Want A Caffeine Boost? Avoid This Coffee Brand (And Go To This Other One Instead)

The strength of the caffeine used in the top high street chains varies significantly depending on where you buy it from, according to new research.

Yes, consumer group Which? has uncovered that Caffe Nero, Costa, Greggs, Pret a Manger and Starbucks all have different amounts of caffeine in their cappuccinos, espresso, and filter coffee – which might explain why the energy you have for your daily grind varies so much.

Although it also depends on how many shots of caffeine you order with your drink, here’s what the researchers found when looking at the average amount put in each beverage:

Medium cappuccino

Costa: 325mg

Greggs: 197mg

Pret A Manger: 180mg

Caffe Nero: 110-115mg

Starbucks: 66mg

Filter coffee:

Pret A Manger: 271mg

Greggs: 225mg

Starbucks: 102mg

Caffe Nero and Costa: N/A


Pret a Manger: 180mg

Costa: 100mg

Greggs: 75mg

Caffe Nero: 45mg

Starbucks: 33mg

What about at home beverages?

For comparison, the average mug of instant coffee has 100mg, the average mug of filter coffee has 140mg, a 250ml can of red bull has 80mg and a black cup of tea has 75mg.

So that gives you an idea of just how strong the Pret A Manger filter coffee and the Costa cappuccinos are...

Why does this matter?

The maximum recommended caffeine allowance for adults is up to 400mg per day, while children should have no more between 45mg and 100mg.

After all, caffeine a natural stimulant and it does impact your brain and nervous system to make you more alert – which is why so many of us are reliant on it in the mornings (and possibly the afternoons and evenings too).

A nutritionist at Which?, Shefalee Loth, warned: “Our research shows you may be consuming significantly more, or less, caffeine that you bargained for.

“Most of the time this shouldn’t be an issue but if you drink a lot of coffee or need to limit your caffeine intake you might want to consider what you’re ordering and where from.”

But, pregnant people should try to avoid where they can – they should have no more than 200mg a day according to the NHS. Others might be too sensitive to a strong cup o’ joe, such as people on ADHD medication.

What makes one drink stronger than another?

The type of coffee bean used by each chain can make it stronger. For instance, Arabica bean is only half as strong as Robusta, and they both taste different.

Costa Coffee said that the amount of caffeine depends on the size of a drink and type of coffee used.

“All caffeine information is available both in our store or via our website and we would encourage customers to be aware of the caffeine content in their favourite Costa coffee to ensure it is right for their dietary requirements or lifestyle choice,” the chain’s spokesperson said.