Does Cold Brew Have More Caffeine? Our search for the Answer.

A hand pouring creamer into cold brew coffee with text reading, "Does cold brew have more caffeine?"

Cold brew coffee tastes so good but leaves me feeling restless

Cold brew coffee is delicious, but also notorious for having lots of caffeine. It’s even marketed as the go-to choice whenever you want a quick jolt of “energy,” which can often be followed by the jitters, anxiety, headaches, and even an upset stomach. 

This is unfortunate because cold brew coffee is simply DELICIOUS! So why is something so delicious causing unwanted symptoms of over-caffeination? 

We took a deeper look to find out if cold brew contains more caffeine than hot coffee and offer an easy solution to enjoy frantic-free cold brew any time of the day!

The Answer is in the Recipe Ratio & Brew Time

The simple answer is this - it all comes down to the coffee-to-water ratio and the amount of time the coffee is in the water. Since cold water extracts caffeine and flavor from the coffee grounds less efficiently than hot water - you need to use nearly 4x as much coffee grounds than you would use for making hot coffee.

The cold brew process also allows for caffeine extraction over a long period of time (as long as 48 hours), and the room-temperature water allows the beans to give off a different flavor profile that may not be as sour or bitter as some hot brew methods.

Since brewing methods vary on time and the coffee-to-water ratio, it’s impossible to generalize how much caffeine is in cold brew. Not all cold brew has more caffeine than hot coffee. Since the cold brew method usually requires more beans than a hot brew, it often has more caffeine, but not always. 

We looked at examples to better understand

Since there is no general rule for how much caffeine is in cold brew - we took a look at real life examples from some of the most popular coffee shops in America. As a baseline, the Mayo Clinic estimates that a 12oz cup of hot brewed coffee has approximately 144mg of caffeine. According to the Caffeine Informer, common cold brew drinks can contain anywhere between 109mg-285mg per 12oz.

These numbers reflect how much caffeine can be found in a small 12oz cup of cold brew coffee. Many coffee lovers want more of their favorite things - but beware - a large cup of cold brew could contain upwards of 316-476mg of caffeine! The Mayo Clinic recommends a daily intake of only 400mg. This means that your large cold brew could put you over the recommended limit and cause unwanted over-caffeination side effects.

You can have delicious cold brew without the jitters!

The best way to reduce the amount of caffeine in a cup of cold brew is to start with coffee grounds that are naturally lower in caffeine!

Try making cold brewed coffee using our high quality Decaf or Half Caf coffees! The brew method is the same but the coffee is - dare we say? BETTER! All the flavor you love with less caffeine and the ability to sleep at night.

Click here to see our quick and easy method for making decaf cold brew at home using only a french press! Don’t have a french press? Try the method in this recipe that uses a glass jar.

Need help choosing which coffee to use? We’ve curated a selection of our favorite coffees to use for brewing cold!