There are a lot of variables that go into calculating how much caffeine is in a shot of espresso. You have to factor in grind size, puck depth, tamping method, bean type (caffeinated vs decaffeinated), region and elevation the coffee beans are grown in, espresso machine used, how the coffee bean was processed (type of roast) and age of the bean after being processed (caffeine does have a long shelf life before it denigrates)

NOTE: The maximum recommended daily amount of caffeine is 400 milligrams.

An Average Shot Of Espresso Contains 45-75 Milligrams Of Caffeine

On average there are roughly 45-75 milligrams of caffeine per espresso shot. According to consumer reports, at Starbucks, for example, a shot of espresso (Solo shot) has around 75 mg of caffeine.

NOTE: Starbucks has 4 different sizes of Espresso

  • Solo – .75 oz
  • Doppio – 1.25 oz
  • Tripple – 2.25 oz
  • Quad – 3.0 oz

Does Grind Size Affect Caffeine Levels

A general rule of thumb is the finer the grind, the higher the level of caffeine per cup. The reason for this is because as water passes through the grinds it comes into contact with more coffee ground surface. Larger grinds create more empty space where water doesn’t touch the coffee.


Puck Depth | Filter Baskets

Filter baskets usually come marked as a “single, double, and triple” based on the designated dose weight.

In general filter baskets are marked as

  • 7 – 9 grams = Single Filter Basket
  • 14- 18 grams – Double Filter Basket
  • 20 – 22 grams = Triple Filter Basket

The above amounts are based on the dose, the weight of the coffee beans ground up and added to a portafilter basket. In many cafes in Italy for instance, they use their traditional 7 gram single and 14 gram double shot.

NOTE: One important thing to remember, is that you may have to change the grind size when trying to dial in a single shot vs a double shot. This is due to water pressure that is applied and the shape of the filter basket.

Tamping your Coffee Grinds