Coffee VS Red Bull (Compare and Contrast)

In brief, Red Bull and coffee are both loaded with caffeine that gives you energy expected to last for a few hours.

Caffeine, the world’s most used stimulant, is the element that boosts energy, helps you feel alert and focused, and improves your mood.  

Caffeinated drinks are the all-time favorites of people of all ages. However, children, pregnant women, and breastfeeding mothers should be careful around caffeine.

For this post, we’ll compare and contrast Red Bull and coffee to help you make an informed decision of which one is best for you.

Caffeine Comparison: Coffee VS Red Bull  

Both coffee and Red Bull have an almost equal amount of caffeine per serving, though coffee is ahead of Red Bull by a little margin. 

Sugar-free and regular Red Bull contains 75 to 80 mg of caffeine 8.4fl. oz can.

The same goes for different Red Bull variants like Red Bull Editions and Red Bull Zero. All the Red Bull flavors contain around 80 mg caffeine per 8.4fl. oz.

The amount of caffeine in coffee usually depends on factors, like the type of coffee bean, roasting style, and serving size. Usually brewed coffee contains 96 mg of caffeine per cup of 240 ml.

Espresso coffee contains 64 mg of caffeine per ounce, and instant coffee has 62 mg caffeine per 8.4fl. oz

The caffeine content of coffee is different in different coffee brews and also varies from packaging to packaging.

A lot of coffee brands have introduced their coffee to the market promising more than 1000 mg of caffeine per 12 fl. oz such as the Black Label Coffee.

But on average, a cup of coffee contains about 95 mg of caffeine and comparing that to Red Bull’s 80 mg, there isn’t that much difference.

What Is A Better Stimulant? Coffee Or Red Bull?

Between coffee and Red Bull, coffee is a comparatively better stimulant than Red Bull. 

Caffeine stimulates the nervous system and increases alertness, brain function, and energy level. The more caffeine a drink has, the stronger its stimulating effect is.

A standard can of Red Bull offers 70 to 80 mg of caffeine, whereas coffee contains 96 mg or more. So in this regard, coffee is the better stimulant.

Coffee’s effects last about 3 to 5 hours and take 30 to 60 minutes to reach the bloodstream. The stimulation of Red Bull is shorter than coffee, lasting around 1 to 4 hours. 

To get a better idea of the difference between coffee and energy drinks, watch the video below.

Which one is it for you? Coffee or Energy Drinks?

What Makes You More Jittery? Coffee Or Red Bull?

When the question arises whether coffee or Red Bull makes you more jittery, the answer is coffee. 

Caffeine affects the nervous system by suppressing the adenosine receptors in the brain. Because of this, you don’t feel fatigue and your heart rate and blood pressure increases.

Jitters are a side effect of too much caffeine and usually manifest as shaking, loss of focus, and a change in mood.

In this case, since coffee has more caffeine, it’s more likely to cause jitters than Red Bull.

The sugar you put in your coffee can also have an effect on your blood pressure and energy levels. With that said, you may want to consider alternative sugar-free and calorie-free sweeteners like Xylitol and Stevia.

Regular Red Bull has less sugar and they also have sugar-free options that have zero calories

How Many Coffees Is A Red Bull?

One Red Bull can is equivalent to 1.27 cups of espresso coffee.

Red Bull contains about 80 mg of caffeine per standard can and one-shot espresso or an average cup of coffee has 63 mg of caffeine.

Normal brewed coffee contains 96 mg of caffeine, which leads to one cup of brewed coffee that is approximately 1.2 cans of Red Bull. 

Meanwhile, instant coffee has 62 mg of caffeine, which means 1.29 cups of instant coffee makes one can of Red Bull. 

Coffee is a good way to start the day.

The Comparison of Nutrients Between Coffee and Red Bull 

Coffee is a naturally processed caffeinated drink made from roasted coffee beans and Red Bull is an artificially made energy drink that comes in various flavors.

This table breaks down the nutritional content of coffee and Red Bull.

ContentsNutrients
8fl. oz brewed black coffee2 calories
96 mg caffeine
Vitamin B2 (14% of DV)
Vitamin B5 (6% of the RDI)
Manganese and Potassium (3% of the RDI)
Vitamin B3 (2% of the RDI)


*Milk, sugar, and cream will affect the nutrient value.*
8.4fl. oz regular Red Bull112 calories
1 gram protein
27 grams sugar
Magnesium (12% of DV)
Thiamine (9% of the DV)
Riboflavin (21% of the DV)
Niacin (160% of the DV)
Vitamin B6 (331% of the DV)
Vitamin B12 (213% of the DV) 


*Red Bull also contains amino acid and taurine that boosts exercise performance.*
Table of Comparison Between Red Bull & Coffee

As you can see, Red Bull contains various vitamins and minerals which are all good for the body.

Coffee contains healthy components too and with lesser additives compared to Red Bull. And I think that makes this beverage a better choice!

To see which one really is better for your health, keep reading!

Is Coffee Or Red Bull Better For Your Health?

Because coffee is more natural, it can be considered healthier than energy drinks.

Coffee at its purest contains no additives like creamers or milk. Meanwhile, energy drinks are loaded with artificial flavors and sweeteners that may have adverse side effects.

Though coffee contains more caffeine compared to a standard can of Red Bull, it’s still more suitable for maintaining good health. 

Studies found that daily 3 to 5 cups of coffee can prevent you from acquiring various types of cancers, heart and liver diseases. 

It is known that coffee prevents diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia and it also decreases the risk of developing level 2 diabetes.

In that sense, coffee is definitely better for you health-wise!

Coffee Or Red Bull for Studying?

Coffee and Red Bull are both good for studying, but I believe coffee might be the ultimate winner. 

As they both contain caffeine, they will give you the energy boost you need for studying.

In addition, they also fire your brain up to improve your focus and memory.

Because coffee has higher caffeine content, its effects will also last longer. It can energize you for 3 to 5 hours, while Red Bull is expected to last 1 to 4 hours.

So, coffee it is for studying!

A can of Red Bull can help you focus while studying.

The table below discusses the basic differences between coffee and Red Bull: 

ContentCoffeeRed Bull
Caffeine 96 mg per 8.4fl.oz80 mg per 8.4fl oz
Calories112
Niacin2% of RDI160% of DV
Magnesium 2% of RDI12% of DV
Riboflavin14% of DV21% of DV
Sugar0 g / Optional27 g 
Added PreservativesNoYes
Coffee VS Red Bull

Why Red Bull Is Bad For You?

Red Bull is bad for you because it is linked to various side effects such as abnormal heart rhythm, caffeine overdose, kidney problems, and bad teeth.

It increases heart rate and is also associated with hypertension. Drinking a can of 355 ml Red Bull can increase heart rate and blood pressure within 90 minutes up to 24 hours of consumption.

Red Bull can also cause caffeine overdose and possible toxicity when consumed in large quantities. I’d say drinking more than 5 cans of Red Bull a day increases your chances of suffering from caffeine OD.

Bear in mind the recommended daily caffeine intake is at 400 mg for healthy individuals. That means drinking more than 5 cans of Red Bull daily is definitely crossing the daily caffeine limit.

Moreover, long-term consumption of Red Bull can also lead to poor oral health due to the high acid content of such a beverage.

Also, think about this:

Red Bull contains high sugar and that means frequent and excessive consumption can lead to kidney problems too.

That said, you should tread lightly when consuming this beverage!

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, coffee seems to have more to offer than Red Bull.

While they both contain caffeine, coffee is still a better choice as it doesn’t contain additives compared to Red Bull.

But keep in mind that caffeine even in tiny amounts may affect you, so always be aware of how your body responds to the stimulant.

I suggest you go for drinks with moderate caffeine content to avoid system shock.

Still, you can surely enjoy both coffee and Red Bull as long as you adhere to the recommended daily limit.

Cheers and drink in moderation!

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Matt Marshall

As I learn more and more about coffee and coffee products I want to share all my learnings with you here on this website. I hope you find my articles useful and entertaining to read.

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