High-test java has 18 to 37 times more caffeine than a cup of decaf

Would you be able to clarify how much caffeine is found in your average (8-ounce) cup of full-strength coffee, decaffeinated coffee and green tea? I'd like to balance my liquid intake during my morning ritual of relishing your column.

— C. Pierce, Yreka, Calif.

The nimble staff at SYA headquarters sought out someone with impeccable credentials as a dietician and nutrionist. We caught up with Julie Kokinakes Anderson, who holds a degree in childhood and adolescent weight management from Ohio State University.

Anderson told us the average 8-ounce cup of java contains between 150 and 200 milligrams of caffeine. She noted the International Olympic Committee, limits athletes to 8 cups of strong coffee per day because it's a stimulant. (We wouldn't want our Olympic sprinters levitating out of the starting blocks, now would we?)

Of course, in these days of drive-through espresso bars and custom coffee drinks, it's increasingly hard to say what's "average." Your typical "double shot" Americano (espresso and water to fill the cup) might easily be more stimulating.

Decaf coffee has a wider, if much reduced, range of caffeine. Depending on the maker, the caffeine content is between 4 and 11 milligrams on average.

There are multiple varieties of green tea and thus a wide range of caffeine. A potent loose-leaf green tea has about 50 milligrams. Flavored versions, such as pomegranate or mango green tea can have as little as 25 milligrams.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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