We’ve all been there before. You stayed up too late from drinking coffee in the afternoon, and got up too early feeling groggy and tired. What do you do? Make another cup of coffee of course! And the cycle is vicious…
Okay, I know I’m being dramatic, but if you want to master your caffeine intake and bust a few myths along the way, then read on.
I’m not a scientist, nor am I a health expert, so I advise you to do your own research if you want accredited academic sources. The following information is what I have learned and collected over the past 10 years from published, academic sources.
Let’s get to it!
Caffeine has a half-life of 8 hours. If you consume a cup of coffee at noon, you will still have 50% of that caffeine in your system at 8:00pm. That’s crazy! Especially since most folks drink more than one cup of coffee, and often as a pick-me-up in the early afternoon. If you have struggled with sleep or insomnia, start by looking at your caffeine intake. You might also be consuming chocolate, sodas or tea with additional caffeine. I personally have a caffeine curfew at Noon.
Dark Vs. Light
A common myth is that light roasted coffee has more caffeine than dark roasts because they have not been roasted as hot as darker coffees, and therefore have more mass to them.
While lighter coffees do have more mass, caffeine is a highly stable compound that is not degraded by 400f - 430f temperatures. Therefore, dark roasts have the same amount of caffeine as a light roast. Not to mention that coffee is ideally measured by weight, meaning that mass is irrelevant to the caffeine that could vary if measured volumetrically.
When it comes to the effects we feel from caffeine, light and dark roasts are nearly identical, but technically, dark roasts have MORE caffeine for their mass. Since caffeine is such a stable compound, it is not roasted off in the process. The way I roast results in light roasts around 13% weight-loss while a dark roast is much higher; somewhere around 19 - 21%. If the two roasts have the same amount of caffeine, but the dark roast has less mass, then it technically has more caffeine by weight than the lighter roast.
Drip Vs. Espresso
“I drink espresso because it has more caffeine.” - Your friend who moves a million miles an hour
We already talked about caffeine in light and dark coffees, so we know that the amount of caffeine in a coffee beverage is primarily dependent on how much coffee is used.
Let’s assume we drink 12oz cups of coffee (which I believe to be the most common cup size). If we use the tried and true drip coffee ratio of 1:16 (1 gram of coffee for every 16grams of water), then we will be using about 336grams of coffee. Let’s round up to 350, which will yield closer to 330g of brewed liquid after the grounds absorb some of the water. 350 / 16 = 21.88. Now let’s round up to 22.
Espresso is usually dubbed as “single” or “double”, but this isn’t relevant since all that matters is water in and brewed liquid out, and also the coffee by weight. A double espresso is typically anywhere between 18 - 20g of dry coffee + or - 2 grams.
If we take this example as the most standard volumes (and assuming they are brewed correctly), then that means the 12oz drip coffee (22g) has more caffeine than an espresso (18-20g).
You may feel more jazzed by caffeine from an espresso because of how quickly you consumed it.
Decaf is the after dinner savior in the world of coffee. To be legally sold, coffee must be 97% caffeine free, and is usually 99% caffeine free. I hear some people say they still feel jittery after decaf coffee...but they probably just ate chocolate and forgot. Play around with blending decaf and regular drip coffee to build your own blend with the perfect amount of caffeine and deliciousness. Have you tried our Doldrums Decaf? I drink a cup nearly every day!
Nearly all good coffee is Arabica. You probably knew that, huh? The coffees we enjoy with complexity, sweetness and clarity are all of the arabica species and grown in fairly high elevations. We only buy Arabica. If you buy coffee from fill in the blank mass produced coffee roaster, then you are likely drinking robusta, which tastes dirty, bitter and not great. Robusta coffee has more caffeine than Arabica, but none of the good flavors.
Well there it is! I hope this helped you craft your daily coffee routine, and that you get a wonderful night of sleep.