2017 was a big year for coffee.
What – and where – we drink is changing. Specialty trends moved into the mainstream, from the cold brew craze to the rise of RTD. Today, consumers have unprecedented control to customize their beverage, from unique flavors to nutrition-driven additives (oat milk, anyone?).
To reflect how these changes are reshaping our industry, the NCA even added a new “gourmet” category to our National Coffee Drinking Trends report.
Yet at the same time, the fundamentals of coffee remain as relevant as ever. Whether you’re a brewing beginner or a brilliant barista, understanding the basics of what makes a quality cup is still crucial to developing and refining new brew methods and flavors. For instance: Extraction will always be a factor, and your equipment needs to be clean.
We’re looking forward to what the next year will bring – we’re seeing a lot of exciting new research on coffee and health, opportunities to improve industry best practices, and critical developments in sustainability.
But the New Year is also an opportunity to reflect on where we’ve been. Here are the most popular NCA blog posts in 2017, highlighting the importance of both innovation and tradition in the world of coffee.
A massive meta-analysis suggests that the benefits of daily coffee consumption outweigh the risk.
“The bottom line is that we suggest [coffee] can be a good part of a healthy diet.”
– Robin Poole, University of Southampton
Science continues to suggest that coffee is good for you.
Based on a systematic umbrella review of 201 meta-analyses recently published in the BMJ, researchers from the University of Southampton found that moderate coffee consumption was more often associated with benefit than harm.
Drinking three to four cups of coffee a day showed the greatest benefit in terms of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, and stroke, versus not drinking coffee. (Drinking coffee beyond these amounts was not associated with harm, but the benefits were less pronounced.)
Not only can your morning cup of coffee help prevent cancer, protect your liver, and even extend your life – it may also keep your heart healthy.
New analysis of one of the largest and longest-running studies in the U.S. links drinking coffee to a lower risk of heart failure, stroke, and coronary heart disease.
Edited post via Thrillist
By Jeremy Glass (@candyandpizza)
It can be hard to enjoy your morning coffee when there are so many myths surrounding what’s in your cup floating around. For instance, apparently coffee makes you poop. (Actually, that one’s true.)
Regardless, there are still a ton of tall tales being passed around that negatively impact the way you consume coffee.
Drink in these 11 facts and wake up.
The following post is adapted from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health News
Science shows coffee can have major health perks at any temperature.
Summer’s hottest drink is also a healthy way to beat the heat.
Cold brew coffee — made by steeping coffee grounds in cold water overnight or longer — is just as healthy as regular coffee, according to Frank Hu, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in a recent Health.com article.
A new study shows that drinking four cups of coffee a day may help prevent deadly disease, and may even counter the damage caused by unhealthy diet and lifestyle habits. (One cup of herbal tea also offers the same protection.)
Previous evidence suggested that coffee and tea could have a protective effect on liver tissue, but the results haven’t been conclusive. Now for the first time, scientists have confirmed the potential benefits of these beloved beverages.
“Caffeine improves athletic performance. This is a truth almost universally acknowledged in exercise science.” — Gretchen Reynolds, The New York Times
Drinking caffeinated coffee has been scientifically linked to improved physical performance. And for years, many scientists, coaches, and athletes believed that an athlete had to abstain for days or weeks before an event to gain a boost.
But a new study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology suggests that these ideas about caffeine and athletic performance are outdated.
“Coffee can be a wonderful natural medicine.”
People who drink more coffee are “significantly” less likely to develop liver cancer, according to a new study published in the journal BMJ Open. These findings support increasing evidence that coffee may have protective benefits for liver health, and may even counteract damage from alcohol consumption.
What you need to know about the latest research on coffee and your health.
An unprecedented scientific review on caffeine safety confirms that drinking up to four cups of coffee daily, or about 400 milligrams of caffeine, is “not associated with overt, adverse effects” in healthy adults. (Pregnant woman and minors should reduce their intake below that amount, according to the report.) 
The review was conducted by the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI), and is the most extensive of its kind to date. Scientists scoured data from more than 700 independent studies related to various human health effects and caffeine.
By Kyra Auffermann, NCA
For today’s consumers, it’s more than “just” a cup of coffee. From extra antioxidants to artisanal craftsmanship, the future of coffee is anything but ordinary.
During the recent NCA webinar, “Coffee Outlook 2017,” Datassential’s Mark DiDomenico shared how the latest food trends are impacting the coffee market: