Research by the consumer watchdog Which? discovered that there are “huge differences” in the amount of caffeine in major high-street coffee chains. Which? has said that coffee lovers seeking a “bigger caffeine boost for their buck” may wish to seek out drinks with higher caffeine intakes, but those who need to limit their caffeine intake should avoid the stronger drinks. 

The organisation measured the caffeine levels in cappuccinos, expresso and filter coffee at Caffè Nero, Costa, Greggs, Pret-A-Manger and Starbucks.

It was discovered that a medium Costa cappuccino had the highest levels of caffeine and equalled the equivalent of four cups of tea. 

The testing discovered that a medium Costa Coffee cappuccino contained 325mg of caffeine, compared to a 250ml can of Red Bull which contains 80mg.

This was nearly five times the amount of caffeine as a Starbucks cappuccino, which contained the least amount of caffeine at 66mg, which is less caffeine than what is in a single tea bag. 

Greggs had the second-strongest cappuccino at 197mg while Pret a Manager came third at 190mg.

Meanwhile, an espresso from Pret-A-Manager contained 180mg of caffeine, making it the strongest espresso tested.

It had six times the caffeine of a Starbucks espresso, which had 33mg in comparison.

Pret-A-Manager also had the strongest filter coffee with 271mg of caffeine, while Starbucks’ version was two and a half times weaker with 102mg of caffeine.

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The variation in caffeine levels is due to the number of caffeine shots in different coffee shops as well as the type of coffee bean used, as the coffee bean Arabica contains half the caffeine of a Robusta bean.

A representative of Costa Coffee has said the amount of caffeine in their drinks is varied depending on the size and type of coffee.

The spokesman said: “We would encourage customers to be aware of the caffeine content in their favourite Costa coffee to ensure it is right for their dietary requirements or lifestyle choice.”

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