Coffee beans contain caffeine, but the amount varies depending on the type of bean, roasting method, brewing technique, and other variables.
So you might be wondering "how much caffeine is in a coffee bean?"
The simple answer is: the average cup of coffee will contain around 95 mg of caffeine according to the USDA, but nothing in life is simple and it certainly isn't with coffee either!
The amount of caffeine in coffee can be wildly different based on the variables mentioned earlier as well as how you take your coffee.
So in this handy guide, we'll break down everything there is to know about the amount of caffeine in coffee beans. From the caffeine content of different types of coffee beans to how much caffeine is in a chocolate covered coffee bean and the strongest coffee beans out there!
Let's get started!
As it turns out, this comes down to a couple of factors. Here's a quick breakdown.
Caffeine is a naturally occurring compound found in the coffee plant or the coffee cherry. However, not all coffee beans are created equal, and the amount of caffeine in coffee beans depends on several things. These include the variety of the coffee bean, its growing conditions, and even the way you prepare it.
While the differences this creates aren't typically too drastic, sometimes they can compound and lead to greatly varying caffeine levels between beans.
On average, a single arabica coffee bean will contain anywhere from 0.62 to 1.34 milligrams of caffeine. While a single robusta coffee bean will contain anywhere from 2.36 to more than 4 milligrams of caffeine.
The ranges are due to the different coffee varieties for each type of species, such as Arabica Mundo Novo or Typica, and Robusta Laurenti.
We won't go into too much detail about these species, but you get the gist of it. The caffeine content will vary between different coffee bean species and even varieties!
Even decaf coffee beans contain trace amounts of caffeine, while some especially strong beans can pack upwards of 6 or even 7 milligrams of caffeine per bean!
These beans are typically specifically bred to have these extreme caffeine levels, and most varieties of coffee beans tend to stay in the 2-3 milligrams of caffeine per bean range.
The variety of coffee isn't the only thing that can affect a coffee bean's caffeine content.
The brewing process also plays a large part, and so does the roasting process.
How your coffee beans are roasted can have a pretty significant effect on your coffee bean's caffeine content. The roasting process reduces the amount of moisture in the beans, making them crunchy and ready for grinding and brewing!
This causes the roasted coffee beans to lose a bit of their caffeine content, so a lighter coffee roast has more caffeine than a darker roast, but ever so slightly. This is contrary to what most people wrongfully assume!
So unroasted green coffee beans must have the highest caffeine content, right?!
Wrong... Surprisingly, unroasted green beans have the least amount of caffeine and that's because the caffeine levels increase as we roast the whole bean coffee.
And dark roast coffee beans are roasted at a higher temperature for longer, which is why they lose so much mass and moisture and end up with slightly less caffeine than light roast coffee.
Similarly, the grind size affects the amount of caffeine extracted from the coffee beans, but again very slightly. Coarsely ground coffee beans tend to have less caffeine content than finely ground beans. This is because a finer grind results in a larger overall surface area of coffee for water to interact with.
While the grind size doesn't change the amount of caffeine present in an individual bean, it does affect how much caffeine each bean can produce.
As a result, two identical coffee beans can produce different amounts of caffeine simply based on the coarseness of their grind.
Most of the time, coffee is brewed at the same temperature (hot but not boiling). Higher temperature water extracts more caffeine from each bean, meaning that coffee brewed at a lower temperature is lower in caffeine per amount of coffee used.
This means that the brew method also affects caffeine levels, for instance, cold brew coffee and auto-drip coffee makers (which use less hot water) tend to contain less caffeine.
Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it increases the production of urine. If you drink lots of coffee, minimizing it is a good idea to avoid dehydrating yourself. Based on the latest research it appears coffee does not dehydrate you, provided you don't drink 5 or more cups per day.
It follows that an occasional cold brew coffee can be used to hydrate yourself, provided you dilute the concentrate with water. It'll also give you a small boost in energy thanks to the caffeine. Cold brew coffee is actually one of my favorite ways to hydrate myself in a hot summer afternoon.
Meanwhile, coffee made with boiling water will have the highest caffeine levels; however, this will burn the coffee and leave it tasting unbearably bitter.
So now that you know the average amount of caffeine in a single coffee bean, how does this translate to the recommended daily amount of caffeine?
As mentioned earlier, too much caffeine can be harmful and you need to limit the amount of coffee you drink each day.
So let's take a look and see how many coffee beans you can have in a day before you reach your daily caffeine limit. You might want to grab a calculator for this one!
The recommended daily intake (RDI) of caffeine for the average adult is around 400 mg. Given that a typical cup of coffee contains 8 oz of liquid, and since there are about 95 milligrams of caffeine per cup, then this translates to 4 cups of coffee a day.
Now that the simple math is over, let's get to the complicated part...
Here's where the math comes in: the average cup of coffee contains 76 coffee beans, which is around 7 grams of ground coffee. This puts it at approximately 1.8 mg of caffeine per coffee bean. To reach the RDI of 400 mg of caffeine per day, it would take just over 220 coffee beans.
However, this doesn't account for the brewing method used or the variety of coffee beans, which can greatly change the number of coffee beans necessary to reach your daily limit.
Because of how many factors can come into play, it's hard to say exactly how much caffeine you can extract from a coffee bean regardless of its caffeine content.
As long as you stick to a reasonable amount of coffee and consume caffeine in moderation, an individual bean coffee won't make a difference!
The Arabica coffee bean contains less caffeine than the Robusta coffee bean. So Robusta coffee is stronger than Arabica coffee when it comes to caffeine levels. But if we are talking about flavor, then that is based on the type of roast.
Dark roast coffee beans tend to have a stronger flavor than light roast coffee.
Just because the average amount of caffeine in a coffee bean is around 2 mg doesn't mean that it's the limit. In fact, some varieties of coffee can double or even triple the amount of caffeine in a single bean.
Many stronger varieties of coffee will have around 450 mg of caffeine per cup (which is higher than the recommended daily intake!), which translates to almost 6 mg of caffeine for a single bean coffee.
Meanwhile, Death Wish Coffee (which claims to be the strongest coffee in the world) can contain as much as 9 mg per bean!
Despite its name, decaf coffee isn't completely caffeine-free. All coffee beans produce at least trace amounts of caffeine - decaffeinated coffee simply has low enough amounts that the caffeine won't affect you.
In fact, for coffee beans to be considered decaffeinated, they must contain less than 97% of the coffee's original caffeine content.
Most decaffeinated coffee beans are artificially decaffeinated through a process that removes the caffeine within the beans. However, this can have a detrimental impact on the bean's flavor.
Some beans are naturally low in caffeine, meaning that their regular caffeine levels are low enough that their coffee is considered decaffeinated without having to subject it to the decaffeination process.
For instance, Laurina Arabica filter coffee contains just 0.4-0.75% caffeine, making for less than 1 mg of caffeine in an entire cup of coffee.
According to the USDA, 10 chocolate covered coffee beans contain approximately 134mg of caffeine, which means that one chocolate covered coffee bean contains 13.4 mg of caffeine.
So there you have it! Coffee beans come in many different varieties, and their caffeine content is dependent on several factors from the type of coffee to how you brew it. As a result, it's hard to say just how much caffeine is in a coffee bean.
While the average coffee bean contains around 2 mg of caffeine, this can vary wildly. So next time you're making a cup of coffee, remember that every bean can make a difference!
This article is intended for informational purposes only. It is not meant to replace professional medical advice, treatment or diagnosis. Do not consume any type of coffee, tea or herbal infusion if you are allergic to it. The information in this article is not intended to treat serious medical conditions. Please seek professional medical advice before using home remedies.