Coffee is categorized as the largest contributor to dietary caffeine. A cup of coffee can give you a caffeine content of about 95 milligrams. However, the caffeine content in coffee varies from one type of coffee to another. Generally, it ranges from fraction amounts to more than 500 milligrams.
In this guide, you’ll learn more about the amount of caffeine in different brands and types of coffee.
Factors That Affect the Amount of Caffeine in Coffee
The amount of caffeine in coffee mainly depends on:
- Type of beans: Coffee beans are available in several varieties. Each variety of coffee beans contains a different amount of caffeine.
- Coffee variety: There’re several types of coffee, with each type having a different caffeine content. For instance, regular brew, instant coffee, decaf coffee, and espresso have different caffeine content.
- Roasting: Coffee beans are roasted to different levels. Each roast level has different caffeine content. For instance, light roasts contain a higher amount of caffeine than dark roasts, even though dark roasts contain a richer coffee flavor.
- Serving size: A single cup of coffee contains caffeine ranging from 30 to 700 milliliters (an equivalent of 1 to 24 ounces).
As you can see, the exact caffeine content in coffee depends on numerous factors.
Caffeine Content in Different Types of Coffee
Essentially, espresso is prepared by forcing steam or water through fine coffee grounds. Although espresso contains more caffeine content than regular brew per volume, it contains less caffeine per serving. The reason behind this is that espresso is served in small quantities.
A single espresso shot is about 30 to 50 milliliters (approximately 1 to 1.75 ounces) and contains caffeine amounting to approximately 63 milligrams. Thus, a double espresso shot contains caffeine amounting to about 125 mg.
One of the most commonly used methods of making coffee in Europe and the US is brewing. Brewed coffee is what many people call regular coffee. It’s prepared by pouring boiling or hot water on ground coffee that’s placed in a coffee filter.
A cup of regular coffee (8 ounces) contains approximately 70 to 140 milligrams of caffeine or approximately 95 milligrams of caffeine on average.
There’re many popular coffees prepared by mixing different amounts and types of milk with espresso shots. They include Americanos, cappuccinos, lattes, and macchiatos.
Since milk doesn’t contain caffeine, these espresso drinks have similar caffeine content as a straight shot of espresso. Thus, a single serving (small) contains approximately 63 milligrams of caffeine whereas a double serving (large) contains approximately 125 milligrams of caffeine.
Generally, instant coffee comprises spray-dried or freeze-dried coffee that dissolves in hot water. Preparing instant coffee doesn’t require any brewing. You simply add 1 to 2 teaspoons of instant coffee into a cup of hot water. It dissolves with minimal stirring.
Instant coffee contains a lower amount of caffeine than standard coffee. One cup of instant coffee contains approximately 30 to 90 milligrams of caffeine.
While the name decaf coffee might make you assume that it’s caffeine-free, that’s not the case. Decaf coffee isn’t caffeine-free.
Decaf coffee contains varying caffeine content, ranging from almost 0 to 7 milligrams in one cup. An average cup contains 3 milligrams of caffeine.
However, some of its varieties contain higher caffeine content based on the amount served, decaffeination method, and the coffee variety.
Caffeine Content in Different Coffee Brands
Certain coffee brands have more caffeine content than homemade coffee. Most Coffee shops serve coffee in large coffee cups, with some measuring 700 milliliters (about 24 ounces). Such coffee servings contain about 3 to 5 times more coffee than a regular-sized cup.
Some of the main coffee brands and their caffeine content include:
Starbucks boasts of being one of the most popular coffee shops. Starbucks offers highly caffeinated coffees. Its coffee contains the following amounts of caffeine:
- Short (8 ounces)- 180 milligrams of caffeine
- Tall (12 ounces)- 260 milligrams of caffeine
- Grande (16 ounces)- 330 milligrams of caffeine
- Venti (20 ounces)- 415 milligrams of caffeine
A single Starbucks espresso shot contains about 75 milligrams of caffeine. Also, small Starbucks espresso-based coffees contain about 75 milligrams of caffeine. Starbucks espresso-based coffees include Americanos, macchiatos, lattes, and cappuccinos.
Larger servings, which include 2 and 3 espresso shots contain 150 and 225 milligrams of caffeine respectively.
Starbucks decaf coffee, on the other hand, contains 15 to 30 milligrams of caffeine based on the cup volume.
Another popular coffee shop is Dunkin Donuts. It’s a chain of donuts and coffee shops. Their coffee contains the following amounts of caffeine:
- Small (10 ounces)- 215 milligrams
- Medium (16 ounces)- 302 milligrams
- Large (20 ounces)- 431 milligrams
- Extra-large (24 ounces)- 517 milligrams
One espresso shot from Dunkin Donuts contains 75 milligrams of caffeine. You’ll also get similar caffeine in their different espresso-based coffees.
Decaf coffee brewed by Dunkin Donuts contains a different amount of caffeine than other decaf coffees. Essentially, a 10 ounces cup of their decaf coffee has 53 milligrams of caffeine, whereas a 24 ounces cup has 128 milligrams of caffeine.
McDonald’s stocks coffee in many countries across the world. Their coffee is often sold under the name McCafe.
Despite being among the biggest and most popular fast food outlets that sell coffee, they don’t calculate or standardize the caffeine content in their coffees.
The estimated amount of coffee in brewed McDonald’s coffee is:
- Small (12 ounces)- 109 milligrams
- Medium (16 ounces)- 145 mg milligrams
- Large (21 to 24 ounces)- 180 mg milligrams
Espresso from McDonald’s contains approximately 71 milligrams of caffeine per serving while their decaf contains 8 to 14 milligrams of caffeine.
Should You Worry About Taking Caffeine?
Coffee is rich in antioxidants. Several studies show coffee is a healthy drink. However, taking excessive caffeine is associated with adverse effects such as restlessness, heart palpitations, anxiety, and sleep disruptions.
Consuming about 400 to 600 milligrams of caffeine per day is generally safe for most people. Such amount of caffeine is approximately 6 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram (equivalent to 3 mg per pound) of a person’s body weight. You can get this amount of caffeine by drinking about 4 to 6 cups of coffee daily.
Regardless, caffeine has different effects on different people. Some individuals are hardly affected by taking large amounts of caffeine while others are extremely sensitive. This is a result of genetic differences between different people.
Just experiment to find out the best amount of caffeine for you.