How long for caffeine to kick in?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “How long for caffeine to kick in?” and provide information on foods/ drinks that contain caffeine, whether pregnant/ lactating women can drink them, which coffees have less caffeine, and factors affecting its content.

How long for caffeine to kick in?

It can take 30-60 minutes for caffeine to kick in. Caffeine can remain in your system for at least 5 hours. So even if you have consumed as low as 5 mg of caffeine, it will remain for 5 hours in your body.

After 30-60 minutes, the effects of caffeine can start. You might feel more alert and energetic. You are also likely to urinate excessively as caffeine has diuretic properties. 

Some individuals who are very sensitive to caffeine can observe the effect of caffeine last for a few days as well. 

Make sure to have caffeine 6 hours before you go to sleep as it can interrupt your sleep. For instance, if you sleep at 11 pm, consume caffeine no later than 5 pm. 

Which food items or drinks contain caffeine?

Food items or drinks that contain caffeine are soft drinks, some juices, soda, chocolate, coffee or other coffee-based drinks, tea, and energy drinks. Certain medications and alcoholic/ non-alcoholic drinks can contain caffeine too.

In soda or energy drinks, caffeine is artificially added. Coffee and tea would naturally contain caffeine. 

Even if the coffee is decaffeinated, it can still contain a little bit of caffeine. If you are unable to tolerate even small amounts of caffeine, avoid consuming decaffeinated coffee. 

Can pregnant or lactating women take in caffeine?

Caffeine can cross the placenta and enter the fetus. Excessive caffeine can increase the risk of miscarriages and birth defects. As a result, consult a doctor on the amounts of caffeine that can be consumed during pregnancy. 

In the case of lactation, caffeine can be transferred through breast milk and reach the baby. As a result, consume only 2 cups of coffee a day. 

If you consume other foods containing caffeine like chocolate or energy drinks, it would be better to cut down on your coffee intake.

If you have more than 200 mg of coffee a day, the baby can become restless and might not be able to sleep well. Make sure to breastfeed babies 4 hours after you have consumed caffeine. This is because caffeine can remain for 4 hours in breast milk.

Which coffees and teas have less caffeine?

Instant coffees usually have lesser levels of caffeine compared to other coffees. Decaffeinated coffee has much lower caffeine content. 

An ounce of instant coffee can give 7.7 mg whereas an ounce of instant decaf coffee can have 0.32 mg of caffeine. Decaf coffee made using whole beans contain 0.7 mg of caffeine.

Besides, coffee made using Arabica beans would contain a lesser amount of caffeine than Robusta beans.

White tea has the least amount of caffeine. A single cup of white tea can have 15-30 mgs of caffeine. Herbal teas are caffeine-free too because they are made from roots, leaves, seeds, and flowers of herbal plants.

What can influence caffeine content?

Caffeine content can be influenced by the following factors:

  • The quantity of coffee or tea powder used in drinks can influence caffeine value. Cocoa powder contains caffeine too. So if your foods or coffee contain cocoa powder, there can be an increase in caffeine value.
  • Coffee beans can be another factor that influences caffeine value. Use 100 percent pure Arabica coffee beans if you wish to reduce the caffeine content in coffee.
  • Coffees prepared using darkly roasted coffee beans contain more caffeine compared to lightly roasted coffee beans.
  • The brewing time of coffee beans or tea leaves can have an effect on caffeine. Longer brewing time would mean more caffeine and your drink is likely to taste bitter. So, reduce brewing time.

What is caffeine withdrawal?

Caffeine withdrawal occurs when you are used to drinking excessive amounts of caffeine-containing beverages and the symptoms are experienced when you suddenly stop taking them. 

These symptoms can last for 12 hours to a day. Some of the common symptoms experienced include headaches, anxiety, depression, and fatigue. If you are a caffeine addict and wish to stop its consumption, do not do it suddenly.

Slowly reduce the amount of caffeine that you consume every day. You can go for low-caffeine alternatives as well.


In this brief article, we have answered the question, “How long for caffeine to kick in?” and provided information on foods/ drinks that contain caffeine, whether pregnant/ lactating women can drink them, which coffees have less caffeine, and factors affecting its content.