Do Coffee Beans Have Caffeine?

Caffeine is a globally recognized stimulant that improves concentration and maintains alertness. Coffee is one of the most highly sought-after commodities on the global market. Approximately two billion cups of coffee are enjoyed daily.

Yes, coffee beans have caffeine. The coffee tree yields the coffee seed. Caffeine is in the coffee plant and is produced as a protection mechanism from pests. The bean has the most caffeine. Caffeine is a cognitive stimulator with many health benefits. It’s safe to drink four cups of coffee daily.

Caffeine is the most consumed recreational psychoactive chemical today. Coffee trees are harvested, and the roasted beans are exported from 70 countries. Many developing nations rely on coffee to sustain their economic growth. Brazil, Vietnam, Columbia, and Indonesia are the top four coffee-producing countries in the world. 

Do Coffee Beans Have Caffeine?

The coffee cherry of the coffee tree has natural amounts of caffeine. The quantity of caffeine varies according to the bean, roast, and brewing type, environment of plant, altitude, among others. The naturally occurring caffeine in coffee beans is added to other manufactured drinks when coffee is decaffeinated.

The coffee trees are evergreen. Yet, these plants are a dry land crop. The seeds harvested from the coffee plant are called coffee cherries. They’re then roasted and refined into freshly ground coffee grains. Coffee has been around for centuries and originated from the Ethiopian highlands.

What is Caffeine?

Caffeine has approximately 1000 chemical compounds that influence the fragrance and flavor of coffee. This chemical binds to the brain’s adenosine receptors, and its neuronal influence is responsible for the increased alertness experienced from caffeine intake.

Caffeine acts as a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant and regulates blood pressure. It’s a psychoactive substance that maintains concentration levels and wakefulness. Caffeine is beneficial for a variety of reasons, more fully discussed below.

Generally, caffeine affects people differently and is determined by the individual’s sensitivity. The caffeine impact will reach its threshold within an hour of consumption. Your body will metabolize half of the caffeine content within six hours after ingestion.

Types of Coffee Beans

Although there are approximately 100 species of coffee beans, only two strains comprise 98% of global coffee consumption- Arabica and Robusta. Another two coffee bean species are included in coffee blends- liberica and excelsa. Liberica is cultivated in Liberia, and the bean is high in acidity and bitterness. Excelsa is a rare breed located in Asia, and it’s expensive with a refined flavor.

The arabica botanical name is “Coffea Arabica,” and belongs to the Rubiaceous family of flowering plants. It’s the highest quality bean and is responsible for about 60% of global coffee production. Arabica is a finer-quality bean to Robusta due to its low acidity concentrations and smooth, fruity flavor.   

Despite Robusta’s inferior status, it’s a strong contender in the global market. Robusta’s botanical name is “Coffea Canephora.” They’re almost entirely immune to disease. The Robusta coffee bean makes up about 40% of the coffee market worldwide. This competing strain is prized for its adaptability and resilience. Yet, it’s significantly more bitter than Arabica. 

These two unique varieties are significantly different, and this is especially true of the caffeine amount in each bean. For example, Robusta contains about twice (and sometimes thrice) as much caffeine as Arabica.

What is the amount of caffeine in a Coffee Bean?

An assortment of factors determines the level of caffeine in the coffee cherry. Caffeine amount depends on the environment of the coffee tree, the coffee bean genus, the altitude of the tree, and the soil’s pH level.

A roasted coffee bean typically carries about two to six mg of caffeine. For example, one Arabica coffee bean holds two mg of caffeine, and one Robusta contains six mg of caffeine.

What is the Amount of Caffeine in a Cup of Coffee?

An eight-ounce brewed cup of coffee contains about 95 – 200 mg of caffeine, and a one-ounce espresso has 47 – 75 mg.

Why Do Coffee Beans Have Caffeine?

The coffee tree produces caffeine as a protection mechanism. Caffeine is poisonous to pests and is an ecological pesticide- it incapacitates and kills insects and harmful bugs. In addition, caffeine safeguards the coffee plant from other competing plants.

Interestingly, caffeine in the coffee flower attracts pollinators. The attraction is due to a chemical that generates an olfactory memory in pollinators prioritizing the coffee flower over others. Also, caffeine impacts the long-term memory of bees. Caffeine is also found in the leaves and fruits of guarana and cocoa.

Unfortunately, one pest flourishes on caffeine and has been known to damage entire coffee crops (80% of the yield)- the coffee berry borer beetle. Regular inspections and treatment via pesticides are needed to combat borer beetle infestation.

Why Do Caffeine Levels Vary?

Altitude is one of the main components that affect caffeine levels. This is due to the oxygen level. There is less oxygen at higher elevations. Therefore, it takes the coffee bean longer to mature. The extended time allows the coffee cherry flavor to develop thoroughly. The resulting bean’s flavor is refined and nuanced.

The Arabica coffee bush is more delicate, can only survive at higher altitudes, and contains 50% less caffeine than the Robusta tree. With substantially more caffeine, the Robusta plant can flourish at any elevation. However, Robusta doesn’t have the same appeal as Arabica.

The Arabica strain is sometimes a risk to cultivate, as its maturation rate can leave it vulnerable to the elements. However, it’s worth the risk, as its global demand is significantly higher.

Does Roast Influence Caffeine Levels?

Light roast and dark roast have the same caffeine amount. The difference results from the quantity measured for packaging and brewing. The coffee bean loses water during the roasting process. Therefore, the amount of caffeine increases as the volume content decreases. 

When the coffee bean loses water while roasting, the density changes. Longer roasted beans are less dense. So, when measuring your coffee by the scoop, light-roasted coffee has more caffeine than a dark roast, as light-roasted beans are denser. Yet, if you weigh your roast amounts, dark roasted beans contain more caffeine as there’s less mass.

How Much Caffeine Can a Person Consume in a Day?

A safe amount of caffeine consumption is 400 mg for adults. This amounts to four cups a day. No evidence ties four cups of coffee to any long-term ailments. However, if you have any heart condition, drink 200 mg daily- two cups.

What are the Health Benefits of Caffeine?

A moderate amount of caffeine is beneficial to the brain and body. Habitual intake of coffee help combats Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Dementia, and strokes. Furthermore, there’s an abundant source of antioxidants in just one bean, preventing certain types of cancer like liver cancer and colorectal cancer.

In addition to improving concentration, caffeine assists memory functioning. Coffee alleviates depression, and studies have revealed that it reduces suicide risks by 45%. This extraordinary seed helps to manage Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease. Other ailments that coffee regulates include gout and Multiple Sclerosis.

Is there More Caffeine in a Coffee Bean or Cup of Coffee?

Eating a coffee bean will give you more caffeine than brewed coffee. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, eating a bean gives you caffeine directly from the source. In contrast, drinking a brew condenses the potency of caffeine with the other ingredients.

Additionally, eating a bean absorbs the caffeine immediately via the inner membrane lining of your mouth, gums, and tongue. Although these beans are small, they contain considerable caffeine quantities that act as a potent stimulant. Consuming 16 coffee beans equals one cup of coffee.

How are Coffee Beans Decaffeinated?

Decaffeinating coffee is a complex process. Caffeine is extracted when the beans are freshly harvested and in their green cherry state. Caffeine is a water-soluble substance. Therefore, water and steam are required for all types of decaffeination processes.

Water isn’t a discerning soluble and will remove all the sugars and other chemical compounds from the coffee bean. Various decaffeinated agents extract only caffeine, including ethyl acetate, methylene chloride, activated charcoal, or carbon dioxide (CO2). These methods are exact and maintain the integrity of the coffee bean.

Is Caffeine Responsible for the Bitter Flavor?

Yes, caffeine contributes to coffee’s bitter taste. The caffeine molecule is accountable for 15% of coffee’s bitterness, making it a poor prototypical bitter taste agent. It acts on the bitter taste receptor-independent neuronal networks. In addition, it activates taste recipients in non-gustatory cells.

The coffee bean has two bioactive compounds that cause its bitterness- chlorogenic acid lactones and polyphenols. However, roasting is the primary reason why the coffee bean becomes bitter. Therefore, the more intensely the bean is roasted, the more astringent the taste.


Caffeine occurs naturally in the coffee tree. This bush produces caffeine to protect against pests and other plants and attract pollinators. The coffee seed stores the most caffeine. Caffeine is the most extensively consumed psychoactive stimulant today. Drinking caffeinated coffee has many health benefits, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s prevention. It’s safe to drink four cups daily.


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