Every morning, I have one 12 oz. cup of drip coffee, to the point where I have become dependent on it. When I’m traveling, it’s often hard to find someone who will make me a straight cup of coffee. I can usually find espresso on the go, but I’ve had bad experiences before where I order a drink with a single shot and end up with a headache later because I didn’t have my normal dose of caffeine.

I’d like to know roughly how much caffeine is in the average shot of espresso, compared to a cup of drip coffee, so that I can estimate how many shots I need to order in my next latte in order to consume an equivalent amount of caffeine. To make things simple, let’s assume that the same beans are being used to brew the espresso as I normally use to brew my drip coffee. Is there a good rule of thumb to use here?


Caffeine content can vary a lot between different brewing methods and coffee beans used.

according to How Much Caffeine is in a Cup of Coffee?:

Brewed Coffee (8 oz / 237 mL): 95-200 mg of caffeine
Espresso (1 oz / 30 mL): 47-75 mg of caffeine

That would mean your 12oz cup contains 143-300mg, and you'd need 2 to 6 espresso shots for the same amount, or 3.6 when comparing averages. (Which, personally, would make me feel rather trippy)


Because caffeine dissolves so readily in hot water, the single most important factor in determining the amount of caffeine in the cup is the amount of coffee used to prepare said cup. Arabica beans contain about 0.8-1.4% of caffeine by weight, depending on the variety. So if you were to brew an espresso (15g in 30g out) or a pour over (15g in 250g out), you would have the same amount of caffeine in each beverage.

You shouldn't try to calculate the caffeine content by brew type if you can. Ask whoever is making your coffee how much they used, multiply by 10 an that's roughly the amount of caffeine in milligrams you have in your beverage.

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