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Which Coffee Has The Least Caffeine? Guide & FAQ’s

Rebecca Hanlon
Last Updated: April 18th, 2023

While most coffee lovers love their cup bitter and strong, some prefer to tone it down for various reasons. If you’re part of the group that is caffeine sensitive, you might often ask: which coffee has the least caffeine levels?

Decaffeinated coffee has the least caffeine content. Yes, it’s 97% caffeine-free with only around 2 to 3 grams of caffeine. But, if you’re looking for a regular coffee with the least amount of caffeine, there are a few more things to know.

Let’s take a look at which coffee has the least amount of caffeine.

Brewed Coffee With the Lowest Caffeine Content

brewed coffee with the lowest caffeine

If you compare a single espresso with a drip filter coffee, its caffeine content is only 45 mg while a regular cup of drip filter has 95mg. But, isn’t espresso the strongest type of coffee out there?

Well, the truth is, a single shot of espresso has a high caffeine content per ounce at around 30 to 55 mg. However, espresso shots are very small.

As a result, espresso is the type of regular coffee that has the lowest caffeine content simply because it’s the preparation with the smallest serving size.

A single espresso shot is usually 0.85 ounces to an ounce, explaining why it has less caffeine than your drip coffee. At the same time, this also means that if you prefer a double-shot espresso, it would have a higher caffeine level.

When you’re coming from a volume perspective, espresso would have way more caffeine than drip because of its higher concentration.

Factors That Influence a Cup’s Caffeine Levels

cup’s caffeine levels

Now that you’ve got an idea of what type of brewed coffee has the least amount of caffeine, let’s take a look at what affects the caffeine content of your cup of Joe.

These factors play a role in creating a solid cup of joe with the caffeine level you want. Let’s take a look at a few things that affect the caffeine content of your coffee.

Coffee Quantity

The most critical factor in how much caffeine your brew has is the quantity of coffee you use. This has the most effect on your cup’s overall caffeine level. When you use more ground coffee, the beverage you create will also have more caffeine.

The amount of coffee you use also has something to do with the coffee-water ratio. This ratio differs depending on the type of coffee you prefer.

According to SCAA or the Specialty Coffee Association of America, the golden cup standard is to use 55 grams of coffee in a liter of water. This ratio is ideal for a cup of drip filter and pour-over coffee.

If you alter this, however, you’ll wind up with coffee with a higher or lower caffeine content.

For example, espresso, the brewing method that has the least caffeine content, has the highest coffee-water ratio. Pour-over or drip coffee has the lowest.

Serving Size

Serving size also matters when it comes to caffeine content. The smaller the serving size of the coffee is, the less caffeine it generally contains.

For example, a single shot of espresso is only 1 ounce. On the other hand, your standard brewed coffee is 8 ounces. Thanks to the higher volume, your brewed coffee tends to actually contain more caffeine than a single espresso shot.

In contrast, if you drank eight ounces of espresso, you’d be looking at much more caffeine just because of the concentration of caffeine per ounce.

The Type of Coffee Beans

Coffee beans come in two main types: Arabica and Robusta. Arabica beans are more popular, comprising around 60% to 70% of coffee production around the world.

But, if you’re talking about caffeine content, Robusta has twice the amount of caffeine that Arabica has.

However, Arabica is richer, tastier, and has better quality. It’s also more aromatic and contains fruitier hints. This is why most coffee shops use 100% Arabica beans.

Coffee Roast Profile

Finally, the coffee roast profile plays a role in your coffee’s caffeine content.

The roasting process actually burns off a bit of the caffeine content, meaning that darker roasted beans tend to have a bit less caffeine.

In contrast, with light roast beans, you’ll find that not as much caffeine has been cooked off. As a result, they wind up being the strongest beans.

If you want to go for a coffee with a lower caffeine content, you’re best off picking a dark roast.

What You Can Do to Reduce Your Caffeine Intake in a Cup

reduce your caffeine intake

If you can’t function without sipping your favorite cup of coffee but don’t want to overdo the caffeine, I hear you.

Luckily, there are a few things you can do to cut back the total caffeine content without giving up coffee altogether. Here are a few things you can do to lower your cup’s caffeine content.

Switch Up Your Brewing Method

If you want to lower your caffeine intake, stay away from a french press, filter coffee, and Aeropress. These methods infuse your coffee grounds in water, producing around 60 to 100 mg of caffeine per 4 oz. As a result, they give you a lot more caffeine than, say, a single espresso shot.

Go With A Darker Roast Coffee

As mentioned, dark roast coffee has less caffeine than its lighter counterpart. It’s only darker because the roasting time is longer. If you want to cut back on the amount of caffeine in your drink, try using French or Espresso roasts.

Change Your Ground Size

When the grind of your beans is finer, you will extract the coffee more slowly. This results in more caffeine being released during the entire process. But, if you use a courser grind, the caffeine levels and extraction time will be reduced.

Just remember that the brewing method you choose will also require a unique grind size. So, it’s better to follow a guide to learn more about the grind size you should use.


Do you still have a couple of questions about the caffeine content in coffee? I hear you. Here are a few frequently asked questions about caffeine content to help you out.

What Is the Weakest Coffee at Starbucks?

The weakest coffee at Starbucks is the Decaf Pike Place Roast. You only get around 20 mg of caffeine when you order a Tall brew.

You can also opt to get an espresso shot. It’s the second weakest coffee in Starbucks, having a caffeine level of 75 mg.

Will Instant Coffee Have Less Caffeine?

Most instant coffees have less caffeine than cups made from pure coffee beans. Having the same amount of water, one cup of instant coffee has 65 mg of caffeine, while a cup brewed with pure coffee beans has 100 mg.

Is Decaf Coffee Weak?

Because decaf coffee contains only about 2 to 3 mg of caffeine, it’s weak compared to mainstream coffee. But, most non-coffee drinkers prefer this over regular coffee because its effects are mild to none.

Which Coffee Has The Least Caffeine – Final Thoughts

With this guide, you have a clear idea of the various factors that affect the amount of caffeine in your daily cup of Joe.

When making your cup, remember that the amount of coffee, serving size, the coffee bean you use, and roast profile are all impactful in terms of the total caffeine content.

Keep these in mind and you’ll be able to make the best cup of coffee with just the right amount of caffeine for your unique needs!

Still, have some questions about the caffeine content in coffee. Let us know what you think in the comments!

About The Author

Rebecca Hanlon

Rebecca has been a blogger for over 5 years, before that enjoying a number of jobs to fund her passion for travel. She's taught English as a foreign language, a part-time Barista, a waitress, and a tour guide.

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