The Science Behind Coffee and How Caffeine Affects the Body



People drink coffee for an array of reasons. For most people, the taste and the aroma that coffee provides draws them in and keeps them coming back for more each and every morning. But you’d be surprised by how many people who don’t like the taste of coffee drink it anyway!

That begs the question of why anyone would sip on a cup of black coffee or drink a sixteen-ounce cold brew if the taste doesn’t do anything for them. However, the answer is pretty simple: coffee offers multiple benefits.

The caffeine content of coffee is a very appealing attribute, even to those who do not like how it tastes. But what exactly is caffeine, and how much caffeine can coffee really give you? We’re going to take a look at these topics and more down below!

What Exactly is Caffeine?

Caffeine is technically a psychoactive drug, which not everyone realizes! It's an all-natural stimulant that is recognized for the way it helps people wake up and feel more energized throughout the day.

As a drug, caffeine changes the way the brain responds to stimuli. But more specifically, as a stimulant, caffeine speeds up the production process of two neurotransmitters in particular, including dopamine and noradrenaline, or norepinephrine.

In doing so, caffeine causes a lot of those feel-good emotions that we experience when we are sharper or more alert than usual. By increasing the amount of noradrenaline and dopamine in the brain, caffeine causes heightened awareness and attention.

It’s also known for waking people up and making them feel like they can take on the day! But how much caffeine do you need in order to feel perky and eager to exert energy all day long? And how much caffeine is too much? Let’s discuss!

How Much Caffeine Does Coffee Have?

The amount of caffeine that coffee contains will depend on the specific coffee roast that you are discussing. For starters, there are three different types of coffee roasts, including dark, medium, and light.

When it comes to the caffeine concentration of each roast, light roast coffee blends contain more caffeine than medium and dark roasts alike. The amount of caffeine in a medium roast is easy to remember because it has a medium amount of caffeine compared to light and dark roasts.

As such, a dark roast will have less caffeine per bean than medium and light roasts alike. So, in summary, light roasts contain the most amount of caffeine per serving, followed by medium roasts and then dark roasts.

However, those differences in caffeine based on roast types will only ring true when discussing coffee beans themselves. See, a light roast coffee bean contains more caffeine than a dark roast coffee bean of the same size.

But this is only because a light roast coffee bean is always going to be more dense than a dark roast coffee bean. When you grind coffee beans, no matter the roast type, the amount of caffeine is equal across the board because you’re now working with weight rather than density.

So, despite the discrepancy in caffeine levels between coffee beans, ground coffee ultimately pans out to contain the same amount of caffeine across the board. And at the end of the day, the difference in caffeine levels between light roast beans and dark roast beans is so small that most people wouldn’t even detect any differences in the first place.

All in all, it’s better to choose a roast based on your preferred tasting notes rather than drinking one roast in favor of another for caffeine purposes. No matter the roast, a single cup of coffee typically yields about 95 mg of caffeine.

At the end of the day, drinking less coffee will result in a lower amount of caffeine consumed. If you’d rather avoid caffeine as much as possible but you still love the taste and aroma of coffee, your best bet is to reach for a cup of decaf!

Side Effects of Caffeine Withdrawal

While cups of coffee and the caffeine that they contain can turn even the most tiring days around, there are disadvantages to even the most advantageous tools, which is to say that caffeine can cause unwanted side effects. The first downside is withdrawal symptoms.

But did you know that there are ways to drink coffee without having to experience withdrawal symptoms? It’s true! All it takes is intentional effort. But let’s first take a look at the side effects of caffeine withdrawal and then we’ll explore how you can minimize withdrawal symptoms overall.

What is Caffeine Withdrawal?

Caffeine can cause a myriad of positive changes in your body. However, it can also yield a plethora of unwanted sensations, like massive headaches, a shaky or jittery feeling, acid reflux or heartburn, an upset stomach, undesirable changes to your bowel movements, muscle aches or pain, and a heightened need to use the bathroom, among many other downsides.

But when it comes to withdrawal symptoms, these typically include migraines, a lack of patience, heightened anxiety, increased exhaustion levels, little to no energy, low moods, difficulty concentrating on the tasks at hand, and other symptoms associated with tiredness.

How To Avoid Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms

Going through withdrawal from caffeine is no walk in the park. It’s a difficult, painful, and lengthy process. That’s why it’s best to avoid withdrawal symptoms in the first place!

If you love the caffeine boost that coffee gives you but you feel as though you can’t live without coffee, it might be time to start reducing how much coffee you drink on a regular basis. That doesn’t mean you have to stop consuming coffee altogether! Instead, just consume a little less.

Start by drinking your coffee more slowly throughout the day. If you pace yourself, you can still drink coffee all day long, but you won’t be drinking nearly as much, so the odds that you’ll have to go through withdrawal symptoms are very low.

In addition to pacing yourself, try drinking water interspersed with your daily coffee intake. By tag-teaming coffee and water, you will keep your hydration levels up, and you’ll drink less coffee over time, reducing the likelihood of ill caffeine effects and the chances that you’ll need to quit drinking coffee altogether.

Get Your Caffeine Kick From Altruistic Joe

Searching for great coffee that you can feel good about? Look no further than the many options sold by Altruistic Joe! From year round blends to single origin coffees, we even have sample packs for you to try before committing to a full bag of our coffee.

If you have any questions for us, feel free to contact us or send us a DM on Instagram! We’re here to help you find the right coffee for you and your tasting note preferences.