Home / Coffee Science / [2/3] Caffeine Kick Demystify

[2/3] Caffeine Kick Demystify

How can we adjust the caffeine kick to be right for us?

 

Before we go into that, let’s first start by talking about the different things that affect caffeine kick. 

Caffeine kick is simpler than it sounds. It’s all about the total caffeine content that ends up with in your beverage, which is the result of the coffee you use and the brewing parameters you try.

The first key aspect is how much caffeine content you are starting with. This often depends on the type of coffee and roast you are using. Robusta coffee packs twice as much caffeine compared to Arabica coffee (with the downside of tasting more bitter than Arabica). Light roasts pack up to 5% more caffeine than dark roasts.

The second key aspect is brewing parameters. This includes aspects like: brewing temperature, coffee to water ratio, and strength. By varying these parameters you can vary the amount of caffeine dissolved in your cup and eventually your body. For example, by increasing the temperature, coffee to water ratio and strength, you can increase the amount of caffeine dissolved in a cup of coffee (assuming that you use the same beans and roast).  The good news is that by playing around with these 5 factors, we can increase or decrease the caffeine content of a beverage as we like.

The bad news, however; is that the relationship between each of these 5 factors with caffeine content is not necessarily linear. For instance, higher temperature might on the surface increase the rate of extraction leading to an overall increase in extracted substances, including caffeine. The truth is that higher extraction rate could go beyond the point where caffeine is all extracted. Consequentially, certain substances, which usually do not get extracted at a lower temperature, end up in your cup. Playing around with these 5 factors might help you achieve the right caffeine content, but it might sadly come at the cost of a bad-tasting cup.

 If the most important thing to you is the right caffeine kick even at the expense of taste, it is completely sensible to go ahead and play around with the 5 factors mentioned. The only way to know what is right for you is to experiment and pay attention to the effect each combination has on your body. This might seem like a lot of work, but imagine what you could do if you were always at your best and functioning at your peak state every day!