NEW DATES ANNOUNCED! Balance Festival 19th – 21st May 2023
19 - 21 May 2023
The Truman Brewery
19 - 21 May 2023 / The Truman Brewery
28 October 2021
What's The Best Coffee To Drink Pre-Workout?
For most mere mortals, the thought of tackling the day – let alone a workout – without a cuppa coffee to fire up the engine would be unfathomable. Like riding into battle without armour. That’s because coffee contains caffeine, a powerful stimulant. Just a single dose can significantly boost your exercise performance, focus and even fat burning efforts.

But, it turns out, not all coffee delivers the same kick, begging the question: what’s the best coffee to drink pre-workout? Could you give your cardio a boost by swapping your americano for a cold brew? Should you pack a cafetiere in your kitbag? To find out, we pressed Alice Williams, UK Brand Lead of specialty roasters Allpress, for the answers.

Allpress specialty coffee will be on offer at Balance Festival 2021

Why (grind) size matters

In coffee circles, grind size is a big deal. “How coarse or fine the coffee beans are ground relates directly to how much caffeine is in your brew,” explains Alice. “The longer the coffee is left to steep, the more caffeine ends up in your coffee.”

And contrary to popular belief, caffeine content has nothing to do with how strong it tastes. Instead, the brewing method holds the key to your pre-workout performance. Here, we've broken down each option, from lowest caffeine content to highest.


“Espresso grind needs to be ultra fine because there's only 25 seconds or so for the coffee to impart all its flavour into the water,” says Alice. Therefore, espresso coffee – both in shot form and as the base for your flat white or americano – has a much lower caffeine content than those made with a longer brew time.

Most suitable before… a low intensity yoga or Pilates session
Allpress recommendation: A.R.T. Espresso Roast Coffee Capsules 


Next up is filter coffee, which takes around 3+ minutes to brew. “More brew time equals more caffeine, remember,” says Alice. That’s worth bearing in mind next time the barista asks if you'd like your tall black as a filter coffee or americano. "If you need a bigger boost, always go filter.”

Most suitable before… a medium intensity bout of cardio
Allpress recommendation: India - Krishna Giri

Allpress specialty roast coffee will be on offer at Balance Festival 2021


“Cafetiere – or French press – coffee should always be brewed for at least four minutes,” says Alice. “So it will provide a fraction more caffeine than the filter and a good deal more than an espresso for your more taxing workouts.” Have a PB in sight? Best hit up your local indie cafe bar first.

Most suitable before… a medium intensity strength class
Allpress recommendation: Allpress Espresso Blend

Cold Brew

Finally, we come to the king of pre-workout pick-me-ups. “Cold brew coffee is left to steep for 8+ hours, so packs by far the most caffeine,” says Alice. It’s also a doddle to make. “Simply combine coarsely ground coffee with water and let it steep overnight or for 8+ hours in the fridge. The coffee will slowly infuse into the water, creating a strong, concentrated brew.” Strain your solution, then enjoy over ice or in a shake and you’re ready to roll into your most gruelling workout of the week.   

Most suitable before… high-intensity interval-training
Allpress recommendation: The Good Brew

Allpress will be serving their range of specialty roasts at Balance Festival 2021. Come say hi and pick up a pre-workout coffee before your first class!



International society of sports nutrition position stand: caffeine and exercise performance,
Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 2021.

A review of caffeine's effects on cognitive, physical and occupational performance,
Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 2016.

Effect of Acute Caffeine Intake on the Fat Oxidation Rate during Exercise: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis,
Nutrients, 2020.


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