July 14, 2023

How much caffeine is in a coffee capsule?

Caffeine is a stimulant that we most commonly associate with coffee. And while it’s also found in tea, cacao, and other plants, for centuries, humans have been drinking coffee to keep themselves alert.

Considering that more people are now drinking coffee with every passing year, it’s no surprise that caffeine is the world’s most widely consumed psychoactive substance.

Typically, the caffeine content of any given cup of coffee varies depending on a range of factors, including:

  • The species of coffee
  • The variety of coffee
  • How it’s roasted
  • How concentrated it is
  • Serving size

So, as more consumers switch to coffee capsules, there's naturally a question to ask about how much caffeine is in each one. Read on to find out!

A mug with Metropolis Coffee branding on a table.

Why do coffee plants create caffeine?

There are around 120 species of coffee plants found around the world. While some, like Coffea arabicaand Coffea canephora(also known as robusta), are cultivated on a commercial scale, many more remain relatively unstudied.

Robusta typically contains more caffeine than arabica, but generally speaking, it has a flavor profile that is considered less desirable by many consumers. As such, it is largely used for instant coffee and to bulk out blends.

Arabica, meanwhile, is what most coffee consumers in the US will be familiar with. But the differentiation doesn’t stop there. Coffee producers around the world cultivate hundreds of robusta and arabica varieties, with some better suited to certain regions than others. Many of these are selectively bred for a range of factors, including yield, pest & disease resistance, and cup quality.

Research into how coffee plants actually create caffeine is ongoing, but we know that the plants use it to ward off insects and other pests. In some cases, it can even find its way into the surrounding soil, giving coffee plants a competitive edge in difficult conditions.

But it’s not just used for protection, however. Some research suggests insects that feed on caffeine-rich nectar are more likely to remember a flower’s scent – increasing the chances of pollination.

An empty coffee sack used for Metropolis coffee capsules.

Caffeine levels in coffee capsules

Caffeine levels vary widely between species and certain cultivars. As such, when it comes to the general amount of caffeine per coffee capsule, it’s not always easy to calculate.

However, because we know how much coffee is used to fill each espresso capsule, we can use benchmarks to establish a rough range.

For instance, any given coffee capsule contains between five to seven grams of coffee. The average Nespresso original line coffee capsule contains an estimated 73mg of caffeine. But given that some capsules are filled with arabica-robusta blends at different compositions, there is a lot of variance around this figure. Some contain as little as 59mg, while others contain up to 142mg.

In some cases, this benchmark can be helpful, but exact amounts are impossible to quantify without testing each specific capsule. And as there are now more Nespresso original line compatible capsules on the market than ever before, it’s impossible to universally quantify caffeine content in coffee capsules.

If you want to know whether a coffee capsule is particularly high in caffeine, the first thing you’ll want to find out is the species of coffee – or the makeup of the blend, if it contains multiple. This is undoubtedly the most important indicator of any capsule’s caffeine content.

Of the two most commonly produced species, robusta contains almost double the caffeine content that arabica has. Robusta caffeine levels sit around 2.7%, compared to 1.5% for arabica. While some coffee capsules are 100% arabica, many others are robusta-arabica blends. The more robusta, the higher the caffeine content.

Metropolis Coffee decaf espresso coffee capsules.

The rise of decaf coffee capsules

While millions of coffee consumers around the world drink fully caffeinated coffee, a growing number of drinkers are opting for decaf, whether driven by health reasons or personal preference.

There are several different ways to decaffeinate coffee. The oldest is known as the direct organic solvent method. At Metropolis, our decaf coffee is prepared using the MC method. The beans are first soaked in water, before being submerged in a methylene chloride solution, which is later siphoned off. When the solution is removed, the caffeine leaves with it!

In the US, decaf coffee beans must have had their caffeine levels reduced by at least 97%. This means that in many cases, decaf coffee still contains a small amount of caffeine – but it’s negligible in comparison.

As part of decaf coffee’s rise in recent years, we’ve also seen more consumers ask for decaf coffee capsules, too. At Metropolis, our decaf is the same high-quality coffee our customers love – it just won’t keep you up if you drink it late at night.

Metropolis Coffee decaf coffee capsules

At Metropolis, we offer both full-caffeine and decaf espresso capsules, all of which are commercially compostable and compatible with Nespresso original line brewers.

Our decaf Redline Espresso capsules are especially popular. But if you want something more suited to your aims, we also offer custom solutions for your espresso capsules.

Alongside offering a broad range of wholesale espresso capsules, we also offer private label and co-packing services.

For our private label customers, we work to design a signature blend – with decaf options available – and make sure everyone’s happy with the flavor. After that, we grind, fill, flush, and seal the capsules, before packaging them with your branding and logo.

Co-packing, meanwhile, is where we take your roasted coffee and handle all the work that goes into packaging perfect espresso capsules.

No matter your preference, it’s clear that there’s a growing market for both decaf and fully-caffeinated coffee capsules around the world. So even if you’re already working on a standard range of espresso capsules, consider expanding your range with a decaf option. Great Coffee For Everyone!

Interested in learning more? Check out our wholesale co-packing and private-label espresso capsule solutions today.

Certified compostable facilities may not exist in your area. To find a composter near you, visit www.findacomposter.com or www.compostnow.org on all packaging and marketing materials.

Metropolis Coffee is not affiliated with, endorsed, or sponsored by Nespresso. Nespresso is a registered trademark of Société des Produits Nestlé.