Caffeine in Coffee: Myth Versus Reality

The right cup of coffee is a workplace essential. Here’s what to keep stocked and brewed.


Few things fuel productivity like coffee. Yet, not all caffeine fixes are equal. Certain brews deliver a big boost, while others provide a milder kick.

You may be in charge of maintaining the office coffee supply — and, of course, you might also rely on it to power through your day. Learn about the varying caffeine content in some of the most popular breakroom beverages.

Looking for the ultimate pick-me-up? Brew a light roast.

It might be called a light roast coffee, but it has a heavy caffeine profile. Compared with dark roasts, light roasts — including most morning or breakfast blends — have the edge in caffeine content.

The difference emerges in the roasting process: The longer that beans are roasted, the more they expand. Dark roast beans, which are roasted longer, are larger, resulting in fewer beans when measured out. Light roast beans are smaller, meaning more beans and a bigger boost of caffeine in your cup.

Need a milder kick? Go with espresso.

Many think the extra-strong flavor and darker look of espresso means greater potency. But a shot of the stuff actually contains around half the caffeine as in a cup of coffee — 63 milligrams versus around 128 milligrams.

Still, some people prefer the strong flavor and smell of espresso, so it’s still an important coffee option to have on hand. Not everyone has an espresso machine in the breakroom, but latte and cappuccino enthusiasts often swear they can’t do without it.

Want something cold and potent? Reach for cold brew coffee.

It’s easy enough to brew up a cup of hot coffee and pour it over ice. But for a stronger jolt and smoother taste, go with cold brew instead.

As the name suggests, cold brew is made by steeping coffee grounds in cold (or room temperature) water, typically for at least 12 hours. Its coffee-to-water ratio is higher than hot coffee’s, making it more potent: Cold brews can have two to three times the caffeine as the hot variety. The cold brewing process also yields a smoother-tasting coffee, with less acidity and bitterness than a hot brew.

Don’t like coffee but still need a boost? Go with tea.

Black tea, on average, has approximately 48 milligrams of caffeine in one cup; green tea has slightly less. While it’s less than the amount of caffeine in coffee, it may be enough to give you just what you need to beat a slump.

To get the best flavor and maximum caffeine content, invest in an electric kettle that gets the water to the right brewing temperature. Keep an assortment of teas — including black, green and caffeine-free herbal — to accommodate everyone’s preferences.

Check in with your team to see what their coffee preferences are — they may have ideas for additions to help keep the selection fresh and interesting. Also, keep the breakroom stocked with the necessary supplies, like stirrers, straws, sugar and creamer. No matter which type of brew they prefer, they’ll want the perfect accompaniments for them.