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Acrylamide in Coffee: Understanding the Facts

Coffee, a beloved beverage enjoyed worldwide, contains a small amount of a compound called acrylamide. While research suggests acrylamide exposure at high levels can be harmful, the levels found in coffee are significantly lower and unlikely to pose a significant health risk for moderate coffee drinkers. This article explores acrylamide in coffee, potential ways to reduce it, and considerations for making informed choices.

What is acrylamide and how is it formed in coffee?

Acrylamide is a chemical naturally formed during the high-heat processing of certain foods, including coffee roasting. It arises from a chemical reaction between sugars and amino acids known as the Maillard reaction, responsible for the development of flavor and color in roasted coffee beans.

How much acrylamide is in coffee, and should I be concerned?

The amount of acrylamide in coffee varies depending on the type of coffee and the roasting process. Studies have shown:

  • Fresh roasted coffee: Contains the lowest amount, averaging around 179 micrograms per kilogram (mcg/kg).
  • Instant coffee: Generally has higher levels, around 358 mcg/kg.
  • Coffee substitutes: Often have the highest levels, exceeding 800 mcg/kg.

For context, a typical cup of brewed coffee contains a negligible amount of acrylamide, around 0.45 mcg.

While acrylamide has been linked to potential health risks, mainly in high doses, the limited amount present in coffee is unlikely to be a significant concern. Research on the potential carcinogenicity of coffee consumption is inconclusive, with some studies suggesting even potential health benefits.

Potential Strategies for Lowering Acrylamide Intake in Coffee:

  • Air Roasting: This method employs solely hot air to roast coffee beans, potentially reducing acrylamide formation compared to traditional drum roasting. While research is ongoing, initial studies suggest air-roasted coffee might contain lower levels of acrylamide.
  • Lighter Roasts: Lighter roasts are generally subjected to lower temperatures and shorter roasting times compared to darker roasts, resulting in lower acrylamide levels.

Cortez Coffee Acrylamide Levels

At Cortez Coffee, all of our coffee is air roasted with a perforated drum - this means lower acrylamide levels in our coffee compared to other roasters. Even though acrylamide in coffee is negligible, we want to do our best to make our coffee is as healthy as possible.

You can click here to shop all of our low-acrylamide coffees.

By understanding acrylamide in coffee and potential ways to minimize it, coffee enthusiasts can make informed choices based on their preferences and health considerations.


Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24325083/