Whether it is morning or a break from work at noon, most of us look for a shot of caffeine that can align our body for rest of the day.
For this purpose, coffee has been in business for a long time, but in the last 3 to 4 decades, there is a new contender in the arena now… Red Bull, or for that matter any other energy drink.
Many times, I have wondered which one is better for my health and what else I need to know if I am consuming either of them. So, I took a deep dive into the matter, tried comparing both the drinks from different angles, and here is what I have gathered.
Red Bull vs Coffee
Coffee and Red Bull are way different than each other. From the taste to composition or from the number of calories to packaging and easiness of getting them, everything is different.
Why compare them then? The answer is simple – both of them give you the same effect or energy boost as they both contain caffeine.
We will explore this common connection in a bit more detail, but first, let us understand the origins of both the contenders.
Coffee - The Traditional Choice
Actually, I don’t know exactly when coffee was discovered, but what I am sure of is that it happened centuries ago. Thanks to some Ethiopian goats who ate some unknown berries and went restless, their herder discovered what we know as coffee today.
From that time, coffee has exploded in terms of variants, consumption, followers, and today it is the second-highest traded commodity in the world.
Red Bull – The Leader of Energy Drinks
Introduced in 1987, Red Bull is the most popular energy drink in the world today and has been attracting many of us with its energy kick, catchy slogan, and ready to consume packaging.
Those who are familiar with the Red Bull can tell you that nothing can match the taste of it.
Even though the whole US and Europe are known for this drink, Red Bull’s popularity is inconsequential if compared to coffee but enough to make us compare the two.
Caffeine in Red Bull vs Coffee
The sole content that makes both coffee and red Bull popular is caffeine as this is what gives us that required energy boost to keep us moving.
The caffeine content in the red bull is straightforward to understand. An 8.4 ounce can has around 80 mg of caffeine. But the story is not so straightforward for coffee as the caffeine content depends on the type, quality of roasting, and brewing method.
But to do the comparison we considered an 8-ounce cup of black coffee which is said to have 80-200 mg of caffeine.
So, coffee has more caffeine than a red bull and possibly it can give you a higher boost.
However, there is a twist.
How much taurine in Red Bull?
Along with caffeine, a can of Red bull also contains 1 gram of taurine which is another naturally occurring stimulant that helps in antioxidation and cardiovascular functions.
The effects of taurine are still under research for its effect but its inclusion certainly helps red bull to enhance its energy boost.
As coffee does not contain Taurine, this is was we can say. Coffee has more caffeine than the red bull for sure, but the same can be said for its energy-boosting effect.
While Caffeine is where most of the people end comparing these two drinks, I went on and checked from more grounds for comparison.
How many spoons of sugar are in a Red Bull?
Sugar is sweet but for a health-conscious person, it is a matter of concern. When it comes to coffee and red bull one can understand the difference just by tasting the two. However, I decided to add some numbers to highlight the contrast.
Considering the same quantity (that we used above, i.e. an 8.4 ounce can of red bull and a cup with 8 ounces of coffee), red bull contains 29 grams of sugar while black coffee has none unless and until you add something like milk, cream or coffee syrup.Hence, coffee this bout with no ifs and buts.
A term that asks for attention in our modern-day life – how many calories? That is why I compared these two drinks on the grounds of the calories they offer and to be honest, this one surprised me the most.
In the same quantity for red bull i.e. 8.4 ounces, one consumes a whooping 117 calories which is one of the highest calorific rates a non-alcoholic drink has to offer.
But when it comes to black coffee, a cup with 8 ounces has just 1 calorie. Yes, you understood it right. It is actually nothing.So again, we conclude this bout in favor of coffee as it has almost no calories to offer.
When I say versatility, I mean when can we consume either of the drinks. Though this comparison is qualitative rather than quantitate and can be person-specific, it is still worth considering as it also helps in realizing the right time for consuming coffee or red bull.
Being a cold energy drink (at least not hot), red bull is widely consumed when it's noon and warm to get back the lost energy.
Further, it has been accepted that the red bull is the perfect drink to consume when there is an intense physical and mental activity.
On the other hand, coffee can be consumed all day long, but most of us like to start our day with a freshly brewed cup of coffee.
It is also helpful in a slow afternoon when you need to raise your energy levels to concentrate or remain on alert. But certainly, it is not a preferred choice before going for physical exertion, at least not for me.
So, in this ground, I find both coffee and red bull are winners in their own ways.
Both coffee and red bull have their fans and it is hard to convince either of the group that which one is better. However, putting health as a lens, I realized that coffee is a better option than red bull.
With its natural antioxidants, high caffeine levels, no sugar, and low calories, coffee has an advantage over red bull.
Plus, its variants and versatility make me more of a coffee person, but that of course could be different based on personal preferences!