Caffeine Confidential: Deciphering the Coffee Code

| Caffeine

You have seen it on many a clever tank, mug and meme: but first, coffee. Our morning cup of Joe - not Manganiello - the other one, is so needed.

Coffee has come a long way and what once was a simple order: black, no cream or sugar. Has become a deciphering nightmare: no foam, triple capp with simple syrup and room. Crazy face emoji, we know. For the caffeine addicts out there seeking simple - not complicated - alternatives, we have some brews for you.

(Photo: iStock)

Bulletproof
Would you like a stick of butter with your coffee? With bulletproof coffee, you just might. The invention of Dave Asprey, an entrepreneur and health blogger, bulletproof coffee is a combination of grass-fed butter, hot coffee and MCT oil; MCT oil is made by processing coconut and palm kernel oils to change the chemical structure, making them more easily digested and absorbed. The caffeine level in bulletproof is the same as a regular cup of joe, however the enthusiasts of bulletproof praise the concoction for it’s time-released caffeine power, mental sharpness and energy. Are these supposed benefits – not evaluated by the FDA - worth the extra calories that come with a stick of butter? With these extra calories come extra saturated fat and that is not as easy to negate if drinking bulletproof in addition to a healthy diet, the extra 200-300 calories a day will still result in weight gain. 

Nitro
Then there was that time that you really wished your morning brew was really a brewski...maybe not everyone has wished that, no judgment. There is no alcohol in nitro coffee, however, the likeness to beer is in the effervescent, slightly frothy, ice-cold qualities. Stumptown Coffee envisioned and created this cold brew, as reported by Tech Insider, diffusing nitrogen into coffee and is release by a pressurized valve, typically stored in a keg. Coffee on-tap sounds almost too good to be true. But wait, there is more: since nitro is cold-brewed, it has less acid than traditional hot brewed coffee. That all sounds fine and well, but what about our caffeine needs? On a scale of one to step away from the coffee… it is high on the caffeine richter scale with 240 mg for an eight-ounce cup. 

Matcha
If you are hoping matcha will be the answer to your non-coffee caffeine accelerant dreams, you are closer than you may think. While traditional green tea contains minimal amounts of caffeine, matcha green tea is nearly triple the punch. Ground into a powder that dissolves in water, matcha allows your body to digest all the nutrients, benefits and the caffeine. Containing amino acid and L-Theanine, matcha contains a time-released alertness compared to a “jolt” as reported by Health.com The super powder also contains the polyphenol EGCG, a thermogenic component believed to boost metabolism. The FDA has reported conflicting reports as it relates to the health benefits of green tea, however, that has not ceased the matcha fans, the potent powder is being used more than ever in everything from lattes to ice cream.

(Photo: iStock)

The FDA reports that adults should consume no more than 400 milligrams of caffeine a day (approximately four cups of coffee) however that amount can vary based on variables such as body weight, age and what you eat. Oh yes, caffeine is found in everyday food items as it is not required of manufacturers to list caffeine amounts.

If you are curious how much caffeine is in what you are consuming, there is an app for that. Of course there is. Caffeine Informer calculates approximate caffeine amounts as well as how much is too much caffeine for your body type. While four cups might be fine for a six-foot 260 pound adult male, the effects on a five-foot 130 pound female are in the danger zone - not to be confused with the 80s song of the same name. 

With an infusion of nitrogen, room for cream or just plain, we will continue to love our morning caffeine boost... with or without a side of butter.

Megen DiSanto |

Megen (yes, it's spelled that way even though autocorrect claims false) is a cowboy boot wearing native Chicagoan with a passion for all things DIY.