You get up in the morning and you groggily reach for that little cup or mug to put your coffee in. For many that is the usual scenario that starts their day. Depending on when you drink your coffee, it may be too early to think about what is actually in that cup of coffee. However, you should know that it is so much more than caffeine and beans.
When people ask what coffee is made from, they will usually hear about coffee grounds that come from coffee beans that come from trees. While that is actually true, there is a bit more going on. For many, it is a surprise that coffee is mostly made out of water. About 98%, in fact.
Coffee is known for having caffeine, and depending on the type, it may have a lot of it. However, that is not the only chemical that is present in your brew. There are actually a few compounds. However, two that more well-know are trigonelline, a common compound found in plants and the one that gives coffee its signature earthy flavor, and 2-ethylphenol, a pheromone found in insects like cockroaches. Those may not sound that appetizing, but without them, coffee wouldn’t be coffee.
Here a video from Wired that illustrates more about what is in your cup of coffee:
Coffee And Health
It has long been disputed that coffee was bad for you because of the amounts of caffeine in it. Caffeine is a type of stimulant drug, and there are many people that are sensitive to it. Many of them show symptoms that include hyperactivity, shakiness, heart palpitations, anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, irritability, and more. The severity varies by person. This does not happen to everybody. However, if it is mild and happening to you, you should cut down or eliminate coffee from your routine. If your symptoms are serious or still persistent after cutting back or eliminating coffee from your diet, you should see a physician.
Despite the fact that some people have a negative reaction to caffeine, others tout the positive health aspects of drinking coffee. Studies have shown that coffee has reduced the risk of certain cancers like breast and skin cancer. This is because of its flavonoids inhibiting UVB-induced tumors. Some studies have shown that coffee decreased basal cell carcinoma risks. Some believe that using coffee topically can repair sun damage to the skin.
Coffee has also shown signs of lowering the risk of depression. Some research has shown that the more that was consumed, the less likely a person was to be depressed.
Other disease risks that are possibly reduced by coffee are Alzheimer’s, diabetes, acne and similar skin conditions, Parkinson’s, and cirrhosis of the liver. The chemicals are believed to better brain function, constricting blood flow and pores, and caffeine boosting brain function and possibly blocking harmful proteins.
Before changing your coffee routine, make sure to speak with your physician first. They can determine whether or not more or less is beneficial and safe for you.
Coffee And Social Status
There’s more to coffee than its ingredients and health aspects. Coffee has long been seen as a status symbol. It is said that people that drink certain types of coffee show certain characteristics. For example, it is said that those that drink strong coffee are seen or want to be seen as more sophisticated. Black coffee drinkers are considered straightforward. High maintenance people are thought to drink lattes. People that like to have fun are said to enjoy cappuccinos. Espresso drinkers are said to be successful. Those that enjoy macchiato are said to be arrogant. There are many others, but these should be taken with a grain of salt. They are mostly derived from public surveys. Still, they can be a lot of fun to think about!
The next time you grab that cup of coffee, try thinking about what is really in that cup. It is a complex drink that goes way beyond flavor and aroma.