Coffee is one of the world's most widely consumed beverages, yet it's effects are still debated. Scientists and epicurians have long made claims about this fragrant brew. Will it kill you or make you live longer? What makes the perfect cup? Is decaf really decaf? And who enjoyed the first cup of java?
But you'd have to drink 80 to 100 cups in a hurry, health experts say. We advise not trying.
A study shows that Americans get most of their antioxidants from their daily fix of java. One to two cups a day appear to be beneficial. Or, if you don't like coffee, try black tea, the second most consumed antioxidant source. Bananas, dry beans, and corn wrap up the top five.
It worked on rats anyway. But researchers say in humans, coffee might enhance the sexual experience only among people who are not habitual users.
Moderate doses of caffeine — the equivalent of two cups of coffee— can cut post-gym muscle pain, a small study found. But the research was done on people who were not regular coffee drinkers.
Health experts advise avoiding it for 6 hours before bedtime.
If you drink five to 10 cups of decaffeinated coffee, you could get as much caffeine as from one or two cups of caffeinated coffee, a study found.
Beans are steamed, so that dissolved caffeine rises to the surface, where it is washed off using an organic solvent called methylene chloride.
Caffeine is not the main bitter compound in coffee. Rather, the pungent perpetrators are antioxidants.
When it comes to great flavor, coffee chemistry boils down to roasting and brewing. During roasting, oil locked inside the beans begins to emerge at around 400 degrees. The more oil, the stronger the flavor. Caffeine content goes up as the water spends more time in contact with the grounds, so regular coffee often has more of it than espresso or cappuccino. Darker roasts also yield more caffeine.
A millennium ago on a mountainside in Africa, a herd of goats kept a shepherd up at night after feasting on red coffee berries. The shepherd took his animals' discovery to some monks, and very long prayer sessions ensued. It's a good story, anyway.