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How Much Caffeine Is in a Shot of Espresso?

When it comes to how much caffeine is in a shot of espresso, most people believe that the espresso has the highest amount when compared to other coffees. Actually, if you compare it to a cup of coffee, espresso has much less caffeine. 

You might think that it’s not about the caffeine it’s about the taste. But with the coffee culture surrounding espresso, most people drink espresso solely for the caffeine boost.

For example, in Europe, it’s common to order an espresso, drink it straight away, then leave the cafe – mainly before work. 

That’s why it’s important to actually understand how much caffeine is in an espresso shot, to see if you are actually getting the boost you need. Let’s take a look in a bit more detail.

A Brief History

Before diving into how much caffeine is in a shot of espresso, you first have to know its humble beginning. Italy is known to be where most of the beloved coffee drinks originated from and this is also true for espresso. 

Espresso originated in Italy around the 1800s. Who created the espresso drink is still a mystery to most people.

Some say that the original creator of the espresso is Angelo Moriondo since he was the one who patented the first steam-driven coffee beverage-making device in 1884.

Others say that it was Desiderio Pavoni since he was the one who was able to perfect and produce the machine commercially. 

Espresso literally translates to “pressed-out coffee”, this means that to get a shot of espresso, water is forced through finely-ground coffee using 9-10 bars of pressure.

The texture of espresso is thicker compared to other coffee beverages and this is because of the pressurized brewing method which makes it very concentrated. 

How Much Caffeine Is in an Espresso Shot?

A single shot of espresso contains around 63.6mg of caffeine. This can vary depending on the type of coffee used and the amount of ground coffee packed into the brewing process. 

When it comes to choosing which coffee drink people will choose to get a good boost of caffeine, they will choose espresso since most people think that a shot of espresso is stronger than other coffee drinks.

But hang on, is it true that espresso has more caffeine content compared to other coffee beverages? 

Espresso having the most caffeine content over other coffee drinks is a common misconception. 

According to USDA, a single espresso shot (1 fl. oz. or 30 g) has around 63.6 mg of caffeine while a regular cup of brewed coffee (8 fl. oz. or 240g) has 96 mg of caffeine. 

You might argue that if the cup size of espresso and regular coffee be equal, then espresso will have more caffeine content than coffee – which is true.

But you don’t consume espresso in such a large volume – that’s what makes it creamy and full-bodied. 

This is the equivalent to a can of cola or energy drinks, but not enough to make someone feel like they are getting “jacked up” with energy as most energy drinks give.

Related: Does decaf coffee have caffeine?



Espresso & Regular Coffee – Which Has More Caffeine?

According to data – regular coffee has 12 to 16 mg per ounce compared to espresso which has 63.6mg per ounce. So you can see that espresso has more caffeine here.

But would you have an espresso-sized black coffee? Probably not.

So if your regular cup of coffee was 7 ounces, for example, your cup would be 84mg of caffeine (at its lowest). 

Espresso-based drinks would basically be the same as they all use a single shot of espresso. 

If you wanted a ristretto or a lungo – these would contain more caffeine as the shot is ‘pulled’ for longer and produces a larger quantity. 

If you wanted to take this even further and compare the espresso caffeine with cold brew, cold brew would wipe the floor with espresso.

So as you can see, espresso is actually the weakest when it comes to caffeine. 

Related: Does French Press have more caffeine?

The Final Sip

The bottom line here is that espresso has less caffeine compared to regular coffee but it packs a lot of punch. So next time you’re looking for a good caffeine kick, ditch the energy drinks and go straight for an espresso shot. 


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