My favourite coffee shop occasionally gives out free samples of candy coated coffee beans. I like the concept, but I’ve always been a little wary of them. I’m sensitive to caffeine, and Mary P. has this disturbing story she likes to tell.
It’s a true story, about a woman who ended up in the emergency ward at her local hospital with a dangerously high heart rate. She was eating candy coated coffee beans like they were — well, like they were candy. She didn’t realize just how much caffeine they actually contain.
So I have been looking at these appealing treats a little suspiciously and wondering: just how much caffeine do they contain? The sales staff in the coffee shop weren’t able to tell me.
The answer is this: a small serving (28 grams = 1 oz.) contains nearly twice as much caffeine as a regular cup of coffee.
|drip||250ml = 8oz||115-175mg|
|espresso||30ml = 1oz||100mg|
|candy coated beans||28g||226mg|
Some comments are in order. First, the amount of caffeine in a cup of java varies depending on how strong the brew is. That’s why the amount of caffeine in drip coffee is presented as a range, 115-175mg.
Second, you may be surprised to see that a serving of espresso has less caffeine than a serving of drip coffee. Why? Espresso is served in much smaller amounts, as you can see from the table. It is also brewed more quickly (30 seconds instead of ~6 minutes), so less caffeine is extracted — see below.
Third, as I’ve already stated, a serving of candy coated coffee beans contains nearly twice as much caffeine as a regular cup of coffee. Bear that in mind, and save yourself a trip to emergency.
I know there are a lot of coffee lovers out there. Here, for your amusement, is a little bonus information.
1. Myth: Espresso carries more of a caffeine jolt than regular brewed coffee.
- False: Espresso is brewed from Arabica beans, which have a richer taste and a lower caffeine content than the less prized (and less expensive) Robusta beans. Because a cup of espresso takes no more than 30 seconds to brew, less caffeine is extracted than in drip coffee — which takes anywhere from 5 to 7 minutes.
2. Myth: Bigger is better.
- False: Large cups don’t do espresso justice. The proper portion of espresso is one ounce, and the cup should be very small so that it holds the heat. Thick china cups are preferred. Large cups dissipate the heat and the crema (foam) which carries the aroma in a fine cup of espresso.
- [An aside: Speaking as a vertically-challenged man, I feel compelled to point out that this “bigger is better” business is always a myth — in whatever context it arises. So to speak.]
3. Myth: Put your coffee for espresso in the freezer for freshness.
- False: Freezing the coffee coagulates the natural oils contained in the bean. In an espresso, those oils emulsify producing the wonderful body of this special cup of coffee.
I apologize if that last sentence sounds like a bit of a sales pitch. In fact, it is: the Web site is hosted by Illy coffee.