We all have been there. Sometimes, we need to drink coffee as much for the caffeine burst as the flavor. There’s nothing quite as rejuvenating as a fresh cup of coffee, as the caffeine jolts your brain into action. But sometimes, you want the highest caffeine amount possible in your coffee – so what do you do?
There are a lot of factors that come into play when picking up high caffeine coffees:
- Arabica or robusta?
- Light or dark roast?
- How was the coffee brewed?
- How much coffee are you drinking?
Highest caffeine content per type of brew
Since many of us are not going to be picky about beans when walking into a Starbucks or local cafe and picking up a cup of coffee, let’s see which coffee preparation has the highest caffeine content first.
Caffeine per serving
As you can see from the results, you’ll get the highest caffeine burst from an 8 oz(or greater) serving of drip coffee.
Espresso has more caffeine per ounce than drip coffee, but a single shot of espresso is just 2 ounces compared to an 8 oz standard cup of drip coffee.
8 ounces of espresso would have a lot more caffeine than 8 ounces for drip for sure, but you wouldn’t be able to drink 8 ounces of espresso(you could, but you shouldn’t).
Espresso based beverages like lattes, cappuccinos, flat whites, and macchiatos all contain the same amount of caffeine as a single espresso shot.
If you really wanted a burst of caffeine, you could opt for a double shot of espresso – but even then, you’d still be getting pretty much the same amount of caffeine as an 8 oz cup of drip, but you’re cramming the caffeine content into a smaller volume.
Cold brew also has quite a lot of caffeine, and the cold brewing process actually encourages your body to very gradually release the caffeine into your bloodstream instead of all at once, so the longest lasting caffeine buzz would definitely come from cold brew.
Finally, it boils down(pun intended) to volume. How much coffee are you drinking? You may find it more palatable to just have a 16 ounce cup of coffee(a Starbucks Venti is 20 ounces) and take it with you on the go to finish over a period of time – this will result in an intake of nearly 250 mg of caffeine on the higher side.
What kind of bean has the most caffeine?
Coffee beans are broadly categorized into two kinds: arabica and robusta.
Arabica beans are higher quality, have fruity flavors, and are harder to grow. Most artisanal coffees and small roasters use arabica beans, and the flavor is evident.
Robusta beans, on the other hand, are lower quality, have strong, bitter flavors, and are much easier to grow. As a result, it’s more practical to bulk produce robusta beans and that’s why most cheap coffees you find in supermarkets(and most instant coffees) are all robusta.
Robusta also has a lot more caffeine than arabica – nearly two times.
Most small roasters will use arabica because it’s generally higher quality, but that’s not to say you can’t find high quality robusta beans if you look around a little.
Using robusta beans for your brews automatically means you’re getting a lot more caffeine, though you’re sacrificing some of the flavors you may enjoy from arabica.
Caffeine in light roasts and dark roasts
For the longest time, I’ve read and maintained that light roasts and dark roasts have varying amounts of caffeine – the caffeine supposedly burns off during the prolonged heating of darker roasts, which is why darker roasts have less caffeine and lighter roasts have more of it.
However, according to the guys at Kicking Horse Coffee, this is in fact untrue and the caffeine content of light and dark roasts, bean to bean is actually the same.
The difference in caffeine arises when you compare weight or volume.
During the heating process, prolonged heating shrinks dark roast beans a little more than light roast beans and causes them to lose their mass, so one kilogram of dark roast has more beans than one kilogram of light roast.
So if you measure out your coffee by weight on a scale like we suggested above, you’ll measure out a few more beans of dark roast than light roast.
The result? Your dark roast coffee will be stronger and contain more caffeine.
On the other hand, if you measure out by volume, you’ll measure out by volume, the light roast beans have more mass, so you’ll end up with more light roast beans than dark roast beans.
The result? Your light roast coffee will be stronger and contain more caffeine.
5 coffee brands that have the most caffeine
Some brands have started producing coffee blends that are designed to have insane amounts of caffeine per bean. In fact, it’s sort of become an unofficial caffeine race in some circles where roasters will try to put together the most caffeinated cup of coffee possible.
The coffees below have extremely high amounts of caffeine and should be consumed in extreme moderation and with caution.
1) Devil Mountain Coffee Company Black Label Coffee
- USDA Certified Organic coffee
- High Caffeine coffee for those who demand more out of life
- Black Label is The Most Powerful Coffee in the World without sacrificing on flavor!
- Non GMO, Gluten Free
With 1555 mg of caffeine per 12 ounces of coffee(nearly 8 times more than a normal cup of coffee), Black Label coffee is quite possibly the strongest coffee in the world.
Please note that one cup of this coffee is equal to 8 cups of regular coffee.
DO NOT CONSUME THIS COFFEE IF YOU ARE SENSITIVE TO CAFFEINE!
2) Black Insomnia
- Want better flavor and more caffeine than any other coffee? With Black Insomnia you'll be more awake than you've ever been before!
- Wake up! Black Insomnia Coffee has been independently verified as The World's Strongest Coffee with 1105 mg of Caffeine per 12 fl.Oz cup
- Caramel, hazelnut, and macadamia aromas, on top of a luxurious dark chocolate flavor - high performance coffee has never tasted this good
- Every Black Insomnia coffee bean is roasted to perfection in a time - tested drum roaster. We roast with highest precision, so you get all the flavor and caffeine without bitterness or burn.
- The secret to Black Insomnia's great taste and super high caffeine is the combination of our beans and the artisanal roasting approach. We went to the ends of the earth for this powerful blend!
Black Insomnia coffee has 1105 mg of caffeine per 12 ounces of brewed coffee. This is not quite as much as Black Label but still a lot more than regular coffee. These beans are a mix of 80% robusta and 20% arabica.
3) Maximum Charge by Cannonball Coffee
Maximum Charge coffee is available in the UK from Cannonball Coffee. This coffee contains 1101 mg of caffeine per 12 ounces of coffee. This blend is not available on Amazon, so if you’re looking for a coffee in the 1000+ mg range and you live in the USA, consider Black Insomnia or Devil Mountain.
4) Biohazard Coffee
- Biohazard coffee presents the strongest coffee on Earth.
- 928mg of caffeine will wake you up from the deepest of sleeps, and get you through the toughest of meetings. Also great for early morning college classes or up-all-night study sessions!
- This product is the whole bean variety.
- Biohazard is made with Robusta beans.
- From our opinion, this is the best mug of coffee with which to start your day.
Biohazard Coffee is right up there with the rest of these coffees at 928 mg of coffee per 12 ounces of brewed coffee. This is an exclusively robusta blend, so you can expect the flavors to be much more earthy and towards the bitter side, but I suppose that’s a small price to pay for extreme caffeine.
5) Banned Coffee
- GREAT TASTE and AROMA. You will want to get out of bed just for the smell of this perfect medium/dark roast gourmet coffee.
- STRONG AND SMOOTH. Clean taste. Delicious bold flavor but never bitter with low acidity. Cupping Notes: Heavy Body, Smooth, Bold but never Bitter, Bright with a long finish and a notes of Berries and chocolate
- 3 TIMES the amount of Caffeine than popular brands of energy drinks and ten times the amount of servings
- NATURAL Source of Vitamins, Minerals and Anti-oxidants. Our House Blend uses the strongest most delicious selections of fresh Arabica and Robusta Coffee Beans and Roasted to perfection by our highly qualified Master Roaster immediately prior to packaging. Every batch is tasted and is consistently the same
- EASY TO ORDER Just push the yellow button to order your fresh coffee online. It will be delivered to your door for your morning coffee. Great for coffee gifts, funny gifts, gift baskets, holiday gifts, college student gifts, office gifts, Valentine's Day gift or Birthday presents. EMPOWER YOUR DAY with something just as strong as an Energy Drink, but 100% natural that has Antioxidants, Vitamins and Minerals.
Banned Coffee, still doubly stronger than your normal coffee, seems mild compared to the other coffees we have listed here. Banned Coffee contains 474 mg of caffeine per 12 ounces of brewed coffee. Instead of advertising their coffee as the “strongest”, Banned Coffee qualifies it as the “strongest most delicious”, probably because of the higher ratio of arabica beans in this blend.
How much caffeine is too much?
In one serving, the brands above will get you more caffeine than is the recommended safe limit for the average adult, which is 400 mg.
Though caffeine tolerance varies from person to person, and from body weight to body weight, which you can calculate easily by following the link above.
If you’ve built up a tolerance to caffeine or you have a naturally high capacity for caffeine, the coffees above may appeal to you – but even then, you could only have a single cup per day and not more.
Caffeine overdose is a real thing and serious complications can arise from it, even death, albeit in extremely rare cases.
What does caffeine do in your body?
Chemically, caffeine is an odorless alkaloid that speeds up your nervous system when you ingest it.
Legally speaking, it’s a drug, though it’s unregulated because it’s very safe in most cases. Unless you have an intolerance for caffeine or you drink way too much of it, it’s safe for you to have.
Caffeine has varied effects on people, much like alcohol. Some people are very alcohol tolerant, whereas others are not so much.
For people that caffeine affects positively, you may experience a good mood and alertness.
For those that it affects negatively, or they’re more sensitive to it, you may feel jittery and uneasy.
As soon as you sip coffee, it will get absorbed into your blood through the lining of your mouth and throat. The remaining caffeine goes into your stomach and gets absorbed within 45 minutes to an hour, and it takes your body about 3 hours to break it down, so that’s how long your buzz will last for.
Can caffeine dehydrate you?
Caffeine is indeed a mild diuretic, which means it has a dehydrating effect, but considering you’re consuming it with 8 ounces of water or more, you’re taking in a lot more water than the miniscule amount of caffeine can remove, so you should be fine.
Last update on 2019-03-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API