How to Prepare an Antioxidant Rich Cup of Coffee

Black coffee is a rich source of antioxidants.

It is hard to believe something this good is good for you too!

Roasting coffee beans create a velvety aroma and a delicious bittersweet taste. The chemical reactions that take place during roasting also provide coffee lovers with more antioxidants than from any other dietary source. According to chemistry professor Joe Vinson, who led a study on the antioxidant properties of coffee, “Nothing else comes close.”

The roasting process is critical in activating the constituent properties including vitamins B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin), and B5 (Pantothenic acid) as well as the most powerful antioxidants found in nature.

During the roasting process, the coffee beans undergo structural changes that lead to the formation of melanoidin responsible for the rich brown color of roasted coffee and for powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties. Coffee beans also inhibit the formation of dental cavities, reduce blood pressure and reduce glycation that can lead to diabetic complications and arteriosclerosis. The antioxidants in regular consumer coffee also reduce oxidative stress and support the body’s detoxification pathways. This, in turn, reduces inflammation.

Light roasted coffee beans high in caffeine and antioxidants

Lightly roasted coffee beans offer the most antioxidants.

The Coffee Beans

The environment influences the antioxidant levels present in coffee beans. Coffee beans grown in harsh environments end up with the highest antioxidant levels and the richest taste. The best coffee beans are those grown at high altitudes and close to the equator where they are exposed to strong ultraviolet light.

According to an article in the June 2017 issue of the Journal of Medicinal Food, to put the most antioxidants in your coffee cup, you will need to forgo the rich bittersweet taste of dark roasted coffee beans for a smoother cup of light roasted coffee. Chlorogenic acid, a compound that holds promise for many aspects of health and cognition, is released during roasting.  Continued roasting beyond a light roast results in less chlorogenic acids.

Dr.Jeremy Spencer’s leader of the Plant Bioactives Health research at Reading University said, “We found the more gently you carry out the heating process, the more you keep low levels of these compounds, which improve the function of your circulatory system and reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure.” (1)

Air Tight Storage

To maximize the antioxidant power of your coffee, reduce the free radicals that emerge when coffee beans are exposed to air. To reduce free radicals, store the beans in an airtight container and grind them when you are ready to brew.


A Fine Consistent Grind

finely ground coffee makes more antioxidants and chlorogenic acid available.

Finely ground coffee makes a richer cup of coffee

For a cup rich in antioxidants and for a smooth-tasting cup of java, use a burr grinder instead of a spinning blade. A spinning blade whacks the coffee beans into pieces indiscriminately, resulting in an inconsistent grind. This inconsistency creates a problem when the big pieces and tiny pieces don’t extract the same way during brewing. For a smooth cup of java use a burr grinder that will produce ground coffee particles uniform in size.

Beware that many electric grinders on the market today under $100 profess to be burr mills but they are little better than blade grinders gone incognito. A burr grinder should have sharp opposing cutting surfaces.

If you are willing to forego an electric motor, hand grinders have come a long way in recent years and are worthy of consideration. Several models are priced far below $50 and still offer a good consistent grind and overall performance.  JavaPresse Coffee Company and Hario Skerton both have models with durable ceramic conical burrs that retain their sharpness with use. Both models are easy to adjust. These models are both an excellent choice for producing finely ground coffee beans that allow the release of the largest number of antioxidants.

Positive Effects Linked to Caffeine

It is important to note that many of the positive effects are linked to the caffeine in coffee. Some of the many positive effects linked to caffeine are increased memory, detoxification of the liver and protection against breast cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

However, caffeine is a stimulant and each person must determine what is best for them.

If you have problems with blood sugar metabolism, Mark Hyman’s book, The Blood Sugar Solution, may be of interest to you. Individuals sensitive to caffeine will be pleased to know that the antioxidant properties are still present in decaffeinated coffee.

Preparation methods affect the amount of caffeine in a cup.  According to the International Coffee Organization, the automatic drip method produces a beverage containing an average of 115 milligrams of caffeine per 5-ounce cup, while instant coffee has an average of only 65 milligrams per 5-ounce cup. Percolator methods yield an average of 80 milligrams per 5-ounce cup.

Coffee caffeine has a half-life of five to six hour. It is therefore recommended that Individuals avoid coffee after 3 PM in order to get a good night’s sleep. Psychiatrist Professor Christopher Drake, of Wayne State University, said: ‘Drinking a big cup of coffee on the way home from work can lead to negative effects on sleep just as if someone were to consume caffeine closer to bedtime.”(5)

The Filter

coffee filter free of toxins

Solofill K3 Gold Cup  24K gold plated coffee filter.

For a healthy cup of coffee, there is more to consider than how to obtain the most antioxidants. The type of filters used during the brewing is an important consideration. The gold standard filters are the semi-permanent gold-plated mesh coffee filters included in most premium coffee makers. The gold filters do away with the hassle and untidiness of paper filters. The gold filters also have some positive health advantages over their paper counterparts.

Paper filters come in two varieties: white paper filters and light brown filters made from unbleached paper. The chemical process used to produce white coffee filters requires the use of dioxin, a highly toxic compound. Lois Marie Gibbs, author of Dying from Dioxin has written about the paper manufacturing processes and the worrisome levels of dioxin in white-colored paper products. Other products with high dioxin levels are paper plates, pizza boxes, and even tea bags. Using gold filters allows consumers to avoid possible dioxin contamination, although the same can be said for using filters made with unbleached paper.

Black Coffee for Antioxidants

If you want the medicinal antioxidant benefits of coffee, there is just one way to take your coffee and that is black. Even a touch of half-and-half reduces the antioxidant levels according to research done in Croatia. If you want to add some taste, consider adding ground cinnamon or organic vanilla made from vanilla beans.

Real natural vanilla should have no more than 2-3% alcohol. Imitation vanilla, on the other hand, is made from vanillin made either from guaiacol or lignin, byproducts of the wood pulp industry.

French vanilla, hazelnut, and cinnamon all sound like natural additions to coffee. To flavor the coffee beans the roaster adds the chemical propylene glycol to allow the coffee beans to absorb the flavoring. Propylene glycol is used in the manufacturing of antifreeze. The use of propylene glycol as a food additive is on the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) safe list.

More Nutrition With Coconut

Coconut added to coffee greatly enhances its nutritional value.

Coconut oil has been shown to impart significant improvement in the cognitive function in Alzheimer’s patients. (2)


A paradigm shift is currently underway re-evaluating the medicinal effects of medium chain triglycerides (MCT). While other MCTs are man-made, coconut oil is a natural super fuel for the brain. Adding a teaspoon of coconut oil to your cup of java could help prevent or treat neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s according to Dr. David Perlmutter, author of The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan.

Coffee Could Extend Your Life

Research conducted by the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine showed a correlation between consuming coffee in moderation (defined as two to four cups per day) and longevity.  The USC research studied the effect of coffee on the health of more than 185,000 participants from different ethnic backgrounds. (3)

“The study found that people who drank one cup of coffee daily were 12 per cent less likely to die than those who drank no coffee, irrespective of ethnicity while drinking two to three cups of coffee appeared to reduce the chances of death by 18 per cent.”

It is important to note that the USC Davis study did not conclude that coffee increases a person’s lifespan.

The study only associated coffee consumption with lower mortality rates. Dr. Veronica W. Setiawan, author of the USC 2017 study said. “Although this study does not show causation or point to what chemicals in coffee may have this elixir effect, it is clear that coffee can be incorporated into a healthy diet and lifestyle.” (4)

What we do know today is that coffee stimulates a specific gene pathway called the Nrf2 pathway. Working within the human cell the Nrf2 pathway activates a process that causes the production of higher levels of protective antioxidants that reduce inflammation and enhance detoxification. David Perlmutter has an interesting video presentation, Do You Know the Power of the Nrf2 Pathway?

Heighten Your Enjoyment

Woman holding the cup in hands smelling the coffee aroma

Take the time to really enjoy a cup of coffee.

To heighten the pleasure from drinking a cup of coffee and to unleash the healing potential, focus your senses on each sip of coffee. Begin by feeling the texture of the cup in your hands and the warmth generated from the coffee as you raise the cup to take a sip. Inhale and smell the aroma. Take a sip and focus on the bittersweet taste. Focusing on the senses brings you into the present moment and to relaxation granting your body a moment of repose.

My Experience

As a writer, I like to remain invisible in my work, but I think it is important for me to share my experience preparing my first cup of antioxidant rich coffee. You see, I not only write about products that rejuvenate the body, I research products to make informed choices creating my own Rejuvenating Lifestyle.

Following my coffee research, I purchased a Cuisinart burr mill.

When I completed the research for this coffee blog, I purchased a burr grinder. I was not interested in either hand grinder nor the top of the line high priced models.  I settled on a Cuisinart DBM-8 automatic burr mill. I also purchased gently roasted whole Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee beans. I ground the coffee beans on the finest setting. Grinding the beans created an aromatic feast. I then filled my Keurig reusable 24K refillable gold-plated filter to the same level I used daily for brewing a 10-ounce cup of my coarsely ground coffee purchased from a neighborhood grocery store.

With anticipation, I tasted the gently roasted finely ground Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee. The coffee was smooth and delicious. A few minutes passed, I began to feel a surge of power. I began to feel like Wonder Woman. Perhaps I could lift a car. The effect of the caffeine continued to grow and then I began to feel jittery.

From this experience, I learned that finely ground coffee beans have more available brewing surface and as a result produce more caffeine. With less air between the coffee, the fine coffee is far more compact than course ground coffee. After experimenting, I now use half as much Ethiopian coffee in my Keurig filter as I did before with coarsely ground coffee. I still get a lift in the morning but not enough to feel like I could fly.

Yes, it is hard to believe that something so enjoyable is good for you too!

Rejuvenating Lifestyle

Diana-Liz Gallego, Rejuvenating Lifestyle & Rejuvenating Dance

Rejuvenating Lifestyle™ website and blog are dedicated to easy, no cost/ low cost and comfortable lifestyle changes that promote health and longevity. A retired school teacher, Diana-Liz also teaches Rejuvenating Dance™ and meditation in Dallas, Texas.

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