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 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 a value of 77mg caffeine per 1.5 ounce shot.

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

So Miss Wells downed around 1015mg 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 caffeine – and can be consumed very rapidly opposed to a 16 floz energy drink (containing typically 160mg 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 a not a regular drinker – don’t suddenly hit your system with a toxic-dose.

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.

Have you ever had too many shots of espresso at one time?

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  • Schnee

    “someone who doesn’t know the difference between a straight espresso or a double has no right to operate a machine (okay so I’m sounding like snob)”

    Naw, you don’t sound like a snob, you just sound like someone with common sense. 🙂

  • SpazySteve

    It’s usually the women that this kind of stuff happens too, I wonder why, Hmmmm.

  • The statement that she didn’t know she was drinkin’ doubles comes from her dad, according to the article. He goes on to say “I have always stressed to my children the importance of moderation.” Having teens of my own (who show an unfortunate taste for NOS), I have a pretty good idea how it went down — “No, Daddy, I didn’t *mean* to do it, I thought they were *single* shots!”

    (Also: overdoses of all sorts happen more to women because of lower body mass — fewer kg per mg.)

  • Adam

    I think I’m gonna have to agree with Den Ijuva, I guess?

  • fiddlerontheground

    She must have been drunk or really depressed or really tired to not know the difference between a double and single

  • Spam

    Eh… ok, so that’s pretty cool, but I did the exact same thing on PURPOSE and I didn’t get on the news! Big deal…

  • Spam

    And I got all loopy and started running into walls! I didn’t feel sick until later…

  • CrazyMorbidty

    I have one thing to say . . . wtf?! As a coffee whore and a worker in a cafe, wtf?

    You know, stupid people like this person are the kind that give caffeine such a bad rep. Ngh . . . people growl at me for being such a caffeine lover. At least I only drink one energy drink a day, or 3-5 shots of espresso. At least, it’s not as bad as some of things I’ve read about.

  • Sounds like an amateur move that most of you caffienaholics would never pull. I couldn’t imagine how your body reacts to something like this. I know after a few cans of energy drinks in one day I’m feeling kinda shitty..

  • lol, that’s pretty funny.
    I can’t believe that a Barista wouldn’t know the difference between single and double shots.
    I work in a Starbucks, and as a result, I have a pretty high tolerance for caffiene- I regularly ingest roughly 8 shots of espresso per 4 hour shift, which isn’t bad- however, one time I had 15 in just under an hour.
    My results were not as bad as this poor girl, evidently.

  • KarlieMildraed

    I usually go for a Venti Caffe Americano with three extra shots. I’m fairly good after that, considering I’ve probably taken a few caff tablets too. My daily caff tolerance level is 1000mgs. I am okay?

  • Riley

    KarlieMildraed, you should probably take a break from the caffeine.

    I have really weird reactions to caffeine, if I sit still, I’ll get really tired, but if I move I get hyper as crap. Although no kids should drink much coffee or energy drinks, ’cause the caffeine stuns your growth.

  • elior

    WOW-7 shots of double esspresso thats crazy . I know what this poor girl was going through, I had a night when I drank about 15 cups of black coffe and ,then after the night was over I felt so bad i mean when I slept it felt like i was just looking into my pillow for a long time, my heart was beating like crazy , my heart hurt and I felt horrible.
    never drink too much coffee !!!!!!

  • McCaffinated

    Not so bad, i’ve done a 16-shot all at once, and yeah I probably had the worse crash of my life but it’s not like it messed me up.

  • Mr.Coffee

    I’ve been in the business for over 10yrs and I used to drink on average 10 singles over an 8 hr period. As long as you flush it with a lot of water you’ll be just fine. Of course, everything in moderation right?
    As for all you coffee lovers out there…leave all those commercial cafes for the sheep and support one of your local (small) coffee shops. Chances are they have a much better quality coffee than that crap they serve at Starbucks! They don’t know their ass from their elbow when it comes to roasting.

  • caffiend

    I’ve been know to start my day off with 3 double espressos in one cup. Got some jitters if I drank it instead of sipping it. I have my own espresso machine and roast my own coffee. Even McDonalds has better coffee than Charbucks. I can’t believe any one drinks that vile over roasted pretentious filth. What a bunch of fashion whores. Do a search on squirrely wrath. BTW they have no baristas in Starschmucks they went to superauto machines to remove the human factor from their swill. Yes go support your local roaster.

  • Tripp

    Once I asked a drunken man to make me coffee, he ended up making me espresso coffee. (somehow he didn’t know the difference from the espresso maker and the coffee maker)
    The coffee-zilla he made me without my knowledge was = to 16 shots of espresso which I consumed in half an hour. Ahh the sleepless nights…

  • levi

    when i was 13 ,my mom went on vacation,and left me with one of her piano students…….she was in grade 12 at the time,and her boyfriend worked at a coffee shop called “the suntree”and he gave me what he called “the superman”,said nobody in the entire hystory of the cafe,could finish one of these,it was 13 shots of expresso………..i shit you not,to this day im astounded at the ammount of caffine he gave a 13 year old (at 1 am no less,it was long after the store had closed)he diddnt think i could finish it,i could tell by the look in his eyes,i said it tasted like shit,so he put a good 5 shots of carimal syrup in there……..i diddnt get to sleep that night tell like 8 am,and had no clue why,now that i look back on it,i seriously wonder how i diddnt puke,i shit you not,this story is 100 percent factual,so if i could consume 13 shots of expreso when i weighed a good 90 pounds top’s,this bitch shure could of handled her weight”…………she just has a week mind/stomache!

  • kaffkid

    I wonder if it was suicide….

  • uhsleepwocaf

    Seriously…enough about stupidity….support your local small coffee sPOTS. The coffee is much better and usually the prices are more reasonable.

Last Modified: September 11, 2014