The Benefits of Coffee
Coffee The World’s Most Popular Drink
- Around the world, only oil is traded more than coffee.
- In the United States and many other countries, coffee is the #1 imported food item.
- In the US, 2 out of every 3 adults report drinking a minimum of 1 cup of coffee every single day.
- In the United States, 64% of all adults report having at least one cup of coffee everyday
- Average consumption is 3.2 cups daily.
- More than 50% of those who drink coffee would skip a shower in order to have time for coffee (Huffington Post).
- 1/4 of all coffee drinkers report they are addicted to the drink, but only 10% have a desire to cut back.
The International Coffee Organization (ICO) reports that coffee consumption outpaced its production for two years in a row, with a total worldwide consumption of 151.3 million bags of coffee between the years of 2018 and 2019.
Coffee For Health
If you’ve ever wondered about where coffee came from or how it was discovered, the
longstanding story relates to the Ethiopian goat
farmer Kaldi. One day he noted that his goats were
dancing in a way that he had never seen before.
He launched an investigation, discovering they had been snacking on some bright red berries. He tried some and it had the same effect on him. As the story goes, a monk later happened upon them and Kaldi told him about the berries.
The monk saw it as an answer to prayer, as this could assist the monks in staying up through their evening prayers. The monk later came up with an idea to dry and boil the fruit into a beverage. It assisted the monks through their prayers, and tasted delicious, too.
While we always talk about coffee beans, the truth of the matter is that coffee really comes from a seed.
It’s the seed of a coffee cherry. We have long referred to them as beans, simply because they look like beans.
There is a variety of methods when it comes to picking the cherries. The more expensive type of coffee (Arabica) is handpicked when ripe, and if the cherry isn’t ripe the picker leaves it and goes back to get it when it is ripe.
With the cheaper coffee beans (Robusta) machines mass pick through the plants, and harvest whether the cherries are ripe or not. There are also different methods when it comes to removing the seeds from the fruit.
In some situations, the fruit is allowed to dry first, and then it is raked over to remove the skins from the seeds.
The amount of drying time the fruit is given will have an impact on the coffee flavor. Once the beans are dried, we refer to unroasted coffee beans as green coffee.
Two Main Benefits of Coffee for Health
As mentioned above, there are two main coffee species, Robusta and Arabica.
Robusta is bitter, just think of all of those un ripened cherry seeds, but it also has twice the caffeine content.
Arabica is more expensive and generally more desirable and sought after simply because it has a smooth taste, and varying flavor characteristics. Where they are grown also plays a part, Arabica is grown in the mountains, while Robusta is grown in low valleys.
A seasoned coffee connoisseur can taste the difference between coffee
from Ethiopia, or Guatemala, just by tasting it.
The variances in flavor, though, will only be evident in a light roast coffee.
When creating dark roast, the flavors are replaced.
When it comes to green coffee, it is broken down into 5 classifications, or grades. The highest grade is Specialty Coffee. The majority of corporate coffee chains opt for low-grade coffees. This allows them to process the amount they need to distribute, while keeping costs low and profits high.
Additionally, the coffee will be sourced from a variety of origins, blended and roasted to a degree that no natural flavors remain.
You may be surprised to learn that coffee flavors can be just as evident as the flavors found in wine. People are passionate about coffee for a reason, and it isn’t just the caffeine content!
Coffee Health Benefits
Coffee Nutritional Data
There are plenty of nutritional benefits to drinking coffee. Just have a look at the nutrients in coffee.
Black Coffee for Health
Black coffee has zero calories!
Essential Nutrient Health Benefits of Coffee
Many nutrients found in the unroasted coffee bean also make it to the final drinkable
According to the USA, one cup of coffee contains 2% of the recommended daily allowance of B3 and Magnesium, as well as 11% of vitamin B12, 6% of vitamin B5, and 3% of potassium and manganese.
If that doesn’t sound like a big deal, just remember most people drink more than just one cup of coffee every day.
We know that a single cup of coffee has 7 milligrams of magnesium, and our daily requirement for magnesium is 320mg (for women, and 420 for men).
American diets are sadly lacking in whole grains, fruit, and vegetables, and on average, our diets fall short of that daily-recommended intake by 100mg.
That gap closes a bit when you’re enjoying 5 cups of coffee a day.
Additionally, the potassium content can offset the sodium content.
There’s around 116 milligrams of potassium in every cup of coffee, and our daily-recommended dose is 4,700mg. That may sound like just a fraction of the requirement, but multiply that by 5 and every little helps!
The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry states that a cup of coffee can provide you with almost 2 grams of the necessary daily fiber intake of 20-38 grams.
Healthy Antioxidants in Coffee
The health promoting properties of coffee stem from the antioxidants that occur naturally in
the coffee seed, or bean.
A typical serving of coffee has more antioxidants than a standard serving of oranges, raspberries, grape juice, and even blueberries.
These antioxidants can reduce inflammation, as well as the risk of diseases and illness related to inflammation, such as cardiovascular disease (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health).
Coffee is especially rich in one potent type of antioxidant known for its ability to kill off
diseases called quinine.
The magical part about quinine is that it becomes more potent after coffee beans are roasted.
When quinine combines with magnesium, another element found naturally in coffee, they have a positive effect on blood sugar levels, and boost athletic performance.
Cafestol is also found in decaffeinated coffee. It acts as a modulator for bile acid in the intestines. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory substance in the brain, which may mean it’s responsible for slowing down the signs of mental aging and cognitive decline.
Another type of antioxidant found in coffee is plant phenols. Plant phenols are similar to the
antioxidants found in berries, and are responsible for protecting the body from cellular
damage, as certain types of cancer, and cardiovascular diseases.
They are also known for breaking down lipids and carbohydrates in the body, which helps with the weight loss process.
This compound is the bitter alkaloid found in coffee, and is responsible for coffee’s unique
It has antibacterial properties that support oral health, and help kill bacteria that cause gum disease and cavities.
This compound plays an integral role in antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial
activities in the body.
It can also enhance insulin function in the body, which means it’s able to fight diabetes.
Melanoidins are responsible for coffee’s enticing aroma when it’s roasted since these
compounds are formed during the roasting process.
They have antibacterial and anti inflammatory properties.
The Health Benefits Of Coffee: What The Science Shows
Focus, Concentration And Cognitive Function
Ask anyone who’s had 1 or 2 cups of coffee as they’re studying for a big exam, or preparing for an important presentation, and they’ll tell you they were able to focus better after they’d drank their coffee.
This is because caffeine helps your brain to function more efficiently.
Research shows that it also increases your attention span, your ability to reason logically, and dramatically improves your reaction time.
Once you drink that morning cup of Joe, your bloodstream absorbs all that caffeine at which point it travels to the brain.
When it reaches the brain, it blocks Adenosine, which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter.
That means that your dopamine levels increase, firing neurons boosting your mood, focus, and concentration.
Controlled studies have shown coffee increases brain function, including, reaction times, memory, vigilance, cognitive function, and mood (studies from Université de Nancy).
Coffee Enhances Working Memory
Think of this as a computer’s RAM, which is the processing power your brain is able of.
By increasing your working memory, you are less prone to be distracted and this allows you to have a clean flow of energy to the brain.
Research has also discovered that those who drink 3-5 cups of coffee on a daily basis had a 65% less chance of developing Alzheimer’s or dementia, as they grow old.
We love coffee for its ability to increase energy and relieve the feeling of fatigue.
You know that when you’re sluggish or tired, a cup of coffee will perk you up as the degree of rejuvenation you feel after a coffee break is undeniable.
Caffeine happens to be the most popular psychoactive substance on the planet.
Health Benefits of Coffee For Your Heart
An analysis of 36 studies (published in 2019 in the Journal Circulation) on coffee that included
more than 1 million study subjects found that those that regularly drank moderate coffee
were less likely to develop heart disease.
This is just one of a string of studies confirming coffee’s heart friendly effects. Coffee is now known to be one of the richest sources of nutrition in the western diet. It is loaded with phytochemicals, many of which have potent anti-inflammatory effects.
Many diseases relating to the heart are caused by inflammatory conditions, including atherosclerotic blockages and heart disease. Antioxidants have been shown to reduce the incidence of death.
The other health benefits of coffee that could positively influence heart health include:
- Improves Blood Sugar Control - it is well known that diabetics have higher than average risk of also developing heart disease or suffering from strokes. Coffee reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, in turn reducing the likelihood of suffering from diseases of the cardiovascular system.
- Promotes Oral Health - oral health and heart disease is
now established as having a strong correlation, with
poor health associated with higher incidence of heart
disease. Coffee has the ability to slow down the
progression of periodontal disease, and my actually
- Reduces Risk Of Death After Experiencing A Heart Attack - though it is touted as primarily having the ability to prevent heart disease in the first place, it was also found that coffee does reduce risk of death from subsequent heart attacks in persons who have already experienced a prior heart attack. This is noteworthy as people who have experienced a heart attack may be much more wary of drinking coffee, though this does not need to be the case.
Another Health Benefit of Coffee is that it Fights Cancer
Cancer is one of the world’s leading causes of death, but coffee can protect you in numerous
ways, all backed by solid scientific research.
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, several things in coffee make it a likely cancer fighter.
- Chlorogenic Acid: An antioxidant and main phenol found in coffee
- Quinic Acid: The phytochemical responsible for coffee’s acidic taste
- Cafestol: Only found in unfiltered coffee like French press or boiled coffee
- Kahweol: Only found in unfiltered coffee like French press or boiled coffee
- Caffeine: Stimulates the central nervous system
- N-Methylpyridinium (NMB): This antioxidant is created through the roasting process
- Riboflavin: Vitamin B2
Antioxidants, phytochemicals, phenols, and vitamins all play an important role in the body.
While the research is still out on exactly how these compounds work within the human system, it is known that they can help reduce the risks of many diseases and cancers.
Depending on the type of gene a woman has, drinking at least two to three cups of coffee daily can reduce risks for developing breast cancer or possibly delay its onset (Lund University and Malmö University in Sweden).
Oral cancer is reduced by 39% when four or more cups of coffee are consumed a day (American Association For Cancer Research).
Both men and women see a 40% reduction in certain forms of brain cancer (Holick, et al, published on The American Association For Cancer Research).
Researchers at the University of Southern California Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center of
Keck Medicine examined more than 5,100 men and women who were suffering from
colorectal cancer and also 4,000 women and men who have never suffered from the diseases
Researchers reported the finding that coffee was associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer, and the more coffee the subjects drank, the lower their risk became.
Scientists report a 41% reduction in liver cancer risk if you drink 1-3 cups of coffee a day (Bravi et al, Meta Analysis study conducted at the Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri in Milan, Italy).
Coffee drinkers are less likely to develop melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer (Loftfield, et al, published on The Journal of the National Cancer Institute). Another 20-year study found that women who drink at least three cups of coffee every day reduced their risk of developing skin cancer.
A 60% reduction in prostate cancer risk in men was found when consuming 6 cups of coffee a day (Science Daily).
Researchers from Harvard Medical School found that
there is an association between drinking coffee and
endometrial cancer risks (Crous-Bou, et al).
The scientists found that coffee is a protective factor for uterine cancer as determined from analysis of 19 studies that included approximately 40,000 women, including 12,000 who were diagnosed with endometrial cancer, and 28,000 without a history of the cancer that made up the control groups.
The study’s researchers concluded that the greatest benefits resulted from drinking more than four cups of coffee daily, but even drinking two or three cups reduced risks by 7% as compared to women who drank no coffee at all.
Reduced Risk of Stroke
There has long been a nasty rumor that caffeine increases blood pressure.
While it is true, it’s minimal, especially if you’re a regular coffee drinker.
That doesn’t mean, however, that coffee increases the risk of various heart diseases.
There is evidence that coffee drinking can reduce the risk of heart disease in women, and the risk of stroke by 20% (Oxford Academic).
Reduced Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes
Around 300 million people worldwide are affected by Type 2 diabetes. Studies have shown
that coffee drinkers can reduce their risk of Type 2
diabetes by as much as 50% (The American Journal of
The explanation, perhaps, between the consumption and coffee and reduced risk of diabetes and heart disease points to chlorogenic acid, as well as other antioxidants.
Antioxidants are responsible for mopping up the reactive molecules before they get the chance to harm any sensitive tissue, for instance the blood vessels lining. The main antioxidant in your morning cup of Joe is chlorogenic acid. Studies suggest that it inhibits the absorption of glucose, evening out insulin levels.
Coffee Reduces The Risk of Parkinson’s
The second most common degenerative disease is Parkinson’s. The cause? The death of
neurons that generate dopamine inside the brain. Like
Alzheimer’s disease, there is no cure for Parkinson’s
Studies published in The Journal of American Medical
Association have shown that coffee drinkers are up to
60% less likely to develop Parkinson’s. However, in this
case it’s directly related to the caffeine, as opposed to
the coffee itself.
Drinking decaf coffee won’t lower your risk of Parkinson’s. Protects Against Dementia Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, and it generally affects those over 65. There is no cure at this point, however, there are plenty of preventative steps you can take. In addition to exercising and eating healthily, coffee can be effective. Studies from Portugal’s Porto University Medical School have shown that drinking coffee can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by as much as 65%.
Protects The Liver
The liver handles a variety of important functions throughout the
body. There are several diseases that affect the liver, including
fatty liver disease, and hepatitis and these diseases can result in
cirrhosis of the liver, which is when the liver is destroyed by scar
Those who drink at least 4 cups of (black) coffee every day can protect their liver from cirrhosis, reducing the risk of liver disease by 80% (Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, Oakland).
Coffee for Weight Loss
Promotes Fat Burning
You may have noticed that caffeine is in pretty much in every fat burning supplement on the market, that’s because it’s one of the few naturally occurring substances that have been proven to assist in burning fat.
Coffee helps you burn more fat, thanks in large part to the presence of caffeine and an increased expression of the hormone adrenalin, also known as epinephrine, which signals fat cells to start freeing stored fat within the cells and make them available in blood where it is burned as fuel.
A study published in the Journal of Epidemiology that included more than 93,000 subjects found that those who drank more coffee had a lower risk of obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
Suppresses The Appetite
Drinking coffee helps you eat less and feel more satisfied while eating less food. Before meals
is the ideal time for a few sips of coffee to get the most benefits from its appetite suppressing
The Mayo Clinic cites research connecting appetite and caffeine. It reduces hunger pangs, as well as your craving to eat. You may have noticed that after enjoying a cup of coffee you feel full.
Caffeine in coffee can increase metabolic rate. According to studies from the Department of Nutrition at London’s King’s College caffeine boosts the metabolic rate by as much as 11%. In lean people, it can increase fat burning by almost 30% and in the obese by 10%.
Everyone’s favorite stimulant, caffeine raises alertness, combats sleepiness, and makes the body produce more adrenaline and the result is increased focus, drive, and productivity, ideal for workout motivation. Theophylline and theobromine are caffeine related stimulants, known as methlyxanthines that add an extra kick and make sure the energy gained from caffeine are smooth and regular, and don’t result in a crash and burn effect.
The New York Times reported that a cup of coffee before exercising improves performance,
especially when you’re embarking in an endurance sport.
Coffee boosts fatty acids within the blood stream,
allowing muscle to absorb and burn fats for fuel instead
which allows the body to save its carb reserves for use
later in the workout.
Caffeine found in coffee improves muscular contractions and blood flow, allowing for smoother neuro-muscular transitions and increased force of contraction. This is perfect for athletes who need a competitive edge while training or anyone involved in physical work for that matter, as its benefits should manifest as resistance to fatigue.
Try drinking a cup of coffee half an hour before your workout. One important fact to keep in mind is that best results are seen when coffee is drank black, which means it has zero calories, as adding just 2 teaspoons of sugar and an ounce of half and half adds 69 useless calories per cup. If you drink 3 cups a day that comes to an extra 207 calories daily and over the span of a year equals about 22 pounds of fat.
Assists With Muscle Repair
The Journal of Pain suggests that drinking just two cups of coffee can reduce muscle pain following a workout by 48%.
Helps Fight Depression
Depression has quite the hold on modern society, and it reduces quality of life significantly.
It’s common, affecting almost 5% of Americans. A Harvard Study from 2011 suggested that
women who drink at least 4 cups of coffee every day reduce their risk of depression by up to
JAMA posted a study showing that drinking at least 4 cups of coffee a day can reduce the risk of suicide by 53%.
Do you find yourself to be at your most
productive when stressed, depressed or
anxious? No? You are not alone, as emotional
state plays an important role in your focus and
even energy levels.
Consumption of coffee raises brain chemicals that promote a sense of wellbeing, allowing you to perform in a state of emotional efficiency. People who drink four cups of coffee a day are around 10% less likely to be affected by depression, compared to people who have never drank coffee. The reason isn’t related to caffeine, rather the antioxidants found in coffee (The National Institute of Health).
A study from South Korea’s Seoul National University showed that just the smell of coffee could actually reduce the effects of stress that results from sleep deprivation. Your nose knows a good thing when it smells it, and coffee is no exception.
Caffeine blocks certain receptors in brain cells that cause inflammation and the many diseases it causes. This is also how coffee gets its stimulating “wake-up” effect. It also has a unique influence on your immune system. People who drink more coffee have fewer inflammatory molecules.
Enhances Motor Function
Motor function refers to the efficiency with which we are able to perform tasks with our limbs, such as performing repetitive tasks with your hands, such as on a keyboard, or doing data entry. It is for this reason that coffee/caffeine rules the roost when it comes to improving efficiency of doing repetitive tasks, but not necessarily tasks that require technical processing.
Black coffee can kill the bacteria in plaque that forms on the teeth, resulting in tooth decay. This benefit is negated by adding sugar to the beverage (Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, KLE Society's Institute of Dental Sciences, Bangalore, Karnataka-22, India).
Reduced Risk of Retinal Damage
Coffee beans contain chlorogenic acid, which ends up in the finished drink. Chlorogenic acid can reduce the risk of retinal damage, caused by oxidative stress (Cornell University).
Reduced Risk of MS
Drinking at least four cups of coffee every day can reduce the risk of Multiple Sclerosis. The belief is that it prevents the inflammation that leads to the development of the disease (the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, & Psychiatry).
Caffeine acts as a pain suppressant and an anti-inflammatory, helping you to feel less pain and discomfort.
Extends Your Life
It makes sense when you think about, since coffee can reduce your risk of so many diseases,
it stands to reason that it can also extend your life.
According to studies from the Annals of Internal Medicine, coffee drinking lowers risks of
premature death for women by 26% and for men by 20%.
The September 2012 Harvard Health Letter reports that there is a strong association between coffee consumption and reduced risks of premature death from heart disease, type 2 diabetes, respiratory diseases and others.
A newer study (Association of Coffee Consumption with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality in Three Large Prospective Cohorts; Ding, et al) found that subjects who drank three to five cups of coffee daily had a 15% lower risk of premature death as compared to subjects who did not drink any coffee.
“We examined the associations of consumption of total, caffeinated, and decaffeinated coffee with risk of subsequent total and cause-specific mortality among 74,890 women in the Nurses' Health Study (NHS), 93,054 women in the NHS 2, and 40,557 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study.”
The study concluded, “Higher consumption of total coffee, caffeinated coffee, and decaffeinated coffee was associated with lower risk of total mortality.” It’s important to note that this study’s results did not claim a causal relationship between coffee consumption and a longer life, but instead pointed to an association, and a lot remains unknown.
The study’s leader hypothesized that it is likely the combination of lignans, magnesium, quinines and other key phytochemicals in coffee that are working together to reduce risks for disease and extend lifespan. Since the benefits of increased lifespan in this study were seen with both caffeinated and decaffeinated varieties, caffeine is not likely to be the source of increasing lifespan. This is good news for those who want to avoid too much caffeine and yet still reap the benefits.
It’s also noteworthy that the reduced risks of death were lacking among study subjects who were smokers or former smokers. The most significant decreases in risk rates for premature death were seen with heart diseases, neurologic disorders, diabetes, and suicide.
Another study shows that the effect of reducing premature death is strongest in those with Type 2 diabetes, where drinking coffee reduced the risk of death by 30%.
How Much Coffee Will Benefit My Health?
According to the USDA’s dietary guidelines, three to 5 cups of coffee very day is the perfect
amount to reduce the risk of disease and protect your overall health.
Of course, it’s always possible to overdo it, as studies have shown that consuming more than
400 milligrams of caffeine daily can cause anxiety and/or insomnia. Everyone reacts
differently to caffeine, so while some people can be fine drinking three cups, others can feel
the jitters from just one cup.
One study pointed to 200 milligrams of caffeine, which is equal to about two cups to be more than enough to enhance cognitive function and improve mood. Adding sugar, flavored creamers, or cream can negate the benefits of coffee by adding unnecessary calories and fat, ideally, black coffee is the best as it has no calories, but you can use a natural sweetener such as Stevia and nonfat or low fat milk.
Caffeinated Versus Decaffeinated
Are the health benefits of coffee the same?
While it may be down to preference whether you reach for the caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee, research suggests that caffeine provides a variety of health benefits, when consumed in moderation.
Health Benefits Of Caffeine
Consuming moderate levels of caffeine every day results in a boost of energy, as well as boosting calorie burn, reduces fatigue, improves alertness and mental performance, enhances physical performance, improves the ability to solve problems and increases concentration, as well as boosting the overall function of the brain (The Journal of Nutrition).
Drawbacks Of Caffeine
Too much caffeine can elevate heart rate, depression, anxiety, nausea, difficulty sleeping, and increased urination. How Much Caffeine Is Safe? However, as stated above the USDA suggests that up to 5 cups of coffee daily is acceptable. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, then you may want to have a discussion with your doctor about how much caffeine is acceptable. The American Pregnancy Association suggests that you should keep your caffeine intake low or have none during pregnancy.
Benefits To Coffee
Which Is Better?
The choice is yours; however, many of the studies cited are based on caffeinated coffee beverages. This is, of course, because decaffeinated coffee goes through an entirely different process. Caffeine naturally occurs in coffee beans, so steps have to be taken to remove them.
You may want to consider slipping in a decaf coffee if you’re partial to a coffee in the
evenings or if you are prone to heartburn, anxiety, depression, stress, irregular heartbeats,
sleep issues, or chronic headaches.
If your doctor has told you to avoid caffeine because of medications you are taking, or certain medical conditions, then decaf is an excellent choice. The same can be said for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying for a baby.
Therefore, while some studies have shown there are health benefits to choosing decaf, many studies are based on caffeinated coffee.
Coffee Roasting Methods: Learning The Differences
Do you have a favorite coffee roast? Light, dark, or in between? The roast of the bean is what
determines the flavor that ends up in your cup. Before
the beans are roasted, green beans are soft, and they
have a fresh, somewhat grassy scent, and little taste. The
roast transforms them into the crunchy, aromatic, and
flavorful beans that we have come to know and love as
Other factors come in to play. Obviously, the two varieties play a part. Even if the beans are roasted to the same level, coffees from two different origins will taste markedly different. Other factors that affect taste include the grind, the method of processing, the age of the coffee, and the brewing method. The roast level, however, is the baseline, it’s a rough guide as to what type of taste you can expect.
The easiest way to describe the roast is by the color of the beans, which range from light to
extra dark. As beans absorb the heat during the roasting process, they become darker. At
higher temperatures, oils begin to appear on the
beans surface. Coffee beans vary greatly, so color
isn’t always an accurate method to judge the roast.
Your preference for roast is entirely subjective.
Those on the West Coast of the USA have long preferred a darker roast when compared to those on the East Coast. Additionally, Europeans have long favored darker roasts, especially throughout Italy, Spain, and France. In general, the categories of roast are as follows:
Light Roast - Most caffeine
Light roasts have very little oil on the surface and are light brown. They have a taste of toasted grain and an acidity. The flavors are far more pronounced in light roast coffees versus darker roasts. The light roast also retains more caffeine. Beans pop at 401°F, a light roast hasn’t reached that point.
Medium Roast - Less caffeine
A medium roast has more body than a light roast, and is medium brown. They have a far more balanced aroma, acidity, and flavor. There is a higher level of caffeine than darker roasts have, though less than light roasts. The medium roast hits temperatures of 410°F and 428°F between the first and second pop (or crack).
Medium Dark Roast - Even less caffeine
These are known to have a darker, richer color, and there is oil slightly showing on the beans surface. They are heavy bodied, and roasted to the start (or middle) of that second crack, which is temperatures of around 437° and 446°. The taste of the coffee can be spicy, with the aromas and flavors becoming more noticeable.
Dark Roast - Least caffeine
This coffee is like the color of chocolate. The beans are oily, which can usually be seen in the resulting cup of coffee. The flavors are concealed by the roast. It often tastes bitter, smoky, and in some cases: burnt. There is far less caffeine in dark roast coffees. A dark roast continues to roast beyond the end of the second crack, at temperatures of 464°F and higher, though the temperatures do not exceed 482°F, because at this point the beans become thin and burnt.
- The darker the coffee the less origin flavor, and less caffeine you will find
- Light roasts are more acidic, and the beans are dry
- The body gets heavier as it roasts, but when it hits the second crack, it thins
It’s all about aroma, taste, and flavor. You may turn to a light roast in the morning to get your caffeine kick, and then opt for a dark roast in the afternoon to avoid a rough sleep.
Coffee Health Benefits
Calorie Cautions When Drinking Coffee
All this talk of coffee has probably got you craving your favorite commercial coffee shop beverage. Here’s the thing… you’re probably consuming more fat, sugar, and calories than you could have ever imagined as you ordered that Half Caf, Skinny, Mocha Frappuccino with an extra shot and 5 pumps of vanilla syrup, topped with whipped cream.
These drinks are bad news, not just for your waistlines, but for stomping all over the amazing health benefits of coffee!
The Journal of American Dietetic Association exposed
the fact that one fourth of American’s calorie intake is from non-alcoholic beverages, and
accounts for half of their dietary added sugar. Ouch.
You may have been thinking about hitting the drive-thru for a quick fast food snack, and
thought better… instead choosing to hit up your favorite commercial coffee shop. Here’s the
thing, it’s not difficult to order your favorite coffee and rack up an additional 500 calories.
Think about that for a second. That’s like eating a quarter pounder between meals.
For some reason, people assume that drinks aren’t a significant source of calories, after all, it’s just a simple liquid, but a lot of them are very high in calories and weight gain promoting sugars. In fact, some contain the same calorie counts as small meals. Therefore, if you are partial to “coffee drinks,” you should make sure they are rare treats, and drink them with caution.
To drive the point home, just take a look at the following commercial coffee shop options and what they really contain so that the next time you think about a quick coffee, you’ll make the right choice for your health.
The following figures are based on whole milk drinks from commercial coffee chains:
Latte: A latte is typically one or two espresso shots topped with steamed milk. A small latte
contains 200 calories, while a large will take you
up to 341. The fat content for a small latte is 10.6
grams (of which 6.6g are saturated), and a large
contains 17.9 grams of fat (of which 11.2g are
You may have thought that a latte was a safe choice, but that large latte contains just under a 3rd of a woman’s recommended fat intake. Once you add your favorite flavor shot your harmless latte is now the equivalent of 10 pieces of bacon.
All is not lost, you can still enjoy a latte. Choose skimmed milk to reduce your calorie count to just 160 calories.
Cappuccino: A cappuccino is typically just one espresso shot, topped with a mix of steamed,
then foamed, milk. A small cappuccino contains 122 calories, while a large has 207 calories.
Fat wise, the small contains 6.4g (of which 4g
are saturated) and a large contains 10.7g (of
which 6.7g are saturate)
While it may be a better option than a latte, it is
still packed with saturated fat, which will clog
your arteries. You can make it healthy by asking
for skimmed milk, taking it down to 76 calories
for the small, and 129 for the large. Avoid
topping it with chocolate, if you must add a topper- opt for cinnamon.
Americano: An Americano is typically made with 2 shots of espresso and then topped with water (milk can be added if it is preferred). There are just 11 calories in a small, and 23 in a large (obviously, this will increase if you add sugar and milk). There is no fat in an Americano, unless you choose to add milk. The majority of people do choose to add milk to their Americano, which is essentially just a strong, black coffee. If you must add milk, always choose skimmed. Studies have suggested that high caffeine levels can leech calcium from your bones, however, milk can offset such a risk. Ideally, drink your Americano black, always avoid sugar, and if you must have milk- choose skimmed.
Espresso: An espresso is simply coffee and water, it is usually one, or two shots of coffee. A
single espresso contains just 6 calories, while a double contains 11. Provided you don’t add
sugar to your espresso (which adds another 16 calories per spoon) this is your low-calorie
coffee option. Don’t drink any more than 5 single espressos a day. Drinking an espresso
around half an hour before your workout
can be incredibly beneficial. Substances
within the caffeine in coffee triggers fats
released into the bloodstream, which allows
the body to use this for energy. It also helps
you burn fat faster.
There’s not many ways to make this drink healthier than it already is, however, a macchiato, which is simply an espresso and foamed milk, can provide you with calcium. Plus, there are just 20 calories in a double macchiato. It’s the flavors that kill you, so don’t even think about that caramel macchiato, a large one of those has over 17 grams of fat and 390 calories in it.
The above beverages are the healthy coffee drinks. They are the ones we often drink and
then feel smug about, because we resisted the urge to order something over the top. What
about the rest of the ultra-popular coffee chain hot drinks?
Hot Chocolate: While hot chocolate isn’t a coffee drink, many people turn to it in coffee shops because it doesn’t contain caffeine. However, hot chocolates are made with whole milk and generally topped with a liberal portion of whipped cream. A small hot chocolate has 357 calories, and 18.7 grams of fat (of which 10.7g are saturate). While, the large hot chocolate is 549 calories, and contains 27 grams of fat (of which 15.2g are saturated).
To put that into perspective, a large hot chocolate has the same fat content and calories as three hot dogs. To make matters worse, white hot chocolate contains 33.4 grams of fat and 719 calories! Beware: fast food chains often use a mix of non-dairy creamer and sugar to make their hot chocolates instead of milk. That creamer often contains more sugar, as well as partially hydrogenated oils (nasty trans fats).
If you have a hot chocolate craving you cannot get rid of, choose a small, skinny hot chocolate without the cream. This will add up to 209 calories, which isn’t great, but it certainly isn’t quite as awful in comparison.
Vanilla Frappuccino: Who doesn’t love a Vanilla Frappuccino? This blended drink is made from ice, milk, flavored syrup, and is often topped with cream. The small size adds up to 344 calories and 12.5 grams of fat (of which 7g are saturated). While the large contains 530 calories and 18 grams of fat, (of which 9.9g are saturated).
A blended drink on its own is just 190 calories for a small. It’s the addition of flavored syrups
that sends the fat and calories out of control. In fact, you’d be better off ordering a small pizza.
You can save up to 130 calories just by cutting the whipped cream out of the occasion. Make
sure you stay small, ask for the low-fat option, and forget about the flavors, even though
Mocha: A mocha is around 75% steamed milk, it comes with as many as 3 espresso shots, as well as 4 pumps of chocolate, and then it’s finished with whipped cream.
A small mocha contains 255 calories and 9.3 grams of
fat (of which 5.4g are saturated). The large mocha
contains 484 calories and 25.3 grams of fat (of which
14.3g are saturated).
This incredibly fatty option also contains 41 grams of sugar in a large. Of course, it could be worse, as with the hot chocolate- choosing a white chocolate mocha takes you up to 28.9 grams of fat, and 628 calories. If you have to have a mocha order it skinny, and without cream.
Chai Tea Latte: This spiced tea drink has become
incredibly popular, and it’s made with honey and
whole milk. A small chai latte contains 210 calories
and 5.3 grams of fat (of which 3.3g are saturated),
and a large contains 363 calories and 9.2 grams of
fat (of which 5.7 are saturated). Sounds much
healthier, right? Plus, tea has antioxidants, so this
sounds like a winner. Unfortunately, the whole milk
and the honey soars the fat and calorie counts. In fact, the large has more calories than a
simple cheese sandwich.
You can order healthier. Simply opt for a black or green iced tea (without milk) which has no saturated fats and no calories to speak of. Even better is a black tea without sugar, you get a fat free drink that’s also packed with antioxidants. As mentioned above, we know the health benefits that coffee has. So, the important thing is making sure you’re getting the best of those benefits by making sure your daily coffees are as healthy as can be.
5 Tips To Cut Calories In Coffee Drinks
- Go skinny, use skimmed or non-fat milk
- Always pass on creamers and whipped creams, they can add 7 grams of fat and up to 120 calories
- Forego sugar. You may love sugar, but if you’re drinking between 3 and 5 cups of coffee every day, those sugars are adding right up. That goes for flavor syrups too, which counts for 70 calories in just one shot. If you must have a flavor choose a sugar-free syrup, or opt for a sweetener instead
- Forget chocolate or caramel toppings, they can add 15 calories to your drink
- Low-fat milky coffees are a good option simply because they can provide you with 200mg of calcium
- Of course your best option is black coffee, plain and simple
The Health Benefits of Coffee
It doesn’t seem like it was that long ago when people were worried that their coffee consumption was going to give them an ulcer, or stop their heart midbeat. Obviously excessive amounts of coffee (or more to the point: caffeine) can result in health problems, particularly if you’re a sucker for coffee chain stores that sell coffee drinks packed with sugar, calories, and saturated fats.
Nevertheless, drinking three cups of coffee every day is totally cool, in fact the USDA suggests you can drink as many as 5. The key, of course, is drinking it black (or opting for skimmed milk), but aside from that- it’s time to stop worrying about coffee being an unhealthy beverage option.
Look at the many health benefits, as discussed above, it can reduce the risk of depression, as
well as a variety of cancers, dementia, stroke, and heart disease. It can even reduce the risk
of Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, and Type II diabetes.
Perhaps the most studied ingredient of coffee is caffeine, which we know has exceptional
benefits to brain power, physical activities, focus, and
memory. There are literally thousands of substances in
coffee, though, and it’s these lesser known antioxidants
that are responsible for the truly incredible benefits of
While the majority of studies use caffeinated coffee, decaffeinated coffee also contributes to many of the same health benefits. No one is suggesting that coffee is the new water. However, the USDA does suggest in their guidelines that you enjoy 5 cups a day.
The Benefits of Coffee for your Health
When you do enjoy those cups of coffee, you can rest easy knowing that your habit is
contributing to your health in the long-term. That is, of course, as long as you’re not adding 6
sugars and creamer to every cup you’re enjoying.
Now you have learnt the benefits of coffee for your health, you now know coffee is as healthy as you make it.