Common Coffee Myths Debunked
Whether you’re a coffee beginner or a master barista, you’re likely aware of some of the myths and untruths that surround coffee. As such a beloved drink for so many, it’s only natural that certain tales and half-truths have percolated into the national consciousness over the years.
At Coffee Masters, we live and breathe all things artisanal coffee, and we hear many of these tall tales on a regular basis. So, we’ve pulled together seven of the most misinformed or all-out untrue coffee myths and set the record straight, once and for all.
Coffee Myth #1: All Coffee is the Same
There are so many variables in the process of growing, roasting and brewing artisan coffee beans. For example, different varieties of coffee beans, growing regions and roasting and processing methods all contribute to variations in flavour, aroma and caffeine content.
As an example, our exclusive master blend coffee beans are a medium-dark blend of arabica beans sourced from Honduras, Costa Rica and Brazil that results in a chocolaty, nutty sweetness in the finished espresso shot. Our All Day Blend coffee beans, however, are a medium roast blend of arabica and robusta beans sourced from Honduras, Brazil, Ethiopia and India, with chocolaty, caramel notes and a spiced fruit taste.
Differences in preparation too will alter the final taste of your coffee, such as the temperature of the water when making the espresso shot and the ratio of coffee to milk in your finished drink. And it doesn’t just come down to taste either. Coffee that is sustainably sourced and ethically produced can have a positive impact on the environment and local communities.
So is all coffee the same? No – nothing could be further from the truth. There are so many variations in the process of coffee making that some, including us at Coffee Masters, consider it to be an art form.
Coffee Myth #2: Coffee Causes Dehydration
While coffee is classified as a diuretic, meaning more trips to the toilet in simple terms, moderate coffee consumption has not been linked with dehydration in healthy individuals. If anything, the amount of water used in a cup of coffee is likely to help increase your daily fluid intake.
So does drinking coffee cause dehydration? No – not when consumed in moderation by healthy individuals. Regular coffee drinkers can even begin to develop resistance to the diuretic effects.
Coffee Myth #3: Dark Roast Coffee Has More Caffeine Than Light Roast Coffee
In reality, dark roasted coffee beans actually have slightly less caffeine than light roasted coffee beans. This occurs because small amounts of caffeine are partially destroyed during bean roasting, and the longer roasting time of dark roast beans, therefore, results in more caffeine being lost.
However, the difference in caffeine content between light roasted and dark roasted coffee beans is minimal, bordering on negligible. The difference in caffeine levels in the final cup depends more on factors such as the type of bean, where it was grown and how it was roasted.
So do dark roast coffee beans have more caffeine? No - the caffeine content of a cup of coffee is more influenced by the brewing method and the amount of coffee used than by the roast level of the beans.
Coffee Myth #4: Coffee Causes Insomnia
Caffeine is known as a stimulant that can keep you awake, so consuming coffee close to bedtime may make it more difficult to go to sleep. However, the effect of caffeine on sleep varies from person to person, and some individuals may be able to consume coffee later in the day without it affecting their sleep so much.
Many people think of coffee as a popular morning beverage, but it is also enjoyed throughout the day for its taste and aroma. In fact, many people drink coffee for its flavour and social aspects rather than its caffeine content. If you like to drink coffee later in the day, decaffeinated coffee beans are an ideal solution, though they aren’t entirely caffeine free, as we’ll see in our next myth.
So does coffee cause insomnia? Sort of – it varies from person to person based on how quickly each individual metabolises caffeine. If you drink coffee regularly, the effects may also wear off more quickly as your body has gotten used to your regular caffeine intake. If you have any worries about your caffeine intake and the effects it may be having on you, it’s best to talk to your GP.
Coffee Myth #5: Decaffeinated Coffee is 100% Caffeine Free
This is straightforward. While decaffeinated coffee has significantly less caffeine than regular coffee, it is not completely caffeine-free. Depending on the source, blend and brewing method, decaffeinated coffee beans can still contain up to 5% of the original caffeine content.
So are decaffeinated coffee beans 100% caffeine free? No – but the caffeine level is majorly reduced.
Coffee Myth #6: Roasted Beans are at Their Best Straight After Roasting
Coffee is generally considered to be at its pinnacle anywhere between a few days to a couple of weeks after it has been roasted, but never immediately after roasting. This is because the roasting process causes gases to be released that can make coffee taste sour or grassy if it is brewed immediately. These gases need time to dissipate, which allows the coffee to develop a more balanced and complex flavour profile.
Artisan coffee experts and aficionados recommend waiting at least a few days after the roast date before brewing coffee. This allows the coffee to degas and reach its optimal flavour. Also, note that the ideal time to brew coffee after roasting can vary depending on the type of coffee and the roasting process used. The way the coffee is stored can also affect its flavour. It's best to store coffee beans in an airtight container away from heat, light and moisture to preserve freshness and flavour.
So should you grind coffee beans straight after roasting? No – they need time to degas and develop. At Coffee Masters, we date all our coffee bean bags with their roast date and store them in airtight bags to further extend their peak flavour.
Coffee Myth #7: Coffee Is Addictive
Caffeine is a stimulant that can lead to dependence, and some people may experience withdrawal symptoms if they abruptly stop consuming caffeine. However, caffeine addiction is not considered a serious health concern, and most people can consume coffee in moderation without experiencing negative effects. Coffee is not considered an addictive substance in the same way that alcohol is.
Bear in mind that your body can develop a tolerance to caffeine, meaning you may need to consume more of it to achieve the same effects, and mild, short-lived withdrawal symptoms can occur if regular coffee drinkers suddenly stop. As with everything, moderation is key.
So is coffee addictive? Yes – but most people can consume coffee in moderation without any negative consequences.
Coffee Masters – Artisanal Coffee at Its Best
We hope you enjoyed our look at some of the most prevalent coffee myths, and we hope that debunking and clarifying these common misconceptions will help you make informed choices when purchasing artisanal coffee beans.
We love to talk coffee, so if you have any questions about any of our coffee blends, espresso machines, bean-to-cup machines or anything else, such as our subscribe and save service, you can call us on 01905 571007, email email@example.com, or use our online contact form.