Coffee: Facts and Myths

Monday, September 25, 2017

Coffee has a universal appeal, and from morning to night and summer to winter, people love drinking it. In the UK, we drink around 55 million cups of coffee every day1, and it’s probably one of the most requested items on your menu.

 

A freshly brewed cup of coffee on a table

There are hundreds of ways to prepare and enjoy this drink, and consumer tastes are evolving all the time. Below we highlight some quick facts about coffee, share some findings about its effects on people’s health, and suggest some options for your customers .

Its origins... According to legend, a goat is responsible for introducing our species to coffee. After watching his goats start frolicking and dancing around after nibbling berries from a nearby bush, an Ethiopian herder decided to try them himself, and the rest is history.2

 

Did you also know? The two main types of coffee bean used are Robusta and Arabica. Robusta coffee grows best at lower altitudes whereas Arabica is better suited to higher altitudes. It takes roughly 42 coffee beans to make every espresso.

 A shot of espresso
 
Research suggests some common ideas about coffee and caffeine are actually not true.
 
MYTH: Coffee dehydrates you
MYTH: Coffee is bad you
TRUTH: While caffeine may have a diuretic effect, making the body produce urine more quickly this does not outweigh the fluid within most coffees2 .
 
Drinking coffee in moderate amounts actually contributes to fluid intake and can help to keep you hydrated along with other non-alcoholic drinks³
 
TRUTH: Coffee can be part of a balanced diet and is included in the Government's Eatwell Guide3.
 
Healthy adults can have around 400mg caffeine a day (around 4 cups of instant coffee). Pregnant women should have no more than 200mg of caffeine each day (around 2 cups of instant coffee)5 7.
 
On average, adults in Europe consume between 37-319mg caffeine each day. In the UK, over half of this comes from tea6.
 
Caffeine: More than just coffee
Caffeine is found in coffee, tea and cocoa-based drinks. The caffeine content of foods and beverages varies according to the plant they are made from in addition to the way the ingredients are prepared.
 
Typical Caffeine Content7
One mug of instant coffee100mg
One mug of filter coffee140mg
One mug of tea75mg
One can of cola40mg
One 250ml can of energy drink80mg
One 50g bar of plain chocolate25mg
One 50g bar of milk chocolate10mg
 
A top down view of some coffee beans in a circle
 
Make mine a decaff
 
Want the delicious flavour of coffee without the caffeine? Decaf is the answer. The decaffeination process removes nearly all of the caffeine from coffee beans even before they are roasted. 
 
How decaffeination works
 
  1. The green coffee beans are soaked with water.
  2. Water is circulated around the beans to extract the caffeine. 
  3. The mixture is drained and the process is repeated until most of the caffeine is gone.
  4. The beans are soaked again in the decaffeinated water to reabsorb flavour compounds that were removed in the initial extraction.
  5. The decaffeinated coffee beans are dried and ready for roasting.

Watch the calorie content!

Are your customers looking to cut calories from their favourite coffee beverages? Here are three simple solutions:
 
  1. Milk: Provide lower-fat milks, such as skimmed or 1% milk. You could also offer soy or nut milk such as almond milk to appeal to those with different dietary needs.
  2. Serve coffee without added sugar and offer an alternative sweetener.
  3. Syrups: Let your customers know how many calories the added syrups provide so they can make the best choice for themselves. You might want to check out sugar-free or reduced sugar syrups to meet this demand.

 

  1. The British Coffee Association (2017)  Coffee Facts. Available at: http://www.britishcoffeeassociation.org/about_coffee/coffee_facts/ Accessed 26/04/2017
  2. Mdahoma, Sauda. “Kaldi and the Dancing Goats.” Shama Books
  3. The Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (2017) Coffee and Health, Fluid Balance. Available at: http://www.coffeeandhealth.org/hcp-resources/fluid-balance-2/ Accessed 26/04/2017
  4. NHS Choices (2016) The Eatwell Guide. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/the-eatwell-guide.aspx Accessed 26/04/2017
  5. NHS Choices (2015) Water, Drinks and Your Health. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/water-drinks.aspx Accessed 26/04/2017 
  6. European Food Safety Authority (2015) EFSA explains risk assessment: Caffeine. Available at: http://www.efsa.europa.eu/sites/default/files/corporate_publications/files/efsaexplainscaffeine150527.pdf Accessed 26/04/2017  
  7. NHS Choices (2015) Should I Limit Caffeine During Pregnancy? Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/chq/pages/limit-caffeine-during-pregnancy.aspx?categoryid=54&subcategoryid=130 Accessed 26/04/2017