What's in your coffee?
A guide to understanding the chemicals in the growing and roasting process.
Where does your coffee from?
Health benefits of drinking coffee
- Prevents tooth decay.
- Prevents gallstones.
- Prevents Alzheimer's disease.
- Good source of antioxidants.
Would you like cream and sugar?
Cream changes antioxidant chemistry and likely lessens the effect.
The perfect temperature
Coffee roasting occurs between 200 C and 250 C. All lighter roasts, the beans have more flavor from their origin.
Chemicals to be aware of...
Not all coffee is free from harmful chemicals. Coffee often contains small amounts of 4-methylimidazole and acrylamide, two chemicals that have identified by the National Toxicology Program as carcinogens. To avoid these chemicals, it is best to follow these labels.
- Organic. Organic coffee is produced without artificial chemical substances.
- Fair trade. The fair trade certification guarantees that the coffee is produced by farmers who are members of a democratically run cooperative and that the final exporter is paid a minimum price and a price premium.
- Shade-grown. This process is considered more sustainable as it helps reduce soil erosion and has significantly less runoff of surface water.
Espresso has lower concentrations of carcinogens because the chemical has less opportunity to transfer in the brewing process.
Ethyl acetate, dichloromethane.
How does TAB coffee compare?
The coffee served in TAB is purchased from Crooked Porch Coffee Roasters. It is organic, roasted locally and fair-trade. They also use the Swiss water process for the decaf blend, but the product is not shade-grown.
Why caffeine might be better for you...
There are multiple solutions to removing caffeine from coffee beans but two of the most commonly used processes are the direct method and the swiss water process. The direct method rinses in the beans with either ethyl acetate or dichloromethane for 10 hours. This is a synthetic process that often leaves residue, however ethyl acetate is often labelled as natural since it can be derived from fruits and vegetables. The swiss water process is a safer alternative that uses water as a solvent. This process usually results in less flavorful coffees since the water will also extract desirable oils.
How much caffeine is in your coffee anyway?
=10 mg caffeine
- Light coffee - 16 mg.
- Bold coffee - 13 mg.
References: Davies, Emma. "Chemistry in Every Cup". Chemistry World (2011): 36-39. Print. Erlandsen, Dirk. "Interview with Crooked Porch Coffee". E-mail interview. 4 Mar. 2013.