It might be hard to believe, but some people actually don’t enjoy the taste of coffee or can’t have caffeine. You might be wondering why they would drink it then, and that’s a good question. In fact, according to one study, “People who have a heightened ability to taste coffee’s bitterness—and particularly the distinct bitter flavor of caffeine—learn to associate ‘good things with it.” If you believe you fall into this category and what to know what is the weakest coffee to order… then read on.
What Makes Coffee Weaker?
The first thing to mention is that some drinkers may have different opinions of what makes coffee “weak.” For some, weak coffee may mean that is it lighter in flavor than most. For others, weak coffee means that it has lower caffeine content. It could also refer to both flavor and caffeine, especially since coffee that is weaker in flavor may frequently have lower caffeine levels as well. Regardless, there are some factors that impact the strength of coffee.
The quantity of coffee, and the ratio of water when brewing, are big factors that impact coffee strength. This is easier to control when brewing at home since individuals can use more water and less coffee when brewing to create a weaker beverage. This can apply to any coffee type, including drip methods, diluting espresso, or using instant coffee.
Bean varieties also impact strength, since some types of coffee naturally have stronger flavors and/or higher caffeine. For example, Robusta beans have higher caffeine levels than Arabica beans. Roasting methods and levels also impact strength. Dark roasts have less caffeine than medium and light roasts; however, dark roasts will also have a more intense flavor.
The brewing method, whether at home or at a local café, also impacts strength. Some brewing methods have higher caffeine and flavor levels due to the length of time the coffee is in contact with the brewing water.
When considering coffee shop beverages, the biggest factor for caffeine content is the diluting of the coffee. Depending on the size, many espresso drinks will have lower caffeine content compared to standard coffee. This is due to the water, milk products, sugars, foams, and other additives that weaken the concentration of the espresso.
Since many of these beverages can be sweetened and flavored, they are also a good option for drinkers that do not want an intense coffee taste.
What Is the Weakest Coffee to Order?
If you want regular caffeine and coffee, then the weakest coffee to order is an espresso shot with roughly 60mg of caffeine. If you want the weakest coffee for caffeine amounts, then decaf is the way to go. However, there are many other ‘weak coffee’ avenues to explore.
Overall, the easiest route to control coffee strength when ordering out is to go with a decaffeinated coffee. Although not completely caffeine-free, decaf coffee is produced and roasted to remove most caffeine, making it weaker in taste and caffeine content. Most decaf coffee contains between 0mg and 15mg of caffeine per cup.
While this may not be an option at many coffee shops and cafés, instant coffee is another easy option for a weaker coffee. Instant coffee contains a fraction of the amount of caffeine that normal coffee has, sometimes half as much caffeine as standard coffee.
If decaf or instant options are not appealing or available, espresso-based beverages are the next best option. A shot of espresso can contain as little as 45mg of caffeine, even with its high concentration, due to the small serving size. Most espresso hovers around 60mg of caffeine per ounce. In contrast, a standard cup of coffee usually has between 80mg and 100mg of caffeine. While the taste of espresso is anything but weak, it is diluted in a variety of ways to make different beverages.
Various lattes have some of the lowest caffeine levels since a high amount of milk or milk alternative is used to dilute the espresso. Lattes are also great for sweetening and flavoring for drinkers that want a less intense coffee flavor.
Other “weak” beverage options include the Americano, Café Au Lait, and others. Americanos are essentially espresso diluted with water and have less caffeine than standard coffee. Especially with added creamers, Americanos do not have an overwhelming taste. A Café Au Lait is standard coffee with a substantial amount of steamed milk or milk alternative. The amount of cream added dilutes the flavor and caffeine of the coffee base.
Essentially, there are many ways to get weak coffee when ordering from a coffee shop or at home. If decaf and instant coffees are unavailable or undesirable for an individual, the easiest way to get a weaker beverage is to stick to diluted espresso beverages. Not only are they lower in caffeine due to being diluted with milk, water, or other additives, they can have more appealing flavors due to common sweeteners and flavoring added to these beverages.
The Final Sip
So, what is the weakest coffee to order? In our opinion, espresso is the best way to go for getting a caffeine fix if you don’t like coffee and decaf is the best way to go for low caffeine content. Ultimately, it comes down to your preference and why you want a weak coffee in the first place.