On average, each cup of coffee you consume contains about 95 mg of caffeine. However, this can vary wildly depending on several factors. For example, a shot of espresso has only about 64 mg of caffeine. Compare this with a cup of Starbucks brewed coffee, which can contain up to 410 mg of caffeine!
This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about how much caffeine your favorite cup of coffee has.
Factors Affecting Caffeine Content
So, how much caffeine is there exactly in your cup of coffee? Unfortunately, the answer isn’t as straightforward as you would like it. The amount of caffeine in your coffee depends on a variety of factors.
Type Of Bean
This is probably one of the most important factors. Though there are four types of coffee beans, the main two used are Arabica and Robusta. These two beans dominate the entirety of the coffee industry.
A Robusta coffee bean roughly has twice the amount of caffeine as an Arabica coffee bean. But, the exact difference varies. It depends on the exact Arabica bean and exact Robusta bean which you are comparing. This is because the amount of caffeine in a coffee bean is affected by a variety of factors. From the region it was grown in, to the soil and weather there, these influence the amount of caffeine in a coffee bean.
For general purposes, you can go assume Robusta coffee has twice the caffeine as Arabica coffee. Robusta coffee is often used in blends together with Arabica. If you are a fan of instant coffee, it is often made from Robusta beans.
Roast Of Bean
Lighter coffee roasts generally have more caffeine than darker roasts, in contrast to what many think. This is because coffee roasting tends to decrease the amount of caffeine. However, the difference in caffeine amount between roasts is so small that it is negligible. Roasting coffee only marginally decreases the caffeine content. The drop is extremely small, so we can approximate the amount of caffeine in the different beans to be the same.
For those of you who really like to be accurate, the way you are measuring your coffee will affect how much caffeine goes in your coffee.
Measuring by scoops: Since light roasted coffee beans are smaller and denser than dark roasted coffee beans, you receive a little more caffeine per scoop.
Measuring by weight: Since dark roasted beans are lighter (in terms of weight if you are confused), it will yield a few more beans per gram. Hence, for the same weight, dark roasted beans have more caffeine.
For most practical purposes, the difference is negligible and you don’t need to care about such small details.
Now, this should be pretty obvious, but the serving size affects the caffeine in your cup of coffee. A “cup of coffee” differs for everyone. Depending on how big of a cup you are using, the caffeine content will obviously differ.
Caffeine Content By Brewing Method
Here is a table showing the approximate caffeine values for coffee made from different brewing methods.
|Brewing Method||Serving Size||Amount Of Caffeine|
|Pour Over||1 Cup (8 ounces)||115 – 175 mg|
|French Press||1 Cup (8 ounces)||80 – 135 mg|
|Cold Brew||1 Cup (8 ounces)||∼ 100 mg|
|Single Shot Espresso||30 ml (1 ounce)||∼ 63 mg|
|Double Shot Espresso||60 ml (2 ounces)||∼ 126 mg|
|Espresso-Based Drinks (like Cappucino)||1 Cup (8 ounces)||94 – 128 mg|
|Percolated||1 Cup (8 ounces)||64 – 272 mg|
|Instant Coffee||1 Cup (8 ounces)||30 – 90 mg|
Caffeine In Brewed Coffee
Brewed coffee (or “regular coffee”) generally has between 95 and 175 mg of caffeine. Brewed coffee involves pouring hot water over ground coffee beans. There are two main types of brewing this way – immersion brewing and infusion brewing.
Immersion Brew: This method involves immersing the ground coffee in hot water, allowing it to brew and extract till it is ready for consumption. French Press coffee and cold brew are typical examples of immersion brew.
Infusion Brew: This method involves continuously passing water through a filter and a bed of coffee grounds. Pour over coffee is a typical example of this.
Another method is cold brewing. Ground coffee is typically steeped in room-temperature (or sometimes colder) water for several hours to create cold brew coffee.
There is a misconception that cold brew coffee has more caffeine than other regularly brewed coffee. This is because more coffee beans are generally used in cold brewed coffee. However, since the water is not hot like in the other brewing methods, lesser caffeine is extracted.
Hence, cold brew coffee generally ends up containing a comparable amount of caffeine to coffee brewed using other brewing methods.
Despite the differences in these three types of brewing, the amount of caffeine is generally close to each other (around the range of 80 to 175 mg).
Caffeine In Espresso
Espresso is a brewing method that involves forcing hot water through finely-ground coffee under pressure. Espresso is typically much more concentrated than brewed coffee, and hence contain more coffee.
But, there is a catch, though! Regular coffee’s serving size is substantially larger than that of espresso. The serving size of espresso is 1 ounce (or 2 ounces for those of you who prefer a double shot). On the other hand, the serving size of regular coffee is usually 8 ounces. As a result, when you drink espresso, you typically consume less caffeine.
A single shot of espresso generally contains around 63 mg of caffeine. For a double shot, simply multiply the values by two (126 mg of caffeine).
Espresso-based drinks such as a latte or cappuccino contain the same amount of caffeine as the espresso used in them. These drinks are typically made by adding milk, which has no extra caffeine.
Caffeine In Instant Coffee
Though some tend to despise it, there are many who prefer instant coffee over regular brewed coffee. I mean, who doesn’t like the idea of making coffee simply by mixing some powder in hot water or hot milk?
For those of you looking to reduce your caffeine intake, instant coffee usually has much less caffeine than regular coffee. The caffeine content ranges between 30 and 90 mg for a cup (8 ounces) of coffee.
Caffeine Content By Coffee Outlet
Coffee from big commercial coffee chains like Starbucks almost always contains more caffeine than home-brewed coffee or coffee from other coffee shops.
Caffeine In Starbucks Brewed Coffee
|Size Of Cup||Amount Of Caffeine|
|Short (8 ounces)||155 mg|
|Tall (12 ounces)||235 mg|
|Grande (16 ounces)||310 mg|
|Venti (20 ounces)||410 mg|
Caffeine In Dunkin’ Donuts Brewed Coffee
|Size Of Cup||Amount Of Caffeine|
|Small (10 ounces)||150 mg|
|Medium (14 ounces)||210 mg|
|Large (20 ounces)||300 mg|
|Extra Large (24 ounces)||359 mg|
Caffeine In McCafé (McDonalds) Brewed Coffee
|Size Of Cup||Amount Of Caffeine|
|Small (12 ounces)||109 mg|
|Medium (16 ounces)||145 mg|
|Large (21 – 24 ounces)||180 mg|
On average, Starbucks brewed coffee has the most caffeine followed by Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonalds. If you would like to know the caffeine content of all the specific drinks offered by these café chains, check out CaffeineInformer. It is an excellent resource for knowing the amount of caffeine in your caffeinated beverages.
Caffeine In Decaf Coffee
Unlike what the name implies, does contain caffeine, though it is very little.The average cup of decaf coffee contains about 3 mg of caffeine. The exact amount ranges from 0 to 7 mg per cup (8 ounces) of coffee.
As always, the exact amount may differ depending on the type of coffee and decaffeination technique used.
For those of you decaf fans, more and more coffee roasters are beginning to make decaf coffee beans as well.
How Much Is Too Much?
The FDA has recommended a maximum of 400 mg of coffee a day for the average healthy adult. Of course, this varies from person to person as everyone reacts differently to caffeine.
If you are looking to cut down on caffeine, here are a few tips.
- Replace some servings of regular coffee
- Minimize drinking coffee from large coffee chains like Starbucks. Minimally, ask for a smaller serving size.
- Cut down on caffeine gradually, taking small steps
- Shorten the brew time if you are brewing coffee yourself
- Most importantly, track the amount of coffee you are consuming per day!
You probably came here because someone told you caffeine is bad for you. However, if you are drinking in moderation, you should have nothing to worry about! If anything, caffeine in moderation is proven to be beneficial to us. So be rest assured that your cup of bliss is far from anything bad!