Are there any side effects when you drink too much strong coffee? Is it dangerous?

In example, if I drink the world's most expensive Starbucks coffee (costing $55/£33) featuring 60 espresso shots at one go, would I have any side effects (which kind)? Would I risk my life?

Andrew told the Consumerist:

'I gotta say, it was delicious.' However, he did concede he was unable to drink it all in one go.

Other drink from previous year's record includes a 48-shot frappuccino (costing $47).

  • Similar comment to another question of yours; can you provide a reference as a basis for your question? What kind of side effects? Side effects might include stimulation due to consumption of caffeine, or urination due to consumption of fluids... Or is this speculation? Or subjective? See also meta articles including subjectivity. You've clearly been around Stack Exchange, but I refer you to the help center, or take the tour.
    – hoc_age
    Commented Feb 13, 2015 at 16:53
  • @hoc_age I don't see any subjectivity in here. In other words, how do I know when I'm drinking too many strong coffees? Or what would happen if I'll drink coffee too many Americanos or mocha with 60 espresso shots at one go?
    – kenorb
    Commented Feb 13, 2015 at 16:58
  • I'm really not trying to split hairs. The phrase "too much" is subjective itself. Too much relative to individual caffeine tolerance? Environmental impact of production? Personal decision to abstain from coffee? Health reasons? Do you see where I'm coming from? I again refer you to Biology for questions on caffeine and physiology, or the health proposal at Area 51.
    – hoc_age
    Commented Feb 13, 2015 at 19:58
  • 1
    I'm with @kernorb; I fail to see how this needs clarification. It seems like a pretty straight forward question to me (and a good one at that).
    – user80
    Commented Feb 14, 2015 at 0:27
  • 1
    This is why i said health issues should be off topic in meta, this will literally lead us off a cliff into questions only tangentially related to coffee products. Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 14:20

4 Answers 4


Caffeinated beverages like coffee and soft drinks give short bursts of energy, but can actually cause fluid loss. Caffeine has been shown to temporarily raise blood pressure, and reduces blood flow to inactive limbs.

Like many drugs, caffeine is chemically addictive and recent publication of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), caffeine withdrawal was finally included as a mental disorder for the first time.

Soon after you drink coffee (containing caffeine), it’s absorbed through the small intestine and dissolved into the bloodstream and it’s able to penetrate the blood-brain barrier and enter the brain.

Regular ingestion of the drug (i.e. coffee/tea, soda or energy drinks) alters your brain’s chemistry and physical characteristics actually change over time, leading to fatigue, headaches and nausea if you try to quit. However, compared to many drug addictions, the effects are relatively short-term.

Few quotes from Daily Mail:

Large amounts of caffeine can cause heart palpitations, fits and even death, as well as raising the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Heavy consumption has also been linked to a greater risk of depression, addiction and alcohol dependency.

Energy drinks could be more likely to cause a caffeine overdose because they can be drunk quickly, unlike hot drinks like tea or coffee, the Energy Drink Consumption in Europe study said.

Several deaths worldwide have been linked to excessive consumption of energy drinks, although scientists say more research is needed to prove a link.

Recommended maximum caffeine intake is about 400mg per day – equivalent to around five cups of filter coffee.

'Reproductive-aged women (⩽ 300 mg caffeine per day) and children are ‘at risk’ subgroups who may require specific advice on moderating their caffeine intake', study said.

On Live Science we can read:

Coffee drinking could lead to a mental disorder. If you experience five or more symptoms, such as red face, nervousness and restlessness, during or right after your cup of Joe, you may be diagnosed with coffee intoxication.

According to a new edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), excessive caffeine intake can lead to a condition known as “caffeine intoxication,”.

In other words, caffeine withdrawal is now a recognized disorder, and is listed in the DSM-5.

Caffeine is a drug, a mild stimulant, which is used by almost everybody on a daily basis,” said Dr. Charles O’Brien, who chairs the Substance-Related Disorder Work Group for DSM-5 (via New York Post). “But it does have a letdown afterwards. If you drink a lot of coffee, at least two or three [236 ml] cups at a time, there will be a rebound or withdrawal effect.”

Here are top 10 caffeine withdrawal symptoms:

  1. Headache
  2. Sleepiness
  3. Irritability
  4. Lethargy
  5. Constipation
  6. Depression
  7. Muscle Pain/Stiffness
  8. Lack of Concentration
  9. Flu-like symptoms
  10. Insomnia

In rare cases when consumed at high enough doses, caffeine can kill.

caffeine curve

In the world's most expensive Starbucks coffee featuring 60 espresso shots, according to my calculations, there is over 9000mg (150x60) of caffeine content, comparing to recommended maximum caffeine intake of 400mg per day (equivalent to over 100 cups of filtered coffee). So drinking it will end up with headache, fast heartbeat, heart palpitations and even death, so it require emergency care as soon as possible.

Here is SAMHSA data of emergency department visits related to misuse of energy drinks (energy drinks can be looked at as caffeine) and it is really alarming:

Number of ED Visits with adverse reaction to caffeine overdose.

SAMHSA report puts it:

Large amounts of caffeine can cause adverse effects such as insomnia, nervousness, headache, fast heartbeat, and seizures that are severe enough to require emergency care.



If you're asking about caffeine overdose specifically (which isn't precisely what this site is about...) the Wikipedia article on caffeine lists the lethal dose (LD50) of caffeine in humans as "estimated to be about 150 to 200 milligrams per kilogram of body mass or roughly 80 to 100 cups of coffee for an average adult." Citations are available through those links.

There are certainly factors in caffeine absorption (e.g., how much of the total caffeine consumed is actually absorbed, how quickly it's absorbed, how quickly it is metabolized); some of those are addressed on the above links also.

If you're asking about that Andrew chap specifically, see more info at the original article. Looks like it took him 5 days to drink the 128-oz monstrosity, but I hope it was enjoyable. He would be in nearly exclusive position to answer these questions. If Andrew himself is reading this, perhaps he is willing to respond.


This is just off the top of my head Some of the issues you may see right of hand are Restlessness, irritability, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, dizziness nausea, diarrhea, nervousness, shakiness.

Edit: here are some links as requested.

Caffeine is mainly used to boost awareness and caffeine can be found in a variety of drinks. Caffeine alone is very effective at perking a person up but if paired with sugar this can have a double "energy effect since the sugar will also increase energy levels...but sugar will also cause a "sugar crash" (that is another topic, regarding insulin/glucose levels in the blood.)

So lets say you don't drink large doses of caffeine on a regular basis and you want to try and drink this famous "cup of Joe" from Starbucks, what could go wrong? well it all depends on your caffeine tolerance. Just like a habitual user of nicotine or other stimulating drugs will be affected differently, a caffein user will tolerate different levels of a cup of joe depending on their weight, liver function to metabolize the caffeine and how much water you drink + kidney function.

Caffeine is a drug:

Caffeine is no more different than nicotine or cocaine, Why? because caffeine is considered a stimulant very much like nicotine and cocaine, it produces very similar effects thus some of the side effects may be similar as well. Also, caffeine is habit forming and a person can become dependent or addicted to it, resulting in withdrawal symptoms when coming off it.

Caffeine is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant of the methylxanthine class.[10] It is the world's most widely consumed psychoactive drug, but — unlike many other psychoactive substances — it is legal and unregulated in nearly all parts of the world. There are several known mechanisms of action to explain the effects of caffeine. The most prominent is that it reversibly blocks the action of adenosine on its receptor and consequently prevents the onset of drowsiness induced by adenosine. Caffeine also stimulates certain portions of the autonomic nervous system. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caffeine

Nicotine acts as both a stimulant and a sedative. Immediately after exposure to nicotine, there is a "kick" caused in part by the drug's stimulation of the adrenal glands and resulting discharge of epinephrine (adrenaline). The rush of adrenaline stimulates the body, causing a sudden release of glucose as well as an increase in blood pressure, heart rate and respiration. Nicotine also suppresses insulin output from the pancreas, causing smokers to be slightly hyperglycemic. In addition, nicotine indirectly causes a release of dopamine in the brain regions that control pleasure and motivation. This reaction is similar to that seen with other abused drugs—such as cocaine and heroin—and is thought to underlie the pleasurable sensations many smokers experience. In contrast, nicotine can also exert a sedative effect, depending on the level of the smoker's nervous system arousal and the dose of nicotine taken. https://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/nicotine

  • Welcome to Coffee StackExchange. Take the tour if you had questions using the site.
    – MTSan
    Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 4:42
  • @MrHons Please, if you could include relevant link to the sources.
    – kenorb
    Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 8:39
  • The last paragraph is about Nicotine, not Caffeine.
    – kenorb
    Commented May 8, 2019 at 8:34

I can only add 2 links at a time

Cocaine is a stimulant drug as it directly affects the central nervous system. Cocaine was used in the past as a local anaesthetic in many countries. Cocaine is a white powder obtained from the leaves of the coca plant which grows in many areas of South America. It is a powerful stimulant, which has similar effects to amphetamines. http://www.atour.com/health/docs/20000617a.html


Symptoms of caffeine over use in adults may include:

Breathing trouble

Changes in alertness Confusion






Increased thirst

Increased urination

Irregular heartbeat

Muscle twitching

Rapid heartbeat

Sleeping trouble


these are not all the symptoms as stated in the article, Also if we take in consideration that caffeine is a vasoconstrictor (makes your veins and arteries squeeze together) this increases pressure in the circulatory system causing your blood pressure to increase and heart rate to go up.

We can sit here and go on an on with articles or references, case in point, if you do not suffer from any medical conditions and are considered to be a healthy individual you can try and drink this famous cup of coffee but it would probably be best if you spaced it out and don't just down the whole cup right there on the spot. The most immediate effects you will most likely encounter is the increased heart rate and the nervousness then possible GI upset. after that you are putting your self at risk if you keep going,

The caffeine amounts of the espresso-based drinks show that a Tall Latte (and Cappuccino) has just a single shot of coffee. For a 12 oz cup size – this is quite weak and has considerably less caffeine than a brewed coffee of the same size

according to Mayo Clinic: Up to 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine a day appears to be safe for most healthy adults. That's roughly the amount of caffeine in four cups of brewed coffee, 10 cans of cola or two "energy shot" drinks. Although caffeine use may be safe for adults, it's not a good idea for children.

  • The first paragraph is about Cocaine, not Caffeine. If you copy and pasted from the article, please include it in the block quote.
    – kenorb
    Commented May 8, 2019 at 8:33

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