You thought Red Bull was bad. It turns out that while a can of the energy drink has 80 milligrams of caffeine, a small cup of Starbucks drip coffee has more than three times that amount.
Since many beverages don’t show their caffeine content, it can be tough to make sure you’re not overdoing it — and the Mayo Clinic advises adults to limit their caffeine intake to 400 mg per day. More than that and you run the risk of unpleasant side effects ranging from migraine headaches to irritability, upset stomach, and even muscle tremors.
With that in mind, here’s what the maximum amount of caffeine you should be drinking in a day looks like in the context of your favorite beverages, from McDonald’s coffee to soda, tea, and energy shots:
The Mayo Clinic maintains that most healthy adults can safely consume up to 400 mg of caffeine each day. Starbucks ultra-strong coffee would put you over that limit with just two cups. In contrast, most other coffee only contains about 90-120 mg of caffeine per cup. A single small cup of Starbucks’ Blonde Roast coffee, on the other hand, has 270 mg of caffeine.
Energy shots might look tiny, but they can pack a surprisingly powerful caffeine punch. One 5-Hour-Energy contains 200 mg of caffeine — nearly the same amount as a cup of Starbucks.
Unlike Starbucks coffee, McDonald’s drip offers roughly the same amount of caffeine as a “standard” cup of joe, according to the folks over at CaffeineInformer.com. The chain does not currently report the amount of caffeine in its coffee, but Caffeine Informer says each 12-ounce cup has 109 mg of caffeine.
While there’s lots of info out there about how bad energy drinks are for you, a single 8-ounce can of Red Bull contains 80 mg of caffeine, less than a standard cup of coffee and roughly one-third of the caffeine in a 12-ounce Starbucks. It also contains other ingredients, however, like taurine, whose long-term effects have yet to be studied extensively.
You might be surprised to learn that not all tea is designed to lull you into a relaxed, sleepy state. An average cup of brewed black tea contains about 67 mg of caffeine, still less than a can of Red Bull or a cup of McDonald’s coffee but far from minimal.
One 12-ounce can of Coke has 34 mg of caffeine. While that might seem pretty low, if you’re like us and drink a few of these in a day, it can add up. Still, a single can is the rough equivalent of about a third of a cup of regular coffee or about a seventh of a cup of Starbucks.
A standard shot of espresso contains about 71 mg of caffeine, according to estimates from Consumer Reports, Caffeine Informer, and Starbucks. Most fancy coffee drinks, from lattes to cappuccinos, are made with a single shot.