29 Unique Coffee Questions Most Commonly Asked

Last updated on March 1st, 2024 at 08:45 am

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FAQ About Coffee

The 29 Unique FAQs About Coffee

What is the best temperature to brew coffee?

The optimal water temperature for drip coffee is 195-205F (91-96C). According to various study notes, colder water doesn’t extract enough caffeine/essential oils from the beans, and at any brewing temperature above 208F (98C), the acidity increases wildly[1].

How much caffeine is in decaf?

In the US, federal regulations require that to label coffee as “decaffeinated” it must have had its caffeine level reduced by no less than 97.5 percent[2].

Normally, many Arabicas are about 98.64% caffeine-free even before anything is done to lower the caffeine content. In other words, it is about 1.36% caffeine by weight. When 97% of the caffeine has been removed, only .0408 % of the coffee weight is caffeine, at this level, it is labeled “decaffeinated.

(1-98.64%) x (1-97%) = 0.0408%

Where did the term "cup of joe" come from?

A likelier theory is based on linguistics. This theory states that “Joe” is the simplified form of the word “jamoke,” which began as a nickname for coffee in the 19th century, a portmanteau of the coffee beans “Java,” and “mocha.” Therefore, “cup of jamoke” may have become shortened to a “cup of Joe.” [3]

What is the difference between arabica and robusta?

Arabica beans and robusta beans are two different species of coffee. They are the two primary species that find their way into the American cup. The general differences are the tastes and the conditions under which the two species differ in production[4].

Arabicas have a wider taste range, between varieties. They range in taste from sweet-soft to sharp-tangy. Their unroasted smell is sometimes likened to blueberries. Their roasted smell is perfumey with fruity notes and sugary tones.
Robustas’ taste range is neutral to harsh and they are often described as tasting grain-like, such as oatmeal. Their unroasted smell is often described as raw peanutty. Their roasted smell is often likened to burnt rubber.

Arabicas are delicate, they require cool tropical climates, lots of moisture, rich soil, shade, and sun. They are subject to attack from various pests and are extremely vulnerable to cold and bad handling.

Robustas are hardier plants, from their name you can figure out their hardier characteristics, capable of growing well at low altitudes, and less subject to problems related to pests and rough handling. They yield more pounds of finished goods per acre at a lower cost of production.

Just how much ground coffee do I need for X amount of liquid?

According to the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), a cup is defined as 6 ounces of water before brewing. This will produce 5.33 ounces of brewed liquid, or 125 ml & 110 ml for Euro-style makers.

The SCAA defines 10 grams or .36 oz per cup as the proper measure for brewed liquid if using American standards. If using Euro standards the measure is 7 grams per 125 ml.

How to store coffee?

The best storage place is ideally in an opaque, airtight container at room temperature and, if possible, away from sunlight and heat. I always store beans in an air-tight glass container. Air and moisture are coffee’s main enemies. Glass is best because it doesn’t retain the odors of the beans or the oils. However, if you use glass, make sure the container is not exposed to light, as sunlight is to reduce freshness.

Buy only what can be consumed in a week to 10 days from the time it was roasted. This is the guaranteed way to have truly fresh coffee. Do not freeze ground coffee. The freezing will damage some of the subtle tastes, and when the coffee is taken out the container will sweat, exposing it to moisture[5].

Which country produces the most in the world today?

Brazil currently produces around 40% of the world’s total supply. This is followed in order by Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Honduras, Ethiopia, Peru, India, Guatemala, and Uganda [6].

How many calories are in coffee?

Black coffee has 0 calories. A flat white with 30ml of espresso and around 140ml of full-fat milk contains around 60 -70 calories.

Can you drink coffee during pregnancy?

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that pregnant women limit their caffeine consumption to less than 200 mg (about two, six-ounce cups) per day[7].  Some medical studies recommend that pregnant women can have no more than 400 mg of caffeine per day.

Which does it have more caffeine, coffee or tea?

The answer is coffee, on average, has about twice as much caffeine as black tea which is generally considered to have the highest caffeine content of the various forms of tea (green, white, oolong, and black etc)[8].

Does coffee cause dehydration?

Caffeinated beverages, may have mild diuretic effects – causing the need to urinate. However, drinking coffee does not appear to cause dehydration, ie it does not cause fluid loss over the volume ingested and has no overall impact on dehydration. In addition, drinking coffee does count toward a person’s daily fluid intake[9].

How many cups a day can you drink?

Up to 400mg of caffeine is generally considered a safe amount for a person can drink daily which is equivalent to 4-5 cups. If one person notices tremors, anxiety, agitation, headaches/ dizziness, or upset stomach by daily intake of caffeinated drinks, then common sense is telling one to reduce the consumption a bit[10].

What is light roasts, medium roasts, medium dark roasts and dark roasts?

Light roasts

Light roast is generally preferred for milder varieties with a light brown color as the finished roasts. There will be no oil on the surface of these beans because they are not roasted long enough for the oils to break through to the surface.

Medium roasts

This roast is medium brown in color with a stronger flavor than the light roasts and with a non-oily surface. It’s often referred to as the American roast because it is generally preferred in the US.

Medium dark roasts

The finished bean has a darker color than the medium roasts. The medium-dark roast has some oil on the surface and a slight bittersweet aftertaste.

Dark roasts

The dark roast has shiny black beans with an oily surface and an obvious bitterness in taste. The darker the roast has less acidity. Dark roast coffees run from slightly dark to almost blackened.

Different roasts of coffee beans make a square shape on a flat surface. The square is divided into 4 smaller squares, the top left is the light roasted coffee beans, the top right is the medium roasts, the lower right is the dark roasts and the lower left is the medium dark roasts.
Different Roasts Beans In Different Colors

Do darker roasts have more caffeine?

Most of the time dark roast is described as tasting more bitter than light roast. However, the bitterness of dark roasted coffee may be caused by the brewing time, the coffee-to-water ratio used, and the grind depending on the brewing techniques or machines. 

The boldness of a dark roast often has been confused with the bitter sensation of an over-extracted brew. It’s important to differentiate bitterness from caffeine content. Most people would call a hot bitter coffee “strong”, just because of the bitterness and the high temperature associated with the sensation in the mouth and on the tongue as “strong”.

The truth is that caffeine content remains pretty much the same during each stage of the roasting process. The difference between roasts is taste, not the amount of caffeine. One of the possible facts that darker roasted may have more caffeine in a finished cup than a light roast is that people might likely use more dark coffee to brew a cup. 

What is the difference between a blend and a single-origin coffee?

Single-origin coffees are sourced from a specific place and can be estates, family-owned farms, or communities served by farmers. Blends coffees from different places that combine to highlight certain distinct flavors.

What are the main hot brewing techniques at home?

There are so many ways to make a delicious, cafe-like cup at home:

  1. Pour over.
  2. Aeropress.
  3. Aeropress and fellow prismo.
  4. Aeropress mimicking espresso.
  5. Automatic drip machine.
  6. Espresso.
  7. French press.

The above are the most common ways to brew techniques at home. There are many others to make a delicious cup at home.

How long is my coffee good for?

Most specialty coffee roasters recommend that the coffee should be consumed within three months of the roast date. For the best freshness, some even recommend five to seven days off the roast and up to three weeks thereafter.

How long can I store raw beans in vacuum sealed bags in room temperature?

Since green beans do not degrade within a year or two, raw beans usually are stored in burlap bags in bulk. Vacuum sealing does nothing to preserve them better. However, definitely keep them out of light and keep them somewhere cool. It is highly recommended to roast and consume them within 6 to 9 months.

How does caffeine taste?

Caffeine is very bitter.

what is the difference in caffeine consumption between younger and older people?

The difference in caffeine consumption between younger and older people involves both quantity and sensitivity:

Quantity:

  • Generally, younger adults (20-40s) tend to consume more caffeine: Studies suggest their intake can be around 300-400mg per day, often from sources like coffee, energy drinks, and soda.

  • Older adults (65+) tend to consume less: Their average intake typically falls around 200mg per day. This might be due to health concerns, changes in taste preferences, or simply consuming less overall.

Sensitivity:

  • Older adults often show increased sensitivity to caffeine: As we age, our bodies metabolize caffeine slower, so the same amount can have stronger effects. This can lead to jitteriness, anxiety, sleep disturbances, or other sensitivities.

  • Younger adults usually tolerate caffeine better: Their faster metabolism allows for quicker clearance, minimizing side effects.

Is it safe to use boiled water when making instant coffee? What are the potential consequences if boiled water is used?

It is perfectly safe to use boiled water for making instant coffee. Using boiled water won’t harm you, but it might slightly impact the taste and aroma of your coffee.

Most instant coffee brands, like Nescafe, recommend using water around 176°F (80°C) for optimal flavor extraction. Boiling water is typically around 212°F (100°C), which can be too hot for instant coffee. This can lead to “scorching” the coffee, resulting in a bitter taste and diminished aroma.

While boiling water will dissolve the instant coffee granules, it might not be necessary for complete extraction. Hot water around the recommended temperature is usually sufficient for dissolving the coffee and releasing its flavor.

Therefore, while using boiled water won’t pose any health risks, it’s recommended to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use slightly cooler water for optimal taste and aroma in your instant coffee.

Can long-term consumption of large amounts of caffeine lead to a decrease in dopamine levels and a need for higher doses to achieve the same effects?

Yes, long-term consumption of large amounts of caffeine can lead to changes in your brain chemistry that affect dopamine function.

  • Caffeine’s Mechanism: Caffeine works primarily by blocking adenosine receptors in the brain. Adenosine typically slows down neural activity and makes you feel tired. Caffeine’s interference leads to increased neural activity and feelings of alertness.

  • Dopamine Connection: The increased neural activity caused by caffeine also triggers a rise in dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure, motivation, and reward. This is one of the factors that contributes to caffeine’s stimulating effects.

  • Tolerance: With regular and high caffeine use, your brain adapts. It may produce more adenosine receptors or become less sensitive to dopamine, essentially trying to normalize its activity despite caffeine’s influence. This is called tolerance.

  • Decreased Sensitivity: As your brain becomes less sensitive to both adenosine and dopamine, you start needing higher amounts of caffeine to achieve the same stimulating effects you once experienced with lower amounts.

  • Decreased Sensitivity: As your brain becomes less sensitive to both adenosine and dopamine, you start needing higher amounts of caffeine to achieve the same stimulating effects you once experienced with lower amounts.

Important Considerations:

  • Individual Variation: The degree to which caffeine affects dopamine systems can vary between individuals, influenced by factors like genetics and consumption habits.

  • Withdrawal: If you abruptly stop consuming caffeine after prolonged heavy use, you can experience withdrawal symptoms like headaches, fatigue, and low mood. This is partly related to the temporary disruption of dopamine function.

  • Dosage Matters: Moderate caffeine consumption is less likely to lead to significant dopamine-related issues compared to chronic consumption of very high doses.

What is the difference in caffeine consumption between younger and older people?

Generally, younger adults (20-40s) tend to consume more caffeine: Young adults’ caffeine intake can be around 300-400mg per day, often from sources like coffee, energy drinks, and soda.

Older adults (65+) tend to consume less: Their average intake typically falls around 200mg per day. This might be due to health concerns, changes in taste preferences, or simply consuming less overall.

Older adults often show increased sensitivity to caffeine: As we age, our bodies metabolize caffeine slower, so the same amount can have stronger effects. This can lead to jitteriness, anxiety, sleep disturbances, or other sensitivities.

Younger adults usually tolerate caffeine better: Their faster metabolism allows for quicker clearance, minimizing side effects.

It’s important to remember:

Moderation is key. Regardless of age, limiting caffeine intake and being mindful of individual sensitivities is wise.

Consult a doctor. If you have concerns about caffeine or experience negative effects, speak to your doctor for personalized advice.

What is the calorie count of a cup of non-dairy coffee creamer, such as International Delight?

The calorie count of a cup of non-dairy coffee creamer can vary depending on the brand and variety. For example, one cup (8 fl oz) of International Delight Original non-dairy coffee creamer contains 560 calories.

On the International Delight FAQ page, it mentions that “Regular varieties of International Delight creamer contain 35 calories per tablespoon.”

A tablespoon is 0.5 fl oz, so a cup of this creamer is equivalent to 16 tablespoons in volume, therefore it is about 560 calories in a cup of ID non-dairy creamer.

What is the difference between culinary-grade and ceremonial-grade matcha when making lattes?

When it comes to making lattes, both culinary-grade and ceremonial-grade matcha can be used, but there are some key differences to consider:

Flavor:

  • Ceremonial: Characterized by a smooth, delicate, and slightly sweet flavor with subtle grassy notes. Less bitter than culinary grade.
  • Culinary: Often bolder and slightly bitter, with earthier and stronger vegetal notes. Stands up well to milk and other ingredients.

Texture:

  • Ceremonial: Finer grind, resulting in a smoother and creamier texture in your latte.
  • Culinary: Slightly coarser grind, which might lead to a slightly grainy texture in your latte.

Price:

  • Ceremonial: More expensive due to its higher quality and intricate processing.
  • Culinary: More affordable, making it a good choice for experimenting or everyday use.

Overall:

  • Ceremonial: If you prioritize a refined and delicate matcha flavor in your latte and are willing to invest, this is the better choice.
  • Culinary: If you don’t mind a slightly bolder flavor, and value affordability and versatility for other recipes, this is a good option.

Additional factors to consider:

  • Sweetener: Due to its bitterness, culinary grade matcha might require more sweetener to achieve a palatable taste in your latte.
  • Mixing: Ceremonial grade matcha might dissolve more easily in your latte due to its finer texture.
  • Latte-specific matcha: Some brands offer matcha specifically designed for lattes, which blends the best aspects of both ceremonial and culinary grades.

Is it unhealthy to add cocoa powder to your coffee? How many calories are in a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder?

Whether it’s unhealthy to add cocoa powder to your coffee depends on several factors, including your overall health, dietary restrictions, and how much you add. Here’s a breakdown:

Potential benefits of adding cocoa powder to coffee:

  • Antioxidants: Cocoa powder is rich in antioxidants, which can help protect your cells from damage and may have various health benefits.
  • Minerals: Cocoa powder contains minerals like magnesium, iron, and potassium.
  • Improved blood flow: Some studies suggest cocoa may improve blood flow and reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Fiber: Unsweetened cocoa powder has a small amount of fiber, which can aid digestion.

Potential downsides of adding cocoa powder to your coffee:

  • Calories: Depending on the type and amount you use, cocoa powder can add calories to your coffee. A tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder typically contains around 12-15 calories, but sweetened versions can have significantly more.
  • Sugar: Sweetened cocoa powder can be high in added sugar, which can contribute to various health issues if consumed excessively.
  • Caffeine interaction: Combining caffeine in coffee with theobromine in cocoa might increase the overall stimulant effect, potentially causing jitters or anxiety in some individuals.

Overall:

Adding a moderate amount of unsweetened cocoa powder to your coffee is unlikely to be harmful for most healthy individuals. However, it’s important to consider your individual health, dietary needs, and the type and amount of cocoa powder you use. Here are some additional points to keep in mind:

  • Portion control: Stick to a tablespoon or less of unsweetened cocoa powder to minimize added calories and sugar.
  • Sweetness: If you prefer a sweeter drink, opt for natural sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit instead of sugar-laden cocoa powder.
  • Health conditions: If you have pre-existing health conditions like diabetes or heart disease, consult your doctor before making significant changes to your diet, including adding cocoa powder to your coffee.

Why do people put milk in their coffee instead of just drinking black coffee?

People choose to put milk in their coffee for a variety of reasons, both about taste and experience. Here are some of the most common:

Taste:

  • Reduces bitterness: Milk’s proteins bind to bitter compounds in coffee, making it taste smoother and less harsh. This is especially appealing to those who find black coffee too strong.
  • Adds sweetness: Milk is naturally sweet due to its lactose content, which can balance the bitterness of coffee and make it more palatable.
  • Enhance flavors: Different types of milk can enhance specific flavors in coffee. For example, full-fat milk can amplify the chocolatey notes, while plant-based milk might highlight the brighter, fruitier notes.
  • Creamier texture: Milk adds a rich and creamy texture to coffee, which some people find more enjoyable than the thinness of black coffee.

Experience:

  • Temperature control: Adding cold milk can cool down hot coffee, making it easier to drink quickly. Conversely, hot milk can warm up cold coffee.
  • Habit: Many people grow up drinking coffee with milk, so it becomes their preferred way to consume it.
  • Versatility: Milk allows for creating various coffee drinks like lattes, cappuccinos, and macchiatos, offering more variety and customization options.
  • Health perception: Some believe milk adds calcium and other nutrients to coffee, although the actual benefit depends on the type of milk and individual needs.

Ultimately, the decision to add milk to your coffee is a personal one. There’s no right or wrong answer, and it depends on your taste preferences and desired experience. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find what works best for you!

What are the benefits of using condensed milk instead of sugar while making tea/coffee?

There are a few potential benefits to using condensed milk instead of sugar in tea or coffee, but there are also some downsides to consider. Here’s a breakdown:

Benefits:

  • Creamier Texture: Condensed milk adds a rich and creamy texture to your drink, which some people prefer over the grainy texture of sugar.
  • Subtle Sweetness: Condensed milk has a slightly caramelized flavor that can complement the bitterness of coffee or tea, offering a more nuanced sweetness than granulated sugar.
  • Reduced Need for Additional Sweeteners: Since condensed milk is already sweetened, you may not need to add as much sugar, potentially reducing your overall sugar intake.
  • Source of Nutrients: Condensed milk contains some nutrients like calcium, protein, and vitamin B12, unlike plain sugar.

Downsides:

  • Higher Sugar Content: Condensed milk is significantly higher in sugar than granulated sugar, with around 60g per 100g compared to 100g per 100g for sugar. This can be detrimental for those watching their sugar intake or managing conditions like diabetes.
  • Less Control Over Sweetness: Adding condensed milk means you’re adding a pre-determined amount of sugar, making it difficult to adjust the sweetness to your exact preference compared to using loose sugar.
  • Calories and Fat: Condensed milk is higher in calories and fat than granulated sugar. For those watching their calorie intake or managing weight, this can be a significant factor.
  • Altered Flavor Profile: The caramelized flavor of condensed milk can overpower the delicate notes of certain teas and coffees, potentially masking their inherent taste.

Overall:

Using condensed milk instead of sugar in tea or coffee offers some benefits like creaminess and nuance, but comes with significant downsides like higher sugar, calories, and potential flavor alteration. Consider your personal preferences for taste, texture, and health goals before making the switch. Remember, moderation is key, and enjoying your tea or coffee with the sweetener you prefer is perfectly fine.

What's the difference between breakfast blend coffee and house blend coffee?

Both breakfast blend and house blend coffees are blends, but they have several key differences:

Roast:

  • Breakfast Blend: Typically a lighter roast, ranging from blonde to light medium. This results in a brighter acidity, lighter body, and more subtle flavors like citrus and floral notes.
  • House Blend: Usually a medium roast, sometimes leaning towards dark roast. This leads to a fuller body, stronger flavor, and deeper notes like caramel, chocolate, and nuttiness.

Flavor Profile:

  • Breakfast Blend: Designed to be smooth, easy-drinking, and less intense, making it suitable for early mornings when the palate is sensitive.
  • House Blend: Aims for a balanced and more complex flavor profile, appealing to a wider range of preferences and serving as a “go-to” coffee throughout the day.

Caffeine Content:

  • Breakfast Blend: Generally has higher caffeine content due to the lighter roast, as lighter roasts retain more caffeine.
  • House Blend: Caffeine content varies depending on the specific blend but is typically lower than breakfast blends due to the darker roast.

Overall:

  • Breakfast Blend: Perfect for those who prefer a lighter, brighter, and milder coffee in the morning.
  • House Blend: Ideal for those who enjoy a fuller-bodied, more flavorful coffee and want something versatile for different times of day.

Additional Points:

  • Some brands may not strictly adhere to these typical characteristics, so it’s always good to read the description or ask about the specific blend before buying.
  • Ultimately, the best way to choose is to try both and see which one you prefer!

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