Caffeinated beverages revive your spirits when you are sleepy in the morning or during the afternoon slump. You can read here how this works, whether caffeine has side effects and what the stimulant contains.
Body stimulant: caffeine
In its pure chemical form, caffeine is a nondescript white powder with a bitter taste. It is better known and, above all, more popular as a component of luxury foods such as coffee, tea, cola, guarana, matcha latte, and mate. We consume them when we feel tired and need a performance boost. We owe the stimulating effect of caffeine to a kind of molecular deception. The substance is structurally similar to the body’s own adenosine. It is produced when our nerve cells work. To prevent overload, adenosine docks onto receptors in the nerve cells, which transmit a throttling signal. The caffeine molecule can also occupy this space, but without triggering the “slow down” signal. Despite fatigue, the nervous system continues to work happily.
Side effects and overdose of caffeine
Consuming caffeine can cause side effects if we take in too much or are not used to the stimulating effect. Restless sleep, indigestion, nervousness, and headaches are the most common symptoms. If large amounts of the stimulant have been consumed over a longer period of time, the body can even become dependent. You can test whether you are addicted by withdrawing from caffeine. If you experience nausea, headaches, listlessness, or irritability within 12 hours of your last caffeine intake, the stimulant could have acted like a drug. Incidentally, from a quantity of one gram, caffeine is considered to be overdosed and can cause a high, irregular heart rate, restlessness up to anxiety, and, in the worst case, a circulatory collapse. We show alternatives to caffeine as a stimulant here. Also, learn more about the effects of matcha tea.
Is espresso healthier than filter coffee?
Espresso generally contains less acid and caffeine than filter coffee. In this respect, for those with a sensitive stomach or cardiovascular problems, espresso may be the healthier alternative – and the same goes for coffee substitutes. People without health problems can still use filter coffee without hesitation.
The lower acid content in espresso beans can be attributed, among other things, to the fact that they are roasted longer than beans for filter coffee. In addition, conventional filter coffee is mostly made from Robusta beans. They contain around twice as much caffeine as the Arabica beans for the espresso. Incidentally, it also tastes great cold, especially in refreshing, invigorating summer drinks such as an espresso tonic.
In addition, the preparation also plays a role in the fact that filter coffee can hit the stomach more than espresso. Espresso powder is ground finer than filter coffee powder. It is filled into the portafilter of an espresso machine and pressed firmly. Water heated to 95 degrees Celsius is pressed through the coffee layer at high pressure. The brewing process takes less than half a minute. There is not enough time before the espresso has run into the cup to flush large amounts of acid or caffeine out of the powder.
The coffee powder in the filter coffee machine, on the other hand, is ground coarser. The hot water takes between three and five minutes to run through the powder. In addition to aroma substances, the water also absorbs significantly more caffeine and acid than with espresso.
A coffee mug is also larger than a small espresso cup, so the usual amount of filter coffee consumed is significantly higher. A cup of filter coffee contains about two to three times as much caffeine as a cup of espresso. If you value the stimulating effect of caffeine and tolerate the acidity in coffee well, the hot drink from the filter coffee machine is the right choice for you. If you have a sensitive stomach or are sensitive to caffeine, it is better to enjoy a cup of espresso. Maybe in combination with warm milk like in latte macchiato or Pumpkin Spice Latte, the autumn trend drink from America. Ultimately, of course, personal taste also determines the choice of coffee.
How much coffee is healthy can therefore depend on the type of preparation and the amount. In addition, the pure enjoyment of coffee is healthier than flavoring the hot drink with cream, sugar or syrup. Especially with a high coffee consumption, additional calories are absorbed in this way.
Health-conscious people can try a fruit punch as an alternative hot drink to coffee, such as our cranberry punch!
Learn more about coffee!
How much caffeine does coffee & co. contain?
In order to get to such critical amounts, however, you would have to consume very large amounts of caffeine. A cup of coffee contains an average of 80 mg of the stimulant. To get to one gram, around 13 cups would be needed – and one after the other. It doesn’t take long for the body to break down caffeine. It gets into the bloodstream after just 30 to 45 minutes and has a half-life in the body of four hours. Coffee is by no means considered unhealthy, the dose makes the poison. 400 mg of caffeine daily is considered safe for adults. With the following overview you can estimate for yourself how much of it you take with which drink or food:
- 150 ml of coffee: 40 to 120 mg
- 30 ml espresso: about 40 mg
- 150 ml black tea: 20 to 50 mg
- 150 ml green tea: 20 to 50 mg
- 1 g Guarana: 40 to 90 mg
- 100 g dark chocolate (70% cocoa content): about 70 mg
- 330 ml cola: 33 mg
- 250 ml energy drink: about 80 mg
Also include caffeinated delicacies like our cappuccino cake in your balance sheet, because the substance does not evaporate during baking. In the case of tea blends for chai or spiced tea, a look at the list of ingredients reveals whether caffeinated black or green tea is included.