The Panera Charged Lemonade

Exactly How Much Caffeine Does It Take To Earn the Title of ‘The Lemonade That Kills You’?


By now you’ve likely heard of the Panera Charged Lemonade. When Panera Bread created a lemonade filled with caffeine, it might not have seemed like a terrible idea. However, the cafe chain decided to add a significant amount of the chemical to the product. So much so that the drink has been associated with two deaths.

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The Charged Lemonade has since been dubbed the “lemonade that kills you,” with widespread social media outrage and criticism over the health risks associated with the drinks’ enormous caffeine levels. But really, how much caffeine is in this drink, and what are the potential health risks of consuming it? Here’s what you need to know.

Here’s how much caffeine is in Panera’s Charged Lemonade

According to Panera’s official website, Panera’s Charged Lemonade currently comes in two different flavors: Strawberry Lemon Mint Charged Lemonade and Mango Yuzu Citrus Charged Lemonade. There’s also the Blood Orange Charged Splash, which has a high amount of caffeine as well.

Initially, Panera’s Charged Lemonade had an enormously large amount of caffeine. According to Panera’s website, a large (30 oz.) size of the Mango Yuzu Citrus Charged Lemonade contains 235 mg of caffeine, with 157 mg in a regular order—although that might be an adjustment, as the New York Times recently wrote that a large size contained a whopping 390 mg of caffeine.

The various Panera Charged drinks available now

How dangerous is the Panera lemonade?

For reference, a Grande order for a Starbucks Caramel Macchiato has 150 mg of caffeine, whereas your standard Monster Energy 16 fl oz can has just 160 mg of caffeine. That means you would need to drink nearly three and a half Monster cans just to match the same amount of caffeine as the original large Mango Yuzu Citrus Charged Lemonade. Even now, each of the large Charged drinks at Panera still have more caffeine than your standard Grande Starbucks order or Monster Energy can.

According to the Mayo Clinic, up to 400 mg of caffeine per day is fine for your average adult, but drinking more than 400 mg may cause side effects in some adults. This can include muscle tremors, headaches, insomnia, faster heartbeats, and bladder issues. Certain individuals are more sensitive to caffeine use than others, which can make caffeine a dangerous chemical for their bodies.

It’s important to note that the Charged Lemonades are part of Panera’s “Unlimited Sip Club” program that offers unlimited free refills for a monthly or annual fee. With many customers reporting inadequate signage in their locations indicating the contents of the drink, it can be easy to miss the potency of the lemonades and treat them like any other beverage.

For your average adult, NBC News cites 1,200 mg of caffeine as hazardous territory, where side effects like seizures and death can result. So, in theory, if someone drank multiple Mango Yuzu Citrus Charged Lemonades in the original large size, they could face serious medical consequences.

Panera has reportedly been making its warnings regarding the caffeine content more prominent in stores and online, and in some locations, even moving the Charged Lemonades behind the counter, rather than having them out with every other refillable drink. Hopefully, these changes are just the start of Panera working to minimize some of the original risks of this legitimately dangerous drink.

(Feature image: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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Ana Valens
Ana Valens (she/her) is a reporter specializing in queer internet culture, online censorship, and sex workers' rights. Her book "Tumblr Porn" details the rise and fall of Tumblr's LGBTQ-friendly 18+ world, and has been hailed by Autostraddle as "a special little love letter" to queer Tumblr's early history. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her ever-growing tarot collection.