Infographic: America’s Strongest And Weakest Coffee Makers

Need a kick? See which of the country’s coffee chains packs the most caffeine per cup.

Infographic: America’s Strongest And Weakest Coffee Makers

Did you have your coffee fix this morning? If so, which blend and roast? And the grind? Iced or hot? Pressed or poured over? These might seem like insufferably pedantic questions (or precious ones, as so coffee culture goes). But inevitably, choices proliferate for the serious coffee drinker. One thing that’s never up for consideration? Decaf.


Caffeine is essential, even when the coffee is sourced to a commuting stop as decidedly pedestrian as McDonald’s or Starbucks. A new graphic, produced by Thrillist, is a visual index of how much caffeinated bang for your buck is served with some of America’s favorite cups.

The figures were pulled from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, supplemented with info from the (dubiously named) site Energy Fiend. The data, presented as pie charts on coffee mugs, specifies how many milligrams of caffeine per ounce each of the nine case studies contains.

Or that’s what you’d think. As it turns out–and as many commenters have made evident–the unit of milligrams isn’t well suited to pie charts, which most everyone intuitively breaks down into quarters and fractions. So while a cup of Caribou Coffee looks like it contains 25 ml of caffeine per ounce, it in fact has 15. Similarly, Death Wish Coffee, the libertarian’s beverage of choice, looks like it’s pushing a dangerous 90ml caffeine per ounce, when it actually packs “only” 54.2 mg, or nearly 500 mg per 9 oz. cup.

The pies are subdivided into 60 segments, like the face of a clock. Knowing that, and committing a few seconds of readjustment, the Caribou example makes perfect sense. But if the point of an infographic is to relay information in a more expedient manner than with words, then it matters.

Want more on the making of a good infographic? See this helpful post. Oh, and consider your source: I’m a tea drinker.

[Image: Starbucks, 1000 Words via Shutterstock]

About the author

Sammy is a writer, designer, and ice cream maker based in New York. He once lived in China before being an editor at Architizer.