A recent study on coffee consumption concluded drinking two to three cups of coffee a day may actually help you live longer and avoid a slew of diseases along the way. Naturally, the study spawned a slew of articles on the subject. This one is no exception. The only difference is that where most authors don’t encourage you to start drinking coffee if you don’t already, I think it’s a great idea to start! I think you deserve to have the exceptionally special experience of making a cup of specialty coffee for yourself as part of your morning ritual. I’ve added a cup of green tea to my morning routine, so you tea drinkers should be able to add a cup of coffee no problem.
The study. The study found an association between drinking two to three cups of coffee a day and increased cognitive function, and lower risk of death from diabetes, heart disease, suicide, and Parkinson’s disease. Whether the coffee was caffeinated or decaf didn’t seem to make any difference. Hardly conclusive from one study, but there’s something going on with the joe. Previous studies didn’t separate smokers out from the groups of coffee drinkers, so the harmful side effects of smoking tainted their negative results. This one didn’t include smokers, though it was interesting to find out lots of coffee drinkers smoke.
The articles. Megan Friedman did a piece for Esquire magazine, Allison Aubrey did a piece for The Salt, and so did Maria Godoy. Maria’s work focused on another coffee study, where the researchers found negative results from for coffee drinkers under the age of 55 that drank more than 28 cups a week. For coffee drinkers over 55, the 28 cups a week threshold had little to no bearing.
The takeaway. I’ve got two takeaways from the study and the articles. One has to do with how much coffee to drink, and the other has to do with what kind of coffee to drink.
How much? The researchers and writers alike reference cups of coffee. But what is a cup? A cup, according to the studies, was 8 ounces. 28 cups a week is 224 ounces a week. Divide that limit by seven, and you get 32 ounces a day. Typically, we measure our specialty coffee out in terms of grams and milliliters instead of ounces, though. So I’ll do the math for you. I drink 300 ml cups of coffee. Since one ounce is 28 grams, that’s 10.7 ounces. I usually have two cups like that a day, at a 15-1 ratio. That means 40 grams of coffee a day, and 21.4 ounces a day. The study concluded that two to three 8 ounce cups a day were sufficient to reap coffee’s health benefits. That’s between 16 and 24 ounces. So drinking two 300g (or ml) cups of coffee a day is good to go to meet that requirement and keep you under the weekly threshold. So far, so good. But does any coffee qualify?
What kind? The study was for cups of coffee, not lattes, mochas, iced blended milkshakes, or any other popular drink at Starbucks. I only say this because those drinks contain a lot of sugar and calories. Coffee add-ins can have a negative impact on any health benefits you could get from drinking it. The beauty of specialty coffee is that there are incredible flavors to be had from just drinking it black. I also like a little bit of honey or raw sugar in mine with a touch of half-and-half. So I’m certainly not saying not to drink mochas, shakes, and flavored grocery store creamers, but to do so in moderation. Take those calories into account for your overall diet and reap the benefits of coffee- long and healthy life.