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The global race for the world’s strongest coffee has produced a monster that’s now for sale in the US

Reuters/Paulo Whitaker
The science of over-caffeination.
By Corinne Purtill
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Black Insomnia, a coffee with roughly three to five times the caffeine of a normal brew, went on sale this week in the US. A single cup of the stuff Grub Street describes as “a bag of caffeine…under the guise of being coffee” contains 702 milligrams of caffeine, the daily limit recommended by the US Food and Drug Administration is 400 mg.

Too much caffeine can lead to muscle tremors, headaches, insomnia, irritability, and rapid heartbeat. Large amounts of caffeine—like 20 normal cups’ worth—can render over-the-counter painkillers toxic.

Cape Town, South Africa-based Black Insomnia proudly acknowledges its product is in no way part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle. A screenshot of the coffee’s “Dangerous” rating on the Caffeine Informer website features prominently on its homepage.

“Don’t come crying to us if you can’t handle the kick,” the company’s website reads, next to the promotional hashtag #sleepingischeating.

The South African concoction currently holds the unofficial title of world’s strongest coffee. The company claims to have dethroned the previous titleholder, Death Wish Coffee, after sending samples (pdf) of Black Insomnia, Death Wish, and another high-caffeine blend called WodFee to the independent SGS Laboratories in Switzerland. Black Insomnia has 702 mg of caffeine per 12 ounce cup. Death Wish has 660 mg. Drink either at your own peril.

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

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