Just How Much Coffee Is Too Much?

Nov 30 2017 - 10:03am

There are many benefits to drinking coffee [1] every day — from disease-fighting antioxidants to improved memory and longevity — but when it comes to your caffeine habit, there really can be too much of a good thing.

Just how much caffeine is too much? For the average person, up to 300 mg of coffee a day, or two to four cups of the average brewed coffee, is a moderate amount that isn't harmful. But once you hit more than four cups, you may experience less-than-desirable side effects. Drinking more than 500 mg every day, in fact, can induce anxiety, insomnia, and muscle tremors and can even lead to increased heart rate and blood pressure, headaches, or digestion issues.

If you want to stay away from the caffeine jitters, then limiting yourself to under four cups of coffee per day is a perfectly reasonable plan. However, you may be surprised by how much caffeine is in your favorite caffeinated beverage; it can be much more than you think!
See how much caffeine is in your favorite drink.

Drink Amount of caffeine
Average 8-ounce cup of coffee 95 mg [3]
8-ounce Short Starbucks coffee 180 mg [4]
12-ounce Tall Starbucks coffee 260 mg
16-ounce Grande Starbucks coffee 330 mg
20-ounce Venti Starbucks coffee 415 mg
10-ounce small Dunkin' Donuts coffee 105 mg [5]
14-ounce medium Dunkin' Donuts coffee 178 mg [6]
20-ounce large Dunkin' Donuts coffee with Turbo Shot 436 mg
16-ounce large McDonald's coffee 133 mg
Average 1-ounce espresso shot 64 mg
1-ounce Starbucks espresso shot 75 mg [7]
Average teaspoon of instant coffee 31 mg
Average 8-ounce cup of black tea 26 mg [8]
Average 6-ounce cup of green tea 20-30 mg [9]

Use this chart as a guide to see how much caffeine you're really consuming every day. Even if you enjoy two eight-ounce cups at Starbucks, for example, that's 360 mg of caffeine — 60 mg over the recommended limit. Also, remember that even though espresso-based drinks like lattes and cappuccinos contain less caffeine than brewed coffee, many drinks are made with at least two espresso shots, not one.

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