Eat your cake and have it, too, with caffeine and L-theanine.

Of course, it’s impossible to eat your cake. To enjoy all that frosted goodness, and to still have that cake, delicious and uneaten, afterwards...

But, even so, what’s not impossible is eating (or drinking) your caffeine and still having a relaxed, focused, stable mindset.

And this is all thanks to the much beloved Caffeine + L-theanine Stack.

If you’ve been in the nootropic game for more than two minutes, you’ve heard of the benefits—or at least heard that there are benefits—of combining caffeine with L-theanine:

  • Stacking caffeine with L-theanine removes caffeine’s jittery side effects while sustaining the stimulant’s boosts on focus and energy

For those sensitive to caffeine, this is great news.

And for those who are simply tired of caffeine’s crap (but still absolutely love the stuff), this is the ultimate deal.

But not any ol’ caffeine + L-theanine stack works.

This is why we wrote this guide on how to find or create the Best Caffeine + L-Theanine Stack, which includes our selection for the best caffeine + L-theanine supplement.

The Beginner’s Nootropic Stack: Caffeine + L-Theanine

What better way to start with nootropics than with caffeine + L-theanine?

After all, even if the concept of nootropics is entirely unfamiliar to you, you’re likely familiar with caffeine.

You’re familiar with the stimulating effects of caffeine, how caffeine feels, how too much caffeine feels, and so on.

Odds are there’s a significant amount of caffeine coursing through your body right now, as you read this.

You’ve most likely also experienced the post-caffeine crash, the brain-dead comedown that follows the feel-good come-up...

...and you’ve asked yourself, “Isn’t there a better way to do this whole caffeine thing?”

And the answer is: Yes, with L-theanine.

But What is L-Theanine?

Basically, L-theanine is a cognitive enhancing amino acid commonly found in Camellia sinensis (green tea) leaves.

As one of the key bio-active constituents of green tea, L-theanine is responsible for the calming effects that comes with sipping on a cup of green tea - or white tea or black tea. Or, really, any tea brewed from Camellia sinensis leaves.

L-theanine is anxiolytic, meaning it helps combat anxiety. However, unlike other powerful anxiolytics, L-theanine isn’t a sedative.

Ultimately, this is what makes L-theanine so unique and valuable.

  • L-theanine helps relax the mind and sharpen focus by promoting alpha brainwaves, not through sedation.

The alpha brainwave frequency (8-14 Hz) is an electric neural state often associated with calm, meditative thinking, or “wakeful relaxation.” This is best described as a sort of “flow” state, like being “in the zone,” where you have one foot in creative innovation and another foot in alert orderliness.

When paired with caffeine, L-theanine’s anxiolytic effects sustain the focus and energy benefits of caffeine while mitigating the jittery side effects that come with taking caffeine alone.

Is Caffeine a Nootropic?

The short answer: no and yes.

The long answer: no, caffeine is not a true nootropic, but, when used in moderate doses and in combination with other nootropics, then, yes, caffeine does possess significant nootropic potential that may reliably improve your acute cognitive performance.

The reason that caffeine doesn’t outright qualify as a true nootropic is because caffeine is technically classified as a stimulant, and stimulants tend to work in ways that are counterproductive to the long-term health goals of true nootropics.

What’s the Difference: Stimulants vs. Nootropics?

Though we often describe stimulants and other so-called smart pills as “nootropic” they don’t actually qualify as nootropics, based on the standards of the guy who invented the nootropic concept: Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgea.

Granted, as with all of language, our use of the word “nootropic” has deviated and departed from certain meanings contained in Dr. Giurgea’s original definition of the word. However, one key principle of nootropics remains: for a substance to be classified as true “nootropic,” it must promote cognition and long-term brain health.1

Stimulants, including caffeine, do promote cognitive performance to varying degrees. However, they also possess significant harmful risk to brain health not otherwise found in nootropics.

Put another way:

  • Stimulants boost cognitive performance at the cost of long-term brain health, whereas nootropics boost cognitive performance while promoting long-term brain health.

No doubt, caffeine is only a mild stimulant, as compared to the more powerful types of synthetic cognitive enhancers circulating the halls of higher education.

And, no doubt, a modest amount of caffeine does seem to promote certain healthy metabolic pathways.

But, even so, there’s also no doubt about the jittery side effects of caffeine. At a certain, easy-to-reach point, caffeine may actually impair cognitive performance with excess stimulation.

This is why stacking caffeine with L-theanine, which helps smooth over caffeine’s rough edges, is such a popular and effective nootropic strategy.

A digital brain placed on an open palm

The Combined Benefits of Caffeine + L-Theanine

So, if caffeine promotes cognitive energy and L-theanine promotes cognitive relaxation, wouldn’t these two compounds cancel each other’s effects?

Nope, apparently not! Quite the opposite, in fact.

Combined, caffeine and L-theanine may acutely improve:

Mood and Attention

    For the cognitive benefits of mood and attention, two studies stand out here:

    Study #1: one placebo-controlled study compared 50mg caffeine, with and without 100mg L-theanine, on cognition and mood, concluding that “L-theanine and caffeine in combination are beneficial for improving performance on cognitive demanding tasks.”2

    Study #2: another placebo-controlled study on the acute effects of L-theanine (200mg) and caffeine (160mg) on attention found that “[t]heanine and caffeine seem to have additive effects on attention in high doses.”3

    Together, these studies suggest that caffeine + L-theanine, when combined, may possess a greater synergy of positive effects on mood and attention than when taken alone.

    Performance on Demanding Cognitive Tasks

      Measuring cognitive performance, self-reported mood, blood pressure, and heart rate before and after taking L-theanine (97mg) and caffeine (40mg), a group of researchers observed significant improvements on accuracy during task-switching tests and self-reported alertness, as well as reduced self-reported tiredness, with the L-theanine and caffeine combination.

      Their conclusion: “97 mg of L-theanine in combination of 40 mg of caffeine helps to focus attention during a demanding cognitive task.”4

      Elimination of Caffeine’s Vasoconstrictive Effect

      One major reason why exercisers avoid caffeinated pre-workout supplements is due to caffeine’s promotion of vasoconstriction—the narrowing of blood vessels, which restricts blood flow.

      For example, athletes and bodybuilders seeking the sacred “muscle pump” reasonably avoid vasoconstrictors to maintain elevated circulation.

      Likewise, nootropic users seeking increased delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the brain may be turned off by vasoconstrictors.

      However, one double-blind, placebo-controlled study suggests that “[c]ombining L-theanine with caffeine, at levels and ratios equivalent to one to two cups of tea, eliminated the vasoconstrictive […] effects of caffeine.”5

      This spells good news for those who grudgingly avoid caffeine due to its negative impact on circulation.

      How to Stack Caffeine with L-Theanine

      When you create your first caffeine + L-theanine stack, remember that ratio matters.

      Though, in general, the combo will likely work so long as you stack more L-theanine than caffeine, most research pinpoints the best theanine-to-caffeine ratio at 2:1.

      In other words, if the average cup of coffee supplies around 100mg caffeine, you’ll need to add 200mg L-theanine to hit that 2:1 sweet spot. Of course, taking the “cup of coffee” approach to combining caffeine + L-theanine isn’t the most reliable way to do this.

      After all, you can only guesstimate how much caffeine is in your coffee. Which is why taking a premade caffeine + L-theanine supplement “mini-stack” seems the best way to go.

      Ideally, this would be a mini-stack that supplies a modest amount of caffeine (~50mg), instead of forcing you to take a massive, EXTREME-O! dose of caffeine per serving.

      After all, you can always double or triple the serving size, as needed, with a smaller dosage.

      Once you nail the caffeine + L-theanine combo, there are other nootropics you can stack with this mini-stack to further improve your cognitive performance.

      Mind Lab Pro® Nootropics with Caffeine

      In addition to Mind Lab Pro® L-theanine, an advanced L-theanine form delivered as the high-quality Suntheanine® brand, other Mind Lab Pro® nootropics that pair well with caffeine include:

      Rhodiola Rosea Extract

      In a nutshell, this is a powerful herbal adaptogen that strengthens mental and physical resistance to stress and supports healthy adrenal function.

      Caffeine is quite literally stressful, meaning that caffeine stimulates secretion of stress hormone cortisol.6 

      While a little bit of stress is healthy and helps keep us on our toes, too much stress may significantly damage various measures of our mental and physical health. Which is why stacking caffeine with Rhodiola rosea is such a great idea.

      Rhodiola is a uniquely powerful herb. So much so that, during the Cold War, the USSR kept this herbal adaptogen a secret from the rest of the world residing on the other side of the Iron Curtain.

      What makes this herb so unique is how it seems to help regulate the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) Axis, the bio-pathway that triggers the release of cortisol in response to stress.

      Believed to boost energy, Rhodiola is perhaps more accurately described as a fatigue reducer. By regulating the release of stress hormones and alleviating stress-related symptoms and complications, Rhodiola is an effective tool for enhancing cognitive performance.7 

      For the chronically caffeinated, Rhodiola’s stress relief benefits may help combat the “stressful” aspects of caffeine.

      More on Mind Lab Pro® Rhodiola Rosea here.

      L-Tyrosine

      Precursor amino acid used to synthesize and replenish catecholamine neurotransmitters that are depleted by caffeine’s stimulatory actions.

      Catecholamines neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine, are key brain chemicals required to maintain high levels of focus, awareness, and positive mood under otherwise stressful situations.

      As a precursor to catecholamines, L-tyrosine is a pro-catecholamine amino acid that not only works as a stimulant alternative but as a stimulant recovery agent.

      Stress and sleep deprivation deplete your natural L-tyrosine reserves to sustain catecholamine activity.[8] Though a wake-promoting stimulant, caffeine promotes stress.

      Stress, sleep deprivation, and caffeine, a common combination for many of us, are altogether a catecholaminergic nightmare.

      Once catecholamines burn out, the post-caffeine crash follows.

      Stacking caffeine with L-tyrosine may significantly help replenish and nourish the brain against the caffeine crash, sustaining attention and mood well beyond when the caffeine wears off.

      More on Mind Lab Pro® L-Tyrosine here.

      B Vitamins

      Stacking B vitamins with caffeine may help replenish the vitamins lost to caffeine’s diuretic effect.

      If you weren’t already aware, caffeine makes you pee.

      And with that increase in peeing, you’re losing not only a significant amount of water, thereby risking mild dehydration, but a significant amount of B vitamins, the essential nutrient compounds that act as co-factors to hundreds of metabolic processes.[9]

      In each serving, Mind Lab Pro® supplies a replenishing amount of:

      • Vitamin B6 – supports serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine;
      • Vitamin B9 – supports catecholamines and blood cell formation;
      • Vitamin B12 – supports catecholamines, nerve cells, blood cells, and more.

      Really, the benefits of these B vitamins are too numerous to count. But one thing you can count on: when B vitamin levels deplete, emotional stability and cognitive performance decline.[10]

      When consuming caffeine, taking a B vitamin complex may help sustain healthy B vitamin levels in the face of diuretic loss.

      More on Mind Lab Pro® Vitamin B6 here.

      More on Mind Lab Pro® Vitamin B9 here.

      More on Mind Lab Pro® Vitamin B12 here.

      Best Caffeine + L-Theanine Stack to Buy:
      Performance Lab® Stim

      A bottle of Performance Lab Stim

      Performance Lab® Stim is an ultramodern caffeine + l-theanine stack, combined with B-vitamins and l-tyrosine. For cleaner, calmer and healthier stimulation.

      For the past few decades, the undeclared motto for caffeine pills has been: More is Better! Meaning that the more caffeine, the better!

      ...Except, of course, you quickly realize this isn’t true when, after taking a single serving, the traditional caffeine pill has you grinding your teeth and vacuuming the ceiling.

      As the ultramodern caffeine pill, Performance Lab® has turned that motto on its end by keeping the caffeine dosage down to a manageable amount and instead adding more nootropic ingredients to the mix.

      Essentially, Stim updates the traditional caffeine pill design with an advanced two-stack approach:

      • Stack 1: Caffeine + L-Theanine for Performance Enhancement
      • Stack 2: B-Vitamins + L-Tyrosine for Balance and Recovery

      While some newer caffeine pill supplements have caught onto the simple benefits of combining caffeine + L-theanine, Performance Lab® Stim takes it a step further by tossing in nootropic aminos and B-vitamins.

      Why B-Vitamins? Because taking caffeine by itself depletes your B-vitamins.

      And then Performance Lab take it even further by supplying all these ingredients in exceptionally high-quality forms.

      A single bottle of Performance Lab Stim

      To Buy Performance Lab Stim, Visit: www.performancelab.com 

        To get a better look at what Stim is packing, let’s dive deeper into this stack’s formula.

        Performance Lab® Stim Ingredients

        The ingredients listed on Performance Lab® Stim’s Supplement Facts include:

        • NutriGenesis® Caffeine Balance B-Complex
          • Riboflavin+ (Vitamin B2), 500mcg
          • Vitamin B6+, 750mcg
          • Folate+ (Vitamin B9), 167 mcg
          • Vitamin B12+, 2mcg
        • Natural Caffeine (from Coffea robusta seeds), 50mg
        • Suntheanine® L-Theanine, 100mg
        • Ajipure® L-Tyrosine, 250mg

        In addition to supplying caffeine + L-theanine at the preferred 2:1 ratio, Performance Lab® Stim also supplies a high-end B-complex of B2, B6, B9, and B12 to counterbalance caffeine nutrient depletion. As well as Ajipure® L-Tyrosine, a patented, eco-friendly version of this amino acid, to help curb the post-caffeine crash.

        Not to mention that encasing this all-natural stack of ingredients are the NutriCaps® Capsules, a clean, additive-free brand of capsules constructed out of fermented tapioca (pullulan).

        By keeping the formula clean inside and out, Performance Lab® ensures that all of Stim’s ingredients are supplied at the highest bioavailable rates possible.

        No synthetic additives, artificial colors, or junky fillers. Only clean, green, plant-powered stimulation here.

        Who takes Performance Lab® Stim?

        Anyone looking for a cleaner, smoother stim experience may benefit by adding Performance Lab® Stim to their nootropic stack.

        With many nootropic users turning towards stim-free supplements, the appeal of an optional, healthy stim add-on is also on the rise.

        Thanks to the slim formula design of this stim stack, Performance Lab® Stim stacks well with other supplements.

        How to take Performance Lab® Stim

        The directions for Performance Lab® Stim are:

        "Take 1 capsule for stimulation. Taken as directed, Stim’s 50 mg caffeine serving size is effective for most. Those with greater tolerance or a higher optimal caffeine dose may take additional Stim NutriCaps® in 50 mg caffeine increments up to 250 mg (5 NutriCaps®) per day, due to the formula’s scalable design."

        Where to buy Performance Lab® Stim

        To buy Performance Lab® Stim, visit here.

        All Performance Lab® products sell exclusively through www.performancelab.com, which provides further information on Performance Lab® Stim and many other health and fitness supplements.

        Conclusion

        Mind Lab Pro® + Performance Lab® Stim combine stim-free nootropics with the best caffeine + L-theanine stack to boost both brain performance and recovery.

        There many ways to take caffeine—coffee, tea, energy drinks, etc.

        But the best way to take caffeine, at least if you’re a nootropic nerd interested in brain health as much as brain performance, is with L-theanine.

        Once you try caffeine with this amino, there’s no going back to just taking your coffee black.

        • By stacking caffeine + L-theanine with a smart mix of B-vitamins and L-tyrosine for caffeine balance and recovery, Performance Lab® Stim is easily the best caffeine stack on the market.

        While many supplements use caffeine in their formulas, most of them either use too much caffeine or stack their caffeine with too many unnecessary ingredients—or both.

        By keeping it simple, Performance Lab® Stim is an easy mini-stack supplement to take, either alone or combined with other effective brain boosters, such as Mind Lab Pro®.

        Combined, Mind Lab Pro® and Performance Lab® Stim work as a daily brain stack for both acute and long-term cognitive performance.

        • To get the best deal on Mind Lab Pro®, click here.
        • To get the best deal on Performance Lab® Stim, click here.

        BONUS – Ultimate Caffeine + L-Theanine Stack

        In addition to Mind Lab Pro®’s stim-free nootropics, other stim-free health and fitness supplements that pair well with Performance Lab® Stim’s caffeine + L-theanine combo include:

        Performance Lab® Energy

        The ultimate stim-free energy booster for energized performance and crash-free vitality.

        Ingredients: Acetyl L-Carnitine (from Acetyl L-Carnitine HCL), Microencapsulated Bio-Enhanced® R-Lipoic Acid, MicroActive® Q10 (Coenzyme Q10), BioPQQ® (Pyrroloquinoline Quinone [PQQ]), BioPerine® Black Pepper Extract (Piper nigrum) (fruit) (95% piperine)

        • While Performance Lab® Stim takes a stimulant-drive approach to boosting brain energy and Mind Lab Pro® takes a more stim-free nootropic approach, Performance Lab® Energy uniquely promotes overall energy with an advanced mix of antioxidant mitochondrial boosters. By promoting cellular ATP energy across the brain and body, Performance Lab® Energy truly promotes real-deal energy across the board for total performance enhancement.

        To get the best deal on Performance Lab® Energy, click here.

        Performance Lab® Sleep

        Natural sleep aid with magnesium, L-tryptophan, and cherry-sourced melatonin to help offset daytime stimulation for better nighttime recovery.

        Ingredients: Magnesium+ (as Magnesium Bisglycinate, Magnesium Taurate, NutriGenesis® Magnesium), CherryPURE® (Whole Montmorency Tart Cherry) (Prunus cerasus) (fruit) (50:1 concentrated ratio), TryptoPure® L-Tryptophan

        • Performance Lab® Stim for daytime performance enhancement, Performance Lab® Sleep for nighttime sleep recovery. Perfectly balanced, as all things should be. And, like Performance Lab® Stim’s formula design, this sleep aid supplement supplies only all-natural ingredients and abides by a “minimum dosage required” principle to ensure that you’re only receiving just enough cherry-extracted melatonin that’s necessary to fall asleep. No morning grog with this stack.

        To get the best deal on Performance Lab® Sleep, click here.

        Performance Lab® SPORT Pre

        The cleanest pre-workout stack designed to prime muscle performance for both aerobic and anaerobic exercise.

        Ingredients: Sodium (from Himalayan Pink Salt), Creatine (as Creapure® pH10), Cordyceps Sinensis (as Cordyceps Super™), L-Citrulline, L-Glutamine (from Ajinomoto®), L-Carnosine (N-beta-alanyl-histidine), Himalayan Pink Salt, Maritime Pine Bark Extract

        • Performance Lab® SPORT Pre does what many PWO supplements cannot: improve and energize exercise performance without resorting to caffeine and other stimulants. For those interested in genuinely healthy sports nutrition, the stim-free design of SPORT Pre’s creatine-driven formula is a major bonus. Yet, like stacking Performance Lab® Stim with Mind Lab Pro®, the Stim + SPORT Pre stack may deliver the best of both worlds—stim and stim-free performance enhancement—without totally overwhelming the brain with excess stimulation.

        To get the best deal on Performance Lab® SPORT Pre, click here.

        References

        1. Giurgea C, Salama M. Nootropic drugs. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology. 1977; 1(3-4): 235-247.
        2. Owen GN et al. The combined effects of L-theanine and caffeine on cognitive performance and mood. Nutr Neurosci. 2008 Aug; 11(4): 193-8.
        3. Kahathuduwa CN et al. Acute effects of theanine, caffeine and theanine-caffeine combination on attention. Nutr Neurosci. 2017 Jul; 20(6): 369-377.
        4. Giesbrecht T et al. The combination of L-theanine and caffeine improves cognitive performance and increases subjective alertness. Nutr Neurosci. 2010 Dec; 13(6): 283-90.
        5. Dodd FL et al. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluation the effects of caffeine and L-theanine both alone and in combination on cerebral blood flow, cognition and mood. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2015; 232(14): 2563-2576.
        6. Lovallo WR et al. Cortisol responses to mental stress, exercise, and meals following caffeine intake in men and women. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2006 Mar; 83(3): 441-7.
        7. Anghelescu IG et al. Stress management and the role of Rhodiola rosea: a review. Int J Psychiatry Clin Pract. 2018 Nov; 22(4): 242-252.
        8. Neri DF et al. The effects of tyrosine on cognitive performance during extended wakefulness. Aviat Space Environ Med. 1995 Apr; 66(4): 313-9.
        9. Ulvik A et al. Coffee consumption and circulating B-vitamins in healthy middle-aged men and women. Clin Chem. 2008 Sep; 54(9): 1489-96.
        10. Kim H et al. Association between intake of B vitamins and cognitive function in elderly Koreans with cognitive impairment. Nutr J. 2014; 13: 118.