Milligrams of Caffeine - Instant Coffee vs. Espresso

Discuss flavors, brew temperatures, blending, and cupping notes.

#1: Post by Kakamath »

Soo.... I recently switched from my morning bliss of Folger's instant coffee to the Synchronika made espresso coffee. The first couple of days I was in some serious caffeine withdrawal, I mean crabby, headache, stiff body, the whole thing. I stuck it out, and now, I am better but it still feels like I am taking less caffeine in.

I'm wondering how much caffeine is in 3 heapful spoon (spoon just a bit bigger than a teaspoon) and is it more caffeine than a medium roast, two double shots of espresso with milk, and 20 gm ground coffee in each shot. Thoughts???


#2: Post by blkswn »

Could it be that you're taking in too much caffeine? Quick search shows you may be used to taking in 140-210 mg of caffeine from the folgers instant mix and if you're now consuming 2x20g shots, that's probably in the 300-400 mg range. Then again, regardless, starbucks coffee always gives me a headache and I have no withdrawal or sensitivity to caffeine. Maybe it's just that particular coffee bean/batch?

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#3: Post by Nunas »

Good question. You can find out on the USDA site, as I did, that the caffeine content in Folgers caffeinated coffees is 12 mg per ounce. As a commercial product, I'd expect this to be fairly constant. I've always thought that espresso would be entirely a different thing. There's the type of bean the roast level (darker = less caffeine). But, the USDA says 63.6 mg per ounce for espresso. So, despite a little sleuthing...I still can't answer the question :wink: All I know is I really don't like instant coffee and I really do like what comes out of my Synchronika!

Kakamath (original poster)

#4: Post by Kakamath (original poster) »

Thanks you two for the insight! Certainly doesn't seem like I'm on too much caffeine with the double double. We've been struggling getting the perfect shot, but then again don't know what pure espresso is suppose to taste like. Planning on a trip to the local Batista... Not the chain.

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#5: Post by yakster »

You need to take into account the volume of the drink when comparing instant coffee to the espresso. You're drinking much smaller volumes with espresso shots. This chart may help, but the caffeine content of coffee varies some with the variety; with Robusta having the most and roast level doesn't appear to affect caffeine content.


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Kakamath (original poster)

#6: Post by Kakamath (original poster) »

So is that 80 mg espresso for a single shot?! In that case, it's 80 x 4 = 320 mg??? I really don't feel like I am over doing it. Having experienced not drinking coffee the first thing when I wake up, I feel like it is under and not over.

@yakster Yes, caffeine content vary by blend and roast, but I'd imaging it is somewhat closer to the 80 mg mark?!

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#7: Post by yakster »

That's probably a double shot as single shots are rare in the USA.

I use 18 grams if ground coffee for a large tumbler of coffee and for a double shot. I'm not surprised that two doubles would have more caffeine than a cup of instant coffee.

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#8: Post by baldheadracing »

The answer, in more detail than you ever wanted: ... rip-coffee
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada

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#9: Post by SteveRhinehart »

It proves to be very hard to generalize caffeine content across brands and preparations. Here's a study that measured mg of caffeine per serving of espresso from coffee shops, finding an overall range of 51-322 mg per serve. Link with free-to-view PDF.

The highest caffeine per mL was a place called Heart Buchanan, with 6.5 mg/mL in a small 24 mL serving (156 mg total). Highest caffeine served was 322 mg in a 52 mL from Patisserie Francois. There aren't any notes about what sort of coffees are used or what doses are involved, but the idea here is that most consumers are just buying "an espresso" and the study was looking at what they might receive.

The short version: it's a bit of a wash, apparently. I've been told you can guesstimate caffeine content for arabica coffees as about 0.8-1.5% of your dry dose, e.g. a 15 g dose yields about 150 mg of caffeine in the cup.


#10: Post by jpender »

SteveRhinehart wrote:I've been told you can guesstimate caffeine content for arabica coffees as about 0.8-1.5% of your dry dose

Is that for any of the usual means of preparation or for espresso specifically? I've heard that espresso results in a lower yield of caffeine compared to other brewing methods but I don't know if that's true.