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 has been 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 nearly-boiled three times, getting more buzz from the bean.

Darker roasts have less caffeine.

Espresso uses a dark roast while Turkish is a medium roast. Roasting depletes the caffeine.

Turkish can use as many spoons of sugar as coffee.

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

But if you’re just looking for buzz, don’t disqualify a good-old, monsta cuppa-joe from the competition. An independent caffeine test of 16oz coffees showed 7-11 at 280mg, Starbuck’s at 267mg and McD’s at 227mg, all giving you a much bigger jolt than espresso or Turkish.


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