Caffeine in Instant Coffee vs. Espresso Drinks


whats the difference between instant coffee and espresso
The Waka Life Blog

Caffeine in Instant Coffee vs. Espresso Drinks

Is there really a big difference in caffeine content between instant coffee and espresso? And what are the biggest differences between both drinks? Let's explore.

What is Espresso?

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The espresso originated in Italy around the early 20th century and is a concentrated, strong, and rich tasting coffee. So, what is the difference between instant coffee and espresso? The espresso is not made from any specific type of coffee bean, but is set apart due to its method of preparation. It is also usually served in a smaller cup or “shot” that’s about 1-1.5 ounces. To make the espresso, coffee grounds are finely ground and compacted together. Then hot water is pressurized and forced through the compacted coffee grounds to extract the coffee beans. This is a fairly quick process that takes around 30 seconds, but requires an espresso machine.

Caffeine Content

According to Caffeine Content, espresso contains 58-185 mg of caffeine. Although this may seem like a lot of caffeine for such a small amount of coffee, espresso is usually diluted with water or milk and made into a full 8 oz cup of coffee. Due to this, the espresso actually has around the same amount of caffeine as a regular cup of coffee. The strong flavor is what mistakenly sometimes referred to the caffeine amount in espresso.

Espresso-Based Drinks

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Since the espresso is concentrated and strong, it is the base for many other coffee drinks. These drinks are unique in their own ways and vary in the amount of water, milk, or milk foam added. Here are just a few espresso-based drinks:


The americano is made by diluting the espresso with water and can be served hot, cold, or iced. The amount of shots of espresso can be customized depending on how strong of a coffee you prefer.


The latte is usually served in an 8 ounce ceramic cup. It usually contains 1-2 espresso shots, 5-6 ounces of steamed milk, and has a thin layer of milk foam on top. It contains more milk compared to the cappuccino and macchiato. Due to this, it has a creamier taste and a subtle espresso flavor.


The cappuccino is similar to the latte but is served in a smaller 6 ounce cup. It is made with 1-2 shots of espresso, 1/3 steamed milk, and 1/3 milk foam. Due to the smaller cup and equal parts milk and foam, it has a stronger espresso flavor compared to the latte.


The macchiato is the strongest tasting out of the latte and cappuccino and is essentially steamed milk stained with espresso. It is usually served in a glass cup as a layered drink and contains more foam on top. Steamed and frothed milk is poured into a cup with plenty of foam on top and then the espresso shot is carefully poured.


The mocha is a chocolate flavored coffee drink made of espresso, milk, and chocolate. It is essentially a hot chocolate with shots of espresso. Compared to other espresso based drink it is a lot sweeter in taste and is customizable in terms of what types of chocolate is used and various toppings that can be added.

What is the Difference Between Brewed Coffee, Instant Coffee, and Espresso?

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As these three types of coffees are or can be made using the same types of coffee beans, Arabica or Robusta, the main differences between them are the way they are prepared and made. Brewed coffee is made with ground coffee beans that are extracted through a filter. This type of coffee takes the longest to made and is not as strong in taste as an espresso. 

Instant coffee is a type of dissolvable coffee granules made from freeze dried or spray dried brewed coffee. It is the easiest and fastest method out of the three to make a cup of coffee. The strength of coffee is also easily customizable by how much coffee crystals are added to water. Waka Coffee is an award winning option and freeze dried.

Espresso is faster to make than brewed coffee and is the strongest kind of coffee in flavor. It is also easy to make a coffee drink more caffeinated by adding more espresso shots. However, special machinery is required to pull a shot of espresso.

Instant Coffee vs. Espresso

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As both instant coffee and espresso are made from the same type of coffee beans, either Arabica or Robusta, they both contain the same amount of health benefits. These claimed benefits can include reducing cardiovascular disease, reduce high blood pressure, and aid in weight loss. 

The main differences between the two would be that espresso contains a bit more caffeine than instant coffee. While the espresso contains 58-185 mg of caffeine, instant coffee has 40-108 mg of caffeine, with an average of 67 mg. The levels of caffeine can vary depending on brand and user preference. 

Making espresso requires special machinery, which not only requires money, but also maintenance and cleaning time. Compared to the espresso, premium instant coffee is a no hassle, easy way to make coffee without having to wait for a shot of coffee or cleaning and maintaining your machine afterwards. It is also a lot simpler to make iced coffee with by mixing cold water with instant coffee granules versus waiting for an espresso shot to cool or adding ice too early and watering the coffee drink down.

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* Statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information provided by this website or this company is not a substitute for individual medical advice.

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