For many people, a cup of coffee with milk or cream is the perfect way to reward yourself at the end of a challenging task or to enjoy yourself while out shopping or running errands. Or perhaps, you are one of the ones who look forward to, or more like needs, that smooth, heavenly concoction in the morning before your first spoken words or even as motivation to get out of bed, especially on cold, dreary days when the warm cozy bed is beckoning you to stay.
Whatever your reason for enjoying coffee, it does contain caffeine, which, while it is the best part for many coffee lovers, it can cause negative side effects in others. Or if you are just simply looking for a way to enjoy more than one cup of coffee a day or before bed without the added stimulation, it may prompt you to wonder if adding milk, with its thick, creamy consistency, to your coffee will help lower the caffeine content. On the other hand, if you are one of the ones who prefer their coffee with the full effects of caffeine, you may wonder if adding milk to your steaming cup of energy may hinder its effects.
As it turns out, milk added to coffee does provide some benefits; however, does adding milk to coffee reduce caffeine? Truthfully, it does not. But before you quickly write milk off as just an additive to help lighten the color of an otherwise simple black cup of Joe, let's first take a look at the various benefits it does provide when added to coffee, as well as how to help reduce caffeine in coffee, if that's what you prefer.
What Does Adding Milk to Coffee Do?
The next time you sit back, relax, and savor your cup of coffee with milk; ponder the following added benefits it provides:
It Helps Neutralize the Acids in Coffee
Some coffees are highly acidic, due to their high pH level, which gives them a bitter or sour taste and also causes heartburn in some individuals. However, the calcium and proteins in milk serve as binding mechanisms, which help neutralize or balance these acids, thereby making coffee less acidic, especially coffees with lower pH levels, such as dark roast coffees, and gentler on the stomach.
It Helps Prevent Coffee From Staining Your Teeth
Coffee contains dark tannins, which leave a residue on the teeth that, over time, can stain the teeth or erode the enamel. However, when you add milk to coffee, the casein in the milk, which is a milk protein, binds to the tannins, thus preventing it from staining your teeth or weakening the enamel.
And, you don't have to add a lot of milk to your coffee to reap its benefits, just a splash will do.
It Increases the Nutrient Content
Coffee alone provides many health benefits, including it helps reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, and it is also high in antioxidants, which helps boost the immune system. However, adding milk to coffee further increases its nutrient content because milk contains various nutrients that coffee does not have, such as protein and calcium, which helps build and protect the bones and more.
It Adds Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are important because they help fuel the body with the energy it needs to function properly, which makes it especially useful in the morning. However, coffee does not contain carbohydrates, which can leave you feeling tired or fatigued later in the day.
Adding milk to coffee helps supply it with the carbohydrates your body needs to help sustain energy throughout the day, just be careful when adding whole milk or cream, as well as excessive sugar, as it increases the calories, which can cause you to gain weight.
It Helps Lower the Coffee Temperature
Hot, scolding coffee can not only scorch the inside of your mouth and burn your throat tissues, which has also been linked to esophageal cancer, but it can also spill onto your body, where it can cause severe burns. However, adding cold milk to your coffee helps significantly lowers the temperature of hot coffee for a much safer drink.
How to Reduce Caffeine in Coffee
If you are looking to reduce caffeine in your coffee, then there are a few ways to naturally do so, including:
Choose the Right Coffee
For instance, you can begin by choosing a coffee that is naturally low in caffeine.
There are two main types of coffee beans: Robusta beans and Arabica beans. Robusta beans are usually less pricey than Arabica beans; however, they have a higher caffeine content. On the other hand, Arabica beans provide a sweeter, softer taste, and they are lower in caffeine. In fact, they contain two times less caffeine as Robusta beans.
Meanwhile, there is also decaffeinated coffee, which despite its name, does actually contain caffeine, which is good if you are still looking to get a caffeine fix; however, it is present in significantly lower amounts. In fact, an 8-ounce cup of decaffeinated coffee contains, on average, about 7 milligrams of caffeine, depending on its origin and decaffeination process, as compared to the approximately 95 milligrams of caffeine found in an 8-ounce cup of regular coffee.
Therefore, when selecting coffee to brew at home, stick to 100% Arabica products that are naturally lower in caffeine, or simply choose a decaffeinated coffee, which has the lowest caffeine content of them all.
Use Coarse Grounds
The finer coffee beans are ground, the more it releases caffeine. Therefore, to reduce caffeine, choose a coffee with coarse grounds, or if you prefer to grind your own coffee beans, simply grind the beans coarsely to decrease caffeine.
Use Fewer Coffee Grounds
Brewing your coffee with fewer coffee grounds can also help decrease its caffeine content. It can also give an otherwise strong cup of coffee a milder taste.
To do so, simply add less than the recommended amount of coffee grounds to the coffee maker but use the same amount of water. Or you could use the recommended amount of coffee grounds and increase the amount of water to dilute caffeine.
However, avoid simply adding water to an already brewed cup of coffee to reduce caffeine as once the coffee is brewed, it already contains the full dose of caffeine, so adding water at this point will only increase the amount of coffee in your cup but not lower the amount of caffeine.
Combine Coffee Beans
If you enjoy the strong taste of coffee, but without the high caffeine content, you could simply combine your normal coffee beans with decaffeinated coffee beans for a strong but less caffeinated coffee. Or combine Arabica coffee with decaffeinated coffee for an even lower caffeine content.
Reduce the Brewing Time
The longer that coffee is brewed, the more caffeine it extracts. Therefore, reducing the brewing time of your coffee can help reduce its caffeine content for a less potent cup of coffee.
Switch to Cold Brew
Cold brew coffee contains almost 30% less caffeine than regular brewed coffee; therefore, to reduce the amount of caffeine in your coffee, try switching to cold brew. See more: HOW TO MAKE COLD BREW COFFEE AT HOME(STEP-BY-STEP)
Reduce the Serving Size
The amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee also varies by the serving size. For instance, an 8-ounce cup of brewed coffee typically contains between 95 to 200 milligrams of caffeine, while a 16-ounce cup of brewed coffee can contain twice this amount. On the other hand, an 8-ounce cup of instant coffee typically contains between 27 to 173 milligrams of caffeine, and a 1-ounce serving of espresso has between 47 to 75 milligrams of caffeine. So, to limit your caffeine intake, switch to a smaller coffee size.
Related Article: DOES ESPRESSO LOSE CAFFEINE OVER TIME?
Does Brewed Coffee Have More Caffeine than Instant Coffee?
In general, instant coffee has less caffeine than brewed coffee. In fact, an 8-ounce cup of instant coffee contains 57 milligrams of caffeine as compared to about 95 milligrams of caffeine in an 8-ounce cup of brewed coffee, amounting to almost two times more caffeine than instant coffee.
Additionally, selecting instant coffee made from 100% Arabica beans will contain even less caffeine.
What is the Best Type of Milk to Add to Coffee?
Which type of milk is best to add to your coffee will depend on your health, nutritional needs, and your diet. For instance, cow's milk contains calcium, proteins, and vitamin D, which is imperative for strong teeth and bones and also helps protect against osteoporosis. However, if you are allergic to dairy, or you follow a plant-based diet, then a milk substitute, such as almond milk, cashew milk, oat milk, soy milk, or rice milk will be the best choice.
Are There Any Benefits of Non-Dairy Creamer?
Non-dairy creamer is lactose-free, which makes a great choice for those who are lactose intolerant; however, does it provide any benefits similar to milk or cream?
In fact, it does. Though it is labeled non-dairy creamer, it often still contains milk derivatives, such as the milk protein casein, which is added to give non-dairy creamer its milky texture, which is good for those seeking a “cream” with a long shelf life; however, it can still cause allergies in those who are sensitive to dairy.
Many non-dairy creamers also contain a lot of other questionable ingredients, such as trans fat, food coloring, and sodium, which may not make it the healthiest choice for those following a healthy diet.