How much does 1 espresso shot have?

Quick Answer

An espresso shot typically contains around 63 mg of caffeine. However, the exact amount can vary quite a bit based on factors like the coffee beans used, brewing method, and shot size. On average, a single 1 oz espresso shot will contain 60-100 mg of caffeine.

How Much Caffeine is in an Espresso Shot?

Espresso is known for being a very concentrated source of caffeine. But just how much caffeine is actually in a shot of espresso? Here is a breakdown:

  • 1 oz espresso shot: 63 mg caffeine (range 58-75 mg)
  • Doppio espresso (double shot): 126 mg caffeine
  • Triple shot: 189 mg caffeine

As you can see, a solo 1 oz espresso shot contains around 63 mg of caffeine on average. However, the amount can range anywhere from 50-75 mg per shot depending on the specific coffee beans and brewing method used.

Some key factors that influence caffeine levels in espresso include:

  • Coffee bean variety – The coffee species (Arabica vs. Robusta) and specific variety have a big impact on caffeine content. Robusta beans contain almost twice as much caffeine as Arabica on average.
  • Roast level – Light roasts tend to be higher in caffeine than dark roasts since roasting reduces the caffeine content over time.
  • Grind size – Finer grinds lead to more efficient extraction and higher caffeine content.
  • Brewing method – Standard espresso machines maintain pressure around 9-10 bars which extracts high levels of caffeine.
  • Shot volume – A double shot espresso will contain roughly twice as much caffeine as a solo shot.

So while 63 mg per 1 oz shot is typical, the actual amount could range from around 58-75 mg depending on all these variables.

How Does Espresso Compare to Other Drinks?

To put the caffeine content of espresso into context, here’s how it compares to some other common drinks:

Beverage Caffeine (mg)
Espresso shot (1 oz) 63
Drip coffee (8 oz) 95
Black tea (8 oz) 47
Green tea (8 oz) 28
Coca Cola (12 oz) 34

As you can see, despite its small size, an espresso shot actually contains more caffeine than a typical serving of most other caffeinated drinks. The only exception is a large cup of drip coffee, which contains 95 mg per 8 oz cup on average.

So while many people think espresso must be low in caffeine due to its small size, it is actually one of the most concentrated sources of caffeine you can consume.

Caffeine by Espresso Type

There are several different types and sizes of espresso drinks available. Here’s a breakdown of how much caffeine is in each:

  • Solo espresso – This is a single 1 oz shot of espresso. Caffeine content ranges from 58-75 mg.
  • Doppio – A double shot of espresso made with 2 oz of water. This contains 126 mg of caffeine typically.
  • Lungo – A long pull espresso made with around 1.5-2 oz of water. Expect around 100 mg of caffeine.
  • Ristretto – A restricted espresso made with just 0.5-0.75 oz of water. Given the concentrated nature, it still contains 45-60 mg of caffeine per shot.

In addition to these basic espresso types, there are also many popular espresso-based drinks like cappuccinos, lattes, macchiatos and more. The caffeine levels in these drinks can vary based on shot number and size:

Espresso Drink Caffeine (mg)
Single espresso 58-75
Double espresso 126
Cappuccino (single) 77
Cappuccino (double) 150
Latte (single) 63
Latte (double) 126

As shown above, drinks made with a double shot of espresso will typically contain around twice as much caffeine as those made with a single shot. However, the milk added to cappuccinos and lattes does dilute the espresso slightly.

Factors that Affect Caffeine Levels

Many variables can impact the caffeine content of any particular espresso, including:

Bean Type

The two main species of coffee beans are Arabica and Robusta:

  • Arabica beans contain about half the caffeine of Robusta – around 1.2% vs 2.2% by weight.
  • Most espresso blends contain a mix of 70-30 Arabica to Robusta.
  • Using 100% Robusta beans will lead to a more caffeine-rich espresso.

Roast Type

Caffeine is degraded to some extent during the roasting process. Therefore:

  • Light roasts are higher in caffeine than dark roasts – the longer the roast, the more caffeine is reduced.
  • An espresso made with beans roasted to 390°F may contain 85 mg per shot vs 65 mg for beans roasted to 410°F.

Grind Size

Finer grinds lead to more efficient extraction and higher caffeine content.

  • Very fine espresso grinds may extract up to 20% more caffeine than coarser grinds.
  • Blade grinders produce inconsistent grinds leading to variation in caffeine levels.

Water Temperature & Pressure

Higher water temperature and pressure during brewing also increases extraction:

  • Standard espresso machines use water at 200°F and 9-10 bars of pressure.
  • Higher-end machines may use temperatures up to 210°F and as much as 15 bars pressure.
  • This forces more caffeine to be extracted from the grinds.

Tamping Pressure

The amount of pressure used when tamping down the grinds also impacts extraction:

  • Recommended tamping force is about 30 lbs.
  • Too little pressure leads to low extraction yields.
  • Too much pressure may create resistance that reduces extraction.

Shot Volume

The amount of espresso produced from a given amount of grounds makes a difference:

  • A single 1 oz shot is standard.
  • A 2 oz double shot will contain roughly twice as much caffeine.
  • A ristretto uses less water than a standard shot so contains less caffeine overall despite having a higher concentration.

How to Minimize or Maximize Caffeine

Given all the variables that affect caffeine content in espresso, there are steps you can take to minimize or maximize the caffeine level:

To minimize caffeine:

  • Use Arabica beans rather than Robusta if possible.
  • Opt for medium to dark roasts.
  • Use a coarse grind size.
  • Use lower water temperature and pressure.
  • Limit shots to 1 oz rather than 2 oz.

To maximize caffeine:

  • Use Robusta beans or an Arabica/Robusta blend.
  • Choose beans with a light roast.
  • Grind beans very finely.
  • Brew at higher temperatures around 210°F.
  • Pull longer 2 oz shots.

Following these guidelines can help you fine tune the caffeine content of your espresso.

Health Effects of Caffeine in Espresso

The caffeine content in a typical 1-2 shot espresso is unlikely to cause adverse health effects in most people.

Potential benefits of caffeine in moderation may include:

  • Increased alertness and focus
  • Improved mood
  • Enhanced athletic performance
  • Lower risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease

However, too much caffeine can lead to negative effects like:

  • Anxiety, jitteriness, and nervousness
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Withdrawal symptoms if intake is stopped abruptly

Health experts recommend limiting caffeine intake to 400 mg per day or less. This equates to about 4-6 shots of espresso.

Those particularly sensitive to caffeine may want to limit intake to 1-2 shots per day or avoid it completely. Women who are pregnant should also limit caffeine from all sources to 200 mg or less daily.

Making Espresso at Home

While buying espresso at coffee shops or cafes is certainly convenient, making it at home allows you to control the variables and customize the caffeine content.

Some tips for brewing espresso at home:

  • Use fresh, quality whole coffee beans and grind them just before brewing.
  • Invest in a reliable espresso machine that can generate at least 9 bars of pressure and heat water to 200°F or above.
  • Dial in the grind size, dose, tamp pressure, and shot volume to achieve your preferred flavor and caffeine kick.
  • Clean equipment and descale your espresso machine regularly.
  • Store beans properly in an airtight container away from light, heat, and moisture.

With some practice at home, you can pull espresso shots that are equivalent to or better than your local café. Plus you can customize factors like bean type, roast, grind size, and more to end up with your ultimate desired caffeine level.

Other Caffeinated Espresso Drinks

In addition to regular espresso shots, there are many popular espresso-based drinks that also provide a solid caffeine kick:

Drink Caffeine (mg)
Espresso 58-75
Long black 60-80
Macchiato 50-100
Cappuccino 77-150
Latte 63-165
Americano 68-150
Mocha 107-177

As shown above, drinks like cappuccinos, lattes, and macchiatos typically contain slightly less caffeine than straight espresso shots since some water or milk is added. However, they can still pack a caffeine punch, especially when made with double shots of espresso or more.

So while you may assume an Americano or latte is less stimulating than espresso, their caffeine content is often still quite high and comparable to brewed coffee.

Finding Your Ideal Dose

Given the wide range of caffeine content possible in espresso, finding your ideal dose comes down to:

  • Considering your individual caffeine sensitivity and tolerance.
  • Paying attention to how certain amounts make you feel – in terms of benefits vs side effects.
  • Balancing your overall caffeine intake from other foods and drinks as well.
  • Testing different bean types, shot sizes, drink additions and other variables.
  • Adjusting your intake as needed based on effects.

Most people can tolerate 1-2 shots per day without issues. But your ideal espresso dosage depends on many personal factors.

Listen to your body’s response and adjust intake accordingly in order to enjoy espresso at levels that provide an energizing lift without unwanted side effects.

The Bottom Line

A single espresso shot contains about 63 mg of caffeine on average. However, the exact amount may range from 50-75 mg depending on the beans, roast, grind size, brew method, and shot volume. While small, an espresso shot actually contains more caffeine than most other drinks ounce for ounce. Factors like bean variety, roast, grind, and shot volume can be tweaked to minimize or maximize caffeine levels as desired. Consumed in moderation, espresso and espresso-based drinks can be a great way to get an energizing caffeine boost.

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