How Much Caffeine is in 2 Shots of Espresso?

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So you’re thinking about adding an extra shot of espresso to your coffee. But is that good for your health, and how much caffeine is in 2 shots of espresso?

For healthy adults, moderate caffeine consumption of up to 400 mg a day is considered safe by medical experts. Two espresso shots contain 120 mg of caffeine, which is only 30% of the daily FDA recommended limit for adults. If you consume more than two cups of coffee daily, you should drink coffee in separate batches. 

Most healthy adults do not overdose on caffeine by drinking two espresso shots. However, there are some people for whom caffeine consumption can be dangerous. In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about the safe consumption of a double shot of espresso and its caffeine content.

How Much Caffeine is in 2 Shots of Espresso 

Starbucks, Dunkin’, and other coffee chains offer the option of adding two shots of espresso to any coffee drink. So you might think that consuming a double shot isn’t that risky. 

A double shot of espresso a day is not dangerous for most people. Two shots of espresso contain 120 mg of caffeine. But when multiple espressos are included in large coffee drinks, the risk of overconsumption increases.

The same is true if you go on a cappuccino or latte splurge:

Five servings of cappuccino (or latte) with a double shot of espresso in each guarantees an overdose of caffeine for most people. This would be the equivalent of consuming 600 mg of caffeine. But even if you drink coffee in moderation, two shots of espresso may be too much if you are sensitive to caffeine.

Can I Drink Two Shots of Espresso?

Espresso pulling from the machine

Healthy Adults

Most coffee lovers don’t have to worry about taking a double shot or a “doppio,” as Italians call it, even in the same drink. Drinking intense espresso shots a few hours apart further reduces the risk of caffeine overdose.

But for people in any of the following groups, a double shot can be a problem.

Pregnant Women

Caffeine can be dangerous if you are pregnant. Pregnant women should avoid coffee and opt for low-caffeine drinks. Two glasses of espresso can be detrimental to a pregnant mother’s health, especially in the last trimester.


While children should stay away from coffee of any type, teenagers should avoid two shots of espresso. Caffeine dependence in adolescence can be addictive and lead to increased consumption. A teenager who increases consumption from one shot to two shots is safer than one who raises the daily intake from one double shot.

People With Medical Conditions

Caffeine is a central nervous stimulant, meaning it can trigger certain reactions such as seizures. However, there is no guarantee that people with epilepsy will not have seizures when drinking coffee. In this case, it is essential that you exercise your judgment and speak to your doctor. 

If you have epilepsy and feel uncomfortable drinking coffee, you should not double your daily consumption. Caffeine is known to reduce the efficacy of several anti-seizure medications, especially topiramate. 

People with certain heart rhythm disorders may experience palpitations after taking a double dose of caffeine. So drinking coffee should be avoided.

If in doubt, always consult with your doctor first.

How Much Caffeine is the Limit

Coffee shop

Image credit: Stocksnap, Pixabay

Caffeine is neither a drug nor a vitamin, so there is no recommended dose. The only thing to look for when assessing how much coffee to drink is the safe limit of caffeine. It is advisable to start with only the amount of caffeine you need. Ideally, a cup of brewed coffee should be a quarter of the safe upper limit. Over time, you will become more tolerant of caffeine and may need more.

As a healthy adult, you can drink 400 milligrams of caffeine. But this limit depends on your weight, caffeine tolerance, and sensitivity to caffeine. Two or three espresso shots are safely within this limit, but drinking them one after the other is not advisable.

Your body’s caffeine receptors can become overloaded if you drink too much espresso at once. This is unfavorable in two ways: you don’t get the highest alertness per unit of caffeine and approach your maximum caffeine level. Some people prefer a double shot because they need to do something extra to wake up on days when they feel they need to do more.

In this case, the double shot only acts as a placebo. If you only slept a few hours the night before, you feel like you shouldn’t be able to get up and continue as usual. In this context, you push yourself to consume more coffee even if you don’t need it. If you don’t get much sleep, try drinking cold water and waiting five minutes before drinking your first cuppa.

Some people drink a double shot because they don’t feel awake right after the first cup. If you are one of these people, try the following method: Take a shot of espresso in your coffee and finish your cup in 10-15 minutes. 

Wait one or two hours after you finish your drink to see if you need another shot. 


There you have it! Everything you need to know about how much caffeine is in 2 shots of espresso. If you are a healthy adult, you can drink two shots of espresso a day without overdosing on caffeine.

However, you should not max out your caffeine limit by taking multiple double espresso shots all at once. Espresso and caffeine have a diminishing effect, so they should be drunk 3-4 hours apart to keep you energized throughout the day.