7 Ways To Elevate Your Daily Cup Of Coffee, For Taste & Health
For many people, a daily cup of coffee is a nonnegotiable (*raises hand*). Some love the caffeinated energy boost, while others are just fans of the taste. Plus, that comforting cup may actually come with some perks. The beans are high in antioxidants, which can help support brain health, energy levels, and athletic performance.
In order to get even more out of your daily brew, here are a few ways to enhance and elevate your coffee, for better taste and bonus health benefits:
1. Properly store your beans.
While it may not affect health, the way coffee beans are stored can certainly affect taste. Founder and CEO of Kahawa 1893 and third-generation coffee farmer Margaret Nyamumbo previously told mbg "Oxygen, moisture, and light are the enemies to coffee's freshness, so you want to keep the coffee away from these elements." To avoid these three elements, store fresh coffee beans in an airtight, opaque container in the pantry, cupboard, or on the counter.
2. Buy dark-roasted, fresh coffee beans.
In the book, This Is Your Brain on Food, nutritional psychiatrist Uma Naidoo, M.D., recommends buying dark-roasted, fresh coffee beans to support brain health. Compared to a light or medium roast, dark-roasted beans tend to have the lowest levels of acrylamide.
"Acrylamide, a chemical formed when coffee beans are roasted, can inhibit neurotransmission, destroy dopamine neurons, and increase oxidative stress," Naidoo writes. Avoiding this chemical by opting for a darker roast is one way to protect brain health.
3. Grind your coffee beans before each brew.
Buying whole beans and grinding them freshly every day is the best way to optimize coffee's flavor. "Ground coffee loses flavor so rapidly, it's basically stale by the time it gets to you," Nyamumbo says. Whereas, whole beans hold their flavor for longer, extending the shelf life of your coffee purchase.
4. Make it cold brew.
Don't worry; this doesn't mean you have to drink cold coffee year-round. "You can reheat cold-brewed coffee in a small pot or microwave," Zibdeh says. The "cold" in cold brew simply refers to the actual brewing process, not the final product.
5. Try microdosing.
Instead of downing two full cups of coffee early in the morning, integrative gastroenterologist Marvin Singh, M.D., recommends caffeine microdosing. The process helps to eliminate that dreaded afternoon crash or unwanted jitters and instead gives you little boosts throughout the day.
"This might look like drinking a cup of coffee in the morning and then only having green tea throughout the rest of the day," he writes. "Or slowly sipping your coffee in the morning, which may help you drink around 10 mg or so of caffeine at a time." For reference, it takes about 60 to 100 mg of caffeine to reach the optimal energy zone, so microdosing can help sustain and build that energy over time.
6. Add nondairy milk.
Not a fan of black coffee but can't tolerate dairy milk? Enter: almond, oat, macadamia, cashew, hemp, coconut—you name it, it probably has a plant-milk form. These replacements can be helpful for people with soy or dairy allergies or anyone following a plant-based diet. Plus, they taste pretty darn good (especially in a latte).
7. Add some healthy fats.
There are plenty of ways to optimize your morning (or midafternoon) coffee. Simply changing the way you buy, store, and prepare your beans can help optimize the flavor of black coffee. For those who need a little flavor boost, without added sugars, incorporating collagen, healthy fats, and nondairy milks can enhance both health and taste.
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