What Are the Safe Limits of Coffee for These Top 8 Brands

With a little history of how coffee was discovered

Camille Allard
Published in
5 min readNov 17, 2021


A wooden storefront with a logo of Starbucks — my favorite coffee shop. Camille Allard on Medium.com.
I love Starbucks and I know one cup doesn’t kill you. It makes you energetic. — Image by Şahin Sezer Dinçer

Nobody has died after visiting Starbucks. But Davis Allen Cripe, 16, chugged a cafe latte from McDonald’s, a large Mountain Dew, and an energy drink — and suddenly died in the classroom.

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Let’s find out more about what happened here.

How much is safe

What makes coffee energizing is caffeine. It’s the active ingredient of coffee, sodas, and all energy drinks. Too much caffeine can kill you, but the exact amount depends on your age and weight.

Tara Haelle wrote in a Forbes story of an expert, Dr. Sweeney, who said: “I’ve never known of a case where somebody died from three caffeinated drinks.”

In moderation, coffee can lower the risk of heart disease. But if you drink many cups, your heartbeat can go to 180 — or to a higher number — for a second. “Such irregular beats may damage your heart,” says Thomas A. Sweeney, M.D., associate chair of the department of medicine at Christiana Care Health System in Wilmington, Delaware.

You can consume 400 mg of caffeine without any problem. But different sizes and various brands of coffee have different amounts of caffeine in them.

I found this ‘Caffeine Calculator’ to calculate how many cups of the top 8 brands are safe and how many cups might be lethal for you. You can select brands, flavors, and sizes to find the safe limits for other brands as well:


I weigh 105 lbs, and I can safely drink 2 cups of McCafe in a day. But if I weighed 210 lbs, I could drink 4 cups. Fifty and a half cups might kill me. But if I weighed 210 lbs, the number goes to one hundred cups.

Screenshot from https://www.caffeineinformer.com/death-by-caffeine

I can’t possibly consume fifty cups of coffee. Nobody can. But energy drinks may contain a very high amount of caffeine.


At Peet’s, I can have four cups. One hundred cups are the upper limit.

Screenshot from caffeineinformer


Great. I can have 5.7 cups.

Screenshot from caffeineinformer


Hmm, 2.6 cups are safe.

Screenshot from caffeineinformer


Wonderful. I can have four cups of WAKA.

Screenshot from caffeineinformer

Café Bustelo

2 cups.

Screenshot from caffeineinformer


Only 1.7 cups.

Screenshot from caffeineinformer


At Starbucks, I can have 1.9 cups in a day. Forty-eight cups might actually kill me. I don’t think I’ll ever have more than two in a day.

Screenshot from caffeineinformer

But the safer choice after the first cup is to choose their Decaf Coffee. I could safely consume 11.5 cups of this decaffeinated version, though it may not feel like real badass coffee (In Hawaii, they have a Bad Ass Coffee brand.)

Screenshot from caffeineinformer

Sorry, I could find the safe limits for Hills Bros. Another trending brand.

The coffee didn’t kill Davis Allen Cripe but…

On the day Cripe died, he drank a 16 oz. McDonald’s latte, containing 142 mg of caffeine, a 20 oz. Mountain Dew with 90 mg and an unidentified 16 oz. energy drink — that could have 86 mg to 240 mg of caffeine.

His total caffeine intake was 370 mg — it is within safe limits. But he had the three drinks too quickly, one after the other. Dr. Sweeney thinks he might have had some undiagnosed medical issues. What killed him was an irregular beat of his heart.

We have to notice our heart rhythms — and how caffeinated drinks, especially energy drinks, affect us individually.

Coffee makes us feel good

Kaldi, a goat herder, discovered coffee according to the legends. His goats danced after eating the coffee berries. They also did not sleep at night.

When Kaldi told the local monks, they made a drink with its seeds. They used this ‘qahva’ to pray late into the night. The news of strange berries spread fast.


Here is what we can learn from this story:

  1. “We’re not against caffeine. But we believe people need to pay attention to their caffeine intake and how they do it, the way they do with alcohol and cigarettes,” Richland County coroner Gary Watts said. Davis Cripe lived in Richland.
  2. It tells us how powerful caffeine can be and how our bodies react differently to it.
  3. Teens should “stay below 100 mg of caffeine a day or one cup of coffee,” according to The American Academy of Pediatrics.
  4. Dr. Sweeney says: “The take-home message comes from the ancient Greeks, which is, ‘Moderation in all things, except moderation.’”

Take care of your health.


Full Disclosure

This article contains affiliate marketing links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, in case you decide to buy any of these coffee brands. This allows me to create these lists and product comparisons.



Camille Allard

A nineteen year old French girl, living in London. I write about love, psychology, and sexology.