How much coffee is too much?

There are tons of coffee health benefits. But how much coffee is too much? Find Out!


There is A LOT of coffee in the world. After water, it’s the drink we guzzle most. Which is groovy, because there are oodles and oodles of health benefits to coffee.

But, alas, you can have too much of a good thing. Yup, even insanely scrummy cups of speciality coffee from your fave roaster (which is us. Obvs).

Coffee in moderation is totally fine – even recommended. But coffee in bucketloads? Probably not…

So, how much coffee is too much? And how much is too much for you? Let’s sift through the science and find out!


Ice cube splashing into an iced latte in a tall glass




Coffee Health Benefits

Did you know that coffee is one of the most researched substances on the planet? Really! There are reams and reams of research papers on the stuff.

And it’s good news! Experts have found a list of coffee health benefits as long as your arm. Caffeine gives you an energy boost and increases life expectancy. It can be a good shout for sufferers of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and can help to protect against heart disease, liver disease and stroke. Coffee also does good stuff upstairs in the brain, as it boosts memory and decreases the risk of developing dementia.

Gym junkie? Grab a mug, because coffee’s gonna help you smash that PB! Coffee is a great pre-workout boost and can increase endurance, focus and strength.

Pondering the health benefits to coffee? Don’t forget the extras. Black coffee is calorie-free and practically overflowing with health wins. But that caramel-swirled-whipped-cream-topped-iced-mocha? Not so much. Sugar, syrups, whole milk and cream all add calories, sugar and saturated fat to your joe. Which is fine, of course… just perhaps not every day?


Chart showing the health benefits of coffee for the brain, body and exercise



How much caffeine in coffee?

So, caffeine. We guess you’ve heard of it. It’s the dude responsible for many of those coffee health benefits and that get-up-and-go boost you get from your morning cup. But too much caffeine has its drawbacks.

Quick whistle-stop caffeine tour before we get to the numbers. Caffeine is a natural, water-soluble alkaloid occurring in over 60 plant species. These clever plants use caffeine to repel bugs and pests. We know… caffeine as a repellent. Hard to believe, right? Humans get most of our caffeine from coffee and tea, plus chocolate, energy drinks and some over the counter medications.

The amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee varies. So many factors play a part:

  • The type of bean
  • The type of roast
  • Your brew method
  • The size of your cup…


pouring coffee from a cafetiere into a red mug


On average, one little arabica bean contains 1.9 milligrams of caffeine. If you’re a filter fan, you’ll get about 140 milligrams of caffeine from your mug of filter coffee. Starting the morning with an espresso? A single shot gives your around 63 milligrams of caffeine. And milky coffees? Lattes, cappuccinos and flat whites contain the same amount of caffeine as the single or double shot you used, as milk contains nil caffeine.

We’re not fans of instant coffee at TC (try speciality coffee and you’ll see how bleurgh the instant stuff tastes!), but we’ll give you the figures anyway… the amount of caffeine in one mug of instant coffee is about 100 milligrams.


Do you want to know more about making coffee at home? Then grab yourself a FREE Brew Guide! It’s your go-to guide for awesome coffee at home. Click the link and we’ll pop one in the post!


Get it here!


speciality coffee cherries




What happens if you drink too much coffee?

You won’t grow an extra arm or turn blue if you have one of *those* days and exceed the advised limit. But exceed it on a regular basis, and you might find some less-friendly side effects. In the short term, these can include:


  • Headaches
  • Jittery feelings
  • Irritability
  • Nervousness
  • Nausea
  • Sleep problems
  • Faster heartbeat
  • Heartburn


Over time, excessive caffeine consumption (and we mean seriously overdoing it) can weaken the adrenal glands. These clever guys sit on top of your kidneys and produce hormones. Going overdrive on the coffee might also reduce the nutrient levels in your body and contribute to stomach problems. It’s no secret that caffeine is a drug, either, and that extreme consumption over time can leave us a little too reliant…


Latte in a tall glass sits on a white plate with a small spoon




How much coffee is too much?

But this DOES NOT MEAN COFFEE IS BAD. Eating/drinking/doing anything in huge amounts isn’t great. Except the conga. You can do that as much as you like.  ?‍♀️

But coffee ain’t the conga, I’m afraid. There is such a thing as too much coffee. Love coffee? Then you need to know your limits. Four or five cups a day is generally fine for most people. Drink this, and you’ll enjoy all those coffee health benefits and no harmful side effects.

But there is a ‘probably’. Because it really does depend on each individual. Feeling a bit restless or jittery after a couple of cups? Then you might have found how much coffee is too much for you.


Fancy coffee? But not caffeine? Speciality decaf is the way forward!


Two chimps speciality decaf coffee besides metal coffee tin




How much coffee should I drink a day?

Yep, you guessed it – it’s different for everyone! We’re all awesome and unique and have different metabolisms. Why does this matter? Metabolic rate not only affects how long it takes us to digest our dinner – it also determines how we respond to caffeine.

On average, most human bodies can cope just fine with 400 milligrams of caffeine a day. This is equal to the four-to-five cups we mentioned above. Sip this safe in the knowledge that your heart, cholesterol level and brain are nice and healthy! And crazily happy, too, what with all that coffee flavour

400 milligrams is the figure for a 65kg person, though. Factors like age, body mass and genetics all play a part.


guide to cups of coffee per day




I’m expecting. How much coffee is too much for me?

Pregnant Women and Caffeine

Women who are pregnant, breast-feeding or trying to become pregnant should avoid going over 200 milligrams of caffeine a day. Many pregnant women avoid caffeine by choosing lovely decaffeinated coffee instead. Think all decaf is dull? Not if you choose fresh speciality decaf!


Children and Caffeine

Kiddos, there’s special advice for you. Doctors recommend that children consume less caffeine than adults, with tots having less than teens. Little ones between four and six shouldn’t exceed 45 milligrams (about a half cup of coffee), while tweens can have up to 85 milligrams.


Medication and Caffeine

Some types of medication and supplements aren’t best friends with caffeine. These include ephedrine, theophylline and echinacea, a supplement taken to help with colds. It’s best to have a natter with your doc to learn more about the medication-and-coffee-mix.


Coffee farmer hand picking ripe coffee cherries




The takeaway: drink no more than four or five cups daily for top flavour and first-class health!

What's the healthiest way to brew coffee? Find out here!

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