Coffee is bad for your health, dark roast means strong, decaf is caffeine-free … all lies. Myths, lies, and down right terror-inspiring tales of our favorite black magic brew have been deceiving devotees and abstainers for decades. It’s time you learn the truth. Here’s part II of our of our myth-busting series.
All caffeinated coffee contains the same amount of caffeine: Nope! A coffee’s caffeine content is a product of the bean species, variety, and roast. First, species. Robusta beans have more caffeine than arabica beans (2.2-2.7% vs. 1.2-1.5%, respectively). Amongst arabica beans, certain varieties contain more caffeine than others. Kenya AA, for example, tends to have a higher caffeine content per bean than Yemen Mocha Matari. Roast also impacts a bean’s caffeine content as caffeine is burned off during the roasting process. This means that if the same bean is roasted to a light, medium, and dark shade, the light roast has the highest caffeine content.
Decaf is caffeine-free: Not true. Decaf is not caffeine free. While most high-quality decafs are 98-99% caffeine-free, a coffee is generally considered decaffeinated at 97% caffeine-free.
Dark coffee means strong coffee: Myth. Dark is a roast characteristic and any coffee can be roasted dark. Strength, on the other hand, refers to the grounds-to-water ratio used during brewing. The higher the ratio, the more concentrated the extraction; the lower the ratio, the weaker the extraction. Any coffee can be brewed “strong” or “weak”, it is entirely dependent on the individual making the coffee. To learn more about how the terms dark, strong, and bold relate to coffee, click here.
Coffee causes stomach ulcers: Not true. While consuming too much coffee, which is a mild laxative, in a short period of time can give you a stomach ache, research has conclusively shown that coffee consumption itself does not trigger, cause, or have any association with gastric ulcers. For more information, check out this article published by the US National Institute of Heath.
Freshly roasted beans make the best coffee: Lie! Coffee naturally develops CO2 during the roasting process and needs to degas, post-roast. Coffee ground and drunk right after roasting will taste sour and ripe. Typically, degassing beans takes anywhere from twenty-four hours to two weeks depending on the roast and degassing methods.
Coffee gives you acid reflux: Not quite true. While coffee itself does not cause acid reflux, highly acidic or highly caffeinated coffees can increase risk of acid reflux by loosening the lower esophageal sphincter. If you find that drinking coffee aggravates your acid reflux, try switching to a low-caffeine coffee such as a decaf or half-the-caffeination blend.
Caffeine causes heart problems: Myth. While coffee poses a slight risk for people already suffering from heart disease as it elevates heart rate, multiple studies have shown that drunk in moderation, by individuals not suffering from heart disease, coffee poses no risk. Want confirmation, click here to check an article published by Harvard Medical School.
There is a “best” way to brew: False. There are many great ways to brew! Brew method preference is much like coffee roast or texture preference. Different brew methods highlight different aspects of a coffee — drip brewers, for example, tend to produce a coffee with a lighter mouthfeel and highlights the upper notes. Immersion brewing (e.g., a French Press), on the other hand, tends to produce a coffee with a heavier mouthfeel and highlights the deep, rich base notes. To learn more about brew methods, click here.
Hope this has dispelled some coffee myths for you! To read part I of our myth-busting series, click here.
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The buzz about caffeine and health
No association of coffee consumption with gastric ulcer, duodenal ulcer, reflux esophagitis, and non-erosive reflux disease: a cross-sectional study of 8,013 healthy subjects in Japan.