How Much Espresso Is Too Much?


There is nothing better than jumpstarting your day with an espresso shot to aid in concentrating on, resulting in a highly productive day. Whenever you’re feeling that you’re slowing down, a quick caffeine hit from an espresso can combat the exhaustion and push you to perform at your optimal level. However, espresso cannot be a magic drug with no side effects. If so, everybody would load up as much as possible to boost up their productivity. So, how much is too much when it comes to espresso?

Up to 400 milligrams of caffeine is safe for most healthy adults. This works out to 5 shots of espresso per day as the safe limit. However, factors like the weight of the person drinking the espresso, health condition, and caffeine sensitivity play a role in deciding how much espresso is too much.

The safe limit varies from person to person, so it is important to know your limits and stay in the safe zone. Ever since espresso was popularized in the late 1980s and 1990s by Starbucks, the drink’s obsession has only become bigger. With cappuccinos and lattes being consumed daily, millions of people depend on espresso coffees to power them up every day. Some of them are walking a thin line between healthy consumption and unhealthy addiction when it comes to depending on espresso to indulge in the daily grind.

How Much Espresso is Too Much?

An espresso shot can be in the range of 1 to 1½ ounce, which is approximately 30 to 45 ml of the drink. With approximately 80 milligrams (mg) of caffeine in an espresso shot, 5 shots of the drink put a person in the safe zone of 400 milligrams of caffeine consumption. Anything above 5 shots of espresso is considered too much and not healthy for the average individual. Also, other food sources with caffeine in small quantities present in them consumed and added up to the total consumption per day.

While you can keep 400 milligrams of caffeine as a reference number for your daily intake, you should note that not every person is similar, and hence the safe number differs for everyone. Factors like sensitivity to caffeine, pre-existing health conditions, and weight will determine the amount of caffeine ideal for consumption. It would be best to keep the intake of espresso to a maximum of 4-5 shots per day. Anything above this can be too much for you.

There are adverse side effects of consuming too much espresso. Too much does not make you feel better. In fact, once you’re past 5 shots, you might not feel any better. As you increase your intake of espresso, you can be exposing yourself to potential side effects, including addiction, high blood pressure, digestive problems, anxiety, insomnia, and rapid heart rate. To enjoy the drink’s benefits while still being healthy means that you maintain a healthy lifestyle with good exercise, a healthy diet, and proper sleep.

How Many Shots of Espresso Should You Have a Day?

While there is no exact number of shots to have in a day that works universally for everyone, if you love your espresso coffee while deriving the benefits from it, you should stick to a maximum of 4 shots per day. Other factors come into play in deciding this number for every individual. Try to keep the shots within the safe range to maintain a healthy lifestyle without having any side effects from the drink. Ensuring that you stay inside the safe zone can have potential benefits like increased energy levels throughout the day, reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, and improved long-term memory.

Remember that it is important to keep a healthy lifestyle as you add espresso into your routine. If you do not exercise regularly, eat healthily, and get good sleep, you will be pushing yourself with shots of espresso. Be sure to be healthy, and if you do, when you add espresso to the mix, you can be assured of an overall positive impact on your wellbeing.

Is it Okay to Drink Espresso Every Day?

It is okay for you to drink espresso every day as long as you do not overshoot the recommended caffeine intake for a day. You can maintain a healthy lifestyle and drink espresso every day to give you the little boosts in energy when you need it. However, be careful to monitor your routine while you begin drinking espresso every day. Espresso can harm sleep and cause insomnia if taken closer to bedtime or even in the late afternoon or early evening.

If you recognize that you’re having trouble falling asleep after adding espresso to your daily life, change your intake timing. Stop drinking espresso a few hours before you go to bed. Also, you can cut down a little bit to see how your body adjusts. If you avoid drinking espresso during late evenings and cut back a little and see positive results, you have found a good mix that works for you.

It can be tempting to down more espresso as you’re working on something important where you need to be at your best. Be aware of this and do not overindulge in it. Caffeine is a drug and a stimulant, and once you overstimulate your body and get used to it, it can be hard to cut back on the amount you drink. While you’re drinking espresso every day, also be aware of your intake of energy drinks, soda, and chocolates. These contain caffeine, and you can be shooting over the daily recommended levels by consuming them in addition to drinking espresso.

What are the Side Effects of too much Espresso?

There are various side effects when you push yourself too hard and drink more espresso than what is considered moderate. The side effects can range from anxiety and fatigue to insomnia and addiction. 

We will take a look at some of the side effects of the intake of too much caffeine.

1. Anxiety

Since caffeine increases alertness, higher levels of it in the body may lead to anxiety. The release of adrenaline, which is the hormone associated with the “fight-or-flight” response, gives more energy, which increases anxiety.

Sometimes, even moderate amounts of intake can lead to nervousness and symptoms of anxiety. This occurs most commonly in individuals who are sensitive to caffeine.

If you experience symptoms of anxiety after drinking espresso, you might consider taking a look at the amount of caffeine you intake and cut back on it to reduce the nervousness. You will have to adjust the levels to see where you hit the right spot that boosts alertness without increasing anxiety. When you slide from alertness to anxiety, you can cut back and adjust your levels so that you know your tolerance level.

2. Digestive Problems

The laxative effect of espresso stimulates bowel movement, which can be a problem if you are sensitive to it. Large doses of the drink may lead to loose stools. While moderate amounts of the drink improve the gut’s mobility, you will have to consider cutting down on it if you’re experiencing problems like loose stools and diarrhea.

3. High Blood Pressure

The caffeine in espresso raises blood pressure because it stimulates the nervous system. Even though the rise in blood pressure is temporary, it is a cause of concern for individuals who already have high blood pressure. It is worth noting that attention to the timing and the amount of espresso has to be monitored if you have high blood pressure. You do not want to constantly raise your blood pressure by having frequent shots of espresso.

Also, since the effect of high blood pressure is more pronounced for a person who isn’t used to consuming espresso, it is better to take it slow with espresso if you have high blood pressure and if you’re new to the habit of drinking it.

4. Increased Heart Rate

Large doses of caffeine from increased intake of espresso can increase the heart rate in some people. This is a stimulatory effect of the caffeine, and this differs from person to person. While this doesn’t usually happen for many people, it is important to understand that if you feel that you have a rapid heart rate after drinking a lot of espressos, it is time to reduce your intake of the drink.

5.  Fatigue

The caffeine’s indirect effect in espresso can leave you tired and fatigued after the energy boost by the drink wears off. You may feel the need to recharge again and boost yourself with more espresso, and this can quickly turn into a cycle of dependency on the drink to keep your energy levels up high. Try to keep a moderate level of intake of espresso to reduce the effects of fatigue. Also, low to moderate espresso levels will not intervene in your ability to have a good sleep.

6. Insomnia

Higher caffeine intake restricts the amount of time you sleep and impairs your recovery from a hard day at work. It also increases the time to fall asleep. Do not underestimate the damage the amount of caffeine you intake is doing to your body. You might not notice it considerably and might push it aside, thinking it is a one-off occurrence, but you will be forced to look for solutions when it becomes a routine. Keep the intake of caffeine from low to moderate amounts to reap the benefits while remaining healthy.

Other factors and genetics might amplify the ill-effects of the overconsumption of caffeine. A higher intake of espresso will delay the time it takes for you to fall asleep, and the time you’re awake at night. Take care of the amount of espresso you drink and its timing to let it not affect your sleep.

7. Addiction

Just like any drug, caffeine can make you get addicted to it. The high energy levels give you the power and ability to do many things that boost your productivity. This can turn into a self-feeding loop as you add more caffeine into your system to gain more energy to do more. At higher dosages, you might not be able to function without the intake of caffeine properly.

In case you feel that you’re addicted to the drug, a way to break the loop and cut down your addiction is to lower your intake levels consciously. If you’re drinking 6 shots of espresso, try cutting it down to 5 shots and maintain things at the new level for a few days. Then, you can cut back another shot and see how you feel. The way you do it is by slowly bringing down caffeine intake levels without having any adverse impact on your health.

Even if you think that you’re not addicted to caffeine, if you’re on a higher intake than normal, you’re probably a little bit addicted to it. If you notice any negative effects, try to slowly reduce your espresso intake and bring it down to normal levels.

These are some of the side effects of drinking too much espresso. If you notice any signs of these effects, it is advisable to bring down the levels of consumption while monitoring your body’s response to the reduced levels of intake. Once you’re comfortably under the recommended level where you derive the drink’s positive benefits, you can continue to have it as a part of your normal healthy lifestyle.

Can You Overdose on Espresso Shots?

You can overdose on your espresso shots. Many people take one step at a time, and before they know it, they will be overdosing on espresso shots. It is not something that happens overnight. Since it is gradual progress, people rarely take note of it. However, you have to be careful of your intake and look for side-effects or breaks in your normal routine due to the increased intake of espresso shots.

Since it is a real possibility for you to overdose on espresso, keep a tab on the number of shots you regularly take and how you feel. If there is a difference in the way you feel with a slightly higher caffeine dose, you can cut it down.

How Many Shots of Espresso is Lethal?

According to a study published in 2005, fatal overdoses of caffeine in adults require the ingestion of over 5 grams of the drug. This is more than ten times the maximum recommended 400-milligram intake for an average person per day. However, other factors, including health condition and genetics, play a role in deciding the dosage that is considered lethal.

Since the tolerance level varies across individuals, you will have to start with espresso shots from low to moderate levels and slowly increase the numbers while looking for any noticeable changes. You might even have a tolerance level below the recommended 400 milligrams per day. Hence, you should aim for the level where you have increased energy without problems like anxiety, blood pressure, high heart rate, and insomnia.

A beneficial tool to calculate your caffeine dosage limits is the caffeine calculator, giving you the daily safe maximum depending on your drink and weight. You will also be shown the lethal dosage for your body weight. This calculator is a handy calculator to know the recommended caffeine range for your weight. However, be sure to adjust the final number you get based on your caffeine and health sensitivity. Try typing “Espresso” in the “Enter a Drink” textbox and add your weight in pounds or kilograms to know your limits.

How Many Shots of Espresso Should You Have a Day?

You can have 4 shots of espresso every day to enjoy the many benefits of the drink. You can significantly reduce the risk of stroke, certain types of cancer, and type 2 diabetes by drinking a maximum of 4 shots of espresso every day. Since coffee beans contain antioxidants, they reduce the possibilities of inflammation in your body.

Drinking espresso will also decrease the risk of liver diseases, including liver cancer. It also helps boost long-term memory by aiding in the process of memory consolidation. Healthline’s research shows a link between caffeine consumption and a decreased rate of Parkinson’s disease.

The benefits are abundant when you are within the recommended level for the intake of caffeine from espresso. You can get the energy boost you’re looking for along with a host of other good health benefits by regularly sipping on your delightful cup of espresso. If you can avoid the need for higher consumption and stick to a level in the low to moderate range where you’re enjoying the benefits of the drink while living a healthy and happy lifestyle, you don’t have to worry about how much espresso is too much.

Charlie McFarlane

Technology professional with 20 years in the industry providing solutions to customers based on IT. Recently got interested in the art and science behind of specialty coffee and decided to document this journey, sharing it with public.

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