Caffeine in a Coffee Vs. Espresso
Espresso has a reputation for having a high caffeine content, higher than regular drip coffee. The truth is it does, but not exactly how you might expect.
Caffeine content of coffee and espresso depends on how the drinks are made. They both start with the same beans, the difference between drip coffee and espresso comes in how those beans and then used.
A standard drip coffee machine have a lot of advantages. They are easy to clean and maintain and the strength of the coffee is easily controlled. They work by taking ground beans and slowly running hot water through them. The longer the hot water is surrounded by the beans the more caffeine is absorbed.
Espresso on the other hand uses beans that are ground more finely than regular drip coffee. This means there is more surface area for the beans to touch the water and so the water absorbs the coffee flavors and caffeine faster. Espresso also uses hotter water. The hotter the water the more caffeine is extracted from the beans. This is all offset by the short time it takes to make an espresso. Espresso is made much faster that drip coffee.
So what does this all add up to? Well, for the same amount of espresso compared to the same amount of drip coffee, the espresso will have more caffeine. The thing is that coffee is usually served as a cup. That is about 8 ounces. Espresso is served in shots, one shot being a single ounce.
So while espresso has more caffeine per ounce, because of the smaller serving sizes you are actually getting more caffeine in a serving of regular drip coffee.
Coffee Caffeine: 10-23 mg per ounce
Espresso Caffeine: 40-75 mg per ounce
When making smoothies and other iced coffee drinks I will sometimes use drip coffee and sometimes espresso. It depends on the size of the smoothie drink and how much caffeine I want.
If the smoothie has a large amount of ingredients I am more likely to use drip coffee so that the coffee flavor comes through nice and strong. If the smoothie is fairly small I might use a single shot of espresso so that I still get a caffeine kick, but don’t get overwhelmed by the coffee flavor.