Do you rely on that morning cup of coffee to really wake you up and get you going? You’re not alone. But do you know how much caffeine is in a cup of coffee? Should you even worry about it? Before I break down the caffeine content down for you, let’s first understand what exactly is caffeine. Caffeine is a drug (a stimulant) that can be found in a variety of beverages and is naturally found in coffee. It stimulates your central nervous system, heart, and your muscles. However, unlike many drugs, there is no stigma associated with consuming caffeine on a regular basis. In fact, it is estimated that about 90% of the American population consumes caffeine in some form each and every day.
So returning to the question, how much caffeine is there in a cup of coffee? In many cases, it comes down to the type of coffee and even the brewing process. Still, the figures below will give you a good idea how much caffeine is in your morning cup of java so you can get to planning your diet right.
- Brewed Coffee (8 oz / 237 mL): 95-200 mg of caffeine
- Decaffeinated Brewed (8 oz / 237 mL): 2-12 mg of caffeine
- Espresso (1 oz / 30 mL): 47-75 mg of caffeine
- Decaffeinated Espresso (1 oz / 30 mL): 0-15 mg of caffeine
- Instant (8 oz / 237 mL):27-173 mg of caffeine
- Decaffeinated Instant (8 oz / 237 mL): 27-173 mg of caffeine
- Latte (8 oz / 237 mL):63-175 mg of caffeine
Figures adapted from Journal of Food Science, 2010; Pediatrics, 2011; Journal of Analytical Toxicology, 2008; USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 26; Journal of Analytical Toxicology, 2006; Starbucks, 2014; Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2014.
As you can see from the table above, the amount of caffeine in your coffee isn’t too much, but if you down a pot of coffee every day you end up taking in a great deal of caffeine. But, if you just try to enjoy a single up every day, in most cases you will have nothing you need to worry about. Another interesting fact that is worth noting is that even decaffeinated versions of your favourite coffee drinks contain at least a little caffeine. If you are trying to avoid caffeine, I believe there is very little need for concern, as the amount of caffeine is so low only the most sensitive to the compound would notice any effects whatsoever.
Coffee species also affect the caffeine levels. As you know, there are many different species of coffee out there. Each of these species contains different levels of caffeine. The most common in the world today is Arabica coffee. In fact, 70% of the world’s coffee comes from Arabica beans. But, they don’t have as much caffeine as other types of beans. For example, Robusta beans have almost twice the amount of caffeine compared to Arabica beans. So, that means if you want more caffeine for a better buzz, look for Robusta beans in your local coffee shop.
When you roast coffee beans, they lose water and expand in size. But something else happens during the roasting process as well. The longer you roast the coffee, the more caffeine is lost, at least when measured in scoops. Essentially that means that light and medium roasts tend to have more caffeine when compared to the darker roasts. Sure that dark roast will have a much stronger flavor, but it will be weaker if you are looking for that caffeine buzz compared to lighter roasted coffee.
Believe it or not, the size of your coffee grounds is also a factor. Remember, water passes through the grinds extracting the flavors and, of course, the caffeine in the process. A finer ground coffee will have more surface area compared to coarse ground coffee allowing more caffeine to be extracted. This is one reason espresso has more caffeine since it is made with a fine ground coffee.
Your water is a huge factor in determining not only how your coffee tastes but what is in it as well. Hot water that is between 195°F and 205°F will extract much more caffeine than water at other temperatures. Cold brew coffees, for example, contain much less caffeine compared to hot brew coffee.