Can drinking coffee actually be good for you? 18th April 2018 – Posted in: News and Events, Our food and drinks – Tags: barista, British Coffee Association, cardiologists, coffee, Daily Mail, Daily Mail online, decaff, decaffeinated, Ethyl acetate, green coffee beans, Methylene Chloride, roasted, Swiss water method, unroasted
A very interesting article was published in The Daily Mail online this week written by Natalie Rahhal. The somewhat interesting facts that she reported were as follows:
Cardiologists declare that,’ drinking three cups of coffee a day protects you from heart woes- and up to six are safe.’
This is quite a startling new direction of advice as we are all too familiar with years of warning about how too much coffee is bad for you.
In the photo below you can see some of the claims from a study undertaken by The New American College of Cardiology:
So caffeine is thought to be good for you and it is acceptable to drink between three and six cups a day. Furthermore those that did reach this level of caffeine intake demonstrated no increased risk of heart problems.
Now I love my coffee but I would struggle to drink that quantity in a day. There is clearly much more to be investigated on this point as whilst this study was directly looking into heart health it must be remembered that coffee and caffeine have been linked to other issues such as:
Increased blood pressure
The shakes or jitters as caffeine stimulates adrenaline
The need to urinate more often and linked to this gastric upsets as coffee is very acidic and can act as a laxative in extreme cases
Headaches and insomnia are commonly experienced after consuming large amounts
These are not common so please do not be put off drinking coffee!
It is like anything….taken in moderation several cups of coffee a day are perfectly fine for you. Enjoying coffee as part of a varied and mixed diet along with drinking plenty of water and a little fruit juice is perfectly normal and something that we can all enjoy. If you have an ongoing condition, or are on certain types of medication, there may be reason to reduce your intake or even stop altogether but you should always consult a doctor for advice and not just assume that stopping will alleviate any symptoms.
If you are concerned about reducing the amount of caffeine in your diet you could always change to a decaffeinated coffee. Squires sells a lovely one which has the caffeine removed using The Swiss Water Method. This is widely recognised as being one of the best ways to do this and results in a smooth and high quality coffee which retains most of its flavour. Originally introduced in 1979 it is considered to be the best method. Other methods include using chemicals such as a chemical solvents or Carbon Dioxide gas.
How is coffee decaffeinated?
A very basic description of the process is that the green, or unroasted coffee beans are either soaked in water or steamed in Carbon Dioxide to remove the caffeine. The third option uses synthetic chemicals Ethyl Acetate, which occurs naturally in some fruits, or a fourth method using Methylene Chloride which is man-made.
Is Caffeine-free coffee ever completely free of caffeine?
A minimum of at least 97% of caffeine must be removed to be classified as caffeine-free. The British Coffee Association states that regardless of the method involved, a maximum of 0.1% is permitted in roast and ground coffee and 0.3% in soluble coffee.
The Swiss water method is considered to be the most thorough method at removal and on the plus side it keeps most of the natural flavour of the bean but it is expensive.
As with any food or drink product there are many variations, supplied by many different producers resulting in many different flavours and all of differing qualities.
The best advice to follow is to experiment. Always try a new coffee whether deacaff or otherwise in smaller coffee shops. Pick the brains of the baristas or person that serves you and then buy some beans or freshly ground coffee once you find one that you like. As a general rule look for water deacaffeinated or organic coffees as these will be processed using more natural methods and products.