Here are a couple of interesting tidbits about caffeine so if the subject comes up in a conversation, you can feel like you have something to add to the conversation. Okay, maybe the subject does not come up as often with you as it does with me but here’s some great info.
Caffeine is a natural insect repellent/insecticide. Just like caffeine stimulates us humans, it also stimulates an insect’s nervous system. So much so that insects will die if coffee plants or beans are over consumed. What this means to us is that chemical insecticides are not needed to control insect infestations.
The natural question would then be, “why isn’t caffeine used as an insecticide for every crop around the world?” The answer is pretty simple. It is very water soluble and washes away when it rains so it would have to be reapplied after every rain shower or storm.
Doesn’t a lighter roast have more caffeine? [On a side note, I hate this question! Those who just drink coffee solely for the caffeine effect should just go to a gas station and buy the $1.50 per gallon coffee to get their “fix”.] I do understand the confusion. There is marketing misinformation out there and it is our job to set the record straight.
The definitive answer to which has more caffeine a light roast or a dark roast is that caffeine is not roasted out of coffee. In other words, it has the same amount of caffeine in an unroasted green bean as in an over-roasted dark oily bean. However, the bean losses moisture as it is roasted and a dark roasted bean can weight 20% less than a light roasted bean. Therefore if you weigh your coffee before brewing, it will take more of the dark roast coffee beans to reach the desired brewing weight which means a dark roast coffee will have more caffeine than a light roast. Wait! What?
Stay tuned and next week we might talk about more nerdy facts about coffee and caffeine.