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Chances are you are a coffee drinker. A majority of us are. A 2018 survey by Reuters found that 64 percent of Americans drink a cup of coffee every day. This percentage is the highest it’s been in years. Americans consume the most coffee, worldwide, with the average American drinking just over two coffee drinks per day.

The two most common types of coffee beans used to make coffee are the Arabic bean and Robusta bean. Coffee beans are grown all over the world, from South America to Asia. Due to changes in soil and climate, the different growing regions create unique flavors in the bean. Coffee beans are harvested and roasted to bring out aroma and flavor. Roasted beans are categorized based on their color: light, medium, medium-dark and dark. Many consumers assume that the rich, dark roasts have more caffeine, but it’s actually the light roasts that have a slightly higher concentration. It is well known that caffeine can provide a much-needed energy boost, but coffee has many other health benefits.

Moderate consumption of coffee (three to four cups of coffee daily) has been linked to lower risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and some cancers. In fact, drinking coffee has been associated with a lower risk of death from all causes compared with those who do not drink coffee. Although the exact mechanisms behind the disease-preventing effects are still unknown, it may have to do with the antioxidants found in coffee. Antioxidants are compounds found in certain foods that can help protect our cells against damage caused by free radicals. Coffee is one of the major sources of antioxidants in Americans’ diets. Coffee contains trace amounts of some nutrients, including potassium, niacin and magnesium. Coffee can also serve as a vehicle for low-fat milk or a fortified dairy alternative to help ensure your daily calcium and vitamin D needs are met.

How much coffee is too much? The general recommendation for caffeine intake is 300-400 mg of per day which equates to three to four cups of brewed coffee. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should limit their maximum caffeine consumption to 200mg of caffeine (two cups of coffee) per day. Although caffeine is safe for adults, it’s not recommended for children. Additionally, heavy caffeine intake may cause unpleasant side effects like headache, insomnia and restlessness.

Black coffee is very low in calories with an eight ounce cup containing only 5 calories. If you don’t like your coffee black, opt for low-fat or fat-free dairy and go easy on the sugar to avoid adding significant fat and calories. Be aware of the ingredients in your coffee shop drinks as many can contain a few hundred calories. Even with the growing popularity of coffee shops, many Americans still prefer to brew their java at home. If you’re looking for a new way to get your coffee fix, try one of the recipes below:

Homemade cold brew coffee

Serves: 8


  • 1 cup whole coffee beans
  • 8 cups cold water

For the sweet cream (optional):

  • ¼ cup fat-free sweetened condensed milk
  • ⅓ cup fat-free evaporated milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract


Using a coffee grinder or food processor, coarsely grind the whole coffee beans until they reach the consistency of breadcrumbs. Add the grounds to a container with a lid (like a large mason jar). Cover the ground with cold water — roughly a 1:8 coffee-to-water ratio. Gently stir until well combine, cover and let steep for 12-24 hours at room temperature. When brewed, pour into a large bowl through a sieve to remove large grounds. Then pour through cheesecloth or large coffee filter to remove finer grounds. Serve over ice with 1 tablespoon of sweet cream, if desired. Store remaining cold brew coffee in the refrigerator.

Nutrition information: Per serving (1 cup cold brew coffee with 1 tablespoon sweet cream): 30 calories, 0 g fat, 1 g protein, 7 g carbohydrates, 21 mg sodium

Recipe from: Mayo Clinic staff

Homemade pumpkin spice latte

Serves: 3


  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ¼ cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups strongly brewed coffee
  • 1½ cups low-fat milk


Over low heat in a medium saucepan, add water, sugars, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Whisk and then let simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract. Brew coffee. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk milk vigorously until warm and foamy. For each individual latte, mix 1 cup of coffee with 4 tablespoons of pumpkin mixture until dissolved. Top with ½ cup of whisked milk. If making only one latte, brew 1 cup of coffee and use ½ cup of milk, and keep remaining syrup in a sealed container.

Nutrition information: Per serving (1 latte): 110 calories, 2 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 5 g protein, 21 g carbohydrates, 140 mg sodium

Recipe from: Cooking Light

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Jamie Pronschinske is a Mayo Clinic Health System registered dietitian.


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