Americans love coffee. Over 80 percent of them drink the caffeinated beverage on a regular basis, and 65 percent of them drink at least 13 cups per week. On average, American coffee drinkers consume 3.2 cups of the beverage every day, and three out of five Americans who drink coffee regularly admit they “need” coffee to start their morning.
When the American Psychiatric Association updated its Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) in May 2013, it included two new disorders: caffeine intoxication and caffeine withdrawal. This new rating puts coffee at least potentially in the same category of psychoactive substances as alcohol, heroin and marijuana.
The symptoms of caffeine overdose vary from individual to individual but most often include hyper-stimulation, excitement, restlessness, nervousness, tachycardia and insomnia. Withdrawal symptoms include headache, irritability, depression and difficulties concentrating.
Of course, different types of coffee contain different amounts of caffeine. An ounce of highly concentrated espresso coffee contains between 40 and 75 mg of caffeine on average while an ounce of generic brewed coffee only contains 25 mg. Expresso drinkers who confine themselves to one or two servings, however, may take in less caffeine because the typical demitasse is only one ounce whereas the typical cup of generic coffee is eight ounces.
Caffeine is found in many other foods and beverages as well. Although tea drinkers are generally thought of as tranquil, reflective individuals, many types of tea pack a powerful caffeine punch. Assam Black Teas has 86 mg of caffeine per cup, while green and white teas contain approximately 60 mg in a typical serving.
Caffeinated sodas have less caffeine than coffee and tea. The soda with the highest concentration of caffeine is Pepsi Max with 69 mg per serving. Coke and Pepsi each have around 37 mg per serving.
The coffee industry generates $30 billion a year in revenues, $18 billion of which is generated by specialty coffee products. The average coffee drinker spends $165 a year on coffee.
Experts say that drinking coffee in moderation can also be beneficial to health. Researchers at the National Cancer Institute have found that coffee can extend the life of those who drink it, and people who drink a moderate amount of coffee on a daily basis are far less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia associated with the aging process.