A nice hot cup of espresso is underrated in many ways. It could make for an ideal date, a chill and classy hangout with friends, but it's also undoubtedly the quickest way to get some energy into your system.
But this is not completely accurate. Espresso won't make you "jump around" like portrayed in media, any more than a regular cup of black coffee would. Surprised? Let's get into the caffeine properties of espresso and black coffee.
Espresso is a very concentrated coffee drink, usually served in the size of 1.5 ounces, also called the double shot. The standard cup of an espresso has roughly 60-100 mg of caffeine, as per the National Coffee Association.
But this can vary by a lot due to numerous reasons.
- The beans
One being, the beans. As all coffee beans are different, based on the countries they're exported from, or even different environments like mountains or valleys, they can actually have a difference in the amount of caffeine. For example, dark roast and light roast beans pretty much have the same caffeine levels.
Intriguing, isn't it?
Also, since espresso recipes are different everywhere, it can also have an impact on how strong a cup might be. To illustrate, someone might use a 22mg bean to make their espresso, while someone might use 16mg, so it isn't easy to gauge how much caffeine every cup of espresso might contain.
Now let's compare it with a standard cup of black coffee.
A cup may not be as concentrated as an espresso. This basically means that it doesn't have the same levels of acids, caffeine, fats, taste, or even aroma. And one must take into account that not every brewing method is the same. Some like it a certain way, maybe use a French press or even instant coffee. Hence, caffeine levels differ here too. A typical cup can contain caffeine levels ranging from 65mg to 120 mg or sometimes even 160mg.
And now, if we come down to the numbers, it’s obvious that a cup of black coffee will have more caffeine than an espresso. But then the serving size comes into account.
Since black coffee is consumed with more water content and in a larger quantity per cup, and espresso will be stronger considering its serving size and the frequency it's consumed in. One may drink 2-3 cups of black coffee per day, but an espresso seems to get the job done in just one cup, given its concentration and thickness.
And another factor is, espresso actually hits you a lot faster than a cup of regular coffee. Why?
While you may take a good while to finish a regular cup of coffee, an espresso will be gone in a matter of minutes. Smaller quantity + higher concentration = faster effects.
Some other factors that affect caffeine levels in a cup of coffee are:
a. Brewing method
All brewing methods don't yield the same levels of caffeine in an espresso. There can be a significant difference between a cup made with a drip method vs. an AeroPress. One can actually never be sure with instant coffee.
b. Saturation and grind
A certain bean's saturation can also affect caffeine levels. If the grind isn't 100% saturated, the cup will not be as strong as desired.
Also, when it comes to the grind, with a finer grind, you can extract more caffeine. This is because caffeine is water-soluble; water can saturate the grind better if it’s finer due to a greater contact area. If the grind is coarse, it'll result in low levels of caffeine in a cup of espresso.
The ideal water temperature, i.e., 95-105 degrees, can make a huge difference in how easily the caffeine is released. A cold brew, in contrast, will take much longer to extract the same amount of caffeine.
Now that we’ve discussed all the various factors that affect caffeine levels in an espresso, the next you find yourself looking for a steaming cup of co