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Caffeine in Nespresso: What You Need to Know

Nespresso Le Cube

If you regularly use a Nespresso to make your morning coffee, you might find yourself wondering how much coffee you’re consuming. A brief glance around the internet will give you a wide range of possible answers, and you might be left more confused than you were at the beginning. So, what’s the actual answer?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a single, simple answer that is correct in all cases. There are different sized Nespresso capsules, and each contains different coffee, so the caffeine content can vary wildly from one capsule to the next. We’ll give you a breakdown of how much caffeine is typically found in Nespresso and give you some tips for determining how caffeine is in your capsules specifically.

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Nespresso Caffeine Content: A Baseline Estimate

Luckily, Nespresso publishes caffeine content guidelines, even though finding how much coffee is in a particular capsule is still difficult. The official guide from Nespresso states that single espresso capsules typically have between 60 and 150 mg of caffeine. That is quite a large range, so let’s break it down.

As a starting point, we need to know how much caffeine is in a plain old cup of coffee. A standard strength 8-ounce cup of medium-roasted coffee contains approximately 100 mg. While that gives us a nice comparison point, it’s not too helpful since it’s smack in the middle of the 60-150 mg range for Nespresso capsules. However, it does help orient us in the caffeine landscape and is an excellent reference point as we dig deeper.

nespresso cups
Image Credit: AJEL, Pixabay

What Affects the Caffeine in Nespresso?

Now that you’ve seen the Nespresso caffeine range, you’re probably wondering: how can you tell how much caffeine is in your cup? Here are the most important things to consider:

Capsule Style is Important

A single espresso will have less caffeine than a double espresso capsule, of course, and Nespresso’s guidelines state that double espresso capsules have “less than 200 mg” of caffeine. How much less is unclear but based on the 60-150 mg range overall, between 150 and 200 mg is a safe bet.

More helpfully, Nespresso says that Gran Lungo capsules have between 120 and 200 mg of caffeine. That’s a much smaller range and is more useful overall if you’re trying to track your caffeine intake.

Nespresso
Image Credit: Jon Åslund, Flickr

OriginalLine vs. VertuoLine Caffeine

Another important consideration is which capsule version your Nespresso machine uses. OriginalLine capsules contain an average of 60 mg in the regular capsules and about 80 mg in the Lungo capsules. VertuoLine capsules have an average of 105 mg of caffeine, but some varieties can have as much as 150 mg.

In general, it’s safe to assume that VertuoLine capsules have more caffeine than OriginalLine, but it is a bit murky, and capsules from either line can have a wide range of caffeine contents.

What About Decaf?

You might think that decaffeinated Nespresso capsules contain no caffeine, but that isn’t actually true. Decaf coffee has less caffeine than regular coffee but not quite 0 mg. Nespresso guarantees that their decaf capsules contain no more than 12 mg of caffeine.

Nespresso Prodigio with capsules

Intensity vs. Caffeine

A common misconception is that stronger coffee has more caffeine. When people say “strong coffee,” they usually mean “more flavorful.” Robust, full-bodied coffee doesn’t necessarily have more caffeine than lighter coffee, so you can’t use flavor as a proxy for caffeine content.

Nespresso specifically labels its capsules with an intensity level. This level doesn’t refer to caffeine content; rather, it is simply indicating how the capsule’s coffee tastes.

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Conclusion

We realize that it’s frustrating trying to decipher all the nuances to Nespresso caffeine content. Every capsule is different, and the caffeine content really depends on which Nespresso capsule you’re using specifically.

Hopefully, this guide has shed some light on the subject and helped you determine how much caffeine is in your particular Nespresso capsules. The general guidelines we presented here hold consistently and can help give you a sense of the caffeine content in your Nespresso, even if you can’t find a precise number.


Featured Image: Jon Åslund, Flickr

Sean Brennan

Sean’s obsession with coffee started when he received his first French press as a gift almost ten years ago. Since then, his love of coffee – and the number of coffee gadgets he owns – has grown considerably. A scientist by training, there is no stone he has left unturned in the never-ending quest for the perfect cup of coffee. He has spent many hours tuning his pour-over technique, thinking about how to best compare grind quality, and worrying about whether the Nicaraguan or Kenyan beans will make the best cold brew.These days he favors the Hario V60, and starts each day by hand grinding his coffee before enjoying a cup prepared with care and attention to detail.

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