A Detailed Guide to Caffeine in Coffee

15 Mar 2018

Category: Educational

Caffeine, Coffee and the Effect on Your Body

Drinking a mug of coffee is how many people start their day. Whether they buy it from a coffee shop or brew it at home, this is for most people the biggest dietary source of caffeine. Where you buy your coffee from, however, does affect the caffeine content. Personal preferences such as whether you take a single or double shot can also have an impact. In this article, we’ll go into everything you need to know about coffee, caffeine and the effect on your body.

How Much Caffeine is in Your Coffee?

The type of coffee you drink has the biggest effect on how much caffeine is in it. Generally, there is around 95mg of caffeine in a mug of coffee. However, between different types of coffee, different commercial coffee brands and different sizes of cup, there can be anywhere between almost zero to over 500mg of caffeine.

Espresso

Espresso servings are small, but they do have a higher amount of caffeine per volume than normal coffee. Espressos are made by pushing hot water or steam through finely ground coffee which extracts a small espresso coffee. A single espresso is called a shot and contains around 63 mg of caffeine. A double shot espresso contains around 125 mg roughly. However, this can go up to 185mg.

Filter Coffee

This is the most traditional form of coffee and is made by pouring hot water over ground coffee beans in a filter. It’s the most common way of making coffee across the UK and Europe (bar instant coffee). One mug of brewed coffee contains around 95mg of caffeine on average.

Instant Coffee

This kind of coffee has been freeze dried or spray dried. It’s often the kind of coffee people will drink at home, as it’s quick and easy to make. All you have to do is put a heaped teaspoon in a mug, and pour the hot water over it. The coffee granules then dissolve in the water. There is no need for any brewing with this type of coffee. One mug contains around 30-90mg.

Lattes, Cappuccinos etc.

Most of these drinks contain the same amount of caffeine as a normal espresso. This is because they are made using either a double or single shot and then milk. Milk obviously doesn’t contain any caffeine – however, some of these drinks will taste stronger than others if they have less milk in them. A small latte would contain about 63 mg of caffeine, whereas a large would contain around 154mg.

Decaf Coffee

The name may suggest there is no caffeine in decaf coffee, but this is not true. Decaf contains varying amounts of caffeine ranging from 0–7 mg per cup, with the average cup containing 3 mg.

Coffee Nutrients & Antioxidants

Not everybody agrees that coffee is good for you. There are plenty of people that argue its benefits, but also some that argue its negative effects. Whether you like the beverage or not, coffee is high in antioxidants. Too much coffee though, and you could experience palpitations or anxiety.

Caffeine affects different people differently, but generally, the body can handle around 4-6 cups of coffee a day. Some people are sensitive to caffeine, so if you experience negative side effects from drinking too much, try and cut down.  Caffeine is a stimulant, so it’s worth remembering that when you’re on your 4th or 5th cup of the day.

As well as caffeine, here are nutrients coffee contains that are good for you and your body.

  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): 11% of the RDA.
  • Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5 ): 6% of the RDA.
  • Thiamin (Vitamin B1): 2% of the RDA.
  • Niacin (Vitamin B3): 2% of the RDA.
  • Folate: 1% of the RDA.
  • Manganese: 3% of the RDA.
  • Potassium: 3% of the RDA.
  • Magnesium: 2% of the RDA.
  • Phosphorus: 1% of the RDA.

Caffeine Content

Caffeine content in coffee does vary. Not only on the type of coffee you choose to drink, i.e latte etc, but also the coffee itself. The way that coffee beans are roasted can mean different amounts of caffeine. Believe it or not, lighter roasts contain more caffeine than darker roasts. However, darker roasts have a deeper, slightly more bitter flavour.

Different strains of beans can also contain different amounts of caffeine. As do different serving sizes. One thing to note is that commercial brands often have varying amounts of caffeine in their coffee. For example, the amount of caffeine we’ve mentioned in coffees above is different to that of store bought coffee.

Starbucks

Possibly the most famous coffee chain in the world, Starbucks also offers some of the most highly caffeinated coffee. One shot of espresso at Starbucks contains 75 mg of caffeine. This subsequently means that all espresso-based drinks such as lattes, cappuccinos etc contain the same 75mg unless a double shot is ordered.

Larger sizes of drinks ordered at Starbucks can contain up to 3 shots of espresso coffee. This means the largest drinks at the coffee chain could contain a whopping 225+mg of caffeine!

Even the decaffeinated coffee at Starbucks contains caffeine. With a decaf cup on average containing 15-30mg of caffeine. If you’re caffeine sensitive or can’t drink it because of medical reasons, this is worth noting.

Caffeine and Your Body

Did you know caffeine is classed as a drug? This is because it stimulated the central nervous system. Coffee can cause increased alertness, which is why it is used as a pick-me-up when people are fatigued.

Caffeine increases brain activity by blocking the function of a brain hormone called Adenosine. By blocking the neurotransmitter Adenosine, caffeine reduces tiredness and makes people feel more alert. In the short term, a caffeine hit can help release other neurotransmitters such as dopamine, which can lead to feelings of happiness.

A mug of coffee can also be proven to improve short-term brain function. These brain functions include improved mood, cognitive function, and reaction time. There are also studies that suggest that coffee can help improve your metabolism and help burn around 3-11% more calories than people who don’t drink coffee.

It’s not all positive though. As mentioned previously, coffee does have some negative side effects. Coffee can very easily affect sleep. This is because it can overstimulate the drinker, and cause jitteriness and over-alertness.

What Happens If You Drink Too Much Caffeine?

Caffeine can affect the cardiovascular system, bone health, gastrointestinal system, sleep quality, and central nervous system.

When you have too much—particularly on a consistent basis—it can lead to a wide spectrum of symptoms, the researchers note. These can include headache, nausea, vomiting, fever, tremors, hyperventilation, dizziness, anxiety, tinnitus, and agitation—and those are on the “milder end of the spectrum”.

More severe effects might be abdominal pain, altered consciousness, rigidity, seizures, muscle breakdown, and irregular heartbeat.

So if you’re coming close to the daily max—and especially if you’re blowing past it—you may want to consider dialling back or switch to a herbal tea. Our water systems provide hot and cold water at the touch of a button. This can mean an instant caffeine fix whenever you need it. For the workplace especially, this can mean fewer queues at the drink station. More coffee can mean a more alert workforce, but make sure they keep drinking water too. Providing coffee free can mean your workforce can stay hydrated and productive! For more information, get in touch with our sales team.