Coffee is amongst the most popular and widely-consumed beverages in the world. Surprisingly, it is also one of the most misunderstood. There are many myths and misconceptions about coffee, and the truth behind these myths may come as a surprise.
Myth #1: Lattes Have More Caffeine than Brewed Coffee
Many people shy away from espresso-based drinks, fearing that the caffeine content will keep bouncing off the walls all day or awake all night. In reality, a 16 ounce latte actually contains far less caffeine than a 16 ounce drip coffee.
According to the Mayo Clinic, espresso has about 64mg of caffeine per ounce, compared to the 12mg in an ounce of brewed coffee; however espresso makes up only a small portion of a latte or other espresso-based coffee drink. A 16 ounce brewed coffee has about 190mg of caffeine. A 16 ounce latte has only about 2 ounces of espresso containing only 128mg of caffeine; the rest of the latte is made up of steamed milk.
Myth #2: Coffee Should be Stored in the Freezer
The freshness of coffee is important to the quality of the finished cup. Ideally, beans should be kept whole and ground on an as-needed basis, and used within two weeks of roasting, for the best results. However, this is not always an option.
Keeping ground coffee tasting fresh is a matter of keeping the beans’ oils, which are essential to the coffee’s flavor, from breaking down over time. This means reducing coffee’s exposure to air. But the beans still need to breath. Many coffees now come in special packaging with a one-way air valve, allowing the coffee to breathe without letting any additional air into the bag. Coffee is best stored in these bags or another specially-designed container, and should be stored in a cool, dry place.
Cool does not mean cold! Storing coffee beans in the refrigerator or freezer may seem like a logical way to keep them fresh, but in truth, the extreme cold is not good for the coffee beans and their oils. Storing the beans at low temperatures will dry them out. Heat, light, and moisture also contribute to degrading the oils in coffee beans. The best place to store coffee is in a cupboard or pantry, in an airtight container.
Myth #3: Drinking Coffee is Unhealthy
It is commonly believed that drinking coffee is bad for one’s health. It’s not the consumption of coffee that is bad, but rather having too much caffeine that can cause problems. Consuming excessive amounts of caffeine can contribute to insomnia, anxiety, irregular heartbeat, and many other unpleasant side effects. Those with conditions effecting the heart, are prone to anxiety attacks, or have mood swings may want to avoid having too much caffeine.
While the caffeine content of coffee may have some adverse effects, there are many other compounds in coffee that are good for one’s health. In fact, studies show that drinking coffee has many health benefits. WebMD reports that coffee drinkers are less likely to develop diabetes, especially in those who drink six or more cups a day. Coffee drinkers are also 80% less likely to develop Parkinson’s Disease or liver cirrhosis, and 25% less likely to be diagnosed with colon cancer. There is evidence that coffee can help prevent cavities, lift moods, cure headaches, and even stop asthma attacks!
Knowing the truth behind these coffee myths will help in choosing coffee beverages, in brewing a fresher cup of coffee, and even in living a healthy lifestyle. It may even bring more enjoyment out of drinking this popular beverage!