This Is How Much Coffee You'd Actually Need To Drink For It To Kill You

Okay fine – we'll admit that too much of anything can be a bad thing.
Jose A. Bernat Bacete via Getty Images

Ahh coffee — that magical liquid that makes us get up in the morning, go to the toilet, puts a spring in our step and can soothe us through good and bad times.

And, of course, your one, two or even three-cups-a-day habit isn’t going to kill you. But how much coffee would it take to knock you out?

According to Greg and Mitch at ASAP Science, the deadly number is… 70 cups of coffee. That amount would probably kill a 150-pound person.

Experts say that the lethal amount of caffeine is about 180 mg/L, so when you consume about 100mg of caffeine, it gives your blood caffeine levels a bump by 5 mg/L. For context, a normal cup of coffee contains around 40mg of caffeine. However, some energy drinks have been shown to have as much as 505mg per can.

So, what’s the perfect amount of coffee per day? The European Food Safety Authority say that 100 mg of caffeine is enough to give you a healthy buzz — or a “cognitive boost” to give it its scientific term.

What happens if you have too much coffee?

If you’ve ever had too much coffee, you’ll be well aware of the anxious tummy and jitters that can come as an unwelcome side effect.

This is because it triggers the release of the flight-or-fight hormone, adrenaline, which is what gives us that horrible feeling of nervousness. Not great if you’ve had a coffee to help give you energy to get through a big meeting or day date.

And if you’re struggling to fall asleep at night, your afternoon double-shot flat whites could be the culprit.

One study showed that 12 adults who were given 400mg of caffeine around six hours before bed, three hours before bed and immediately prior to going to sleep, took a significantly longer time to get to sleep than usual. So it could be a good idea to cut down on your late afternoon cuppa if you’re struggling with insomnia.

All this said, there are some health benefits of drinking coffee, too.

One review of 30 studies found that each cup of coffee people consumed per day was linked to a 6% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

And it’s thought that it protects against Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s, too.

As with everything in life, it’s all about moderation. So go forth and enjoy your morning latte. You deserve it.