Guest post by Olivier Friquin from Coffeefous
We all love starting the day with a cup of joe in the morning, be it instant or ground coffee. Now it's time to learn how healthy these two methods are and which is better for you.
Coffee is a complex mixture of various natural chemicals, and its brew style determines the amount of each constituent. The composition, daily amount consumed, and type of beans can affect the overall health benefit that is associated to the drink.
While instant coffee boasts of low prices and ease of use, ground coffee can sometime provide more complex flavor. Both methods come with varying health benefits and hazards. In this post, we will analyze each coffee brew and help you determine which one is healthier for you.
General benefits of drinking coffee
Although instant coffee and ground coffee differ in their chemical compositions, some benefits apply to both. Below are a few:
1. Reduced death risk
A research on the association of coffee with mortality rates shows that higher coffee consumption links to 8 to 15 percent reduction in the risk of death.
2. Can help fight Parkinson
This study shows that caffeine (the primary component of coffee) improves the objective motor measures. In other words, coffee can help people with Parkinson's disease control the movement of their bodies.
3. Memory boost
Caffeine is a significant constituent of coffee. Some toxicologists and neurologists believe that it affects the part of the brain that controls memory and concentration. For that reason, drinking coffee can improve short-term memory and extend focus for a longer time.
4. Can reduce the risk of Colon Cancer
Coffee can improve the formation of bile acids and then speed up the digestion through the colon. Thus, reducing the number of cancer agents and their exposure to colon tissues. In another research conducted in Israel in 2016, researches found out that coffee consumption was associated with 26% lower odds of developing colorectal cancer.
5. Reduced depression
Caffeine is one of the most consumed psychoactive substances in the world, and 80 percent of its consumption is from coffee. Research shows that increased intake of caffeine can also reduce depression risks.
6. Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes
Albeit study shows that women who drink up to six cups of coffee daily have a 22 percent reduced risk of the disease.
What is instant coffee?
By way of introduction, instant coffee has so many names. Soluble coffee, coffee powder, coffee crystals, etc. are a few of the names. It is made from brewed coffee that was converted into powdered coffee by extracting the liquid of the coffee bean. This can be done in two ways: spray drying or freeze drying. The instant coffee granules are easily dissolved when mixed with water to create a great cup of coffee, instantly. Contradictory to some myths, instant coffee is made from pure coffee beans.
The history of instant coffee dates back to 1771, when according to the Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink, the first instant coffee was invented by John Dring in England. It was then patented by the British Government as "coffee compound."
Many coffee enthusiasts love this coffee type because of its simple preparation method. According to IMARC Group, the soluble coffee market value in the US reached 10.4 Billion USD in 2017. That, at growth at a CAGR of 5 percent in the last seven years.
How is instant Coffee Made? Spray vs. Freeze Drying
Coffee processed by the spray drying method is sprayed into a stream of hot air from the top of a tall cylindrical structure (similar to those used to keep grains and flour). As the small amount of extracted coffee liquid drops down it becomes the dry fine instant coffee powder you are familiar with. Spray drying is the most common way used by traditional instant coffee brands. This fast and cheaper process sacrifices the taste for speed and cost. The heat applied during this process is what's causing you to taste a burnt flavor when drinking traditional instant coffee.
In 1964, a new and revolutionary method was created. Instead of applying heat to extract the liquid from the beans, now you could use the freeze drying method to do so. Freeze drying in essential is the production of quality instant coffee. First, the coffee beans are roasted and grounded like in the other method. Then, the grounded beans are dissolved in water and brewed into a very concentrated liquid. After filtration, the coffee liquid is then frozen to about -50 degrees celsius at a very thin layer. It is then broken into smaller pieces and placed into a freeze dryer.
How is Ground Coffee Made?
This method utilizes two revolving abrasive elements like wheels or cone-shaped components to crush and squeeze the coffee beans between their surfaces. As a result, the oil quickly extracts from the beans for a smooth and tasty infusion process when in hot water.
Machines that use this grinding method can be electrical or manual types. They grind relatively uniform sized coffee with a wide range of grind settings. The settings determine the space between both grinding elements and the overall size of the ground. Coffee grounded using this method is suitable for different brewing styles like espresso, French press, drip, and many others.
This grinding method is used for Turkish and Arabic coffees and requires smashing the coffee ground with a mortar and pestle. The resulted grounds are more fine and very smooth compared to the burr grounds. This technique is not too popular because of its high energy demands.
This method works by splitting the coffee beans using blades at high speed.
This grinding style is the most common coffee grinding style today. Some coffee drinkers even use the regular home blender to grind their beans like that, although it does not produce straight cuts like with a professional coffee grinder. Another reason why this style is popular is that mixers and grinders are cheaper than the burr machines.
Sadly, there are a few drawbacks to this method. For starter, it is not suitable for espresso machines as the grounded beans using that method will clog it. Also, it will require repeated grinding to achieve a smooth, powdered grain. Yet, drip coffee makers will efficiently produce tasty drinks from beans grounded using this technique.
Lastly, these grinders are crushing the beans in between a pair of corrugated rolling parts. Commercial companies utilize these grinders because they can accommodate a large number of beans at once. However, its overall size and cost make it unsuitable for home use.
If you are interested in reading more about grinders, check out Coffeforus for more information.
Health benefits and risks of Instant coffee vs. ground coffee
As you have read, coffee is a healthy drink; However, the method of preparation and brewing process can affect its overall chemical constituents, thus its health benefits and risks. In this section, we will compare between instant coffee and ground coffee specifically.
Antioxidants and nutrients:
Instant coffee beats the ground counterpart and many other brewing types on the total amount of antioxidants. This study finds out that instant coffee brews have the highest values in content of phenols, chlorogenic acid derivates, caffeine and antioxidant capacity. Antioxidants are a huge reason for the benefits coffee provides.
Instant coffee has less caffeine than ground coffee. On average, a cup of instant coffee (8-ounce) contains about 90mg of caffeine (Waka Coffee has about 70 mg). On the other hand, ground coffee has a range of 125 to 140 mg of caffeine for the same serving size. A high caffeine amount can cause restlessness, increased heart rate and stomach upset. You should monitor your caffeine intake and consider substituting some of your cup of joe with dacaf coffee of tea options.
According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), heating food rich in carbohydrate at high temperatures produce this toxic compound. The National Agency for Research on Cancer even classifies acrylamide as a probable carcinogen. However, any type of coffee that derives from roasted coffee beans will contain some quantities of acrylamide, including instant coffee. The connection between acrylamide and cancer is still under ongoing research.
Even coffee substitutes, such as chicory root coffees, will contain acrylamide if they have been roasted. A 2013 study compared the amounts of acrylamide in 42 samples of coffee, including 28 types of ground roasted coffee, 11 instant coffees and 3 coffee substitutes (grain coffee). The results showed that the highest mean acrylamide concentrations were found in the coffee substitutes group (818 pg/kg) followed by instant coffee (358 microg/kg) and then roasted coffee (179 microg/kg).
Blood sugar level:
This study on nutrition and metabolism shows that instant coffee can help in reducing the blood sugar level. However, according to Mayo Clinic, "Caffeine affects every person differently. If you have diabetes or you're struggling to control your blood sugar levels, limiting the amount of caffeine in your diet may provide a benefit."
Daily consumption of the right amount of coffee can be associated to many health benefits. The different brew styles produce coffee with varying taste, flavor, aroma, as well as health benefits. While instant coffee provides more nutrients and antioxidants than most other brewing types, it contains more acrylamide compared to ground coffee.
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