Is coffee good or bad for you?

Hasan Minhaj looks at why there seems to be so much contradictory reporting on this question and says that one problem is the pressure to publish papers that result in some researchers finding ways to hype results that are not firmly grounded in the evidence.

I myself drink just one cup of coffee and one cup of tea a day, or two cups of coffee if no good tea is available.

(Thanks to Jeff Hess.)


  1. johnson catman says

    I love the smell of coffee. When I was a child and my mother would get a new can of coffee, I would volunteer to open it for her because the smell upon opening the can was so pleasant to me. However, the taste of brewed coffee is so disconnected from the smell that it boggles my mind. How can something that smells so good taste so bad? To this day, I do not drink coffee, only tea, but I still like the smell of ground coffee.

  2. says

    The dose makes the poison.

    And we appear to be able to withstand a lot. I used to drink about 2 gal of coffee a day. Now, it’s just one morning cup. I never have detected any change depending on the dose except that when I was at 2 gal/day my pee smelled suspiciously roasty. Now, it does not. My peak coffee consumption was in the 80s, because I had to keep up with my friends who were on cocaine. Just kidding -- coffee and cocaine are even better than coffee and chocolate.

    I used to drink a quart (liter) of hot coffee to relax before bed.

    PS -- I am just as hyper and sleep just as well as I did in the 80s.

  3. Dunc says

    I don’t understand how people can stand it.

    Well, firstly, there’s a lot of physical variation in people’s sense of taste -- some people’s taste receptors react strongly to compounds which most people are insensitive to, particularly certain bitter compounds, and this variation is strongly correlated with people’s preferences for or against things like coffee, red wine, and some green vegetables. So it’s quite possible that coffee tastes entirely different to you than it does to other people.

    Secondly, even setting the physical sensory aspects aside, individual taste preferences are hugely variable, and highly mutable. Different people like different things, and you can learn to like things you initially disliked.

    Finally, there’s good coffee and there’s bad coffee, and there’s far more bad coffee out there than good.

  4. Jazzlet says

    There are a lot of people, including restauranteurs and coffee shops, who insist on high roast coffee, often to my taste so high roast that the coffee is burnt, and I think that probably puts a lot of people off coffee as this is the kind of coffee you are most likely to encounter. Personally I prefer a medium to medium high roast as I think you get far richer flavours, it still doesn’t taste like it smells, but it does have more of the those components than the higher roasted stuff. I have converted others to my point of view simply becaue they like the coffee I give them and ask what kind it is.

    As for whether it’s good for me or not, I don’t actually care, I like coffee enough that I’m going to go on drinking it *goes and makes self a coffee to drink while watching video*

  5. says

    Marcus Ranum (#6) --

    I went through my litre-a-day phase when I was younger, and still probably drink too much. Regardless of how much I drank or do drink, or when, I sleep fine.

    The weird part is that my blood pressure is normal a few hours *after* a large mug in the morning. It makes me wonder if my baseline BP is low. And the headaches I get if I go 24 hours without….

    robertbaden (#4) --

    Coffee ads a nice taste to milk and chocolate. Unlike tea.

    Have you been to Asia or something? They’re obsessed with green tea flavoured everything, including chocolate. It’s irritating to see green labels, think mint, and find out it’s not.

  6. says

    I strongly dislike the smell and taste of coffee. I don’t get how people can like it.

    Although I dislike lots of foods other people find tasty—onions, garlic, all the bitter leafy greens (though I do like many of the non bitter ones), cilantro, mushrooms, chili peppers, very spicy foods and so on. I even dislike the taste of alcohol. The only alcoholic beverages I can accept are the ones with little alcohol and lots of sugar. On top of that, I even dislike the taste of most soft drinks. And most of the junk food. For example, I love potato chips as long as the recipe contains only salt with no other added flavors. Unfortunately, that’s not how most potato chips are made. Manufacturers like to add lots of disgusting flavors, which means I rarely get to snack on some junk food.

  7. lochaber says

    Andreas Avester @12> it sounds like your taste preferences might make a healthy diet easier for you than some people?

    As to bitter tastes, like coffee, beer, etc., I vaguely remember hearing somewhere that they are often “acquired” tastes, and that this is somewhat a uniquely human thing.

    I now like my coffee black, but there was some point at time where I remember not really liking coffee, and only consumed it for the caffeine, and usually with a lot of sugar and other additives. Like those gas-station “cappuccinos” When I was enlisted, I’d frequently dump a hot chocolate envelope in a cup, and use coffee instead of hot water. And then at some forgotten point, I just started drinking coffee black, no sugar, etc.

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