We all enjoy coffee, maybe because of its rich flavors and caffeine.
But people often ask about how much caffeine in a cup of coffee.
Some are concerned about their daily caffeine intake, and some are curious about several related questions.
And honestly writing, these questions cannot be answered in a single line because it is related to your body and health. And everybody is different.
You have to go through all the subtopics written below to know the answer and recommended levels finally.
Factors Affecting The Amount Of Caffeine In a Cup of Coffee
Mainly there are four major coffee species: Arabica, Robusta, Liberica, and Excelsa. Also, there are hundreds of its subtypes.
All have different levels of caffeine.
Robusta has the highest amount of caffeine percentage among all. That is 2.2% – 2.7%.
Arabica and Liberica coffee are almost the same in caffeine levels having around 1% – 1.5% & 1.23%.
Excelsa being the least amount of caffeine concentration, which is 0.86% – 1.13%.
Apart from these major types, the caffeine concentration also depends on where it is cultivated. Robusta grown in Vietnam may have slightly more or fewer caffeine levels than grown in Madagascar.
Around 60% of the world consumes arabica beans and, after that robusta.
Here I heard two theories; some say dark roast has the most caffeine, and some say light roast. Please don’t get confused; I’ll explain it to you.
Unroasted coffee beans have the highest amount of caffeine, and as we go from unroasted to dark roast (after that bean burns), the caffeine concentration will go on declining.
This means light roast has more amount of caffeine than dark roast.
Also, as we roast more and more, the moisture in the beans keeps on evaporating, the beans become denser, and their size will increase.
One study shows that there is a very slight difference in caffeine content between roast types that is not even noticeable.
We generally don’t brew whole coffee beans. A normal phenomenon is we first grind coffee beans or purchase ground coffee, then brew.
The finer you grind the coffee beans, the more caffeine will extract and vice-versa.
The reason behind this is we require water for brewing, and finer grounds have more surface area, so when the water comes in contact, it will extract more caffeine from the grounds than the other grind sizes.
Also, the brew method, which uses finer grounds, has higher levels of caffeine concentration, like espresso or cold brew.
We cannot assume the size of a single cup of coffee. So many types of coffee are being served and consumed in different cup sizes, some even in glasses.
A double shot of espresso has more amount of caffeine than a single shot of espresso.
Like in Starbucks, if you order Grande (16oz), you’ll consume less caffeine than the Venti (20oz).
Whether you want a Macchiato or a French Press Coffee, you need to go through the brewing, and then you can enjoy your cup of java.
We’ll look at each brewing method one by one and discuss its caffeine content:
We all coffee aficionados once surely consume drip coffee either it is made manually like pour-over including Chemex, Kalita wave, and Hario v60, or from a drip coffee machine.
In the drip method, hot water is poured evenly over medium-grind coffee beans using a filter that strains the grounds from mixing it with the brewed coffee.
A cup of drip coffee is eight fluid ounces (fl. oz.) and contains around 115-175mg of caffeine, an average of 145mg per cup if Arabica beans are used.
If robusta beans are used, then 265 mg of caffeine per 8 fl. oz.
The steeping method is also called the immersion method because coffee is immersed in water for a few minutes and sometimes hours.
Like we brew French Press or a cold brew where we put coffee grounds and water together for the time being so that it can extract flavors and antioxidants.
We cannot average out caffeine content for the steeping method; let’s look at famous immersion coffees.
French press or plunger – 107.5mg per 8 fluid ounces
Cold Brew – 200mg per 16 fluid ounces
Instant coffee – 47mg per 6 fl. Oz.
In the pressure method, hot water pressure passes through the coffee grounds; this brewing method requires more equipment than any other.
Some of the popular pressure methods and their caffeine contents are
Espresso – 77mg per 1.5 fl. Oz. (an espresso shot) – Arabica
Espresso – 141mg per shot – Robusta
Moka Pot – up to 105mg per 2 fl. oz.
Aeropress – 110 mg per 6 fl. Oz.
Espresso-based drinks like macchiato, ristretto, or americano have similar caffeine concentrations to espresso. If a double shot of espresso is used, then the caffeine amount will double, and so on.
If chocolate is added, then the caffeine level changes, like in a mocha, where it has 152mg per 12 fl. Oz.
Other Brewing Methods
Turkish coffee – 200mg per 8 fl. oz.
Nitro Coffee – 325mg per 16 fl. Oz.
According to a study, a water temperature of 90° – 100° celsius can remove 90% of the caffeine from the grounds.
Whereas normal and cold water may take more time than hot water to extract caffeine.
How Caffeine Affects the Body
What is Caffeine?
If you love coffee, you know your relationship with caffeine, from starting the day out to stressful office hours.
Caffeine is a mild stimulant of the central nervous system that helps in boosting the energy level and makes you feel good.
It is mainly found in coffee beans, tea leaves, cacao beans, guarana berries, and yerba maté leaves.
How It Works
If you feel sleepy or tired, It may be because you have reached a sufficient adenosine level, a neurotransmitter. Neurons in your brain also have a receptor to the size of adenosine.
When the adenosine molecule binds with the receptor, it starts slowing down the nerve cell activities, and you feel sleepy and tired.
Caffeine molecules have a similar structure to adenosine; that’s why in the view of the adenosine receptor, both look the same.
But, the caffeine molecule is an antagonist to the adenosine molecule – it works oppositely.
So, when caffeine binds with the receptor, it blocks the adenosine molecule and boosts your nerve cells.
By antagonizing adenosine, caffeine indirectly promotes the level of dopamine and makes you feel good. It is because when adenosines are blocked, dopamine can more easily binds to the receptors.
Caffeine increases neuron firing that leads to the pituitary gland releasing hormones and the adrenal gland releasing more adrenaline; it may cause a number of effects on your body.
Positive effects of caffeine
According to several studies, coffee & caffeine have multiple positive effects on our body; I’ll try to explain them one by one here.
1. Study shows that caffeine has significantly increased alertness and reduces fatigue.
2. Research shows that coffee and caffeine minimize the risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease, and if developed, it can slow the progression of the disease.
3. Coffee is rich in antioxidants that can protect from free radicals and may prevent several diseases like coronary heart problems, some types of cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
4. Some studies show that coffee has a positive effect on some chronic liver diseases.
Negative effects of caffeine
Despite having positive effects, caffeine also has significant side effects that can cause several problems, including:
4. Jitters & restlessness
5. Stomach upset
However, these problems may occur if you have consumed caffeine beyond the recommended level or if you are sensitive to caffeine.
Also, caffeine can worsen your problems if you are already suffering from any of these.
And if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, then you are highly sensitive to caffeine; in this case, it is recommended to consult your doctor.
However, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggests an intake of less than 200mg a day does not raise concerns for miscarriage or preterm birth.
Some studies found that caffeine consumption during pregnancy may lead to a smaller birth size.
According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Pediatricians recommend that children up to 12 years of age should not take any amount of caffeine, and ages between 12 – 18 should limit their consumption to a maximum of 100mg daily.
Decaffeinated or decaf coffee is mainly famous for having significantly less amount of caffeine. Some misinterpret decaf as coffee having zero caffeine level, but this is totally not the case.
An 8-fluid ounces cup of decaf coffee contains around 5.6mg of caffeine.
Now you are thinking, why does someone consume coffee with such a low level of caffeine?
You must know that caffeine is just a single chemical compound in coffee; there are over 1000 chemical compounds in coffee, including antioxidants and other essential properties. So, coffee is not just about caffeine.
If you are caffeine-sensitive, pregnant, or breastfeeding, always consult your doctor first, whether you are consuming decaf or regular.
Caffeine Content From Famous Coffee Chains
There are several multinational coffee chains where people regularly eat & drink. All have specialized in serving coffee for years.
Some chains have unique coffee drinks, like Frappuccino by Starbucks or Dunkaccino by Dunkin’ Donuts.
Also, different brands have different caffeine levels for the same type of coffee you enjoy, and the reason you know – we’ve already discussed it.
The purpose of writing this section is that you need to know where you consume more caffeine, either in these cafes or at your home. Starting with
(8 fl oz)
(12 fl oz)
(16 fl oz)
(20 fl oz)
(10 fl oz)
(14 fl oz)
(20 fl oz)
(24 fl oz)
(12 fl oz)
(16 fl oz)
(21-24 fl oz)
(10 fl oz)
(14 fl oz)
(20 fl oz)
(24 fl oz)
You can clearly see that Starbucks has the highest caffeine content in their Brewed coffee, followed by Dunkin’ Donuts, Tim Hortons, and McCafe being the least.
Now compare it with the coffee you brewed at home; also, make sure to consider the ounces.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does milk reduce caffeine in coffee?
Milk has no anti-caffeine properties, so it does not reduce caffeine in coffee.
Yes, it can add carbohydrates and helps neutralize acids in coffee. Also, milk will take its nutrients in your cup of joe.
How long does caffeine stay in your system?
Caffeine starts showing its reaction in about 15 – 45 minutes.
However, it takes around 5-6 hours to halfway flush out from the body. And for complete elimination, your body takes 10-12 hours.
Also, these numbers can vary from person to person because everyone’s body reacts differently.
What’s the strongest coffee?
Devil mountain coffee has the highest amount of caffeine till date known.
It has 1555mg of caffeine per 12 fl. Oz. of a cup, which is more than the recommended level by the U.S. FDA and EFSA.
Now you can figure out how much caffeine in a cup of coffee, and also you have an idea where you consume more caffeine either in your home or at a café.
Coffee is one of the most highly consumed beverages in the world & has a lot of lovers.
I love coffee, and maybe you do too. So, keep in mind in love; you should not cross the caffeine limits recommended by authorities.
From now on, you don’t need to worry about caffeine concentrations while brewing coffee at home. You know which roast, serving size, and beans to select for measuring caffeine levels.