Today, we went around and collected 30 of the best myths about coffee we could find and decided to crack them all open for you to see how true they are.
In all the years of our coffee-drinking life, I’m sure we all have heard one or two rumors about coffee that either aren’t accurate or sound too real while being misleading.
Myths About Coffee #1: Caffeine Gets You Addicted
This depends on your definition of “addictive.” For example, caffeine acts as a stimulant to your central nervous system. As a result, caffeine can create mild physical dependence if you take it regularly. But it doesn’t take away from your life as addictive drugs do.
Many associate caffeine with addiction since, like other drugs, you can get withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking coffee out of nowhere. The intensity of the withdrawal depends on how much coffee you drink per day. Symptoms include:
- Lack of focus
Caffeine withdrawal can make your weekend rough at best, but it doesn’t pose as severe a threat in terms of withdrawal as alcohol or various street drugs. So it can’t be considered an addiction.
Myth #2: Coffee Isn’t An Everyday Drink
This myth has put many off from drinking coffee every morning. But it’s not true.
There’s more than one confirmed proof out there that there are multiple health benefits when you drink a safe amount of coffee every morning. You can’t point fingers at any individual food or drink that can ruin your health from taking it regularly.
But there are times when coffee can get a bad rep, especially when the drink in question has too much sugar in it. Though you can cut back on the sugar if you brew at home, pre-made bottled options or beverages from the coffee shops take the freedom to add in some extra sugar. This excess sugar can lead to diseases and health issues in the future.
You can easily work around this issue by ordering unsweetened cups or adding spice to your coffee when you’re brewing at home.
Myth #3: Only Drink A Single Cup Of Coffee Per Day
Another vague instruction entirely relies on your definition of “a cup” is. If we’re talking about the “Grande” size orders from Starbucks, then it’s 310 mg of caffeine per cup, and in that case, limiting yourself to a single cup is actually a good idea.
The safe limit for caffeine consumption is 400 milligrams per day for healthy adults. However, if you consider a standard 8-oz cup, it carries around 100 mg of caffeine. Meaning you can drink 3-4 cups of coffee per day before you reach the limit of safe consumption.
But remember, it’s more about your personal preference and body limits. For example, if you have a low tolerance to caffeine and are too sensitive to the effects of caffeine, you should actively cut down on caffeine.
Myth #4: Caffeine Causes Insomnia
This myth comes from the idea that coffee keeps you awake. While it can keep you up if you drink too much, one or two cups of coffee aren’t effective enough to take your sleep away completely.
Depending on the metabolism, your body can absorb and get rid of caffeine pretty quickly. But even then, some caffeine remains in the system that keeps you awake. So the trick here is not to drink at later hours since caffeine can stay in your system for hours.
When you drink caffeine late in the day, it stays in your system long enough to keep you up past your bedtime, which can cause your sleep cycle to get derailed, which can eventually lead to insomnia.
Stop drinking coffee at least six hours before bedtime if you wish to avoid it. That way, you can maintain your coffee habits while getting a good night’s rest.
Though it entirely depends on how sensitive to caffeine you are, it’s best to do what you can so you don’t end up scrolling through your socials at 2 am.
Myth #5: Coffee Makes You Dehydrated
This statement is only partially true. Coffee can dehydrate you, but only when you take too much caffeine and not enough food and water. The H2O element present in a cup of coffee can take care of the dehydration issue quickly, but you need to make sure you are maintaining a healthy eating habit.
Myths About Coffee #6: Caffeine Increases the Risk of Osteoporosis, Heart Disease, and Cancer
This myth is partially true, but it only applies when you aren’t following the safety guidelines for caffeine intake. Caffeine can also increase the risk of contracting certain physical issues when you are highly sensitive to caffeine or older. Let’s take a look at each claim separately.
If you drink coffee at very high levels, it can cause calcium and magnesium loss in your urine. But if you get yourself a steady calcium supplement, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Several types of research show a link between caffeine and hip fracture risk since older people are sensitive to the effects of caffeine on calcium metabolism.
It’s pretty common to have a slightly higher heart rate and blood pressure if you are sensitive to caffeine. But caffeine isn’t responsible for elevated cholesterol levels, arrhythmia (irregularity in a heartbeat), or increased risk for any kind of cardiovascular disease.
However, if you are already suffering from blood pressure or heart problems, it’s better to consult a doctor before starting to take coffee.
A review of 13 different studies from experts that involved 20,000 people showed no relationship between cancer and coffee. On the contrary, coffee is considered an acceptable protective measure against certain cancer types.
Myth #7: Caffeine Is Harmful to Women Trying to Get Pregnant
It’s like all these statements are partially factual, and the rest is blown out of proportion.
Caffeine can be harmful to pregnancy only when taken above the safe limits. Several physicians suggest not to take more than 200 mg of caffeine if you are pregnant.
However, studies show no relation between caffeine and following pregnancy-related issues:
- Conception issues
- Premature birth
- Birth defects
- Lower birth rate
Myths About Coffee #8: Caffeine Harms Children, Who, Today, Consume Even More Than Adults
Caffeine does harm children, but not if the usage is controlled. And obviously, most children don’t outright drink a fine cup of coffee. Instead, their caffeine intake is more indirect.
Children consume caffeine through sodas, energy drinks, or sweetened teas. While these drinks don’t have enough caffeine to harm the human body and are well within the safe limit, the extra sugar in the drinks poses an actual issue.
The extra sugar in these drinks increases the chance of obesity in kids with empty calories. Aside from the sugar, it’s better not to hand caffeinated beverages to children to keep them from creating an early caffeine dependence.
Myth #9: Caffeine Can Help You Sober Up
Are you planning to depend on a fine cup of coffee to sober up faster after an intense drinking session? Hate to disappoint you, but the effects of caffeine don’t reverse the effects of alcohol that is already in your system.
Alcohol impairs your judgment, while caffeine makes your brain more alert. Although it’s natural to think that coffee might take out the negatives of the bottle you chugged down earlier, your vision, reaction time, and overall judgment will still be foggy as a winter morning.
Whereas it’s shown that college kids who drink both alcohol and caffeine and attempt to drive afterward have more car accidents. Summary: coffee doesn’t get you sober. Please be safe.
Myth #10: Caffeine Has No Health Benefits
Caffeine has a lot of potential benefits that all coffeenomies know by now. But let’s take a look through a shortlist for a refreshing reminder about how helpful coffee can be.
- Coffee improves alertness
- Increases your concentration
- Clears your mind
- Increases energy levels
- Makes you more out-going and social
- Slows down the decline of cognitive abilities
- Suggested to help with asthma
- Reduces the chances of Parkinson’s disease
- Reduces chances of liver failure
- Helps prevent colorectal cancer
- Daily consumption can prevent type 2 diabetes
- Can prevent dementia by increasing brain functionality
Though excessive caffeine consumption can lead to a multitude of health issues, there’s no denying that drinking coffee certainly has more benefits than most people admit.
Hey, You’ll love to read our piece on strongest coffee in the world.
Myth #11: Coffee Can Help You With Weight Loss
Though we have discussed on our site before that coffee can help you lose weight, it’s not the only weight loss solution. However, the best caffeine can do is speed up the process.
Caffeine increases your metabolism, which helps you absorb a bit of extra body fat. But, while caffeine can assist you up to a certain extent, you can’t expect coffee to do all the heavy lifting (pun intended) in case of a long-term weight loss program.
Another way coffee can help you is by suppressing your hunger for a certain period. But there’s no solid proof of the fact that long-term consumption of coffee helps you lose weight.
Myths About Coffee #12: Coffee Stunts Your Growth
This is a myth that has been around forever, though there’s no scientific proof backing it up. So instead, it’s considered nothing more than an old expression, a childhood story that adults made up to stop kids from trying to sip on a cup of coffee to imitate grownups.
Though there’s no clear idea about where this myth originated from, you can rest assured knowing that it’s not accurate at all.
Myth #13: Always Use Boiling Water On The Grounds
When the hot water temperature goes above 200F, the water starts extracting the bitter oils present in the coffee grounds. This can cause the oils to mix in the final cup of coffee and make it taste lifeless and bitter.
And that’s not all. Water that is past the boiling temperature can even scorch the beans to a certain extent, giving your coffee a more burnt flavor.
Also, this advice can lead to health risks since drinks that are considered very hot can lead to esophageal cancer.
Myth #14: The Amount Of Caffeine Is Same In All Coffee
Every coffee bean and the coffee ground has more brewing methods than you can count on your fingertips. Each of these brewing methods is very different, and the amount of caffeine they extract can be different due to various factors.
The difference in the amount of caffeine starts from the coffee beans themselves. For example, robusta beans contain double the caffeine amount of Arabica coffee beans, while Liberica coffee beans are naturally low-caffeine coffee beans.
Myth #15: Tea Is Better Than Coffee
Tea has its own benefits, no doubt. But when it comes to an energy boost and health benefits, coffee stays at the top. Both coffee and tea have enough nutritions and other positive content to help you stay in shape and stay active.
Nutrition factors are not for the contest; they are there to determine your personal preferences and drink whatever suits you the most.
Myth #16: Coffee Raises Your Cholesterol Levels
Though we have discussed it in a previous section, this is a myth on its own.
This belief comes from the fact that coffee beans contain various natural oils. However, these oils do not increase your cholesterol level.
It’s true that there’s a compound in coffee named cafestol that can result in increased LDL cholesterol in your body, but this compound is easily avoidable.
If you are using a French press or any coffee maker that uses paper filters, you can already consider yourself safe since the paper filters suck up all the oils. But remember, metal mesh filters cannot suck up cafestol as well as a paper filter.
Myth #17: You Can’t Drink Coffee If You’re Diabetic
After already knowing coffee actively reduces the risk of developing diabetes, this myth sounds like rumors from when people used to make assumptions about anything and everything.
If you drink coffee without additional sugar or creamers, the health benefits of your cup increase since you don’t end up adding any extra calories. Drinking coffee regularly reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes by 7%.
If you really want to maintain the most of your healthy coffee, try out low-fat milk or non-dairy milk to enjoy the flavor while enjoying the benefits.
Myth #18: Instant Coffee Doesn’t Offer Any Health Benefits
The instant coffee packaging process is full of chemical processing of the coffee grounds and beans, which takes away from the nutritions present in the coffee beans. However, that doesn’t mean that instant coffee contains only caffeine and no health benefits.
Even after the ridiculous process instant coffee goes through, it still retains a lot of the helpful antioxidants that you can also find in regular brewed coffee. So though the quantity is not the same, you can’t say it’s at zero either.
Myth #19: You Shouldn’t Drink Coffee Before Physical Activity
Coffee enhances your physical performance by boosting the activity of your brain, along with your cognitive functions. So as you can already tell, this claim is pointless.
It’s even been proved that athletes who intake coffee before exercise or sports experience decreased pain, perception of fatigue, and high physical and mental performance. They also show a higher percentage of physical prowess, even in high-intensity training.
But that doesn’t mean we recommend drinking coffee every time you plan to do morning exercise. To ensure how the coffee will affect your athletic performance, always remember to consult a doctor first and adjust your dose accordingly.
Myth #20: Tasty coffee drinks are just empty calories
I admit that drinking 300-calorie lattes when you’re actively trying to lose weight is not a good idea. But, it certainly doesn’t mean that any and all coffee is off-limits.
If you consider black coffee without any additives, it’s a low-calorie drink by itself. Black coffee with no additives contains only around 1 or 2 calories per cup. TikTok trend “#profee” is a positive movement that normalizes coffee that supports your health maintenance goals. (proffee = protein + coffee)
- This trendy drink is pretty simple to get as well.
- Go to your nearest coffee shop
- Order for a double shot Espresso on ice in a venti cup
- Add protein shake to the cup
You got yourself a coffee that is full of protein and energy boost. What else could you need? Oh yes, a proper breakfast to go along with it.
Having fun Nomies? Check out our piece on reasons why you need a coffee scale.
Myth #21: Light Roasts Have Less Caffeine
Coffee is measured by weight and not volume. Meaning you’ll need more light roast beans to make the same volume of coffee as a dark roast. As a result, you’ll end up having more caffeine from light roasts than the darker ones.
This process alone proves that it’s not an actual fact.
Myth #22: Coffee-Flavored Foods Don’t Affect You As Coffee Does
There’s a catch here. If the food ingredient is just coffee flavoring and not actual coffee, then you don’t have a problem. However, if you are getting food that has caffeine as an active ingredient, it can hit you just like real coffee, and if you consume said food at the wrong time of the day, it can even keep you up late at night.
Myth #23: Espresso Is Stronger Than Drip Coffee
A single shot of Espresso contains 63 mg of caffeine. On the other hand, regular coffee contains 12-16 mg of caffeine per ounce. So if you make an ounce by ounce comparison, you’ll find that the claim is actually valid.
However, it does not apply to all coffee types. For example, many brewed coffee types can easily outperform Espresso in caffeine count.
Myths About Coffee #24: Coffee In The Evening Will Keep You Awake At Night
If I’m fair, this is not really a myth, but not a universal truth either. This depends on the metabolism and sensitivity to the caffeine of an individual.
So next time someone makes a bold claim like that, instead of listening to generic rumors, it’s best if you do your own research.
Myth #25: Green Coffee Beans Have Zero Caffeine
Unroasted beans, aka green beans, contain almost the same amount of caffeine as their roasted versions, 12-16 mg of caffeine per ounce. The only difference is that it tastes much milder like tea, and that’s where the claim comes from.
When roasted green beans, they reach their full potential with unique flavor and aromas. Since these flavors are associated with regular coffee, many think that green beans don’t have caffeine until they are roasted. But now you know that isn’t accurate.
Myths About Coffee #26: The Freshest Beans Always Produce The Best Cup of Coffee
This claim is partially valid since fresh beans can brew you a better cup of joe. But it’s not entirely accurate due to a specific reason.
We always consider the time before the coffee loses its freshness, but not how long we should wait to get the best out of our coffee.
When ground coffee or coffee beans come in contact with hot water, they start releasing carbon dioxide gas used to preserve the beans. However, if you brew your coffee even before the gas is released, CO2 gets mixed with your final cup of coffee, giving it a sour aftertaste.
To ensure all the gas has been released from the coffee, you need to soak the coffee grounds in warm water for around 30 seconds. This process is called “degassing.”
Different coffee beans have different tastes, and their degassing methods may cost you a few seconds more or less than the ideal time.
Myths About Coffee #27: Freezing The Coffee Will Maintain Its Freshness Longer
It’s more of a personal preference whether you want fresh ground beans or drink your coffee after defrosting the coffee beans. But yes, frozen beans do not preserve all the tastes in the coffee beans.
When you freeze the beans, all the moisture from inside the coffee beans gets dried out completely by the cold. So even when you defrost it, the natural moisture of the coffee beans is gone completely, and they lose a portion of their original, natural taste in the process.
If you really want to preserve both your coffee beans and their taste, it’s best to keep the beans in an airtight container that you can store away from direct sunlight and heavy moisture.
Myths About Coffee #28: Oily Beans Are Fresher Beans
Everyone loves the sight of the freshly roasted shiny gem-like coffee beans in the morning. Though many think that the shinier the beans, the better. Just like diamonds.
But in this case, the shiny appearance of the beans has nothing to do with freshness. Instead, it all comes from the roast of the coffee.
If the coffee beans get darkly roasted, the coffee beans crack up, and there’s more space through which the coffee oils can seep out. When these oils wrap and mix around the coffee beans, they give the roasted beans the shiny outer layer we mentioned.
Lighter roasts may appear a bit drier and a bit stale since they look like they either haven’t been appropriately roasted or are older beans. But, despite the looks, the freshness is still there.
Myths About Coffee #29: The Darker The Roast, The More Flavorful The Coffee
The flavor of a cup of coffee depends on two core components
- The bean
- The flavor
Though there can be multiple combinations of these two components, it’s clear that dark roasts are not a winner in this field.
If you take raw, unroasted coffee beans into consideration, you can see that they start out as tasteless, grassy, and bland. The more they get roasted, the more flavors come out. But it’s a problem when the roast starts to get darker and darker.
Though some like the taste of heavily bitter coffee that has notes of chocolate, dark roast coffee is considered a bitter, undrinkable liquid by many coffee drinkers. Light roasts, on the other hand, while being less roasted, offer a wide variety of flavor notes that you can enjoy.
Still confused about the type of tastes? Here’s a shortlist of how different roasts taste.
- Light Roast: Fruity and acidic, with a bit of toasted grain
- Medium Roast: Balanced acidity, lightly fruity, and nutty undertones
- Medium-Dark Roast: Little acidity in a heavier body with spicy undertones
- Dark Roast: Little to no acidity, smooth, mellow, chocolatey, or nutty flavor tones
Myths About Coffee #30: Decaf Means No Caffeine
The name of decaffeinated coffee is quite misleading, if I’m honest. This is mainly because decaf isn’t completely free of caffeine, contrary to popular belief.
Decaf coffee needs to be 97% caffeine-free according to USDA regulations. While the 3% of caffeine won’t affect you as much as a regular cup of coffee, it still makes the claim of decaf having no caffeine false.
Had fun reading myths about coffee? You’ll love to read our piece on different latte flavors.
Throughout this entire article, we busted enough myths about coffee to fill up a few episodes of Mythbusters. Next time, if someone comes at you with one of these claims, make sure you present them with the actual facts. Feel free to use this article as a reference.
If you were holding back on your coffee habits because of one of these rumors, you have nothing to fear anymore. So enjoy your fresh cup of joe.
Decaf is considered to have no caffeine because of the name. The coffee isn’t entirely free of caffeine.
Medium roast or medium-dark roasts are my preferences.
“Coffee doesn’t have any benefits.” It does, and more than one at that too.
The effect of caffeine differs from person to person depending on their metabolism and sensitivity to caffeine. But it is proven that caffeine jump-starts your brain and gets you up and running.
Green beans have almost the same amount of caffeine in them, but they are so bland and tasteless that a drink made out of green coffee beans is undrinkable.