Coffee or Cacao?
Are you wondering which energy source is the best for your daily routine? Coffee or cacao? Don't worry about it! We'll give you an overview of what is best for you in this blog post. Cacao caffeine is like the wise elder of stimulants. It's got theobromine and phenylethylamine in its entourage, creating a caffeine symphony that doesn't just fade away quickly. Unlike the hit-and-run caffeine in coffee, cacao's blend lingers, offering a longer-lasting lift without the rollercoaster of jitters. So buckle up as we embark on a voyage to explore the nuances and benefits that each cacao cup brings to the table. Your energy evolution starts now!
Theobromine as An Alternative To Caffeine
Many people can't start their day without having a cup of coffee first. Their brains scream for caffeine, which makes them feel energised and ready to take on any challenge. However, there is another caffeine alternative that has comparable properties and may be better for you. We are talking about theobromine - a molecule found mainly in dark chocolate and cacao.
What Is Theobromine and Why Is It A Caffeine Alternative?
Cacao and some tea plants contain theobromine, a naturally occurring stimulant. It is generally considered to be less potent than caffeine. It stimulates the central nervous system, leading to increased heart rate and improved blood flow. Theobromine has mild diuretic effects and can also act as a vasodilator (widening of blood vessels). Some people find it provides a more sustained and less intense energy boost compared to caffeine.
Theobromine is often mentioned in the same sentence as cacao and also chocolate. Cacao has always been known for its stimulating effects and was even presented to the ancient Mayan emperors as a gift from heaven. When scientists of the West later had to agree on a botanical name, they honored the religious origins of cacao and named the newly discovered plant genus Theobroma Cacao, which means "food of the gods," and pays homage to cacao's divine origins. Just as caffeine got its name from the best-known caffeine-containing plant - coffee, of course - theobromine was also named after the plant in which it is most abundant: Theobroma Cacao.
Does Cacao Contain Caffeine?
Caffeine has this magical ability to wave away fatigue, making it the unofficial champion of wakefulness. That's why morning coffee is practically a ritual for many; it's like a sunrise in a cup, waking you up and saying, "Let's conquer the day!". Most people drink it to boost energy in the morning because it contains a lot of caffeine. Caffeine can also make you feel less hungry, which is why it is a popular ingredient in weight loss supplements. But the million dollar question is, does cacao contain caffeine? Cacao contains minimal amounts of caffeine and emerges as an aromatic, delicious, and super-healthy coffee alternative. The caffeine content in cacao makes cacao a popular choice compared to all the alternatives with caffeine available in the market.
Caffeine Often Makes You Feel Restless and Nervous
Caffeine can make you feel restless and anxious. The mechanism of action of caffeine is relatively simple. While it stimulates the central nervous system, making us more alert (focus), it also stimulates the sympathetic nervous system (stress system), leading to frequent bouts of restless, "jittery" energy. So, the popularity of caffeine is a double-edged sword—undeniably effective, but not without its quirks.That's why many people are looking for a caffeine alternative. The caffeine in cacao with its natural richness in theobromine does not cause you to feel either restless or nervous. Therefore the caffeine content in cacao makes it the perfect alternative to coffee.
What Does A Caffeine Overdose Feel Like?
This is an experience every coffee drinker may have had. When you drink coffee late in the day, it can be VERY difficult to fall asleep. You lie awake and can clearly feel your heart beating, usually faster than normal. I myself know from experience that caffeine in stressful times is like pouring gasoline on a fire. I then clearly feel a strong pressure on my chest and my thoughts race, I stiffen on problems and am irritated. That's why, even in my old office job, I was looking for a coffee alternative that still tastes delicious. That's how my favourite coffee alternative soon became cacao.
Caffeine in Cacao
MG per 15g
IS EQUAL TO...
15 g dark chocolate (same)
⅕ cup French Press filter coffee (223mg)
The difference between cacao and coffee stems in part from the fact that cacao contains less caffeine than coffee. Additionally cacao contains more fat which as a result reduces the rate of the caffeine uptake in your body. Theobromine which is also present in cacao is known to have a longer duration of action than caffeine and may have a smoother, less jittery effect while providing a mild energy boost. Its ability to increase energy levels and improve mood, combined with several potential cardiovascular benefits, makes it a unique player among natural stimulants. While this is not proven by scientific studies (yet), we believe that theobromine locks onto similar receptors in the brain, thereby occupying them so that the caffeine uptake gets slowed down even more. We conducted a laboratory test which provided us with results that confirmed one cup of cacao contained 80% less caffeine than a cup of filtered coffee. You can read more about the laboratory results related to caffeine content in cacao in our blog! All in all, cacao subtly provided me with the boost I needed to function throughout my day without making my body work overtime.
Caffeine Content in Cacao vs. Coffee
In general coffee is a well-known source of caffeine, with an average-sized cup containing just about 280 mg of caffeine per 250ml serving. In comparison cacao, which contains a milder amount of caffeine content, containing approximately about 43.5 mg per 15g serving. So, if you're looking for a gentler pick-me-up, cacao might just be the way to go!
Caffeine and Stress
In my experience, caffeine is particularly insidious because, especially in stressful professional situations, people like to think that a lack of receptivity or focus is the problem. Often this is not true at all. What you need now is usually a step back and conscious relaxation to counteract the stress and not fall into blind actionism.
But, here's the deal: Caffeine in cacao is like the cool cousin of regular caffeine. It gives you the little bit of energy boost you need, but without the wild ups and downs. So, when stress hits, and you're feeling all tense and on edge, cacao's got your back. The theobromine in it helps with blood flow and breathing, giving you a more chill vibe. It's like a slow-release energy that keeps you alert without the crazy side effects. Sounds amazing right?
Cacao Keeps You Awake With Theobromine
Caffeine and theobromine are chemically very similar. Caffeine is an alkaloid and the most commonly consumed stimulant in the world. Caffeine acts directly on the central nervous system, heart and muscles. Theobromine, on the other hand, is metabolized much more slowly, is less potent in its effects, and lasts longer than caffeine. And get this, theobromine is like a muscle relaxer, especially for your lungs. So, it's not just about beating stress in your head that's keeping you awake; it eases the tension in your whole body. It's the smooth operator that gives you a sustained buzz without the rollercoaster ride. This makes theobromine a great cacao caffeine alternative.
Advantages of Theobromine
Improved circulation and respiration are two other benefits of theobromine, which recent research suggests may even be beneficial for coughs. Theobromine helps to relax flexible muscle tissue, especially tissue in the lungs, and is thus said to have an alleviating effect on the urge to cough. So, when that annoying tickle starts, it's like Theobromine steps in to say, "Chill, we got this." According to some studies and research, the antioxidant properties of theobromine may also help reduce inflammation. Think of cacao as your body's little warrior against inflammation. So, not only does it help with the coughing, but it's also like your body's way of saying, "Inflammation, you're not welcome here!"
Cacao: The Coffee Alternative
Cacao is not your average joe like coffee, cacao caffeine contains high levels of theobromine and phenylethylamine (You can read more on PEA in this blog post). Both are stimulants, but they stick around in your system way longer than caffeine and don't seem to have any effect on your sympathetic nervous system (stress system). Now you can say goodbye to the jitters and anxious vibes you get from your regular cup of coffee.
Now, the big question: Is cacao caffeine the superhero alternative to your coffee fix? Let's dig in and find out! ☕
Cacao and The Harmony of Relaxation and Wakefulness
After a moderate consumption of cacao, you'll never feel the excited surge of energy and subsequent crash that you do after drinking coffee. With just the perfect caffeine content in cacao, it is a stress-buster you didn't know you needed. It's all about keeping cool, staying focused, and not diving into crazy action-mode when things get nuts.
Our model Natalie is from Venezuela and has never drunk coffee in her life - only cacao. That's what we found out during the shoot. Crazy coincidence? Here she is drinking cacao from her home country (Sur del Lago | Venezuela 🇻🇪), to which she has not been able to return for years for political reasons. No wonder she is so radiant! 🤗
Conclusion: Is cacao a good coffee alternative?
Which is better: coffee or cacao? Of course, you can't declare a winner just like that. However, since theobromine is less addictive than caffeine, it's a good idea to switch to a drink with a higher theobromine content if you want to reduce your caffeine intake. Cacao naturally contains high levels of theobromine and low levels of caffeine, making it less addictive and giving you the freedom to sip without the chains of caffeine dependence.
Flavorful, low caffeine and super healthy.
Cacao takes no longer to prepare, is just as aromatic, tastes super delicious, and is a true superfood. If you don't like coffee, but still don't want to miss out on a gentle morning pick-me-up, cacao caffeine is a fantastic coffee alternative.
Give it a try and let me know in the comments if cacao can beat out your morning coffee. It was for me 4 years ago ✨
I drank while writing:
A cup of Selva Tabasqueño from Mexico 🇲🇽