So many of us rely on the little boost that caffeine gives us each morning to help start the day.
But what happens when a “little” boost just isn’t enough? Is there anything with a bit more kick?
Here, we look at the best high caffeine K Cups for those moments when you need something stronger.
Our Top Recommended
What is caffeine and how does it work?
Caffeine is a psychoactive drug – that’s the same as things like amphetamines and cocaine – so before we talk about how to ingest more of it, let’s look more closely at what it is and how it works. That way, you’ll have the information you need to stay safe while you’re drinking your coffee.
Caffeine is considered the world’s most commonly used psychoactive drug (1) – but unlike many others, it is completely legal in most countries. For most people, caffeine comes from coffee, but it is also found in tea and some soft drinks like cola. It is also a common ingredient in some diet pills.
The familiar buzz so many of us enjoy that comes from drinking coffee is a result of caffeine stimulating the central nervous system, thereby increasing heart rate and blood flow.
This makes us feel more awake, more alert, able to concentrate better and even allows us to perform better in stamina-based exercise (2).
It does this by binding itself to adenosine receptors in the brain, blocking the signals that tell your body to relax and prepare for sleep.
If this all seems a little abstract, check out this great video that explains it all very clearly.
The good effects and the bad
This shot of extra energy and alertness is the effect that most people use caffeine to obtain, either to wake up in the morning or perhaps to stay awake longer into the night for study or to meet work deadlines.
Increasingly, studies are showing that regular caffeine intake – within certain limits – has many health benefits. These may include helping to prevent some cancers, helping to prevent Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, helping to prevent type II diabetes, and many more.
Contrary to a commonly held belief, caffeine doesn’t cause high blood pressure. It does cause a short-term spike in blood pressure immediately after consumption, but this effect becomes less pronounced in regular coffee drinkers (or those who regularly ingest caffeine in other forms).
However, on the other hand, ingesting too much caffeine in one go can have unpleasant side-effects. These may include feeling jittery, the inability to sleep, restlessness or nervousness. If you begin to experience any of these symptoms, it may be a sign you need to consider cutting down.
In very high doses, caffeine can also be toxic. While you would probably need to drink around 50 cups of coffee to reach dangerous levels of toxicity, deaths from caffeine overdose from only a few highly-caffeinated beverages have been recorded in extremely sensitive individuals.
The best advice is to enjoy coffee and caffeine in moderation – but unless you are very sensitive to caffeine, there is no need to give it up completely.
Related Post: What's the Best Espresso Beans?
How much is safe?
The answer to this question depends on who you speak to, and different authorities give slightly different figures.
Some would suggest no more than 400mg per day is a safe guideline to stick to; others suggest a slightly higher figure of up to 600mg per day.
Again, even if you do slightly exceed these recommendations, you will probably suffer no more than a little jitteriness and a touch of insomnia; remember, caffeine can take from four to seven hours to leave your system.
How much caffeine is in coffee?
If you are trying to monitor – or even increase – your caffeine intake, it is important to know the caffeine content of a particular drink.
Unfortunately, there can be some quite a significant variation depending on a combination of several factors.
Major factors include the type of coffee used (robusta beans contain roughly twice the caffeine of arabica), the brewing method, the brewing time, the grind, the water temperature and, of course, the amount of coffee used.
For this reason, it is impossible to give a definitive answer as to how much caffeine there is per cup. That said, here are some rough figures:
- Drip/filter: 115-175mg/8oz serving
- French press: 80-135mg/8oz serving
- Percolator: 64-272mg/8oz serving
- Turkish/Greek: 160-240mg/8oz serving
- Instant: 57mg/8oz serving
- Decaf (brewed): 5.6mg/8oz serving
- Decaf (instant): 2.5mg/8oz serving
- Espresso: 64mg/1oz shot (but can vary enormously)
As can be seen from this list, a wide range is possible, more so with some brewing methods than others.
As a general, very approximate, the rule of thumb, a cup of coffee contains around 100mg of caffeine and the recommended daily intake is about 500mg. This means you can safely drink around five regular cups of coffee per day.
If you are drinking high-caffeine coffees, you may consider drinking fewer cups per day to stay within healthy limits.
Note also that decaf is not completely caffeine free – after the decaffeination process, a certain amount of caffeine still remains in the coffee, albeit in much lower quantities.
The best high caffeine K-Cups on the market 2018
Now let’s take a look at the best picks for high caffeine K-Cups.
1. Death Wish Coffee K-Cups (Our Top Recommended)
Death Wish Coffee is one of the best-known and most popular of the high-caffeine coffees currently available.
They claim their K-Cups are currently the world’s strongest single-serve pods available – as the company’s name may suggest.
The coffee is certified as Fair Trade and organic.
It is roasted perfectly to give a bold flavor without any bitterness – and a powerful caffeine hit.
The pods are made of recyclable materials and are compatible with most Keurig first generation machines and 2.0 models. Best brewed as an 8oz cup.
Check out this video of people trying it!
2. Wake The Hell Up K-Cups Coffee
Another aptly-named company making high-caffeine coffee.
If you need a kickstart in the morning, this could be another option worth trying out. This coffee is described as being “ultra-caffeinated” – but drinking a cup of it still won’t give you the coffee jitters.
Each pod contains 11g of medium-dark roasted coffee sourced from Central and South America for a rich flavor and no bitterness.
The coffee is roasted in small batches at the company’s facility in Utica, New York, and is guaranteed to get you moving in the morning.
3. Shock K-Cups Coffee
Here is another company that claims to make the strongest high-caffeine coffee available, this time supposedly with up to 50% more caffeine than in rival brands’ products.
They are a supplier to the US military and state that their coffee delivers a big kick and a great taste but without the jitters.
Their blend of arabica and robusta beans are grown at high-altitude, meaning they develop more slowly and have a richer taste.
The extra caffeine is 100% natural – no caffeine is added to the coffee – and these medium-dark roast beans produce a coffee with a rich, strong flavor and a smooth finish.
4. Extra Caffeine Extra Bold K-Cups Coffee
If you like high caffeine content in your coffee but you also enjoy some variety, this selection of high-caffeine K-Cups could be a great choice.
The pack includes 30 pods of coffee from different brands, all with one thing in common: a higher than normal level of caffeine.
The coffees included vary in terms of flavor and roast level, but they will all help give you a boost on days when it’s difficult to wake up.
The pods are suitable for use on the original Keurig machines as well as on the 2.0 models. They also work on any other Keurig-style machines.
5. Black Rifle Coffee Company CAF K-Cups
Black Rifle Coffee is a military vet-owned company, and they pride themselves on producing coffees with the extra kick required by serving personnel – without making any compromise on the taste.
This coffee is sourced from South American farms and is roasted to a medium-dark level in small batches to maximize freshness.
It is sold in ammo box-style packaging to reinforce the military image and is sure to help you wake up ready for the battle – or just another day in the office, as required.
Some powerful caffeinated coffees for when a regular brew won’t cut it
There are certain times when we need more than just a regular dose of caffeine to get things done.
Maybe we need to wake up early to go to the airport, perhaps we need to drag ourselves out of bed after a big night and head to the office, or sometimes we might need to pull an all-nighter studying.
If any or all of these situations sound familiar to you and you’re looking for an extra-strong coffee that will help you function normally when you’re lacking sleep, any of these five high-caffeine K-Cups brands will do the trick.
Just make sure you don’t plan on sleeping too soon after you drink them.
Do you drink high-caffeine coffee? What’s your favorite brand? Or perhaps you can’t drink coffees like this because they make you jittery and give you insomnia?
Do you have anything to add? If you do, please leave a comment – we love hearing from you. And if you enjoyed reading, please share!
My name is Kathy Gallo, Editor of Daily Cupo, a Coffee buff. The guide you find here is designed exactly for you, and it is our hope that you find it not only interesting but also actionable.