If you’re like over half the population in America, your morning doesn’t really get going until you’ve had your first cup of coffee. That’s because caffeine is a mild stimulant that kick-starts your brain and gives you that extra touch of get-up-and-go. But does it really provide you with more energy?
Well, yes and no. There are almost no calories in coffee, so your body isn’t transforming your daily hit into carbohydrates that will fuel your cells and muscles. On the other hand, caffeine does have a measurable effect on what’s going on inside your head. Caffeine stimulates receptors in your brain and raises epinephrine levels in your body. That’s why a couple of cups of coffee can leave you feeling like you can conquer the world.
Getting the Biggest Energy Boost
When it comes to getting the biggest bang from your morning Joe, start with the beans. Many people think that a lighter roast has a higher caffeine content than darker varieties because caffeine is burnt off in the roasting process. Actually, that’s a myth. When you take into account weight and mass, they’re both pretty much the same.
Of far greater importance is the variety of coffee bean you choose. Almost 70% of coffee is made from arabica beans, which are only 1.5 % caffeine. The strongest coffee beans are robusta, which contain a whopping 2.5% caffeine.
Preparation is also important. Finely ground coffee beans yield the most caffeine, so drip coffee will have higher levels than a brew made in a French press. Finally, keeping the water temperature between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit will extract the most caffeine from your grind. Because heat is important to the process, cold-brewed coffees (iced coffee) will have lower caffeine levels.
Espresso Vs Drip
Everyone knows that an espresso packs a punch. That’s because it’s made by forcing hot water through tightly packed and very finely ground coffee. A 2 oz espresso contains an average 150mg of caffeine, compared with only 40mg for the same amount of drip coffee. That’s a pretty condensed rush that you’ll feel in a hurry.
But nobody drinks just 2 ounces of drip. A regular 12 oz coffee has 240mg, and if you get the 20 oz super-size, you’re in for 400mg of nerve-tingling energy. When it comes to getting the most energy from a cup of coffee, it’s all about volume.
If you’re making your coffee at home, a double espresso made with robusta beans is said to be the best type of coffee for energy. Alternatively, a single pod of Death Wish coffee will pack 728mg of caffeine into a twelve-ounce cup.
If you’d rather leave the brewing to someone else, here’s a list of commercial brands that will give you the most energy from a cup of coffee:
- Starbucks Venti – 415mg
- Dunkin’ Donuts large with a turbo shot – 395mg
- Shock energy blend coffee – 231mg
- Biggby Red Eye – 274mg
- Peet’s Coffee – 267mg
- Starbucks Americano – 225mg
A simple cup of coffee can boost your metabolism, give you added stamina and endurance, and improve mental focus. Plus, a great cup of coffee tastes just plain delicious. No matter how you take yours, make sure you pay attention to the beans, the grind and the water temperature to get the most energy out of every cup.