Coffee is one of the most consumed beverages after water and it has a long history across many cultures around the world. So, it should be no surprise that there are many coffee myths and caffeine myths floating around that may make you pause while enjoying your morning cup.
Is coffee healthy? Or is caffeine bad for you? Should you drink coffee every day or avoid it? These questions and others often come with conflicting answers depending on who you ask. But it’s about time that we address some common myths about coffee and put our minds at ease. Here are some of the most common and widespread myths about caffeine and coffee that you should be aware of:
1. Myth: You should store coffee in the freezer or refrigerator
It can be tempting to store your precious coffee in the fridge because after all, it would seem effective to do so. The truth is that storing coffee in the fridge can introduce moisture into your beans or ground coffee. Moisture speeds up oxidation which can make your coffee go stale sooner. The best way to store your coffee is in an airtight container in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and moisture.
2. Myth: Coffee will sober you up after drinking
You may have heard this bit of advice being passed around but coffee will only make you feel energised and a little alert. Mixing coffee and alcohol can be dangerous because it can fool you into thinking that you’re sobering up. Caffeine cannot get rid of the alcohol in your body so the only way to sober up is to stop drinking.
3. Myth: Decaf is completely caffeine-free
The truth is that no coffee can be 100% caffeine-free. Even decaf coffee is 97-98% caffeine-free and not 100%. The caffeine content in decaf coffee is still so low that you won’t have to worry about the side effects unless you drink 8-10 cups.
4. Myth: Dark roasts have more caffeine
Dark roasts have strong flavours so many people think that it makes a strong cup with higher caffeine content. In fact, the roast level has minimal impact on the caffeine content of your coffee beans and lighter roasts actually have more caffeine by weight. This is because light roasts are less dense and have more caffeine per scoop. Additionally, since light roasts have less exposure to heat, they retain more caffeine in the bean.
5. Myth: You should brush your teeth right after drinking coffee
If you want to avoid staining your teeth with coffee, you may rush to brush your teeth after your morning cup. Coffee is acidic and if you brush your teeth immediately after drinking coffee then you risk damaging the enamel of your teeth. You should either brush before drinking coffee to get rid of plaque that holds stains or you should wait 30 minutes after drinking coffee to brush your teeth.
6. Myth: Coffee stunts your growth
This is one of the most widespread myths about coffee but has no scientific basis. Some studies indicate minimal calcium loss from the bones but this fails to account for the fact that older people experience calcium loss with or without coffee. Furthermore, the loss of calcium is so minuscule that it’s inconsequential. If you’re still concerned about calcium loss due to caffeine, you can drink your coffee with milk to replace any calcium that might be lost.
7. Myth: Caffeine will help you make up for lost sleep
We’ve all been there: you wake up tired and groggy and rush to drink coffee first thing in the morning to help you wake up for the day. The truth is that caffeine doesn’t kick in immediately, especially when you drink it first thing in the morning. Caffeine takes 20-30 minutes to show effects and it would be better to drink coffee along with some food. Caffeine will only help you feel alert but it’s not a replacement for a good night’s sleep.
8. Myth: Caffeine is highly addictive
This is one of the most pervasive myths about caffeine. We all have heard of caffeine withdrawal and you may even have felt the urge to grab a cup when you haven’t had coffee in a while. However, caffeine causes a mild dependence and not a full-blown addiction by accepted definitions. You may experience a withdrawal when you abruptly cut out coffee after drinking it regularly but this should normalise in a day or two.
9. Myth: Coffee increases the risk of cancer and heart disease
Another one of the most common coffee myths is that it can cause cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses. There’s no need to panic though. Large studies have shown that there is no link between caffeine and cancer. Excessive caffeine consumption may increase your blood pressure but it doesn’t cause cardiovascular problems when consumed moderately.
10. Myth: Coffee has no health benefits
The biggest coffee myth busted: coffee DOES have some health benefits when consumed moderately. Black coffee is rich in antioxidants, alleviates some of the symptoms of asthma, may help with allergies by lowering histamine levels, and can boost brain performance and mood. These health benefits only apply to black coffee and adding extra sugar, cream, high-fat milk, syrups, etc can make your coffee less healthy. The recommendation is to drink coffee moderately (a maximum of 4 cups per day) and avoid sweeteners as much as possible.
When it comes to coffee and caffeine myths, it can be hard to know what is true and what it is not. Ultimately, doing your own research from respected sources is your best bet to learn more about coffee and have these myths busted. Moderate consumption is the best course of action when in doubt, so stick to 4 cups or 300mg of caffeine per day and avoid unhealthy additions.
What are some coffee myths that you are curious about? Check out our other articles to learn more about caffeine, health, roasting, and more.