How Many Espresso Shots Can Kill You? (Know Your Limit)

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how many espresso shots can kill you

It happened to me before: I drank a few espresso shots more than usual.

My heart was beating out of my chest like crazy, my palms were sweaty, and my head hurt like hell.

The only question on my mind was: how many espresso shots can kill you?

The short answer: it depends.

If you have found yourself in this situation, keep on reading.

We will talk about caffeine overdose and the symptoms that go along with it.

Let’s start.

How Many Espresso Shots Are Lethal?

Even though caffeine overdose is real, you shouldn’t worry about that too much. It is really hard to consume a fatal dose of caffeine by accident.

Let’s start from the basics. One espresso shot has 63 mg of caffeine in 1 ounce (size of espresso shot).

Regular coffee contains a smaller amount of caffeine in itself. On average, 12 to 16 milligrams of caffeine per 1 ounce. That means about 95 to 128 mg of caffeine if you take an 8 oz cup of coffee.

FDA says that a safe and healthy amount of caffeine for an adult person is about 400 mg of caffeine per day. That is between 6 and 7 single espresso shots.

Now, scientist says that a lethal dose of caffeine is from 5 to 10 grams, or 5000 to 10000 mg, in a short period of time.

When we convert this amount into espresso shots, it’s roughly between 75 and 155 single espresso shots! (Or, like, 100 cups of regular coffee, depending on which type you drink.)

I cannot even imagine myself drinking this amount of espresso shots in one day.

Now, we have to consider that a lot of people react differently to caffeine.

Some people have low caffeine tolerance and get shaky and sweaty hands from just a few sips. Others are more immune to caffeine and can easily drink 5 espresso shots in one day and stay cool as a cucumber.

How coffee will affect you depends on multiple reasons. Like, as how fast your metabolism is, how much you weigh, when you ate last time, whether you are too tired already, etc.

But, if you really decided to drink 80 espresso shots and you are on a fast track to overdosing with coffee, it still won’t be that easy.

Your body has its defensive mechanisms. In other words, it is more likely that you will end up throwing up all that coffee before it poisons you.

Still, be careful how much coffee you drink during the day.

When you order an espresso-based drink, such as a latte or cappuccino, ask the barista how many espresso shots are in there. Usually, they use a double shot for those drinks, and that’s good to know when you count your daily caffeine intake.

Symptoms of Caffeine Overdose

woman feeling bad

If you’re prone to drinking a lot of coffee, it would be good to know which are the side effects and symptoms of caffeine overdose.

Don’t overlook these signals. Your body knows its limits, and it will warn you when to take a break from coffee.

If you’re starting to feel the side effects of caffeine, you can do a few things to help yourself.

Obviously, the first thing is to stop drinking coffee. Drink enough water, try to relax, and rest well.

If your stomach is upset, activated charcoal can be really helpful.

However, if the symptoms you’re having are strong, don’t hesitate to call a doctor.


Too much caffeine can make you feel dizzy, weak, unbalanced, or lightheaded. Even like you’re going to faint.

The best thing to do is to sit down, drink some water, and rest.


woman with a fever

You can get a fever if you drink too much coffee. It appears that caffeine, when you take it in huge amounts, heats up the body. It can also neutralize the effect of aspirin.


Diarrhea tells you that your body can’t metabolize that amount of caffeine at once.

It can be a problem if you had too many espresso shots. Especially if you didn’t eat too much.

Anxiety attack

Caffeine and anxiety are linked, especially if you have an underlying anxiety disorder.

Caffeine consumption increases irritability and alertness. It affects increasing levels of adrenaline in your body.

If you start feeling anxious after drinking a lot of coffee, breathe deeply and try to relax. You can try to distract yourself with something like an episode of your favorite show.

Heart problems

woman has hart pain

Drinking too much coffee in life affects the cardiovascular system.

We know that it may cause high blood pressure, even in people who have regular blood pressure.

If you feel like your heart is going to jump out of your chest, or irregular heartbeat, you maybe had one espresso shot too much.

All of those are clear signs that you need to pull the break, or even call a doctor.

If you don’t do it, you are risking even heart failure.

Nausea and vomiting

When you start feeling nauseous and like you need to vomit, that means you have reached toxic levels of caffeine in your body.

Don’t hold back!

This is your body’s defensive mechanism. It is trying to get rid of all that coffee. Actually, you will feel much better after.


Stay with me because I will answer some last-minute questions about the subject.

How much caffeine is there in 4 shots of espresso at Starbucks?

The Starbucks Solo espresso shot is a bit stronger than other brands’ espresso. The Solo shot is 0.75 fl oz and contains 75 mg of caffeine. 4 espresso shots at Starbucks, also known as Quad 3 fl oz and has 300 mg of caffeine in it.

How much caffeine is there in a single shot of espresso?

According to the Department of Agriculture nutrition data, has roughly 63 to 65 milligrams of caffeine. Of course, that can vary depending on the type of coffee beans. For example, the Robusta coffee bean has more caffeine than Arabica.

Which espresso shot has the most caffeine?

If we take the amount of caffeine content per fl oz, this is the ranking:

1. ristretto – it has about 63 mg of caffeine in 0.8 fl oz
2. espresso – standard espresso has about 63 mg of caffeine in 1 fl oz
3. lungo– it has from 1.5 to 2 fl oz and roughly about 65 mg of caffeine


Bottom line:

There are higher chances that you’re gonna vomit the hell out of your guts, than to poison with caffeine.

Still, symptoms of caffeine overdose can be really unpleasant. If you’re feeling dizzy, anxious, or nauseous, you’ve probably drunk too much coffee.

If that happens, it would be best to take a break. If symptoms are getting worse, call your doctor.

Want to take a break from caffeine after this unpleasant experience? Here’s the list of the best decaf espresso coffee beans.

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Tijana Veljovic
Tijana spent a few years working as a barista. Now she’s enjoying writing about everything she learned about coffee and sharing it with you. Her weapon of choice for making it through the day is a hot latte. Besides writing and coffee, she loves traveling, camping, cooking, and good music.