How Much Caffeine is in a Cup of Coffee? A Complete Guide

How much caffeine in cup of coffee


Do you depend on that morning cup of coffee to really wake you up and get you going during the day? You’re not alone. But, do you know how much caffeine is in a cup of coffee? In this article, we discuss everything you need to know – from the caffeine content in different coffee drinks to how it can affect your body. 

What is Caffeine?

Caffeine is a natural stimulant that is most commonly found in cacao plants, tea, and coffee. It works by stimulating the brain and central nervous system, helping you stay alert and prevent the onset of fatigue. Caffeine functions by blocking the effects of adenosine – a neurotransmitter that relaxes the brain and makes you feel tired

Caffeine helps you stay awake by connecting to adenosine receptors in the brain without activating them; this blocks the effects of adenosine, resulting in reduced tiredness. Caffeine may also increase blood adrenaline levels and increase brain activity of the neurotransmitters, norepinephrine and dopamineThis combination further stimulates the brain and promotes a state of focus and alertness.

Because it affects your brain, caffeine is typically referred to as a psychoactive drug. However, unlike many drugs, there’s no stigma associated with consuming caffeine regularly. In fact, it is estimated that about 80% of the world’s population consumes a caffeinated product each day

What Foods and Drinks Contain Caffeine? 

Caffeine is naturally found in the nuts, seeds, or leaves of certain plants. Then, these natural sources are harvested and processed to produce caffeinated foods and beverages. Some foods also contain caffeine. For example, 1 ounce of milk chocolate contains around 1-15mg of caffeine, whereas 1 ounce of dark chocolate has around 5-35mg of caffeineYou can also find caffeine in some over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medications like allergy, cold, and pain medications. It is also a common ingredient in many weight loss supplements. 

How Much Caffeine is in a Cup of Coffee?

Each cup of coffee contains a different amount of caffeine. This is due to several factors, including the amount of ground coffee used, variations in the coffee blend, and the brewing technique used. The figures below will give you a good idea of how much caffeine is in a cup of coffee. 


Serving Size

Caffeine (mg)

Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee with Espresso Shot

20 oz.


Starbucks Coffee, Blonde Roast

16 oz.


Dunkin’ Donuts Iced Coffee, bottle—Original

12 oz.


Starbucks Coffee, Pike Place Roast

16 oz.


Panera Coffee, Light Roast

16 oz.


Starbucks Nitro Cold Brew

16 oz.


Starbucks Plus 2X Caffeine Keurig K-Cup

1 K-Cup


Dunkin’ Donuts Cappuccino

20 oz.


Starbucks Coffee, Pike Place Roast

12 oz.


Starbucks Caffe Americano

16 oz.


Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee

14 oz.


Kitu Super Coffee, bottle—Vanilla or Hazelnut

12 oz.


Starbucks Cold Brew Cocoa and Honey with Cream, bottle

11 oz.


Starbucks Caffe Mocha

16 oz.


Starbucks—Caffe Latte or Cappuccino

16 oz.


Starbucks Salted Caramel Mocha, bottle

14 oz.


Keurig K-Cup, most varieties

1 K-Cup


Starbucks Doubleshot Energy Coffee, can

15 oz.


Panera Frozen Mocha

16 oz.


Dunkin’ Donuts Shot in the Dark, can—all flavors

8.1 oz.


Nespresso Kazaar capsule

1 capsule


Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino, bottle

16 oz.


Starbucks Doubleshot Protein Caramel, can

11 oz.


Peet’s Iced Espresso, can—all flavors

8 oz.


Maxwell House Regular Ground Coffee

1 Tbs., makes 6 oz.


Starbucks Coffee Frappuccino, bottle

16 oz.


Starbucks Coffee Frappuccino, bottle

9.5 oz.


Folgers Ground Coffee, House Blend

1 Tbs., makes 6 oz.


Starbucks Espresso

0.8 oz.


Nespresso capsule—except Kazaar

1 capsule


International Delight—Iced Coffee or Iced Coffee Light

8 oz.


Califia Farms Café Latte Cold Brew Coffee

8 oz.


Maxwell House Lite Ground Coffee

1 Tbs., makes 6 oz.


Starbucks Decaf Coffee

16 oz.


Maxwell House Decaf Ground Coffee

1 Tbs., makes 6 oz.



What Affects the Amount of Caffeine in Coffee?

As mentioned above, the amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee varies depending on several factors, including the amount of ground coffee used, variations in the coffee blend, and the brewing technique used. 

Listed below are some of the factors that affect the amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee. 

  • Coffee Brewing Techniques.
    People use different brewing techniques to prepare their coffee, and each of these methods can affect how much caffeine is in your favorite cup of joe. The most commonly used coffee brewing techniques are:
    • French Press
    • Drip or Filter Brewing 
    • Percolating 

  • Caffeine Content By Type.
    The amount of caffeine in your cup of coffee varies between brewing methods. 
    • French Press: 80-135mg with an average of 107.5mg
    • Drip or Filter Brewing: 115-175mg with an average of 145mg
    • Percolated: 64-272mg with an average of 200mg

By far, brewing coffee by using the filter or drip method is the most popular brewing technique. While it doesn’t yield the highest caffeine content of all the popular brewing techniques, it still ranks high on the list, meaning that each cup of coffee could give you a fairly sizable dose of caffeine. 

  • Coffee Varieties.
    There are many different coffee varieties out there – each containing different caffeine levels. The most common coffee variety is Arabica coffee. However, Arabica coffee doesn’t have as much caffeine as other types of beans – in fact, it only provides about 75–130 mg average 6 ounce cups. If you’re looking for more caffeine content, you can look for Robusta beans as they offer 140–200 mg caffeine per 6 ounce average cup


  • Grind Size.
    Believe it or not, the size of your coffee grounds can also affect the amount of caffeine in your cup of coffee. Remember, water passes through the grinds extracting the flavors and caffeine in the process. A finer ground coffee will have more surface area compared to coarse ground coffee – this allows more caffeine to be extracted. This is one reason why espresso has more caffeine content as it is made using fine ground coffee. 


  • Water.
    Your water is also a big factor in determining not only how your coffee tastes, but what is in it as well. Hot water that’s between 195°F and 205°F extracts more caffeine than water at other temperatures. For instance, cold brew coffee contains much less caffeine compared to hot brew coffee. 


The Bottom Line

For most people, drinking coffee and other caffeinated beverages is no big deal, assuming they don’t go overboard. Still, for others, it’s important to avoid or at the very least, limit your daily caffeine intake. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to give up your daily cup of coffee. By knowing and understanding how much caffeine is in your cup of coffee, you can plan your diet accordingly so you don’t go overboard on caffeine while still getting to brew a delicious cup of coffee every day.

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