Caffeine and Calories

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

How much will your Double Frozen FrapMochaChino add to both your bulge and your buzz?

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  • Jacob Estes

    An Americano is espresso mixed with water, shouldn’t it be further left? Where’s the Red Eye?

    Gorgeous stuff. Often stuff like this is vague, but this is great. Keep it up.

  • Yam Myelnikov

    hmmm… nice… but slightly unorthodox to have the x- and y- axes intersect at (150,175) instead of (0,0) isn’t it???

    • david

      fair point. i was shooting for a cartesian grid stroke scatterplot.

  • Yvan

    This is is great but lacks accuracy.

    An Americano is an espresso or a double espresso with water therefore it cannot be 2 or 3 times the amount of caffeine. However, an Americano will be processed in the body for a longer period of time because it is a larger quantity of water and will have more effect.


  • Neal Groothuis

    Love the graphics…but I have to say, your data here are very suspect.

    Espresso and brewed coffee both have virtually no caloric content. Check the USDA nutrient database; they put a cup of coffee at a whopping 2kcal. Further, you show Americano as having higher caloric content than espresso, which is absurd; café Americano is espresso with water added. In fact, the Americanos appear to have the same caloric value as a skim cappuccino.

    The caffeine content is similarly wonky. 300mg in a “large” Americano, but only 150mg in a “large” cappuccino? I suspect that you’re comparing apples and oranges here; 150mg is generally two shots; 300mg would be four. The number of shots that will go into a large drink, particularly an Americano, will vary from coffeeshop to coffeeshop. If you want to know how much buzz you’re going to get, you need to ask.

    Also, including “dark chocolate” in there is misleading in two ways. First, the calorie counts will vary dramatically depending on the size of the bar and the darkness of the chocolate. Hershey’s special dark chocolate bar, for instance, has 180 calories; not anywhere near the 550 your graphic implies. Further, a lot of the “buzz” from chocolate doesn’t come from caffeine; theobromine contributes substantially. Someone expecting to get about 80mg worth of buzz from a chocolate bar based on this graphic might find themselves in for a lot more than they bargained for.

  • cybele

    What about coffee with milk. Coffee with cream. Coffee with milk & sugar?

  • Philip Cass

    I’m an ex-employee of mcdonalds, and (yes I’m this sad) your big mac figure is out :P

    A Mac is 490 calories
    A large coke is 210, not 310
    Your fries figure looks to be something between a medium and a large

  • Lerch

    This chart is a great idea, and well executed. Thank you, you have a new subscriber!

    I do have a question though: isn’t an Americano just espresso and hot water? If so, how did it end up so far to the right when espresso is so far to the left? I figured that plain old large brewed coffee would be in the coveted spot at the far right bottom of the chart.

  • Mike

    Love it. One question though–you only have one “Energy Drink” listed on here. They’re getting so popular and prevalent–are they really ALL right around 200 calories/~140 mg of caffeine?

  • Nick

    I love it! but there’s a couple drinks I’ve been known to get a quick buzz from that aren’t on here- Energy Shots (5 hour energy and the like) and Mountain Dew!

  • WyldKard

    Shouldn’t the double espresso have /more/ caffeine than a small frappucino, since the “tall” coffee drinks at Starbucks are made with only one shot of espresso, while the medium/grande are made with two?

  • Murry

    How can an ice coffee possibly have less calories than a double espresso or even 2 pain killers? The picture even shows it topped with cream. And I doubt that most iced coffees would contain so much caffeine. And how do 2 painkillers beat a double espresso? I call shenanigans on this infographic.

    “Man has a natural propensity to question what he reads but believe anything he sees in neat infographic form.”

    Well, not this time.

  • DG

    Great chart! Yeah, I agree, the x/y intersect was slightly jarring before I realized what was going on… ‘course the information isn’t incorrect, just that much harder to grasp…

    I was surprised though to see an absence of one of the more common caffeinators, in these parts at least: Diet Coke. I’m guessing a large Diet Coke from a fountain dispenser would be somewhere near the painkillers, and a single 12oz/330mL can would be under the espresso?

  • Diane

    Absolutely Beautiful. I would put that in all caps for emphasis but I respect it too much to resort to crass internet memes.

  • Alexander Bickov

    Nice calories illustration

  • tim

    Doesn’t that mean that the L americano has SIX espressos in it? That doesn’t sound right.
    Plus, aren’t most drinks made with Espressos? That makes for some weird ratios between the drinks.

    And rollerblading uses less calories than jogging, i’m pretty sure. though it’s better for your joints and butt.

  • Mitsukai

    Thanks for the chart, very informative! I was just wondering, in your calculations, does the Iced Coffee (regular or small) include the usual fancy swirl of whipped cream topping, or is it just cold coffee with milk?


  • Mert

    Why does a double shot of espresso have more than 2.5x caffeine than a single shot?

    Also iced coffee is brewed the same way as regular coffee. It just has lots of, well, ice. Hard to think it would surpass regular coffee in caffeine content.

  • Matt

    How does a double shot of espresso have 100mg of caffeine and a small mocha have have twice the caffeine? A small mocha is never made with more than 2 shots espresso…

  • david

    thanks all for your comments

    re: the great Espresso vs Americano contraversy

    Technically an Americano is a shot of espresso with hot water added. So why big difference in caffeine content?

    EnergyFiend. has a single shot espresso at around 58 mgs up to 185mg. I used the lower figure.

    StarBucks rate their own Venti American as having 300mg of caffeine. Maybe that’s why they taste so good.

    Hence the disparity in the diagram.

    • Ernest

      At the cafe where I work, we put four shots of espresso into a twenty ounce Americano, which I believe is standard, although different shops and different tastes will determine the strength.

      If you assume the 4 shots of espresso in a 20oz drink and you take the 300mg from the StarBucks figure, a single shot of espresso from there would contain 75mg of caffeine.

      Also, EnergyFiend says that a shot is 1.5 ounces. That’s actually a double shot, since most places pull their shots a little short to intensify the flavour and viscosity of the espresso. You should also read the updated data that they got from Australia.

      On a side note, if you think that Starbucks tastes great, please check out a local roaster or cafe that uses small-batch roasts. You’ll be amazed.

    • Stretch

      This introduces a pleasingly ritaoanl point of view.

  • Belle Rudetha Prannyshake

    misinformation is ugly

  • john

    The scales should be at left and lower margins. As is, they create arbitrary quadrants and miss the chance to embphasize the point (0, 0).

  • Gerulf

    Interesting, now I can clearly see what gives the most bang for the “buck”.
    What energy drink to you refer to, I’d be very interested.

  • christmas gifts  

    If I consider the axis are labeled “caffeine” and “calories”, the diagram should only used the first quadrant of a two dimensional graph. This design is counter intuitive since there aren’t negative values of caffeine or calories.

  • William

    This is great. Always helpful for reinforcement of the concept that espresso does not have “more caffeine” than coffee. Water that moves through grinds at 15psi does NOT pick up caffeine like american drip coffee does.

  • Scott

    Not sure how a long black can have more caffine & calories that a double shot esspreso, as a long black is a double esspreso with added hot water 9does the water contain caffine & calories?)

    • Ernest


  • JF

    I love your work!!! This graph needs Mountain Dew though. :)

  • Ric Dragon

    Love your visualizations. This one has me scratching my head, though (maybe too early in the morning? ) – But I don’t understand the correlation between caffeine and calories. Does caffeine intake burn calories?