Too Much Coffee? Let’s Check the Research!

Coffee is a controversial little beverage, isn’t it? Some folks will tell you that caffeine is poison, and others will say that a little coffee in moderation is a-OK. But what does moderation mean when it comes to coffee? How can you tell if you drink too much coffee?

A 17-year study looked to put a finger on exactly how much is too much coffee. They found that for men, drinking more than 28 cups of coffee per week (that’s 4 per day) was associated with a much higher risk for mortality. For women the risk seems to be mainly for the 55 and under set.

Define “A Cup of Coffee”

The study doesn’t specify what a “cup” means, but chances are they mean an actual cup: eight ounces. For consumers, though, the amount of coffee in one drink can vary quite a bit. If you’re getting your coffee at a coffee shop, for example, you’re probably getting more than eight ounces of coffee in that to go cup.

Related Reading: 15 Ways to Reuse Coffee Grounds

As much as I’m not a fan of Starbucks coffee, they are the most ubiquitous coffee chain out there, and their cup sizes jive pretty well with other coffee shops. Here’s how much coffee is in one “cup” at different sizes:

  • Short – 8 ounces – this is an actual cup of coffee
  • Tall – 12 ounces – 1 1/2 cups
  • Grande - 16 ounces – 2 cups
  • Venti – 20 ounces – 2 1/2 cups

That means that if you drink two tall coffees, you’re hitting that four cup danger zone. And of course, this is for drip coffee. When it comes to espresso, think of one shot as one cup of coffee. Depending on the size, a latte or other espresso drink can have one to two shots (sometimes more!), so I’d ask when you order. They’ll be happy to give you as few shots as you want.

Too Much Coffee: Other Research

When the Care2 editors offered up this topic, I nabbed it because I kind of love keeping up on the latest coffee-related research. My husband and I are both avid coffee drinkers, and I’m always interested in how our habits are going to affect our long-term health.

Related Reading: 14 Ways to Reuse Coffee Filters

This study immediately brought to mind a few other studies I’d seen about how much is too much coffee and how much might actually be beneficial. Check these out:

So what does it all mean? What I take away is that – just like with anything else – coffee is fine in moderation. A cup or two as a pick-me-up? No big deal. In fact, it could be beneficial. Constantly drinking coffee all day? Probably not a great idea for your health. What do you guys think about all of this coffee research? Do you think that you drink too much coffee?


W. C
W. C1 years ago


William C
William C1 years ago

Thank you.

Janni K.
Janni K3 years ago

I've always wondered what's actually meant by the "cup" in four cups! Thanks.

Debbi W.
Debbi -4 years ago

Good to know. My first cup of coffee lasts two hours but I try to drink two cups a day.

Megan Martin
Megan Martin5 years ago

I probably teeter on the edge of too much, but no one wants to deal with me WITHOUT my coffee!!!

Carole R.
Carole R5 years ago

Interesting post.

Chazz York jr
Chazz York5 years ago

I use to drink that much coffee and I do miss it. Due to health problems I am no longer allowed to do that. Nothing tastes better than that first cup of coffee and the next and the next and so forth.

Lepidopter Phoenyx

I love my coffee and am an unabashed addict. I drink two 12-cup pots of Community New Orleans Blend every day and have no intention of cutting back.

Rosemary H.
Rosemary H5 years ago

I mostly drink decaff, but not always.

Irina Brenner
Irina Brenner5 years ago