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Where does the caffeine in your coffee come from?

If you’re a life-long coffee drinker like me, you know the importance of highly caffeinated coffee to keep you going during a long workday or to stay up at night. You know a strong cup of coffee when you taste it.  But have you ever wondered where the caffeine comes from? Let’s dive into some of the myths and misperceptions about what really puts the zing in your cup of coffee.

Caffeine does not come from roasting method

There is a misconception that darker coffee is more caffeinated than lighter coffee. Even at a coffee shop you will be given this choice and that “dark” equals “strength”.  That’s because the more you roast the darker the coffee becomes. But coffee drinkers also tend to believe that the more you roast, the higher the caffeine will be. You are not the only one.  But simply put, the way the coffee is roasted does not increase (nor decrease) the caffeine content inside the coffee. Dark roast coffee delivers bold taste that makes the drinker feel that the coffee is strong. Darker roast coffee beans look “dark”, of course, and sometimes totally black. However, roasting absolutely does not increase the caffeine content inside the coffee.

Caffeine does not come from brewing methods either

You may wonder if brewing the coffee in certain ways helps enhance its caffeine content. Does French fresh coffee have more caffeine than Pour-over coffee? Is espresso the most-caffeinated coffee? Espresso may be the most “condensed” coffee as there is just 2 fluid ounces of water in a single espresso, compared to 8 to 16 fluid ounces from other kinds of coffee. However, the answer is not how the coffee is brewed but how much ground coffee you use with the same level of water. It is simply that the more coffee you use, the higher the caffeine level will be. Just like we see with roasting, different ways of brewing will not change the caffeine content.

It’s all in the bean.

So, where does the caffeine come from? The coffee bean itself is the answer. And there are different levels of caffeine depending on which coffee bean you are buying.  As a matter of fact, Robusta beans contain almost double caffeine than Arabica beans. Other factors may also affect the caffeine content, such as the seeds used to plant coffee trees, as well as weather, soil, fertilizer, or pesticides used on the coffee plantation. Yes, when it comes to caffeine, it’s all about the bean.  Not roasting, not brewing. Just the bean.

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