Coffee has been around for centuries, and with every passing year it gains new fans all across the globe. But with that popularity comes myths about coffee and erroneous misconceptions about this glorious brew. In this article, we do a deep dive into those coffee myths and set the record straight so that everyone understands the facts about coffee – about its impact on your health, for example, and other much-debated issues. We’ve got the straight goods, so you can enjoy a cup of your favorite coffee without worrying whether your information is accurate.
Here’s a look at the most common coffee myths circulating today. We separate fact from fiction, truth from myth so that you can enjoy your morning brew.
Is coffee good for you?
We’re delighted to report that many studies have been done on the health benefits of coffee and the outcomes prove that overall, coffee is actually good for you.
You may be surprised to learn that coffee can even have a positive effect on your health in several ways. For example: drinking coffee regularly can help lower your risk of developing heart disease and arrhythmia. Other studies demonstrate that, while coffee lovers sometimes worry that sipping too much Joe might shorten their lives, we’re happy to say that’s not true! Several scientific studies have shown that drinking coffee can help increase longevity. And don’t forget how a cup of coffee can increase energy and focus, both of which come in handy when you’ve got a long day ahead and you need to concentrate on a variety of tasks.
There is a caveat, however, and this is not a coffee myth. Like any beverage, it is indeed possible to have too much of a good thing. Drinking coffee late at night might keep you awake, and not getting enough rest impairs your well-being. If you find this happening, adjust your coffee intake, and make sure you stop drinking it by eight in the evening, or so.
Does freshly grinding your own coffee beans significantly alter the flavor?
Your coffee is simply going to taste better if you grind the beans yourself. There is a coffee myth that says this doesn’t really matter that much, but it does! Once you start grinding the beans each day you’ll agree that the flavor is a whole lot better than the coffee made with pre-ground beans. Don’t let this coffee myth fool you – take an extra couple of minutes to grind your own; we guarantee you’ll notice a big difference.
Grinding your own fresh coffee beans is like grinding your own peppercorns – both flavors are made much better by doing it yourself. Coffee tastes richer, deeper, fuller, and more complex when you grind the beans at home, all the traits you want in a great cup of coffee. So don’t let this coffee myth sway you into buying pre-ground beans. Buy fresh beans, grind them just before you brew your morning pot, and you’ll be delighted by the huge improvement in taste and aroma.
Embracing the art of grinding your own coffee is a wonderful endeavor that reaps incredible benefits.
Are manual coffee grinders tastier than electric grinders?
How good a cup of coffee is depends entirely on subjective standards. Some people like their coffee to be strong and bold; others prefer a brew that’s not too robust. Does your grinder affect this, or is that just another coffee myth? Should you choose a manual grinder or an electric one? That depends on how you like coffee to taste. Manual grinders allow you to really control the size of the grind, which in turn affects how the coffee tastes. A manual grinder doesn’t produce much heat, which means the grind’s delicate flavors are preserved. If you like a gentle cup of coffee, you may find that a manual grinder does the job best suited to the flavor you enjoy most. But electric grinders offer convenience and speed, and the grind sizes are consistent.
In the end, what matters most is how you brew your pot of coffee. This affects the taste far more than which kind of grinder you buy. For example, a French press allows more oils to stay in the coffee than a drip coffee maker does. A drip maker uses a filter (paper or permanent) that traps oils and other tiny particles, thereby lessening the punch of the coffee’s taste.
The flavor of your coffee is determined by several factors, including not only the brewing method but also the beans you’re using (are they fresh?) and the water temperature. Manual and electric grinders both make excellent coffee, so choose one that suits you – how much space you have for storing it, for example, and how quickly you like to brew a pot.
Which climate is optimal for coffee cultivation?
A common coffee myth is that only certain climates can grow good beans. There are a few essential factors needed to grow good coffee. It’s true that a location must have days that are warm and sunny, and the evenings should be cool. These climate conditions are commonly found at higher altitudes because lower ones tend to lack cool evenings. That’s a crucial component of growing good coffee beans because of the distinction between daytime temperatures and those of the evenings. Cool temperatures at night help slow the ripening of the beans, which in turn allows the flavors to deepen and grow richer.
There are certain countries famous for their coffee beans, including Costa Rica, Columbia, Panama, and Kenya. However, there are some locales, including Hawaii, that bust the coffee myth that only higher ground is suitable for growing coffee beans. Because the islands of Hawaii get cool sea breezes coming in at night, their islands grow exceptionally good coffee beans without the benefit of high altitudes.
Does light roast or dark roast coffee contain more caffeine?
The darker the roast the more caffeine it has. No! That’s a coffee myth.
Many people associate a dark roast cup of coffee with a higher dose of caffeine. Not true! It’s tempting to think that the darker the coffee appears the stronger it must be in terms of caffeine, but that’s a coffee myth.
In fact, lighter roast coffees keep their caffeine more or less intact. But darker roasts undergo a longer processing time, which is why they may lose some of their caffeine. This is a perfect example of how appearances can sometimes be deceiving!
Other factors that impact the caffeine content include whether the coffee is Arabica or Robusta, as well as its elevation and quality. Consequently, the roast level itself is not a crucial factor to be overly concerned about.
At what temperature does coffee achieve its best flavor?
There are two points to this question: what temperature should coffee be when you make it, and at what temperature should you serve it? Many people love a steaming hot cup of coffee, but actually, the flavors come through better if it’s cooled off a little.
In fact, most baristas say the perfect degree for serving coffee is closer to your body temperature than a boiling kettle. Flavors in the coffee have a chance to really come through once it’s cooled a bit. If you let your mug sit for just a few minutes, the taste of your coffee will improve significantly.
Depending on the style of brewing machine you’ve got, make your coffee with either cold water – as with an automatic coffee maker – or boiling water, as with a French press or drip coffee maker. But when it comes to sipping, your best bet is to let it rest for a moment or two!
What’s the best coffee grounds to water ratio?
There isn’t any formula carved in stone – again, this depends on how strong you like your coffee. But here’s a general guideline: for every liter of water, use 60 grams of coffee. This can be translated into a ratio of one part coffee to 16 parts water, although a range of 15 to 17 is also acceptable. If the coffee tastes great using this guideline, stick with it. To make it a bit stronger, cut the water amount or add a few more coffee grounds. Feel free to experiment!
Buying a kitchen scale can help enormously with this. Play around with the amounts a little bit, and you’ll soon figure out the right amount of grounds and water to make the perfect pot of coffee. Also, a kitchen scale is helpful for cooking and measuring ingredients.
Cold brewed and iced coffee: are they the same?
They aren’t! It’s a coffee myth that cold brew and iced coffee are the same.
Cold-brewed coffee means you use cold or room-temperature water to make a pot of coffee. Pour water over the grounds in a carafe, and let it sit for 12 hours, or even overnight. The grounds infuse the water with a delicious, rich taste that’s perfect for making iced coffee in the summer. Cold-brewed coffee makes excellent iced coffee, but the two terms are not interchangeable!
According to Baristas, cold brew coffee often possesses a distinct flavor that appeals to some individuals while others may detect slight oxidation or staleness. Despite this, many people find cold brew coffee to be more stomach-friendly and appreciate its unique taste. If you are a fan of cold brew, it is advisable to continue enjoying it. However, if you are open to exploring different options for cold coffee, you can try iced coffee for a new and varied experience.
How many cups of coffee are too many?
Because caffeine levels vary in different coffees, it’s sometimes hard to know how much you’re consuming in a day. Most guidelines suggest it’s not the coffee itself you should limit, but rather the caffeine. And caffeine comes from other sources, not just coffee. For example, soda is filled with caffeine. But some coffees do contain more caffeine than others – a cappuccino, for example, has more caffeine than a regular cup. Most doctors recommend no more than three or four cups of coffee per day, and that you drink it mostly during the day to avoid disturbing your sleep.
Some folks are able to drink quite a bit of coffee throughout the day and even after dinner without it impeding their sleep. If you’re one of these people, go ahead and enjoy an espresso after supper! But no more than four cups spread throughout the day and evening is the healthiest approach.
Full immersion vs. filter: Which is preferred?
Immersion brewing and filter brewing are considered two of the best ways to brew coffee. Immersion brewing refers to a maker such as a French press, into which you first put the grounds, then pour boiling water over them, allowing the coffee to rest until the grounds settle. Filter brewing uses a paper or permanent filter, often cone-shaped, into which you put grounds and then pour boiling water in gradually.
It’s a coffee myth that one technique is superior to the other – it depends on how you like your coffee. Do you enjoy a robust taste that’s strong and rich? If so, immersion brewing might be best. Or do you prefer a milder cup of coffee, without too much bite? If so, the filter method might be the one for you. Just from the simplicity and convenience point of view, the French press is often appreciated. It effortlessly produces a rich brew from a variety of coffee beans. Therefore, in terms of ease of use, full-immersion brewing tends to be favored.
Is freezing beans okay or is this a coffee myth?
No, it’s not a coffee myth! You can certainly freeze coffee beans, as long as they’re in an airtight container and you don’t leave them there for too long. Several weeks is the recommended length of time you can freeze beans, but there is one caveat: don’t keep opening and resealing the container. Doing that allows air to get at the beans, and speeds them going stale. Now that we’re talking about storing beans, here’s a coffee myth lots of folks believe: it’s fine to keep coffee beans in the fridge. It’s not!
Freezing beans for several weeks is fine; storing them in the fridge for use each day is not. Keep them in an airtight container, either in the pantry or on a kitchen counter – any spot that doesn’t get direct light.
What distinguishes a latte, cappuccino, and flat white?
Espresso-based drinks include cappuccino, latte, and flat white. They are all quite different in terms of taste and strength. A latte is the weakest of these three, with a mild flavor and a silky layer of white foam on top. A cappuccino is the opposite – a strong coffee with a denser layer of foam. A flat white is an Antipodean invention, and it’s a kind of blend of the first two. A flat white is stronger, like a cappuccino, but it has the smooth texture of a latte.
They all vary in strength and smoothness, but a flat white combines the best features of a cappuccino with the best features of a latte – the best of all possible worlds!
Does coffee stunt your growth?
This is a true coffee myth! There is no scientific evidence whatsoever to suggest that drinking coffee can affect an individual’s height. Although it can have a diuretic effect, increasing your urine output, it doesn’t affect the calcium levels in your bones.
Overall health and genetics determine your height; coffee intake has nothing to do with it.
Among different coffee types, does espresso have the highest caffeine level?
The answer is: that depends.
Remember: espresso is traditionally served in tiny cups, so the serving amount is small. But if you have a drink like an Americano, with two or three shots of espresso, then sure, you’re getting a lot of caffeine. It’s the serving size that truly determines how much caffeine is in a coffee.
The average shot of espresso contains about 63 milligrams of caffeine. A pot of brewed coffee can have between 95 and 165 milligrams in an 8-ounce serving. If you’re concerned about your caffeine intake, avoid specialty coffees like the Americano, which can have several shots of espresso. It’s important to consider factors like serving size and personal caffeine tolerance when comparing caffeine levels in different coffee beverages.
Why do folks add milk and sugar to their coffee?
Adding milk to a mug of coffee hides bitterness, giving the coffee a smoother, milder taste. It also hides harshness, if (for example) the pot has been kept warm on the stove for too long.
Adding sugar lends coffee a little sweetness and it can diminish acidity and bitterness. Most folks add a little of one or the other to smooth out their coffee’s flavor. However, a truly excellent coffee should be able to stand on its own.
There are a number of items people add to coffee that can change their taste. A dash of vanilla extract or hazelnut, for example, lends your coffee a unique flavor while still tasting like the cup of coffee you love.
Science continues to dash coffee myths and study how this much-loved beverage is actually good for us. It even has health benefits you may not have considered, like helping you stay hydrated throughout the day. But like anything you consume, pay attention to how coffee affects you and stick with amounts that make you feel good.
The next time you buy some beans to roast at home, think about all the ways coffee helps make your mornings such a pleasure, and all the ways it’s actually good for you. Enjoy!