Does Espresso Have More Caffeine The Surprising Truth!

Does Espresso Have More Caffeine? The Surprising Truth!

A question fired at us by Albert, an avid coffee lover and a regular reader and commenter on our social media, was “Does espresso have more caffeine?

It may sound like a simple yes/no answer, but when it comes to a cup of coffee, nothing is simple. I could answer yes, a shot of espresso has more caffeine and the answer would be both correct and incorrect at the same time – literally beating Plato’s Principle.

Are you perplexed and looking for an exact answer – then keep reading as we dig down and detail the answer to this complex but simple question!

What Is An Espresso?

An espresso is a shot of coffee that is brewed by forcing hot water of a temperature of 195F to 205F (92C To 96C) and at a pressure of 9 bars (130 PSI) through a compact puck of finely ground fresh dark roasted coffee beans for 25 to 30 seconds.

A coffee to water ratio of 1:2 is commonly used. That is 2 grams of water for every gram of coffee grounds used. It is the freshly ground dark roasted coffee beans and the water pressure together that produce the thick crema on top.

To maintain the crema the distinctive demitasse cup must be used.

An Espresso
Two well made espressos

Read: French press Vs Espresso

Does Espresso Have More Caffeine Than Regular Coffee?

The answer is both yes and no. Let’s unravel that paradoxical and perplexing answer.

Many coffee drinks as you can see in the table below have a greater total caffeine content than a shot of espresso or an espresso-based drink. Even a simple cup of drip coffee has more caffeine, as does a French press, cold brew and so on.

Coffee Drink Caffeine Content.
Single Shot Of Espresso. 63 mg
Double Shot Of Espresso. 126 mg
Starbucks Espresso Shot. 75 mg
Drip Coffee 12 Oz 120 mg
French Press Coffee 12 Oz. 200 mg
Cold Brew Coffee 12 Oz 200 mg
Latte 12 Oz 75 mg.
Pour Over Coffee 12 Oz 130 mg.
Siphon 12 Oz. 150 mg.
Cappuccino 12 Oz 154 mg
Percolator Coffee 12 Oz 150 mg.
Mocha 80 mg.

Note: 12 Oz = 360 ml.

As you can see, the amount of caffeine in an espresso is much less than other coffee drinks. However it can be noted that a shot of espresso is significantly smaller in volume than other drinks on the list.

That is where the yes/no comes in to the situation.

A shot of espresso is significantly stronger on a per-volume basis.12 ounces of espresso is 756 mg from a regular coffee shop and 900 milligrams when making the calculation for 12 ounces of Starbucks espresso.

So it has more caffeine on a per ounce basis but not in total.

How Much Caffeine Is In A Double Espresso?

A double espresso for a regular coffee shop will have on average 126 milligrams of caffeine. An espresso double shop of espresso, which is slightly stronger will have 150 mg of caffeine.

How Much Caffeine Is In A Starbucks Espresso Shot?

According to coffee conglomerate’s website their espresso shot has 75 mg of caffeine.

Why Does Espresso Have More Caffeine On a Per Ounce Basis?

The reason for the high caffeine content on a per-ounce basis is the very fine grind powder like grind size of 200 microns being compact and a high coffee to water ratio of 1:2.

The high coffee to water ratio is also the reason behind you having a more concentrated and thicker more dense coffee.

Starbucks Espresso
Starbucks Espresso has 75 mg per shot.

Read: Cappuccino Vs Espresso

How Much Caffeine Is Too Much?

I checked a number of government health pages for different nations, including:

  • Australia.
  • America.
  • Canada.
  • United Kingdom.
  • New Zealand.

Their advice is not to exceed the daily limit of 400 milligrams per day of caffeine. It is suggested that in excess of 1,000 mg will produce toxic effects.

Final Thoughts, Frappé-Ing It All Up, Does Espresso Have More Caffeine?

Yes, espresso does have more caffeine that a regular coffee when you measure on a per ounce basis but it does have total caffeine content that is less than a regular cup of coffee. Please see the table above for reference.

Coffee is love, it's more than love — it's a passion of mine. I've had the luck to have travelled and enjoyed the most exotic of coffee's and unique flavors, brewing methods and techniques of making the perfect coffee from Thai hill tribe coffee to Indonesian volcanic coffee, Malaysian coffee that comes in a tea bag and the array of flavors in Vietnam, from Vanilla to Orange to Coconut to Avocado to even salt coffee and the famous egg coffee. The best part of my coffee adventures is getting to mix with the locals over a nice brew and learning how they make it! I'm cited and referenced on Google Scholar for the topic of coffee.

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