How Much Caffeine In Coffee? It’s Effects On Health

How-much-caffeine-in-cup-of-coffee-FBCaffeine has several health benefits. However, too much of caffeine can lead to certain health problems.

Coffee is the single biggest dietary source of caffeine.

Most of us drink more than 1 cup (8 oz/237 ml) of coffee every day. Knowing how many mg of caffeine in one cup of coffee is good for us to limit the daily caffeine intake to a healthy level.

On an average, 95mg of caffeine is present in every cup of regular coffee.  This amount can vary from 3 to 700mg in various types of coffee and caffeinated beverages.

Of course, the caffeine content in one cup of coffee will vary with the type and quantity of coffee powder used in it.

Let us have a look at some basic facts on caffeine before we examine the caffeine content in different types of coffee.

What is Caffeine?

Caffeine is a bitter substance found in coffee, tea, kola nuts, cocoa, soft drinks, chocolate, and certain medicines.[1

It is a xanthine alkaloid compound that acts as a stimulant in humans.

The caffeine content amount varies according to the type and serving size of food or beverage and how it’s prepared. Even the decaffeinated coffee will have some amount of caffeine in it.

Reasons For Differences In Caffeine Content In Coffee 

All types coffee do not have the same amount of caffeine present in them. Here are some of the reasons for it:

  • A good bit of caffeine is lost when the coffee is roasted darker and longer time; lightly roasted or green bean coffee contains more caffeine.
  • Decaf coffee, instant coffee, brewed coffee, espresso coffee, etc., have a significant difference in caffeine content because of their different making process, types of beans used and other added ingredients in them.
  • Robusta’ coffee beans have 50% more caffeine than Arabica beans; seventy-five percent of coffee produced in the world is Arabica species of coffee.
  • Naturally, there is more amount of caffeine when the quantity of serving size larger; the coffee serving cups measurements are not same as it can vary from 30 to 700 ml.

How Much Caffeine In Coffee?

Coffeine-In-CoffeeAs we have already said, the caffeine content in coffee per cup will be different according to the type and quantity of ground coffee is used.

The basic standard in the coffee industry has always been a tablespoon that is slightly mounded a little more than flat or 7 grams of coffee per 8 ounces of water. A cup of strong coffee would need 10 to 15 grams of coffee per cup.

One shot of espresso coffee would require about 7 to 9 grams of ground coffee.

In the case of the espresso coffee, the caffeine content depends on the type and size of ground coffee granules and the pressure inserted on pushing the hot water through the compressed coffee layer in the portafilter.

The caffeine present in the regular home-brewed coffee will vary according to the quality of ground coffee and the speed at which the hot water is allowed to pass through the ground coffee layers in the filter.

Instant Coffee

“Instant coffee, also called soluble coffee, coffee crystals and coffee powder, is a beverage derived from brewed coffee beans.”[2]

It is called “instant” because you can simply mix one or two teaspoons of this coffee into hot water or milk and just stir it for few seconds and your drink is ready.

Instant coffee has about 35 t0 60mg caffeine per cup, which is less than what is contained in regular coffee.

Regular Coffee/Brewed Coffee

Most popularly practiced method of preparing coffee drink is by brewing.  The brewed coffee is also called regular coffee.

There several different ways to brew coffee. In US and Europe, the most commonly used method coffee brewing is gradually pouring the boiling/hot water over the ground coffee held in a filter or by using the French press.

Brewed coffee has about 95 mg of caffeine per cup on an average and the amount can vary between 70-140 mg depending on the type coffee bean is used.[3]

Decaf Coffee

Decaf coffee is supposed to be ‘zero’ caffeine coffee, but it is NOT.

In fact, every type of coffee will have some amount of caffeine.

On an average, one cup of decaf coffee contains 3 mg caffeine.  It may vary from 1 -7 mg per cup depending on the type of coffee beans and the decaffeination methods used.[4,5]

Espresso

caffeine-in-espresso-coffee“Espresso is coffee brewed by forcing a small amount of nearly boiling water under pressure through finely ground coffee beans.”[6]

Usually, the espresso coffee ground is blended from several varietals and roasts to generate a bold – not bitter flavor.

Espresso coffee making machines are highly precise, and it includes a set of advanced processes for making coffee.

Rightly ground coffee is tightly ramped into “portafilter” and then high-pressure hot water forced through the ground, and liquid coffee is extracted in small and concentrated amounts.

Here are the different shots of espresso:

  • Ristretto: ¾-ounce of espresso
  • Single Shot: 1 ounce of espresso
  • Lungo: 1 ½-ounce shot of espresso
  • Double Shot: 2-ounce shot of espresso

One shot of espresso (usually 30ml) contains about 63 mg of caffeine.[7]

About 125 mg caffeine is present in double shot espresso.

Espresso is a concentrated form of coffee. Thus, it contains more caffeine than the regular coffee; each serving is very small ¾-ounce to 2-ounce maximum, overall caffeine intake by the user is less.

Espresso also comes in various beverage forms such as cappuccino, macchiato, and Americano. But these varieties too contain the same amount of caffeine as in the regular espresso shots.

Caffeine In Coffee From Popular Coffee-Shop Chains    

Top-5-Coffee-Chain-ShopsCoffee shops under the ‘big brand’ names are common in all streets and cities in Europe and the US.

The 5 big players in coffee shops chain are Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, McDonald’s, Tim Hortons, and Costa Coffee; they have stiff competition from 100s of local coffee shops.[8,9]

Coffee sold by the large coffee brands do contain a higher amount of caffeine in comparison to the home-brewed coffee.

These popular coffee shop chains have all types of brewed coffee with cup sizes ranging from 6-24 ounces (700 ml).

Starbucks Coffee: Starbucks is the No.1 world leader in coffee shops; most of the coffee items they sell have a high amount of caffeine.

The caffeine content in Starbucks’ brewed coffee is:[10,11]

  • Short (80z)                  : 180 mg
  • Tall (120z)                   : 260 mg
  • Grande (16oz)             : 330 mg
  • Venti (20oz)                : 415 mg

Even the decaf coffee from Starbucks contains 15–30 mg of caffeine.

McCafe Coffee: The McDonald’s under their McCafe brand sell coffee that has lower caffeine content in comparison to the Starbucks.

McCafe has not officially notified or listed the caffeine quantity in different coffee treats served by it; according to private estimates, the caffeine content in their coffee servings is about 110 mg per 12 ounces.

McCafe’s decaf contains 8-14 mg and espresso contains about 70 mg caffeine per one cup; of course, it is dependent on the cup size.[12]

Dunkin Donuts Coffee: Dunkin Donuts is another very popular donut and coffee shops in the world. The caffeine content in coffee they serve has about a similar amount of caffeine content as the coffee served by Starbucks.  A small cup (10 ounces) coffee from Dunkin Donuts has 215 mg caffeine content approximately.[13,14]

  • Espresso (Single Shot) :75 mg
  • Coffee Brewed (Small) :215 mg
  • Latte (Small) :75 mg
  • Mocha (Small) :75 mg

The decaf coffee from Dunkin unusually has  high amount of caffeine; about 53 mg of caffeine in 10 0unce decaf coffee.

Tim Hortons Coffee: Tim Hortons is Canada’s largest food service operator, even larger than McDonald’s.

The amount caffeine in Tim Hortons Coffee is quite high when it is compared to home brewed coffee.[15]

  • Original Blend Coffee (Small) :140 mg
  • Dark Roast Coffee (Small) :135 mg
  • Decaf Coffee (Small) :6 mg
  • Café Mocha (Small) :90 mg

Costa Coffee: The largest coffee chain in the UK is Costa Coffee; it also has several outlets in about 35 countries around the world. Originally, they are the leading roasted coffee suppliers in the world.

The caffeine quantity in per 450 ml cup Costa Coffee in popular servings as follows:[16]

  • Espresso (Primo Shot) :92mg
  • Flat White (Primo) :277 mg
  • Americano (Primo) :185 mg
  • Caffè Mocha (Primo) :190 mg

Caffeine Effects On Health

benefits-of-caffeineCaffeine helps in boosting metabolism and stimulates the nerve system. It can produce a temporary boost in energy and make people mentally more alert.

However, too much of caffeine intake may lead to mental and physical issues like the variation in heart palpitations, sleep disruptions, anxiety, etc.[17,18]

For a normally healthy adult person up to 400mg caffeine intake per day may not cause any adverse effects on health. A healthy adult person can consume 4 to 6 cups of brewed coffee per day.[19]

The adverse effects of caffeine on health highly depend on the specific health conditions of each person. Some individuals are highly sensitive to even a little amount of caffeine while others can tolerate a considerable amount of caffeine intake.[20,21]

There several health benefits of having a moderate amount of caffeine intake.

Some of the major health benefits of caffeine are:

  • Caffeine improves mental alertness and helps to boost energy levels.
  • Intake of caffeine in combination with pain killers like aspirin, acetaminophen and ergotamine chemical is medically used for treating migraine headaches.[22]
  • Caffeine extracts are good for relieving pain especially when it is used in combination with pain killers.[23]
  • Some doctors prescribe caffeine for asthma, shortness of breath in newborns, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), gallbladder disease, and low blood pressure.[24]
  • Caffeine improves metabolism that helps in weight loss and improves the sugar level in the blood to reduce the severity of Type-2 diabetes.[25]
  • It is also a stimulant that boosts energy and improves the performances of athletes.[25,26]
  • Some of the skin creams have caffeine as an ingredient in them as it is beneficial for reducing redness and itching in dermatitis.

Excess intake of caffeine beyond the tolerance level of the individual’s health conditions could bring in health woes. Six hundred milligrams or more per day is generally considered too much, according to the FDA.

Your tolerance level is affected by a person’s age, body mass, and any other health conditions. Here are some of the side effects of overdose of caffeine intake:

  • It can affect your mood and cause physical side effects; acts as a stimulant to the central nerve system.[27]
  • If you are not used to caffeine intake, it can produce jitter that results in anxiety and sleep disorder.[28]
  • Sudden caffeine withdrawal can induce drowsiness, irritability, tremors and anxiety.[29]
  • Its overdose can disturb the calmness of the mind and causes confusion and hallucinations
  • It can increase acidity in the stomach which may cause heartburn or upset the stomach.[30]
  • It is a diuretic substance that triggers your body to get rid of water which causes dehydration.[31]
  • Caffeine overdose can cause diarrhea, excessive thirst, and increased urination.[32]
  • It might cause a sudden spike in blood pressure; not healthy for people with irregular heart rhythms.
  • A daily overdose of caffeine can interfere with absorption and metabolism of calcium which may result in osteoporosis.[33]
  • Ingesting excess caffeine is not healthy for pregnant women as it can lead to miscarriage and affect the baby’s heart beat.[34]
  • In a woman, it can interfere with estrogen production and metabolism which reduces the chances of becoming pregnant.[35]

The Bottle Line

The average caffeine content of an 8-oz, cup of brewed coffee is 95 mg. A single espresso or espresso-based drink contains 63 mg, and decaf coffee contains about 3 mg of caffeine (on average).

For normally healthy individuals, up to 400 mg caffeine intake per day will not be causing any harm to the body. But even a little amount of it can be bad for people who are very sensitive to caffeine.

One cup of regular home-brewed coffee contains only 95 mg of caffeine; up to 5 cups of coffee per day won’t cause any health issues.

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3 Comments

  1. Margaret October 31, 2017
  2. Shayam Prasad January 18, 2017
  3. Kimberly Ann May 9, 2016

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