Based on lab tests conducted in Switzerland, Black Insomnia could be the strongest coffee in the world. It contains 702 milligrams of caffeine per 12-ounce cup, which is far higher when compared to the same amount of Starbucks' dark roast coffee, which contains only 195 milligrams of caffeine.
Mary Sweeney from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, who conducts studies on the effects of caffeine, said that Black Insomnia gives double the amount of caffeine for the same amount of coffee, which makes it easier to consume more caffeine than a person intends to.
She said that this can lead to a range of effects from mild to severe such as trouble sleeping, restlessness, and nervousness. The most serious of these effects would be a condition marked by irregular heartbeat known as cardiac arrhythmia.
Black Insomnia has warned those who want to give the coffee a try given its high caffeine content.
"So now you're probably wondering if our coffee is safe," the maker of the coffee wrote on its website. "You should probably not drink our Cold Brew if you do not have a high tolerance for caffeine. [...] Our beans may taste great, they may be smooth, 'with the flavors of nuts and caramel,' but if you can't handle the kick, it may just not be for you."
The warning should raise a red flag for those who are not used to drinking strong coffee, but it isn't just Black Insomnia that poses potential health risks when taken in large amounts.
Other Strong Coffee Brands
Black Insomnia belongs to a family of coffee products that contain exaggerated amounts of caffeine. Other brands that belong to this group and similarly pose dangers with too much intake include Death Wish, Biohazard, Killer Coffee, Shock Coffee, Atomic Coffee, and Perk Up Coffee.
The World Health Organization has warned about the dangers of energy drinks, which contain high amounts of caffeine, particularly when consumed by young people, some of whom mix it with alcohol.
Since 2004 at least 34 people in the United States have died because of symptoms related to the consumption of energy drinks. In a 2015 study, researchers found a link between between the consumption of energy drinks and increased risk of high blood pressure in young people,especially those not used to caffeine intake.
Powdered caffeine is often sold as a dietary supplement and marketed with vitamins and protein powders to fitness buffs, but there have been several cases of people dying after powdered caffeine intake. In 2014, two seemingly healthy young men died after consuming powdered caffeine, prompting a warning from federal health regulators.
The Food and Drug Administration warned that just 1 teaspoon of pure powdered caffeine is equal to the amount of caffeine present in about 28 cups of regular coffee.
"While consumers of caffeinated products such as coffee, tea, and soda may be aware of caffeine's less serious effects - such as nervousness and tremors - they may not be aware that these pure powdered caffeine products are much more potent and can cause serious health effects, including rapid or dangerously erratic heartbeat, seizures and death," the FDA said.
Many vendors have stopped selling the powdered caffeine but a quick internet search reveals consumers can still easily buy this caffeinated product online.