One of the biggest questions coffee lovers ask is how much caffeine is in coffee. A regular cup of drip coffee has 96 mg of caffeine, although the amount depends a lot on what type of coffee you are drinking.
I’ve reviewed caffeine levels across 14 different coffee drinks. Whether decaf coffee on the low end (2-3 mg of caffeine) to nitro cold brew at the highest caffeine level (215 mg of caffeine), every coffee drink is in this article. In case you’re wondering, soda and other caffeinated beverages are here as well.
Whether you’re drinking coffee as soon as you wake up in the morning or you need one to get you through your night shift, knowing how much caffeine in coffee will help you understand your favorite drink more.
What Is Caffeine?
Many coffee lovers associate caffeine only with coffee, but you can also find it in cacao and tea. More than a thousand compounds make up coffee, and caffeine only takes up a minuscule 0.01% of the composition of coffee beans.
Caffeine works by stimulating the central nervous system and the brain to enable you to stay alert.
How much caffeine in coffee depends on the roast, brew, and grind method and the beans. Specifically, the altitude at which the coffee plant is grown.
Caffeine is a natural insect repellent, and coffee trees develop more caffeine as a natural evolution to bugs. In high altitudes where there are few insects, coffee beans have less caffeine. On the other hand, coffee beans grown in low altitudes have a higher caffeine concentration to repel insects.
Caffeine Content of Robusta vs. Arabica Coffee Beans
Green Arabica beans have almost just about half the caffeine content compared to green Robusta beans. Robusta beans have 2.2% caffeine, while Arabica beans only have 1.2% caffeine.
Robusta coffee beans are famous for being bitter since caffeine has a bitter taste. On the other hand, Arabica beans are higher in acidity and have a more complex flavor. The majority of whole bean coffee in stores is Arabica while most instant coffee is Robusta.
Preparation and Processing Affect Caffeine Content
Unlike most people believe, the caffeine level of coffee beans does not change if you roast the green beans to become black coffee beans. Usually, lighter roasts have a higher caffeine per bean concentration than darker roasts that burn off the caffeine due to the longer roasting time. Despite this, the caffeine per pound is usually the same.
The caffeine concentration on each cup of coffee is affected by different variables. The finer the grind and the longer the brew length, the more caffeine extracted. This rule applies to all preparation methods except cold brew because the higher the water temperature is, the better the caffeine extraction will be. However, keep in mind that the water temperature should be 195 to 205 degrees.
The Caffeine Content In Your Favorite Coffee
Want to limit or increase your caffeine intake? Here’s a look at how much caffeine in coffee there is.
Many people are surprised that brewed coffee has a higher caffeine content because you can prepare it easily. An eight-ounce cup of black coffee has 96 mg of caffeine, so it’s the perfect breakfast company.
The amount of caffeine varies by how the coffee is brewed and some chains can have concentrated coffee. A grande Starbucks Pike Place Roast has 160 mg of caffeine per eight-ounce serving which is well above a typical drip coffee.
Wondering how much caffeine in decaf coffee is? This drink is perfect for those intolerant or sensitive to caffeine, as a cup of decaf coffee only has 2 to 5 mg of caffeine, depending on the brand. So this isn’t much caffeine at all. You’ll even get more caffeine from chocolates compared to decaf coffee.
Want to know how much caffeine in Starbucks coffee is? A tall serving of vanilla frappuccino has 65 mg of caffeine, grande has 95 mg of caffeine, and venti iced has 125 mg of caffeine.
While it’s not the healthiest way to get your caffeine boost, it will do wonders to satisfy your sweet tooth.
There’s nothing quite like having espresso in the morning. The answer to how much caffeine in espresso is around 60 to 75 mg of caffeine for a single shot, 150 mg for a double shot, 225 mg for a triple shot, and 300 mg for a quad shot.
Americano is espresso mixed with water. Rumors say it started in World War II when American soldiers could not tolerate drinking espresso on its own, so they added water. Same with espresso, it has 60 to 300 mg of caffeine, depending on the shot.
This decadent coffee with a layer of foamy milk has around 60 to 75 mg of caffeine. Aside from caffeine, you’ll also enjoy calcium and protein from milk.
When you order drinks like macchiato or cappuccino, you’re getting a shot of espresso with milk. Considering this, you’ll be getting 60 to 75 mg of caffeine per cup. So to help power you through the day, consider adding an extra shot of espresso.
A latte is a mixture of steamed milk with espresso, and it can have anywhere from 60 to 75 mg of caffeine depending on how many espresso shots you want to add to make the flavor of coffee stand out more than the milk.
Iced coffee is brewed at a hot temperature and then served with ice to chill. This thirst-quencher has 120 mg of caffeine per serving.
A comforting cup of flat white has 130 mg of caffeine since it is usually made with ristretto espresso, which has higher caffeine content. Ristretto is a term for short espresso shot made with less water compared to a regular espresso shot. This gives ristretto a less bitter and sweeter taste.
Not to be mistaken with iced coffee, cold brew is made from coffee grinds slowly steeped in cool water for 16 to 24 hours. This makes way for a very smooth taste and a higher caffeine content. Cold brew usually has 155 mg of caffeine per glass.
Nitro Cold Brew
Finishing work but feeling tired? Then, a glass of nitro cold brew may be exactly what you need. This drink is one of the most powerful sources of caffeine.
Because it’s infused with nitrogen, you’ll enjoy the creamier and sweeter taste even without sugar and cream. A 16-ounce glass of cold brew has 280 mg of caffeine.
It’s not uncommon for coffee lovers to turn their backs on instant coffee, but a cup of instant coffee can still give you a jolt of alertness since it has around 63 mg of caffeine per cup.
Highly Caffeinated Coffee
In recent years, it seems like coffee brands have been competing on who can offer the most amount of caffeine.
Devil Mountain Black Label takes the cake with a whopping 1,555 mg of caffeine per 12-ounce cup. Another well-loved brand that will give you a caffeine jolt is Death Wish Coffee, with 650 to 278 mg of caffeine per 12-ounce cup. Unfortunately, these companies have not released caffeine content figures and results derived from third-party test results.
How Do Other Drinks Compare in Caffeine?
Most people think coffee is the most caffeinated drink but is it? Let’s take a look at the caffeine content in other common drinks.
Everyone’s sweet carbonated beverage has less caffeine than regular coffee. A 12 ounce can of Coca-Cola has 34 mg of caffeine. The caffeine content is higher in Mountain Dew which has 54 mg of caffeine per can.
Green tea is a great source of antioxidants and can keep you awake. How much caffeine in green tea is there? About 28mg of caffeine in green tea per 8-ounce cup.
A common substitute for coffee, black tea will deliver enough caffeine to get the morning started. Black tea has 47 mg of caffeine per eight-ounce cup, which is half the caffeine in coffee.
Energy drinks are a quick way to get more energy and they will get the job done. An energy drink like Rockstar has 160 mg of caffeine per can. A small bottle of 5-hour energy has 200 mg of caffeine.
How Much Is Too Much Caffeine?
If you take more than one cup of coffee per day, you’re probably wondering how much caffeine in coffee is too much. According to the FDA, caffeine can be a great part of your diet, but too much caffeine can pose health risks.
The amount of caffeine you can take per day depends on factors like your body weight, your sensitivity to caffeine, whether or not you’re taking medications, you’re trying to become pregnant, or if you’re pregnant.
For healthy adults, 400 mg of caffeine per day is still considered safe. This is equivalent to around four to five cups of coffee. However, people who have caffeine sensitivity may feel adverse effects since their body metabolizes it slowly.
For children, the FDA has not released any guidelines when it comes to caffeine consumption. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics discourages parents from giving their children and adolescents caffeine.
But how do you know if you’ve consumed too much caffeine? You may experience some of these:
- Upset stomach
- Fast heart rate
- Unhappy feeling or dysphoria
Keep in mind that the FDA also warns people of the toxic effects such as seizures that may happen with rapid and intense caffeine consumption of 1,200 mg of caffeine or more.
Now that you’ve learned how much caffeine is in your favorite coffee drink, read our coffee brewing guides to learn how to make the best coffee.