Java Beat: Coffee Facts or Fiction?
This article originally published in The Sturbridge Times, November 2019 By Elvis Dyer, Owner/Roaster, Sturbridge Coffee Roasters
Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world, and often the subject of many myths. These misconceptions continue to spread and separating fact from fiction is critical in helping people understand their coffee beverages. A few of our favorites include:
Coffee is bad for your health
Multiple studies have demonstrated that the people who drink coffee regularly are less likely to suffer from heart disease. A good cup of coffee contains the recommended intake of Riboflavin (11%) which helps your metabolism.
Dark roast has more caffeine
Although dark roast has a more intensive taste, it does not have more caffeine. Traditionally, the lighter the roast, the more caffeine. Darker coffee just means that it was kept over the roasted longer and therefore the coffee has more caffeine burned off.
You won’t be able to sleep if you drink coffee during the day
The caffeine you consume during the day is most likely processed extremely fast through your liver and almost all of it is flushed out of your body by the time you are going to bed.
Use boiling water on coffee grounds
If the temperature of your water goes above 200 degrees Fahrenheit, the water will start to extract some of the bitter oils from coffee grounds and may even scorch them. You can attribute the burnt taste of coffee to extra-hot water. The ideal temperature is more in the 130-160 degrees range.
Coffee can cure a hangover
Coffee, just like alcohol causes dehydration, and therefore it may make your hangover even worse. Coffee can however stimulate the central nervous system and improve focus, which could help with the lack of sleep often associated with a hangover, but it will not cure a hangover.
Espresso shots have more caffeine than a cup of coffee
Espresso shots may be the most undiluted form of coffee, but that doesn’t mean it has more caffeine than a regular cup. To get the same level of caffeine that you would get in a standard cup of coffee you will need to drink approximately 4 espresso shots (depending on the coffee you are drinking and what the shop is using for their espresso blend).
Coffee is addictive
Coffee consumption, no matter how high, does not qualify as an addiction. An important feature of addiction is that it leads to withdrawal symptoms. While going without coffee may make you crave it, these are not withdrawal symptoms. Coffee has also not been shown to lead to severe social or physical consequences, as other addictions such as alcohol do.
Coffee causes health problems
Many people assume coffee is unhealthy, perhaps because of the caffeine content. However, coffee does have a high antioxidant content and these antioxidants in coffee can help protect your cells and keep them healthy. Antioxidants can help repair cell damage and may help decreasing the risk of certain cancers.
Coffee causes heartburn
There are specific reasons why specific coffees can cause acid reflux. The best bet is to try drinking an arabica bean that contains lower acidity, which is often based on how and where it is grown.
I need coffee to kick start my day.
Our body naturally produces a stress hormone called cortisol when we wake up in the morning. This is what makes us feel charged and alert, not necessarily the cup of coffee we start our day with.
The most expensive coffee comes from an animal
The Asian palm civet is a medium-sized mammal that is native to Southeast Asia. Their diet consists of berries and pulpy fruits including mango, coffee and rambutan. They also eat insects and small mammals as well. Interestingly, the civet excretes coffee berries as they are because it cannot digest them. Farmers have learned to collect its poop and extract the beans from it. Then they process these berries into unique and high-quality coffee that costs in the range of more than $500 a pound.
Coffee will help me lose weight
Coffee does boost your metabolism. However, the benefits of caffeine include that it gives you a significant amount of energy, therefore causing you to be more productive in your workout or fitness regimens.
Caffeinated coffee is the only good coffee
Decaf provides just the same benefits as regular coffee but without the caffeine. Coffee contains approximately 1,000 different substances; however, caffeine typically gets all the attention. Coffee contains chlorogenic acid, an antioxidant, which helps prevent the destruction of cells. Chlorogenic acid also may inhibit absorption of glucose and even out insulin levels. It also contains about magnesium and potassium, albeit small amounts. Coffee is often decaffeinated (in green bean state) via either a solvent-based processes where a chemical solvent is added either directly or indirectly to selectively remove the caffeine or via the Swiss Water Process where which does not directly or indirectly add chemicals to extract the caffeine and is done through solubility and osmosis process.
Coffee can ward off some diseases
We have seen numerous articles, although claims are preliminary, that there could be a link to caffeine and lessening the risk of diseases. As with any health concerns, we would suggest you talk to your doctor.
Don’t tell your barista how you want your coffee made
You should never feel guilty or judged about how you want your coffee or drink made. It’s your responsibility as a customer to know what you’re ordering and it’s the barista’s responsibility to give you the best possible drink. Being informed makes communication smoother between both parties.