There are a lot of myths out there when it comes to coffee. Drink a cup in the afternoon and you’ll be up all night. Drink too much coffee and you’ll be dehydrated. Drink enough coffee and you’ll lose weight. Each and every one of them can be categorically proven false.
One of the most popular myth is that people who drink espresso risk overdosing on caffeine. After all, each one of those shots is said to have way more caffeine than a single cup of coffee, right?
Turns out that myth is busted too, thanks to Kicking Horse Coffee. They posted an exposé on the subject and broke down exactly why espresso doesn’t necessarily have way more caffeine than coffee. The difference comes in how the caffeine is measured.
One Cup vs. One Shot
A cup of coffee is generally thought of at 12 ounces. A shot of espresso is just 2 ounces. Many people claim that a 2 ounce shot of espresso has more caffeine than a cup of coffee, but it really only has around 80 milligrams. One 12 ounces cup of coffee can have up to 120 milligrams of caffeine. So one cup of regular coffee will actually get you up and kicking quicker than that “extreme” espresso.
Let’s Get Voluminous
When compared by volume, the differences become more clear. Ounce per ounce, espresso is around 4 times as strong as coffee in terms of caffeine. So you’d have to drink 4 times as much coffee to get the same kick as espresso. So while a shot of espresso might actually have less caffeine than a cup of coffee, it hits you harder because of the smaller volume. It’s much easier to down a shot of espresso than it is to sip an entire coffee, right?
Why the Difference?
Caffeine is water-soluble and will be removed from the coffee during the brewing process. There are many things that can affect how much of the caffeine makes it into the final product, like the temperature, how long it’s brewed, how finely ground it is, and how saturated the coffee becomes. Hotter temperature, longer brew time, and a finer grind can all lead to higher concentrations of caffeine compared to the alternatives.
Espresso is made using a specialty machine that forces boiling water through the ground espresso beans at a rapid pace. The speed with which it works means it extracts more caffeine per ounce than regular drip coffee. Drip coffee machines let the water do its job more slowly and don’t force it through like the espresso machine.
Espresso beans themselves can be identified from regular coffee beans by their darker and more oily appearance. These beans have been roasted until the last possible point to bring out all those caramelly, bold flavors. The beans are ground much more finely than regular coffee beans, and they are packed down tight prior to brewing. The brew process only takes around 25-30 seconds, compared to the minutes it takes to make a regular cup of coffee.
So which type of coffee do you prefer for your morning caffeine rush? Share with us in the comments!