40 Debunked Coffee Myths and Misconceptions

Are you tired of hearing rumors that coffee will stunt your growth or that dark roast has more caffeine?

Well, it’s time to debunk these coffee myths and misconceptions once and for all!

Grab a cup of your favorite brew and join us as we explore the truth behind some of the most common coffee myths out there.

Key Takeaways

  • Caffeine and Growth: There is no scientific evidence to support the belief that coffee consumption stunts growth in children or adolescents.
  • Hydration and Coffee: Although coffee is a diuretic, the water content in a cup of coffee generally offsets its diuretic effect, thereby not causing dehydration.
  • Caffeine Content in Roasts: Contrary to popular belief, light roast coffee often contains slightly more caffeine than a dark roast, though the difference in caffeine content is minimal.
  • Caffeine in Espresso vs. Drip Coffee: While espresso has more caffeine per volume, a typical serving of drip coffee usually contains more caffeine overall than a single shot of espresso due to larger portion sizes.

Coffee Myths and Misconceptions

1. Coffee stunts growth

There’s no scientific evidence that supports the idea that coffee consumption stunts growth in children or adolescents.

2. Coffee dehydrates you

While coffee is a diuretic, the amount of water in a cup generally compensates for its diuretic effect.

3. Dark roast coffee has more caffeine than light roast

The opposite is often true. Light roast coffee tends to have slightly more caffeine than dark roast, though the difference is minimal.

4. Espresso has more caffeine than drip coffee

When measured by volume, espresso does have more caffeine. However, people typically drink larger portions of drip coffee. Thus, a typical serving of drip coffee usually has more caffeine than a single shot of espresso.

5. Coffee causes heart disease

The relationship between coffee and heart disease has been extensively studied. Moderate coffee consumption is generally considered safe and might have protective effects against certain diseases.

6. All coffee tastes the same

Many coffee flavors and profiles depend on the bean’s origin, processing, roast, and brewing method.

7. Coffee is bad for your health

While excessive consumption can have negative effects, moderate coffee intake has been linked to several potential health benefits, including a reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, and certain types of cancers.

8. Decaf coffee is caffeine-free

Decaffeinated coffee still contains some caffeine, but much less than regular coffee.

9. You should store coffee in the fridge or freezer

Cold storage can actually introduce moisture to the beans, which can degrade flavor. It’s generally best to store coffee in a cool, dry place.

10. Old coffee beans are okay to use

Coffee beans are best used within a few weeks of roasting. Over time, the flavors deteriorate, leading to stale coffee.

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11. Coffee helps to sober you up

Drinking coffee might make you feel more alert after consuming alcohol. Still, it doesn’t speed up the process of eliminating alcohol from your body.

12. Coffee is always bitter

Properly roasted and brewed coffee can have a wide range of flavor profiles, including fruity, floral, sweet, and nutty. Over-roasting or over-extraction during brewing can cause bitterness.

13. All caffeine is created equal

The caffeine in coffee can affect people differently than the caffeine in sodas, teas, or energy drinks due to other compounds in coffee.

14. Instant coffee is just as good as brewed coffee

Freshly brewed coffee from quality beans offers a richer flavor and aroma compared to instant coffee. The complex extraction process produces a robust taste, while the aroma enhances the overall coffee-drinking experience. While instant coffee offers convenience, it lacks the depth of flavor that comes with a freshly brewed cup. Coffee enthusiasts know brewing their coffee from quality beans is worth the time and effort.

15. Adding sugar and cream makes coffee unhealthy

For most people, having coffee with sugar, milk, or cream is not inherently unhealthy. However, excessive amounts of sugar and cream can add unnecessary calories, which may be a concern for those with specific dietary concerns.

16. Coffee causes insomnia for everyone

Consuming caffeine can disrupt sleep patterns in some people, but not all. It is worth noting that individuals whose bodies quickly metabolize caffeine may not experience the same adverse effects on their sleep as those who do not.

17. Pregnant women should not drink coffee

Most health organizations advise pregnant women to limit their caffeine intake rather than eliminate it entirely. The general guideline is to consume no more than 200-300 mg of caffeine a day (equivalent to about one 12-ounce cup of coffee).

18. Coffee is addictive

While people can develop a dependence on caffeine, it’s generally not considered “addictive” in the same way drugs or alcohol are. Most people can reduce or eliminate their coffee consumption without severe withdrawal symptoms, though some might experience headaches or fatigue.

19. French press and espresso are the same

Espresso and French press are two popular methods of coffee preparation, each with its unique characteristics and brewing process. Espresso is made by forcing pressurized hot water through finely ground coffee beans, resulting in a concentrated, strong, and flavorful shot of coffee. On the other hand, the French press brews coffee by allowing the ground coffee to steep in hot water for several minutes, resulting in a rich and full-bodied coffee with a smooth texture. Both methods have advantages and can be used to create a delicious cup of coffee, depending on the individual’s personal preference and taste.

20. More expensive coffee is always better

Price can sometimes indicate quality, but it’s not guaranteed. Factors like brand marketing, packaging, and rarity might inflate the price without necessarily ensuring a superior taste.

As with many things, personal preference greatly influences how one enjoys and perceives coffee. What might be true or preferable for one might not be for another.

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21. A double espresso has double the caffeine

While a double shot of espresso does contain more caffeine than a single shot, it doesn’t always have precisely double the amount. The actual caffeine content can vary based on the type of coffee bean and the brewing method.

22. Coffee can help you lose weight

While caffeine can slightly boost metabolism and suppress appetite, relying on coffee alone for significant weight loss is ineffective. Balanced nutrition and regular exercise are more crucial factors.

23. Coffee causes osteoporosis

While excessive caffeine intake can interfere with calcium absorption, moderate coffee consumption (2-3 cups daily) is unlikely to significantly impact bone health for most people.

24. You should always use boiling water to make coffee

Using boiling water can over-extract the coffee and result in a bitter taste. It’s often recommended to use water just off the boil (around 195-205°F or 90-96°C).

25. Coffee causes ulcers

While coffee can irritate the stomach for some people, it’s not the primary cause of ulcers. Most ulcers are caused by bacterial infections or certain medications.

26. The stronger the coffee, the more awake you’ll feel

The alertness you get from coffee is due to its caffeine content, not its strength. A diluted coffee with a high caffeine content can be more effective than a strong-tasting coffee with less caffeine.

27. All espresso machines produce the same quality espresso

The quality and taste of espresso can vary significantly based on the machine, the grind of the coffee, the brewing time, and the skill of the barista.

28. Coffee beans and cocoa beans are related

They are entirely different types of beans. Coffee beans come from the “Coffea” plant, while cocoa beans are the seeds of the Theobroma cacao tree.

29. Mocha is just a fancy name for chocolate coffee

While ‘mocha’ is often used to describe chocolate-flavored coffee drinks, the term originally referred to a type of coffee bean from the Mocha region in Yemen.

30. Instant coffee is made from inferior beans

While there can be differences in quality, not all instant coffee is made from low-quality beans. Some brands invest in using quality beans to provide a better-tasting instant product.

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31. Coffee is just for waking up

While many people rely on coffee for its caffeine boost, others appreciate its flavor, aroma, and the social experience of sharing a cup with others.

32. All coffee beans are the same

There are two main species of coffee beans: Arabica and Robusta. Arabica beans tend to be smoother and more flavorful, while Robusta beans are stronger, more bitter and contain more caffeine.

33. The ‘coffee belt’ is just one region

The term “coffee belt” refers to the equatorial zone where coffee is grown. This zone spans multiple continents and includes countries from Central and South America, Africa, Asia, and Oceania.

34. Coffee is always acidic

While many coffees have an acidic profile, there are low-acid varieties that are smoother and less likely to upset sensitive stomachs.

35. Filter paper removes all the flavor

While filter paper can remove some oils from coffee, it doesn’t strip away all the flavors. In fact, using a paper filter can result in a cleaner cup with more pronounced flavor notes.

36. Iced coffee and cold brew are the same

They’re both cold coffee drinks, but they’re made differently. Iced coffee is brewed hot and then cooled down, while cold brew is made by steeping coffee grounds in cold water for an extended period.

37. All baristas make coffee the same way

There’s a lot of art and skill in making coffee, and techniques can vary widely among baristas. The pressure applied during a tamp or the swirl of the milk can change the final cup’s flavor and appearance.

38. Milk first or coffee first? It doesn’t matter

The order can affect the drink’s temperature and how the flavors combine, especially with manually frothed milk or when using instant coffee.

39. Black coffee has zero calories

While black coffee is very low in calories, it’s not entirely calorie-free. A standard cup might have 2-5 calories, primarily from the coffee’s natural oils and compounds.

40. Espresso beans are a special kind of coffee bean

There’s no separate “espresso bean.” Espresso is a method of preparation, and while some beans are labeled as “espresso beans,” it typically means they’ve been roasted and blended in a way that the roaster feels is suitable for espresso preparation.


Final Thoughts on Coffee Myths and Misconceptions

There are many myths and misconceptions about coffee that have been perpetuated over the years. While some may be true, many lack evidence or are completely untrue. Now you can wow your friends with the truth about coffee and put these myths to rest.

Happy caffeinating!

Picture of About the Author Kris Silvey

About the Author Kris Silvey

As a semi-professional at-home barista and full-time software engineer, my love for coffee borders on obsession. By combining my passion for coffee with an engineering mindset, I strive to perfect my brewing process and share that knowledge with each of you.

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