How Much Caffeine In A K-Cup? (Facts Explained!)

Trying to track your caffeine intake? Or just trying to find out the most caffeinated home coffee options? Either way, knowing how much caffeine is in your K Cup coffee pods is important.

The amount of caffeine in them can vary significantly, so you might be getting a different caffeine boost depending on your purchase.

In this guide, I'll explain how much caffeine is in the most popular K Cups and explain why the caffeine levels vary between brands.

On average, a K Cup contains 75-150mg of caffeine in a serving. However, there are hundreds of brands out there, and they tend to have slightly different caffeine levels.

This is usually because of a few factors:

1. Type Of Coffee Beans Used

The type of coffee you use will impact the average strength of your brew, and there are two main coffee beans used around the world; Arabica and Robusta.

Arabica has a richer, fruitier flavor, whereas Robusta has stronger, dark chocolate notes.

The other key difference is that the levels of caffeine in coffee made from Robusta beans are much higher than coffee made with Arabica beans.[1]

So, if you drink K-cups made with Robusta coffee, your coffee will be more caffeinated.

2. Roast Level

The roast of your coffee beans has a noticeable impact on the caffeine in coffee. Light roast coffee has more caffeine than dark roast coffee grounds.[2]

This is because dark roast coffee beans have been roasted longer than light roast coffee beans.

More caffeine is extracted during this process, and even though dark roast coffee has a stronger taste, the coffee produced at the end has a lower caffeine content than light roast.

3. Grind Size

The grind size of most K-cups is very fine. This allows the hot water to pass through quickly but still absorb the flavor and caffeine.

The finer the grind, the more caffeine will end up in your cup of coffee, and some K cups use finer coffee grounds, increasing the caffeine content.

Keurig Coffee Maker Cups & Pods

Caffeine Content For Popular K Cup Brands

Starbucks K-Cups

Starbucks K-Cups have 110-130mg of caffeine. 

All Starbucks K Cups are made using Arabica coffee beans for all their grounds, but they have a wide selection of light, medium, and dark roast options to choose from, including:

  • Starbucks Caramel Flavored KCups - 120 mg of caffeine
  • Starbucks Breakfast Blend KCups - 110 mg of caffeine
  • Starbucks Blonde Sunrise Blend KCups - 130 mg of caffeine

Starbucks also has a double caffeine K Cup with 260mg of caffeine.[3] This is the perfect Starbucks K Cup for those who want a lot of caffeine from their cup of coffee.

Starbucks KCup Coffee Pods

Dunkin Donuts K-Cups

A cup of coffee from Dunkin is a great way to start the day, but they also have a range of K-Cups for anyone who can't make it into the store.

On average, a Dunkin Donuts K Cup has a caffeine content of 100-130mg. This does vary slightly depending on the flavor and roast.

Dunkin has a pretty diverse range of K-cups, including:

  • Dunkin Original Blend K Cup - 120 mg of caffeine
  • Dunkin French Vanilla K Cup - 130 mg of caffeine
  • Dunkin Blueberry Muffin K Cup - 110 mg of caffeine

Dunkin also has a decaffeinated coffee K Cup with around 10mg of caffeine.

This decaf coffee is made using a Swiss Water Process and is perfect for those wanting less caffeine in a K Cup without compromising the flavor of the cup of coffee.

Dunkin Donuts KCup Coffee Pods

McDonalds (McCafé) K-Cups

There are around 100-120mgs of caffeine in K Cup pods from McDonalds.

All their K cups come with ground Arabica medium roast coffee beans; unlike other brands, there is little variation in the caffeine content. The most popular McDonalds K Cups include:

  • Premium Roast K-Cups - 110mg of caffeine
  • Breakfast Blend K-Cups - 120mg of caffeine
  • French Roast K-Cups - 110mg of caffeine
  • Cappuccino K Cups - 120mg of caffeine

McDonalds also offer decaffeinated K-Cups with less than 10mg of caffeine in each fresh cup of coffee.

McCafe KCup Coffee Pods

Peet's K-Cups

There are 60-100mgs of caffeine in K Cup pods from Peet’s, though the caffeine content can vary depending on whether you have a light roast, medium roast, or dark roasts.

The most popular Peet’s K-Cups include:

  • French Roast - 80mg of caffeine
  • Medium Roast Brazil Blend - 90mg of caffeine
  • Luminosa Light Roast Breakfast Blend - 100mg of caffeine

Peet’s Keurig coffee pods don’t have the most caffeine, but they have some of the best flavor. They also have a decaf Keurig K Cup with under 10 mg of caffeine.

Peets KCup Coffee Pods

Green Mountain K-Cups

Green Mountain Coffee has a massive range of Keurig K Cup options which contain 60-150mg of caffeine.

They have dark roasted options, but they mostly use a special Keurig K-cup Green Mountain coffee roasters that use light roasted beans with 30% more caffeine.

This gives a bigger boost than a typical K Cup or standard cup of coffee.

The most popular options include:

  • Keurig Green Mountain Breakfast Blend - 120mg of caffeine
  • Keurig Green Mountain French Vanilla - 130mg of caffeine
  • Green Mountain Dark Magic Extra Bold - 120mg of caffeine (this strong tasting coffee is very similar to espresso)
  • Green Mountain Iced Coffee - 110mg of caffeine

Green Mountain has some decaf K Cups and hot chocolate options (made with milk chocolate typically).

They also have some iced tea and hot cocoa K Cup options, so there are lots of low-caffeine alternatives to mix up your regular morning coffee routine.

Green Mountain KCup Coffee Pods

Folgers K-Cups

Folgers KCups generally contain 80-100mg of caffeine. They mostly use dark-roasted Arabica beans, so it isn't the most caffeinated coffee but has a bold taste.

Folgers KCups make much smoother brewed coffee than a lot of other dark roast options.

The most popular Folger coffee options include:

  • Folgers Breakfast Blend Keurig K Cups - 80mg of caffeine
  • Folgers Caramel Drizzle Keurig K Cups - 90mg of caffeine
  • Folgers Black Silk Blend Keurig KCups - 90mg of caffeine (this is one of the extra bold blends made with a darker roast that has a silky smooth, rich flavor)

Folgers also have half-caff coffee pods with 30-40mg of caffeine[4], and decaf coffee pod options with 10mg of caffeine.

This means you can use Folger coffee pods with your Keurig brewer to make coffee with a manageable caffeine kick.

Folgers KCup Coffee Pods

Death Wish K Cups

Death Wish Coffee does not mess around when it comes to caffeine, and their Death Wish KCups contain up to 480mg of caffeine.

Unlike other brands, they use Arabica and Robusta beans, giving a much more concentrated cup of coffee.

They have a few popular options:

  • Medium Roast Death Cups - 470mg of caffeine (stronger than cold brew and equivalent to 4 x espresso shot strength!)
  • Dark Roast Death Wish Cups - 420mg of caffeine
  • Blue and Buried Death Cups -  420mg of caffeine (this has a strong blueberry flavor)

Death Wish K-Cups make strong coffee, but it is still quite smooth. However, it’s definitely too much caffeine for anyone except experienced coffee drinkers.

Death Wish KCup Coffee Pods

Shock Coffee K Cups

Shock Coffee is another strong coffee brand with high caffeine levels, and their Shock KCups have 100-250mg of caffeine.

They blend Arabica and Robusta beans, and the resulting medium-dark roasted coffee in their disposable cups makes very strong brews.

Shock is an all-natural brand and doesn't believe in using artificial flavors, so there are fewer flavors available. However, there are still a few different Keurig pods to make your own coffee with:

  • Original Shock Cups - 130mg of caffeine
  • Espresso Blend Cups - 140mg of caffeine
  • Extra Strength Cups - 200mg of caffeine (these are made with up to 50% caffeine in each pod!)

Shock does not make weak coffee, so if you love naturally strong, flavorsome coffee, they are the KCups for you. 

Shock KCup Coffee Pods

Caribou Coffee K-Cups

Caribou KCups contain 80-160mg of caffeine. They mostly use light roasted beans for their ground coffee, which contains slightly more caffeine, making their average K Cup stronger than competitors.

However, they do have some dark roast blends, which have a deeper flavor and slightly less caffeine.

The most popular Caribou KCups include:

  • Caribou Daybreak Blend - 130mg of caffeine
  • Caribou Lakeshore Blend - 120mg of caffeine
  • Caribou Caramel Hideaway - 100mg of caffeine

Caribou also has their specialty light roast Bou Yah blend, which contains 150 mg of caffeine. The Keurig caffeine content is higher because it's a very light roast, and it contains more ground coffee.

Caribou KCup Coffee Pods

Do Keurig Cup Sizes Affect The Caffeine Levels?

The size of your K Cup coffee doesn’t noticeably change the caffeine levels.

Each coffee machine is different, but there are usually a range of Keurig cup sizes available.

A standard cup of coffee from a Keurig coffee maker is 8oz, but there are also 6oz, 10oz, and even 12oz options available.

The larger the drink size, the more water passes through the ground coffee beans in the K cup.

Many people think that the larger the K Cup coffee, the more caffeine it will contain, but that isn’t the case. The amount of coffee the K Cup contains doesn’t change, no matter what size you choose.

Even though more water passes through the larger sizes, it flows so quickly that there is very little difference in how much caffeine is extracted.

However, while the size of your K-Cup coffee doesn't alter the caffeine amount, it can change the taste.

A small cup of Keurig coffee will be more concentrated than a larger size Keurig coffee because there's less water to dilute it.

This gives the smaller coffee a more intense coffee flavor than a larger one, and it's why many people assume the caffeine levels change too.

It is worth saying that you’ll drink a smaller size K Cup coffee more quickly than a larger size K Cup coffee.

This usually means you’ll feel the effects of the caffeine more quickly, giving the illusion that there are different caffeine levels.

How Much Caffeine In A K-Cup

Are K-Cups Stronger Than Regular Coffee?

Despite becoming more popular than other home brews, KCups generally contain less caffeine than a regular cup of coffee.

A K-Cup is a pod filled with ground coffee used in a Keurig machine. The Keurig machine passes pressurized hot water through the K cup pod and into a cup, giving you a single serving of coffee.

The K-cup is then thrown away, and a new one is used the next time you make a K Cup coffee.

K-cups have become increasingly popular for 3 key reasons:

  • Convenience - they’re a convenient option for making great coffee at home in minutes
  • Quality - KCups give you coffee shop quality coffee at your convenience
  • Taste - KCups use proper ground coffee packed with flavor. There are also a lot of different K Cup flavors to choose from.

When we talk about regular coffee, we typically mean drip coffee.

On average, an 8oz. cup of drip coffee will contain 165mg of caffeine, whereas one K Cup will produce an 8oz coffee with around 80-150mg of caffeine.

The amount of caffeine in KCups or drip coffee can vary depending on the type of beans used, the brand, and some other factors.

However, if you only drink coffee to get a caffeine boost, then you should stick with regular.

Keurig machine extracting coffee

Common Questions About K-Cup Caffeine Content

Which K-Cups have the most caffeine?

Death Wish Coffee has K-Cups that contain over 450mg of caffeine in a single pod. This is far more than a regular coffee and is even more caffeinated than most cold brew coffee options. To find out how much caffeine is in your K Cups, you can check the packaging.

Do dark roast K-Cups have more caffeine?

No, dark-roasted coffee beans have less caffeine due to the longer roasting process. This means that KCups that contain dark roasted beans have less caffeine, and brands that use light roasts (like Caribou) make stronger coffees.

How does caffeine affect your body?

Caffeine blocks the receptors that make you feel tired.[5] This can increase alertness, improve mood, and boost mental performance. Depending on the amount of caffeine you drink, it can cause headaches, nausea, raised blood pressure, and insomnia.

What is the recommended daily caffeine intake level?

It’s recommended that you don’t exceed a caffeine intake of 400mg a day.[6] Everyone's specific caffeine tolerance varies depending on a range of factors, and regular coffee drinkers can usually manage a higher amount of caffeine.


Conclusion

So, how much caffeine in a KCup coffee? Well, the average amount of caffeine in K Cup pods is 75-150 mg. However, this can vary massively depending on the type of roast level of the beans used.

Hopefully, this guide has helped to explain how much caffeine is in popular K-Cup brands, and you now have a better idea of how much caffeine your regular morning coffee contains.

References:

1. https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Caffeine-content-comparison-of-arabica-and-robusta-bean-than-pulp-husk_tbl2_334150202
2. https://www.ukessays.com/essays/chemistry/the-mahor-systematic-error-subimation-of-caffeine
3. https://athome.starbucks.com/products/medium-roast-coffee-2x-caffeine-k-cup-pods
4. https://www.folgerscoffee.com/coffee/k-cups/half-caff
5. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-faqs/why-does-coffee-make-me-tired
6. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/caffeine

Kayla Stavridis

Head of Marketing

Kayla Stavridis
Kayla Stavridis is a coffee enthusiast and Head of Marketing for Barista HQ. She blends her professional insights and experience with a deep passion for all things coffee. Kayla offers a unique, hands-on perspective on coffee culture and trends. You can find her sipping a cold brew with just a touch of milk on the beach in the afternoon and a Corona with lime in the evening.

My favorite drink? I'd go with... Cold Brew

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