Getting your day started with a jolt of caffeine is like breathing to most of us. Whether we choose a coffee-based beverage, tea, soda, or an energy drink the result is the same. We wake up quicker and feel more empowered for the day to come. But what about having an espresso?
Aren’t espresso shots packed with caffeine and the perfect way to energize yourself when you’re feeling a bit groggy? Not exactly. There’s more to an espresso shot than the average 75 mg of caffeine found in a single shot. Let’s dive deeper into the world of this coffee-based drink so you can finally learn the truth about espresso and the amount of caffeine inside each cup.
What Is an Espresso?
Many people think espresso is its own form of coffee. This isn’t the case. An espresso shot is made using the same coffee beans, either Arabica or Robusta, as regular black coffee. The difference is in the process. Espresso is made by forcing hot water through coffee beans that have been finely ground. The result is a beverage shot that is stronger than regular coffee and topped with a foam called crema. This foam appears when the air bubbles and soluble oils in the coffee combine.
The big difference between regular coffee and espresso is the grind of the beans and the process in which the espresso shot is made. This amplified coffee is served in shots of roughly 1.5 ounces and averages around 75 mg of caffeine per serving. Espresso can also be used as a base for several of the coffee beverages we all know and love including cappuccinos and lattes.
The Caffeine in an Espresso
As we’ve mentioned, a shot of espresso averages around 75mg of caffeine. You may be curious why we say this amount of caffeine is average. This is due to the factors that must be taken into account when it comes to making a shot of espresso. Let’s take a look at those below.
The Coffee Beans
The first factor when it comes to the caffeine content in your shot of espresso is the coffee beans. Both Arabica and Robusta beans can be used to make espresso but it’s common for Robusta beans to be used. When this is the case, you’ll have a higher caffeine amount. Robusta beans naturally have more caffeine than Arabica. When these beans are used your espresso, a regular cup of coffee, or any coffee beverage you brew up will be more caffeinated.
The Espresso Process
When making espresso, more coffee grounds are used. This will naturally increase the caffeine content. The pressurized water also penetrates the coffee grounds quicker than other brewing processes. This allows for more caffeine to be transferred during the process.
An 8-ounce cup of regular coffee contains 95 mg of caffeine. This serving size is quite a bit larger than an espresso shot measuring around 1.5 ounces. Due to getting roughly 75 mg of caffeine in such a small serving, people feel they are getting more caffeine than they would by drinking an entire cup of regular coffee.
How You Drink It
You’ll also find the way you drink espresso plays a big role in the amount of caffeine you get from it. An espresso shot is intended to be savored and drunk slowly. It is richer than regular coffee. Unfortunately, not many people in the US take the time to savor their espresso. Unlike a cup of coffee, espresso shots are routinely downed fast and that often leaves drinkers asking for another.
Let’s see how a shot of espresso measures up to other coffee beverages that feature 8-ounce typical servings.
|Decaf Coffee (8-ounce serving)||2 mg of caffeine|
|Instant Coffee (8-ounce serving)||62 mg of caffeine|
|Espresso (1.5-ounce serving)||75 mg of caffeine|
|Regular Brewed Coffee (8-ounce serving)||95 mg of caffeine|
|Cold Brew Coffee (8-ounce serving)||100 mg of caffeine|
As you can see, there is more to how the caffeine content in espresso is measured than you may think. When considering all these factors, you may be getting a good dose of caffeine with an espresso shot, but unless you have more than one, you may be better off reaching for a cup of regular brewed coffee if you want a caffeine kick. If you’re simply a fan of espresso, learn to enjoy it. Savor your rich, creamy espresso instead of gulping it down. Then you’ll appreciate the caffeine, and especially the taste, much more.
Featured Image Credit: Kevin Butz, Unsplash