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Thread: What defines the caffine level?

  1. #1
    Member VimFuego's Avatar
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    What defines the caffine level?

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    I have a love / hate relationship with coffee, I love it but I am one of those people who can't have a coffee after lunch or I'll never sleep that night. I also find some coffee's are worse than others in this regard and I'd love to know what to look out for.
    Currently I drink one of Andy's blends (Sarah's Espresso) and it seems to be for me something I can have two of early in the morning and then I'm fine to sleep. But in the past I have had coffee's that keep me up until 3am, yet they didn't taste strong at the time but I could feel the big hit of caffeine as I drank it.

    So is there any particular bean variety that is higher in caffeine levels than others? (I want to avoid those).

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Robusta has on average roughly twice the caffeine content of Arabica beans.


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    Wow! I had no idea of that.

    good to know

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    I'll be interested to see if anyone weighs in on whether roasting profile, brew method etc. have any effect.

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    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    There is growing evidence that processing and roasting makes very little difference to the amount of caffeine in a particular coffee. And my understanding is that saying robusta has 'twice as much' caffeine as arabica is a pretty broad generalisation. It has more for sure, but twice as much? Sometimes, sometimes not.
    Growing conditions, varietal, size as harvesting could make a bit of difference to caffeine level. But as for working out how much caffeine is actually in your cup of coffee, this is a difficult thing to do so we are very reliant on averages.

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    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeroyC View Post
    ...my understanding is that saying robusta has 'twice as much' caffeine as arabica is a pretty broad generalisation. It has more for sure, but twice as much? Sometimes, sometimes not.
    Hence the broad generalization of my statement:

    Quote Originally Posted by Javaphile View Post
    Robusta has on average roughly {Bold Added} twice the caffeine content of Arabica beans.



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    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Javaphile View Post
    Java "Non-precise" phile
    A very rare occurrence JP...

    Mal.
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  8. #8
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    An exactly phrased precise broadly generalized statement.


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    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VimFuego View Post
    So is there any particular bean variety that is higher in caffeine levels than others? (I want to avoid those).
    Agree with Robusta (as mentioned above).

    The other thing you need to consider apart from varietal is that caffeine extraction is pretty much dictated by time in contact with water.

    The old stove-top percolator that recycled through the coffee over and over was a very bitter beast. Pure caffeine is REALLY bitter and most people can pick higher caffeine levels in different drinks just based on bitterness. It's also the reason that high caffeine "energy drinks" are so full of sugar... it helps mask the bitterness.

    A drip brewer will be fairly high in caffeine due to the long water contact but not as high as the percolator

    A plunger coffee if left to steep for a while will be high, far less caffeine if you grind courser (less surface area) and steep shorter (less time in contact).

    If you are using Sarah's blend in an espresso machine, then stop your shots earlier. A 15 second ristretto will have far less caffeine than a 25 second espresso.

    ...and the coffee snob in me says that means you can drink twice as many.
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    All things being equal, a lighter roast will have marginally more caffeine as dark roast of the same bean, but not much more.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    As has been intimated above: caffeine is less soluble in water than the "desired" coffee flavours. So when making espresso, the shorter the shot--the earlier it is stopped, as it just starts to turn less black--the lower the caffeine levels while still retaining most of the flavour. It's why I only drink ristrettos.

    Greg

  12. #12
    Member VimFuego's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy View Post
    If you are using Sarah's blend in an espresso machine, then stop your shots earlier. A 15 second ristretto will have far less caffeine than a 25 second espresso.
    Actually Andy I've found Sarah's blend is one that doesn't have a whopping hit of caffeine (which for me is good) which is also why I keep ordering it, though I wouldn't dare have one after dinner. I love to try new coffee's but it does suck when I find one I like but can't get more than 4 hrs sleep a night! Trial and error I suppose, I was sort of hoping apart from the Robusta comments that I would be advised to avoid any beans from 'x' region etc but it sounds like it isn't that simple.

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    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Give the decaf wow a try



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