If you're reading this to make yourself feel better about all of the coffee you love to drink, then stay put! You're in the right place! Today we're discussing some of the health benefitting compounds in your coffee.. and how this might just be improving your health. But let's be realistic here, coffee (like anything) should always be enjoyed in moderation. And with most "healthy" foods and drinks, the effects will only work to a mild effect, and especially must be consumed in the correct quantities. So, let's get into it...
According to this scientific publication, the two key compounds in coffee that contribute to the flavour, as well as these health benefits, are chlorogenic acid and, of course, caffeine. However, these compounds are at their highest concentration when the coffee is 'green coffee' - the unroasted coffee. As the coffee you drink comes from roasted beans, these green coffee beans are roasted by coffee roastaries (like Rosso Coffee) to bring out the more familiar flavours of the coffee and allow it to be effectively ground and brewed.
What's So Good About Our Friends Chlorogenic Acid and Caffeine?
Well, we all probably know by now that caffeine has a stimulating effect, causing us to be more alert, and enhance our mood. More recent research suggests that this can also lower the risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease (when consumed below 400 mg). And what about chlorogenic acid? Well this compound is linked to a lower risk of diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. So if we can get these into our daily diet, it seems like a good thing. Obviously, we should also acknowledge the negative effects of too much caffeine: increased heart rate, anxiety and frequent urination; with a further potential to actually risk cardiovascular disease risk overall. So we've got to find a balance.
But there's one big caveat:
Chlorogenic Acid and Caffeine Health Benefits Decrease as Coffee is Roasted
So whilst these compounds are definitely present in the green coffee (which isn't ready for consumption), when the coffee is actually roasted, the levels of these two health boosting ingredients decreases. According to the 2021 study by S. Awwad in Molecules, the darker the roast, the lower the level of chlorogenic acid. Whereas, caffeine levels seem to peak in medium roast types. But even then, the brewing method also has a large effect on how much of these compounds actually ends up in the coffee you're sipping.
Chlorogenic acid and caffeine dissolve best in oil, so to get most of these compounds in your drink, you'd want to be using a brewing method that keeps the coffee's oils intact the most - this would be an Aeropress (see this study here for their further tests on other compounds the Aeropress help extract).
so, overall whilst these compounds are in the green coffee. The levels of these ingredients quickly decrease when coffee is roasted, and further as the coffee is extracted when brewed. There's not enough studies or data yet to fully determine exactly how we can get these compounds from our coffee to see the maximum benefit, but from these existing studies, drinking a medium roast filter coffee using an Aeropress is likely to give you the best extraction of these compounds. The good news is we are likely to still see some benefits from the likely extracted levels anyway!
Either way, you might as well try! We'll be sipping our Aeropress coffees feeling smug.
TLDR; drinking a medium roast coffee via an Aeropress might be the best way to extract chorogenic acid and caffeine from coffee, which can have some healthy benefits. But there's not enough data yet to be sure on exactly how much you're getting.