Let us look at Caffeine first…
How much caffeine did you drink today? That is a question that we coffee lovers may not always think about whilst enjoying our favorite brew.
Well, our quick caffeine calculator can help you answer that question just click here.
If you want to learn more then please read on…
First, let us take a quick look at caffeine. What is it and why should we take notice of how much we drink?
What is caffeine?
Caffeine is an organic molecule which means that it is made from carbon. However, not all molecules made from carbon are organic. For example, diamonds and graphite are made of carbon but are not considered organic.
Caffeine is a natural molecule in that it occurs naturally in living things and has the following molecular structure.
By-the-way, don’t confuse organic molecules with organic produce. For example, the name ‘organic’ in growing vegetables usually means that no synthesized fertilizer has been used during farming (it may still use ‘natural fertilizer’ such as coffee grounds).
You may not know it but a lot of chemistry happens with coffee at all steps from farming to your final brew.
Chemistry happens during the growth of the coffee cherry, during processing, during roasting, and finally when you make your favorite brew.
In particular, when we make our coffee we are performing the chemical procedure of solvent extraction.
That is, we take the organic material (roasted coffee bean), grind it (to increase the surface area), add solvent (water) and wait (with a little mixing if we use a manual brew method).
We then filter the insoluble coffee grinds leaving us with our lovely cup of brewed coffee.
Why Should We Take Notice Of How Much Caffeine We Drink?
There are pros and cons of drinking coffee and some people are rightly concerned about side effects or addiction to caffeine in the coffee.
Each of us reacts to caffeine (or any other drug) in a different way and some of us are sensitive to coffee and some of us aren’t.
Actually, caffeine is relatively safe, not considered addictive, and a lethal dose is just way too high for most people to achieve with normal drinking (but beware caffeine tablets and powders).
People that are most at risk for the effects of coffee are pregnant women, children, and those with a sensitivity to coffee.
A lethal dose for humans hasn’t been determined (mainly because no one would want to be a subject of an experiment that may lead to their death) and estimates of a lethal dose for humans is usually based on animal studies.
A common measure of acute toxicity is the LD50. The LD50 (the lethal dose for 50 percent of the animals tested) of a chemical is expressed in milligrams per kilogram of body weight (mg/kg).
A chemical with a small LD50 (e.g. 2 mg/kg) is considered highly toxic. A chemical with a large LD50 (e.g. 1,000 mg/kg) is considered non-toxic.
We calculate, based on the LD50 of rat studies, that the LD50 for humans would be about 59 mg/kg.
However, our colleagues at caffeine informer estimate the LD50 to be about 150 mg/kg.
This just shows that these estimates can be a bit ‘rubbery’ (imprecise) when inferred from animal studies.
What does this LD50 mean when drinking coffee?
Well, if you weigh 70 kg then your potential lethal dose of caffeine would be about 4130 mg or 4.1 g (0.14 oz) of caffeine (59 mg/kg x 70 kg = 4130 mg).
Here are some reference values from a Lethal Dose table for you to contemplate and compare:
Aspirin has LD50 of 200 mg/kg
Alcohol has LD50 of 7060 mg/kg
Cyanide has a LD50 of 10mg/kg.
All of these values are derived from studies on rats with the substances given orally.
As you can see the lethal dose of caffeine for a 70kg person is 4130mg and is relatively high compared with poisons such as cyanide and even when compared with aspirin.
This means that caffeine is nowhere near the lethal dose as these other chemicals and it would mean that you would have to ingest a lot of caffeine in a short time to be affected.
Remember, these values are mostly based on rat studies and may not reflect the situation in a human.
High values of caffeine are included in dietary caffeine tablets and powders, so you do have to be careful if you ingest these products.
How Much Acid Did You Drink Today?
Acids you say? I’m drinking acids? What the…?
You are naturally cautious of acids. You know that strong acids like sulphuric acid, hydrochloric acid, and nitric acid can burn.
However, the acid in coffee is chlorogenic acid and is not like the familiar strong acids.
In fact, chlorogenic acids in coffee are some of the most beneficial molecules in coffee.
WHAT ARE CHLOROGENIC ACIDS?
There is more than one type of chlorogenic acid hence the plural ‘acids’.
These organic molecules are a related set of molecules that have similar structures to chlorogenic acid but differ slightly in the types of chemical groups attached.
The chlorogenic acids are members of the polyphenol family of molecules. Polyphenols are natural and derived from plants. They also have various biological effects (yep that means they affect us too!).
Chlorogenic acid itself is a natural chemical and has the following molecular structure.
Like caffeine, we extract chlorogenic acid when we brew our coffee.
Why should we take notice of how much chlorogenic acids we drink?
Chlorogenic acids are antioxidants. Antioxidants, as the name suggests, prevents the oxidation of molecules by other molecules known as free radicals. Antioxidants are essential for your health.
Free radicals are natural organic molecules that can be harmful if the amount in your body is too high. They also seem to be responsible for various diseases such as cancer.
Chlorogenic acids are the highest in Robusta coffees with about 7 to 8 grams/100g. Arabica coffee contains about 1 to 4 grams/100g of chlorogenic acids.
Chlorogenic acids are degraded by high temperature and most of them will be converted to other molecules during roasting.
However, there is still about 0.4 to 2.9g/100g left in the roasted coffee beans and some of this will be in your cup of coffee.
Caffeine & Chlorogenic Calculator
The caffeine and chlorogenic calculator estimate the amount of caffeine and chlorogenic acids in the coffee you drink in a day.
Most of us are not usually aware of the volume of coffee we drink unless we specifically order an ‘8 oz latte please’ from a coffee place.
Consequently, we have made some assumptions to make the calculator easy to use and understand.
The assumptions are:
- you drink a ‘standard size’ cup of coffee which is 8 US fl oz, 8.3 UK fl oz, or 227 ml.
- you drink a ‘standard size’ cup of espresso coffee which is 1.0 US fl oz, 1.1 UK fl oz, or 30 ml per shot
- there is a ‘standard amount’ of caffeine and chlorogenic acid for each coffee type.
The values used in the calculator were taken from academic articles that you can find referenced below.
For those of you that have a desire to be thorough (or a little obsessive and compulsive about coffee), then we hope to eventually build this calculator so you can type the volume of coffee you drank in a day.
However, what we have now should be good for you for a while!
The caffeine content of any coffee drink will vary by size (volume), the origin of the coffee bean (e.g. Robusta or Arabica), the roasting method, the brewing method, and a host of other conditions.
Whilst we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the results they should NOT be taken as a recommendation, they should not be used for any technical purpose, and they should NOT be construed as medical advice or used for any medical purpose.
Please refer to our disclaimer policy.
How To Use The Caffeine And Chlorogenic Acids Calculator
You can use our calculator to determine the total intake of caffeine and chlorogenic acids from eight different types of coffee. Follow the steps below:
- Choose the type of coffee
- Type the number of cups you drank of a particular type of coffee into the appropriate box
- Repeat for any other type of coffee you drank today.
- The result will reveal the total caffeine and chlorogenic acid you consumed today.
Want to know more about caffeine and chlorogenic acids?
Interested in learning organic chemistry? Then try a great course at masterorganicchemistry.
Adamson, R. H. (2016). The acute lethal dose 50 (LD50) of caffeine in albino rats. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, 80, 274-276.
Farah, A., & dePaula Lima, J. (2019). Consumption of chlorogenic acids through coffee and health implications. Beverages, 5(1), 11.
Nair, A. B., & Jacob, S. (2016). A simple practice guide for dose conversion between animals and human. Journal of basic and clinical pharmacy, 7(2), 27.
Poole, R., Ewings, S., Parkes, J., Fallowfield, J. A., & Roderick, P. (2019). Misclassification of coffee consumption data and the development of a standardised coffee unit measure. BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health, bmjnph-2018.
Rahal, A., Kumar, A., Singh, V., Yadav, B., Tiwari, R., Chakraborty, S., & Dhama, K. (2014). Oxidative stress, prooxidants, and antioxidants: the interplay. BioMed research international, 2014.
Satel, S. (2006). Is caffeine addictive?—A review of the literature. The American journal of drug and alcohol abuse, 32(4), 493-502.
Lethal Dose table from Cornell University