French Press and Caffeine

How Much Caffeine is in French Press Coffee?

Coffee lovers across the country not only want to know how their coffee can beat off their sleepiness and fuel them through the day, but they’re equally curious about just how much caffeine is in their daily cup.  We’ll breakdown how much caffeine you can expect to yield from French press coffee as well as look into other types of brewing methods as it relates to caffeine content. Let’s start by looking at how factors like roast levels and grind size may affect its caffeine-infused ratios.

How the Brewing Process Affects Caffeine Levels

Man Brewing coffee with French Press

Brewing coffee with the French Press method is a unique experience. The process involves slowly pushing water through a filtering mechanism to extract flavor, texture, and nutrients within the grounds. While most people don’t realize it, this technique also has an effect on how much caffeine goes into their cup in comparison to other brewing methods. As anyone who’s had a little too much -knows all too well, there can be a real difference between different methods of brewing. French press coffee is brewed by way of immersion (or infusion) while other types of coffee are brewed by way of the pour-over method; see more on these two methods here.

When using a French Press, it’s important to understand that each step affects the caffeine content of the final product.

This is all determined by how finely the beans are ground-up, temperature control, and even contact time between the water and beans.

French Press & Caffeine

French Press & caffeine formula

When it comes to the caffeine content of coffee, the exact type of brewing method will have a major influence. French Press coffee is brewed with a plunger-like device that allows water and coarsely ground coffee beans to steep together for several minutes before being strained. With this method, there are obviously more oils and flavors from the beans which are retained in the final cup of coffee, as opposed to other methods like pour-over or drip brewing.

Studies have shown that French Press coffee contains greater concentrations of caffeine compared to regular drip or filter coffees. This is due to its longer extraction time, allowing more caffeine that’s naturally extracted from the grounds. Finer grinds will release more caffeine too, as they have more surface area coming into contact with the water during brewing. But for French Press, this can often be problematic for straining due to fine silt slipping through the metal filter. Not all French presses are designed alike — some have better filtration than others — as we learned in our testing. For this same reason, we found that there’s higher levels of cafestol and kahweol in French press coffee than there is with coffee filtered through paper filters. Perhaps this is what we enjoy most about French press coffee; full flavor.

Back to brew time – this increased brew time is what allows caffeine content to become possible since longer steeping times allow for more caffeine to be extracted from the grounds. That being said, using course-ground beans with a shorter extracting time can make your cup of Joe much lighter in caffeine content as a result. Generally speaking, it’s especially the dark-roasted beans that tend to produce a higher level of caffeine than light roasts.

The same process used for brewing finer grinds will have more caffeine than coarse ones just like you see with espresso. However, the difference between French Press and espresso is nearly 2.5 times more caffeine in that respect. A standard dripper coffee machine is no more than 10% higher than French Press, making their caffeine levels nearly identical by comparison.

Studies

Studies have shown that French Press coffee can become higher in caffeine content than other brewing methods. This all depends on the longer steeping process to coax the desired amount of caffeine from coarse-ground beans. One such example was a 2017 study published in the journal “Food Chemistry” that found French Press brewed coffee had around 15-20% more caffeine than drip and filter coffees, respectively.

A further 2020 study by researchers at the University of Naples compared various brewing techniques and found that French press coffee contained an average of 12.1 milligrams of caffeine per gram of grounds, compared to 8.6 mg/g for filtered coffee. Now since it’s the darker roasts that tend to produce more caffeine than lighter ones, this was confirmed in another study previously published in the journal “Food Chemistry” back in 2011.

The researchers measured various brews from different types of beans and observed that darker roasts had a higher concentration of caffeine than their lighter counterparts. This did come with variances depending on the origin of the beans. Finer grinds will also contain more caffeine than coarser ones. But this is all due to their larger surface area when immersed in water which facilitates extraction more efficiently.

It’s worth noting that these differences are relatively small with no more than 10%, according to research from the University of Sao Paulo. So if you’re looking for an extra caffeine boost, consider some of the other high-caffeine coffees on the market such as Death Wish Coffee or Black Insomnia Coffee for higher-yield caffeine amounts in that respect.

Caffeine Content in French Press Coffee

French Press with medium-coarse grounds

Studies have further shown that French Press coffee contains greater concentrations of caffeine when compared to regular drip or filter coffees due to its longer extraction time. This is a trick that allows more caffeine to emerge from the medium-coarse grounds. Here are some tables and charts that compare various levels of caffeine in French Press coffee based on how it’s brewed:

Caffeine Content Based on Roast Level

Roast LevelCaffeine (mg/g)
Light Roast8.2 -8.6 mg/g
Medium Roast9.0 -9.4 mg/g
Dark Roast10.5 -11.3 mg/g

 

Caffeine Content Based on Grind Size

Grind SizeCaffeine (mg/g)
Coarse Grind7.3 -7.8 mg/g
Medium Grind9.0 -9.4 mg/g
Fine Grind12.1 -12.9 mg/g

 

Chart Representing Caffeine Concentration in Different Brews:

Brew MethodAverageMaximumMinimum
French Press12 mg/g13 mg/g11 mg/g
Drip or Filter8 mg/g9 mg/g7 mg/g
Espresso8.6 mg/g10.1 mg/g7.1 mg/g
Cold Brew5.2 mg/g6.2 mg/g4.2 mg/g
Nitro Cold Brew8.5 mg/g10.0 mg/g7.0 mg/g
Percolator9.8 mg/g11.3 mg/g8.3 mg/g

 

Brew Method Caffeine (Stand-alone variants) (mg/g)

Brew MethodCaffeine (mg/g)
Instant Coffee3.9 – 4.2 mg/g
Turkish Coffee7.6 – 8.0 mg/g
Café Latte5.5 – 6 mg/g
Cappuccino7 – 8 mg/g
Drip or Filter8 – 9 mg/g
Espresso8.6 – 10.1 mg/g
Cold Brew5.2 – 6.2 mg/g
Nitro Cold Brew8.5 – 10 mg/g
Percolator9.8 – 11.3 mg / g
French Press8 – 13 mg/g

 

What Factors Increase or Decrease the Amount of Caffeine in Your Cup of Joe

French Press and coffee cup on table

Your daily cup of coffee can provide a welcome jolt of energy, but where is all of that caffeine coming from and how much kick is really in there? It merely depends on several factors, most notably the brewing method. If you’re using a French Press for coffee-making, then you should expect the caffeine content to be higher than with any other. But the exact amount tends to depend on factors that allow the caffeine to be extracted into the water while it’s brewed.

This is because the coffee grounds that go into a French Press will be in direct contact with the water at all times. Thus, this allows for a better extraction from the grinds and ultimately more caffeine to mix into the finished brew. On top of this, finer grinds do release more caffeine into the water but don’t expect this to be very feasible for French Press brewing. To get the maximum amount of caffeine from coarsely ground beans, it will take a longer time for steeping.

Increasing the brew time automatically increases caffeine content since longer steeping times allow for more caffeine to be extracted from the grounds. With that being said, using beans that are simply too coarse or are under-extracted will be a big mistake. This is all due to shorter steeping times that don’t allow boiling water to gently release the right flavors and caffeine content from the coffee grounds.

French Press coffee is not necessarily the strongest of all coffee brewing methods, but certainly can hold its own. Depending on your individual preferences and caffeine needs, it can be a great brew method to enjoy – especially when you pay attention to all the important factors when making it. Sure, strength can vary depending on the different beans and grinds you use, as well as water temperature, water ratio, and steep time.

But if you prefer stronger brews and crave full-bodied flavor, you still have to fiddle around with these ratios for the best results. This includes trying out different combinations that can help you find that perfect cup of delicious coffee you’re looking to experience. So ultimately, it’s up to you to try out a French Press coffee maker to create a bolder cup of coffee than you’ve previously had before.

FAQs

What type of roast level contains higher amounts of caffeine when brewed in French Press coffee?

Darker roasts often contain higher amounts of caffeine when brewed in French Press coffee compared to light or medium roasts. But ultimately, it’s the higher levels that can be extracted when longer steep times allow more caffeine to come out from the grounds. Too long of a steep time can also make coffee taste bitter if you aren’t careful.

How to lower caffeine levels when making French Press coffee?

To reduce caffeine levels when making French Press coffee, you can use coarsely ground coffee beans with a reduced steep time. Additionally, using fewer coffee grounds, or decreasing the ratio of coffee to water can also help lower caffeine levels. Finally, using room temperature or cold water instead of boiling will decrease extraction levels, which always leads to lowered caffeine levels in the end. 

How to increase caffeine levels when making French Press coffee?

To increase caffeine levels when making French Press coffee, you can use a finer grind size, increase the steep time, or increase the ratio of coffee grounds to water. When using boiling hot water instead of hot water, will result in better extraction and ultimately more caffeine in your morning cup. You may also want to try making your own cold brew at home for higher concentrated levels of caffeine. 

How much caffeine is in a normal cup of French Press coffee?

The amount of caffeine in a normal cup of French Press coffee will vary and depends on the factors of your coffee bean that’s used. This includes the type of bean, the roast level of your beans, as well as the water temperature, grind size, steep time, and ratio of coffee to water. Generally speaking, you can expect around 7 -12 milligrams (of caffeine) per 8-ounce cup. However, it may be more or less depending on all these factors mentioned above.

How does French Press coffee rank in caffeine levels compared to other brewing methods?

French Press coffee ranks higher in caffeine content than most other brewing methods. This is partly due to the longer extraction time and direct contact with the water. This brewing method allows for better extraction of caffeine from the grounds. But this isn’t because the grind size is finer, so French Press coffee grind size is no smaller than medium-coarse.

Within these parameters, it will be possible to get the maximum caffeine extraction when preparing French Press coffee. However, caffeine levels can result in relatively low if all the proper variables are not taken into consideration during brewing. But in comparison to other brewing methods, French Press coffee often contains moderate to high levels of caffeine when brewed properly.

1 thought on “French Press and Caffeine”

  1. Generally speaking, you can expect around 7 -12 milligrams (of caffeine) per 8-ounce cup of french press

    Is the above a typo? The caffeine seems incredibly low

    Reply

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