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What Antioxidants are in Specialty Coffee

With the rise in specialty coffee available in today’s market, and more consumers caring about what’s inside their coffee, and where it comes from, large amounts of research has gone into the natural properties of coffee.

Studies show that approximately 1,000 antioxidants are present in un processed specialty coffee beans, with hundreds more developed during the roasting phase. With this is mind, plus the amount of coffee many people consume on a daily basis (compared to foods such as berries), coffee is one of the largest sources of antioxidants in the human diet.

Coffee, and in particular specialty coffee is super concentrated in powerful antioxidants due to its polyphenols and hydrocinnamic components, which can improve overall health and reduce risks of several diseases.

Many people talk about antioxidants in their day to day conversations, but what exactly is an antioxidant? Essential for survival in all living things, the concept of antioxidants is actually pretty complex, however, put simply, antioxidants are molecules that fight damage against unstable molecules, also known as free radicals (pro-oxidants), which can cause harm to cellular structures. Antioxidants do this by giving electrons to the free radicals, which in turn will neutralise them. 

It is vital to realise however that free radicals are still an important function in the human body, however, it is all about getting the right balance of free radicals (pro-oxidants), and antioxidants to maintain healthy cells in our bodies.

Antioxidants are found naturally in foods, whether that be a plant or animal source. Foods such as fruits (especially berries), vegetables and beverages such as coffee (especially specialty coffee).

What Antioxidants are in Specialty Coffee?

Now that we have somewhat of an idea of what antioxidants are, the question still remains, what antioxidants are in specialty coffee? 

As pointed out earlier, there are hundreds of antioxidants in coffee, however, when roasting coffee, this also has an effect on the antioxidant activity and total antioxidant content found in specialty coffee.

We have made a short list of a few important compounds found in specialty coffee that contain dietary antioxidants which are consumed every time you brew up your specialty coffee.

These include;

  • Cafestol

A potent anti-inflammatory substance in the brain.

  • Caffeine

Said to be an antioxidant in itself, caffeine can help cure headaches, losing weight, and preventing diabetes, as well as provide a short term memory boost. 

  • Trigonelline

An anti-bacterial which may help prevent dental caries. 

  • Chlorogenic Acid

Stands in for a large number of different compounds which are core players in anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory activity in the body.

  • Melanoidins

Also carries anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. A powerful antioxidant formed in the process of roasting.

  • Quinine

As an antioxidant, becomes more potent after coffee is roasted. Although possibly harmful consumed by humans in larger amounts, coffee has only small quantities, therefore, benefiting from its antioxidant properties. Quinine is also believed to help with leg cramps and restless legs syndrome.

puritycoffee.com explains in a simple graph below, how much antioxidants really are in coffee, even more so than superfood such as kale or blueberries, suggesting, ‘’you will not find a more well-loved food with higher antioxidants levels in the western diet then coffee’’

Sourced: puritycoffee.com

What are the Benefits of Specialty Coffee Antioxidants?

As antioxidants play a vital role in protecting your cells from damage that can occur from exposure to such things as pollution, smoking, alcohol consumption, and radiation, we decided to list a few benefits of antioxidants which are found in Specialty Coffee.

These include;

  • Reduce risk of cancer
  • Curb premature ageing
  • Prevent cognitive decline
  • Fight Inflammation
  • Neutralize free radicals
  • Fight and may prevent common diseases
  • Support heart health
  • Lower your risk of infection


What type of Specialty Coffee Roast has the most Antioxidants?

Research has shown that the levels of antioxidants will vary between the different types of coffee. It has been tested that green coffee beans actually hold higher levels of antioxidants, however, need to be roasted to remove the harmful compounds found in the green coffee bean.

Therefore, the secret is finding the proper roasting profile.

It is important to realize that in most cases, roasting green coffee beans will in fact create brand new antioxidant compounds, that did not exist in its green bean form, therefore, in some roasting cases, the coffee beans antioxidant level will increase.

If you roast your beans too much, it will then create problems, and can burn off a lot of helpful antioxidants, therefore, it has been suggested that medium roast specialty coffee bean will provide the highest amounts of antioxidant activity.

Where Can I buy Specialty Coffee?

You may find many different types of specialty coffee out there, however, we found some of our favourites which you can find over on Amazon, and not too heavy on the wallet either.

Hand Roasted Coffee Warehouse
At a Glance;
  • Sweetness
  • Roasted Fresh to order
  • Rich and full flavoured medium roast
  • Whole beans so you can grind at home
  • Money Back Guarantee

Grown in the Nyeri region, noted for its quality, this specially selected peaberry bean is said to contain all the best Kenyan flavour. Because the coffee cherry only produces one ovule, instead of two, the resulting peaberry absorbs all the goodness, so giving a fine quality and special liquoring.

They love their coffee smooth & sweet and they have roasted this 100% Single Origin to a Medium Roast for the perfect balance of Sweetness, aroma, strength & body.

Sold as a whole bean this is perfect to grind into a coarse grind at home and serve with the french press.


Luicana Single Origin Colombian Coffee Beans
At a Glance;
  • Premium Coffee
  • Tasting Notes 
  • Multiple Brew Options
  • Fresh Single Origin Coffee Beans
  • Gas Flushed Packaging

Their efforts in sourcing with strict standards from the world’s top coffee growing regions and high elevations, only makes the finest coffee bean qualified for production. 

But it doesn’t stop there; The beans are carefully inspected prior to and after the roasting process to ensure the coffee maintains a high-quality grade with a cupping score above 80+. 

This rigorous process requires hard work, precision, and a passion for coffee which they are dedicated too. So with every sip, you can experience an authentic taste of Luicana Coffee.

Luicana coffee can be brewed and prepared using different methods, including French press coffee, Aeropress coffee, filter coffee, pour over, and cold brewed.


Coopers Coffee Company (4 Bag Variety)

For those that are unsure this is an ideal option as it offers a variety of different roasting options so you can have a little play around and find what is best for you.

At a Glance;
  • Light, Medium, and Dark Roast options
  • Fair trade and Organic
  • Variety of origins
  • Variety of flavours to play with

Indulge your senses, kickstart your morning with 4, Whole Bean Coffee 4oz bags of single origin coffee. Cooper’s is a small batch coffee that is roasted in small batches.

Once you’ve tasted these grade 1 single origin beans from Sumatra, Rwanda, Kenya and Ethiopia you’ll know you’ve finally found one of the best coffees on earth.

They are pretty picky when it comes to their coffee beans, and they go to great lengths to find single-origin coffee beans that meets their exact standards.


The bottom line is that specialty coffee has significantly larger amounts of antioxidants found in many superfoods.

Furthermore, coffee is the second highest consumed beverage globally, which therefore means people do not actually realise all the antioxidants they are providing themselves each morning they wake up and drink their brew.

Due to the careful processing method of specialty coffee, it significantly has a positive effect on antioxidant activity compared to a more commercial coffee blend, with many more antioxidants present after the roasting phase.

Dietary intake of antioxidants is essential for optimal health, however, it is important to realise that more is not always better.

Even though specialty coffee is stacked with antioxidants, two to three cups per day is what we consider to be the optimal consumption amount, and don’t forget, to ensure you get a healthy amount of antioxidants, you still need to be eating good food sources in your diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Do you know other antioxidants worth the mention in specialty coffee? Let us know in the comments below.

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