espresso espresso - all things coffee

4 things about coffee

Coffee is one of the worldís most widely traded commodities. And there are a†lot†of people in this world love their coffee.

Canít get enough of it, in fact. The majority of people who consume coffee do so every day. Itís like a ritual for them, one they perform at home in the morning, during the day at work, and even later on, perhaps after their evening meal.

But to say how much we love it, the average coffee drinker doesnít know much about it. They donít know where the beans were grown, or what variety they are. They donít know how the beans have been roasted or even the best methods of preparation.

This is pretty normal, and a lack of knowledge in these areas doesnít really affect how many of us consume our daily java. But letís take a look at a few lesser-known coffee facts that†might†change the way you think about the drink...

The darker the roast, the less caffeine it contains

Caffeine content isnít the same across all coffee varieties, it varies by roast level. †You might think that darker beans with a strong flavour would have the highest caffeine content, but itís actually the other way round, the lighter roasted beans have the higher caffeine content. Thatís because as the beans are roasted, the caffeine they contain is burned off.

So if youíre looking for a real kick in the morning, try sticking with a lighter roast.

Decaf isnít really decaffeinated

If you thought you were cutting out caffeine by switching to decaf, this might come as a bit of a shock: youíre still consuming caffeine.

The average cup of decaffeinated coffee contains around 10mg of caffeine, which is roughly 10-20 times smaller than your standard cup of regular, full-strength coffee. Decaf might contain significantly less caffeine, but it can still affect you if you have enough of them.

Flagrant false advertising? Hmm, quite possibly.

A coffee isnít as effective as an energy drink

Need to wake up, fast? If youíve got the choice between a coffee and an energy drink, youíre probably far better opting for the coffee. If you brew yourself a strong cup, the coffee may have a caffeine content thatís twice as high as the energy drink. And itíll be much cheaper too.

What you will find though, is that energy drinks are higher in pretty much everything else Ė sugar, for instance. Theyíre†loaded†with the stuff.

It doesnít really give you energy

When we take that mid-afternoon coffee pick-me-up it feels like the coffee is giving us the energy to make it through the rest of the day. But itís just an illusion. Coffee doesnít give us energy at all.

In our brain we have a chemical called Ďadenosineí. Itís whatís known as an inhibitory neurotransmitter, and when it starts to build up in the brain we start to feel tired. But caffeine blocks our adenosine receptors. When we have a cup of coffee, the adenosine canít transmit the signals to our brain which tell us that weíre tired and need to go to bed.

The result is that weíve tricked our brains into thinking we have more energy than we actually do. Which is great when you need to perk yourself up.

But have you ever had a caffeine crash?

Thatís when the caffeine wears off and the adenosine receptors start to work again. The adenosine which couldnít previously get through now floods the receptors. And thatís when your bodyís need for sleep really catches up to you.

Of course, there is a way to feel better. You could always drink another cup of coffee...

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