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Which Has More Caffeine: Latte or Coffee?

Which has more caffeine: latte or coffee? Even though a latte is much bigger than a regular coffee, it actually has less caffeine!

That’s the simple answer, but things get a little more complicated depending on how you order your coffee.

A latte has less caffeine than a coffee

A latte has less caffeine than a regular brewed coffee because lattes are made with one espresso shot, while regular coffee is made by pouring water over coffee grounds.

A single shot(1 oz or 30 grams) of espresso contains about 64 mg of caffeine.

A cup of brewed coffee contains about 100 mg of caffeine, though this can vary a little depending on the type of brewing method used.

Espresso is brewed in a much shorter amount of time than regular coffee, which leaches out less caffeine.

Even though you are using the same amount of coffee grounds in a shot of espresso and a regular coffee, the regular coffee takes nearly 6 times longer to brew(3 minutes compared to 30 seconds), which means more caffeine is extracted in a regular coffee.

There is a point of diminishing returns here. Adding more water or increasing the brew time beyond a certain point will not increase caffeine content. If you want more caffeine, you’ll need more coffee grounds.


Does roast level matter?

There’s a lot of misinformation going around about certain types of roasts containing more caffeine than others. In reality, the roast level does not matter as long as you measure by weight!

If you measure by volume, you’ll actually get more dark roast beans in a single tablespoon of coffee than light roast beans, because light roast beans are slightly bigger.

The type of coffee bean matters

One factor that does matter is the type of coffee bean used to make the latte or regular coffee.

Robusta beans contain more caffeine than Arabica beans, so a latte made with Robusta will have a similar amount(if not more) than a coffee made from Arabica beans.

So if you’re having a hard time getting up in the morning, just order your coffee with Robusta beans.


The size of the drink and how it’s ordered

Another factor that affects the amount of caffeine you’re consuming is the size of the drink.

A typical latte and a typical cup of brewed coffee are both 6 ounces. In this case, you’re consuming nearly half the caffeine with a latte as you are with brewed coffee.

However, a 12 ounce latte(as is more typical in many coffee chains) may contain two shots of espresso, bringing up the caffeine content to nearly 130 mg, even more than a regular cup of coffee.

It’s important to pay attention to size because you don’t want to mistakenly assume you’re consuming less caffeine in one drink while drinking a much larger portion!

Similarly, a 12 ounce cup of coffee will also contain double the amount of caffeine as a 6 ounce cup.

When you compare a 12 ounce cup of coffee to a regular latte, you’ll end up consuming nearly four times the caffeine!

Adding extra shots

Starbucks has a special kind of drink called a red eye and a green eye. The red eye has one additional shot of espresso, which would make it much twice as caffeinated then a regular cup of coffee.

On the other hand, the green eye has three extra shots, so if you need a serious kick in the pants, order a red-eye or green eye latte.

Red-eye and green eye drinks are on the Starbucks secret menu, so if you happen to order one, you can expect all the baristas to applaud in unison! 🙂

There’s also a drink called a shot in the dark, which is a cup of brewed coffee with an added shot of espresso.

Final thoughts

Latte or coffee? Why not both?

Even though lattes usually have less caffeine than coffee, if you’re not paying attention to your order size, the caffeine content can vary depending on what you choose!

If this article has piqued your interest about how much caffeine is in different beverages and sizes of drinks, then we also recommend checking out our post on how much caffeine is in a cappuccino.

This way, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions with respect to the amount of caffeine consumption for yourself and those around you.

About Shabbir

Shab is the Chief Caffeine Officer at Coffee Brewster. When he's not weighing out coffee beans for his next brew, you can find him writing about his passion: coffee.