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Caffeine & Coffee

Caffeine & Coffee

There are many reasons to love coffee…taste, community, ceremony and of course the buzz. Caffeine is the natural component in coffee that gives you a lift when you drink it. Caffeine is found in the leaves, seeds and even nuts of many plants including kola nuts (used in soft drinks), guarana seeds (common in energy drink) mate (yerba mate), chocolate, tea and of course coffee. The main function of caffeine for the plant is to ward off insects and protect the plant from other predators and pathogens. The presence of caffeine in the pollen may also act as an enticement to pollinators, putting the “buzz” in a bee, quite literally.

A variety of different caffeinated coffee drinks at Kona Coffee & Tea's Kailua-Kona café. PHOTO: Blake Wisz



A Latte (coffee and milk) vs. an espresso shot have different amounts of caffeine. PHOTO: Blake Wisz

People are always curious about the caffeine content in their favorite beverage. Here are some basic numbers concerning caffeine. A 12 ounce cup of machine drip coffee has about 250 milligrams of caffeine. A double shot of espresso has about half that at 125 mg of caffeine in two one ounce shots. In comparison a 12 ounce cup of tea has about 120 milligrams of caffeine and a 12 ounce soda has 35 milligrams of caffeine.
The roast of your coffee makes a difference on the caffeine content in the beans. The longer the roast the darker the beans and the more caffeine is roasted out of the coffee. Light roasted coffee has more caffeine per mass than its darker roasted counter parts. From taste to that caffeine buzz, it is always a fun experiment to compare and contrast different roasts of a single origin. Those of you that enjoy our single estate 100% Kona coffee are in a delightfully unique position in which you can experience the difference the roast has on the same coffee.

Coffee brew methods also has to do with caffeine content. Cold-Brew tends to have more caffeine than its hot brew counterparts. A general rule of thumb is, the longer the coffee is in contact with water the more caffeine is extracted from the bean. This is why a french press will have slightly more caffeine than a traditional drip coffee or espresso. Cold Brew is brewed for 12-24 hours leaving ample time for the caffeine to be released. Learn more about cold brew here.

100% Kona Coffee beans being roasted at the Kona Coffee & Tea mill. PHOTO: Blake Wisz

Caffeine has a different effect on almost everyone. Some people are sensitive to caffeine, while others can never seem to get enough. When dealing with coffee, the more time coffee is in contact with water, the more caffeine is extracted and thus the more caffeine in the cup.


If you are pregnant and drank coffee prior to your pregnancy, it is generally deemed safe to consume around 200 milligrams of caffeine per day, which is about one 12 ounce cup of drip coffee or a double shot latte. Pregnancy does however increase the half-life of coffee up to threefold, meaning the amount of time caffeine is in your system can triple during pregnancy. Please talk to your doctor and honor their recommendations on caffeine consumption if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
For more an insider’s take on coffee and pregnancy, check our our Director of Operations, Malia’s experience here.

PHOTO: Blake Wisz


Ever since its discovery coffee has helped fuel religion and politics worldwide. Coffee has been banned routinely throughout history including Mecca in 1511 and by King Charles II in 1675 because it's stimulating, and empowering effects were threatening to the ruling class. In strong contrast, many religious practitioners have embraced coffee as a welcome stimulant that allows for extended study and meditation. The term Cappuccino (meaning little cap) is named for the Italian Capuchin monks of the 1500’s who routinely drank coffee with milk to help them stay alert during their religious practices. Today coffee is no different. It is a source of inspiration and invigoration worldwide in all aspects of religion, politics, work, study and more.

The morning cup of coffee has been a ritual for centuries now.

Caffeine takes about 15-40 minutes to enter your bloodstream with maximum effect at about one hour after consumption. Caffeine consumed as coffee has been shown to increase your athletic performance, including endurance, perceived pain, glycogen absorption post-workout and fat burning during exercise (SOURCE) Also, as far as hydration and coffee goes, the diuretic effects are minimal if consuming less than 300mg of caffeine and are further reduced as you develop a tolerance through consistent consumption. (SOURCE)


Lastly, some people just prefer not to consume caffeine. Have you ever wondered what magical process is used to remove the caffeine from coffee to make decaf? Well, wonder no more. Plus you might be surprised to learn that not all decaf is created equal.

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For most people, caffeine is an essential part of coffee, but for others sensitive to caffeine, it’s is not always welcomed in our cup of coffee. Started in Switzerland in the early 20th century “Decaffeination” is the process of removing most of the caffeine in coffee. Experiencing a delicious cup of joe without the stimulating effects of caffeine is possible thanks to the most common decaffeination methods of: Water Process, CO2 extraction and Solvent Process...learn more about decaf

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I FEEL AT HOME:  Living near large bodies of water
WHEN I'M NOT MAKING COFFEE, I LIKE TO:  Cook - I lived in Berlin for 8 years doing a culinary apprenticeship

I've been involved in the coffee industry for about 16 years. I've been a barista for many years, then a trainer and consultant. I am big on sharing relevant knowledge that will help coffee lovers have the optimal coffee experience. Working with The Kona Coffee and Tea Company is like a dream come true. I can't say how rewarding it is to work with such a great product from seed to cup. From the very beginning, being part of the team here, I've felt like family and have been treated like family. The spirit of Aloha is strong as is their dedication to community and quality.

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