Does Espresso Have More Caffeine Than Coffee?

It's a shot in the dark

You might be a tired college student trapped in the middle of finals week or a newly minted parent making your way through midnight feedings, but one thing's for certain: When it comes to caffeine, you can't gamble on what you're getting.

And while most might think a shot of espresso is the quick, easy way out of groggy misery, you'll be surprised to know that it's actually not the most caffeinated item at your local coffee shop.

A serving of regular drip coffee actually has more caffeine than a shot of espresso.

According to the USDA, one 1.5-ounce shot of espresso has around 90-100 milligrams of caffeine. Your standard cup of drip coffee? That clocks in at up to 128 milligrams, making it the better wake-up call for those rough mornings.

Unfortunately, unlike sophisticated Italians sitting in a Venetian square, most sleep-deprived students pound back espresso as if it were a shot of a different kind. As a result, the caffeine jolt comes on faster and stronger than when leisurely sipping a cup of extra-dark roast.

Now, of course, ounce for ounce, espresso does actually have more caffeine, but very rarely (and we really don't recommend you try) do we down an eight-ounce cup of the concentrated brew. If you're really in need of a morning jolt, just stick with the double shot, make sure you're not calling it "expresso" and, for once, try enjoying it on a full night of sleep.