Revealed: The High Street coffees with the biggest caffeine kick

1 month ago 18

Two women comparing coffeeImage source, Getty Images

By Daniel Thomas

Business reporter, BBC News

For many of us coffee offers a much needed boost, but we may be getting much more - or less - caffeine than we bargained for at popular High Street coffee shops.

Consumer group Which? measured the caffeine in drinks at five big chains and says it found "huge differences".

An espresso at Pret for example had six times as much as one in Starbucks's.

And Costa's medium cappuccino contains 325mg of caffeine, much more than rival offers and equal to four cups of tea.

Which? said consumers should be alert to caffeine levels.

"Our research shows you may be consuming significantly more, or less, caffeine than you bargained for," said its nutritionist Shefalee Loth.

"Most of the time this shouldn't be an issue but if you drink a lot of coffee or need to limit your caffeine intake you might want to consider what you're ordering and where from."

Caffeine is a natural stimulant that can make you more alert. However, some people are sensitive to it or need to avoid it for health reasons, such as being pregnant.

Which? measured the caffeine levels in cappuccino, espresso and filter coffee at Caffè Nero, Costa, Greggs, Pret a Manger and Starbucks, and found:

A Starbucks cappuccino contained the least caffeine at 66mg - less than the 75mg in a single tea bag - while Caffè Nero's had the second lowest levels (110-115mg)Greggs and Pret a Manger had the second and third-strongest cappuccino at 197mg and 180mg respectivelyPret's single espresso was strongest at 180mgStarbucks' espresso was bottom of the table at just 33mgPret topped the list for the most caffeinated filter coffee at 271mg a cupGreggs was a close second at 225mgStarbucks was again the least caffeinated at 102mg

One factor that can impact caffeine content of drinks is the type of coffee bean. Of the two main types used, Arabica beans contain around half the caffeine of Robusta beans, and there are also variations in taste between the two.

Which? said consumers seeking a bigger caffeine boost might want to opt for a drink with a higher amount. However, people who need to limit their intake should avoid the stronger coffees.

Costa Coffee said the amount of caffeine in its drinks varied depending on size of a drink and the type of coffee used.

"We would encourage customers to be aware of the caffeine content in their favourite Costa coffee to ensure it is right for their dietary requirements or lifestyle choice," a spokeswoman said.

Pret declined to comment, while the BBC has contacted Caffè Nero, Greggs and Starbucks for comment.

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