Coffee Energizing Biofuels Research

January 23, 2018 - NREL scientist Phil Pienkos' research at NREL

Photo illustration by Dennis Schroeder, NREL

By Phil Pienkos, NREL

When it comes to sustainability in the coffee supply chain, industry members have been finding creative ways to conserve on every level, from the farm to the coffee shop. But what happens to the grounds after the coffee’s brewed?

Many coffee shops already have composting programs, but what if there were a way, not only to divert used grounds from the landfill, but to use those grounds to produce energy? Research at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is exploring this question — and is starting to see some exciting developments with help from the coffee industry.

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Study: Drinking Coffee Daily Does More Good Than Harm

kaboompics_Pouring hot water in Chemex (6)

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.)

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Coffee and Gluten: Start With the Research


By William (Bill) M. Murray, NCA, CEO

One of today’s challenges isn’t finding enough information on a particular subject, but rather deciding how to evaluate all the information that’s available. Is that information unbiased, expert, and useful?

This is true not only for coffee drinkers, but also for consumers seeking information about the impact of coffee on their health. Sorting through the headlines, opinions, blog posts, and advice columns isn’t easy, which is why it is always best to seek out any underlying research on a topic. (For insight into evaluating coffee-and-health research, see “Behind the Headlines: Coffee, Health, and Research.”)

We were reminded of this after an NCA member recently asked, “Does coffee contain gluten?”

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Is Cold Brew Good For You?

The following post is adapted from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health News 

Iced latte on leaf patterned tea towel

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 article.

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Do Coffee Drinkers Live Longer?


Two big studies support the long-term health benefits of coffee

It turns out, a cup of coffee can do a lot more than just perk up your morning.

People who drink more coffee may have a lower risk of premature death from disease, according to two new studies published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The results were consistent among more than 700,000 participants from a variety of racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds.

Previous research has suggested that coffee is good for you, but was often limited to smaller groups and people of European decent, writes the Los Angeles Times.

And both studies found benefits for people who drank decaffeinated as well.

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Study: Drinking Coffee May Help Protect Against Liver Disease


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.

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A Cup (or 5) of Coffee Could Cut Liver Cancer Risk By Up to 50%

“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.

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Nervous About Caffeine? Don’t Be.


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.) [1]

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.

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