Guarana contains more caffeine than coffee, but both substances have health benefits. Consuming too much caffeine from any source can cause unwanted side effects.

Guarana and coffee contain different plant chemicals but share caffeine in common. Caffeine is a stimulant, and having too much of it can cause side effects such as anxiety and palpitations.

This article discusses whether the effects of consuming caffeine are different depending on whether it comes from guarana or coffee.

Close up of hands holding guarana berries-1Share on Pinterest
Brasil2/Getty Images

On average, guarana contains more caffeine than coffee, which can vary depending on the preparation.

Research from 2023 states that guarana seeds contain 2–8% caffeine, while coffee beans contain 1–3% caffeine.

In addition, a 2023 review of eight placebo-controlled studies states that pure guarana can contain up to 5.3% caffeine, while espresso coffee contains about 0.21% caffeine.

Read more about caffeine.

Guarana comes from Paullinia cupana seeds and is native to the Amazon basin.

Guarana producers make guarana by shelling, washing, drying, or roasting the seeds. They then grind the seeds into a powder.

How to add guarana to the diet

People can consume guarana:

  • as a food flavoring
  • as tea
  • in energy drinks
  • in dietary supplements

They can buy guarana in tablet or capsule form, as liquid, or as a multi-ingredient supplement, especially in weight loss products.

Read more about guarana.

Evidence of coffee use dates back to the 15th century when people used it within the Sufi monasteries of Yemen. However, research suggests that it originally came from Ethiopia.

Coffea arabica and Coffea canephora are the main plants that provide coffee for human consumption.

Making coffee is complex. It involves processing the coffee cherries to yield green coffee beans, which producers then dry and roast.

How to add coffee to the diet

The most common way to consume coffee is as a brewed beverage. People can buy the roasted coffee beans whole and grind them at home. Alternatively, they can buy ground coffee or other preprepared coffee products, such as freeze-dried coffee.

No evidence indicates that guarana is healthier than coffee or vice versa. Research suggests that both substances can have beneficial effects on human health.

Guarana contains flavonoids and proanthocyanidins. These plant compounds could have positive health impacts, such as reducing inflammation and lowering cholesterol.

Coffee may help prevent inflammatory and oxidative stress-related conditions, including obesity, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes.

People may respond to guarana and coffee in different ways. Unless a substance causes unwanted side effects, consuming either in moderation can be part of a nutritious diet.

Read about the health benefits and disadvantages of coffee.

The table below lists some of the possible effects of guarana and coffee.

Possible effects of guaranaPossible effects of coffee
stimulantimproves alertness
mild diureticincreases attention
increases wakefulnessincreases performance in short-term, high intensity and endurance exercise
reduces hunger and thirstmay lower cancer risk
treats headachesmay lower the risk of high blood pressure, heart failure, and atrial fibrillation
treats heavy menstrual bleedingmay lower type 2 diabetes risk
treats digestive disordersmay lower liver disease risk
boosts energy and endurance
supports weight loss
increases concentration and memory

The table below lists possible unwanted side effects of guarana and coffee. Side effects may occur due to the caffeine content in the substances, particularly if people consume them in high doses.

high blood pressurepalpitations

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that 400 milligrams (mg) or 4–5 cups of coffee per day will not likely cause negative side effects. However, there is wide variation in people’s sensitivity to coffee.

Daily doses of caffeine from guarana can range from 200–1,000 mg. If a person uses more than one product containing guarana or other sources of caffeine, they may develop side effects or caffeine toxicity.

The caffeine in coffee and guarana can help boost mental alertness, energy levels, and exercise endurance. Guarana contains a higher percentage of caffeine than coffee.

People can consume guarana as a tea, energy drink, or dietary supplement. People tend to consume coffee as a brewed beverage.

The FDA suggests that consuming 400 mg of caffeine per day is safe, but too much caffeine can cause side effects, such as jittering, tremors, agitation, and anxiety.