Does Starbucks coffee have more caffeine than regular coffee?

Does Starbucks coffee have more caffeine than regular coffee?

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  1. One possibility is that Starbucks could be using more Robusta beans in their blends. Robusta beans have a caffeine content of 2.7% to the Arabica bean’s 1.5%. [1]
    You’re right that darkly roasted beans have less caffeine, and Starbucks obviously roasts their beans nearly to oblivion. I wonder if they could do a reverse Swiss Water Process [2] and add more caffeine to the beans before roasting.

    [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robusta_coffee
    [2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decaffeination#Swiss_water_process

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  2. There is no solid, widely applicable answer to this question. Caffeine varies across Starbuck’s coffees and drinks. Here is why:
    Caffeine is a naturally occurring compound. I feel it’s important to mention this because a lot of people treat this issue as though caffeine were being added or subtracted like MSG. Caffeine is natural. It is a part of coffee (and tea). Which is why strange things are done to both in the name of “decaf”.
    Since caffeine is always in coffee, the levels of drinkable caffeine depend on what has happened to the coffee prior to you drinking it.
    Assuming the strange chemical baths and soaking methods used for decaffeinating coffee are NOT used, here’s the general rule :

    The longer water stays in contact with the coffee, the more caffeine there is
    The more the coffee is roasted, the less caffeine there is.

    Practical, real world examples:

    Espresso does not have a lot of caffeine. 2 reasons:
    Most espresso you will come across is darkly roasted (unfortunate, in my opinion) meaning that much of the caffeine has been roasted out.
    The water is in contact with the coffee for a very short time. Shortest about 18 seconds – longest about 24 seconds. (generally speaking). meaning that the shot you drink has very little caffeine
    French Press has a lot of caffeine because the grounds soak in the water for quite some time.
    Drip Coffee has more caffeine that espresso because the water is in contact with the grounds for longer. It soaks in an drips out. The water for espresso is forced through the compacted grounds.

    and so on.
    I hope this helps! let me know if you need clarification.

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  3. Are we talking about coffee beans, brewed coffee, or espresso-based drinks here?

    Comparing beans, Starbucks coffee is going to have the same (if not less) caffeine than that of other companies. There are two different kinds of coffee beans. The first is robusta. Robusta is inexpensive, has high caffeine levels, and is poor quality. Many of the coffees found in the aisles of your local supermarket are of this sort. The other kind of coffee bean is arabica. Arabica is of higher quality, is more expensive, and (compared to robusta) has less caffeine. Starbucks uses exclusively arabica beans in all its coffee. This being said, the caffeine level in Starbucks coffees would be less than most coffees found on supermarket shelves. Additionally, Starbucks roasts its coffee longer (on average) than most others. The longer a bean is roasted, the less caffeine there will be remaining in the bean. This is further evidence disproving the idea that Starbucks coffee has more caffeine than the coffees of its competitors.

    Brewed coffee is one area where Starbucks may actually have more caffeine than others. Because Starbucks uses a higher coffee to water ratio when brewing drip coffee, there will be more caffeine in one cup of coffee.

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  4. Does Starbucks coffee have more caffeine than regular coffee? Once again, as I have said many times to these inane questions. There is no such thing as regular coffee – I shall repeat – there is no such thing as regular coffee. Got it? So the question is a non sequitur. Starbuck’s coffee is not much different than any other coffee. They brew it stronger than most, and they have a menu of coffee and espresso based drinks – period!

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  5. I have delivered starbucks coffee it doesn’t come from anywhere fancy.. it’s basically Folgers in fancy bags. It was on the news 2 days ago that a small coffee at starbucks has 385 mg of caffeine and the USDA is discussing placing warning labels on starbucks coffee.

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  6. I am not convinced that Starbucks does have more caffeine than other coffee. Much depends on the specific bean, the roast, and the method of preparation. I am not convinced that the level of caffeine is entirely consistent with each cup of coffee.

    There are a few interesting links on the interweb that I have always found curious.

    Caffeine Content of Drinks
    This database gives various Starbucks sizes different values for caffeine per ounce when I assume the same coffee is going into the same cup.

    Another page on this site refers to a couple of journal articles:
    McCusker R.R.; Goldberger B.A.; Cone E.J., Caffeine Content of Specialty Coffees , Journal of Analytical Toxicology, Vol. 27, October 2003, pp 520-522.
    McCusker R.R.; Goldberger B.A.; Cone E.J., Caffeine Content of Decaffeinated Coffee , Journal of Analytical Toxicology, Vol. 30, October 2006, pp 611-613
    You can google up these articles..

    Caffeine in coffee.
    This site offers a scientific breakdown of the nature of caffeine and its occurance in coffee.

    If Starbucks adds anything to increase the caffeine level I suspect it would only be more coffee grounds per oz as compared to Tim Hortons, etc.

    I would be interested in knowing to which studies you are referring.

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