the complicated coffee: understanding the chemical composition

the complicated coffee: understanding the chemical composition

What do you like coffee for? In most cases, the answers will be quite standard: the taste, aroma and invigorating effect in the morning. However, rare coffee drinkers think about how many nutrients are contained in coffee beans. The only thing most people are familiar with is caffeine, thanks to which we are able to wake up early in the morning and, if we drink a cup of coffee during the day, maintain our performance till evening. But caffeine is not the only factor. In addition to it, coffee beans contain a lot of other useful substances. It is not for nothing that true coffee enthusiasts believe that with the proper use of this wonderful drink can be a real cure. And this is really true.

It is important to understand that the chemical composition of coffee beans is not constant. The percentage of microelements and vitamins will depend on the variety of coffee, the conditions under which it is grown, the degree of roasting and many other factors. Coffee is a complex drink. This is particularly well understood when we learn that many of the substances in the beans appear only after roasting. Currently in the ready coffee beans were counted about two thousand chemical compounds. Of these, about 80% are responsible for the taste of the beverage.

Soluble coffee

It is surprising, but with all the perfection of the chemical science scientists and technologists until now have not managed to make an instant coffee similar to natural coffee by its composition. The substances contained in natural beans in instant coffee at best will make up only one fifth of it. The rest 80% are represented by coloring agents, flavoring agents and other chemicals. So, hastily drinking a cup of instant drink, you should not deceive yourself. It is nothing more than something that resembles coffee in taste and color, but not real coffee. The traditional richness of proteins, carbohydrates, amino acids, and vitamins is out of the question.

Natural Coffee

However, let’s go back to natural beans. In the raw product, more than half of the weight is accounted for by carbohydrates. During roasting, they become less, and some substances in the course of thermal processing are transformed into other ones. For example, sucrose produces carameline, which gives the beverage its characteristic brown color. Another ingredient that is formed during roasting is caffeole. This is what gives the coffee its distinctive aroma.

Speaking about the taste and aroma of roasted coffee beans, it is impossible not to mention trigonellin. But caffeine, contrary to popular opinion, has no effect on the taste of coffee. It has a bitter taste only in its pure form. The task of caffeine is different: it has a tonic effect, strengthens the heart rhythm and dilates the blood vessels. Caffeine, by the way, is also a part of the world famous carbonated drink Coca-Cola, which certainly does not have a bitter taste. And if we continue to look for a connection between coffee and cola, it turns out that the effect of drinking the latter is very similar to that of a cup of natural coffee.

Another important component of coffee is tannin. In green beans, it accounts for about 7% of the total weight, but as the beans roast, the tannin is destroyed. Instead the beans get a characteristic taste and aroma. We should not forget about the protein, which accounts for about 10% of the total mass of the grain. Speaking about the vitamins in coffee, we should mention vitamin B3, which affects the metabolic process in the body. Other vitamins, such as A, E, B and PP, are not as abundant in coffee beans, but they are very important for the human body. So are zinc, magnesium, iron and calcium in natural coffee.

Of course, even the most fervent coffee fans do not need to know thoroughly about all the chemical substances it contains. Much more important is to know about something else: correctly made natural coffee cannot contain harmful substances and toxins. It’s an axiom!

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