Will iced coffee keep me awake? I’ve asked myself this question, so I thought it prudent to find out. We all had those nights, those busy, sleepless (but very sleepy) all-nighters that had kept you wishing you had done your stuff earlier and had not procrastinated throughout the week.
You grab a cup of coffee for once, but everyone, including your hair follicles, knows that you are not the most prominent hot cup fan.
Iced coffee can keep any person awake at night, but the degree of effectiveness depends on many variables. Each person can have a different caffeine tolerance, and the amount of coffee heavily affects the results as well.
I know that you must be itching to do the overdue work you are supposed to be doing but hear us out. We will make this article much more interesting than you thought it would be.
Does Iced Coffee Have Less Caffeine? (Real Answer: It’s Quite Complicated)
Caffeine content is a volatile number. Nobody can assure you how much caffeine is inside a cup of coffee, especially if the brewing process is by hand. Here, we present many viewing points and arguments to make you grasp the iced versus hot coffee caffeine content argument from different perspectives.
1. Iced Coffee Versus Hot Coffee
If you are buying coffee from a nearby cafe and both of them are using drip coffee as a base, then the results will not matter at all. Both hot and iced coffee will have the same concentration of caffeine since both will make use of the same base anyway.
We can also say the same thing by comparing hot and iced coffee made from instant coffee packs.
2. Cold Brew Versus Drip Coffee
Now that we have established that iced coffee and hot coffee’s main difference lies in the temperature, we can proceed to the more exciting part. The real difference in caffeine content lies between cold brew and drip coffee.
Science has said that since caffeine is soluble by heat, cold brew will naturally have lesser amounts of caffeine when compared to drip coffee.
Drip coffee is coffee made using hot pressurized water for the brewing process, a method made to extract a lot (and I mean a lot) of caffeine goodness out of a small pack of ground coffee.
The thing is, many baristas know of this fact, so they compensate for the lack of strength from cold brew coffee by raising the grounds to water ratio. To simplify, by increasing the amount of ground coffee and retaining the amount of water, they can balance this caffeine imbalance quickly and effortlessly.
Because of this concentration of ground coffee, some of the cold brews have more caffeine content when compared to drip coffee. This odd difference makes the situation ironic, especially since, theoretically, cold brews are supposed to have lower caffeine content.
So this leads us to the conclusion of the argument: cold brews have more caffeine than drip coffee. Before we can continue with that conclusion, I would like to halt your train of thought and tell you that this doesn’t seem right and is impartial.
Most cups of cold brew and drip coffee contain almost identical amounts of caffeine! The ice and the water used in iced coffee dilutes the caffeine content significantly.
3. It’s Not All Black and White, Sorry.
Remember when I said caffeine content is a volatile number? Well, that still holds, even if we have established a lot of things going through this article. There are just too many factors to consider to conclude a simple answer to a yes or no question.
First of all, there is the temperature of brewing. You can brew drip coffee in a variety of temperatures, and so does cold brew. Just with slight alterations of temperature, the entire brew will have a different amount of caffeine.
The process of making cold brews is way longer when compared to drip coffee. When trying out cold brew iced coffee, you will need to wait for as much as 16 hours because waiting’s the game in cold brewing.
Since you can brew cold brew in a variety of brewing durations, it simply is impossible to dictate a one size fits all number for cold brews.
Also, did we tell you that even the size of the grinds can also affect the brew itself? Yes, that is true. More often than not, bigger grounds contain less caffeine when compared to smaller grounds.
Another thing is that the flow rate or the rate at which the water flows through the coffee grounds (more commonly used as a metric in drip coffee) can heavily impact the caffeine content. Slower drips tend to be much more robust compared to faster drips.
The following variable is a major one: the coffee bean variety. Although Cafes around the United States mostly use arabica, Robusta contains more caffeine. Also, most instant coffee originates from Robusta, although some for-aficionados coffee products also have Arabica variants to instant coffee.
So a tip from us, stop worrying about caffeine content and stop comparing hot and iced coffee from each other. You do you; nobody else can, after all. Instead of worrying about caffeine content, you should get started on that project (after you read through this article, of course).
So, What Should I Do To Keep Myself Up Then?
So you finally decided to whiff up a cup of iced coffee and even added a serving of milk to create a perfect latte. However, you still can’t help but worry about sleeping on the job. What should you do?
Do not worry; with all that anxiety of yours, you certainly won’t be able to fall asleep. Jokes aside, below, we continue to discuss tips to keep yourself awake at night, starting with a cup of iced coffee.
One trick you might find helpful is to drink ground coffee instead of instant coffee. Ground coffee contains more caffeine compared to its instant counterpart. You can also raise the coffee grounds to water ratio to make your coffee a bit thicker.
When brewing, you can opt to use two filters for the pour-over method to generate more caffeine than usual. However, please note that doing so will result in poor-tasting coffee, despite it being more robust than expected.
Questions That Keep Me Awake: Frequently Asked Questions
Does consuming more caffeine have health benefits?
Coffee has many benefits tied to it, from being a superfood to reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, significantly boosting brain and memory health, and can even be a preventative measure against certain cancers. Coffee, although not heralded as a superfood, is a highly healthy drink.
These health benefits, of course, do not take into account the number of sugar cubes you put in your coffee and all the other fancy additives you might enjoy drinking together in concurrence to your daily caffeine fill.
Iced or hot coffee? Which one should I drink?
Iced or hot coffee, if we strip them out of all the fancy whatnots, both are still coffee at the end of the day. Both have their advantages completely not relative to each other, making each one hold their grounds. For example, iced coffee significantly can reduce the risk of heart attacks, while hot coffee has more antioxidants.
Despite these differences, it is best to assume that the best coffee for you is the coffee you would like to drink. No one can be sure which of these two coffee serving options is better. After all, nobody can dictate what type of coffee to like, and that one is for sure.
How much caffeine is required to keep me awake at night?
It depends on the person. Studies have shown that most need 100 to 200 mg of caffeine to stay awake.