You Can Now Buy the “World’s Strongest Coffee” Online—but Is It Safe?

You might want to think twice before filling your morning cup with this brew.

coffeeDima Sobko/Shutterstock

Caffeine is a big motivator. The promise of a steaming mug of coffee gets us out of bed in the morning, it perks us up in the afternoon, and it’s even sometimes what gets us through a long night at the office.

A stimulant that can make you feel more alert and give you an extra boost of energy, caffeine is a favorite the world over. But when too much is consumed, it can result in serious health problems.

And yet there is an epidemic happening in America that urges for bigger cups and stronger doses of the stimulant.

Sean Kristafor answered the call with his Black Insomnia Coffee. Kristafor had his beans tested chemically against competitors. It was found to be more than twice as strong as Starbucks’ dark roast and earned his beans the title of “World’s Strongest Coffee.” It offers a sweet nutty taste with a caffeine boost attributed to the type of beans used, called robusta, and the way they are roasted.

“If you want to stand out, you need to be the ‘est’—the biggest, smartest, strongest, or cheapest,” said Kristafor. “So when we wanted to compete in coffee, as a caffeine product, we had to be the strongest, but obviously, we don’t exceed the world guidelines.”

How much caffeine is too much?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the International Food Information Council recommend healthy adults have no more than 400 milligrams of caffeine a day, which is about four cups of (regular) brewed coffee. Kristafor says one of his 12-ounce cups could add up to 702 mg of caffeine.

So, yeah, that’s a lot. So much, in fact, the consumer informer site Caffeine Informer calls Black Insomnia one of the “Most Dangerous Caffeinated Products.” “This coffee should be used with caution and only by people who have a high tolerance to caffeine. Just one 12 fl. oz. cup is almost double the recommended safe daily dose of caffeine the average adult should consume,” the site explains.

Now available online, the South African brand could land you more than an extra buzz.

Caffeine works as a stimulant on the central nervous system which increases heart rate. Such symptoms typically subside once the body levels of caffeine have gone down. However, when the abnormal heart rhythm continues, despite caffeine being low, it could be a sign of an overdose. Caffeine overdoses are linked to cardiac arrest and even death.

“Drinking too much coffee or drinking it at the wrong time can create unpleasant symptoms. One of the scariest is the sensation of a pounding, racing heart,” explains Stephanie Draus, a naturopathic doctor and assistant professor of clinical sciences at National University of Health Sciences. “One cup of coffee can contain 100 to 200 milligrams of caffeine. Caffeine intake of more than 500 milligrams per day can cause headaches, shakiness, and other symptoms, including a fast heartbeat.”

The best thing to do if you experience heart palpitations? Cut back or eliminate the amount of caffeine you are ingesting. Deep breathing exercises and yoga are also beneficial, according to Joseph Marine, MD. And think twice before drinking Black Insomnia Coffee.

Alexa Erickson
Alexa Erickson is a lifestyle and news writer currently working with Reader's Digest, SHAPE Magazine, and various other publications. She loves writing about science news, health, wellness, food and drink, beauty, fashion, home decor, and her travels. Visit her site Living by Lex.