Like most people, we at Atlas Coffee Club drink coffee because it is the best tasting caffeinated beverage around. But, do you actually know what you’re drinking, how it affects your body, or how much caffeine intake is healthy? Sit back with that cuppa joe and we’ll tell you.

What Exactly is Caffeine?

We all know that caffeine is the magical stimulant that is responsible for getting us through our days but, what else do you know about it?

Did you know that caffeine is a naturally occurring chemical in over 60 plant species, including cacao and coffee beans? It acts as a natural pesticide for the plants that harbor it, paralyzing and killing any insect trying to devour the plant. Good thing that doesn’t happen when we devour it…

How Caffeine Affects the Human Body

While fine to use in small doses, caffeine has the potential to be harmful to the human body if consumed improperly.

The FDA suggests that 4-5 cups of coffee per day (~400mg of caffeine) is safe to consume regularly. If you consume more than the recommended amount, you may experience symptoms such as insomnia, irritability, and muscle tremors. It should also be noted that excessive amounts of caffeine have the potential to lower iron levels in the body, causing anemia to develop or become exacerbated if pre-existing.

Further, caffeine is considered an addictive drug; it is classified with hard “Schedule 1” drugs like cocaine and amphetamines. While it is a legal drug, it is still a drug and should be used responsibly. That means no replacing sleep with coffee (as much as we might want to)!

Once consumed, caffeine takes anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour to kick in and is in your system for 4-6 hours. Once it kicks in, your body is actually going through duress, sending stress responses to your brain. Why? Because caffeine is altering the actions of some of your integral body chemicals, such as hormones and neurotransmitters.

It globs on to adenosine receptors- which are responsible for promoting sleep and relaxation while suppressing arousal- and confuses your body by preventing those receptors from doing their job. Therefore, your body goes into panic mode. This chemical reaction is often what makes many coffee drinkers feel jittery and anxious.

How Much Caffeine is in My Cup of Coffee?

An average 8oz cup of coffee holds anywhere from 90-200mg of caffeine. The wide range is due to the fact that every batch of coffee brewed will have different amounts of caffeine; the amount of caffeine largely depends on the amount of ground coffee being used, the type of grind you use (coarse or fine), and your brewing technique (drip, percolated, French press, etc).

Please note if you are a decaffeinated coffee drinker that there is still a small amount of caffeine in “decaffeinated” coffee. It’s almost negligible, but it is good to be aware of this fact if being sensitive to caffeine is why you’re drinking this option.

Caffeine Amount by Brew Method

Since it can get a little confusing and subjective as to how much caffeine is in your coffee, here are some averages for a few of the most popular brewing methods:

  • Drip or Filtered Coffee= ~145 mg
  • French press= ~107 mg
  • Percolated= ~200 mg
  • Turkish or Greek coffee= ~200 mg
  • Espresso= 80 mg per 2 oz shot

For further reference, please see this article for a full list of caffeine amounts found in coffee, tea, soda, and energy drinks. Side note: If you’re still on the fence about whether to go with coffee or an energy drink, consider our take on coffee vs energy drinks.

 

Ultimately, how much caffeine you consume in a day is up to you. Hopefully this article has provided you with some guidelines as to what caffeine actually is, how much you are consuming, and how it affects you (both in the short and long run) in order to make the most informed decision. Happy drinking.

 

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