Most of us couldn’t survive without our morning cup of coffee. Some of us even need several cups of the strongest stuff just to make it through the lunch hour. But which type of coffee actually is “the strong stuff”? If you head to a grocery store, you’ll find dozens of different coffee brands, types, and flavors. All of those factors, plus a few others, influence the overall caffeine content in each cup of coffee made.
It’s said that the average cup of coffee has around 100 milligrams of caffeine. We can use that as a basis to determine what sort of coffee is considered strong. Even better, we can then determine which coffee is the strongest because it has the most caffeine.
Caffeine occurs naturally in nearly all coffee beans. Thus, the first determining factor regarding the quantity of caffeine is the bean itself. There are two major coffee plants used to make the coffee sold in stores today. The first is the Arabica plant and the second is the Robusta plant.
The differences between these plants boil down to quality, ease-of-growth, and caffeine quantity. The Arabica plant is considered a higher quality plant and has become much more popular than the Robusta plant over the past few years. However, not only is the Robusta plant easier to farm, but it also contains up to twice the caffeine of the Arabica plant. Therefore, if you’re looking for coffee with the most caffeine, then you need to start with a Robusta bean coffee.
Next, you need to consider the roast of the bean. This is often labeled clearly on the front of the coffee package. It ranges from a light roast to a dark roast with several shades in between. A dark roast often has a stronger flavor so people assume that it has more caffeine, but they are wrong. The roasting process actually burns away the caffeine in the bean.
We know now that coffee with the most caffeine must come from a Robusta plant and it must be a light roast. But there are other factors to consider as well.
Ounce-for-ounce, espresso will provide more caffeine than a drip brewer. A single ounce of espresso can have 40 more mg of caffeine than a single ounce of coffee. Albeit, most people drink larger cups of coffee and only take a single shot of espresso. But if you want the most caffeine possible, then you’ll need to toss in more than one shot. A double shot of espresso will usually have more caffeine than an 8-ounce cup of coffee.
Finally, how the coffee is brewed is important. A longer brew time means more caffeine makes it into the coffee. Drip brewers tend to take the longest and thus their coffee tends to have the most caffeine because they take the longest. Ironically, espresso is prepared the quickest, but because of the small size, the caffeine is highly concentrated.
If you want coffee with the most caffeine, then it needs to be a light roast of the Robusta bean. You should use a drip brewer to prepare an 8-ounce cup of coffee and then add a double shot of espresso to the mix.