Is Your Coffee Powder Safe for Consumption?

Parul Dube

May 12, 2022

Coffee is one of the favourite beverages of all time. People are curious about the health benefits it offers. One can find several articles about the health benefits of coffee as a drink. For millennia, instant coffee powder has been both admired and criticised. As a remedy for lethargy and a “gift from God,” it has been criticised for producing impotence and insanity. Caffeine is the world’s most widely used psychoactive substance and the most well-known component used in coffee. The effects of coffee are still under research on the human body. Coffee is a complex beverage comprising thousands of distinct compounds, making it difficult for nutritionists to recommend the consumption of coffee.

According to a study, coffee consumption worldwide is expected to rise, especially in non-traditional coffee-drinking countries in Africa and Asia. People are aware of some of the pros and cons of coffee as a beverage. But more importantly, is the coffee powder that we use safe for our consumption? This question might arise as some of us are aware of the adulteration and contamination of prevalent food items. Adulteration of food has left no stone unturned, let alone coffee powder.  

Consumption of this universal beverage happens in many forms. Occasionally people also enjoy the coffee powder and are always in a rush. It could be a good dose of their daily caffeine and antioxidants. However, it is necessary to keep an eye on the impurity in the coffee powder as it may welcome many adverse health risks. According to the Food Safety and Security of India (FSSI), they have imposed directions on the Chicory-Coffee concentration on various coffee brands. 

The market players have started misleading the consumers by adding chicory-like substances to the coffee powder, enhancing its texture and appearance. Due to this, it becomes essential for consumers to check for contaminants present in the coffee powder.

Nutritional Value of coffee

According to USDA, 100gm of coffee powder contains:

  • Energy: 1 kCal
  • Protein: 0.12 g
  • Fat: 0.02 g
  • Carbohydrates: 0 g
  • Fibre: 0 g
  • Sugars: 0 g
  • Calcium: 2 mg
  • Iron: 0.01 mg
  • Magnesium: 3 mg
  • Phosphorus: 3 mg
  • Potassium: 49 mg
  • Sodium: 2 mg
  • Caffeine: 40 mg

Health Benefits of coffee powder

It acts as a natural stimulant.

Coffee consumption can help alleviate mental and physical exhaustion and improve mental alertness. Caffeine can also help you stay awake after a night of sleep deprivation. Even a single cup of coffee can help you feel more attentive and less tired.

Mitigates the risk of type 2 diabetes 

According to some studies, coffee drinkers seem less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. The lesser the risk, the more coffee you drink. People with type 2 diabetes who drink more coffee may have a lower mortality risk. Over four years, people who increased their coffee drinking by more than one cup per day had an 11% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who did not.

Coffee and cancer

According to some studies, coffee shows the potential to reduce the risks of certain cancers. For example, according to a new review by researchers, coffee drinkers have a lower risk of hepatocellular cancer and perhaps breast cancer. These effects are generally present at a daily intake of 2 cups of coffee.

Preventing possible gallstones 

Drinking caffeinated liquids, such as coffee, with at least 400 mg of caffeine per day lowers the chance of Gallstone formation. The more caffeine you take, the lower the risk. Caffeine use of 800 mg per day (four or more cups of coffee) reduces the most significant threat. However, it is best to consult your doctor before deciding on your daily dosage because excess caffeine can be harmful in other ways.

Preventing or delaying Parkinsonism 

According to research, people who drink caffeinated beverages, including coffee, tea, and cola, have a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease. Interestingly enough, coffee does not appear to assist smokers in avoiding Parkinson’s disease. Men who drink the most caffeinated coffee per day, roughly 28 ounces (three to four cups), tend to be the least at risk. The effect appears to be less dependent on the amount of caffeine ingested in women.

Skin benefits

A study states that coffee beans contain caffeine and chlorogenic acids (CGA), which can help reduce inflammation caused by skin conditions like Eczema, Acne, and Psoriasis. Additionally, because of the antibacterial characteristics of its CGA and caffeine, coffee promises to fight against skin infection illnesses.

Cellulite reduction

Coffee may also aid in the reduction of cellulite on the skin. According to a trusted source, a topical slimming product including caffeine and numerous other active components proved more successful than a placebo at decreasing stubborn cellulite in women. However, it’s impossible to identify whether the effects are because of caffeine, another substance, or a mix. Cleanse and exfoliate cellulite-prone areas with fresh, moist coffee grounds. Exfoliation can also help with skin smoothness and blood circulation.

Hair and Scalp 

Coffee is acidic by nature. Applying coffee to your hair and scalp can help restore the pH of your hair and scalp. Use cold, brewed coffee to rinse your hair or coffee grounds to massage your scalp. The application of coffee could also help get rid of dead skin cells on the scalp. Some studies also link coffee extracts with the reduction in hair fall. 

Possible side effects of coffee consumption


Studies show that caffeinated coffee is possibly unsafe when taken in excessive amounts (more than 4 cups per day) for an extended period. Excessive drinking of caffeinated coffee can cause headaches, anxiety, agitation, ringing in the ears, and irregular heartbeats. In addition, headaches, stress, fever, and chest pain may occur.

These effects may become more evident with larger doses, causing uneasiness and tension. If you feel nervous frequently, you might want to reconsider your caffeine intake.


There is enough evidence that caffeine’s most desirable feature is its ability to keep people awake. But on the other hand, caffeine makes getting proper restorative sleep more difficult. According to studies, caffeine prolongs the time to fall asleep. It may also reduce total sleep time, especially among the aged. So it might help you stay awake during the day, but it can also affect the quality and quantity of your sleep. 

Digestive Issues 

Research has stated that many people find that a cup of coffee in the morning helps them move their bowels. The laxative effect of coffee is assumed to be due to the release of gastrin, a hormone produced by the stomach that speeds up colon function. On the other hand, caffeine enhances peristalsis or the contractions that transport food through the digestive system, increasing bowel motions. So it’s hardly surprising that high doses of caffeine can cause loose stools or even diarrhoea in some cases.

Muscle breakdown 

According to research, after consuming significant amounts of caffeine, people may get Rhabdomyolysis or the breakdown of injured muscle. Rhabdomyolysis is a potentially fatal disorder in which injured muscle fibres enter the bloodstream, causing renal failure and other complications. There have also been a few instances of Rhabdomyolysis linked to high caffeine consumption, but this is a rare occurrence.


Addiction is one of the most prevalent and harmful side effects at the same time. Despite all of caffeine’s health benefits, it is impossible to ignore that it has the potential to become addictive. According to a thorough overview, while coffee stimulates a specific brain part, it produces the same type of addiction as cocaine and amphetamines, but not in the same way.

Caffeine consumption frequency also appears to play a role in dependency. Those who regularly drink large amounts of caffeine may develop psychological or physical withdrawal symptoms if they go for several hours without it.

Rapid Heart Rate 

Caffeine has stimulant properties, which can cause your heart to beat quicker. It may also cause atrial fibrillation, a type of irregular heartbeat seen in young people who have consumed energy drinks with exceptionally high caffeine levels. Regardless of the mixed study results, nutritionists recommend cutting down on caffeinated beverages if you notice any changes in your heart rate or rhythm after drinking them. These effects appear to differ significantly from one person to the next. 

Possible osteoporosis 

Some studies state that the amount of calcium flushed out in the urine increases by drinking caffeinated coffee. Calcium excretion may cause bone deterioration. If you have osteoporosis, reduce your caffeine consumption to less than 300 mg per day.

Adulteration of coffee powder 

According to recent studies, coffee is a widely consumed food item with significant economic significance for the countries that produce and export it. Nowadays, people seek quality at any cost. The adulteration of roasted coffee is a cost-cutting method. Coffee costs vary greatly depending on the season and kind, providing ample motivation for adulterators to experiment. When individuals purchase their coffee beans, they can be satisfied with the quality. However, most consumers purchase ground coffee powder, making it difficult to check for contaminants in coffee powder. 

Even coffee, considered a royal beverage, is not excluded from adulteration. Mixing chicory powder, powdered tamarind, and date seeds help increase the quantity of the product. In addition, cheap components like maise, soybean, sugar and acai seed are also put into ground coffee. While these unwanted extras aren’t harmful, they can ruin the quality and taste of the product. 

Food adulteration is an illegal activity used to gain commercial benefit. Considering frequent usage of beans, grains, nuts, and other vegetables to increase the volume of roasted and ground coffee is also common. However, these contaminants lack caffeine’s most essential coffee ingredient, which contains the majority of the health advantages. 

While chicory, caramel, and date seeds are the most widely used adulterants in coffee, they are usually added together with the coffee beans. Therefore, it’s difficult to tell if any of these are present after the mixture simply by looking at it. On the other hand, all of these contaminants have different qualities from coffee beans. Therefore, using these traits helps determine the coffee’s quality.

How to test adulterants from coffee powder?

One can find contaminants in many ways as follows: 

Pinch test  

Squeeze a small amount of coffee between your fingers. Chicory is present if it forms a cake-like, uniform mass. Formation happens because coffee grains are hard and big and do not adhere to one another. 

On the other hand, Chicory grains are small and soft, and they prefer to clump together. So, if your coffee grains tend to cling together, it’s probably not coffee.

Water Droplet Test: 

Keeping a pinch of coffee powder on a big plate is the goal of this test. Next, pour a small amount of water over the coffee powder. In this test, too, the outcome will be relatively fast. 

Chicory is present if the coffee powder becomes smooth and soft after absorbing water. If not, it will take some time for the water to soak.

Tumblr test: 

The Tumbler test is the last step in determining whether or not coffee is pure. This test requires the use of transparent glass. First, we need to put some water on the mirror. Then, sprinkle a pinch of coffee powder on top.

If it floats on water and takes some time to sink, we know it’s Pure Coffee. On the other hand, adulteration using chicory has happened if it falls swiftly into the water. There is an addition of caramel or chicory with coffee if it turns yellow or brown.

Usage of several other contaminants such as cereal grains, woody tissue, husks, and stems is pretty common. Even though we drink coffee every day, we may be unaware of the issue of adulteration. Perhaps now is the time to learn more about the specifics of impurity and how to locate it.

The Bottom Line

Individuals with light-to-moderate caffeine consumption appear to have significant health benefits. On the other hand, extreme doses of coffee may cause unpleasant side effects that make daily life complex and cause severe health problems. For example, they might get addicted to it or deal with a rapid heartbeat and anxiety. Although individual reactions vary, the consequences of excessive intake illustrate that more isn’t better. 

To enjoy the benefits of caffeine without the drawbacks, evaluate your sleep, energy levels, and any other reactions that caffeine may have impacted, and lower your intake if necessary. If you cannot analyse it yourself, a nutritionist will help you get it done accurately.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Do coffee beans have caffeine?

A. Caffeine has included around 6 mg per coffee bean; however, the actual amount varies depending on the coffee varietal. Arabica coffee, for example, has roughly 12 milligrams per gram, while Robusta coffee has about 22 milligrams per gram 

Q. What happens if you eat a spoonful of coffee beans?

A. In summary, Coffee grounds are edible and will not make you sick if consumed. One can find caffeine, beneficial antioxidants, and dietary fibre in coffee grounds. All of these are healthy and safe to eat. 

Q. Is caffeine a toxin?

A. Caffeine is typically considered safe at moderate levels (i.e400 mg per day) in healthy persons. However, it is undoubtedly not a harmless chemical. If eaten in large amounts, it can induce severe damage and even death (most commonly via myocardial infarction or arrhythmia). 

Q. Is coffee good for the heart?

A. 10% to 15% lower risk of heart disease, heart failure, or a cardiac rhythm abnormality has been associated with drinking two to three cups of coffee per day and a 10% to 15% lower chance of dying prematurely for any reason. However, it depends on the concentration and amount of caffeine consumed every day. As these results would differ for every individual, moderate caffeine consumption is beneficial.  

Q. Is it bad to have coffee every day?

A. Many individuals question whether or not drinking coffee every day is a good idea. According to studies, drinking at least two cups of coffee per day is advantageous to your health. Coffee is high in antioxidants and polyphenols, which help to protect the heart and prevent inflammation. If you notice any adverse side effects, such as headaches, sleeplessness, or nervousness, you should reduce your consumption immediately. Overall, some may believe that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks and that we should all drink coffee every day. 

Q. Can you eat coffee raw?

A. Yes, although you don’t like the taste. The raw or green coffee beans are highly acidic and have a “grassy” or “woody” flavour. In addition, they are significantly more demanding than roasted beans, making chewing difficult. 

Q. How many coffee beans should I eat? 

A. You can take up to 40 to 80 Arabica coffee beans each day because each has about 5 to 10 mg of caffeine. The number of coffee beans you can safely ingest depends on the amount of caffeine in your system. Caffeine tolerance varies, but single doses of up to 200 mg and daily consumption of up to 400 mg of about 4 cups of filtered coffee are considered safe for adults. 

Q. What are the benefits of drinking coffee?

A. Some of the benefits are:

  • You might be able to live longer. 
  • Your body may handle glucose (or sugar) more efficiently. 
  • You have a lower risk of developing heart failure. 
  • Parkinson’s disease is less likely to strike you. 
  • Your DNA will be more powerful. 

Q. How much caffeine is too much?

A. Caffeine should not be consumed more than 400 milligrammes (mg) per day by healthy persons. That’s around four 8-ounce cups of brewed coffee or ten cola cans. Teenagers should consume no more than 100 mg of caffeine each day (one 8-ounce cup of coffee or about two cans of cola) 

Q. How do you avoid acrylamide in coffee?

A. Choose a darkly roasted coffee. It’s usually a good idea to choose dark roasted coffee over instant or other coffee substitutes if you want to lower the quantity of acrylamide in your coffee. 

  • Reducing the amount you consume will also prove beneficial.
  • Use low-fat cream or milk instead of butter.
  • Individuals should keep their consumption of sugars to a minimum.
  • Try it with iced coffee.

About the Author

Parul holds a Masters of Medical Science in Public Health Nutrition from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and has worked across the globe from the U.K to New Zealand (NZ) gaining her License with the Health Professionals Council (HPC, UK) and the NZ Nutrition Council. From being a Gold medalist in Clinical Nutrition to being awarded an internship with World Health Organisation (WHO, Cairo, Egypt) and Contracts with CDC Parul has had a wide spectrum of work experiences. She is very passionate about Nutrition and Fitness and holds strong to her guiding mantras ‘ Move more’ and ‘Eat Food that your grandmother can recognize’!

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