There’s a widely accepted myth that espresso has a ton of caffeine. But is that exactly true?
Yes, and no. Typically, coffee shops use two espresso shots as their standard.
Two espresso shots will have anywhere from 120-150 mg of caffeine.
But you should know that there’s more to the story than that. Let’s take a closer look!
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How Much Caffeine Is In A Shot Of Espresso?
It’s true that an espresso shot typically contains about 64 milligrams of caffeine and that two shots of espresso have anywhere from 120-150 mg of caffeine.
But that’s not the full story.
Let’s take a closer look at where the caffeine in espresso comes from and why it’s important.
Espresso has a concentrated amount of caffeine because it is made by forcing hot water through finely-ground coffee beans under high pressure.
This process extracts more caffeine and other compounds from the coffee beans than other brewing methods, resulting in a stronger, more concentrated brew.
Additionally, espresso shots are typically smaller in volume than other coffee beverages, such as a cup of drip coffee, so the caffeine content is more concentrated per unit of liquid.
That means that while an espresso shot has more caffeine per fl oz, it doesn’t have as much caffeine as a regular cup of coffee.
Note: The amount of caffeine in an espresso shot can vary depending on several factors, including the type of beans used, the grind size, and the amount of coffee used in the shot.
Caffeine Content Vs. Caffeine Concentration
The difference between caffeine content and caffeine concentration is that caffeine content refers to the amount of caffeine present in a specific serving size of a beverage or food. Caffeine concentration refers to the amount of caffeine present in a specific drink volume.
Caffeine content is typically measured in milligrams (mg). It indicates the amount of caffeine in a specific serving size of a beverage or food.
For example, a cup of coffee might have a caffeine content of 95-200 milligrams, depending on the brewing method, type of beans used, grind size, and amount of coffee used.
On the other hand, caffeine concentration is typically measured in milligrams per liter (mg/L) or milligrams per fluid ounce (mg/fl oz). It indicates the amount of caffeine present in a specific volume of a drink.
For example, a concentrated coffee extract might have a caffeine concentration of 50 mg/fl oz, meaning that there are 50 milligrams of caffeine in each fluid ounce of the extract.
So, the caffeine content is a measure of the absolute amount of caffeine in a product, while caffeine concentration is a measure of the relative strength or density of the caffeine in a product, which can be used to compare the caffeine levels of different drinks.
How Different Coffees Change Caffeine Level
Different coffee beans can have varying levels of caffeine due to several factors, including the coffee plant's variety, where it is grown, and how it is processed.
Arabica beans typically have less caffeine than robusta beans.
Arabica beans are known for their milder taste and are considered higher quality than robusta beans. However, they contain around half the amount of caffeine.
Additionally, the altitude at which the coffee beans are grown can also affect the caffeine content.
Coffee plants grown at higher elevations tend to have lower caffeine levels than those grown at lower elevations. This is because the beans grown at lower elevations have evolved to produce more caffeine, which is a natural insect repellant.
So, the variety of the coffee bean, altitude, and processing method are a few factors that can affect the caffeine content in coffee beans.
How Much Caffeine Is In Brewed Coffee?
So, now we know that espresso shots have about 65 mg of caffeine. And that two espresso shots have anywhere from 120-150 mg of caffeine.
How does that compare to regular coffee?
The amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee can vary depending on several factors, including the brewing method, the type of beans used, the grind size, and the amount of coffee used.
On average, a cup of drip coffee contains about 95-200 milligrams of caffeine.
Sharp readers will realize that’s more caffeine than in a shot of espresso.
However, the amount of caffeine in brewed coffee has a range that depends on the specifics of the brewing process, the beans, and the serving size.
Keep in mind that a cup of coffee can range in size. A typical 8 oz cup of coffee contains around 95 milligrams of caffeine, while a 16 oz cup can contain around 190 milligrams of caffeine.
Should You Ditch Espresso?
If you are trying to cut back on caffeine, try to avoid or limit your espresso consumption. But also limit your coffee intake overall.
Espresso is a highly concentrated form of coffee, with a typical shot containing 64 milligrams of caffeine. This is less than a regular cup of coffee which contains around 95-200 milligrams of caffeine. However, getting two or more shots of espresso can easily surpass that amount.
But what should you do with this information?
Just be careful about how much espresso you consume. Drinking two espresso shots per day is about the same as having a couple of cups of brewed coffee.
It’s all about being aware of how much caffeine you’re consuming. And remember that espresso shots are more concentrated than brewed coffee.
If you want to cut back on caffeine but still enjoy the taste of espresso, you can try ordering a "ristretto" shot which is a shorter shot with less caffeine.
Note that everyone's sensitivity to caffeine varies, and caffeine's effects can differ for each person. Hence, it's a good idea to monitor your reaction and adjust your caffeine intake accordingly.