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Friday 04th December 2015

The 20 Most Asked Coffee Questions

Here at Cafepoint, we want to help you understand everything there is to know about coffee. We searched the web for the most asked questions about coffee, and have gathered together the top 20. From how coffee is made to removal of coffee stains, we have all of your questions answered!

How much caffeine is in a cup of coffee?
Caffeine content in different types of coffee can vary. A standard cup of coffee (around 8oz) will contain an average of 94.8mg of caffeine. An Espresso on the other hand will have an average of 63mg of caffeine, and a standard latte will contain an average of 77mg of caffeine. The caffeine content depends on the size, strength and type of coffee you are consuming. 

How to make a latte/cappuccino etc?
If you’re bored of your regular morning cup of coffee, why not try mixing it up? There are lots of different types of coffees to try, from espressos to iced coffee – check out our list of 15 types of coffee to try before you die, and see if anything takes your fancy.

How many calories are in a cup of coffee?
Depending on the type of coffee you are drinking, the amount of calories will differ significantly. Adding extras such as milk, sugar and syrup will all directly affect the calorie content of a coffee. A standard cup of black coffee (around 8oz) contains 1 calorie, but a cappuccino for example can contain anywhere from 60 to 160 calories, depending on the type of milk you take and the size of the cappuccino. For a low calorie coffee, switch the sugar to sweeteners, and switch full milk to skim or soy (or cut out the milk altogether!).

What is fair trade coffee?
Fair trade coffee is coffee that has been produced by a cooperative of farmers, importers, exporters and distributors that follow the standards set out by the FairTrade organisation. The FairTrade stamp on coffee is a certificate that guarantees the cooperative involved in the production of the coffee adhered to it’s standards, which include: set wages for farmers; environmentally sustainable practices; safe working conditions; exclusion of child labour; and agro-ecological practices, including reducing the use of chemical fertiliser and protecting forests.

Is coffee bad for you?
Overall, coffee can have a lot of positive effects on the body. It’s health benefits include reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, improving the resting metabolic rate, and can even reduce the risk of certain types of cancers. Coffee can help ward off cognitive decline and boost long-term memory, and even reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. As well as these physical effects, coffee contains a large amount of nutrients and antioxidants such as vitamins B2, B3 and B5. The negatives of coffee are considerably smaller – becoming addicted to coffee and suffering withdrawal symptoms such as headaches is one example. The positives largely outweigh the negatives, but if you are drinking a large amount of coffee it could lead to disrupting your sleep due to a large caffeine intake. If you want to read a comprehensive list of coffee’s health benefits, you can look here.

Can you drink coffee while pregnant?
You can drink coffee while you are pregnant, although it is recommended to limit the amount of caffeine you consume to around 200mg – which is about the equivalent of two mugs of coffee. Drinking more than this while pregnant could increase the risk of miscarriage, or having a baby with a low birth weight. Ultimately, the decision to consume caffeine is up to you, but you can cut down by switching to decaffeinated drinks and having smaller cups of coffee.

Where does coffee come from?
Coffee is made from coffee beans, which are grown along the ‘Bean Belt’. This includes countries such as Brazil, Columbia, Vietnam, Indonesia and Mexico. Coffee beans are harvested from the coffee tree as cherries, before going through a wet or dry process to ensure the beans are the correct moisture. The beans are then milled before being exported to their destination. From there, beans are roasted, and are sold whole or are ground down to fine or coarse grinds to be sold in shops.

How to clean coffee makers
Coffee makers are a moist hotbed for mould spores. Cleaning your machine should become part of a monthly cleaning routine to make sure that your coffee tastes great and is healthy. The key to cleaning your machine is using white vinegar – make a mixture of 3 cups vinegar to 6 cups water (or half and half if your machine hasn’t been cleaned in a while), or alternatively use citric acid and hot water. Never use bleach or baking soda, as mixing these with vinegar and water can be toxic and ruin your machine. Once you have this mix, add a filter into your coffee maker as normal, and add the mixture where you would usually add water. Turn on the machine and run the mixture through completely, before removing the filter. Let it cool, and then rinse the coffee pot, and repeat the above steps with plain cold water.

How long does caffeine last in coffee?
Caffeine has a half-life of between 4-6 hours. This means that after the first half hour that is takes for coffee to kick in, the amount of caffeine in your system will cut in half after about 5 hours. This is why people often feel the need for a second cup of coffee during the day, as the caffeine amount has dropped significantly over the past few hours. If you are a smoker, the half-life of coffee is only 3 hours.

How is coffee decaffeinated?
Coffee can be decaffeinated through a few different processes. When decaffeinated, there will still be trace amounts of caffeine – generally, it contains around 0.1-0.3% caffeine. All decaffeinating processes take place while the coffee bean is green (unroasted). There are solvent-based processes – the indirect solvent process and the direct solvent process – and non-solvent based processes – the Swiss water process and carbon dioxide process. The solvent-based processes involve the caffeine being removed from the beans with the help of chemical solvents. The Swiss water method relies on osmosis and solubility to remove caffeine from beans by soaking the beans in hot water, and the carbon dioxide process soaks the beans and forces liquid carbon dioxide into the beans to extract the caffeine.

How to use a Coffee Press/ French Press/ Cafetiere
Using a coffee press is simple and easy. If you have the luxury of a coffee grinder, grind your beans first. If you don’t using store-bought coffee works just as well. Scoop your coffee (around a tablespoon or more) into the jar. Pour some pre-boiled water into the jar, and make sure you know how much water and room your press needs – you don’t want it to overflow! Once this is completed, give it a quick stir before adding the filter and lid. Leave this for three or four minutes and press down on the filter slowly. Once this has been pressed all the way to the bottom, your coffee is ready to be poured!

How many cups of coffee is it safe to drink a day?
On average, the regular person is safe drinking 3-5 cups of coffee a day. Ultimately, its up to you to understand how your body responds to coffee, and to judge when you shouldn’t have any more. If you respond well to large amounts of caffeine, and don’t become jittery or get stomach pain, then you can drink what you want, but if you know that drinking lots of coffee keeps you up at night and leads to headaches in the morning, cut down to 3 cups a day. Drinking more than 5 cups of coffee a day has been linked to a raise in cholesterol, so if you’re a heavy coffee drinker sticking to 5 is the recommended amount.

Why does coffee make me feel tired?
Coffee is best known for it’s high levels of natural caffeine – so why does it leave some of us feeling tired? There are a variety of reasons that caffeine affects you differently to how it affects others. One reason, for example, could be that drinking coffee for so long has meant that you have formed a mild tolerance, so the caffeine kick you expect is lacking. Another reason could be due to coffee’s properties as a diuretic – you may be dehydrated, and by the time the caffeine has worn off, you may be feeling more tired than usual.

Which has more caffeine – coffee or tea?
There is significantly less caffeine in the average cup of tea than there is in coffee. Before tea has been prepared and brewed, its dry form does contain more caffeine, but once brewed it’s caffeine content drops. We also use less tea to make a cup than we do coffee. 1 cup (8oz) of coffee contains around 94mg of caffeine, whereas an 8oz cup of tea only contains 26mg of caffeine.

How to remove coffee stains
Coffee stains can be dark and difficult to remove. As soon as coffee has been spilt, blot the stain with paper, and then rinse it with cold water. These two simple steps usually help to remove the stain, but if it is a little more stubborn, add detergent or vinegar to try and remove the stain. With detergent, rub it on, leave it for a few minutes and then rinse it off. With white vinegar and water, mix some detergent into a paste and add this to the stain, as long as you are sure it won’t cause any discolouration. Scrub the stain and rinse it thoroughly.

What coffee has the most caffeine?
The caffeine content of a coffee is dictated by a few factors. First of all, the type of coffee bean used will affect its caffeine levels. Robusto coffee beans have the highest caffeine levels, whereas Arabica coffee beans contain half of this. A longer brewing time also means more caffeine – a French press for example is brewed for around 4 minutes so it will contain a decent amount of caffeine. An espresso on the other hand is only brewed for 20-30 seconds but because of it’s serving size, the caffeine content is more concentrated and therefore higher. Normal coffee has the highest content because of its brewing time (94mg), but espressos are a close second (63mg). Behind these are filter coffee, lattes and cappuccinos.

What are the different types of coffee beans?
There are two main types of coffee bean: Coffee Robusta and Coffee Arabica. Coffee Robusta are a lower grade of beans, and are grown at lower altitudes. They are easy to maintain and are more disease resistant, meaning that they produce more. They also contain a larger amount of caffeine. Coffee Arabica make up for more than three-quarters of beans sold worldwide. They are referred to as gourmet coffee beans but only have half the amount of caffeine that Coffee Robusta has.

Why did coffee become popular?
Coffee is the most popular beverage in the world, but how did it become that? The coffee bean’s history stretches back centuries. Tracing its origins to Ethiopia and the Arabian Peninsula, coffee was as popular then as it is now. Coffee houses started to gain traction around the 17th century in Europe, and the Boston Tea Party famously made the change from tea to coffee in 1773, leading to a boom of coffee popularity in America. Soldiers soon became addicted to coffee during WW2, as they used coffee to keep their energy levels high, and the invention of the television soon afterwards became a platform for instant coffee to be advertised. From here, a rise in modern coffee houses appeared, before coffee giant Starbucks materialised. From there, coffee has continued to become the most popular drink across the globe.

What makes a good coffee?
Good coffee ultimately comes down to taste – but there will be some who tell you that there are certain ways to make a coffee perfect. The trick is to buy your own beans and grind them when necessary, as coffee beans can go stale if they have been open too long and the taste of ground beans can change over time. If you live somewhere with hard water, like in London, buying water filters helps to ensure a smooth coffee, and to keep an eye on the temperature and brewing time, as coffee can be burnt easily. Coffee also tastes of what it has been brewed in, so a clean coffee maker is always essential. Of course, you don’t need to buy your own beans and grind them, as you may prefer the coffee you buy regularly, but coffee beans are renowned as tasting better.

What is the difference between filter and instant coffee?
Filter coffee and instant coffee are available in all shops, but it can be confusing to tell the difference if you aren’t an expert coffee drinker. Instant coffee is coffee that has been pre-brewed and can be re-hydrated when hot water is added to it. It dissolves and is ready to drink instantly. It is the coffee that is more accessible and is probably the coffee in the break room at work. Filter coffee on the other hand is ground roasted beans which your pour boiling water on and then filter, leaving only fresh coffee- this is what French presses are made for.

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