The secret of coffee, one of the most popular drinks on the planet, is its high caffeine content. But also in its instant analog, as well as in black and green tea. In this article, we will give you a complete guide about how much caffeine in coffee. The caffeine content in a cup of coffee or a can of an energy drink – unfortunately, such norms do not apply in Russia. At the same time, the direct amount of caffeine in instant coffee can be quite high.
Table of Contents
How much caffeine in coffee?
The caffeine found in coffee is a powerful stimulant of the central nervous system. It not only speeds up the heartbeat and causes vasodilation but also has a complex effect on metabolism. In particular, how much caffeine in coffee triggers the release of adrenaline into the bloodstream.
Studies show that a dose of 50-80 mg of caffeine (this is the amount in a cup of espresso) improves mood and performance, 250-300 mg of caffeine leads to irregular heartbeat and mild tachycardia, 400-500 mg can provoke mood changes, and 10,000 mg – death¹. The safest caffeine dose is 6-7 cups a day – or about 500-600 mg of caffeine.
Effects of caffeine on the body
For the most part, caffeine’s mechanism of action is to block the hormone adenosine’s action. By acting on the brain, but when caffeine is taken, this effect is blocked, indirectly causing an invigorating effect. Inhibition of adenosine action also indirectly causes an increase in serotonin levels and several hormones associated with mood. It is due to this that a short-term increase in efficiency and concentration of attention can be observed.
Maximum dose of coffee
It is believed that a safe dose of coffee is the consumption of caffeine in the amount of 200-300 mg per day. The dependence is formed at doses exceeding 300-500 mg per day (several large cups of instant coffee). And a single intake of 450-500 mg of caffeine can negatively affect the human psyche.
Research suggests that 500 mg of caffeine can trigger anxiety attacks – not to mention that drinking too much coffee is linked to insomnia. Since caffeine’s half-life (the time it takes to halve caffeine) is 3 to 5 hours, it is not recommended to drink coffee 6 hours before bed.
Much caffeine in coffee: In drinks
The actual caffeine content of a cup of coffee is a fairly volatile parameter. For example, espresso (30 ml portion) contains about 50-80 mg of caffeine and a large cup of instant coffee (300 ml) – up to 300-350 mg. It is also a misconception that tea’s caffeine content is always less than the caffeine content of coffee. For example, a small cup of instant coffee may contain less caffeine than a large cup of strongly brewed tea.
The caffeine content in tea and coffee:
- A cup of brewed coffee (250 ml) – 95-200 mg
- A cup of instant coffee (250 ml) – 30-200 mg
- The cup of decaffeinated coffee (250 ml) – 2-30 mg
- Espresso coffee (30 ml) – 40-75 mg
- Cup of black tea (250 ml) – 15-70 mg
- Cup of green tea (250 ml) – 25-45 mg
- Energy drink (250 ml) – 70-100 mg
- Dark Chocolate Bar (100 g) – 30-50 mg
- Ice cream with chocolate flavour – 30-45 mg
- Carbonated drinks type (330 ml) – 25-40 mg
- Bottled iced tea (330 ml) – 5-40 mg
- Cup of hot chocolate (240 ml) – 5-10 mg
How much caffeine in coffee: instant coffee
The caffeine content of instant coffee depends on both the specific brand and the amount of product you use to make the drink, which differs in strength from natural. However, the type of coffee beans used to produce instant coffee only affects the taste but not the final caffeine content. Even though the Arabica variety usually has about half the Robusta variety’s caffeine, they are more likely to smell and taste in granular coffee, but not the caffeine itself.
Does instant coffee always contain caffeine?
The process of making instant coffee involves soaking coffee beans and then heating them to high temperatures. Since this destroys natural caffeine, it is removed in the first stages, and then synthetic caffeine obtained from uric acid and xanthine is added to the composition of instant coffee.
One of the reasons forcing manufacturers to use synthetic caffeine (besides being cheap) is the desire to control its content in the final product. Instant coffee produced by major global companies always contains approximately the same amount of caffeine.
How much caffeine in coffee: Benefits and harms
Caffeine (found in coffee, other beverages, and even in pill form) has several beneficial effects on the body. Since it stimulates the central nervous system, its use causes a burst of energy, increased concentration, and improved performance.
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Basically, caffeine can be considered a fat burner. Drinking a coffee cup before exercise raises your heart rate and improves strength – which has a positive effect on the effectiveness of your workout and the number of calories you burn.
Contraindications and harm
Caffeine can harm the health of some people. Large doses of coffee taken in a short period of time can provoke panic attacks. Also, caffeine is difficult to quit. If you’re in the habit of starting your morning with a cup of coffee every day, quitting the habit can hurt your well-being. Headache, lethargy, sleep problems may appear. However, these symptoms usually disappear within 3-4 days.
Which coffee tones up the best?
Espresso! This method allows you to extract two to six times more caffeine from the same amount of coffee. The culture of coffee consumption in Australia is growing rapidly. A few years ago in Melbourne, many treated a small portion of a concentrated coffee drink as a forty-year-old whiskey. Now more and more people cannot imagine the beginning of the day without a shot of espresso.
This growth in coffee culture prompted us to learn more about the amount of caffeine in drinks prepared in one way or another. So, here’s what we learned from the experiment:
- Espresso takes the lead in the amount of caffeine extracted from the same amount of beans, with the shortest extraction time of all.
- Cold-bru and Moka share second place. But the cold-brew extraction time is 8-12 hours versus 25 seconds for espresso and about one minute for Moka.
- French press and pour over-extract the least amount of caffeine, even less than 1/4 of what the espresso contains.
The results of the study are shown in the table below. Compares the caffeine content in a litre of coffee prepared in each of the five ways; in 30ml; in three portions recommended for serving in a coffee shop – single, double, and triple.
Are you drinking too much coffee?
Do you know how much caffeine is recommended per day and on which cup you exceed the norm? Data on the caffeine content of a serving of coffee may differ from source to source. But they all agree on one thing: the recommended daily allowance for caffeine is no more than 400 mg. Suppose you take a look at the data in the table below. It turns out that most avid coffee drinkers go beyond. Through countless conversations with coffee lovers and the development of our brewing method guides, we’ve noticed. That Australian consumer tend to ignore (or don’t know) the recommended serving sizes, especially with methods such as the French press and more.
For example, many people are accustomed to drinking the entire contents of a French press (which is about 3 cups) at a time or brewing moku for 2 cups as one serving. For this reason, we have included a “standard portion” section in our table. As it more accurately reflects the amount of coffee that Australians potentially consume in one go. Another interesting finding was how close the caffeine scores would be based on the cup-sized coffee volume traditionally served with each brew method. In the table below, we have provided an example of the average portion for each brew method and its caffeine content. As you can see, it turns out that at a standard volume in a coffee shop. Each drink contains a fairly similar amount of caffeine (with a difference of less than 50 mg).
Why is espresso leading in caffeine?
After considering all the factors, we found several reasons why most caffeine is extracted into espresso. First of all, the matter is in the finest, in comparison with other methods, grinding. Other important factors that speed up the caffeine extraction process are water temperature and preparation time.
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Choosing a coffee variety
The choice of grain was an important basis for the research. We did not seek to select the most expensive or the most highly valued variety; our task was to make the coffee that, firstly, meets our roasting expectations. Secondly, it is most often drunk in Australia. Crema Coffee Garage’s head roaster, Douglas Tew, chose a washed Columbia Excelso from the Tolima region. The choice fell on this grain since it is fairly uniform in size, shape, and colour. This gives a more predictable roast result, which naturally affects flavour and makes brewing results more repeatable and consistent.
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Excelso is a quality rating used primarily in Colombia. The grains of this variety are large but slightly smaller than Supremo. The grain has a grade of 16 (grain diameter 0.64 mm) for seven days before using them as a test sample and waiting seven days before brewing is our standard recommendation. During this period, carbon dioxide will definitely be released from the grain, which will have a beneficial effect on the development of taste and aroma in the cup.
The grind sizes for each of the brew methods were based on standard recipes. We ground the coffee for the study in a DK-40 series grinder using our standard grind values. We use the same settings when grinding coffee for guests in our coffee shops (see table below), which deviate in size from the selected grind. The grinder’s quality can reduce these deviations to some extent, but they cannot be eliminated.
Approaching this part of the project, we wanted to achieve two goals :
- It is better to understand the range of particle sizes (in microns) in the total weight of ground coffee for each selected grinder setting.
- Ensure consistency and uniformity in brewing with each of the five methods.
And here, the KRUVE sieves came in handy. KRUVE is a three-layer system with special metal meshes, each with a specific hole size (measured in microns). It is noteworthy that these holes are round in shape and not square, as in conventional sieves. These meshes sort out the coffee particles, achieving more uniformity than after grinding, even with a very high-quality grinder.
During the research, we used a complete set with sieve sizes ranging from 200 to 1100 microns. Adam Krupa, CEO of KRUVE, sent us a sieve set with a range of 1200-1600 microns; they have recently become available for purchase on their official website.
KRUVE sieves helped our research to get away from the system of measures “extra salt” and “granulated sugar” widespread in the coffee world and achieve the greatest objectivity. This is the only way we could be sure that, by brewing coffee using each method.
We’ve selected five of the most popular Australian brews based on the best-selling beverages at Crema Coffee Garage.
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Method for analyzing caffeine content
We used high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) to analyse the caffeine content, which allows accurate analysis of soluble compounds (in this case, caffeine) in a liquid.
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Students obtained the following results at Chem 2201 (Medical and Analytical Chemistry), University of Newcastle (Australia) in September-October 2017. For example, our grain quality specialist, Sergei Plutakhin, once had a chance to drink 19 cups of espresso (the profession’s cost – don’t repeat this at home).
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The threshold of 400 mg of caffeine, as mentioned above, is nothing more than a daily allowance. There is no consensus on the effect of coffee on the body. Since this product is incredibly complex, and its effect is very individual.