Chocolate’s scientific name, Theobroma cacao, comes from Greek, meaning “food of the gods.” And judging by its popularity, it seems chocolate has lived up to its name. On average, Americans consume 12 pounds of chocolate per person per year. Dark chocolate contains a moderate amount of caffeine, with the exact amount based on the percentage of cocoa.
Caffeine and Cocoa Beans
Caffeine is a substance present in the leaves, nuts and fruits of many plants. One of these plants, the cocoa tree, is where chocolate comes from. The caffeine is found in the seeds of the plant, which are called cocoa beans. Cocoa beans grow inside cocoa pods, and each pod contains about 30 to 40 cocoa beans.
Chocolate manufacturers sometimes label chocolate with the percentage that comes from the cocoa bean. However, it is impossible to determine the caffeine content based only on the percentage on the label. This is because cocoa butter — which manufacturers use varying amounts of — is usually included as part of this percentage. For a 2-ounce, 70 percent dark chocolate bar with 10 percent cocoa butter, the amount of caffeine is 79 milligrams. As a comparison, an 8-ounce cup of coffee contains 145 milligrams of caffeine. If you consumed all of that dark chocolate bar at one time, you would still be consuming less caffeine than 1 cup of coffee.