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Add Caffeine to Everything

February 18, 2011 by dan

Anhydrous USP grade Caffeine Photographer: Wil...

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Caffeine has been added to almost everything, including jerky, soap, and brownies. These products cost significantly more than their regular, non-caffeinated counterparts. What if you could buy a regular $0.99 box of brownie mix and add as little or as much caffeine as you wanted for pennies? With this simple guide we’ll show you exactly how to do it and how much cheaper it is to do it yourself.

Bulk Up

To add caffeine to your foods and drinks you’ll need to buy it in its pure, powdered form. Bulk caffeine powder is inexpensive, costing around $10 for 500g. Caffeine is a fine white powder that’s easy to use. It dissolves easily in water (see next section) and won’t be broken down by heat or cold which means it’s safe to bake with or add to ice cream.

Items Needed

  1. Scale accurate to at least 1 gram. 0.1 or 0.01 gram is better. See our bulk supplement starter guide for additional scale information.
  2. Bulk caffeine
  3. 500mL to 1 litre bottle
  4. Funnel
  5. Warm or hot water, preferably filtered or distilled.

Getting Started

Due to caffeine’s potency you need to be careful when using it in bulk form. You’ll need to have an accurate scale to measure out the powdered caffeine. Even if you have an expensive, extremely accurate scale you won’t want to measure out 50-200mg every time you want to add caffeine to something. Mixing it in with other bulk powders can result in “hot spots”, or concentrations of caffeine that didn’t mix in well. The best way to measure out caffeine safely is to dilute it in water. This provides an easy way to measure small amounts of caffeine accurately without using a scale and makes it easy to add to anything.

Diluting caffeine in water is straightforward. You’ll add water to the bottle, weigh it, and then doing some simple math you can calculate how much caffeine to add. This article will show you how to obtain a concentration of 10mg per mL, making it easy to use with standard measuring spoons. At this concentration 1 tsp will give you about 50mg and 1 Tbsp will give you about 150mg.

Fill Your Bottle

You can use any size bottle but we recommend 500mL to 1L. Larger bottles are fine but due to the potency of caffeine they may end up sitting around for months before emptied. 500mL water bottles work well, as do Gatoraid, soda, and other resealable bottles. If your scale is only accurate to 1g we recommend using a larger bottle, at least 800mL or 1L. This will make up for the large margin of error. If your scale is off by a gram at 500mL you get an extra 20% caffeine, but at 1L it’s 10%.

Tare your scale to your bottle and fill it most of the way with warm water. Caffeine dissolves better in warmer water. The warmer the water the faster and easier it will be. Water has a convenient concentration of 1g per mL, meaning a 500mL bottle will hold 500g of water. Measure the water and make sure you fill it to an even 100g increment (500g, 800g, etc). You’ll need to leave some space to add the caffeine so don’t fill it to the very top.

Add the Caffeine

So how much caffeine do you add to get the desired concentration? Simply move the decimal place left two places. If you have 500g of water add 5g of caffeine. Easy right? If you want a lower concentration of 5mg per mL cut that in half, 2.5g of caffeine for a 500mL bottle. Due to caffeine’s solubility going higher isn’t really an option. If you increase the concentration above 10mg per mL some of the caffeine won’t dissolve if the water temperature is under 75-80. You’d need to heat the water every time you use it.

After adding the caffeine you’ll need to shake the bottle. A lot. It can 5 minutes or more for all the caffeine powder to dissolve, especially if the water is room temperature or colder. One way to speed up the process is to shake for a while then set the bottle in the sun, on a hot water heater, or near a heater. This will keep the water warm and reduce the amount of shaking you have to do. Continue shaking every few minutes.

Covering The Taste

Before you start adding caffeine to everything you have to realize it’s bitter. Very bitter. It’s so bitter that it’s the standard bitterness is measured against. Luckily it’s very easy to cover at normal concentrations. You can easily take 200mg of caffeine in a shot of liquid and not even know it’s there. If you’re adding caffeine to flavored drinks or food you probably won’t notice it. If you mix it with water adding some sugar free drink mix will easily mask the bitterness.

Using Your Caffeine Water

Using the caffeine mixture is easy. 1 tsp will have about 50mg, 1 tbsp will have about 150mg. To put that in perspective a 20oz bottle of caffeinated soda contains 25-50mg of caffeine, a cup of coffee has 85-125mg, and energy drinks range from 80-300mg. Start off small, with 1/2 to 1 tsp (25mg or 50mg) per serving, and work your way up to find your optimal amount. Warning: You can overdose on caffeine. Be careful!

If you’ve added caffeine to something crazy, let us know in the comments below!


  • Nlacaria Test

    is this site still active?  it seems awesome!

  • Sumerit

    I just ordered some with plans of putting it in my homemade sodas. Great info here – thanks for posting it.

  • meeeeeh

    This was helpful. I think I’m going to switch from diet soda to caffeinated soda water.

  • j

    I mixed caffeine with water and it mixed as expected. I have been refrigerating it and today I pulled out the bottle and the caffeine had turned into web like blobs in the water. Has this ever happened to you?

    • http://driverdan.com/ Dan DeFelippi

      Caffeine can come out of solution when the water is cooled down. Keep the bottle at room temperature. Since you use small amounts it won’t change the temperature of whatever you put it in.

  • D Ryan Anderson

    If you add an equal molar amount of citric acid, you will protonate the basic caffeine molecule and it will be much more soluble.

    • Paul

      Could you explain this with an example for the people that are “chemically-challenged”.. many thanks!

      • The Lab

        The concept would take some time to explain, but adding an equal weight of citric acid will help the caffeine dissolve more quickly. 5g caffeine and 5g citric acid, for example.

  • manfred

    Wouldn’t it just work the same mixed with cold water, even though it’s not dissolved? It still gets into your stomach, right?

    • ScienceGirl

      If it is not fully dissolved, you can’t accurately measure the amount of caffeine and this could be dangerous.

  • Blake

    Might add it to jerky chew

  • Orr Bibring

    Would it be possible to dissolve caffeine in water then vaporize it?

  • boiledtoast

    If i wanted to put caffeine into ice cream what should i do?

  • T.

    Can you boil this down so it is more concentrated and then pour into dropper bottle? Then you would only need a few drops per drink, right?

    • darren

      Kinda. Only so much of a solute can be dissolved into an amount of water. For caffeine, it’s 2 mg of caffeine into 100 mL of water. If you boiled down, say, 10 grams of caffeine into 1 Liter of water, a couple of things would happen. First, you’d lose an accurate grasp on how much water would be lost as steam. I’m not a chemist at all, but second; if they say 2 mg is all you can do per 100 mL, the extra caffeine would probably sink to the bottom of the container as a powder precipitate, aka, not dissolved (AKA, UNSAFE). A bigger issue is that drops are not accurate measurements. If you want to pursue this method, you really need to sit down and do the math out to make sure the amount of caffeine you’re actually putting in your body is a safe amount. 1-1.5 grams of caffeine can have permanent negative effect on your body or brain. Many people fail to realize that this is like taking in 4-7 venti starbucks drinks, all in one serving. It will probably cause heart palpitations or tachycardia (Irregular, uncomfortable heartbeat). Best of luck and be safe!

  • Nicole

    If I mix the powder into hot lemon juice do you think that it will dissolve and mask the bitter taste? If I planned on using the lemon mixture in making drinks / baked goods.

    Thanks!