From a scientific viewpoint, coffee is an incredibly complex substance. It is estimated to contain more than 2000 chemical constituents, although an exact number has never been determined. Not only do scientists not know what coffee is composed of, they also don't know the effects many of the various chemical components on the human body.
The following table shows the various chemical compounds typically found in coffee:
A summary of compositional data (in %) for green and roasted arabica and robusta coffee beans and instant coffee powder
|Minerals||3 - 4.2||3.5 - 4.5||4 - 4.5||4.6 - 5||9 - 10|
|Caffeine||0.9 - 1.2||~1||1.6 - 2.4||~2||4.5 - 5.1|
|Trigonelline||1 - 1.2||0.5 - 1||0.6 - 1.75||0.3 - 0.6||~|
|Lipids||12 - 18||14.5 - 20||9 - 13||11 - 16||1.5 - 1.6|
|Total Chlorogenic Acids||5.5 - 8||1.2 - 2.3||7 - 10||3.9 - 4.6||5.2 - 7.4|
|Aliphatic Acids||1.5 - 2||1 - 1.5||1.5 - 2||1 - 1.15||-|
|Oligosaccharides||6 - 8||0 - 3.5||5 - 7||0 - 3.5||0.7 - 5.2|
|Total polysaccharides||50 - 55||24 - 39||37 - 47||-||~6.5|
|Proteins||11 - 13||13 - 15||11 - 13||13 - 15||16 - 21|
|Hunic Acids||16 - 17||16 - 17||15|
The one ingredient that has received the most scientific scrutiny is caffeine. The physiological effects of caffeine have been studied extensively. Chlorogenic acids are being investigated for possible antioxidant properties, but very little is known of the other constituents which make up 98% of roasted arabica coffee beans.
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Coffee: A Guide to Buying, Brewing, and Enjoying by Kenneth Davids
Coffee Basics: A Quick and Easy Guide by Kevin Knox and Julie Sheldon Huffaker
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Decaf Coffee Plants Developed