What’s Your Caffeine Intake?


Worried about your caffeine intake?

March is Caffeine Awareness Month and I bet most of us are not aware of how much caffeine is in our food and beverages, let alone, if our caffeine consumption is a problem.

For most people, low to moderate caffeine intake is not a concern and may offer some health benefits. (More about that another time.)

Health Canada recommends that healthy adults limit their caffeine consumption to 400 mg of caffeine per day. A little less (300 mg a day) for pregnant or nursing women, and a whole lot less for children.

How to tell when you’ve hit 400 mg from your daily brew? It’s not super easy because the amount of caffeine in coffee varies tremendously.

Caffeine ingested depends on the type of coffee bean, how the beans were roasted, how the coffee was made, and even how your body metabolizes coffee.

Some guidelines and rules of thumb:

  • one shot (45-50 ml or 1.5 oz) of espresso has about 50 to 75 mg of caffeine
  • a typical brewed / drip coffee contains anywhere from 50 to over 100 mg of caffeine per 100 ml of coffee
    • this works out to about 100 to 200 mg for a standard 8 oz coffee mug
  • arabica beans generally have about half as much caffeine than the robusta varietals
  • in general, the lighter the roast, the more caffeine. Darker roasts taste stronger but you can't taste caffeine
  • caffeine has a 6 hour half-life and takes about 24 hours to completely leave your system
  • decaf coffee has a tiny bit of caffeine, though not enough that most people would notice

Estimating caffeine in a Sparkplug Coffee

If you drink a mug of our Kick Start coffee now (medium roast & 100% arabica), you'll consume about 100 mg of caffeine for a 225 ml / 8 oz mug. This means that you'll have

  • about 50 mg of caffeine in your system in 6 hours (half of 100)
  • 25 mg in 12 hours (half of 50)
  • 12 mg in 18 hours and
  • 5 mg or less in 24 hours

Other factors that affect the amount of caffeine are the grind (finer grind = more caffeine), the brew time (the longer the water and beans are in contact = more caffeine extraction), and the water temperature (lower temperature = less caffeine).

All of these factors also affect the taste. Which is why I recommend brewing your coffee so that it tastes best - with the appropriate grind and water temperature for the brew method, using a freshly roasted bean that you love - and don't worry about the amount of caffeine!

Want to estimate how much caffeine you consumed today?

Here is a handy calculator to work out your caffeine intake. Thank you, internet.

And how much caffeine is in your system right this moment?

Well, of course there is another fun caffeine calculator to help you figure that out. Just fill in some fields to get a chart that shows both how much caffeine is coursing through your veins and when all of it will be gone from your system.

What about decaf?

If you're trying to cut back on caffeine, decaf coffee is a great option and there are some great decafs available. Sparkplug Coffee offers both a Swiss Water Process decaf (we call it the Unleaded, of course) and our Low Voltage half caf so you can cut back on the caffeine without cutting back on the taste.

If you want to know more about how coffee is decaffeinated, here's The Scoop on Decaf.

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