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How Much Caffeine is in Espresso Beans?

Posted by Bean & Bean on
How Much Caffeine is in Espresso Beans?

 One of the biggest questions most people have about coffee is how much caffeine is in each cup. Here’s our in-depth explanation covering the amount of caffeine in espresso beans vs. regular coffee beans. 

Difference between coffee beans and espresso beans

It may surprise you to know that there is actually no difference between espresso beans and regular coffee beans. Even though they are sold and marketed as different types of beans, they are both the same. 

Before we get into the amounts of caffeine, it’s important to understand some basics about brewing coffee. There are actually four different ways to brew coffee: 

  • Boiling
  • Pressure
  • Gravity
  • Steeping

An espresso is made via the pressure method. This is where heated and pressurized water is pushed through a puck full of ground coffee. An "espresso" is just a beverage made using this specific method. The extraction time, how finely ground the beans are, the type of roast, plus high-pressure, result in this concentrated coffee drink.

There is no difference from any other coffee drink with regards to the coffee beans or coffee roast that is used. However, there are some beans and roasts whose characteristics lend themselves well to an espresso. Dark roasts are generally used to make espressos because of their intense and full-bodied flavors. 

Three things affect the amount of caffeine in your espresso: The type of coffee bean used, the roast, and the brewing method. Let's discuss these in detail. 

Caffeine in a coffee bean 

There is about 6 mg of caffeine in a single coffee bean. However, this also depends on the coffee bean that is measured. While Arabica has about 12 milligrams per gram, Robusta has about 22 mg of caffeine per gram. As you can see it’s wildly dependent on the beans that are used.

Although Robusta has a higher amount of caffeine, it’s not favorable in terms of taste, as noted by many professional tasters. Having a large amount of caffeine results in bitter tasting coffee. 

Caffeine by roast

This is an interesting one. Many hold the common myth that the darker the roast, the higher the caffeine content, but that's actually backwards! In addition, you may have heard that the darker the roast, the more caffeine is burned off, which is also incorrect. 

The amount of caffeine in coffee beans as they are roasted remains virtually the same. To "burn" off caffeine, you need to exceed 600 degrees F. The coffee roasting process doesn't exceed 400 degrees F. 

The longer a coffee bean is roasted, the lighter and bigger it becomes as the water content decreases and the coffee bean "opens up." Thus the amount of caffeine PER SERVING changes! 

Caffeine in an espresso

Now finally, the big question, how much caffeine is there in an espresso?

Typically, the brewing methods that take longer have a higher amount of caffeine. Espressos brew pretty quickly, so you'd expect them to have less because of this.

However, it’s important to note that serving sizes are vastly different for an espresso and a cup of black coffee. While a standard cup of coffee is about eight fluid ounces, a shot of espresso is only typically one fluid ounce.

An espresso usually has about 63 mg of caffeine per shot (1 ounce), and regular coffee, in contrast, has 12 to 16 mg of caffeine per ounce.

Hence a shot of espresso has almost three times the amount of caffeine. 

Ideal coffee for espresso

If you are on the lookout for a strong and creamy shot of espresso, we suggest trying out Bean & Bean's Downtown Blend. This medium roast with notes of roasted nuts, cedar, and lemongrass, makes for a smooth and rich espresso. You’ll also be able to choose your grind type based on whether you are  using an espresso machine, drip coffee maker, French Press or Chemex to brew your coffee. 

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