Hot Coffee Vs Iced Coffee: Which One Has More Caffeine?

Coffee is an indispensable part of many people's morning routines. There are so many options out there, and if your goal is to get energized, you may wonder which type of coffee offers the most caffeine. This is a good question, as long as you are not planning to exceed 400 milligrams of coffee in a day, which could lead to health issues (per Mayo Clinic). If you are planning to drink coffee in moderation, it is perfectly reasonable to wonder which type of coffee could give you the biggest energy boost in the morning.

One major choice you have when choosing coffee is whether it is hot or iced. You may think that a simple difference in temperature would not have an impact on caffeine levels, but you could be wrong. To be sure, not every coffee differs in caffeine based on temperature. For example, a cursory glance at the Starbucks website will show you that their iced caffè mocha provides 175 milligrams of caffeine, which is the same amount of caffeine as its hot equivalent. But generally speaking, caffeine levels may differ based on whether a coffee is hot or iced.

Iced coffee may skew slightly lower in caffeine than hot coffee

A study presented at the American Chemical Society National Meeting in 2020 demonstrated only a minimal difference in caffeine levels between hot and cold coffees, with hot coffee coming out on top. Medical provider Christine Beck told Bustle that if the iced coffee is cold brew, hot coffee generally has more caffeine because hot water allows more caffeine to be extracted from the beans.

If you prefer iced coffee and are really desperate for the highest amount of caffeine possible, you can make hot coffee and then cool it or pour it over ice. According to Starbucks, this is exactly how they make their iced coffees, which would explain why their hot and iced coffees do not differ in caffeine levels. Christine Beck says that an added benefit to this method for iced coffee creation is that the ice can enhance the hydration factor of the drink.

Regardless, the difference in caffeine between these two types of coffee is minimal, to the point that it really should not factor much into your coffee selection. Factors like enjoyment should be weighed much more heavily in your decision regarding which coffee to consume.