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Starbucks Coffee Caffeine Content

I like Starbucks because they offer tasty, filling beverages that are consistently high quality, regardless of locale or time of day. But beyond the simple beverage is the wonderful opportunity to go to a clean, comfortable, semi-public place to chat with good friends or family. The only major drawback is the caffeine content of the beverages, which significantly disturbs my sleep for up to two days. Regular drinkers build up a tolerance to this psychoactive drug, but people like me, who have largely given up caffeine, are strongly affected by it.

Here is the caffeine content of Starbucks coffee and espresso, given to me upon request by Starbucks customer service. I could not find the caffeine content on their website, though they do have complete nutrition information. Starbucks noted that caffeine content varies from cup to cup based on a variety of factors, and that these numbers are averages. Both decaffeinated coffee and decaffeinated espresso range from 5 to 11 mg per 8 oz. and 1 oz., respectively. All numbers are in milligrams.

Coffee

  Tall (12 oz.) Grande (16 oz.) Venti® (20 oz.)
Regular Drip Coffee 240 320 480
Decaffeinated Drip Coffee 12 16 20

Espresso

  Solo (1 oz.) Doppio (2 oz.)
Espresso 89 178
Decaffeinated Espresso 8 16

Sources

The above information was derived from an email sent to Starbucks customer support. Below is a copy of their email from April, 2005.

Dear Shailesh Humbad:

Thank you for contacting Starbucks Coffee Company.

While we are happy to supply this information we would like to emphasize that any absolute numbers reported on caffeine levels in Starbucks coffee do not necessarily reflect what one would receive in every cup of Starbucks coffee. There are many variables that contribute to caffeine content from cup to cup.

. Regarding Starbucks regular drip coffees, one can expect an average of 160 milligrams of caffeine per eight ounces.
. Regarding Starbucks decaffeinated drip coffees, one can expect between 4.8 milligrams and 11.2 milligrams of caffeine per eight ounces.
. Regarding one ounce of Starbucks espresso (which is one shot in an espresso-based beverage), one can expect an average of 89 milligrams of caffeine.
. Regarding one ounce of Starbucks decaffeinated espresso, one can expect an average of 4.8 milligrams to 11 milligrams of caffeine.

I hope that you have found this information to be helpful. If you have any other questions, please feel free to call us at 80 23-LATTE. Thank you again for contacting Starbucks.

Sincerely,
Bill B.
Customer Relations

The caffeine content for all the coffees can also be found in the brochure "Nutrition By The Cup", 2007, but this is not available online. In addition to the content for each product, it has a note about caffeine content that reads as follows:

Caffiene Content
Espresso: 75 mg caffeine per shot (1 fluid ounce)
Brewed Coffee: 20 mg caffeine per fluid ounce

Caffeine information is approximate and is based on limited analytical data. These values reflect Starbucks standard brewing methods. Values can vary greatly depending on many factors, including the variety of the coffee and the brewing equipment used. The handcrated nature of our beverages may result in a variation from the reported values.

Caffeine

Caffeine is a bitter, white alkaloid with molecular forumla C8H10N4O2. It is chemically related to drugs like morphine, nicotine, and cocaine. Like those drugs, it is toxic and can cause death if consumed in sufficient quantity in a given period of time. In fact, due to caffeine's bitter taste and toxic effect, biologists believe its purpose in plants is to act as a natural pesticide.

Apparently, according to Death by Caffeine, it takes 68 mg of caffeine per pound of weight to kill a person. Just for some macabre fun, here is the same calculator to figure out how many servings of a caffeinated product it takes to kill you.

Enter your weight in pounds and milligrams of caffeine per serving
   Servings required to cause death:
Check out Caffeine Blues : Wake Up to the Hidden Dangers of America's #1 Drug, by Stephen Cherniske. After reading this book, you'll want to give up caffeine.
Created 2005-04-12, Last Modified 2011-07-24, © Shailesh N. Humbad
Disclaimer: This content is provided as-is. The information may be incorrect.