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How Much Caffeine In Coffee? And Other Common Brews

old qtr coffee bags

Caffeine can help mitigate the risks of developing some health conditions. But it can also increase the risks of acquiring other health conditions if you consume it excessively. Based on research, we know that 400mg is the recommended daily caffeine intake for healthy adults.

Interestingly, caffeine is seen as synonymous with coffee, but there are many common brews that also contain caffeine. How do you know if you're within the safe limits of your caffeine consumption? 
In this guide, we cover how much caffeine, coffee, and other brews really contain!

Key Takeaways:

  • The caffeine content in coffee can be influenced by the type of coffee bean, geographical origin, roasting process, and amount of coffee used during brewing.
  • The safe upper limit for caffeine consumption is 400mg daily for healthy adults and 200mg daily for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
  • Other beverages like energy drinks and hot chocolate also contain caffeine.
caffeine content table summary

So, How Much Caffeine Is In a Cup of Brewed Coffee?

The number of milligrams of caffeine in one cup of freshly brewed coffee can depend on multiple factors like the type of coffee bean, how the coffee beans have been roasted, how the coffee has been prepared or the brewing method, and how big your cup is! The concentration of caffeine can depend on how light or strong your coffee is. Also, different brands of coffee contain varying amounts of caffeine for the same single-cup measurement.

Coffee chains and your local coffee shops can also show variations. Popular chains like Starbucks will have caffeine content listed on their menu. They also have different sizes of cups, which means you could have higher levels of caffeine in the bigger cups.

Generally, expect to get in about 70 to 140 mg of caffeine in an 8-oz cup of freshly brewed coffee. 8 oz translates to about 237ml. 95 mg caffeine per cup would be considered the average ballpark figure.

Find Out How Much Caffeine Is in Your Favourite Beverage | Top Brews and Caffeine Content Listed

Coffee is typically one of the most popular caffeinated beverages consumed around the world. But here are some other brews and variations of regular coffee that contain caffeine too:

1. Instant coffee

Instant coffee, as the name suggests, is coffee that's ready to consume with the addition of water. So, it's a powdered version of coffee that's already been processed and brewed. At the final stage, all the water is completely extracted. Instant coffee is a great option for when you're travelling or pressed for time. You only need to add the instant coffee to hot water (with sweeteners if needed), and your coffee's ready to drink.

Instant coffee is made by dissolving it in water or other liquids, unlike ground coffee. When you use ground coffee, you have to allow for brewing time. You also have to strain the coffee grounds before you can drink the coffee.

Instant coffee usually contains less caffeine compared to ground coffee.

A cup of instant coffee made from 1 tsp instant coffee powder contains between 30 to 90 mg of caffeine, on average.

2. Espresso

An espresso is a more concentrated version of the more common brewed coffee. It's made by forcing hot water through finely ground coffee beans at high pressure. You need a specialized espresso machine to create the force and temperature for a proper brew.
Espressos are quite strong by virtue of the preparation method, and they're served in smaller serving sizes called "shots." Typically, one shot contains about 7g of coffee in weight, resulting in 30 ml of espresso. But, it's common for a shot to vary between 30 to 50 ml.

One shot of espresso (between 30 to 50ml) contains about 63 mg of caffeine.

3. Brewed Coffee

Brewed coffee, often referred to as regular coffee, is made by pouring hot water over ground coffee beans that are contained in a filter. The water extracts the flavours and caffeine from the beans, resulting in a delicious cup of coffee. This method is one of the most common ways to make coffee at home and in coffee shops.

A 237ml cup of drip coffee contains approximately 95 mg of caffeine.

4. Drip Coffee

Drip coffee, also known as filtered coffee, is a method that involves pouring hot water over ground coffee beans that are contained in a filter. The water seeps through the coffee, absorbing its oils and essences, solely under gravity, then passes through the bottom of the filter. The result is a clean, pure coffee flavour that's a favourite in many households and offices.

A 237ml cup of drip coffee contains between 95 to 200 mg of caffeine.

5. Decaf Coffee

Contrary to the label, decaffeinated or decaf coffee does contain caffeine. But it contains significantly less caffeine than freshly brewed coffee.

Decaf coffee usually starts as unroasted coffee beans that go through a processing method to have as much as 97% of their caffeine removed. Post the decaffeination procedure, the beans are washed, steamed, and then roasted.

Although decaf coffee contains caffeine, it's still a good option for people sensitive to large amounts of caffeine or caffeinated coffee.

The amount of caffeine per cup of decaf coffee can vary from 0 to 7 mg.

6. Black Tea

The caffeine levels in tea can depend on a few different factors, such as the type of tea, how oxidized the leaves are, and when the tea plants get harvested. Black tea is considered to have the most amount of caffeine out of all the tea variants. Black tea leaves are also oxidised, as opposed to green and white tea leaves, which accounts for their strong acerbic flavour.

Expect anywhere from 47 to 90 mg of caffeine in a cup of black tea (237 ml serving size).

7. Green Tea

Green tea is considered a good alternative to black tea, given its lower concentration of caffeine. Green tea is also known to have several proven health benefits. It contains antioxidants that can help prevent disease and protect against cancer. It may help control your blood sugar levels and burn fat. It is also seen to help boost mood and improve brain/cognitive function.

A 237 ml cup of green tea contains 30-50 mg of caffeine.

Factors Affecting the Caffeine Content in Coffee

a person scooping out coffee beans from a bag

While we've discussed the average caffeine content in various types of coffee, it's important to note that these values can vary significantly depending on several factors. Let's delve into some of the key elements that can influence the caffeine content in your cup of brewed coffee.

Type of Coffee Bean

The type of coffee bean used in brewing plays a significant role in determining the caffeine content. For instance, a study conducted by Magdalena Jeszka-Skowron and colleagues in 2016 found that Robusta coffee contains twice as much caffeine as Arabica. The caffeine content ranged from 3.41% per dry mass in Arabica type from Laos or Rwanda to 8.16% in Robusta coffee from Indonesia.

Geographical Origin

The geographical origin of the coffee bean can also influence the caffeine content. A study conducted in North-West Ethiopia found that the caffeine content in coffee grown in different localities varied. This suggests that factors related to the growing conditions, such as soil type, climate, and altitude, can affect the caffeine content in the coffee beans.

Roasting Process

The roasting process of coffee beans, which determines whether the coffee is a 'light' or 'dark' roast, can influence the caffeine content in your cup of coffee. A study found that dark roast coffee had different effects on certain proteins compared to light roast coffee, suggesting that the roasting process alters the coffee's chemical composition, potentially including its caffeine content. So, the caffeine kick you get from your cup of coffee can vary depending on whether it's a light or dark roast.

Amount of Coffee Used

The amount of coffee used during brewing significantly influences the caffeine content in your cup. Generally, using more coffee grounds results in a stronger brew with higher caffeine content. The standard brewing ratio is 2 tablespoons of ground coffee for every 6 ounces of water, adjustable based on personal preference. Monitoring caffeine intake is crucial, with the recommended daily limit for most adults at 400 milligrams, equivalent to about four 8-ounce cups of brewed coffee.

Final Thoughts

We've covered the top brews that contain caffeine in this article. But remember, beverages like energy drinks and hot chocolate contain caffeine too. If you're looking to reduce or stop your consumption of coffee and caffeine altogether, check out these natural alternatives.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. How much caffeine is in tea?

The amount of caffeine in tea typically depends on the type of tea you're drinking. Black tea tends to have the highest caffeine content at 46 mg of caffeine per cup on average. Read this in-depth resource for more information on the most common types of teas and their caffeine content.

Q2. How much caffeine is in Red Bull?

According to Red Bull, a 250 ml can contains 75 mg of caffeine. Red Bull also contains other ingredients, such as the water-soluble B vitamins niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B2 and vitamin B12,  the amino acid taurine, sugar,  and water.

Q3. How much caffeine is dangerous?

Caffeine is safe as long as you're not exceeding the recommended amounts. The safe upper limit of caffeine for otherwise healthy adults is 400mg per day. However, it is recommended you moderate your caffeine intake if you're pregnant or breastfeeding. Caffeine may pass through the placenta to the unborn child or through the breastmilk when you're feeding. Consume no more than 200mg of caffeine per day.

The actual amounts of caffeine can vary depending on the specific drink. For instance, it can vary depending on whether you're drinking Coke, cocoa, hot chocolate, coffee or tea. But, expect 200mg of caffeine to be the equivalent of 1 cup of espresso, 3 cups of instant coffee, 4 cups of medium-strength tea, or 4 cups of cocoa/hot chocolate/ cola.

Q4. How much caffeine in espresso?

Espressos are served in the form of shots as opposed to single-cup servings. A single shot of espresso can weigh between 30 to 50 ml and contain approximately 63 mg of caffeine. Even though espressos are considered concentrated versions of coffee, the serving sizes are smaller. Unless you're drinking a large number of shots at one go or in a day, the amount of caffeine is comparable to a regular brewed cup of coffee.

Q5. How much caffeine in a day?

Caffeine can impact people differently. Some people are sensitive to small amounts of caffeine. It is recommended you don't exceed 400mg of caffeine per day if you're an otherwise healthy adult. Pregnant and breast-feeding women should have no more than 200mg of caffeine per day, although it's best avoided altogether.

Darcy Ogdon-Nolan

Holding a Bachelor Of Science (Hons.) combined with close to a decade now in the health food and wellness industry, I believe I'm uniquely positioned to provide a depth of knowledge and first-hand experience on emerging health products, trends and ideas! From greens powders and medicinal mushrooms through to protein powders and workout nutrition - I'm particularly interested in what modern science can uncover about what human cultures have been using to treat ailments for millennia!

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