How Much Coffee is Too Much?

How Much Coffee is Too Much
This post may contain affiliate links. When you purchase through the affiliate links, we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more information, check out our Affiliate Disclosure page.

Oh, coffee. This delicious and energizing beverage is sometimes the only thing that gets people up and going for the day. Even if you love your job, waking up for work can be difficult, and knowing you have a steamy cup of joe or iced coffee waiting for you can make it easier.

If you’re like many Americans, that morning cup of coffee isn’t always enough to get you going. Sometimes it takes two in the morning and another few in the afternoon to get you through that afternoon slump. But how much coffee is too much?

Too Much Coffee Is

Health professionals have stated that 400 mg of caffeine a day is okay for most healthy adults. Most brewed coffee has about 95 mg of caffeine per eight ounces, so you could realistically have about four cups of coffee a day and stay within that 400 mg range.

How much coffee you can have in a day depends on the type of coffee you drink. Cold-brew, decaf, and regular drip coffee all have different caffeine contents. Staying under or at 400 mg of caffeine per day is ideal.

Please keep in mind that this is a suggestion for healthy adults. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, too much coffee for you may be much less than 400 mg. Or, if you have other health conditions, that may be too high.

How Much Caffeine is in Different Types of Coffee?

So, how much caffeine is in your favorite types of coffee? Knowing the caffeine content of different kinds of coffee can help you stay within the 400 mg caffeine limit per day. The following coffee shows the caffeine content per eight fluid ounces.

  • Decaf – 3 to 4 mg
  • Brewed Coffee – 95 mg
  • Cold Brew – 200 mg
  • Nitro Cold Brew – 325 mg
  • Espresso – 60 to 102 mg
  • Highly Caffeinated Coffee – 700 to 900 mg

If you’re looking at the list of coffee types and have never heard of highly caffeinated coffee, you’re not alone. There are several brands that sell this overly caffeinated coffee that has almost double the recommended daily intake of caffeine.

So, how much coffee could you drink per day from the list above and still stay under 400 mg?

  • Decaf – 100 cups
  • Brewed Coffee – 4 cups
  • Cold Brew – 2 cups
  • Nitro Cold Brew – 1.5 cups
  • Espresso – About 4 cups

Remember, just because these amounts are under 400 mg doesn’t mean you should try and drink these amounts every day. 

What Affects Maximum Caffeine Consumption

Generally speaking, 400 mg per day is safe for healthy adults. But everyone’s body is different, and just because your friend can drink 400 mg of caffeine a day doesn’t mean your body will react the same way. Here are a few factors that will affect the maximum amount of caffeine you can drink.

1. Your Weight

Hypothetically, if you and your friend have the same caffeine tolerance, your weight will significantly affect how much caffeine you can drink per day. If you weigh 125 pounds and your friend weighs 225 pounds, your friend can likely drink more caffeine per day than you.

When we say they can drink more than you, we don’t mean physically. We mean that they may be able to drink more caffeine without experiencing the jitters or other side effects that you experience at 400 mg of caffeine.

2. Your Caffeine Tolerance

How used to caffeine your body is will affect how much you can consume in a day. Someone who drinks coffee every day will have a higher caffeine tolerance than someone who has coffee every couple of days or even only a few times a week.

3. How Much Water You’ve Drank

Staying hydrated is essential for everyone. Drinking plenty of water will flush out caffeine from your system quicker and can even reduce the adverse side effects you may experience from coffee.

If you drink water throughout the day while consuming coffee or other caffeinated beverages, you can drink more caffeine. Keep in mind that just because you can, doesn’t mean you necessarily should.

What Happens When You Drink Too Much Coffee?

Health professionals have a recommended maximum caffeine intake for a reason. When you drink too much coffee or other caffeinated beverages, you may experience some adverse side effects.

1. Anxiety

The caffeine in coffee will increase your awareness and your heart rate. While this is okay in moderation, when you drink too much coffee, too much of the fight-or-flight hormone is released, which can cause you to become nervous and experience anxiety.

2. Insomnia

People drink coffee to keep themselves awake and alert throughout the day. If you drink too much coffee, you may experience insomnia. Insomnia is frustrating because even if you’re exhausted, you may have trouble either falling asleep, staying asleep or both.

3. Muscle Breakdown

Muscle breakdown is a side effect many people probably aren’t aware of. When you drink too much coffee, muscle breakdown can happen. Luckily, this is a very rare side effect, and if it does happen, it only happens after years of excessive caffeine intake.

4. Addiction

Did you know that caffeine is a drug? Caffeine has the same effect on the brain as amphetamines and cocaine. Of course, drinking coffee doesn’t make you a drug addict, but if you drink it often enough, you may not be able to function properly without it.

5. High Blood Pressure

Drinking too much coffee can lead to you having high blood pressure. High blood pressure can cause damage to your heart and arteries over time.

The good news is that there is no direct link between coffee and heart attacks, but the increase in blood pressure can cause issues for you later in life.

6. Fatigue

The best thing about drinking coffee is the jolt of energy you feel. Everyone who drinks coffee knows that what comes up must come down. Drinking too much coffee can lead to a hard crash that can lead to fatigue.

Fatigue makes doing everything that much more challenging because you’re exhausted. Fatigue goes hand in hand with the insomnia side effect because you’ll be exhausted, but you may not be able to sleep.