How much caffeine a day is healthy and how much caffeine does an espresso and a cup of coffee actually have?

Written by: Smilla H.



Time to read 8 min

Coffee is one of the most popular and consumed hot drinks among Europeans. Many people start their day with a cup of coffee or a quick espresso to really wake up and recharge their batteries for the new day. But how much caffeine is actually healthy and safe for you? And how much caffeine does an espresso actually have and how much coffee?

In this article we take a look at the recommended caffeine intake per day and answer the question: How much caffeine does an espresso actually have and how much does a coffee have?

What is caffeine actually?

Caffeine is a naturally occurring chemical compound found in parts of plants such as coffee and cocoa beans, tea leaves, guarana berries, and kola nuts. People discovered the substance for themselves more than 200 years ago. It is found in a variety of foods and is processed into baked goods, ice cream, candy and cola drinks, among others.

There is also a lot of caffeine in so-called energy drinks together with other ingredients such as taurine and glucuronolactone (D-glucuronic acid γ-lactone). It is also offered in combination with synephrine in some weight loss and performance supplements. In addition, caffeine is used in some medicines and cosmetics.

Did you know that caffeine was even on the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) doping list between 1984 and 2004 and was prohibited above a certain limit? Even if hardly anyone uses caffeine to achieve top athletic performance...

What does caffeine do to your body?

You probably know this from your first coffee in the morning. Caffeine can really get your digestion going. But it can also have a variety of other effects on your body.

Caffeine can even increase your heart rate and blood pressure. And indeed, your beloved coffee can biochemically increase your concentration.

What comes next will not surprise you. Of course, excessive consumption of caffeine can also lead to side effects and, if you really overdo it, even be harmful to your health. Do you want to know more about coffee and health and the pros and cons of your coffee consumption? Then this way.

What happens when you ingest caffeine?

When you consume caffeine your central nervous system is stimulated and in moderate amounts it increases alertness, performance and reduces morning and afternoon fatigue.

Once taken orally, caffeine is quickly and completely absorbed by the body. The stimulating effect usually sets in after 15 to 30 minutes and lasts for several hours. It depends on the half-life of caffeine. This is the time it takes your body to break down half of the caffeine ingested. This varies greatly depending on age, body weight and your health. In healthy adults, the average half-life is between four and eight hours.

How much caffeine a day is okay?

The recommended caffeine intake per day varies depending on age, state of health and individual tolerance.

For example, the EFSA recommends that adults consume no more than 320 mg of caffeine per day. This corresponds to about 3-4 cups of filter coffee (200 ml) or four espressos.

Also, it's recommended not to take more than 200mg at a time.

However, it is important to note that some people are more sensitive to caffeine and may experience undesirable side effects even with smaller amounts.

How much caffeine is okay per day depends on you individually at the end of the day. Because in addition to your body weight, other factors also play a decisive role. That’s why you should make your coffee consumption dependent on how you feel in your body. If you notice that you have trouble falling asleep after a coffee at 6 p.m., you should rather skip the coffee in the evening.

5 cups of coffee on a table

How much caffeine a day is bad for your health?

Side effects such as nervousness, insomnia and stomach problems can show you that you may have overdone it with the caffeine. Too much caffeine can also lead to increased nervousness and panic attacks in the short term.

In general, however, it can be said that caffeine can only become really dangerous in very high doses and together with other chemical substances such as taurine and alcohol.

How much caffeine does your coffee have? - Espresso vs. coffee

First of all, we have to clarify what the caffeine content actually depends on. Here, of course, there is the coffee bean at the beginning.

Because even here there are differences in the caffeine content. Thanks to its caffeine content of 2 to 4.5 percent, the Robusta bean is a real pick-me-up. The Arabica bean, on the other hand, only has about 1.1 to 1.7 percent caffeine. However, Robusta beans from Brazil can have a very different caffeine content than Robusta beans from Vietnam.

Then there is the roasting. The roasting of your favorite roastery also has an influence on the caffeine content. And finally, your preparation method also has an influence on the caffeine content of your coffee. Time of preparation and volume of your coffee are decisive here. This means, for example, that the ristretto beats the cold brew in terms of caffeine volume. However, if you treat yourself to a cold brew, you drink comparatively more milliliters. That means that the cold brew is the better caffeine kick in the crowd – makes sense?

- Ok, maybe we need some general guidelines after all. Let's dive into it!

Roaster holds coffee beans in hand

How much caffeine does an espresso have?

Is your favorite espresso the caffeine kick of your choice? But how much caffeine does an espresso actually have?

Here, the amount of caffeine in an espresso can vary depending on the preparation method, type of coffee and brewing time. As a rule, however, an espresso contains around 50-60 mg of caffeine per 30 ml.

How much caffeine does a coffee have?

The amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee can also vary, depending on the type of coffee and the brewing method and roast. The hand filter, for example, contains a little more caffeine than filter coffee from the filter coffee machine. This is probably due to the fact that the time window for the contact of water and ground coffee is different here.

However, on average, a 8-ounce cup of filter coffee contains about 95 mg of caffeine.

How much caffeine... espresso vs. coffee

In order to be able to better compare the espresso and the filter coffee due to their different amount of water, I would like to compare a double espresso and a hand filter at this point. Let's say you use 18 grams of the same coffee for both brewing methods.

Let's also assume that you get about 35 ml of espresso out of the portafilter with your double espresso. With your pour-over you use 300 ml of liquid.

The double espresso here contains 110 mg of caffeine. Surprisingly, the pour-over hand filter coffee has 170 mg of caffeine, which is a whole 60 mg more with the same extraction.

Is black coffee healthier than coffee with milk?

Science has a relatively clear answer to this question: yes!

Does autophagy mean anything to you? This is a process in our body that breaks down old and dead cell parts and creates space for new, healthy cells. A natural cleansing and detoxification of our body.

Normally, autophagy is only activated during periods of hunger or when there is a calorie deficit, but with the help of black coffee we can also stimulate this natural regeneration.

A study by the University of Graz proves that black coffee in particular is an autophagy trigger. One to four hours after consumption, an increased activity of autophagy could be determined in all organs examined, liver, heart and skeletal muscles. There was no difference between decaffeinated and normal coffee, so it's not the caffeine. Rather, the scientists suspect that the secondary plant substances, the polyphenols, trigger the effect of autophagy.

Unfortunately, the addition of milk negates many of the positive effects of black coffee. But why is that? Responsible for this are the animal proteins contained in the milk, especially the amino acid methionine. So there is a problem for all lovers of milk coffee, cappuccino and latte macchiato: Animal proteins inhibit the autophagy process.

Plant-based alternatives could be a tasty and healthy solution here. Are you looking for barista milk alternatives for your beloved cappuccino, latte and co.? This way!

Just as healthy and delicious as with, just without the caffeine.

Would you rather avoid caffeine altogether? Today there are really delicious alternatives that leave nothing to be desired in terms of taste.

Especially during pregnancy it is recommended to use decaffeinated coffee. In addition, it is also more tolerable for those who suffer from increased and frequent stress or have a sensitive stomach.

And: Real coffee lovers like to drink a deliciously aromatic cup of coffee in the evening and still want to sleep well!

That's why you'll find the best decaffeinated coffees from our partner roasters. One roastery even specializes exclusively in roasting decaf.
OHNE pursues the mission of making coffee enjoyment limitless for everyone. They only use the best raw coffee qualities and the highest quality, natural decaffeination processes. Here you will find all our delicious decafs .

Conclusion: How much caffeine a day is healthy and which coffee is the right caffeine kick for the day?

So in summary, as long as your coffee consumption isn't disrupting your sleep and mental well-being, and you're also enjoying caffeine in moderation, coffee is healthy and ok for your body. Here it is important to observe your own body and adjust caffeine consumption to individual needs and tolerance.

That's good news for us coffee lovers.

Although caffeine is safe for most people, there are certain groups that should be more cautious. Pregnant women, people with certain heart conditions, insomnia or anxiety, and those who are very sensitive to caffeine may want to limit or eliminate their caffeine intake and seek tasty caffeine-free alternatives.

FAQ How much caffeine is healthy

How does caffeine work in the body?

Caffeine blocks adenosine receptors in the brain and can increase alertness and focus.

Can caffeine affect sleep?

Yes, coffee contains caffeine, which is a stimulant and can affect your sleep patterns. It is recommended to limit consumption in the late afternoon and evening to promote your sleep quality. How about a delicious decaf in the evening?

Are there decaffeinated alternatives to coffee?

Yes, today there is really delicious decaffeinated coffee. We even have a partner roastery that specializes exclusively in decaf!

How much caffeine is recommended for adults?

The European Food Safety Authority recommends a maximum of 400 mg of caffeine per day.

Can coffee make you addicted?

Caffeine has the potential to cause addiction. Abrupt withdrawal can lead to withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, and mild irritability. If you're looking to reduce your caffeine intake or switch to caffeine-free alternatives entirely, sometimes it's better to taper off gradually.