The Anatomy of Coffee

Looking for a coffee with the highest caffeine content? You’ve come to the right place.

In this post we will try to tackle some urban myths concerning that one coffee cup that will give you the necessary caffeine burst to get you through the night of studying or working. We’ve all been there, in desperate search for that perfect blend of caffeine injection and delectable flavor. So, you are probably wondering, what’s the trick to finding this wholly grail of every coffee enthusiast?…

Right off the bat, it is important to say answering this question won’t be neither short, nor simple. Choosing the coffee with the highest caffeine content is quite an ordeal and it takes some considerable expertise and knowledge. Some of the major factors that come into play are:

  • Type of bean
  • Type of roast
  • Type of brew
  • Amount of coffee

Arabica or Robusta

All coffee beans can be divided into two distinct categories: Arabica and Robusta. This categorization concerns the overall quality of the coffee beans.

Arabica beans are superior quality, with fruity flavors and they are considerably harder to grow. As such, these beans are valued much more than Robusta beans, so most artisanal coffeeshops and exclusive roasters use Arabica. Due to its glorious taste, Arabica is the most popular type of coffee in the world and it makes up to 60% of coffee production. With its slightly sweet flavor, hints of chocolate, caramel and nuts, Arabica is truly delicious. However, although tastier, Arabica has almost two times less caffeine than its opponent – Robusta.

Robusta beans are easier to grow and they make up to 40% of the world production of coffee. Robusta coffee has less sugar then arabica, it tastes earthy, with a distinctive peanutty aftertaste. On the other hand, Robusta beans contain 2.7% of caffeine which also makes them bitterish. Needless to say, if you want your coffee to pack a punch when it comes to caffeine, Robusta is the way to go. We should also note that Robusta has lots of different varieties, so high quality Robusta beans can also be found.

Light or dark roast

The issue of choosing between light or dark roast can be particularly tricky. Some say that caffeine burns off and evaporates during the heating process of darker roasts, which lowers their caffeine content. Because of this, most people believe that the darker roasts have less caffeine then the light ones.

However, we will now debunk this myth, with a few easily explainable and simple facts. Prolonged heating of the dark roasts shrinks the beans, so they lose a considerable amount of weight. This means that one kilogram of dark roast coffee has more coffee beans than one kilogram of light roast. This, of course results with more caffeine for dark roast coffee. Nonetheless, if you measure out each bean by volume, the light roast bean has more mass, which implicates that it also has a bigger percentage of caffeine.

So, it’s safe to say that both dark and light roast have approximately the same amount of caffeine. People just give it too much thought.

Caffeine content per particular type of brew

Unlike roast, preparation can actually influence the amount of caffeine in your coffee. The following measures are taken from the US FDA Caffeine Informer:

Brewed Decaf7.7 (fl. oz)0.003 – 0.004 (g)
Brewed Coffee7.7 (fl. oz)0.095 (g)
Drip Coffee7.7 (fl. oz)0.065 – 0.12 (g)
Espresso Shot1.6 (fl. oz)0.06 – 0.102 (g)
Cold Brew7.7 (fl. oz)0.1 (g)

According to this insightful chart we can quickly conclude several things. First of all, we’ll get the biggest caffeine burst from one serving of drip coffee. However, Espresso has considerably more caffeine per fluid ounce (fl.oz) than drip coffee. A single shot of espresso has just 1.6 fl..oz but it still has the similar amount of caffeine as a 7.7 fl.oz. shot of drip coffee. Needless to say, 7.7 fl.oz of espresso would have much more caffeine than any of the mentioned coffees, but drinking it all at once wouldn’t be all that beneficial to your health.

Cold brew on the other hand has also has a considerable amount of caffeine. Furthermore, experts say that the cold brewing encourages your body to gradually allow the caffeine into your bloodstream, leading to longer lasting caffeine buzz.

In conclusion, it’s all about the volume. The amount of coffee you drink will ultimately determine the amount of caffeine, as simple as that.

How much coffee is enough coffee?

The recommended dosage of caffeine, or a safe limit for an average adult person, is 400 mg. Even here the number can vary if we include some more parameters such as caffeine tolerance and body weight.

However, even if you manage to built up a good tolerance to caffeine or you just happen to have a it naturally, you shouldn’t drink more than it is recommended. Caffeine overdose is a real possibility and once it occurs a huge number of health complications can arise. In extremely rare cases, caffeine overdose can even cause death.

How does caffeine work?

Anyone who is somewhat familiar with chemistry could tell you that caffeine is an odorless alkaloid that works by speeding up your nervous system once you ingest it.

From a legal standpoint, caffeine can be considered a drug. The only reason for its free and unregulated use is because it’s mostly very safe. If caffeine affects you positively, you will feel energized and alert, and if it affects you negatively, you will probably feel jittery and nervous. So, unless you are caffeine-intolerable or you overdose, it is completely safe.

Once you drink your “cup of joe”, the caffeine gets absorbed into your blood through the thin lining of your mouth and throat. The rest goes into your stomach, where it takes about 45 minutes to get fully absorbed. Your body will then take around 3 hours to break the caffeine down, which is how long your caffeine induced buzz will last.

Coffees with the highest content of caffeine

Numerous manufacturers have recognized the consumer’s chase for caffeine, so now we have several brands that feature insane percentage of caffeine per bean. Before we name a few, we have to emphasize that all of the following coffees should be consumed with caution.

  1. Death Wish Coffee

    One of the most famous strong coffee brands, Death Wish has whopping 728 milligrams of caffeine per one 11.7 fl.oz cup. At this point, we should note once again that the recommended daily intake of caffeine is 400 milligrams. The company which produces Death Wish never revealed the coffee beans it uses, but they claim their caffeine control is careful and meticulous. Considering the amount of caffeine it has, Death Wish is actually very palatable and not at all bitter or pungent.
  2. Black Insomnia Coffee

    Another coffee brand with a menacing name, Black Insomnia Coffee packs 702 milligrams of caffeine per 11.7 fl.oz cup. The brand has a strong online presence and a devoted following. It also poses as quite a competition to Death Wish, even spinning some controversy to make it all more interesting. Apparently, Black Insomnia claims that its content of caffeine is actually stronger than that of its contender Death Wish. Black Insomnia has somewhat stronger taste, but it also features a delightful trace of nutty sweetness which makes it particularly yummy.
  3. Killer Coffee

    Killer Coffee hits a golden midway between freshness and high caffeine punch. It contains 645 milligrams of caffeine per 11.7 fl.oz cup, which is much more than some regular coffee brand. Killer Coffee is a particularly dark roast with wonderfully mellow and strong flavor. The company also never disclosed what type of bean it uses. However, considering its interesting features, Killer Coffee is most likely a good mix of Arabica and Robusta.