar. So, it is caffeine-free and has a low-calorie choice.

This tea is calming, and it also has digestion-stimulating properties. This is why it is best taken after meals before bedtime.

Yuanyang tea

yuanyang - millenora

Yuanyang tea is a blend of coffee and tea mixed with evaporated or condensed milk and sugar.

You can buy a cup or some cups from any Chinese bakery around you or you can brew it yourself at home and bask in the coffee and tea fragrance while the tea gets ready.


Are there brands of decaffeinated hot chocolate?

Nestlé and Swiss Miss are two brands that have 99.9% caffeine-free hot chocolate powder. They are made with cocoa beans and processed in a way that reduces the caffeine content.

Is drinking chocolate the same as hot chocolate?

Drinking chocolate and hot chocolate are from the same product but not exactly alike. They both contain cacao but are processed differently.

Drinking chocolate is made by melting pieces of chocolate in hot milk or water, whereas hot chocolate is made by stirring cacao powder into hot milk or water.

Hot chocolate has a flat and sweet taste while drinking chocolate is richer and has a more complex taste. Moreover, drinking chocolate could be sweetened or unsweetened, depending on the type of chocolate used.

Why do you feel tired after drinking hot chocolate?

The feeling of tiredness you feel after drinking hot chocolate is not exactly tiredness. It is a feeling of sleepiness.

This is due to the soothing effect it gives to your body. Hot chocolate sends signals of comfort and relaxation to your mind, which makes you sleepy.


Hot chocolate contains caffeine but not as much as the same quantity of coffee. On the caffeine spectrum for beverages, hot chocolate is below. However, the caffeine content in hot chocolate varies with brand and preparation.

For instance, a cup of hot chocolate from Starbucks has more caffeine than most of your favorite cocoa mix. Chocolate is made from cocoa beans, which contain caffeine. However, the caffeine content is not comparable to the caffeine in coffee and tea.

So, a cup of hot chocolate is a good choice for a bedtime beverage. If you are trying to reduce your caffeine intake, hot chocolate can help you out with that.

Also, find out if hot cocoa can help soothe cold, cough, sore throat, and stuffy nose.

Thanks for reading.