How Much Caffeine is in a Cup of Coffee?

It's no secret that coffee is one of the most consumed beverages across the globe. Legend has it that people in the 9th-century discovered the wonders of the coffee bean after they noticed goats appearing more "active" after they ate the berries of the coffee plant.

Today, coffee fuels the working man's day. Giving them an extra boost of energy to work and become more productive.

Although we attribute the sensation of alertness to coffee, it's not actually the coffee itself that does this. Black coffee contains around 2 calories a cup, which is definitely not enough to keep us going all day.

Rather, it's the caffeine in the coffee that gives us a jolt. Caffeine is a naturally occurring psychoactive substance that stimulates the central nervous system (CNS). Today, it's used to minimize physical fatigue and prevent or treat drowsiness, increasing your alertness, focus, and general body coordination.

Keep in mind though that too much caffeine can have negative effects, which is why there's a maximum recommended daily dose of caffeine. Healthy adults can have up to 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine a day. Sounds simple enough, but do you know how much caffeine your daily cup (or cups) of coffee has?

Here's a rough estimate of the different types of coffee and how much caffeine each one has in every cup.

Brewed Coffee

This is the most common way of preparing coffee in Europe and the US. Hot water is poured over roasted coffee grounds and filtered over a cup. Alternatively, you can use a French Press to achieve the same results. The usual 8-ounce serving of brewed coffee contains around 70–140 mg of caffeine or an average of 95 milligrams.

Instant Coffee

Those who are a bit picky when it comes to their coffee often turn their nose away from instant coffee, which is usually made with brewed coffee that’s been spray-dried or freeze-dried into little bits and chunks that are dissolved in water.

It may not be as fresh-tasting as a cup of brewed coffee, but it saves you a lot of time when you’re in a hurry. Not surprisingly, compared to brewed coffee, instant coffee contains much less caffeine. A cup of instant coffee usually contains roughly 30–90 mg of caffeine. That may not be much, but it’s enough to kickstart your day.

Espresso

Espresso is prepared by forcing small amounts of hot water or steam through grounded coffee beans. Unlike brewed coffee, the beans used for espresso are finely ground. Preparing an espresso also requires the use of an espresso machine.

Espresso is served in a small amount and has more caffeine per volume compared to regular coffee. A shot of espresso is usually around 1- to 1.75-oz and has about 63 mg of caffeine. Therefore a double shot of espresso contains about 125 mg of caffeine.

Espresso-Based Drinks

Many people, especially among the younger crowd, prefer to drink espresso-based coffee like Lattes, Macchiatos, Cappuccinos, and Americanos. These drinks are made by mixing espresso with varying amounts and types of milk (just water for Americano). The addition of milk or water doesn’t affect the amount of caffeine in the coffee, but serves to improve its taste and texture.

Since the caffeine content stays the same, a small sized espresso-based drink contains roughly 63 mg of caffeine, while a large (or double) has about 125 mg.

Decaf Coffee

Surprise. Decaf coffee is actually not entirely caffeine free, making its name a bit of a misnomer. Decaffeinated coffee can contain a little (and we mean a little) caffeine, ranging from 0-7mg a cup, averaging at 3 mg. This varies from brand to brand, and the variety of beans used in the blend. The decaffeination process also affects how much caffeine is left in the brew.

To summarize, the usual cup of 8-oz brewed coffee contains about 95 mg while instant coffee has 30–90 mg of caffeine. An espresso shot contains 63 mg, which doesn’t change if you add other ingredients to it. Finally, decaf coffee has an average of 3 mg of caffeine per cup.

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