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Coffee is the biggest dietary source of caffeine.

You can expect to get around 95 mg of caffeine from an average cup of coffee.

However, this amount varies between different coffee drinks and can range from almost zero to more than 500 mg.

Coffee is the biggest dietary source of caffeine. Photo credit: Shutterstock
Coffee is the biggest dietary source of caffeine. Photo credit: Shutterstock

This is a detailed guide to the caffeine content of different types and brands of coffee.

What Factors Affect Caffeine Content?

The caffeine content of coffee depends on many factors, such as:

  • Type of coffee beans: There are many varieties of coffee beans available, which may naturally contain different amounts of caffeine.
  • Roasting: Lighter roasts have more caffeine than darker roasts, although the darker roasts have a deeper flavor.
  • Type of coffee: The caffeine content can vary significantly between regularly brewed coffee, espresso, instant coffee and decaf coffee.
  • Serving size: “One cup of coffee” can range anywhere from 30–700 ml (1–24 oz), greatly affecting the total caffeine content.

Bottom Line: Caffeine content is affected by the type of coffee bean, roast style, how the coffee is prepared and the serving size.

How Much Caffeine is in a Cup of Coffee?

The main determinant of caffeine content is the type of coffee you are drinking.

Brewed Coffee

Brewing is the most common way to make coffee in the U.S. and Europe.

Also known as regular coffee, brewed coffee is made by pouring hot or boiling water over ground coffee beans, usually contained in a filter.

One cup of brewed coffee (8 oz) contains about 70–140 mg of caffeine or about 95 mg on average (1, 2).

Espresso

Espresso is made by forcing a small amount of hot water or steam, through finely ground coffee beans.

Although espresso has more caffeine per volume than regular coffee, it usually contains less per serving, since espresso servings tend to be small.

One shot of espresso is generally about 30–50 ml (1–1.75 oz) and contains about 63 mg of caffeine (3).

A double shot of espresso therefore contains roughly 125 mg of caffeine.

Espresso-Based Drinks

Many popular coffee drinks are made from espresso shots mixed with varying types and amounts of milk.

These include lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos and Americanos.

Since the milk does not contain any additional caffeine, these drinks contain the same amount of caffeine as straight espresso.

A single (small) contains about 63 mg of caffeine on average and double (large) contains about 125 mg.

Instant Coffee

Instant coffee is made from brewed coffee that has been freeze-dried or spray-dried. It is generally in large, dry pieces, which dissolve in water.

To prepare instant coffee, simply mix one or two teaspoons of dried coffee with hot water. There is no need for any brewing.

Instant coffee usually contains less caffeine than regular coffee, with one 8-oz cup (237 ml) containing roughly 30–60 mg (4).

Decaf Coffee

Although the name may be deceiving, decaf coffee is not entirely caffeine free.

It may contain varying amounts of caffeine, ranging from 0–7 mg per cup, with the average cup containing 3 mg (5, 6, 7).

However, some varieties may contain even higher amounts of caffeine, depending on the type of coffee, method of de-caffeination and cup size.

Bottom Line: The average caffeine content of an 8-oz, brewed cup of coffee is 95 mg. A single espresso or espresso-based drink contains 63 mg and decaf coffee contains about 3 mg of caffeine (on average).

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