How much caffeine is in a shot of espresso?

The Buzz on Espresso: How much Caffeine is in a Shot?

Espresso has long been the go-to drink for coffee lovers who need a quick, strong, and flavorful caffeine boost. Although many of us rely on that rich, aromatic shot to kick-start our mornings or power through an afternoon slump, few people know exactly how much caffeine a single shot of espresso contains. This blog post will dive into the caffeine content of an espresso shot, how it compares to other types of coffee, and the factors that influence its strength. 

Caffeine in Espresso: A Quick Overview

Caffeine is a natural stimulant found in the seeds, nuts, and leaves of certain plants. It works by blocking adenosine receptors in the brain, which results in increased alertness, improved focus, and reduced feelings of fatigue. A shot of espresso is a concentrated form of coffee that contains more caffeine per ounce than most other types of coffee, making it a popular choice for a quick energy boost. (For the best beans, check out our post here)

On average, a single 1-ounce (30-milliliter) shot of espresso contains about 63 milligrams of caffeine. However, this figure can vary depending on factors such as the type of coffee bean, the roast, and the brewing process. In comparison, an 8-ounce (240-milliliter) cup of drip coffee contains around 95 milligrams of caffeine, but keep in mind that the volume of drip coffee is significantly larger than that of a shot of espresso.

Factors That Influence Caffeine Content

  1. Type of coffee bean: The two most common types of coffee beans are Arabica and Robusta. Arabica beans, known for their mild and nuanced flavors, tend to have less caffeine than the stronger, more bitter Robusta beans. Robusta beans can contain almost twice the caffeine content of Arabica beans. Espresso blends often use a mix of these beans to achieve a desired flavor profile and caffeine level.

  2. Roast: The roasting process plays a significant role in determining the caffeine content of espresso. Contrary to popular belief, darker roasts typically have slightly less caffeine than lighter roasts. This is because the roasting process causes the beans to lose moisture and mass, leading to a higher concentration of caffeine in the remaining bean structure. However, the difference in caffeine content between light and dark roasts is relatively small.

  3. Brewing process: The way an espresso shot is prepared can also affect its caffeine content. The standard brewing method for espresso involves forcing hot water through finely ground coffee under high pressure. The extraction time, temperature, and pressure can all impact the amount of caffeine extracted from the coffee grounds. A longer extraction time, for example, can result in a higher caffeine content, although over-extraction can also lead to a bitter taste.

The Effects of Caffeine and Recommended Intake

Caffeine affects individuals differently, with some people being more sensitive to its effects than others. While moderate caffeine consumption has been associated with improved mental and physical performance, excessive intake can lead to side effects such as increased heart rate, anxiety, and sleep disturbances.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggests that a daily intake of up to 400 milligrams of caffeine is generally considered safe for most healthy adults. This is roughly equivalent to four 8-ounce cups of drip coffee or six shots of espresso. Pregnant women, adolescents, and individuals with certain medical conditions or who take specific medications should consult their healthcare provider to determine a safe caffeine intake.


In summary, a shot of espresso contains approximately 63 milligrams of caffeine, though this can vary depending on factors such as the type of coffee bean, the roast, and the brewing process. Espresso is certainly a potent source of caffeine.

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