Whether you crave the smell of fresh coffee, drink it for the taste or simply like the occasional pick-me-up, our love affair with coffee is stronger than ever. Nearly half of all Australians consume coffee, and it’s our second most popular non-alcoholic drink after water.
While we may enjoy the ritual, it’s often the caffeine hit that keeps us coming back for more. The question on many drinkers’ lips is whether a coffee dependency has any health risks, and if so, how much coffee should you really drink?
Caffeine is a natural substance found in certain plants. It’s known to be a stimulant, speeding up your brain and nervous system. It’s easily absorbed, and when consumed in small amounts like in your morning coffee, caffeine can help you feel more awake and focused. This works by increasing the circulation of chemicals like cortisol and adrenaline, and enhances many of our basic cognitive functions.
How much caffeine is in coffee?
With so many ways to source and brew coffee, there is no single answer. As a general rule, instant coffee typically contains 80-120mg of caffeine per 250ml, and cafe-style options like an espresso or latte sit around 105-110mg per 250ml.
Percolated coffee is substantially higher, averaging 150-240mg per 250ml. A very small amount of caffeine may also be found in decaffeinated products (2-6mg).
How much coffee can I drink?
There’s no denying we love our coffee. A recent survey estimates Australians drink more than 9 cups of coffee per week on average. Previous research yielded a similar result, estimating median daily consumption at 330mls (more than one standard 250ml cup).
The good news is that experts say adults can safely consume up to 400mg of caffeine per day, across the day. A rule of thumb for lovers of instant and barista-style brews is to keep your coffee consumption to 3-4 standard-size cups a day. Pregnant women are encouraged to keep intake under 200mg per day or stop it altogether.