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PhytoChemia Acta

Activities and Events

Caffeine, an early morning subject !

9 May 2017

Dany Massé, Chimiste, B.Sc.

May you drink it black, espresso or with cream, almost everyone have his own recipe for a tasty coffee.

Whatever your style, there is one question that people always ask: is there more caffeine in an espresso or in an ordinary filter coffee? Ask around and most people will have some hypothesis on the subject. Being as we are, a coffee in one hand and our trustworthy HPLC in the other, we have decided to become improvised baristas for the time of an analysis.

First, we must say that there are two parameters that can answer this question:

1 – The total amount of caffeine in the drink, which is the total amount of caffeine that one should expect to drink when drinking the full amount.

2 – The concentration of caffeine in the drink, which is the amount of caffeine per milliliter.


Extraction of coffee

Considering that caffeine is soluble in hot water, the firsts milliliters of water passing through the coffee will be the one doing most of the extraction. Thus, an espresso that is extracted at a higher temperature and pressure than a filter coffee will have a better extraction yield with a smaller volume. A filter coffee is, on the other hand, extracting for a longer time and with a larger volume.

So without further ado, here are the results:


The results obtained are the means of three measurements.

Even if espresso has a smaller volume, you can see that it pack more punch than the others. Its concentration is 1.6 mg/ml coffee. Filter coffee is less than half of the espresso concentration at around 0.7 mg/ml coffee. For the same amount, an espresso contains more caffeine than a filter coffee. However, the filter coffee contains more caffeine globally on account of its larger volume.

So, did you learn something today?








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