Coffee Overdose: 14 Shots of Espresso


Yes, it is possible to overdose on coffee and/or espresso.

We hear so much about teens overdosing on energy drinks, but coffee overdose does indeed happen.

From the UK comes the slightly hysterical but scary story of a girl who ended up in hospital after overdosing on coffee.

After a night with only 5 hours of sleep, she decided to down a double espresso. Then it was no-holds-barred as she foolishly downed a further 6 double shots.

Apparently the girl thought she was drinking single shots. Astonishing because she actually works in the cafe – and was making the coffee for herself.

“My nerves were all over the place.

“I was drenched. I was burning up and hyperventilating.

“I was having palpitations, my heart was beating so fast and I thought I was going into shock.

“I did not realise this could happen to you and I only hope other people learn from my mistake.”

How Much Caffeine Did She Overdose With?

Coffee is, of course, variable in caffeine content due to blend, roasting time, and extraction time, but for our caffeine database, we use an average from six different extractions (published in a toxicology journal).

Therefore, we list an average value of 77mg caffeine per 1.5 ounce espresso shot.

7 double (14 single) shots of espresso @ 154mg each

So, Miss Wells downed around 1015 mg of caffeine – presumably in a short period of time. If she had not eaten much this would further account for the overdose side effects she experienced.

Espresso Can Be Dangerous

Espresso coffee is a very concentrated form of coffee and therefore also caffeine – and can be consumed very rapidly as opposed to a 16 fl oz energy drink (containing typically 160 mg of caffeine).

So in many ways, espresso is even more dangerous than energy drinks. However, its bitter taste isn’t quite as appealing to teens and children who may not know better.

The moral of the story: Know your own tolerance to caffeine, your level of caffeine sensitivity, and if you are not a regular drinker – don’t suddenly hit your system with a toxic-dose.

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Espresso is one of the best-caffeinated drinks around since it’s full of antioxidants and is all-natural but someone who doesn’t know the difference between a straight espresso or a double needs to be careful.

What About Highly Caffeinated Coffees?

Over the last few years, there has been a growing trend to produce coffees made from Robusta coffee beans which in turn have crazy amounts of caffeine. We’re talking over 1000 mg per one 12 fl oz cup!

Coffees like these would be extremely easy to overdose on and should be used only by seasoned, responsible coffee drinkers.

We received this email from a person who had a bad experience with this type of coffee…

After drinking your coffee I almost died. I took a ride in an ambulance and was in a coma for three days. If you keep selling this, it will kill someone one day. You should figure out how to mellow it out if your gonna continue to sell it. I woke up with a breathing tube down my throat and three IVs in me. Thanks a bunch. – Don

This person obviously saw our most dangerous coffees article and reached out to Caffeine Informer by mistake. However, it’s pretty scary to think that you are just drinking a normal cup of coffee and then dangerously find out otherwise.

You can use our coffee calculator to make sure you are drinking a safe amount for your particular body.

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