There are many things we have heard about coffee over the years, and much of it has been negative. We’re going to debunk these false facts! Find out the truth now behind 20 of these coffee myths.
Myth 1: Afternoon/Late Night Coffee Causes Insomnia
As we know, caffeine is a stimulant. But did you know that 75% of the coffee you just drank will flush through your liver and out of your body within 4-7 hours? Therefore, that afternoon cup should be gone by bedtime. The evening cup may keep you up a little longer than bedtime but won’t keep you up all night. However, in order to allow for healthy sleep, caffeine should be avoided after 5 p.m.
Myth 2: Yay or Nay—Boiling Water to Make Coffee?
This one is a nay. Extra-hot water = the burnt taste of coffee. If you use water over 200˚ F, the water will extract the oils from the grounds and it may even scorch them.
Myth 3: Need to Sober Up? Coffee Will Do the Trick
This one is a dangerous myth. Even though caffeine can make a drunk person more alert, it does not magically sober them up. It is worse for you to drink coffee while drunk as it can cloud your better judgment. If it makes you more alert, you may think you’re okay to drive drunk. Seriously, folks: don’t drink and drive!
Myth 4: Coffee is a Weight Loss Tool
While the stimulating effects of caffeine can slightly increase your metabolism and may reduce your appetite for a brief period of time, there is no evidence to show that long-term coffee drinking can aid in weight loss. Sorry to all those who want to lose a few pounds.
Myth 5 (And an Old Wives Tale): Coffee Stunts Growth
No one knows how or when this myth got started, but it’s true: there never has been any scientific evidence that supports the consumption of coffee stunting a person’s growth.
Myth 6: Pregnant Women Should Steer Clear of Coffee
It is strongly advised that women limit their intake to about one cup of coffee (200 milligrams) per day or less is safe. Caffeine consumption of more than 200-300 milligrams per day (2-3 cups of coffee, depending on portion, brewing method, and brand) may put a pregnancy at risk.
Decaf coffee may be the better choice than regular if caffeine consumption is a concern. However, the decision to drink coffee while pregnant is ultimately up to the mother and her healthcare professional.
Myth 7: Coffee Makes You Thirstier
The amount of water that is in your cup of coffee is what makes up for the dehydrating effects of caffeine. Basically, the water in the coffee balances out the caffeine in the coffee. Unless you drink higher amounts (more than a regular 2-3 cups), then you may see it acts as a diuretic in some people.
Myth 8: Coffee Causes Diseases
Before you jump to any conclusions, this isn’t Invasion of the Body Snatchers, you will be okay. Basically, coffee can make some disorders and diseases worse (or react to/with them), however, will not actually CAUSE any diseases or disorders. If you already have high blood pressure, you may experience a temporary rise in heart rate. Other diseases/disorders coffee may make worse are osteoporosis (thinning bones), glaucoma, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), diarrhea, diabetes, heart disease, bleeding disorders, anxiety disorders. There have been studies showing that coffee is beneficial rather than harmful.
Myth 9: A Darker Roast Means More Caffeine
The truth is the opposite. A darker roast coffee is coffee that has been burnt for a longer period of time than light roast. When roasting darker coffee, the caffeine is burned off, which gives it more of a smooth taste with a kick than a bitter, almost undrinkable one. So, the opposite is true: the lighter the roast is, the more caffeinated and stronger the coffee is, although its taste and how much more awake you feel after drinking either roast are different stories entirely.
Myth 10: The Same Amount of Caffeine is Found in All Coffee
This one is not true. Not all coffee is created equal, which explains why you may be a bit more amped up from one coffee place than another. For example, McDonald’s has only 109 milligrams of caffeine in a small (12 oz) cup of brewed coffee compared to 235 milligrams in a tall (12 oz) Pike Roast from Starbucks.
The main factors in caffeine content are the type of coffee beans, roasting, type of coffee and serving size.
Myth 11: When You Drink More, You Need More
While you do build up a greater tolerance to caffeine as you drink more, most of us know when to stop. We learn to self-regulate when we figure out how much makes us too jittery and are then able to keep it under control. In 2015, a Molecular Psychiatry study found six new genetic variations that influence how we metabolize and react to coffee. This may explain why one person is able to slam back an entire pot of coffee while another person gets the jitters after just one cup.
Myth 12: Decaf Coffee is 100% Free of Caffeine
Decaf coffee is not actually completely free of caffeine—this is a myth. Depending on the type of roasting process, each brand has its own unique flavor of decaf but there is really no way to completely decaffeinate coffee. Generally, the average cup of decaf will have 5 milligrams of caffeine per 8 ounces of coffee, a very small amount compared to the 135 milligrams found in a regular cup of coffee.
If you find yourself drinking 5-10 cups of decaf a day, you may as well just have regular coffee instead and get the same effect.
Myth 13: Espresso is a Coffee
Espresso is not a type of coffee. Rather, it’s a word that describes the method of brewing coffee to produce a thick, strong shot with crema (creamy layer) delicately floating on top. It is also a type of dark roast with an internal temperature of at least 240 F and a dark chocolatey, almost blackish tinge in color. Espresso is not a type of bean or a type of grind, but it can be a blend of beans or of straight origin.
Myth 14: Freezing = Longer Freshness
There are many who swear that keeping their coffee in the freezer or refrigerator will maintain their coffee’s freshness. The debate between keeping your coffee in the pantry or freezer is actually a very active one even to this day.
Wherever you decide to keep your coffee is a personal choice, but there are things you should know. Air, moisture, and heat are three things that are not fresh coffee’s best friends. What else has moisture? That’s right—your fridge and freezer. Both of these can compromise the flavor of coffee almost immediately thanks to it being so porous. That means coffee can absorb the air around them, and it also means its smell can be absorbed by other foods too.
If you like the taste of coffee even in your frozen vegetables, and vice versa, or you drink coffee rarely, then it’s okay to keep coffee in the freezer. However, the kitchen cupboard or a dark pantry are the best places for your coffee if you’re a daily drinker, sealed in an airtight container away from heat, light, and moisture.
Myth 15: Oily Beans = Fresher Beans
Oil on coffee beans has nothing to do with the freshness of your coffee. It has more to do with their appearance after the roasting process has taken place. Dark roasts are oilier in appearance than lighter ones because an increased temperature in the roasting process causes the skin on the beans to rupture. This opens their pores and lets natural oils escape, resulting in their oily shine. Lighter roasts appear dry and sometimes dull, never fully reaching the oily stage.
The oilier the bean, the darker the roast is. That’s it. However, a dark roast bean that appears especially dry means it has gone bad.
Myth 16: Coffee Will Cure a Hangover
Coffee is great, and it can help you feel much less groggy and more alert when you wake up. However, coffee is not actually helpful when it comes to getting over a hangover after drinking. If you’re desperate to get over your hangover, perhaps you should try physical exercise?
Myth 17: Coffee Can Stain Your Teeth
This myth is true, as your dentist may have mentioned to you. If it can stain your clothes, it can stain your teeth. However, there are ways to help prevent/treat this. Follow the regular care of your teeth recommended by your dentist, and floss and brush your teeth daily. If the stains from coffee are truly bothering you, consider receiving whitening treatment from your dentist or from an over-the-counter product.
Myth 18: Coffee Causes Type 2 Diabetes
Coffee does not cause type 2 diabetes. In fact, when it’s drunk in moderation as well as combined with a healthy diet and exercise, coffee can in fact help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Coffee contains magnesium and chromium, both of which help the body manage insulin production. Coffee also contains antioxidants, which help fight tissue damage. However, other research has linked an increased blood sugar levels and insulin resistance to coffee and caffeine for those that already have type 2 diabetes. Do your research, talk to your doctor, and see what is right for you. Everyone is individual, caffeine affects each person differently. If you have type 2 diabetes, make sure you are monitoring it properly and if caffeine affects it negatively, then you should talk to your doctor.
Myth 19: Coffee is as Bad as an Energy Drink
Between the two beverages, the cup of coffee is actually a much better and healthier choice. Energy drinks contain high amounts of sugar and chemical additives, which are often linked to obesity and other health issues. Some energy drink brands include 54 grams of sugar—that’s equal to 13.5 teaspoons! Even sweetened coffee drinks contain less sugar than that.
Myth 20: Coffee Can Cause Stomach Ulcers
For the longest time people thought coffee was the cause of painful stomach ulcers. However, a recent study has discovered that coffee is not actually the culprit behind ulcers. The real culprits are, in fact, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (also known as NSAIDS) such as aspirin, Ibuprofen, and naproxen. These medications actually weaken the mucous stomach lining and thus makes you more vulnerable to damage from gastric juices.
In individuals with ulcer disease, caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee can increase acid production and worsen symptoms. Whether you choose to drink coffee while symptoms are present, however, is your personal choice. But we do suggest talking to your doctor and making sure you are getting the proper care you need.
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