Michele Atkins

Coffee, coffee, everyone loves coffee — but how much do you know about coffee?

Coffee isn’t only the second most-consumed drink in the United States after water, it’s also an interesting subject historically and culturally, tying together coffee drinkers across the world and across centuries.

Plus, coffee is a truly huge part of the global economy. The Netherlands, Finland and Canada are among the top coffee-consuming countries in the world, while the United States typically ranks in the top 10.

It’s been tossed around throughout the years whether coffee is good or bad for you.

Coffee, in moderation, could have some potential health benefits. In fact, some research studies have shown that having two or three (8-ounce) cups of coffee is not bad at all. Coffee drinkers may maintain their brain function and lower their risk of depression, certain types of cancer, Type 2 diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.

While some people worry that coffee increases their risk for the bone-weakening disease osteoporosis, researchers have shown that moderate consumption of coffee will not harm your bones. In fact, you can offset the risk by adding a couple of tablespoons of milk to your cup of coffee.

Be sure that you are consuming adequate calcium from foods and beverages, though. Check out the Nutrition Facts labels to see the percent of the daily value for calcium that is contained in the foods and beverages you choose.

Coffee is sure not a magic elixir. You need an overall healthful diet and moderate exercise for overall good health.

Keep in mind that your 5-calorie cup of coffee can drastically jump in calories to 500, depending on what you add to it. Cream, sugar, chocolate and whipped cream taste good, but add calories.

The method of preparation and type of coffee determine the caffeine content. A typical 8-ounce cup of “regular” coffee has about 100 milligrams of caffeine while a 1-ounce shot of espresso contributes about 65 milligrams of caffeine.

Green coffee beans can be stored up to one year and still be considered a fresh crop. Roasted coffee has a relatively short shelf life before the oils react with air and take on a bitter taste. Preventing air exposure to the coffee after it is roasted is important to protect the flavor. Refrigerating and freezing coffee can extend the shelf life of coffee, but only if the packages are well sealed so the coffee doesn’t dry out or absorb moisture or flavors from other items stored in the refrigerator or freezer.

If you are looking for a pick-me-up to go with a cup of coffee, try an energy bite.

Energy Bites

1 cup oats

1/2 cup nut butter

1/4 cup honey or maple syrup

1/4 cup dried fruit

1/4 cup nuts

2 tablespoons flaxseed

2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips


Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Chill for 30 minutes to firm.

Roll into tablespoon-size bites or use a small cookie scoop to portion the ingredients.

Vanilla Cafe au Lait

1/2 cup milk (1%, soy or almond)

1/4 tsp sugar-free vanilla syrup

1/2 cup caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee


Brew coffee. Heat milk and add sugar-free vanilla syrup. Add milk to coffee and enjoy.

Coffee Chocolate 

Cake Bites


1-1/2 cups leftover brewed coffee

10 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened)

2 cups granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder


Preheat oven to 350°F and grease your baking dish with butter. Line dish with baking paper and butter this too.

Add flour to sides and bottom of the dish.

In a mixing bowl, use a wooden spoon to combine butter and sugar, creaming until smooth. Add in eggs individually and whisk.

Once batter is smooth, mix in vanilla extract and salt. Sift the baking powder, baking soda, flour and cocoa directly onto batter and pour in the coffee. Whisk batter until well combined.

Pour the coffee cake mixture into a greased baking dish and bake 40-45 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool. Once cooled, cut it up into bite-sized squares.

 Coffee-braised Roast Beef


1 cup cider vinegar

4 garlic cloves, crushed, divided

1 boneless beef chuck roast (4 to 5 pounds), trimmed

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 cup strong brewed coffee

1 cup beef broth

1 medium onion, sliced

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 cup cold water


In a large shallow dish, combine vinegar and two garlic cloves. Add roast; turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight, turning occasionally.

Drain roast, discarding marinade. Pat roast dry; sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place roast in a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker; add coffee, broth, onion and remaining garlic. Cook, covered, on low until meat is tender, 6-7 hours.

Remove roast and keep warm. Strain cooking juices, discarding onion and garlic; skim fat. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and cold water until smooth; gradually stir into slow cooker.

Cook, covered, on high until gravy is thickened, 30 minutes.


MICHELE ATKINS is the director for the Henry County Extension Service. Her email address is matkins1@utk.edu.

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