How Much Caffeine is in a Cup of Coffee?

how much caffeine there is exactly in a cup of coffee depends on several factors, some of which include the type of brewing method used, type of coffee, etc.

Coffee is one of the most commonly drank beverages in the world, right after tea and water. However, this shouldn't come as a surprise, especially considering that many people cannot imagine starting their morning without a steaming cup of coffee that will keep them energized for the rest of the day.

The reason behind it is caffeine. Coffee is one of the biggest and most common sources of caffeine - how much caffeine there is exactly in a cup of coffee depends on several factors, some of which include the type of brewing method used, type of coffee, etc.

Let us break it all down below.

What Is Caffeine and Why Do People Love It?

Coffee Lover

Caffeine is a natural stimulant that affects the central nervous system (CNS). It is most commonly found in leaves of coffee, tea, and cocoa plants. However, it is worth noting that nowadays, some companies produce synthetic caffeine in their labs - that caffeine is then added to packaged foods and drinks, such as energy drinks, chewing gum, or juices.

What many people don't realize is that caffeine is actually a psychoactive drug, as it affects the nervous system function and alternates a person's mood, perception, behavior, etc. - however, contrary to other similar drugs, caffeine is legal, unregulated in almost all countries, and widely available to everyone with a quick trip to a supermarket.

In Which Products Can Caffeine Be Found?

The most obvious product in which you can find caffeine is coffee - however, there are plenty more. For instance, caffeine can be found in:

  • Tea (black tea, green tea)
  • Energy drinks
  • Chocolate
  • Chewing gum (not always, but it can contain caffeine depending on the manufacturer)

Is Caffeine Beneficial to the Body?

Coffee Beneficial to the Body

Yes, caffeine can be very beneficial to the body - but only when you consume moderate amounts of it, as is the case with most things (in the case of caffeine, it is recommended not to consume more than 400 mg per day). Some of the benefits it can bring to your body include:

Weight loss - caffeine can suppress your appetite and temporarily reduce the desire to eat; it also stimulates thermogenesis, which causes the body to generate more heat and therefore burn fat more effectively

Improved energy levels - caffeine can make people feel less tired and more aware of their surroundings by increasing their energy levels. However, it is important to notice that while you become more energized, coffee and caffeine do not substitute sleep.

Detox - caffeine is a diuretic, which means that it helps your body get rid of the excess salt (sodium) and water by making you urinate more frequently.

Reduced risk of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases - there've been some studies that suggest lifelong consumption of caffeine (for example, in the form of coffee) can lower the risk of developing Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.

Reduced risk of kidney stones - a study investigating the association between the risk of developing kidney stones and caffeine intake found that those with a higher caffeine intake also had a lower risk of developing kidney stones.

Are There Any Negative Side Effects?

Yes, there are. As we already mentioned, while caffeine is good in moderate amounts, if you consume too much of it, you might be experiencing some adverse side effects. Negative side effects of caffeine consumption include, but are not limited to:

  • insomnia
  • headaches
  • dehydration
  • anxiety
  • abnormal heart rhythm
  • dependency (you will need more and more of it to function normally)

How Much Caffeine Is in a Cup of Coffee?

The answer to that question is not as easy as some people might think - especially since there are many factors that influence how much caffeine there is in a cup of coffee, including:

The Serving Size

as you probably noticed, even by going to Starbucks or other coffee shops, there are different cup sizes - a cup of coffee can be 8 oz, 12 oz, 16 oz, and more.

The type of coffee beans used

there are plenty of different types of coffee beans available on the market, all of which contain different caffeine content.

The roast

despite having a richer flavor, dark roasts contain less caffeine than light roasts.

The type of coffee

this is probably a no-brainer. The caffeine content can vary significantly between different types of coffee. For example, an espresso will have more milligrams (mg) of caffeine than decaf coffee or instant coffee.

Among all those factors, the type of coffee plays the most important role in determining how much caffeine there is in a cup of coffee. Let's go through the most commonly drunk ones so that you can have an idea about how much mg of caffeine there is in them.

Brewed Coffee

Also known as regular coffee, brewed coffee is the most commonly consumed type of coffee in both the United States and Europe. It is very easy to make - you just need to pour hot or boiling water over ground coffee beans - usually, they are placed in a filter, but there are some people who enjoy having coffee grounds in their cup of coffee, so they don't use it.

One cup of brewed coffee, which is around 8 oz, can contain anywhere between 70 and 140 mg of caffeine, with the average caffeine content being 95 mg.


The size of an espresso can be misleading. While espresso might be small, it is a very strong, concentrated drink. Still, if we look at the amount of caffeine per serving, one espresso contains less of it than one cup of coffee (the regular one), as it simply is smaller.

One shot of espresso is usually around 30-50 ml, which equals 1 to 1.75 oz, and contains 63 mg of caffeine. If you double the shot, you increase the caffeine content to 125 mg per serving.

Espresso-Based Drinks

There is a variety of drinks available on the market, all of which are made by mixing a shot of espresso and different types and amounts of milk. An example of an espresso-based drink is a cappuccino or latte macchiato.

Although it might seem that espresso-based drinks contain different amounts of caffeine, it is important to notice that milk does not contain any caffeine, which means that the caffeine content in espresso-based drinks is the same as in an espresso. As such, there's 63 mg of caffeine in a single shot and 125 mg in a double shot.

Instant Coffee

Instant coffee is made using brewed coffee that's been either spray-dried or freeze-dried. You just have to mix one or two teaspoons (depending on how strong you want it to be) of dried coffee with hot water.

Now, when it comes to how much caffeine there is in instant coffee - one cup of instant coffee usually contains between 30 and 90 mg of caffeine.

Decaf Coffee

While it seems pretty logical to think that decaffeinated coffee does not have any caffeine content, the truth is a little different. Decaf coffee does, in fact, contain caffeine - its amounts are just not as considerable as they are when it comes to caffeinated coffee.

The caffeine content in decaffeinated coffee can vary, usually sticking between 1 and 7 mg of caffeine per cup. It is worth keeping in mind that in some cases, that amount can be higher because, as is the case with regular coffee, it all depends on several factors, some of which include the serving size, type of coffee, and the method of decaffeination.

How Much Caffeine Is There in Coffee Alternatives?

As you must have seen, in recent years there was an increase in coffee alternatives available on the market - because of that, we couldn't not include them in our article.


The first coffee alternative we want to talk about is matcha. Matcha is a powder made of green tea leaves that you dissolve in hot water and make a beverage out of it. It can be easily recognized due to its specific bright green color.

The average amount of caffeine in one cup of matcha, which is made with one spoon of matcha powder, is around 70 mg. Though, as with most things we mentioned on this list, it all depends on how concentrated you like your drink - it could be less, or it could be more, depending on your preferences.

Yerba Mate

Yerba mate is a hot beverage made from leaves of a native species of the holly tree, called Ilex paraguariensis. The leaves are hand-harvested by cultivators called yerbateros from indigenous communities and small farms located all over Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. Yerba mate is made by placing mate leaves in a container (usually a gourd with a metal straw) and adding water at a temperature around 70-80 degrees (so when it's not boiling).

Now, for how much caffeine there is in a cup of yerba mate - an average cup of yerba mate contains around 85 mg of caffeine.

Black Tea

Interestingly enough, before brewing, tea leaves actually contain more caffeine than coffee beans. Later on, this changes and the reason for it is actually pretty obvious - coffee is simply a stronger drink than tea. You can come to that conclusion even by simply looking at the two beverages.
Now, when it comes to how much caffeine black tea contains - an average 8 oz cup of brewed regular tea contains about 47 mg of caffeine. Decaffeinated, brewed black tea, on the other hand, has about 2 mg of caffeine.

Chai Tea

Chai tea is a beverage born in India during the times of British colonization. Nowadays, there are many different variations, which means that depending on the region in which you drink it, the tea will most likely taste different. However, generally speaking, the basic ingredients of chai tea don't change - you need tea, milk, spices, and sweetener to make one.

When it comes to Chai tea, you actually don't have to use the word 'Chai,’ as it means tea in Indian - so, when saying Chai tea, you are basically 'tea tea.’ However, in the US, the word 'Chai' is used to describe a flavor of tea that has a cinnamon or cardamom note.

A traditional cup of Chai tea can contain anywhere between 50 and 120 mg of caffeine. It is important to mention that a lot depends on what kind of tea was used during the making process - for instance, in most cases, Chai tea made with green tea will contain less caffeine than Chai tea made with black tea, while one made with Chai powder or concentrated will have a caffeine content between 25 and 55 mg and 30 and 35 mg, respectively.

Other Sources of Caffeine

As we have already mentioned above, caffeine is present in more than just coffee or coffee alternatives. Here are some of the products that you might not have even known contain caffeine.

Energy Drinks

Energy contains large amounts of not only caffeine but also sugar. Depending on the brand, caffeine can either come from natural sources (such as guarana leaves), or it can be synthetic.

Here is a short breakdown of how much caffeine there is in some of the most popular energy drinks:

  • Red Bull - Red Bull has been around since the 1990s. Starting with Austria, the energy drink slowly became available to other countries, and today it is very hard to go to a shop and not see at least one type of Red Bull. The beverage comes in a 12-ounce can and contains about 111 mg of caffeine.
  • Rockstar - another very popular energy drink, Rockstar launched in 2001 and since then has developed a wide range of flavors. There are two can sizes that you can purchase - 16 oz and 24 oz. Although there might be some variations in the caffeine content depending on the flavor you pick, usually, the small can contains 160 mg of caffeine, while the big one contains 240 mg.
  • Monster Energy - Monster Energy was launched in 2002, and just like Rockstar, today there is a selection of flavors you can choose from. As for the amount of caffeine they contain - again, a lot depends on the flavor, but the regular Monster Energy has about 160 mg of caffeine, while in other flavors, the amount of caffeine can vary between 115 and 187 mg.

Soft Drinks

There are some soft drinks that contain caffeine (although very often there are two versions available - caffeinated and decaffeinated). Here are a few examples of soft drinks that contain caffeine and how much of it there is in a 12 oz can or bottle:

  • Mountain Dew (both diet and regular) - around 54 mg of caffeine
  • Dr. Pepper (both diet and regular) - around 41 mg of caffeine
  • Pepsi Zero Sugar - around 69 mg of caffeine
  • Coca Cola (regular or Zero Sugar) - around 34 mg of caffeine
  • Diet Coke - around 46 mg of caffeine


Yes, chocolate does contain some caffeine - the amount of caffeine depends on how much cocoa the chocolate has. Usually, the more cocoa it contains, the higher the caffeine content will be.

Here are a few examples of chocolate products to show you just how much the amount of caffeine can vary:

  • dark chocolate (between 70 and 85% of cocoa) - around 80 mg of caffeine per 100 grams
  • chocolate with 45 to 59% of cocoa - around 230 mg of caffeine per 100 grams; around 12.3 mg per tablespoon
  • milk chocolate - around 20 mg of caffeine per 100 grams
  • chocolate ice cream - around 3 mg of caffeine per 100 grams
  • chocolate cake with chocolate frosting - around 6 mg of caffeine per 100 grams

If you want to take a look at some other examples, the data is available on the USDA Food Composition Database.

Bottom Line

Some people cannot imagine surviving a whole day without at least two cups of coffee to keep them going - they just need that energy boost. You might be wondering - How does it happen? What does coffee have that makes people feel like they can conquer the world? After reading this article, you should know that the answer is pretty simple - coffee contains caffeine, and it is probably its biggest and the most common source.

We hope that after reading this article, you know a little more about how much caffeine in a cup of coffee there is. Remember - how much caffeine coffee contains depends on several factors, such as coffee beans type, what drink is it (is it brewed coffee? an espresso-based drink? some other type of coffee drinks?), the serving size (is it an 8 oz, 12 oz 20 oz cup?) and what roast was used to make it.

Keep in mind that even seemingly identical drinks can have different caffeine content if, for example, a different roast was used. However, as long as you don't exceed the caffeine limit per day, which is around 400 mg, you should be just fine. Enjoy!

About the Author Greg Haver

Hey there, my name is Greg and I'm the creator and editor of Coffee or Bust. I've been in the coffee business for over a decade, and my goal is to help you make the best cup of coffee with recommended tips, tools, and tricks!