Costa, Pret or Starbucks? The coffee chains with the strongest (and weakest) caffeine hits revealed
If you order a decaf flat white or prefer to head to your local independent coffee shop, you might not feel too phased by what we’re about to discuss. However, if you commit to a handy Pret subscription each month or find yourself stumbling into a Starbucks whenever you see one, you might want to think twice about how much caffeine you’re actually consuming.
A study by consumer group Which? has revealed the surprising disparity in the amount of caffeine each high street coffee chain delivers – coffee lovers looking for a strong pick-me-up to beat the morning slump should head to Costa, according to the findings.
The data found that cappuccinos from Costa deliver almost five times as much caffeine than one from Starbucks (which, just for extra clarity, is the same as four cans of Red Bull… yikes!).
The study found that a medium cappuccino from Costa contains three shots of espresso and 325mg of caffeine, which towers a lot higher than Starbucks equivalent containing just 66mg.
Greggs and Pret a Manger delivered the second and third-highest cappuccino kicks, with caffeine levels hitting 197mg and 180mg respectively.
If you’re more of an espresso shot *in and out the door* kind of person, the Which? research found that Pret a Manger offers the biggest hit on that front – a single espresso coming in at 180mg of caffeine. Pret’s filter coffee also contained the most caffeine at 271mg, two and a half times as much as a Starbucks version.
The US Food and Drug Administration estimates 400mg of caffeine is a safe amount for healthy adults to consume each day. Again for context, that equates to one cappuccino from Costa, two from Pret, or six cappuccinos from Starbucks. Shefalee Loth, a Which? Nutritionist, said anyone who is sensitive to caffeine, or needs to avoid it for health reasons such as being pregnant, may want to request fewer shots in the drink when ordering too.
Loth said: “Many of us rely on coffee to get us through the dark winter mornings, but our research shows you may be consuming significantly more, or less, caffeine than you bargained for.”
Most of the coffees that the Which? study looked at contained at least two shots of espresso. Another factor that could impact caffeine content is the variety of coffee beans used, with arabica beans containing about half the caffeine of robusta beans.
So there you have it, who knew?
Caffeine content in milligrams and drink sizes in millilitres
Caffè Nero 45mg (30ml)
Costa (Signature Blend) 100mg (30ml)
Greggs 75mg (28ml)
Pret 180mg (30ml)
Starbucks 33mg (25ml)
Caffè Nero 110-115mg (355ml)
Costa (Signature Blend) 325mg (362ml)
Greggs 197mg (341ml)
Pret 180mg (350ml)
Starbucks 66mg (350ml)
Greggs 225mg (341ml)
Pret 271mg (350ml)
Starbucks 102mg (350ml)
Caffè Nero N/A
Costa (Signature Blend) N/A
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