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How Much Caffeine in a Cup Of Coffee?

March 29, 2013
Ever wonder how much caffeine there is in a cup of coffee you order at a cafe or restaurant?

Ever wonder how much caffeine there is in a cup of coffee you order at a cafe or restaurant?

Wondering about how much caffeine there is in a cup of coffee? If so, you’re not alone.

There are thousands of coffee drinkers who are interested in or concerned about caffeine content in coffee. I think some people want to know about caffeine content so they can gauge how much they should drink to be alert and energized. Other people may be concerned about the potentially adverse affects of caffeine on their physical or mental health. In an attempt to put the risks vs benefits debate in perspective, I wanted to mention the conclusions of Harvard researchers who have stated that “the overall balance of risks and benefits [of coffee consumption] are on the side of benefits.” If you’re interested in specific information about how much caffeine is in a cup of coffee, I’ve included some numbers on caffeine content below, as well as links to other websites. There are a lot of variables that would determine how much caffeine is in a cup of coffee, but the figures I’ve dug up on caffeine content in coffee should give you a general idea of how much you’re consuming.

Based on my personal experience as a coffee drinker and the online research I’ve been doing on the subject of the benefits vs drawbacks of coffee consumption, here are some facts I’ve gathered–and observations I’ve made–about how much caffeine is in a cup of coffee and caveats to be aware of.

  1. Keeping in mind that everyone’s tolerance for caffeine is different, The Mayo Clinic suggests that 500 milligrams of caffeine a day is the maximum amount one should consume on any given day–especially if you’re at all sensitive to caffeine or have ever experienced any negative effects from it. (I’m paraphrasing, so check out the actual article on caffeine content for specifics.) While some people can guzzle coffee throughout the day without having any problems, others may suffer from a variety of less-than-desirable effects including anxiety, headaches, and jittery nerves. My personal opinion about coffee caffeine is that you should pay attention to what your body tells you and listen to it. If you have high blood pressure or are pregnant, caffeine is probably something you want to limit or avoid. There are other physical or mental conditions that could be potentially exacerbated (ooh, that’s a big word!) by excessive caffeine consumption, so if you have any concerns, ask your physician! It’s also better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your personal health and well being.
  2. The above-referenced threshold of 500 milligrams of caffeine a day does not apply to children or adolescents. My research tells me it’s much lower for them. The American Academy of Pediatrics says maximum caffeine intake for adolescents should be around 100 milligrams a day, which is roughly the amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee. I say “roughly” because different varietals and brands of coffee beans have varying concentrations of caffeine. How coffee is prepared also has an impact on how much caffeine is in a cup of coffee. Caffeine content can be affected by a number of factors including the ratio of coffee to water that’s used in the brewing process. The fineness or courseness of the coffee grounds can also influence coffee caffeine content and, of course, the overall strength of the coffee. Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about caffeine content:
  3. Q: How much caffeine is in a brewed cup of coffee? Answer: 80 to 135 milligrams.
  4. Q: What’s the caffeine content in a cup of coffee made with a drip coffee maker? Answer: 115 to 175 milligrams.
  5. Q: How about a cup of espresso coffee? Answer: 100 milligrams
  6. Q: Does decaffeinated coffee contain any caffeine? Answer: Yes, it may still contain some caffeine. Decaf coffee is usually not devoid of caffeine–although the caffeine content should be substantially lower than a regular cup of coffee. According to a chart on the Mayo Clinic website, decaf coffee caffeine content is in the neighborhood of zero to 25 milligrams in a cup of coffee.

By the way, I got those coffee caffeine content numbers from an exhaustive coffee article on Wikipedia (I was exhausted after reading it). They referenced the Journal of the American Dietetic Association as their source for of information on caffeine in a 7-oz cup of coffee. The article includes some helpful information about caffeine in a cup of coffee, but it also tells you virtually everything you could possibly want to know about the history and economical impact of coffee, as well as the health benefits of coffee and the potential health risks of caffeine and coffee.

Getting back to the main question you may have on your mind about how much caffeine in coffee, a good source of specific information is the Mayo Clinic article I mentioned earlier. It includes charts on caffeine content for coffee, tea, soft drinks, energy drinks, and other products. It also lists specific coffee caffeine content for things like for espresso restaurant-style coffee, Starbucks lattes, Starbucks Pike Place brewed coffee (330 mgs in a 16-oz cup of coffee!?), McDonald’s Mocha Frappe, generic instant, and a few others. To access those coffee caffeine charts, you need to click on the links next to that green graphic that says “Mayo Clinic Diet”. Another website that lists caffeine content for a variety of coffee beverages and soft drinks is http://wilstar.com. The caffeine levels it lists for different beverages vary from the information I found, but its sources of information, which include the National Soft Drink Association and theĀ  US Food and Drug Administration, appear to be authoritative. If you know of any other reliable sources of online information about how much caffeine in a cup of coffee, feel free to post a comment.

Where to Buy Good Coffee Online

In closing, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the best places to buy coffee beans online: The Daily Grind. They’ve been roasting coffee beans on the premises of their Albany, NY, cafe since 1976, and they offer a great selection of some of the best tasting coffee beans in the world. Whether you’re interested in buying Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Sumatra Mandheling, or good old-fashioned Columbian coffee, The Daily Grind can prepare a fresh roasted bag of quality coffee beans for you and deliver them right to your front door. They also carry coffee from El Salvador, Guatemalan coffee, Costa Rican Tarrazu, and coffee beans from a few other choice locations around the globe–India, for example.

What gives me confidence in them as an online coffee store is the fact that they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, which assures that you’ll get a no-hassle refund if you’re not satisfied with the quality of their coffee beans. They’ve been online coffee retailers for almost as long as the Internet has existed–at least in the form that we know it today, so they’re experienced in providing good customer service and efficient delivery of coffee beans and loose tea leaves to your home or office. Visit their coffee website to check out their offerings. Their newly redesigned online coffee store will give you a good flavor, so to speak, of the kind of quality-oriented coffee business they operate.

by Joel Sussman

The Daily Grind is a family-owned cafe, retail coffee shop, and online coffee store located in upstate New York's Capital District.. The Daily Grind has been roasting its own coffee beans on the premises of their Albany cafe since 1976.

The Daily Grind is a family-owned cafe, retail coffee shop, and online coffee store located in upstate New York’s Capital District.. The Daily Grind has been roasting its own coffee beans on the premises of their Albany cafe since 1976.

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