March 5, 2016

Espresso vs Turkish: Which is Stronger?

Turkish #coffee #iphonephotography edited in #painteresque

A photo posted by J. Kevin Wolfe (@wolfewithane) on

This is a tough one since there are so many factors at play in the caffeine levels of Turkish coffee and espresso. Generally it’s agreed that per drop, espresso wins on caffeine. A typical shot of espresso is about an ounce and has 30-50mg of caffeine. A cup of Turkish is about two ounces and usually has around 65mg of caffeine. Bump that espresso to a double and it’s pushing 100mg. (A Starbuck’s Doppio is tested at 178mg.) But there are many variables at work here that can make one stronger than the other.

Turkish uses a smoother bean.

Good Turkish coffee is made with pure Arabica beans. These are about 1.1% caffeine. Typically 20% of the cheaper, stronger-tasting Robusto beans are used in an espresso blend. These are 2.2%, twice the caffeine.

Espresso releases less caffeine from the bean.

The quick espresso process uses less water, but doesn’t allow all the caffeine to be released. Properly made Turkish is boiled three times, getting more buzz from the bean.

Darker roasts have less caffeine.

Espresso uses a dark roast while Turkish is a light roast.

Turkish can use as many spoons of sugar as coffee.

Turkish can seem livelier since you get a sugar rush too.

But don’t disqualify a good old cuppa joe from the competition. 8oz of plain old coffee from McDonalds or Starbuck’s actually has more caffeine than a cup of Turkish or a double shot of espresso. (A Starbuck’s Tall has 240mg of caffeine.)

More answers to your nagging questions.

Or a shot of Turkish Coffee?


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