Which Coffee Has the Least Caffeine?

Some people drink coffee to wake their senses in the morning, while others enjoy the variety of tastes this beverage has to offer. In either case, developing sensitivity to coffee can be disappointing. 

But if you’re really passionate about your coffee, you will find yourself searching for alternatives and coffees with lower caffeine content. 

If that’s the case, you’re in the right place. Read on if you want to find out which coffee has the least caffeine and what options you have if you don’t want to consume too much caffeine. 

Factors That Influence the Caffeine Content

Before learning about the coffee with the least caffeine content, let’s take a look at the factors that influence caffeine content and how it can affect your morning cup of coffee. 

Coffee Bean Variety

There are two species of coffee plants that are grown on the coffee bean belt. These two species alone are responsible for producing about 98% of the coffee consumed worldwide. 

About 60 to 70% of this coffee is made from a coffee plant species known as arabica. On the other hand, the rest of this coffee is made from the species known as robusta. 

Despite both being coffee plants and often being grown in close proximity, robusta and arabica are far from being similar. 

For starters, most people prefer the flavor profile of arabica more than robusta. In addition to that, arabica contains half the caffeine content of robusta. 

This makes it great for people who aren’t looking for a strong caffeine punch and only want to enjoy the taste. However, it may not be great for people looking for a strong drink to wake up to. 

Since we are looking for coffee with lower caffeine content, you should look for labels that say “arabica” instead of “robusta.” 

Ideally, you’d get the most delicious coffee from 100% pure arabica coffee beans. This is the most authentic arabica coffee that you can get your hands on. 

However, you can also get instant or ground arabica coffee. These may not taste as delicious as whole beans, but they still taste amazing. 

Coffee Roast Profile

Another factor that affects your caffeine intake is the coffee roast profile. Yet, most people seem to overlook this aspect. 

A dark coffee roast contains a higher concentration of caffeine. On the other hand, a cup with light roast coffee beans will provide you with a delicious cup of coffee with less caffeine. 

However, it is important to note that both light and dark coffee beats contain almost identical amounts of caffeine before being roasted. 

The longer roasting time of dark roast coffee beans leads to more moisture loss. As a result, the beans shrink in size. 

Hence, most people generally end up using a larger amount of dark roast coffee beans without even giving it any thought. This leads to more caffeine consumption. 

If you measure your ground coffee using a spoon or a scoop, the dark roast coffee ground would have 9% more caffeine than the same volume of the light roasted coffee.

On the other hand, if you weigh your coffee using a scale, dark roast coffee would contain almost 32% more caffeine. 

Either way, you’d be getting a lot more caffeine using dark roasted coffee beans. 

Coffee Quantity

It goes without saying that if you’re drinking 12 cups of coffee daily, you’re likely consuming more than your required amount of caffeine. 

Additionally, more robust cups of coffee contain more caffeine. This is because more ground coffee is added to make a strong cup. 

Different coffee-to-water ratios are used to make different types of coffee. This is why some coffees contain more caffeine, despite coming in the same sized cup. 

A shot of espresso contains the highest coffee-to-water ratio, which means that it contains more caffeine per ml. Filter coffee, also known as pour over or drip coffee, has the weakest coffee-to-water ratio. 

The average recommendation for a Golden Cup Standard is 55g of coffee per liter of water.

You can use this guide by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) as a starting point and then adjust the ratio according to your taste and caffeine preferences. 

Some people also assume that drinking more coffee can decrease their caffeine sensitivity over time. However, this isn’t exactly a great method to follow. 

While consuming large amounts of coffee can make your stomach used to the beverage, it can also have the adverse effect in some cases. 

Hence, you should be careful with your caffeine consumption. And if you notice any unusual side effects, make sure to consult your healthcare provider about them. 

What Coffee Has the Least Amount of Caffeine? 

Keep reading if you are at a cafe and wondering what coffee to order. Here are your options for coffees with lower or no caffeine:

Decaffeinated Coffee 

It goes without saying that decaffeinated coffee contains the least amount of coffee. The name in itself suggests that there shouldn’t be any caffeine in the coffee. 

That being said, it is important to note that decaffeinated coffee still contains some caffeine. More precisely, most decaffeinated coffees contain 3% caffeine. 

The 97% caffeine-free content will be suitable for most people. However, if you cannot tolerate caffeine at all, it wouldn’t be a good idea to have decaffeinated coffee either.

On the other hand, it is ideal for people who don’t prefer or are not allowed to consume too much caffeine.

It is particularly great for pregnant and breastfeeding women who should not consume much caffeine. 

Espresso Coffee 

When thinking about coffee, most people instantly think of espresso coffee or shots. Therefore, it may be a bit of a surprise that espresso contains the least amount of caffeine. 

It gets even more shocking after we’ve already discussed that a shot of espresso has the highest coffee-to-water ratio. 

However, it is important to note that this is due to the quantity rather than the coffee itself. A single shot of espresso is 25ml and contains 45mg of caffeine.

At most, you can get 100mg of caffeine from espresso shots, but you won’t find anything with higher caffeine content. 

This works for most people since other types of coffee start from 100mg of caffeine. Therefore, with an espresso shot, you can still get the benefits of coffee without it being overwhelming or overpowering. 

On the other hand, a cup of filter coffee is often quite large in comparison. This large cup of coffee contains about 15g of ground coffee, whereas an espresso contains only 8g.

As discussed earlier, espresso actually contains a higher concentration of caffeine. However, the serving size makes all the difference. 

So if you consume 15 shots of espresso each day, that could add up to the amount of caffeine you consume. 

When ordering an espresso shot, you may want to ask the server if they have light roast coffee grounds to reduce the caffeine amount further.

Therefore, if decaffeinated coffee sounds too weak for your taste, you can consider taking a single shot or two of espresso. It gives you the pick-me-up you need in the morning without being highly caffeinated. 


If you find yourself looking at the coffee menu at the cafe in the evening but don’t want to stay up all night, a latte is your best bet. 

While it contains a higher amount of caffeine as compared to espresso and decaffeinated coffee, it is still weak compared to most other coffees on the menu. 

A large proportion of the beverage comprises steamed milk, and it requires less volume of ground coffee to make it. A typical latte contains one ounce of espresso and 175ml of steamed milk. 

Additionally, the milk slightly counters the effect of caffeine on your body, which means that you won’t feel as alert after drinking a latte as you would after a cappuccino. 

Therefore, if you’re looking for a mild warm beverage to enjoy, you should consider getting yourself a latte. 

What Starbucks Coffee Contains The Least Caffeine? 

If you’re looking through a Starbucks menu and wondering which item has the least caffeine, go for Decaf Pike’s Place Roast. Here’s a breakdown of the caffeine amount in each serving of this beverage. 

  • Short – 15mg. 
  • Tall – 20mg
  • Grande 25mg
  • Venti 30mg


As you can see, you can still enjoy a cup of coffee even if you’re sensitive to caffeine. 

So the next time you’re craving coffee but don’t want to stay up too late, grab one of the above options. Or you could make your own coffee using decaf or light roast coffee ground. 

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