- Updated Mar 27, 2020
- Writen by Robert Smith
Caffeine Myths: Which Types of Coffee Has The Most Caffeine?
- Updated Jul 26, 2019
- Writen by Robert Smith
One of the main reasons why coffee is among the most widely consumed beverage in the world is the caffeine that it contains. Coffee lovers drink it mostly to get the energy boost and alertness that comes with caffeine.
Hence, when shopping for coffee beans and when deciding how to roast them and brew coffee, the amount of caffeine the resulting brew provides is always at the top of most people’s mind.
A typical cup of coffee will have around 95mg of caffeine, but the actual amount can vary anywhere between 0 and 500mg.
To help you decide which coffee will work for you as far as caffeine is concerned, below we explain the amounts of caffeine in different types of coffee so that you can easily tell which one has enough caffeine for you.
Factors that Determine Caffeine Content
Different facts will determine how much caffeine will be in your coffee, and if you are keen with the quantity of caffeine you take or are looking to make a beverage with as much caffeine as possible, you need to know them. These factors are coffee beans types, roast, coffee type, and the cup size
1. Bean Type
There is a wide variety of coffee beans grown in different parts of the world and new ones are always being developed to improve quality and production.
The type of beans that will end up in your cup of coffee will have a huge effect on the quantity of caffeine given the different varietals and growing conditions. And the most common coffee bean types here are Arabica and Robusta which will have varying levels of caffeine.
You have to roast your coffee beans before they can be able to make coffee. The amount of roasting that you do and also the roasting temperature will determine the level of caffeine. Typically, roasting removes some of the caffeine in the beans, and so the shorter the roast time the more the caffeine the beans will have.
3. Brew Type
How you brew or make your coffee will also determine the amount of caffeine that you will end up with on your cup. The method of brewing determines how much caffeine is extracted from the beans and hence different beverages like espresso, brewed coffee, and cold brews will have different amounts of caffeine.
4. Cup Size
It should be obvious that the amount of coffee in your cup determines how much caffeine it will have. Typically, an 8-ounce cup of coffee will have more caffeine than a 4-ounce cup. However, a 2-ounce shot of espresso has more caffeine than larger size cups of brewed coffee.
Arabica vs. Robusta
Your choice of coffee beans is one of the first and most important determinants of how much caffeine you will have in your coffee.
And while there are still many other types of coffee beans, you will in most instances have to choose between Arabica and Robusta as they are two of the most common and widely available.
Typically, Robusta will have around twice as much caffeine as Arabica, but some of its varietals will have as much as 4 times the caffeine you get in Arabica beans. The high caffeine content makes these beans more resistant to pests and hence easier to cultivate, but the quality is not very good, and these beans will have stronger and bitter flavors.
With Arabica, on the other hand, you get more high-quality beans which might not have as much caffeine as some coffee drinkers would like but will make up for this with some amazing and more complex flavors and a less bitter taste.
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Dark vs. Light Roast
Roasting is always part of the coffee-making process for the coffee aficionados that prefer a more hands-on approach and like to do everything at home.
And when it comes to the roast, you will not only need to think about the flavor but also the caffeine you will want to have in your coffee. Many coffee drinkers will either go for a light or dark roast and what you choose here will determine how much caffeine you get in your cup.
Light roasts are generally thought to have more caffeine than dark roasts because the longer roast time of the latter removes some of the caffeine.
Another possible explanation for this is that beans expand during roasting and will lose more water and grow less dense when roasted for long, and so when you measure coffee by volume, the denser light roasted coffee beans will have more caffeine than the less dense dark roasts.
Note: In reality, the difference in caffeine content brought about by roasting is minimal because caffeine is a very stable compound that does not easily break down even when subjected to heat. For most people, the difference in caffeine content between dark and light roast will not be significant enough to necessitate a switch.
Caffeine Content in Different Kinds of Coffee
How you make your coffee also determines how much caffeine you get because different methods will extract different amounts of caffeine. Here is an overview of the caffeine that you get with some of the most common coffee brewing methods.
Average Caffeine Content (in an 8oz cup)
Espressos are strong and bold beverages that form the basis for a wide variety of coffee beverages. And despite being one of the smallest coffee beverages, they are highly concentrated which means they have a shot will have lots of caffeine.
Espresso will contain more caffeine per volume than regular coffee as you can get up to 125mg of caffeine from a double shot of espresso that is usually around 4 ounces. Hence, espresso has more caffeine per ounce (up to 51mg) than most other coffee types.
2. Brewed Coffee
Brewed coffee is one of the most popular ways of drinking coffee, and many people love it because it is easy to make and not too strong which means that almost anyone can drink it.
Regular coffee as it is also known as will contain around 95mg of caffeine for a typical cup of coffee that is about 8 ounces, and this means with brewed coffee you can expect to get at least 11mg of caffeine per ounce
3. Decaf Coffee
Despite what the name suggests, decaf coffee is not completely caffeine-free, and so the name can be a little misleading.
Decaf coffee can have anywhere from 0 to 7mg per 8-ounce cup, but you will hardly find any that has zero caffeine. On average, you should expect to get around 3mg of caffeine in a standard size cup of decaf coffee.
4. Instant Coffee
Because it is made from spray or freeze-dried brewed coffee, it will contain less caffeine than regular brewed coffee. On average, instant coffee will have between 30 and 90mg of caffeine per 8-ounce cup.
5. Cold Brew
Cold brewing is a slow coffee making process that entails steeping coffee ground in cold water for up to 24 hours. This long extraction time means that there is enough time to extra lots of caffeine from the coffee grounds.
The longer extraction time means that you will end up with up to 100mg of caffeine in every 8-ounce cup of cold-brewed coffee which is higher than what you get with most other coffee-making methods.
Should You Worry About Caffeine Content?
Many coffee lovers take their favorite brews for that amazing caffeine boost that it provides, and many will want to take coffee with as much caffeine as possible. But, is all that caffeine good or bad for you?
Caffeine might help keep you alert and give you an energy boost but taking too much of it is associated with adverse effects like restlessness, anxiety, heart palpitations and disruption of sleep.
The safe caffeine limits or at least what many experts recommend are around 400mg per serving. But, caffeine tolerance varies from one person to the other, and so it will be a wise idea to know how much your body can handle to avoid any adverse health effects.
Caffeine is what makes coffee amazing, and it is responsible for that alertness and energy boost that you get after your morning cup of coffee.
However, the amount of caffeine that you get in your cup of coffee will depend on various factors such as the beans type, roast, brewing method and also the cup size that you make.
And as you strive to make coffee with as much caffeine as possible, it is important to note that different people will have different levels of caffeine tolerance. Hence, it is vital to make sure that your body can handle the caffeine you take every other day.
- How Much Caffeine Is in Coffee and Espresso? - The Spruce Eats
- What Kinds of Coffee Has the Most Caffeine? - Bustle
- How Much Caffeine in A Cup of Coffee? A Detailed Guide - Healthline