Coffee is the best source of caffeine that we can consume, and many people indulge in multiple coffees a day to keep their energy levels high. We all know that coffee isn’t the best for our bodies, but do we listen? Nope! We continue to drink the comfortingly warm cups of joe without even thinking about the consequences.
When it comes to coffee, ignorance is bliss. That is until the creeping doubt sets into your mind and you’re left with an incessant thought of guilt while you’re on your seventh coffee of the day. How much caffeine are you really consuming a day? And how much is considered too much?
If you’re asking yourself these questions, welcome to the article of truth. We apologize for the harsh truth that we’re about to offer up, and we hope that your realization isn’t too crushing for your daily life. Let’s just get this over, shall we?
How Much Caffeine Can You Consume Safely?
Dipping your toes into the upcoming article, let’s first discuss the amount of caffeine that you can safely consume in one day. We use the term ‘safely’ because you can always drink more than the average recommended amount, like any consumable really.
For example, we can all agree that we collectively ignore the recommended serving sizes on the back of food packaging, right? We don’t think that we’ve ever regarded manufacturers’ recommendations when it comes to food, and it’s exactly the same with the amount of coffee you should consume.
Caffeine can be harmful to your body; however, so we hope that you’ll take note of this recommendation if nothing else. So, how much caffeine is safe to consume? The answer is 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine per day.
This answer is generalized and changes from person to person. If you’re worried about whether your caffeine intake is too high for your body, the best person to talk to and get advice from is a healthcare professional.
How Much Caffeine in a Cup of Coffee?
If you don’t know how much caffeine is in one cup of coffee, the measure 400mg might be completely redundant to you. So, how much caffeine are you getting per cup? Well, this depends on the type of coffee that you drink. There are also some other factors that can affect the caffeine content of your coffee, so make sure to read them further down the article.
Filter Coffee (125ml)
Filter coffee is very popular in America and is made by pouring boiling water through a filter full of ground coffee beans. If you’re not opting for a fancy coffee as a latte or cappuccino, filter coffee is often the most common type of coffee to go for. One cup contains around 70 to 140mg of caffeine.
Espresso or espresso-based drinks are another very popular option in America, and this is the type of coffee you’ll be likely drinking if you order from coffee shops or the majority of restaurants.
Espresso is made from pouring a small amount of boiling water through ground coffee beans. This can then either be served on its own or added to milk to create a specialty coffee.
As a rule, a shot of espresso usually contains on average 63mg, and a double shot contains around 125mg. Espresso-based drinks contain the same amount of caffeine as the milk doesn’t include any caffeine.
Instant Coffee (125ml)
Instant coffee is freeze-dried coffee that can be added to boiling water to make a cup of coffee in seconds. These contain much less caffeine than filter coffee or espresso, with around 30 to 90mg per cup.
Decaf Coffee (125ml)
Decaf coffee has considerably less caffeine than the above alternatives, but it is often not caffeine-free like the name would suggest. Most decaf coffees have around 0 to 7mg of caffeine per cup.
Factors Affecting the Caffeine Content in One Cup
While the above numbers are generally correct and accurate, there are a few factors that can affect how much caffeine is in your cup of coffee. For example, the roasting level that the beans have been through. Light roasts have more caffeine than dark roasts, so make sure you know the roast of your coffee.
The type of beans plays a part in how much caffeine you’re consuming as well, and the back of the packet will often tell you how much caffeine is in one scoop of grounds. Moreover, the serving size that you opt for. If your mug is a larger 15-ounce, you’re going to be consuming more caffeine than someone with an 11-ounce cup.
Other Sources of Caffeine
So, let’s say that you’re an average person who can consume up to 400mg of caffeine a day. That’s generally equating to four cups of coffee a day, correct? But what we might be missing here is that a lot of other consumables contain caffeine, and these should also be added to our caffeine count to ensure we’re being as accurate as possible.
Tea is a popular alternative to coffee and can either be made from tea leaves or bags. While there is considerably less caffeine in a cup of tea, there is still around 20 to 45mg for every 150ml cup.
Energy drinks come in 330ml cans and usually contain as much caffeine as a cup of coffee. Energy drinks come with a whole heap of reasons why you should avoid them, but for time’s sake, we shan’t go into them now. Expect around 70 to 120mg of caffeine per drink.
Soft drinks also come in 330ml cans, but they contain less caffeine than energy drinks. Normal soft drinks will have around 30 to 48mg of caffeine, and sugar-free alternatives will contain around 26 to 57mg of caffeine per serving.
That’s right, nowhere is safe from caffeine! Chocolate bars will contain around 5 to 36mg of caffeine. Milk chocolate contains much less caffeine than dark chocolate, which houses 1 to 15mg and 20 to 120mg respectively.
If you’re eating a 30g bar of dark chocolate, you might be consuming as much caffeine as in a cup of coffee!
For a 150ml cup of hot chocolate, there will be around the same amount of caffeine as there is in a cup of decaf coffee. This is about 2 to 7mg.