Coffee Health Topics and FAQs

You have questions, we have the answers. Scroll down to find the answers to “Does coffee go bad?” and more! Get the skinny on coffee health facts here.

Acidity in Coffee FAQs

Is there acidity in coffee?
Coffee has literally hundreds of different taste and composition characteristics, and one of those is acidity. The acidity varies greatly from coffee to coffee. Non-citric acidity is generally considered a good quality in coffee, especially in Central American and East African varietals. However, the acidity in coffee can cause difficulties for persons with a history of reflux or other gastric or digestive problems.

What causes the acidity in coffee?
While coffee is naturally acidic, coffee grown at higher altitudes, and coffee grown in soil rich with volcanic ash are known to be more acidic than other coffees. Acidicity is also effected by roasting times and temperatures.

Is there a way to brew the acidity out of coffee?
Cold-brewing is the best way to significantly reduce the acidity in coffee.

Brewing FAQs

How many cups do individual coffee packets make?
It all depends on how strong the person likes their coffee. For some it might make about 2-3 cups, while others use a pack for 12 cups. Experiment on your own. We recommend about 4-6 cups for a medium strength cup (Note: for coffee, a cup is 6oz).

Calorie and Nutrition FAQs

How many calories are in your flavored coffee?
Our flavored coffees all contain less than two calories per 6oz cup.

Caffeine and Decaf FAQs

How much caffeine is in coffee?
While coffees vary in caffeine levels depending on genetics and growing conditions, typically a cup (coffee cups are 6 oz) of well prepared coffee has about 100 mg of caffeine. Dark roasts have a little less than light roasts as the higher roasting temperatures break down the caffeine. A pound of coffee yields about 40 cups of well made coffee.

Coffee that has been decaffeinated is typically 97% caffeine free. The remaining 3% is very tightly bound to the coffee bean and only a tiny amount of this caffeine gets extracted when brewing. For all intents and purposes, a cup of brewed decaf coffee is virtually free of caffeine.

Tea contains more caffeine by weight than coffee, but since less tea is used in the preparation of tea, there is on average less caffeine per cup than coffee. For more information about caffeine in tea go here.

Decaffeination FAQs

How is coffee decaffeinated?
Drinkers of decaffeinated coffee can choose from a wide variety of unblended, blended, and flavored coffees with little sacrifice to flavor. Since the introduction of decaffeinated coffee to the United States just before World War I, the coffee industry has developed several methods to remove caffeine with a minimal loss of flavor and quality in the brewed product. A coffee must have at least 97 percent of its caffeine removed to qualify as decaffeinated in the United States.

Although caffeine is water soluble above 175F, water alone is generally not used to decaffeinate coffee because it strips away too many of essential flavor and aroma elements. Decaffeination involves the use of a decaffeinating agent. To give the best taste, the decaffeinating agent must be very selective at removing caffeine without disturbing the flavor components. The two best at this are carbon dioxide (Chem Free) and methylene chloride (Euro Decaf). Carbon dioxide is the bubbles in beverages and what we exhale with every breath. Methylene chloride is a light organic chemical that evaporates at warm temperatures. The processes are explained in more detail below:

What is the difference between Chem-Free and European Decaf processes?

Chem Free Decaf Process:
The green (unroasted) beans are first softened by steam, to allow the solvent to penetrate the bean. Next, the beans are immersed in liquid carbon dioxide which is under very high pressure. It penetrates the beans and dissolves the caffeine. The carbon dioxide is then drawn off, leaving the beans 97 percent free of caffeine. The solvent residue remaining on the beans dissipates as a gas when the beans return to normal pressure. All coffees labeled “Chem Free” (and all Café Fair decafs) use this process.

Euro Decaf Process:
This method is similar to the chem-free process; however, methylene chloride is used to remove the caffeine rather than carbon dioxide and since methylene chloride is a liquid it is not under high pressure. After soaking the caffeine laden solvent is drained away, and the beans are steamed a second time for 8 to 12 hours to evaporate any remaining solvent. Finally, air or vacuum drying removes excess moister from the decaffeinated beans. Virtually no solvent residue remains after roasting the beans. For this process we only use a decaffeinator in Hamburg Germany, because they a very diligent about removing the solvent.

Why does decaffeinated coffee costs more?
Decaffeinated coffees are usually priced higher than the same brand’s non-decaffeinated coffees because of the additional labor, equipment and material expenses required for caffeine removal. For example, beans are shipped to Europe to be decaffeinated, then back to our facility in the U.S. for roasting.

Freshness FAQs

Does Steep & Brew put “Best By” or “Roasted On” dates on their bags?
Yes, we have a “Best Before mm/dd/yyyy” on the bottom of every 10-12oz bag. However, custom-packed coffees purchased online are not date-coded.

How old is too old? Does coffee go bad?
Like wine, fresh roasted coffee beans have complex flavor profiles, with hundreds of taste and flavor characteristics per cup of brewed coffee. Fresh roasted coffee releases carbon dioxide, and when exposed to oxygen, flavor. Coffee vacuum-sealed in oxygen-barrier film bags, with degassing valves will maintain its freshness and not go bad for an extended period of time, but may still lose some flavor over time. While properly stored coffee almost never goes bad, but its flavor can become bland and unremarkable. Though inoffensive, its flavor is still a pale ghost of its original self.

Note: Coffee can become musty, moldy, or mildewy in improper and bad storage condition.