Coffee is literally everywhere. It’s consumed on every continent and in virtually every country in the world. But this also means there is blatantly incorrect information, half truths and rumors about coffee everywhere as well.
Here are five common coffee myths that have been squashed by science that you may or may not already know about.
Myth 1: A shot of espresso has more caffeine than a regular cup of drip coffee
If you’re thinking you’ll get an extra jolt of caffeine in your morning cup by choosing a shot of espresso over a regular cup of coffee, then think again. However, there is a disclaimer on this because this is taking into consideration how the average person consumes drip coffee vs. espresso.
A typical cup of drip coffee (8oz) contains approximately 65-120 mg of caffeine depending on various factors (e.g.coffee type, grind size, brew time, water temperature, etc.). On the other hand, a 1oz shot of espresso contains approximately 30-50mg of caffeine.
Where the tricky part comes in is if we actually compare caffeine levels by volume, then clearly espresso has more caffeine because it has a much higher concentration of coffee solubles in a 1oz shot than in 1oz of drip coffee. The reason we don’t do that though is obvious: do you know anyone who drinks just 1oz of drip coffee? Most coffee drinkers have at least a 12oz or 16oz cup to get started in the morning and then drink even more cups throughout the day.
Myth 2: Storing coffee beans in the freezer is the best way to preserve freshness
Coffee freshness begins to deplete almost immediately after the beans are roasted, so maintaining freshness is key. To do that, you must keep the coffee away from heat, light, moisture and air as much as possible.
Putting coffee beans in the freezer is probably one of the worst things someone can do for exactly these reasons. First, a freezer is not only a humid environment that will help increase moisture in the bag, but it also creates temperature fluctuations when taking the coffee in and out of the freezer, which will then generate additional moisture in the form of condensation.
Secondly, coffee is highly-absorbent and in addition to absorbing excess moisture in a freezer environment, it will also absorb any odors and tastes from the air around it. Think back to how freezer burn has affected your favorite foods. It does the same (if not worse) to coffee.
Myth 3: Use boiling water when brewing coffee
There are so many ways to mess up a great cup of coffee but this is the one that hurts me the most. And I get it, who doesn’t want a nice hot cup of coffee? You can do everything else right by buying high-quality beans, storing it appropriately to maintain freshness, and grinding it with a burr grinder, but then with one fatal swoop can instantly destroy your freshly-ground beans buy pouring boiling water over them.
The reason this is not a good thing is that the excessive temperature actually scorches the coffee, which, no matter the quality the coffee, will give it an extremely bitter taste. Water temperature for brewing coffee should be between 195 to 205 degrees. If it’s under 195 degrees, the coffee will not properly extract and will have an astringent taste. If it’s brewed over 195 degrees, undesirable flavors start to make their way into the final cup, and as I already mentioned, if it’s over 205 degrees, well then, the coffee is just burnt.
Myth 4: The hole in the bag is there to smell the beans
Most people have noticed that in all bags of freshly-roasted coffee beans, there is a small hole located somewhere near the middle or top of the bag. Many think this is to allow people to smell the coffee when trying to make a purchase decision, but it actually has a much more functional purpose.
While being able to smell the coffee beans is a pleasing benefit, it’s not the real reason there is a hole in the bag. That hole is actually a one-way valve to allow carbon dioxide (CO2) to escape. Freshly-roasted coffee gives off a lot of CO2. In order to get the coffee in the bag as fast as possible to preserve freshness and also not have the bag explode, the valve—which only allows air to escape and none to enter—is very necessary.
Myth 5: Decaf coffee doesn’t provide the same health benefits as regular coffee
In Greg’s blog last week, he discussed unexpected health benefits from drinking coffee. In previous studies, it was thought that the source of those health benefits was from caffeine alone or that somehow these properties were removed during the decaffeination process, therefore making decaf unhealthy.
That’s actually false. Decaf drinkers don’t have to lose any sleep over this and will be pleased to know, despite this perpetuated myth in our past, that new studies show these healthy properties such as many of the powerful antioxidants that improve health and longevity found in coffee are still present in decaf.
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Certified organic from day one, Laurie founded Cafe Virtuoso in 2008 with the vision of bringing a level of quality to coffee and tea previously unavailable in San Diego. Her passion and dedication ensures each business decision is based on being socially and ethically responsible and is acutely involved in every aspect of what it means to be truly sustainable.