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How Much Caffeine is in 4 Shots of Espresso: The Ultimate Information You Need to Know

Unlock the secrets of how much caffeine is in 4 shots of espresso. From health considerations to practical advice, this is your ultimate espresso guide.

how much caffeine is in 4 shots of espresso

Expert Consulted: Carl. Utilizing my 6 years of experience in the coffee industry, I’m able to provide accurate and concise information, helping you make informed choices about beans, brewing methods, and equipment, thereby elevating your coffee experience. In this article, I’ll share my knowledge to answer the question: How much caffeine is in 4 shots of espresso?

Many of you coffee lovers out there might be ordering a drink that contains 4 shots of espresso and wondered; how much caffeine is actually in 4 shots of espresso?

The amount of caffeine in your shots will vary quite a bit depending on the beans used, the brewing process, and the size of each shot. Typically though, a 1-ounce single shot of espresso will contain 64mg of caffeine. Knowing that, we can say 4 shots of espresso will yield roughly 256mg of caffeine.

Now that we know how much caffeine is in 4 shots of espresso, that brings a new question to light; is 4 shots of espresso too much? I go in-depth to answer this question and many more in the rest of this article.

Is 4 Shots of Espresso Too Much?

The average adult should consume no more than 400mg of caffeine in a single day, that means if a single shot of espresso equals 64mg of caffeine; you should not consume any more than 6 shots of espresso in one day.

Consuming more than 6 shots of espresso will exceed the limit and potentially lead to health issues such as anxiety, high blood pressure, and insomnia.

Does Milk Affect Caffeine Content?

does milk affect caffeine content - how much caffeine is in 4 shots of espresso
Picture of Milk Pouring Into Glass (#1: Canva Pro/Getty Images)

Choosing to indulge in some milk with your coffee will not change the amount of caffeine in the drink, it will only alter the taste, aroma, and texture.

However, milk will dilute the coffee which leads to less caffeine in each sip; but the same amount of caffeine overall.

Think of a bucket with 10 red balls inside, adding 5 green balls will not make the red balls disappear. All you did was add some different color balls, you didn’t remove any.

How Many Shots of Espresso Are In Each Type of Coffee?

There are many different types of espresso-based beverages, so for simplicity’s sake, I’ll be covering the most common drinks.

LatteA short 8-ounce and a tall 12-ounce Latte from Starbucks will only have a single shot of espresso but their Grande and Venti sizes contain 2 shots.

The standard size that you’ll find in most coffee shops will commonly have 2 shots, and some may even have up to 4 shots.
Cappuccino Similar to the Latte, a Starbucks Cappuccino will possess 1 shot of espresso in their short and tall sizes, while Grande and Venti contain 2 shots. Also similarly, most Cappuccinos will contain 2 shots as standard, unless very small or very large.
Espresso MacchiatoA Starbucks Espresso Macchiato comes in 4 distinct size options: Solo (0.8 fluid ounces, 1 shot), Doppio (1.6 fluid ounces, 2 shots), Triple (2.3 fluid ounces, 3 shots), and Quad (3.1 fluid ounces, 4 shots).

Although this is what Starbucks uses, a Macchiato usually is made with 1-2 shots at most.
Flat WhiteRegarding Flat Whites, Starbucks’ Short and Tall sizes include 2 shots of espresso, but this time the Grande and Venti both carry 3 shots of espresso.

Flat Whites in most cafes will rarely have more or less than 2 shots of espresso.
AmericanoLast but certainly not least, a Starbucks Americano will have 1 shot in a Short size and 2 shots in a Tall. However, things get a little crazy when you size up to Grande and Venti.

A Grande Americano at Starbucks contains 3 shots of espresso and the Venti consists of a whopping 4 shots, coming out to be the highest number of shots in an un-modified Starbucks drink!

But what if you’re looking to lower your caffeine intake? Don’t fret, I’ve listed some alternatives below.

Alternative For Lowering Caffeine Intake

If you love coffee but maybe you feel the caffeine is not doing you any good, or you’ve been instructed to have less caffeine, this is for you.


decaf coffee
Coffee Beans Spelling Decaf (#2: Canva Pro/Getty Images)

Decaf coffee is widely popular and the most well-known method of reducing caffeine intake while still enjoying coffee.

One of the methods in making decaffeinated coffee is to immerse the un-roasted coffee in a flow of hot water which causes almost all of the caffeine to be extracted out of the bean.

After the caffeine has been extracted from the coffee beans in what we call the liquid phase, the coffee beans are then dried using hot air that evaporates the water used previously. Once the usual moisture of coffee beans is recovered, the result is a coffee bean with a fraction of the caffeine.

This is how NESCAFÉ makes their decaf coffee. More detail in their article.


We know now that 1 shot of espresso is about 64mg and 4 shots of espresso will equal roughly 256mg depending on factors like roast level, type of bean, and brewing process.

Is it too much though? No, the average adult can consume up to 400mg of caffeine before facing health issues. That’s roughly 6 shots of espresso. Still, though, I would not recommend consuming any more than 4 shots in a day unless you really need to stay awake.

Does adding milk affect caffeine content? Again, not really. Milk will dilute the coffee which reduces the caffeine intake from each sip but not the overall caffeine content in the drink. Add as much milk to your coffee as you desire.

If you’re looking to cut down on the caffeine then I would suggest giving decaf coffee a go as it provides you with the delightful coffee taste that you know and love while having no disadvantages of caffeine.

Image Attribution and Licensing

Main Image: Canva Pro/Getty Images – ‘Double Espresso Shot ‘ by solidcolours.

#1: Canva Pro/Getty Images – ‘milk,Milk bottle,Milk glass’ by krisanapong.

#2: Canva Pro/Getty Images – ‘Word Decaf in Coffee Beans’ by Africa Images.