• C. Gazzina

Espresso vs. Coffee Caffeine? Which One Has More Caffeine?

Updated: Oct 31


In one recent study, it was found that nearly 87% of Americans drink coffee. Of that 87%, though, over 32% prefer to consume their coffee as espresso. Nearly half of respondents said they like coffee because it makes them feel awake, too.

We understand that. There’s nothing like waking up with a fresh cup of coffee each morning, regardless of whether you drink it for the taste, the smell, or even the caffeine. But what's the best way to get our caffeine fix, espresso or coffee?

When it comes to espresso vs. coffee caffeine, is there an actual difference? Some people might think that espresso has more caffeine because it's stronger, but that statement is fully true. Let's take a closer look at the caffeine levels in each drink and find out for sure.

What Is the Difference Between Espresso & Coffee?

If you've ever been to a coffee shop, you may have noticed that there are different types of drinks available, including espresso and coffee. So what is the difference between the two?

While you can make espresso out of regular coffee beans, some brands sell beans that are roasted (and sometimes ground) specifically to make espresso. Espresso beans are less oily than coffee beans you might use to make regular drip coffee.

Aside from that, the main difference lies in how you prepare each type of coffee.

An espresso shot is made using a specialized machine that forces hot water through tightly packed, finely ground coffee beans at high pressure.

This results in a much stronger flavor and a thicker consistency than traditional drip coffee, which is made by pouring hot water over grounds that are less finely ground.

Additionally, espresso generally contains more caffeine per serving due to its concentrated nature. While the coffee beans themselves might contain the same amount of caffeine, because espresso is more concentrated, you’re getting more caffeine into a smaller amount of coffee.

So the next time you're at your local cafe, remember that while both types of coffee offer delicious flavors and a caffeine boost, they are not interchangeable in recipes or taste.

It's worth taking the time to enjoy both kinds of brews and discover your personal preference, both in terms of flavor and caffeine content.

Is There a Difference Between Espresso & Americano?

Before we get into the espresso vs. coffee caffeine content breakdown, it’s important to address one more common question we see a lot. Is there a difference between espresso and Americano?

Espresso refers to the type of coffee itself in either the beans used or the way that it’s brewed. An Americano is simply a type of coffee drink that uses espresso.

Sure, you can order a shot of espresso and that’s technically a type of coffee drink. However, an Americano is made using other “ingredients” that you don’t use when you drink straight espresso. With espresso, you simply pull a shot of espresso and drink it pure without other added ingredients or flavors.

An Americano, on the other hand, is made by adding hot water to a single shot or double shot of espresso. This results in a cup with a stronger taste and more body than regular drip coffee but a less intense flavor than a straight espresso shot.

This means that there’s a slight difference, yes, but both are simply espresso. One is just more watered down than the other, meaning that an Americano will taste more diluted than a shot of espresso but feature the same caffeine content as a full shot.

How Much Caffeine Does Espresso Have?

Just how much caffeine in your espresso are we talking about?

Espresso's caffeine content is high. On average, a single shot of espresso contains about 63 milligrams of caffeine. In comparison, a cup of brewed coffee has about 90-200 milligrams and a can of soda has about 35-45 milligrams.

Keep in mind that one shot of espresso is equal to 1 fl oz of coffee. This means that if you’re drinking a regular cup of coffee that’s 8 fl oz then you’re getting nearly double the caffeine content in one little shot of espresso than you are in a full cup of regular coffee.

How Much Caffeine Does Coffee Have?

How much caffeine is there in coffee for comparison?

Coffee's caffeine content isn't as high. We’ve noted above that a cup of brewed coffee has about 90 mg of caffeine depending on how large your coffee cup is. A regular coffee cup that is 8 fl oz has just over 90 mg of caffeine.

If we break that down by fluid ounce to make it easier to measure, regular coffee has just under 12 mg of caffeine content per fl oz.

To put all of this into perspective for you, the daily recommended intake of caffeine is around 400 mg depending on your size and age. So, you can have about four cups of regular brewed coffee or seven to eight shots of espresso and technically be fine.

Factors That Affect Caffeine Content

It’s important to know that not every shot of espresso you order at every coffee shop will have exactly 63 mg of caffeine. The same goes for a regular cup of brewed coffee. The caffeine content in coffee can vary greatly, and several factors affect its levels.

Bean variety, roast level, and grind size all play a role in determining the final caffeine content. Let’s briefly dive into each factor so that you’re armed with knowledge the next time you head to your local cafe to order your favorite coffee drink.

Type of Bean

Arabica beans generally contain less caffeine than Robusta beans. While it’s not 100% clear why this is, this difference is believed to be due to genetics.

Arabica plants naturally produce less caffeine as a defense mechanism against pests and diseases. Arabica beans also grow at higher altitudes and have longer maturation periods, which may also contribute to their lower caffeine levels.

Type of Roast

You might have heard that light-roasted beans, in some cases, can have higher caffeine levels than dark-roasted beans.

While it's not enough to make a big difference, light-roasted beans are slightly denser than darker roasts. This is because, due to the fact that they've been roasted for less time than a darker roast, they preserve some mass and density.

However, despite the density, most espresso coffee beans are medium or dark roasts. This is because you have to “brew” espresso coffee differently.

Medium and dark roasts are more soluble and extract more quickly.

Grind Size

Finally, the finer the grind, the higher the surface area of the coffee grounds. This means that hot water will extract more caffeine from fine grounds in a shorter amount of time.

However, if the grind is too fine, the water may not flow through it properly and may result in an over-extracted and bitter-tasting cup of coffee. On the other hand, a coarse grind will have less surface area for extraction, resulting in a weaker cup of coffee with less caffeine.

So when it comes to determining your desired level of caffeine, it's important to consider your preferred grind size. Fine grounds will give you a stronger cup while coarse grounds will result in a weaker one.

Just make sure to find the right balance so that you don't end up with an overly bitter or weak cup of coffee.

Espresso vs. Coffee Caffeine: Which Has More?

We’ve just thrown a lot at you, so let’s recap. When it comes to espresso vs. coffee caffeine, which has more?

When you compare espresso to coffee in the same quantities, espresso has more caffeine. One fluid ounce of espresso contains 63 mg of caffeine while one fluid ounce of brewed coffee has just under 12 mg of caffeine.

This means that espresso contains nearly five times as much caffeine content as brewed coffee if you drink it in the same quantities. Of course, you rarely do this!

Most people who drink espresso drink it in their lattes or even as an Americano. In most standard lattes, you get two shots of espresso. This means that you’re consuming 126 mg of caffeine.

Most people who drink brewed coffee drink it in an 8- to 12-oz coffee cup. If you drink 8 oz of coffee you’re consuming 96 mg of caffeine. If you drink 12 oz of brewed coffee then you’re consuming 144 mg of caffeine.

So, technically, a 12-oz cup of brewed coffee has slightly more caffeine than an espresso drink that comes with two shots of espresso!

Buy Caffè Cartapani Coffee

Has all this talk about espresso vs. coffee caffeine got you ready to brew your next cup of joe? We’ve got you covered. At Gaztronomy, we import and sell high-quality Italian Caffè Cartapani.

Our espresso coffee beans are roasted to perfection and feature a blend of Robusta and Arabica beans from coffee farms in both South America and Asia.

Click here to browse our espresso beans.

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