Saturday, December 2, 2023

The Ephemeral Energy of Espresso

by Mads

The Ephemeral Energy of Espresso: Understanding the Short-Lived Boost from Your Favorite Shot

If you’re a coffee lover, chances are you’ve tried espresso at least once. And if you’re like many espresso fans, you might have experienced the immediate burst of energy that comes with drinking a shot. But how long does that energy tend to last? In this article, we’ll explore the ephemeral nature of espresso energy and provide insights into why this unique coffee drink can be both energizing and short-lived.

What is Espresso?

Espresso is a concentrated form of coffee that’s brewed by forcing hot water through finely ground and compacted coffee beans. Most espresso shots are about 1 oz in volume and are served in demitasse cups. Espresso is often the base for other popular coffee drinks such as cappuccinos, lattes, and Americanos.

Why Does Espresso Provide Energy?

Espresso provides energy because it contains caffeine, a natural stimulant that affects the central nervous system. Caffeine blocks the action of a neurotransmitter called adenosine, which is responsible for making you feel sleepy. By binding to adenosine receptors, caffeine can stimulate the brain and increase alertness.

However, caffeine’s effects are not long-lasting. According to the American Heart Association, the half-life of caffeine in the body ranges from 3 to 5 hours for most people. This means that it takes about that amount of time for your body to eliminate half of the caffeine you consumed. So if you drink a shot of espresso that contains about 60-75 milligrams of caffeine, you can expect to feel its effects for about 2 to 3 hours.

The Role of Cortisol in Espresso’s Energy Boost

Caffeine is not the only compound in espresso that contributes to its energizing effects. The adrenal glands also play a role by releasing cortisol, a hormone that helps the body cope with stress. Cortisol levels in the body naturally rise in the morning, which could explain why many people prefer espresso as part of their morning routine.

However, when cortisol levels are constantly elevated due to chronic stress, it can lead to negative health effects such as weight gain, sleep problems, and mood disorders. So while espresso can provide a short-term boost in energy, it’s important to manage stress levels overall to maintain a healthy balance.

The Importance of Good Quality Espresso

Not all espresso shots are created equal when it comes to providing energy. The quality of the beans, the roast, the extraction method, and the freshness of the shot can all impact the amount of caffeine and other energizing compounds present.

To maximize the benefits of espresso, it’s essential to seek out high-quality, freshly roasted beans that are properly extracted by a skilled barista. The ideal extraction time for espresso is about 25-30 seconds, which extracts about 18-22 grams of coffee. This ratio of coffee to water ensures that you’re getting the optimal amount of caffeine and other compounds for energy.

The Ephemeral Energy of Espresso

Despite its many benefits, the energy from espresso is relatively short-lived. This is because the half-life of caffeine in the body is relatively short, and the effects of cortisol are also temporary. This is why some people might experience a “crash” after the initial boost of energy from espresso wears off.

That being said, there are ways to prolong the effects of espresso by combining it with other energizing ingredients such as matcha, honey, or MCT oil. These ingredients can help sustain energy levels throughout the day without the jitters or crash associated with other stimulants.


Espresso is a beloved beverage that provides a quick, energizing boost to many coffee lovers. Its effects are due to caffeine and cortisol, but these compounds are relatively short-lived. To fully enjoy the energizing benefits of espresso, it’s essential to seek out high-quality beans and extraction methods. By doing so, you can enjoy the ephemeral energy of espresso without the negative side effects associated with other stimulants.

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