Hey there, caffeine fiend. You clicked on this article to find out what the strongest coffee in the world is. There’s good news! The strongest coffee, and by that we mean coffee with a high amount of caffeine, doesn’t have to be dark and bitter.
We’ve rounded up the most popular brewing types to find where the truth — and caffeine — lies. What’s the strongest coffee blend? It just might be gold.
Which coffee is highest in caffeine?
There’s been debate, and even scientific studies, about which type of coffee is the most caffeinated.
The caffeine content of coffee is determined by several factors:
- Roast level
- Type of beans
- Grind size
- Brewing style
The roasting process is one of the most significant factors when it comes to caffeine content. The “strength” of coffee is largely determined by the roasting method; longer and hotter roasting methods break down the compounds within coffee, or its physical properties.
The type of beans used also contribute to a coffee's strength. Robusta beans have a higher caffeine content than the more commonly used Arabica beans. Conservative estimates put Robusta coffee beans at 2.2 mg of caffeine each, with Arabica beans coming in at 1.5 mg.
The origin of the beans also matters — beans grown at lower altitudes are often slightly more caffeinated.
What is the strongest type of coffee? The strongest type of coffee by roasting and brewing style is gold roast coffee. Espressos and light roast coffee will contain the most caffeine per scoop, but espresso is served in much smaller amounts.
That’s why gold coffee, one of the lightest roasts on the market, has such a high caffeine content. One cup of gold coffee boasts 50% more caffeine per gram than a cup of regular coffee.
Plus, with gold coffee’s smooth flavor profile and low acid content, it doesn’t need any additives like cream or sugar that could dilute the sweet caffeinated goodness.
Another very light roast is white coffee, which boasts roughly the same caffeine content. However, many coffee drinkers would prefer a bit more flavor.
Finally, the grind size can have an effect, with a finer ground coffee producing more caffeine, particularly when it comes to espresso.
The brewing style of coffee is another important factor in its caffeine content. In fact, many would say that it’s the most important aspect in determining strong coffee. We’ll unpack, and rate, each brewing method below for its strength next.
The Truth About Dark Roast
Roasters have bad news: The heat of the roasting process actually burns caffeine off of coffee beans over time.
That’s right: The longer the roasting time, the lower the mg of caffeine per whole bean.
This ranks dark roast coffee at the bottom of the pile in terms of caffeine content. While some coffee lovers enjoy a bold and bitter cup of dark roast coffee, this coffee blend is actually giving you the least caffeine jolt per sip.
And that’s the dark secret of dark roast — the most bitterness does not equal the most caffeine.
What type of beans are used to make strong coffee? Light roast beans are the type of beans used to make strong coffee in terms of caffeine. A light coffee such as gold roast will contain more caffeine than dark roast coffee.
Strongest Brewing Method
Determining the strongest brewing method sounds simple, but there are a few variables to consider.
Firstly, you’ll want to remember that not all serving sizes are the same. A standard serving of espresso is only 1.5 ounces, while drip coffee typically comes in a full 8 ounce cup (or more).
We’ll be measuring the amount of caffeine in an 8 ounce cup for each blend to keep an even baseline, but noting where that’s not the standard serving size.
If you want another scale for comparison, an average 8 ounce serving for most energy drinks contains 72 ounces of caffeine.
Common brewing methods for coffee include:
- French press
- Pour over
There’s also instant coffee, which can be highly acidic. If you opt for this route, go for a low-acid variety.
With these factors in mind, let’s break down the caffeine content.
When it comes down to pure weight, espresso ranks at the top of the scale for caffeine content. One ounce of espresso contains perhaps the highest concentration of caffeine of any brewing method: 77 mg per ounce. However, a standard serving of espresso is between 1-2 ounces.
Your barista would look at you in shock and awe if you asked for an 8 ounce pour of espresso, but that serving would yield over 400 mg of caffeine, or above the daily recommended limit.
Is Turkish coffee stronger than espresso? Turkish coffee is not stronger than espresso in terms of caffeine content.
Drip coffee is perhaps the most common brewing method, made by pouring hot water through ground coffee beans. An 8 ounce cup of drip coffee typically contains about 100 mg of caffeine, though light roasts can contain more.
Drip brewed coffee is also where you’ll find some of the most aggressive, caffeine-forward coffee companies like Death Wish Coffee, Black Label, Banned Coffee, Biohazard Coffee, Black Insomnia Coffee, Killer Coffee.
These blends each have over two times the daily recommended amount of caffeine — and slightly terrifying names — so exercise caution if you search them out on Amazon.
Many reviewers say that these shockingly high-caffeine blends can sacrifice flavor for caffeine content. All of them are dark roasts or medium dark roast, which may not suit those avoiding bitterness in their cup of coffee.
For you Keurig coffee maker fans, a K-cup’s strength is roughly the same as traditional drip coffee per ounce. Just be sure to choose a smaller cup of coffee in order not to dilute your final product.
A French press is surprisingly caffeinated for its milder flavor profile. One 8 ounce serving contains an average of 107 mg of caffeine.
One thing to note: the longer you allow your French press to sit before pouring, the more caffeine there will be in the resulting cup of coffee. For the strongest coffee possible, wait 5 minutes or more before indulging.
Pour over coffee is aptly named: You pour boiling water in a controlled stream over coffee grounds. A glass of pour over coffee will give you 133 mg of caffeine on average, ranking it solidly above drip coffee.
To get the most power from your pour over, you’ll want to choose a medium grind size, choose a lighter roast of coffee, and use consistently hot water to extract the most caffeine possible.
Steeping is common in cold brew coffee and in brewing coffee tea bags.
Steeping is also the best way to make gold coffee, whether hot or cold. It’s often said that steeped coffee tastes more balanced and smooth than other varieties.
Cold brew coffee is above average in the caffeine department, coming in at around 230 mg of caffeine for 8 ounces. Typically, you’ll want to steep it overnight for the best results.
One thing to note about this light roast’s brewing method: The longer you steep the pouch, the more kick in your cup of joe. If you’re looking for an extra jolt, Golden Ratio products can steep for up to 10 minutes. Plus, they’re crafted from an extremely light roast.
Get ready for an energy boost! Looking for less caffeine? Shoot for a shorter brew time.
How much caffeine is too much?
Great news for caffeine lovers: The recommended caffeine limit is fairly high. The FDA recommends no more than 400 mg per day for healthy adults, which comes out to roughly 4 standard-strength cups of joe a day.
Most “strongest coffee” brands, like Cannonball Coffee, High Voltage, or Devil Mountain Coffee, far surpass this recommendation. Many high-caffeine brands boast caffeine content of up to 3 times what the FDA says is safe.
But that’s not what you’ll want to reach for in a quest for healthy coffee.
Your New Favorite Caffeine Kick
If you’ve been searching for a coffee with a nutty, smooth taste, concentrated caffeine, and no additives needed, you’ve found it. Want something that packs a caffeinated kick but without the bitterness of medium roast coffee? We’ve got you covered there, too.
Golden Ratio gold coffee offers 50% more caffeine with a variety of incredible flavors. We know you can have a caffeine kick — hot or cold brew — without sacrificing delicious flavor.