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?

leading image source

Get Help Quitting Caffeine

Reduce your caffeine intake without pain and discomfort.

See our new 10-step plan
  • mufin

    I just drank a whole cup of espresso black.

  • Ted

    how many shots?

  • Lupita’s Fotos Photos

    I drink 6 to 8 shoots of espresso a day. It’s that normal?

  • Ted

    It’s probably a little excessive, yes. You can check your personal safe daily dose here.

  • John

    I read on internet sites that espresso is worse for you than drip coffee because it has something called cafestol in it which is not actually caffeine – drinking lots of drip or even kona coffee (which has a bite of nicotine in its taste) is not associated with health problems although the espresso is if you go >5 a day. Espresso may or may not have more caffeine than regular drip coffee, although it is not that its caffeine over another stimulant or thats caffeine in general – it is that it is a more CONCENTRATED form of caffeine (though less than in energy drinks still). Espresso also has little health benefits whereas other coffees and teas (black yet alone green) have them

  • Ted

    Espresso still retains the health benefits because consumers are still getting the antioxidants coffee delivers.

  • uncommon tim

    just yesterday i had 15-16 shots of espresso and finished my day working with minimal harm i felt dizzy slightly but all in all i was fine And i slept like a boss last night and even woke up early!!! so people exaggerate drastically in my opinion

  • uncommon tim

    i meant to say i drank them all at once in a small to-go cup in 1min 25sec

  • Ted

    No, people have different tolerance and sensitivity levels to caffeine. What might be true for you isn’t always someone else’s truth. Still 16 shots of espresso is well beyond what is considered a safe daily dose.

  • sbasilex

    Iv done it in one night After 2shot of espresso I was fine then whent for another 3shot I started feeling tired then though more mite wake me up so got an extra 4shot plus 7suger 9shot in total I started feeling sleepy was hard keeping my eyes open body movement got abet slow managed to get home whent to bed and sleep woke up as normal but abet tired am not a cafe drinker don’t know why my body reacted to it this way am sure that can’t be normal

  • Kryp70s

    The lack of commas can’t be normal

  • Nathan Saunders

    I work at a starbucks warehouse and I drank 21shots in the 12hours I was working that day.

  • Amphetamine tolerance actually makes me take “overdose” ammounts and get about the same as 90mg of caffeine in effects from 1.1g to 1.5g. Anything over 2g makes me sweat and piss with no energy.

  • John Bilsbury

    I hate espresso and dont ever want a machine for it its a small drink which tastes awful although many drip coffees I drink are surprisingly decent. Espresso takes no milk to some people though always lots of sugar the builders brew was much much better most people know that

  • John Bilsbury

    Actually I would try a good espresso. It is a treat to have sometimes I guess and then its harmless. It is just that over here they never know how to make it – only if you are not living in a country that does them well and they are often expensive and not very good

  • Samantha Brown

    Starbucks sucks…..

  • Blaize Gottman

    I have tried four shots of espresso in a latte but I felt fine

  • Blaize Gottman

    I have tried a latee with four shots of espresso

  • Blaize Gottman

    I wonder what would happen if I try five shots of espresso

  • Blaize Gottman

    The most I’ve tried is two shots of espresso

Last Modified: September 11, 2014