Coffee is now a staple for millions of people around the world. But before you reach out for that cup of joe, there are a few things you must know.
The golden ingredient in coffee is caffeine. It is what gives the coffee that kick that people seek. But the way it is roasted, ground and even consumed can make all the difference in the world.
Coffee wakes people up. Many athletes consume this drink to enhance their performance, while the normal man has it in the morning to kickstart his day. But there are nuances to coffee making that can alter the composition of the beverage.
“Beans can make a difference – standard robusta beans are higher in caffeine than arabica beans, for example,” Dr. Mike T Nelson, a researcher and performance specialist who recently co-wrote the International Society of Sports Nutrition’s position on coffee, said, according to The Guardian. “But there are other factors – roasting actually breaks down caffeine, so in general darker roasts will have lower caffeine content. But even when outlets try to control for beans, brewing methods, and so on, the variability in caffeine content is still quite high.”
“This is why, for athletes, if you’re using it purely for performance-enhancing effects and you want to be very specific with it, I recommend taking caffeine in a pill form, because you can control your intake better,” Nelson added.
As for how quickly the effects of coffee occur, a 2008 study found that the duration is a minimal 10 minutes after gulping down a cup of coffee. The peak caffeine concentration in the blood occurred after 45 minutes in the study.
Moreover, coffee should be had in a balanced way. A pace should be maintained instead of drinking too much at once or too frequently.
“It should be a nice, balanced thing,” Nick Littlehales, a sleep coach who has worked with several high-profile football teams, said, as per the outlet. “I see a lot of people who have three coffees more or less back to back in the morning. They’re at 1,000-1,500mg before they get to lunchtime – then they stop their intake. That’s not a sensible way to do things: it’s about keeping it nice and level, with no big ups and downs. Keep track of when you have a little bit of a low-energy lull, then you can actually use your caffeine intake strategically, to help you out at key times.”
Besides the beans, the way coffee is ground can also have a bearing on the benefits it accords to the drinker. While the time when the beans were ground is irrelevant, how much the beans are ground makes a difference. Generally, a finer grind releases more polyphenols, making the coffee more beneficial.
In addition to the beans, whether the coffee is filtered or unfiltered also has a say. Coffee filtered through paper may be healthier than coffee made with a metal filter or no filter at all. According to a study published in 2020, 500,000 healthy coffee drinkers with two decades of consuming the liquid had lower rates of arterial disease and death compared to those who drank filtered coffee.