coffee

13 Coffee Myths And Misconceptions To Forget And Enjoy Your Coffee Better

Is there anything in the world that will stop you from drinking and enjoying your cup of joy at any time of the day?

I remember when I was just starting drinking coffee, I would always hear here and there things about coffee that will make me suspicious about whether is it good to drink coffee or not.

Coffee has been subjected to many contradictions and misunderstandings that were making casual coffee drinkers rather confused.

Fortunately, in the last ten years or more, many of those contradictions and negative attributes have been proved wrong, especially when it comes to whether drinking coffee is healthy or not and there are many studies conducted in order to do so.

Here’s a list of some most common myths and misconceptions about coffee I’ve heard, and even believed some of them, that are explained in a way that will make you enjoy your cup of coffee even more.

Myth #1. Coffee Is Not A Bean

Coffee isn’t a bean. While the coffee “beans” looks like beans a lot, they are actually seeds, or pits, from a fruit that grows on the coffee plant.

Initially, the coffee plant grows delicate red fruits called cherries. These cherries are not great for eating since they are mostly skin and seeds, but they are highly sweet and packed with antioxidants. Inside there are two seeds which are the coffee seeds. In about 5% of all the coffee cherries, there will be one seed, and that’s called a peaberry. Peaberries are often sorted out and sold separately, prized for their sweet flavor.

Being a coffee seed doesn’t mean you can plant it at home. Due to roasting, the beans we grind and brew are not plantable anymore.


Myth #2. European Coffee Doesn’t Come From Europe

Whenever you are buying European coffee, it means it’s imported and roasted, and packaged in Europe. Coffee beans don’t grow in Europe. They grow in Central and South America, East and West Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Asia, and Hawaii.

If your coffee beans say they’re from Ethiopia, that’s where they were grown. But if the bag says they’re from somewhere in Europe, it likely means the coffee was roasted there, and that’s bad. Roasting brings out the flavors in coffee, but those flavor compounds start to break down shortly after they’re roasted. Coffee roasted outside your locale has likely sat in a shipping container or cargo plane for a long time. So when it arrives, all those flavors that make the coffee so tasty in a Parisian café have greatly degraded. 

That’s why my advice is to always buy locally roasted coffee beans and grind them at home.


Myth #3. Dark Roast Has More Caffeine Than Light Roasts

We often hear that darker coffee is “stronger,” meaning it contains more caffeine, and that’s not strictly true. When green coffee goes into a roaster, it’s literally just toasted to different levels of doneness—just like your morning toast. 

Obviously, both dark and light roast has the same amount of caffeine.

But, it’s just a little more complicated than that.

When beans are roasted, they lose some of their mass, so dark-roasted beans, which have been cooked longer, weigh less than light-roasted beans. Therefore, a gram of dark roast will have slightly more beans than a gram of beans roasted lighter.

When you brew, if you measure out your beans by volume (like with a scoop), the light roast will produce a more caffeinated coffee. However, if you measure by weight, then the darker roast brewed coffee will have more caffeine. 

This has made me confused in the first place, so watch this video where it’s explained better.

Which Has More Caffeine, Light Roast or Dark Roast Coffee?

Video credit to Nick Uhas

Myth #4. Real Coffee Lovers Don’t Drink Decaf

Decaf coffee is unfairly maligned. It’s often considered to be low-quality and that it’s not for ‘real coffee drinkers’. Both of these things are false.

There are plenty of reasons to drink decaf coffee. You may have caffeine sensitivity, or you may just enjoy the taste of espresso after a meal without having to pay for it by tossing and turning in bed all night. 

Decaf coffee is just like regular coffee, except that it has most of the caffeine removed. The removing of the caffeine is a process where green coffee beans are being washed and soaked, so the caffeine becomes soluble, and then the caffeine is extracted through different techniques. The health experts say that modern techniques of decaffeination are safe and risk free. The Swiss water process uses washing of the green coffee beans in such a way that most of the caffeine content is extracted prior to being roasted, while the roasting lowers the caffeine content even more. Extracting the caffeine in this gentler way preserves the flavors of the coffee bean. The carbon dioxide process is also good.

It’s very important to know that decaf coffee has a slightly milder taste, which might be good for those who don’t like the bitter taste of coffee. However, it all depends on your taste, from the method of decaffeination used, the origin of the beans, roasting, etc. You should probably do a lot of tasting before you find your favourite decaf coffee.

Watch this video to learn more about how coffee is decaffeinated.

Video credit to Seeker

Myth #5. Espresso Has The Most Caffeine Than All Other Coffee Drinks

Wander into a coffee house and ask anyone, except maybe the barista, which drink has the highest amount of caffeine, and most of the time the answer will be espresso.

This misconception about espresso is centered around the fact that a shot of espresso is more concentrated than a standard brew. Espresso is traditionally served in a small, single-shot cup because of its concentration.

It may seem that espresso has higher amounts of caffeine than a standard cup (230gr) of drip coffee, but it actually doesn’t.

Your average cup of drip coffee has between 70–140 mg of caffeine, whereas a shot of espresso (about 50 gr.) has between 60–80 mg of caffeine.

To be fair, in a gram per gram comparison, espresso brewed coffee does have more caffeine than a standard brew. However, few of us are brave enough to fill our coffee mugs to the brim with shots of espresso.

The next time you are looking for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, an old-fashioned cup of joe will give you a bit more of an edge than a single shot espresso drink.


Myth #6. Freezing Your Coffee Will Keep Its Freshness Longer

To decide if you are going to beleive this myth or no, It’s very important to know what are the things that your coffee beans hate, in order to choose the right way of storing them:

  • light 
  • heat
  • moisture
  • air

Keeping them too long, or open, leads to oxidization, which results in the loss of aromas and essential oils, eventually leaving your coffee stale. Heat and moisture accelerate the process significantly, as does light, but to a lesser degree. To ensure that your coffee beans stay fresh, you need to do everything possible to guard against these 4 things.

The main consideration in this question is that coffee absorbs moisture, odor, and taste from the air around it.

That’s why, if you plan to freeze the coffee beans, it’s very important to use a truly airtight container that won’t allow any moisture, or freezer taste to affect the flavor of the coffee beans.

When you need to take coffee from the freezer, quickly remove as much as you need for no more than a week at a time, and return the rest to the freezer before any condensation forms on the frozen coffee.

However, this didn’t work for me. And it’s easier for me to buy smaller ammount of coffee beans, that I know I will be able to consume within a week or two. I this way, I’m sure I always drink freshly roasted coffee from local coffee roasters.


Myth #7. You Should Use Boiling Water When Brewing Your Coffee

Water temperature is essential in the brewing process because it affects the rate of extraction. Extraction refers to the flavors and substances that are dissolved from the coffee beans into your cup. The hotter the water, the quicker it is to extract compounds such as oils, acids, and caffeine. Each of these substances has a different impact on the coffee’s flavor, and at a higher temperature, it’s tougher to control the rate of extraction. This can lead to over-extraction, making your coffee taste too bitter since the heat strips away a lot of oxygen.

So, according to the National Coffee Association, the ideal water temperature for extraction is between 90°C (195°F) and 96°C (205°F), which is a little below the boiling point of water – 100°C (212°F). What’s handy about this temperature range is that it works across all brewing methods. Whether you prefer the pour-over method, the French press, or something else, just stick within that temperature range, and you’re good to go. 


Myth #8. Coffee Dehydrates You

This is again something that many studies had proven wrong. According to Mayo Clinic, it is true that caffeinated drinks can contribute to your daily fluid requirement.

Drinking coffee as part of a normal lifestyle doesn’t cause fluid loss in excess of the volume ingested. While caffeinated drinks may have a mild diuretic effect — meaning that they may cause the need to urinate — they don’t appear to increase the risk of dehydration.

For caffeine to have a significant diuretic effect, studies show that you need to consume more than 500 mg per day — or the equivalent of 5 cups (40 ounces or 1.2 liters) of brewed coffee.

Researchers observed that drinking the higher caffeine coffee had a short-term diuretic effect, whereas the lower caffeine coffee and water were both hydrating.

In addition, other studies show that moderate coffee intake is as hydrating as drinking water.

So, even when coffee makes you urinate more, it shouldn’t dehydrate you — as you don’t lose as much fluid as you originally drank.


Myth #9. Coffee Helps You Lose Weight

Not exactly. The stimulating effects of caffeine can slightly — very slightly — increase your metabolism, but not enough to make a dent in your diet, especially in terms of long-term weight loss. Caffeine may reduce your desire to eat for a brief time, but there’s not enough evidence to show that long-term consumption aids weight loss.


Myth #10. Coffee Is Bad For Your Health

Calm down, everything is going to be fine. There’s even plenty of evidence from places like Harvard that coffee is good for you.

Consuming a moderate amount of (up to 300 milligrams or three cups of coffee) caffeine daily isn’t going to hurt you. If you have high blood pressure, you could experience a temporary rise in heart rate, but there is no link to caffeine, high cholesterol, or cardiovascular disease.

Read more about the Health Benefits Of Coffee

99 Health Benefits Of Coffee – Part 3 of 11

If you drink coffee, it’s important to know of its health benefits. There are many, so read through my posts as I explain 11 Health Benefits Of Coffee out of 99 each month.


Myth #11. Green Coffee Seeds Don’t Have Caffeine

Green beans have a much lower caffeine content than roasted coffee. Unlike roasted coffee, an average cup made out of green beans has about 20 percent more caffeine than one served with roasted coffee.

Green coffee contains caffeine, but in lower amounts than regular coffee. One cup of green coffee contains about 25-50% of the amount of caffeine found in one cup of regular coffee. Consuming large amounts of green coffee might cause caffeine-related side effects, including headache, anxiety, agitation, and irregular heartbeat.


Myth #12. All Coffee Has The Same Amount Of Caffeine

All coffee doesn’t have the same amount of caffeine.

There are two main types of coffee beans, Arabica and Robusta. On average, Robusta beans have twice as much caffeine content as Arabica beans.

The type of roast also has input on how much caffeine the coffee has. You already read earlier in this article, that lightly roasted coffee has more caffeine than dark roasted coffee.

And finally, the brewing method makes an important role in how much caffeine is extracted from the coffee.

It may seem that espresso has higher amounts of caffeine than a standard cup (230gr) of drip coffee, but it actually doesn’t.

Your average cup of drip coffee has between 70–140 mg of caffeine, whereas a shot of espresso (about 50 gr.) has between 60–80 mg of caffeine.

There might be some nasty side effects of unknown caffeine intake, so keep reading.

If you make your espresso a double shot then you are getting either just as much or more caffeine than you would with a regular cup of drip coffee.

Decaf coffee still has small traces of caffeine, and instant coffee is subject to differing levels of caffeine.


Myth #13. You Need Expensive Equipment To Brew Coffee

There are definitely fancy and expensive coffee machines and makers out on the market, but that’s only a choice. People have made great coffee over many centuries and still do with the simplest kitchen tools.

Coffee makers can be as simple as French press, Moka pot, and Chemex are only a few of the coffee makers that are not expensive and don’t even take up too much space in your kitchen. Moreover, a simple jar with a leed and cheesecloth is perfect to make a cold brew at home. Turkish coffee can be made at home with a small saucepot and still give you a strong flavored coffee drink.

Note that whatever tool you are using to make a coffee, make sure that you use fresh coffee beans, grind them for the needed and follow the right recipe.


My Final Words

Now that you know the truth about these myths and misconceptions, it will be easier for you to choose the kind of coffee beverage to make, and make you enjoy your coffee even more, every time.

And of course, make sure you use fresshly roasted coffee beans from your local roasteries.

How about you?

Is there another myth or misconception about coffee you want to share?

Share with me in the comments, I would love to hear from you.

Until next time,

Enjoy Your Coffee

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