Is Green Tea an Energy Drink?

Picture the stereotypical cup of tea. Now picture the stereotypical energy drink. Could these images be any different? While tea represents a relaxed mood and health, energy drinks represent hyperactivity and danger. So what happens when you add energy drink ingredients to tea? When is tea more than “just tea”? When is green tea an energy drink?
For this exercise, let’s consider a specific drink. This drink is a blend of green tea, yerba mate, and green coffee beans. Sounds healthy, right? But how does it compare to plain tea? To Red Bull? We’ll go over that, plus the three criteria make this green tea an energy drink.

In This Post:

  • What is an “energy drink”?
  • When is green tea an energy drink?
  • Is green tea better than energy drinks?
  • Can I drink Marquis every day?

Hi there. I'm Caffeine Scientist, Author, and Speaker GreenEyedGuide. I use caffeine science to help people beat burnout.

I earned my degrees in biochemistry and food science. I use my science background to answer questions about caffeine and energy drinks. First, I wrote a book about energy drink ingredients and safety concerns. Then I wrote a book about “How to Get Sh*t Done When You Feel Like Sh*t“. Above all, my goal as the “GreenEyedGuide” is to be a resource (ahem, a guide) for people who drink caffeine.

What is an Energy Drink?

First of all, there is no legal definition for the term “energy drink”. Many people think all energy drinks look and taste like Red Bull. However, the term “energy drink” is more broad than you’d expect. In fact, Caffeine Informer states an “energy drink” is any drink that meets the following criteria.

An Energy Drink is a beverage with

  1. More than one ingredient known to increase energy
  2. A clear and obvious intent to increase energy*

*”Energy” here meaning perceived energy, such as a boost in mental focus, not metabolic, Caloric energy

In short, you should think of energy drinks like cereal. There’s the healthy bran on one end of the spectrum and chocolatey sugar O’s on the other. Energy drinks fall on a spectrum, too. On one end, there are drinks with high caffeine and sugar content. Then on the other end, there are drinks that resemble tea.

When is Green Tea an Energy Drink?

Pure green tea is not an “energy drink”. But green tea plus other energy boosting ingredients meet that “energy drink” definition. For example, Marquis has more than one ingredient known to increase energy. And their marketing make it clear the purpose of this drink is to give you a boost. Take a look at the language in the screenshot, below.
screenshot proof green tea is an energy drink
Look at this paragraph - it's clear the goal of Marquis is to give you energy. Source, accessed 11/9/2020.

With a blend of yerba mate, green tea, and green coffee bean extract, Marquis is an energy drink. But that doesn't make it bad for you. Let's look closer at the ingredients.

Is Green Tea Better Than Energy Drinks?

“Is green tea better than energy drinks?” This is a common question, but the answer is not straight-forward. First of all, green tea has a long list of health benefits. See the figure above. Second of all, energy drinks don’t all have the same formula. For example, some energy drinks have way more sugar than should have in one day (36 grams). Also, some energy drinks have almost one whole day’s worth of caffeine* (400 mg). Thirdly, there are some ready-to-drink teas with an alarming amount of sugar. In sum, the ingredients matter more than the type of beverage it is.
      • As a reminder, healthy adults should not have more than 400 mg of caffeine per day. Above this amount, side-effects and health issues outweigh the benefits of caffeine for the majority of the population.

Green Tea vs Energy Drink with Green Tea Blend

An energy drink made with green tea should give you the same benefits as green tea. After all, it’s the same ingredient, delivered in a can instead of a teacup. This is of course assuming the dosage is big enough. Energy drinks with a “pixie dust” of beneficial ingredients don’t count. In other words, if the ingredient is at the bottom of the Ingredients List, there’s probably not enough.

One advantage with pure green tea is you you know exactly what you’re drinking. You know the dose of green tea is high enough, because that’s all it is. On the other hand, one advantage of an energy drink like Marquis is you’re getting more than just tea. You’re getting the benefits of tea, as well as the benefits of the other ingredients.

Additionally, another advantage of Marquis versus plain tea is the caffeine content. A standard cup of tea has 45 mg of caffeine and Marquis has 100 mg of caffeine. Tea doesn’t normally give you energy because the caffeine is so low. But Marquis’ caffeine content is the same as a “standard” cup of coffee. This caffeine content is another reason you could consider this green tea an energy drink.

when is green tea an energy drink - marquis ingredients
when is green tea an energy drink marquis ingredients 2

Marquis vs Red Bull

Red Bull is the top-selling energy drink, and has been for a decade. In fact, Red Bull’s success is the reason people picture Red Bull when they hear the words “energy drink”. In contrast, Marquis breaks that energy drink stereotype. Let’s compare the two!

Red Bull

  • Red Bull Energy Drink contains 11 g of sugars per 100 ml. This is the same amount of sugar as in 100 ml of orange or apple juice. [source: Red Bull Facts & Figures]
  • Key ingredients include caffeine, B-vitamins, and taurine (an amino acid)

DOWNSIDE – The original Red Bull has almost 30 grams of sugar (250 ml = 8.46 fl oz can). Also, the sugar-free Red Bull uses artificial sweeteners. These are safe, but some people choose to avoid them.


  • Marquis contains 0 grams of sugar. Instead, the drink is sweetened with natural sweetener Stevia and a natural sugar alcohol, erythritol.
  • Key ingredients include B-vitamins, green tea, yerba mate, and green coffee bean.
  • Marquis has 100 mg of caffeine, total, from yerba mate, green tea, and green coffee bean

DOWNSIDE – Some people get a strong aftertaste with Stevia.

Bottom Line - "Energy Drink" or not, can I drink Marquis every day?

You can consider green tea an energy drink when

  • the caffeine content is higher than a standard cup of tea
  • there’s more than just tea in every serving
  • marketing language makes it clear the goal is to give you some sort of mental boost

You can drink Marquis every day because the caffeine content is not alarmingly high. The amount of caffeine is the same as a standard cup of coffee, 100 mg per serving.

Since Marquis is made with green tea and other ingredients, you get the benefits of tea plus all those other benefits from the other ingredients.

Marquis does not fit the energy drink stereotype. In fact it’s a lot more like green tea than an energy drink. Consequently, Marquis is a great, natural alternative for the stereotypical energy drink.

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