On the 1st February 2023 Which? published an article exposing the vastly different concentrations of caffeine in high street coffees. Some contained nearly 5 times as much as others!
In the interest of full transparency I thought I’d write this mini-article sharing how much caffeine is in Exhale Coffee… all 3 varieties.
Keep your eyes peeled for my follow-up article - a deep dive into how much coffee is the ideal amount to achieve maximum health benefits later this month. In it I also discuss what the ideal amount of caffeine is. But broadly 400mg to 600mg is the sweet spot for most people per day.
What dictates the caffeine content?
The three biggest factors affecting how much caffeine is left in your cup of coffee are:
- Brew method – whether using espresso, filter, cafetiere etc will make a big difference.
- Coffee variety – are the beans robusta, which has more caffeine, or arabica? Or some mix of the two like most high-street chains.
- Amount of coffee used – if espresso are you using 15g in the basket or 20g? If a cafetiere you could be using 14g per person, or some use 20g per person. That’s a big difference.
We tested our coffee brewed in a cafetiere to the instructions in our blog How to make the best and healthiest coffee with a cafetiere. We haven’t tested any other methods yet so bear with us, we will!
How much caffeine is in our regular coffee?
1x small cafetiere of coffee contained 200mg of caffeine for both our House Roast and Dark(ish) Roast coffees.
Interestingly they were almost exactly the same. Given they are the same bean, just one is roasted slightly darker, this disproves the urban myth that dark roasted beans are stronger.
Most places you look online seem to quote the magic number of 400mg of caffeine as a reasonable daily amount (1, 2). So that makes exactly 2 small cafetiere’s of Exhale Coffee.
That’s of course a massive over-simplification because:
- The source of your caffeine is very important – 400mg from energy drinks mixed with all sorts of other crap will have a very different effect to 400mg from a ridiculously healthy coffee. In fact studies show that caffeine from coffee protects your DNA and caffeine from other sources has the opposite effect (3)!
- Our tolerance of caffeine is highly personal and mostly depends on what genes you have. But if you can tolerate it, caffeine does have significant health benefits which I’ll expand on in my next article (and link to here when it’s uploaded!)
At Exhale we recommend, and have always recommended, 3 cups of coffee a day for maximum health benefits.
Ideally, we recommend this is 2x caffeinated in the morning and 1x decaf in the afternoon. If brewed in a small cafetiere that would bring you nicely to the 400mg daily amount of caffeine recommended by most. If you can’t tolerate caffeine very well then you can swap out one or both of the caffeinated coffee’s for decaf… or try mixing the two for a half-caf.
How much caffeine is in our decaf coffee?
This is where it gets more complex.
The murky world of decaf is purposefully confusing for consumers (as much as it was for us!).
UK law requires the caffeine content of ALL decaffeinated coffees to be less than 0.1% of the anhydrous mass (4).
And hence “The resulting green coffee is 99.9% caffeine-free.”
However, this does not mean that 99.9% of the caffeine has been removed. It simply means that the original caffeine content has been reduced to 0.1% or less of the total weight of the bean.
So here it is, according to an independent lab test:
1x small cafetiere of Exhale Decaf contains 6mg of caffeine.
We can technically say that our coffee is 99.9% caffeine-free, like all other decafs. But it’s not giving the complete picture.
Compared to 1 cup of our regular, our decaf contains 97% less caffeine - this is a more accurate description.
Our decaf is the same bean as our regular but it’s been decaffeinated by the Mountain Water Process, which uses nothing but the purest glacial water from the highest mountain in Mexico, the Pico De Orizaba… and no nasty chemicals.
That’s done just 200 miles down the road from the farm where it’s grown, drastically reducing it’s carbon footprint vs the Swiss Water process which requires shipping backwards and forwards around the globe to be decaffeinated.
That’s how you should choose your decaf – does it use nasty chemicals? And does it have a terrible carbon footprint?
But the truth is, most decaf coffee, including Exhale, including Swiss Water decafs, contain some small amount of caffeine which is likely in the 5-7mg per cup range if drinking filter/cafetiere coffee.
It’s also true that it’s very rare you meet a person who can detect such a small amount of caffeine as 6mg per cup. But if you’re one of them, perhaps try using less coffee to brew a weaker cup… or get smaller cups! Or better still, brew a single shot espresso and turn it into an Americano which seem much weaker (see Which’s comparison above).
How does this compare to other food and drink?
Coffee of course isn't the only thing in your diets with caffeine. So how does our regular and decaf compare?
- Chocolate - 50g of dark chocolate (75%) contains on average 54mg of caffeine! Milk chocolate on average 7mg. (5)
- Tea - contains on average 47mg of caffeine per cup. (6)
- Green tea - 28mg of caffeine. (6)
- Energy drinks - don't even go there.
For me, there are 2 takeaways from this:
- If you're looking for caffeine (perhaps to support your liver, for it's cognitive benefits or to enhance performance) no source is as good as regular coffee. Try our House Roast or our Dark(ish) Roast today.
- If you're looking to avoid caffeine, there's no better drink than our decaf! Check out our organic, chemical-free, healthy decaf.
(Note: I am most probably biased in my takeaways)
Hope that helps clear things up for you.
Keeping it real, as ever,