How Many Shots Of Espresso Can Kill You? [ANSWERED]

If you're starting to feel jittery from drinking espressos it's definitely time to stop. 

The good news is that it's difficult to overdose on espresso, but the bad news is that it is possible. 

We taken a deep dive into the science and studies behind caffeine consumption so we fully understand all the dangers and side effects. In this guide we'll tell you exactly how many espressos it takes to kill you, and hopefully help you enjoy coffee safely. 

According to studies, it is recommended to consume no more than 400 milligrams of caffeine a day. This means having no more than 6 espresso shots to avoid any dangerous side effects.  

This is a health limit, and drinking espresso beyond these limits could lead to caffeine toxicity and potentially more serious health problems. 

It is important to keep in mind, however, that caffeine tolerance does vary depending on your height, weight, caffeine sensitivity levels, and what you've eaten.  

However, for a lethal dose of espresso you'd need between 5 and 10 grams of caffeine. This means that you would need to consume about 156 shots of espresso to actually kill you

Obviously, this is too many espresso shots of even the most avid coffee drinkers so it's very unlikely to happen. It's more likely that your body would experience symptoms of a caffeine overdose before you got to that point because of the excessive caffeine content. 

How Many Shots Of Espresso Can Kill You

Health Effects Of Drinking Too Much Espresso (Caffeine Toxicity Symptoms) 

Even though drinking espresso won't kill you, there are some potentially nasty side effects from having too much coffee and too much caffeine

Below are some of the health effects of drinking too much espresso:

  • 1
    High intakes of caffeine (about 1,000mg or more a day) could cause individuals to experience nervousness, jitteriness, and anxiety. For individuals that are more sensitive to caffeine, a small amount may lead to similar effects, including a racing heart. 
  • 2
    Caffeine is known to stimulate bowel movements by increasing peristalsis - the contractions that move food through the digestive tract. Given this, it's no surprise that large amounts of caffeine could cause diarrhea in some individuals.  
  • 3
    High doses of caffeine could cause your heart to beat faster, which in turn may lead to other side effects such as dizziness. Large amounts of caffeine may also lead to an altered heartbeat rhythm, otherwise known as atrial fibrillation.  
  • 4
    On average, caffeine can remain in your system for an average of five hours, depending on the individual. Drinking large amounts of caffeine before bed could result in trouble falling asleep and even insomnia in the long run.  
  • 5
    Muscle Breakdown 
    Large doses of caffeine within a short period of time could lead to rhabdomyolysis, a serious condition in which damaged muscle fibers enter the bloodstream, leading to a slew of other problems.  
  • 6
    High Blood Pressure 
    Consuming large amounts of caffeine has been known to raise blood pressure as it has a stimulatory effect on the nervous system.  
  • 7
    Frequent urination and urgency 
    Due to caffeine’s stimulatory effects on the bladder, frequent urination is a common side effect of consuming excessive amounts of caffeine.  
coffee drinker

So, How Many Shots Of Espresso Can I Drink Every Day? 

You should try to keep to less than six espressos a day. This will keep the caffeine content in your body at safe levels and below the 400mg threshold. 

The exact amount of caffeine you can handle depends on your tolerance, weight, height, and caffeine sensitivity levels. If you're not sure then you should start with just one or two espresso shots and see how you feel before you order more. 

The type of coffee bean used to make the coffee can also have an impact on the caffeine. Big chains tend to use the same coffee beans for every brew, but if you have different coffee beans then the espresso shots could have too much caffeine. 

This could lead to an accidental caffeine overdose, so keep a close eye on the coffee beans you're having when drinking coffee as this can impact how many espresso shots you can safely handle. 

espresso cups on espresso maker

What About Other Coffees?

Unless you can consume over 150 espresso shots then it's highly unlike you can even let espresso kill you. However, if you are drinking coffee at all it's important you monitor your caffeine intake so you can stay within safe levels

An espresso shot, or several espresso shots, form the basis of most popular drinks which makes it easier to track how much caffeine you're drinking and stay below 400mg of caffeine. 

Here's a rough guide for most popular coffee drinks:

  • Instant coffee (regular coffee) - 50-70mg per cup so you shouldn't have more than 5 or 6 cups.
  • Filter coffee - 80-100mg per cup so you shouldn't have more than 3 or 4 cups.
  • Americano - 60-120mg per cup depending on if it's a single of double espresso shot, so no more than 3 or 4 cups.
  • Latte, Cappuccino, Mocha - 100-160mg depending on how much espresso is in the base as they often have multiple shots, so not more than 2 or 3 cups. 
  • Flat White - 100-140mg as they are usually made with a double shot of espresso, so no more than 3 or 4 cups. 
  • Cold Brew - 150-200mg and much stronger than regular coffee. Stick to just 1 or 2 cups of coffee so you can manage your caffeine intake. 

You should always check the nutritional content to know exactly how much caffeine is in what you drink.

Remember, other caffeinated drinks, like energy drinks, have the equivalent of four or five shots of espresso in one serving so if you are having them then you'll need to limit how much espresso or coffee you have.

Getting Help – Who To Talk To When Times Are Tough?  

When Sleep Deprived  

Most individuals consume large amounts of caffeine because they need it to stay awake. This can be due to numerous reasons, from working too much or even becoming new parents. If you're sleep deprived and notice that you're relying too much on coffee, it's important to cut down on your caffeine consumption before it becomes a larger health concern. 

Speak with a family member, friend, or work colleague to see if they're able to help with the tasks that you're dealing with and look for alternative ways to lower your dependence on caffeine.  

If You Have Suicidal Thoughts  

If you have suicidal thoughts, there are some hotlines to reach out to for help.  

National Suicide Prevention Hotline -
With a national network of more than 150 local crisis centers, they offer free and confidential emotional support around the clock. 

Crisis Text Line -
A free messaging resource that offers 24/7 support, you can text the Crisis Text Line at any time. 

National Suicide Prevention Helpline UK - 
This helpline offers a listening service to anyone who might harbor thoughts of suicide.  

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Is espresso stronger than filter coffee? 

Filter coffee is actually stronger than espresso. While filter coffee has about 150-210 milligrams of caffeine in a brew, a shot of espresso has about 63 milligrams of caffeine. Filter coffee has more caffeine as the hot water spends a longer time in contact with the ground coffee in a drip filter.  

Will 2 shots of espresso wake you up? 

Two shots of espresso has a sufficient amount of caffeine to wake you up. Just two shots of espresso alone contains more caffeine than your standard cup of drip coffee.  

How many shots of espresso equals a cup of black coffee? 

A shot of espresso typically has about 50 to 70 milligrams of caffeine, while a black coffee has about 100 to 150 milligrams of caffeine, depending on the source. In general, however, about two to three shots of espresso would equal a cup of black coffee.  

Is espresso coffee a healthier alternative to a regular cup? 

Overall, espresso is considered healthier than a regular cup as the espresso making process allows the coffee’s natural oils and minerals to flow into the coffee.  


So how many espresso shots is a lethal dose? Over 150, so your morning cup of coffee isn't very dangerous. 

However, while there's no harm in drinking a shot or two of espresso, it's important to consume espresso and other coffee in moderation so you don't have too much caffeine. This will help you avoid a caffeine overdose with some potentially harmful side effects and long term health problems. 

Karmy Widjaja


Karmy Widjaja
Karmy Widjaja, holding a degree in Hospitality Administration, combines her academic background with a profound passion for the world of coffee. Her work is enriched with a wealth of insights, not only about the art of coffee making but also about the broader aspects of the coffee industry. Her quest for coffee perfection is a central theme in her engaging articles, as she continues to explore the vibrant coffee scene in Perth. And when it's time for a coffee break? Karmy's all about a laid-back flat white with almond milk – it's her go-to for a tasty coffee kick.

My favorite drink? I'd go with... flat white with almond milk.

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