Some people like coffee just for the taste, but most of us drink it because we rely on it to wake us up in the morning. With that being said, not all java was created equal in the sense that certain types contain more caffeine than others. So which kind will put more pep in your step? We’re so glad you asked.
As a general rule of thumb, the lighter the bean, the more caffeine it has. If you take Starbucks for example, its blonde roast has 360 milligrams per 16 ounces (a grande) in comparison to the chain’s medium roast, Pike Place, which has 310. The dark roast has significantly less caffeine content than both, ringing in at 260.
Beyond traditional drip coffee, nitro cold brew has the next most caffeine per serving. This drink starts as a cold brew that’s then infused with nitrogen, creating a naturally sweet flavor and velvety texture. Starbucks lists its grande version as having 280 milligrams of caffeine, whereas its regular cold brew contains 205 and a plain-Jane iced coffee has just 165. Of course, caffeine levels can vary by the types of coffee used and individual methods. For example, Dunkin' lists its cold brew as having less caffeine than its regular iced coffee: 198 milligrams per 16 ounces versus 174. A spokesperson for the chain couldn't explain why.
What’s the difference between iced coffee and cold brew anyway? The former is made by brewing hot coffee, letting it cool and then pouring it over ice. The whole process is pretty quick. Contrarily, cold brew is made by steeping ground coffee in cool, filtered water for hours at a time. Because it’s made without heat, it’s not as acidic and the end result is naturally sweeter and smoother.
For the sake of our point here, if you find yourself reaching for multiple cups of coffee into the afternoon, you may want to switch from iced coffee to cold brew, cold brew to nitro, dark roast to medium roast, or medium roast to light roast. Are you still with me?
Now if you really need a proper wake up call, there are specific brands that mega-caffeinate their coffee. According to Caffeine Informer, the strongest (and most dangerous) coffee is Devil Mountain’s Black Label. It has 2,073 milligrams of caffeine per 16 ounces. The company claims it will “keep you going all day, without giving you the coffee jitters,” but… yeah right. This type of coffee should be consumed only by those with a high tolerance for caffeine because although it’s rare, you can overdose. But not all coffee is that hardcore, though, and it can be good for you in moderation. In fact, there are 14 reasons you should drink more of it.