How Much Caffeine Is In My Orange Mocha Frappuccino?

Okay, so we’ve never actually tried the Orange Mocha Frappuccino. In fact, according to a 2007 blog post we tracked down, the Orange Mocha Frappuccino doesn’t even contain coffee. Lame. But it’s such a catchy name, and it got your attention.

What we can say with confidence is that we, as NYU Students, suck down more coffee per day than water. From the at-home brew in the morning, to the cup we grab on the way to class, to the desperately large coffee we slurp walking into Bobst at 9:00pm to settle in for the night. Sure,  tea-drinkers (and tea-partiers) say that coffee is bad for us—specifically the caffeine it contains. But is it? If you’re as dependent on caffeine as we are, or are thinking of picking up the habit, read on.

For starters, consider the Mayo Clinic’s list of caffeine content found in some of America’s most popular caffeinated beverages, ranging from coffee to tea to energy drinks:

According to Mayo, one “may want to take a look at just how much caffeine [one] get[s] … [if one’s] caffeine habit totals more than 500 milligrams (mg) a day.” On the right hand side of the chart above, we took the liberty of calculating the amount of caffeine per ounce of the many beverages in question.

As you can see, an espresso shot clocks in at the second highest per ounce quantity of caffeine behind only 5-Hour Energy, and we’ll leave those to the Stern kids. But does that mean that all of the world’s latte drinkers are getting the greatest caffeine fix? Hardly. At Starbucks (yes, Starbucks is bullshit, but even people who hate it go there all the time), a small, medium, and large latte has one, two, and three shots of espresso, respectively. Thus, we see that even with a large latte (20 oz. with ~187.5 mg of caffeine), one doesn’t come close to exceeding the caffeine content found in a small cup of Starbucks brewed coffee (12 oz. with ~247.5 mg of caffeine).

In addition to the fact that this data basically says that anyone who drinks more than one cup of coffee is in trouble, the graph above serves to debunk the following:

  • Ever have a kid in your class who frequently talks about how she just can’t make it through the day without her grande dirty chai latte with soy? Yeah. Talk about barely any caffeine, and a cup full of crap.
  • The Red Bull Mini Cooper that parks outside of Bobst and hands out free drinks? Turns out you’re better off going to the overcrowded Starbucks across the street, or even heading down to the nasty coffee machine on LL1.
  • McDonald’s may offer any sized coffee for a buck, but it definitely won’t be getting the job done (and it tastes awful, too).

As for the rest of you caffeine addicts who get your fix elsewhere? Turns out that your poison—be it three Red Bulls every morning or a few 5-Hour Energy’s during each all-nighter—isn’t so bad relative to its roasted cousin.

But if you commonly take in a mixture of coffee, energy drinks, and soda? Yeah. Can’t help you here.

For more information, check out the Mayo Clinic’s website and comment below to let us know what caffeinated beverage  helps you make it through the day.

[Image via, chart courtesy of the author]

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