How Much Caffeine is in a Cup Of Coffee?
Coffee is one of the world’s most popular drinks and one of the world’s most popular sources for caffeine.
In fact, research shows that 90 percent of the world’s population consumes a caffeinated product every day, contributing to a world total of 1.4 billion cups of coffee consumed yearly (that’s a lot of coffee!).
Depending on the type of coffee, brewing method and brand, the caffeine content of a cup of coffee can vary greatly. So how do you know which coffee is best for the type of morning pick-me-up you need most?
Today, we are going to explore what caffeine really is, how it affects your mind and body. As well as how much caffeine you can find in each of your morning favorites.
What is Caffeine and How Does it Work?
Caffeine is a natural stimulant that works by stimulating the brain and central nervous system, relied on for energy by billions of people across the world. The stimulation promotes alertness and prevents tiredness. But how does it work?
After you drink your coffee, the caffeine is absorbed into your bloodstream. From there, it is broken down into a number of compounds that immediately start to affect the function of your organs. Of course, no organ is more affected than the brain.
Once in the brain, caffeine’s main function is to block the release of adenosine: a neurotransmitter that calms the brain and makes you feel sleepy.
Caffeine halts the flow of adenosine by attaching itself to adenosine receptors in the brain. Once attached, adenosine production stops, adrenaline levels rise and there is an increase in dopamine (responsible for pleasure) and norepinephrine (responsible for stress) activity.
This powerful and fast-acting combination accounts for caffeine’s stimulating and pleasurable effects on the consumer.
What Affects Coffee’s Caffeine Content?
There are three main factors that affect the caffeine content of your cup of coffee: bean type, brewing method and the amount of coffee grounds used.
To understand coffee beans, we first must understand the two main plants coffee beans come from Coffea arabica and Coffea canephora. These plants are popularly known as Arabica and Robusta, respectively.
Arabica is the lower-caffeine variety (typically 35-38 g of caffeine per kg of coffee) while Robusta is the higher-caffeine variety (typically 69-82 g of caffeine per kg of coffee). If you make coffee at home often, take time to read the bag and see which plant your coffee beans come from.
In terms of the effects of different brewing methods on caffeine content, we’ll stick to a few basic brewing methods:
- Aeropress: If a medium grind is used, this method allows you to extract almost 100 percent of the grind’s caffeine content.
- Drip Coffee: When used at the correct and high temperatures, this method extracts practically all caffeine in the grinds, the lower temperature equals lower extraction.
- French Press: This style requires larger coffee grinds, equaling less extracted caffeine in your coffee.
- Cold Brew: Because of its lower temperatures, this technique typically only extracts 75-80 percent of the grind’s caffeine content.
Lastly, we have the amount of coffee grounds used. As you can imagine, this is pretty self-explanatory: the more grounds you use, the more caffeine you will consume.
How Much Caffeine Is In Your Coffee?
Now that we know the effects of caffeine, and the factors that control it, it’s time to get down to the important stuff: how much caffeine is actually in the coffee you drink every day. The answer might be more complex than you think.
Whether you start your day with a double shot of espresso or a delicious cup of mocha, everyone knows that each “morning coffee” has some amount of caffeine in it, but sometimes that number is harder to find than it should be.
To remedy this, and provide a guide to the caffeine content of some of America’s favorite types of coffee, here are the caffeine breakdowns of a few popular coffees.
Note: Medium Cup of Coffee = 12 oz.
Shot of Espresso
Extremely popular and beloved by those in need of a quick, flavorful energy boost, espresso “shots” are one of the most popular, and highly caffeinated, types of coffee.
Made by forcing hot water or steam through very fine coffee grounds, a single shot of espresso has 40 mg of caffeine.
Café au Lait
This popular French drink comes from mixing equal parts milk and strong, hot coffee.
Often made using a French Press, a medium cup of café au lait typically has 60 mg of caffeine, a moderate, if not slightly small, amount compared to many morning coffees.
Fun Fact: This drink is known as Cafe con Leche in Spanish and Latin American cultures.
Another drink with a high caffeine content- the drip coffee is an affordable and reliable way to start your morning.
Filled with 120 mg of caffeine, a medium cup of drip coffee is sure to get you buzzing and ready for the challenges of the day ahead.
Back in the espresso family, we find the latte. Consisting of a small amount of espresso layered with lots of steamed milk and a covering of milk foam, this caffeinated beverage is a quintessential coffee shop favorite.
A medium cup of latte typically has 80 mg of caffeine, placing it in the moderate range.
Mocha is a latte’s fun, chocolatey cousin. Made by simply adding a layer of chocolate syrup between the espresso and steamed milk, this sweet drink is sure to get you perked up in no time.
A medium cup of mocha normally has 80 mg of caffeine, but the added chocolate syrup makes it more sugary than the drink’s latte cousin.
Staying in the espresso clan, we have the Americano. Said to be crafted by American soldiers in WWII who tired of drinking straight, European espresso, this drink combines an espresso base with a healthy serving of hot water for dilution.
Coming in at 80 mg of caffeine for a medium cup, the extra water in the Americano doesn’t make it any less invigorating than its European relatives.
Where Should I Get My Coffee?
Now that you know more about the caffeine that makes your delicious coffee so energizing, it’s time to choose the best coffee for you! Here at Amora, we have blends designed for all types of coffee drinkers. Whether you prefer a bold, smoky blend or a balanced, fruity blend, we have what you need. Our premium coffee blends are crafted using a nine-step roasting process to maximize the flavors and aromas of our blends. Even better, we’ll ship the coffee right to your doorstep!