Do you know how much caffeine is in your coffee? Did you know that it varies wildly depending which coffee shop you go to? Scientists at Glasgow University carried out a snap shot study of caffeine levels in espressos sold in high street coffee shops in Glasgow. The wide variety of levels gives an indication that as a consumer we have no way of knowing how much caffeine we are consuming when we purchase one of these drinks.
Here’s a list of five of the better known coffee shops where samples were taken and the caffeine levels found in a single shot of espresso;
- Highest was Patisserie Francoise with 322mg of caffeine
- Costa Coffee had 157mg
- Baguette Express had 140mg
- Beanscene had 77mg
- Lowest was Starbucks with 51mg
The study identifies factors that could have an effect on the level of caffeine in the coffee such as the quantity of ground coffee used for making the espresso, the grind, the temperature of the water and the beans.
These results are for a single shot of espresso, many coffees we buy from high street coffee shops will be made with two, three or even four shots of espresso. Starbucks have recently announced their intention to start putting a double shot of espresso in tall lattes and cappucinos, the customer will now be getting over 100mg of caffeine in a standard drink.
So what are the caffeine levels in other beverages?
- Current guidelines suggest that in a 225ml mug of instant coffee there is 60-85mg
- A standard can of Coca Cola has 35mg and Diet Coke 45mg
- 225ml mug of decaf filter coffee has about 6mg
- Red Bull has 80mg and other energy drinks go as high as 300mg per can/bottle
These figures are all taken from www.energyfiend.com. There are many factors influencing the caffeine content of tea, including brew time and temperature of water, making it difficult to put a figure on the caffeine levels.
The reality is most of us have no idea how much caffeine we are consuming and the wide variety of caffeine levels in drinks purchased from coffee shops make it very difficult to even try and monitor our intake. So whilst you may think you’re only drinking one or two cups of coffee a day, depending where you buy it, how it is made and size, your one cup could be equivalent to another person’s four cups in terms of caffeine.