How Does Coffee Work?

What is it about Coffee?

What is it about coffee that draws so many people to it like a moth to a light? Coffee is one of the most consumed beverages in the world. Why is it so popular? What is it about coffee that gives it its superpowers? Is it simply the energy one gets from it that they consume it? Or is there something deeper? Those that drink coffee regularly, meaning at least once a day, find that when they skip a day or don’t have time to grab that cup of java, they have less energy, may suffer from a headache (which can turn into a migraine for some), and are in a less than favorable mood. This article is going to break down coffee and discover what it is about coffee that aids the drinker into feeling a little more human.

Breaking Down Coffee

There is more to coffee than just caffeine. In fact, some coffees boast half-caf and decaf properties. Simply put, the caffeine is drawn out of the bean. It is, however, not a simple process. There are three common methods of extraction, the most common including a mixture of water and green-coffee extract. Green coffee beans are put through a process of soaking the bean in water and then putting them through an extraction process which includes agitation and introduced to a green-coffee extract that has already been reduced in caffeine. Essentially, the caffeine is drawn out of the bean, rinsed and dried, then put on steam (

Caffeine is a natural stimulant that provides that kick in the morning so many people need to get moving. Caffeine is fast moving and is absorbed by the bloodstream very quickly. It blocks the effects of adenosine, a neurotransmitter that is an inhibitor that works all day building up the body’s need for sleep. Caffeine works to block that from happening. This allows the brain to be more alert and increase focus (

A cup of coffee is nothing without water. The hot water pulls the flavor and oils out of the coffee bean.  Hot water is incredibly solvent, so it does its job effectively pulling out the caffeine from the bean. Caffeine is also a diuretic, so those that drink coffee find themselves urinating more frequently than those that do not consume caffeine. A tolerance to the caffeine is built up, but it still will affect them to an extent.

Some additional chemicals or substances found in coffee that most people don’t realize are 2-Ethylphenol, Quinic Acid, 3,5 Dicaffeoylquinic Acid, Dimethyl Disulfide, Acetylmethylcarbinol, Putrescine, Trigonelline, Niacin, and Theophylline ( It seems one would need a PHD in order to pronounce those words, much less know what they are and how they affect the human body. Truth is, this is not a complete list of the chemicals found in the coffee bean. Researchers have found that there are over a thousand chemicals found in the coffee bean. This is only the tip of the iceberg.

2-Ethylphenol creates the odor coffee is known for; Quinic Acid is the chemical that provides that sour feel in the stomach when coffee is consumed without food; 3,5 Dicaffeoylquinic Acid is used to pretreat neurons in scientific labs, which protects the cells from free-radical damage, meaning coffee is an antioxidant source; Dimethyl Disulfide is naturally occurring in the bean after roasting, and provides the color for feces; Acetylmethylcarbinol provides that buttery taste in coffee; Putrescine provides a not so attractive odor resulting from the breakdown of amino acids; Trigonelline offers the coffee an earthy taste but also provides help in fighting cavities by preventing bacterium from attaching to teeth; Niacin which is vitamin B3, aids in lowering cholesterol, ease arthritis and gives a powerful punch to the functionality of the brain (; and last but not least Theophylline helps to relieve asthma, bronchitis and emphysema (

Take It All In

The bottom line is, coffee is a longtime favorite beverage around the world. It has been enjoyed for hundreds of years, being made popular in the middle ages, and it isn’t going to disappear anytime soon. If it’s simply to wake up, one cup a day may be recommended.  For others, coffee is enjoyed throughout work and to keep moving forward. And there will always be a variety of flavors and strengths to choose from. For most people, coffee is a safe, fresh way to wake up, stay at work, and feel good, while enjoying one of the many flavors from around the world!


Image Credits:

Cup of Coffee [ID 2476495 © Olly Lama |]
Woman Drinking Coffee [ID 23012790 © Lja |]