You’d expect the amount of caffeine per cup in coffee shops to be similar, right? We certainly expected it to be but according to The Coffee Informer, you might be surprised…

  • Starbucks Cappuccino (Medium / 340ml) has 75mg of caffeine.
  • Costa Coffee Cappuccino (Primo / 340ml) has 185mg of caffeine.
  • Cafe Nero Cappuccino (Regular / 340ml) has 80mg of caffeine.
  • Nespresso Capsules (Standard / 340ml) has 70mg of caffeine.
  • Instant Coffee (Standard Teaspoon / 250ml) has 70mg of caffeine.

That’s not a typo on Costa Coffee’s line. There really is over double the amount of caffeine in the same size cup as other popular high street coffee shops. But why so? Well, this is because Costa Coffee put two shots in the same size cups that Starbucks or Cafe Nero would only have one shot in. A single shot of Costa Coffee has approximately 92mg of caffeine in it, so a similar amount as the others except they double up.

So what’s caffeine and how does it affect our bodies?

Caffeine is a water soluble substance that exists naturally in the seeds of certain coffee plants (popular ones being the Arabica and the Robusta). Caffeine is a stimulant and classified as a psychoactive drug due to its affect on the central nervous system in the body, who’d have thought?! In essence, caffeine speeds up (stimulates) the messages that are sent between nerves in the brain transmitted around the body. This stimulation contributes to increased levels of alertness and activeness and depending on the person takes around 10-20 minutes to take effect and can last up to 2-4 hours before the body has flushed it out.

Is there a caffeine recommended daily allowance?

According to the Food Standards Agency in the UK, there is no limit set for healthy individuals. They can only recommend “a balance of drinks and a sensible, moderate approach to coffee drinking.” A recent study (November 2017), however, has reviewed theย potential adverse effects of caffeine consumption in healthy adults and has concluded that evidence supports a daily consumption of 400mg per day in adults isn’t associated with adverse health effects, short or long term. 400mg of caffeine per day it is then.

Alternative sources of caffeine

  • Breakfast tea (Standardย / 250ml) has around 20-30mg of caffeine.
  • Green teaย (Standard / 250ml) has around 30-40mg of caffeine.
  • Soft drinkย ย (Coca-Cola Can / 330ml) has around 30-40mg of caffeine.
  • Energy drinkย ย (Red Bull Can / 250ml) contains 80mg of caffeine.
  • Energy drink (Relentless Can / 500ml) contains 160mg of caffeine.
  • Chocolate (Small Dairy Milk / 45g)ย contains 10mg of caffeine.
  • Chocolate (Large Dairy Milk / 200g) contains 40mg of caffeine.
  • Medicine (Capsule / Cold & Flu Relief) contains 25mg of caffeine.
  • Medicine (Tablet / Paracetamol Extra) contains 65mg of caffeine.
  • Stimulantsย (Tablet / Pro Plus) contain 50mg of caffeine.

As the above list suggests, it only takes a few cups of tea and coffee with a soft drink thrown and some chocolate for our daily limit to be over the reported safe daily caffeine intake of 400mg. Hopefully this article has helped in terms of awareness of caffeine in normal daily consumptions, being a legal psychoactive drug, like the Food Standards Agency have said, moderation is best when it comes to caffeine.

Donโ€™t forget to share this with that coffee drinker friend or family member.

NHS Choices: Four cups of coffee ‘not bad for health’ suggests review – April 25 2017
Science Direct: Food and Chemical Toxicology – Volume 109, Part 1 – November 2017
BBC News: Health reporter, Philippa Roxby – How much coffee is safe? – December 11 2011

A resident of the French Alps village of Chamonix (and a native Kiwi), Sally holds a wealth of sustainable travel experience sharing her musings on about. Sally focuses on the benefits of clean eating and mindfulness through yoga to keeping a healthy mind.

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