What exactly are you getting in that delightful shot of espresso? You might be wondering how espresso is different from coffee, or how much caffeine it contains. There are several different ways to answer the question “How much is a shot of espresso?”
For anyone wondering how much coffee is in a shot of espresso, you should know a single shot of espresso is one fluid ounce. Coffee and espresso both start with coffee grounds, but are brewed differently to yield totally different drinks. A shot of espresso has about 75mg of caffeine.
If you’re still asking yourself, “how much is a shot of espresso?”, you can read on about the volume of coffee grounds in coffee vs. espresso, the amount of caffeine you are getting in various espresso and coffee drinks, and much more.
From the Grounds Up
The first way to answer the question “how much is a shot of espresso?” is addressing the differences between the drinks.
Both espresso and brewed coffee come from coffee grounds, so what sets them apart?
|Often roasted for a longer amount of time, making the roast darker||Roasting times vary but generally shorter than espresso roasting times|
|Beans are ground finely so that they have a texture similar to sand||Beans are ground to imitate the texture of gravel|
|Made by forcing hot water at high pressure through tightly packed grounds||Water is run through loose coffee and filtered before being collected in a carafe below|
|Can be made only one way||Can be brewed with a drip, pour over, or French press|
|Bolder flavor||Milder flavor|
|Has crema||Does not have crema|
One other difference between espresso and brewed coffee that may better answer the question “how much is a shot of espresso?” is the volume of grounds used in each drink.
Amount of Grounds
A single shot of espresso contains 7-9 grams of coffee grounds. However, the standard serving size is usually a double shot, which contains 18-21 grams of ground coffee.
A cup of coffee uses about 28 grams of coffee grounds for pour over, so by the time you drink ¼ of a cup of coffee, you have consumed the same amount of grounds used to make a single shot of espresso. ½ of a cup of coffee contains the same volume of coffee grounds in a double shot of espresso.
Exploring Espresso Drinks
Now you know that an espresso can come as a single-shot (one ounce) or a double shot (two ounces), but espresso is the star of many different coffee drinks.
Here are just a few tasty espresso-based drinks to test, but there are certainly plenty more to enjoy.
- Café Mocha: Hot cocoa blended with a double shot of espresso
- Espresso Macchiato: Can be made with a single or a double shot and is ‘marked’ (macchiato in Italian) with foam
- Cappuccino: 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk, 1/3 foam
- Flat White (from Australia/New Zealand): 1/3 espresso, 2/3 steamed milk, and a thin layer of micro-foam
How Much Caffeine is in a Shot of Espresso?
If you’re asking “how much is in a shot of espresso?”, then maybe you’re more interested in the caffeine content in an espresso shot.
A shot of espresso usually has about 50-80mg of caffeine. Clearly, the amount of caffeine in an espresso can vary widely, based on the type of coffee bean and type of roast, among other factors.
You can safely assume there’s about 75mg of caffeine in that single shot of espresso. Keep in mind that a double shot is also a standard dose, and a drink with a double shot of espresso contains around 150mg of caffeine.
Playing the Caffeine Comparison Game
How does the caffeine in an espresso compare to the caffeine in a cup of coffee?
Per ounce, espresso has more caffeine than coffee, but who only drinks an ounce or two of brewed coffee at one time? The typical amount in a large cup of coffee is 180-200mg.
Of course, the caffeine in your brewed coffee can vary even more widely than the caffeine in your espresso shot. It depends on the strength of your drink and the type of beans used, among other factors.
Here’s a formula to give you a better idea of how much caffeine is in your coffee:
A weak 12 fluid ounces of brewed coffee contains 171mg of caffeine
A normal 12 fluid ounces cup of coffee contains around 228mg caffeine
A strong 12 fluid ounces of brewed coffee can contain about 284mg of caffeine
Here are some more numbers so you can compare your caffeine intake depending on the drink. All of the following numbers are based on a quantity of 12 fluid ounces.
- Coca Cola: 34mg
- Diet Coke: 45.6mg
- Coke Zero: 35mg
- Mountain Dew: 54mg
Want to Learn More?
Check out some of our other posts:
- What’s the difference: Flat White vs. Cappuccino
- Best AeroPress Espresso Recipe
- 11 Best Ways to Brew Coffee