As the most widely used psychoactive stimulant in the world, caffeine is present in everything from coffee and tea to soda and chocolate. Many people probably consume significant amounts of caffeine without even realizing it! In moderate doses, it’s known to increase alertness, improve focus, and reduce fatigue. But if you’ve ever felt that jittery feeling that comes from downing one too many shots of espresso, you may not be surprised to learn that it’s possible to overdo it.
How much caffeine is in coffee?
There are many factors that influence the amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee, including the type of bean used and the method used to brew it. But even coffee from the same batch can result in wildly different caffeine levels in different cups.
Darker roasts tend to have slightly lower levels of caffeine than lighter roasts because exposure to heat breaks down more of the caffeine. Finer coffee grinds, such as Turkish coffee or espresso, tend to have higher caffeine concentrations. When coffee is brewed for longer, it tends to have a higher caffeine content.
As a good rule of thumb, an 8 oz cup of coffee will usually contain 80-120 mg of caffeine.
Instant coffee usually has less caffeine, or approximately 65-90 mg per cup.
A shot of espresso will usually contain approximately 75 mg of caffeine.
Even decaf coffee has some caffeine. Usually, there will only be a few mg left, but sometimes it can be much higher.
How much coffee is safe to drink?
It’s hard to say because the substance can have vastly different effects depending on the person consuming it.
People naturally build up a tolerance to the effects of caffeine, meaning they need more and more to reach the same buzz.
Genetics also come into play—caffeine is metabolized at different rates.
Most research suggests that adults can consume about 3-4 cups/day safely without any health risks”. This is considered a moderate intake of coffee, and it should be fine as long as it’s not interfering with your ability to focus or sleep.
Can I overdose caffeine?
In super high doses, caffeine can have some scary consequences.
Toxic effects, like heart arrhythmia and seizures, can happen at 1,200 mg (around 12 cups of coffee), and risk of death starts at around 10,000 mg (100 cups of coffee)—way more than anyone could drink in a single day. So, most likely, you’ll not die from drinking coffee.
But you might begin to feel negative effects after drinking only a one or few cups per day.
Few tips, how to quit drinking coffee without pain.
If you want stop drinking coffee, because of withdrawal symptoms, it is easier to do it gradually. The two most disruptive symptoms are headaches and fatigue and you can avoid them following these tips.
Substitute tea for coffee. If you drink coffee, switch to drinking tea, which contains less caffeine. It is still a hot beverage that is stimulating, but it will help you cut back.
Substitute herbal tea or hot chocolate for coffee and tea. Herbal tea is caffeine free, and hot chocolate contains only small amounts of caffeine.
Avoid decaf. Decaffeinated drinks still contain some caffeine, and they can be addictive themselves.
Drink more water. Staying hydrated is very important for your health, but particularly important when you are cutting back on caffeine. And staying hydrated helps prevent headaches.
Exercise. Staying physically active will make you feel better in general. Even if you feel tired, try to get a workout in. It will leave you feeling more energized.
Get more sleep. You will be tired, so leave extra time to catch up on sleep. This way you will be less fatigued during your waking hours.
Keep the lights on. Being in a dimly lit area will make you even more tired.
Have some ibuprofen around. Pain killers can be very helpful in preventing the headaches that would occur from withdrawal. Only take them if your headache is particularly bad though and make sure it isn’t caffeine containing medication.
Today, coffee helps power the corporate world. Seriously. Today, you can’t find an office where free coffee wasn’t provided for the employees. And that is nice, of course. But you should not drink it too much and you should listen to your body.