Bitter Coffee Doesn’t Mean Stronger: How To Get More Caffeine In Your Cup Of Coffee

It is a myth that darker roasts of coffee contain a higher level of caffeine than lighter roasts.

Photo: worradirek/Shutterstock

Strong coffee or coffee with a higher amount of caffeine is not necessarily a bitter coffee. Coffee is a stimulating drink whose moderate consumption can be beneficial.

Low to moderate doses of caffeine (50 to 300 mg) can increase alertness, energy, and ability to concentrate, while higher doses can have negative effects such as anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, and increased heart rate.

An 8-ounce cup of black coffee typically has an average of 95 mg of caffeine. The Harvard Nutrition Source notes that what defines a cup is the type of coffee bean used, how it’s roasted, the amount of grind, and how it’s brewed.

Harvard notes that dark roasts produce a black bean with low acidity and a bitter roast flavor. It is a myth that darker roasts contain a higher level of caffeine than lighter roasts.

Lighter roasts have a slightly higher concentration than dark roasts. The light roast has a higher roast flavor and acidity.

As for preparation, espresso coffee tends to have a higher concentration of caffeine milligram per milliliter, up to 4.2mg/ml.

The drip and plunger methods are about half of that, says Emma Beckett, a professor in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Newcastle University.

Via The Conversation, Beckett explains that espresso methods extract the most caffeine for a number of reasons. A fine grind allows for greater contact between the coffee and the water. The pressure used for espresso also pushes more compounds into the water.

Cold brew coffee offers the highest dose of caffeine per serving at nearly 150 mg per cup, more than the 42 to 122 mg totals found in finished espresso. Although cold brew is brewed with cold water and has a coarser grind, it is made with a high coffee-to-water ratio, and additional beans are needed in the brew.

The approximate amount of caffeine in a 30ml classic espresso is 122mgwhile the amount of caffeine in a 120 ml cold coffee is 149 mg.

Preparations that are brewed longer also do not result in more caffeine in the drink. “Caffeine is water soluble and easy to extract, so it’s released early in the beverage making,” says Beckett.

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