It is finally time to clear the air about the top 10 coffee myths that I have come across in the recent years. Does Espresso really contain more caffeine than Filter? Is coffee really bad on an empty stomach? Let’s find out!
Coffee myths – Number 1: Espresso contains more caffeine than any other coffee based drink.
This myth is one of the hardest to get rid of but is also one of the easiest to explain. Caffeine can only get into your cup due to the extraction process. The longer your water stays in contact with the ground coffee, the more caffeine will end up in your coffee. Let’s take a look at this myth: an espresso has a brewing time between 24 and 30 seconds on average. A pour-over brew (on for example the Hario V60) has a brewing time from somewhere between 2 minutes and 4 minutes on average. The water used for a pour-over brewing method has a longer period of time to extract caffeine than the water that has been used for an espresso. So that’s your answer people: Espresso does not contain more caffeine than any other coffee based drink.
Coffee myths – Number 2: Drinking coffee on an empty stomach is bad for you.
My day starts with a cup of coffee before anything else. I have been doing this for years and I still don’t have Ulcers or any other complaints with my stomach. A lot of people still think that drinking coffee on an empty stomach is bad for your health and that it totally false. The inside of your stomach has a mucous that protects the stomach from the acids that digest your food. Dutch scientist Paul Boekema has studied this myth and concluded that drinking coffee on an empty stomach does not harm your stomach in any way. He also concluded that drinking coffee cannot cause Ulcers. According to this scientist the effect of a cup of coffee on an empty stomach has the same effect as eating a light breakfast.
Coffee myths – Number 3: Coffee is unhealthy for your heart and body.
Answer: False and True
Now this is a tricky one to answer and I will try to keep it short and to the point.
According to two researches done in the USA, one including more than 400,000 subjects and the other more than 1 million, show that there is no association between drinking coffee and the long-term risk of developing heart disease. In fact, results showed that if your drink 2-5 cups a day it even reduces the risk. People drinking coffee will have less chance developing the Alzheimer disease and are less likely to die from strokes and heart failures. High blood pressure then? Only if you already suffer from a high blood pressure in the first place. So why is the statement true as well? Unfiltered coffee will add the bad Cholesterol (LDL) to your body, so make sure you don’t to many espresso’s on a day and often switch to filtered coffee. Also the Caffeine might lead to sleeping problems at night when you drink too much caffeine throughout the day. Lack of sleep is not healthy at all.
Coffee myths – Number 4: Storing coffee in the fridge or freezer keeps it fresh.
Storing coffee in the refrigerator or freezer is not keeping your coffee fresh. As a matter of fact, it will even deteriorate the quality of your coffee. The answer to this myth is also quite simple. The fridge and freezer have a lot of humidity inside them. Humidity is coffee’s worst nightmare since it will affect the cell structure of the beans and cause a loss of oils that provide the aroma and flavours. Every time you open your fridge, or freezer, the humidity will condensate, creating the perfect environment for your coffee to deteriorate. So please, stop storing your coffee in the fridge or freezer!
Coffee myths – Number 5: Coffee Dehydrates you
Another one of those pesky myths about coffee that I want to clear out. In one study, published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, researchers found no evidence that a moderate consumption of any caffeine-containing drinks leads to the loss of fluids in excess of what’s being taken in. In other words: what’s going in, is going out. And how could that even be true when you know that 98% of your coffee is water?
Coffee myths – Number 6: Coffee sobers you up enough for you to drive.
When you’re drunk, or tipsy, a cup of coffee seems like a great idea to sober up a little right? Wrong! The caffeine in coffee will make you believe you are more alert and responsive to your surroundings. But the alcohol will still delay the reaction time you need to, for example, properly drive home. The problem is that the caffeine will make it harder for you to recognize that you’re drunk and that is where the problems start. So please listen: Caffeine has no sobering powers…let someone drive you home, go to bed and sleep it off.
Coffee myths – Number 7: The effects of caffeine differ per person.
Whenever I tell people how much coffee I drink on a daily basis, they all ask me if I have problems sleeping at night. The answer is ‘no’, I do not have any problems sleeping at night. Caffeine does have the same effect on people; it will prevent you from sleeping when your had too much of it before you go to bed. But how much caffeine a person can handle depends on the persons metabolism. Some people have metabolisms that have a hard time processing the caffeine in their body. These people sometimes drink just two cups a day. Other people have a metabolism that processes the caffeine much faster. I am one of the latter; I can easily drink 10 cups of coffee throughout the day and fall asleep at night without any problems. So just as with alcohol and other stuff: some people handle caffeine easier than others.
Coffee myths – Number 8: Having a good espresso machine is more important that a good coffee grinder.
This is a myth that I come across way too often. A lot of people ask my advice when they are thinking about buying a coffee machine. Most of the time they want to spend 75% to 90% of their budget on a machine and 25% to 10% on a grinder. But when you look at the coffee brewing process it is easy to see why this statement is false. When brewing coffee the water enters the cells of the ground coffee and extracts all the right stuff. The only thing your machine does is get the water there at the right time, with the right temperature and the right pressure. But if your coffee grounds are uneven in size and form, the water will not reach each cell. The result is a coffee that isn’t as tasteful as it could be. So in order to get the best out of your coffee, you will want your ground coffee consistent in size and form and that is where the grinder comes in. A mediocre machine with a great grinder will give you better coffee than a great machine with a mediocre grinder.
Coffee myths – Number 9: Vacuum packed coffee is fresh coffee.
The problem with this statement is that it would be true if it was about, say, meat. To vacuum food means to keep it fresh over a longer period of time. The problem with your coffee is that it was roasted before it was vacuum packed. Why is that a problem? Well, it has everything to do with the de-gassing of the coffee when it is roasted. When coffee is roasted, gas will form inside the beans. This gas, mostly Carbon Dioxide, will evaporate over a period between 5 and 12 days. If you would vacuum the coffee when it is still fresh, the package will bloat because of the evaporating gasses. Do you see where I am going with this? Buying vacuum packed coffee tells you that this coffee is not fresh, you are being fooled. Better buy your beans at a local roastery!
Coffee myths – Number 10: Water can make or break a cup of coffee.
If I would get a euro for every time someone said ‘False’ to this statement, I would be having dinner with Elon Musk and Bill Gates any day of the week. Your cup of coffee is 98% water. This means that the water and it’s contents have a huge impact on the quality of your coffee. Inside your tap water is a lot of stuff that will affect the taste: substances from minerals, from water treatment (chlorine), substances from the water supply system such as copper and iron, residues from pollution, medicines and of course the germs. This can give your coffee weird flavours that you don’t want to taste. There are a lot of lists on the internet of mineral water that you can buy in supermarkets that are amazing for brewing coffee. Don’t use your tap water if you want to get the best out of your coffee.