The Worlds Strongest Coffee Brands: 5 Brews That May Bite
Sometimes you may need an extra kick to get you going.
Whether you need an extreme energy boost for your mornings or night shifts, or if you just like the taste of pure caffeine, these coffee brands have got you covered.
Keep reading to find out more about some of the world’s strongest coffee brands.
What Is The “Strongest Coffee In The World”?
First of all, we need to define what is really meant by the “strength” of coffee.
Typically, strength can refer to two things: roast level or amount of caffeine.
Let’s take a closer look at what these factors mean when you’re brewing coffee at home.
Different Beans Have Different Levels Of Caffeine
Coffee is a plant that is grown in very diverse regions across the world, so it should come as no surprise that the nutritional content of the beans can vary.
The chemical composition of coffee - meaning the ratio of different flavour compounds and the amount of caffeine - depends on things such as soil, altitude and species.
There are two widely grown species of coffee: Coffea Arabica and Coffea Canephora, also known as Robusta.
The Robusta bean contains 2.7% caffeine on average, which is almost double the 1.5% of the Arabica bean.
This is one of the main reasons why Robusta coffee is actually considered cheaper and lower quality than Arabica: caffeine has a bitter taste which means its flavour profile is less mellow. However, Robusta coffee can be well suited for dark roasts and espresso.
There are differences of composition within the species as well, depending on the region where the beans are grown. Some varieties of Arabica are more caffeinated than others.
Companies who aim to produce especially caffeine-charged coffee test beans from various regions to find the ones that fit their bill.
Roast Level Doesn’t Really Indicate Strength
People often associate roast level with strength - it seems logical that a rich, dark roast would be stronger than a light one. However, this is actually a misconception. There is no direct correlation between roast and strength.
In fact, it might surprise some people to learn that light roast coffee is actually “stronger” in terms of caffeine content. Although light roast coffee tastes brighter and looks lighter, it packs more of a punch when it comes to stimulating your nervous system.
This is because light roast coffee is roasted for a shorter time, leaving the beans closer to their natural, hyper-caffeinated state, and ideal for making white coffee.
Roasting the beans for longer produces a darker colour and deeper flavour, but also eliminates more of the natural caffeine and flavour compounds. This is why lighter roasts tend to have more complex floral notes and also more caffeine.
It’s Really The Brew That Counts
While the flavour profile of the beans is largely determined by the roast, the barista really has the last say in terms of strength.
If you use more beans per shot of espresso or cup of drip, you get stronger coffee - it’s as simple as that.
Of course, just brewing with an insanely high ratio of beans to water isn’t going to produce a cup of coffee that is nice (or even safe) to drink.
If you want to make coffee that is stronger than normal, you should use beans that have a naturally high caffeine content instead.
The brewing method and recipe you chose will determine the ideal ratio of beans to water.
There are some brews that require a larger amount of grounds than others, such as cold brew. This is because the extraction process is less effective, so more of the coffee is “wasted” in a way.
Conversely, something like espresso brewing effectively uses up pretty much all of the flavour compounds present in the beans, so only a small amount of grounds per cup is required to produce “strong” coffee.
Grind Size Matters
This is closely related to the previous point. The finer the grind, the greater the density of flavour compounds (and thus caffeine).
Grind size is one of the most important ways to control the strength of coffee.
However, there are some limitations to this.
Some coffee brewing methods are not well suited to brewing on a fine grind.
Specifically the French press and most pour-overs are much better suited for medium or coarse ground beans. This is because a fine grind will prolong the extraction, making for over-extracted and bitter coffee. Moreover, especially with a French press, fine grounds will escape the plunger and float in your cup.
Espresso is one of the few brewing methods where a fine grind is preferred. In the case of espresso, the strength can be intensified by grinding the beans more finely. This is something you can experiment with to find your preferred level of intensity.
“Strength” Is An Elusive Concept
To sum it up, it’s hard to define what “strong” coffee really is. Although dark roasts taste bold and rich, they have been roasted to the point where much of the caffeine content is actually gone.
Looking at it from a scientific point of view, lighter roasts are usually stronger in terms of caffeine content - but in the subjective experience of the drinker, they might not seem strong at all.
In many cases, coffee marketed as “strong” is just a regular dark or espresso roast.
However, there are some coffee companies that focus on the actual caffeine content of their blends. When you want to have some seriously strong coffee, and not in name only, check these out. Be prepared for jitters!
5 Of The World’s Strongest Coffee Blends
Death Wish Coffee
474 mg/12oz mug
1,2 & 5 lb
702 mg/12oz mug
645 mg/12oz mug
474 mg/12oz mug
1 & 2 lb
928 mg/12oz mug
1 & 5 lb
#1 - Death Wish Coffee
Death Wish Coffee is one of the best known brands for strong coffee, at least in the United States.
This can be largely attributed to the publicity gained after the company won a free Super Bowl ad in 2016, in a competition between small businesses. Since then, Death Wish Coffee has been flying off the shelves.
It didn’t win that competition for nothing, of course.
Claiming to be the most potent coffee in the world (like pretty much every coffee on this list, as you will see), Death Wish packs an impressive 728 milligrams of caffeine in a 12-ounce serving.
For the record, the current consensus is that the safe daily limit for caffeine consumption is 400 milligrams per day.
The company won’t reveal which beans it uses to make its supercharged product, but they do claim to meticulously test the caffeine content of each batch they source.
The taste of Death Wish is surprisingly palatable: strong, but not overwhelmingly bitter or unpleasant. Despite its name, the Death Wish does not feel particularly threatening to drink.
Find our FULL Death Wish Coffee Review here.
#2 - Black Insomnia
Continuing with the trend of menacing names, Black Insomnia is another contender for world’s strongest coffee.
There has been some pretty strong rivalry between Black Insomnia and Death Wish, with the former trying to discredit the latter’s claim of being the most caffeinated coffee on the planet.
While it’s difficult to scientifically prove which one is right, we can probably all agree that both are extremely strong.
Black Insomnia was introduced to the South African market just last year, but has already gained a loyal following overseas because of the brand’s strong online presence.
While it’s macho claims of overpowering Death Wish may be unappealing to some, it does pack a serious caffeine punch, so it’s worth trying for people who really want to stay awake.
The packaging on Black Insomnia is minimalist in a pretty terrifying way. However, similarly to the Death Wish, it doesn’t actually taste all that different from regular coffee.
It’s strong and slightly bitter, but not overwhelmingly so. The dark roast gives it a hint of nutty sweetness not that different from a regular French* or espresso roast.
(*Not sure what French roast means? We got a complete answer here)
Nevertheless, it can only be recommended for people who have no oversensitivity to caffeine.
- Caffeine level: 702 mg per 12-ounce mug (According to Black Insomnia, independent lab tests show that Death Wish coffee actually contains less caffeine than this - it’s controversial)
- Type of bean: Undisclosed - most likely Robusta
- Sizes available: Regular 16-ounce bag, 10- and 50-packs of Nespresso capsules also available
#3 - Killer Coffee
Killer Coffee is an Australian entry in the supercharged coffee category.
While a lot of the coffee brands that are marketing themselves on strength are not big on things like freshness or third wave craftiness, Killer Coffee seems to hit a midway point between these two worlds.
While it has clearly branded itself as a “strong” coffee first and foremost, it also offers things like whole bean and Aeropress bundles.
Killer Coffee doesn’t claim to be the most powerful coffee in the world, but it does still contain an impressive 645 mg of coffee per 12-ounce serving, much more than regular coffee.
It is a very dark roast with a mellow, strong but not bitter flavour.
#4 - Banned Coffee
For reasons unclear, Banned Coffee has also entered the race for being the strongest coffee in the world, although this is a quickly disproved claim.
Nevertheless, it is still very strong at 474 milligrams per 12-ounce serving.
Banned Coffee actually seems to take a slightly contradictory approach in its communication. It simultaneously claims to be the most powerful coffee in the world along with producing coffee that is both strong and high-quality.
It would make more sense if they just focused on the latter aspect.
Banned Coffee is basically a regular medium-dark roast with some added Robusta for extra caffeine content.
It would make an amusing gift for a teenager, but it’s not really the most intense contender on this list.
- Caffeine level: 474 mg per 12-ounce mug
- Type of bean: Blend of Robusta and Arabica
- Sizes available: Sizes vary from 10 ounces to 2 pounds; they sell whole bean, pre-ground, K-Cups and coffee pods.
#5 - Biohazard Coffee
Although it isn’t the best known of the brands on this list, Biohazard Coffee may actually be the most potent, based on caffeine content alone.
Caffeine Informer recently lab tested a sample of this coffee and found it contains 928 milligrams of caffeine in a 12-ounce mug - that’s more than double the daily limit in just one serving.
Made with Robusta beans, Biohazard Coffee claims to:
“Leave You Feeling Invincible, Obtain Non Stop Productivity, Enjoy Sleepless Nights, Partake In All Nighter Study Sessions, and Become Unstoppable”.
If that sounds like your kind of thing, then go for it.
Biohazard Coffee is available in both pre-ground and whole bean form, with sizes ranging from 1 to 5 pounds.
However, Biohazard isn’t as invincible in the taste department as it might be when it comes to caffeine content. It tastes surprisingly bland for something that is marketed so boldly.
Like most of the coffees on this list, its taste is close to a regular dark roast. This might be deceptive - don’t forget you’re still drinking something that could actually prove dangerous to your health.
- Caffeine level: 928 mg per 12-ounce mug - strongest on this list!
- Type of bean: Robusta
- Sizes available: 16 ounces and 5 pounds
The strength of coffee is actually a pretty subjective experience.
From an objective viewpoint, lab tests indicate that Biohazard Coffee is the strongest coffee in the world, containing a whopping 928 mg dose of caffeine in each 12-ounce mug.
That’s more than twice the daily upper limit in one serving....EEEK
The runner-ups are Death Wish and Black Insomnia, both containing more than 700 mg in one serving - although it’s not currently clear which one is actually correct in its claim.
If you’re interested in trying the world’s strongest coffee, do so at your own risk!
These super caffeine charged coffees do not actually taste that different from a regular dark-roast coffee, which might make them even more dangerous. You might not even notice the strength until after finishing your mug!