How Much Caffeine is in a Cup of Coffee?
WHAT INFLUENCES CAFFEINE CONTENT IN COFFEE?
You don't have to be caffeine sensitive to be curious about how much caffeine is in a cup of coffee. Maybe it's 4:30pm, but that afternoon cup sounds perfect. Maybe you're debating and after-dinner espresso. Or a second (third?) cup in the morning. Caffeine content can vary depending on such factors as how and where the coffee beans were grown and how the beverage is prepared, so there really aren't hard and fast rules. But there are some general guidelines to help you navigate.
Here’s a list of some caffeine approximations based on the USDA standard nutrition database:
- 8 fl oz coffee: 95 mg
- 8 fl oz decaf coffee: 2.4 mg
- Shot of espresso: 63 mg
- Shot of decaf espresso: 0.3 mg
For espresso capsules, our JDE capsule coffee roaster approximates the following:
- Capsule: 50-90 mg
- Decaf capsule: 2-4 mg
EFFECTS OF CAFFEINE
Based on factors such as body weight, the medications you may take, and individual sensitivity, there may be such a thing as overconsuming caffeine. Watching your daily caffeine intake might mean choosing decaf beans for your first cup of the morning or switching to decaf midday.
DOES LIGHT ROAST COFFEE HAVE LESS CAFFEINE THAN DARK?
Generally, there are three roast types: light, medium, and dark. How coffee roasts are executed does matter a lot to the color, aroma, and flavor of the final product, but there’s virtually no difference in caffeine content between specific roasts.
However, the more you roast the beans, the more they dry out, making dark roast beans less dense than lighter roast beans. Consequently, a scoop of light roast beans has more actual coffee beans than a scoop of dark roast. So, if you want to consume a consistent amount of caffeine, be sure to measure your coffee by weight.
HOW IS DECAF COFFEE MADE?
Now that we’ve established approximately how much caffeine is in a regular cup of coffee, let’s explore how much caffeine is in a cup of decaf coffee (and how it's achieved).
Peet’s does decaf a little differently than others—that’s why Peet’s decaf coffees taste as good as the real thing. We use the same high-quality beans that we use in our regular, caffeinated coffees to ensure a decaf cup with richness and depth.
All of Peet’s decaf K-Cup® pods and beans are prepped using the water process decaffeination method. Water Process is a decaffeination method that uses water instead of solvents to gently remove caffeine from raw green coffee beans. Peet's Decaffeinato Ristretto Espresso Capsules are decaffeinated using the carbon dioxide method. In the carbon dioxide decaffeination process, green coffee beans are soaked in highly compressed carbon dioxide, which extracts the caffeine, while retaining the valuable flavors of the beans. The caffeine is then removed from the beans using activated carbon filters.
To be more specific, the decaffeinator prepares a solution from pure hot water and unroasted coffee beans, then filters the caffeine out of that solution. Raw green coffee beans selected and supplied by Peet’s are soaked in the solution. Then the caffeine flows out with the solution, leaving the beans full of flavor—not caffeine.
Peet’s uses the same beans for our decaf coffees as we do for our “full strength,” caffeinated coffees, which is how we maintain our distinctive flavor profile. Once the beans are dried, they’re ready for careful hand roasting at the Peet’s Roastery in Alameda, CA.
Because we do things a bit differently by using our own beans in our decaf coffees, at Peet’s, we feel strongly that our decaffeinated coffees are every bit as enjoyable as our regular, caffeinated coffees.
HOW MUCH CAFFEINE IN A DECAF CUP OF COFFEE?
Decaf coffees have less caffeine than their regular counterparts, but they still contain some caffeine. USDA standard nutrition database states that 1 cup (8 fl oz) brewed decaffeinated coffee has approximately 2.4 mg caffeine. We recommend you check with your doctor for guidance if you believe you may have a particular sensitivity to caffeine.
CHOOSING THE BEST BEANS FOR YOUR BREW
But what’s the difference between types of coffee beans? Let's quickly break down the difference between arabica beans versus robusta beans.
Arabica is a coffee species that dominates global trade and it’s typically grown at higher altitudes, offering the most refined flavors in coffee. Although named for Arabia, whence it first traded, its genetic birthplace is Western Ethiopia.
Robusta coffee beans are the second largest commercially cultivated coffee species. It’s known for its robust size (hence the name), hardiness, and caffeine content, but also for a rough taste. It has never been on the menu at Peet’s but is growing in world production.
DO ARABICA BEANS HAVE LESS CAFFEINE?
Yes, about half the amount as robusta, according to Texas A & M University: “On average, a single arabica coffee bean contains 1.9 milligrams of caffeine whereas a single robusta bean has 2.9 milligrams of caffeine.”
HOW DOES COFFEE GRIND TYPE AFFECT CAFFEINE CONTENT?
When brewing your coffee, the caffeine content moves from the ground coffee beans into the water. This is a process called extraction. Things that can affect extraction are water temperature, surface area of the ground coffee, and extraction time—how long your coffee is in contact with the water. Those who brew their coffee using a press pot know that there is a recommended brewing time and water temperature. Temperature is measured and brew time is tracked to ensure optimal extraction from the grounds.
YOUR DAILY CAFFEINE INTAKE: A LOT IS UP TO YOU
As you can see, there are many factors that go into how much caffeine is in a cup of coffee. Luckily, many of these are under your control. Try a few types of Peet’s and mix and match with weighing your beans and playing with brew techniques. See if you can feel a difference. And most of all, enjoy every sip.