What is the nutritional value of coffee?

In this short guide, we are going to answer the question “What is the nutritional value of coffee?”.  In addition, we will discuss the relationship between coffee consumption and weight gain and how the ingredients added to coffee can influence its nutritional value.

What is the nutritional value of coffee?

The nutritional value of coffee, considering the example of 1 cup of espresso coffee with approximately 100 g, is:

  • Between 0 to 2 kcal
  • 0.2g of fat
  • 0.1g of protein
  • 97.8g of water
  • 40mg of caffeine

Bearing in mind that 1 cup of regular coffee has a capacity of about 2 grams of coffee, we can say that its composition is well balanced.

Coffee includes a complex mixture of compounds, where caffeine has been perhaps the most widely known; however, coffee is also rich in other bioactive substances with a wide array of physiological effects. 

The list comprises up to 1000 described phytochemicals. Among them, are phenols, including chlorogenic and caffeic acid, lactones, diterpenes, including cafestol and kahweol, niacin, and the vitamin B3 precursor trigonelline. Moreover, coffee is rich in vitamin B3, magnesium and potassium. (1)

What factors determine the nutritional value of coffee?

The quality of coffee beverages is affected by a number of elements and a series of processes, including: the environment, cultivation, post-harvest, fermentation, storage, roasting, and brewing to produce a cup of coffee.

Changes in bioactive and chemical compounds occur in all phases of coffee processing. 

The quality of a beverage is affected by bean maturity, which is indicated by changes in the color of cherries. 

The accumulation of certain chemical compounds in mature coffee beans results in a flavorful beverage, and these compounds play an essential role in coffee processing.

The major bean components accumulate through ripening, and include cell wall polysaccharides, lipids, proteins, sucrose, and chlorogenic acids.

However, the polyphenols chlorogenic acid and caffeoylquinic acid are detected in large amounts in green coffee beans. After harvesting ripe coffee cherries. 

Microbial fermentation mainly changes the structure of proteins and carbohydrates, resulting in metabolites that diffuse into the seeds to enhance flavor during roasting.

Roasting is an essential stage in coffee manufacturing because it produces color, aroma, and flavor. 

Caffeine is moderately heat-stable during coffee roasting. Trigonelline, which is found in large concentrations in green coffee beans, is reduced constantly during the roasting process. 

During roasting, chlorogenic acid levels decrease to 90%, depending on the roasting level. Chlorogenic acid breaks down into feruloyl quinic acid lactones, caffeoylquinic acid lactones, and p-coumarylquinic acid lactones, which produce the flavor. (7)

Does the ingestion of coffee contribute to my nutrition?

As with other types of plant beverages, coffee brews do not contain excessive amounts of macronutrients (absorbable carbohydrates, proteins and lipids) and calories,  100 mL of filtered coffee contains approximately 2 kcal.

The nutritional quality of coffee proteins is limited and approximately 50% of this fraction is insoluble and lacks the essential amino acid, tryptophan. In addition, during roasting, most simple sugars and proteins are degraded or changed.

 With regards to micronutrients, the brew may contain a reasonable amount of vitamins and minerals. Niacin, in the form of nicotinic acid, is the main vitamin in a coffee brew and is also known as vitamin B3.

 Regular coffee consumption can supply an essential part of the daily recommendation for adults, which is 16 mg for men and 14 mg for women (8)

What are the health benefits of coffee?

Coffee can have  a clear benefit deriving from liver protection, diabetes and Parkinson’s risk reduction. Data on cancer seem mostly balanced toward benefit as well and decrease of global mortality.(1)

Does the addition of milk change the nutritional value of coffee ?

Yes, the addition of milk can increase coffee fat level, but a combination of proteins present in the milk and antioxidants in the coffee doubles the anti-inflammatory properties in immune cells. 

These health benefits are mainly attributed to the activity of coffee polyphenols.

Polyphenols are easy to oxidize and decompose during the digestion process. In addition, polyphenol bioaccessibility has been reported to be low, which largely limits their physiological functions. 

Therefore, macromolecular components are presently considered to be useful as encapsulation carriers to protect polyphenols from degradation during digestion.

Protein, polysaccharides, and lipids like those in milk can change the presence of polyphenols and have a significant impact on the release and absorption of polyphenols during digestion (5)

Does coffee consumption have any adverse effects?

Coffee has modest cardiovascular effects, including tachycardia, high blood pressure, and occasional arrhythmia. These acute effects are more likely to occur immediately after coffee consumption or in individuals who are more susceptible.

While the contribution of coffee to the development of hypertension is generally small, it can be more significant in infrequent coffee drinkers. 

Additionally, caffeine can slightly reduce calcium absorption in the gastrointestinal tract. To mitigate the risk of osteoporosis and fractures, it is recommended to maintain adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D and limit coffee consumption to 2-3 cups per day, especially among elderly adults. (6)


In this short guide, we answered the question “What is the nutritional value of coffee?”. In addition, we discussed the relationship between coffee consumption and weight gain and how the ingredients added to coffee can influence its nutritional value.


  1. Cano-Marquina, A., Tarín, J. J., & Cano, A.  The impact of coffee on health. Maturitas, 75(1), 7–21. 2013.
  2. Farias-Pereira R, Park CS, Park Y. Mechanisms of action of coffee bioactive components on lipid metabolism. Food Sci Biotechnol. 2019
  3. Lopez-Garcia, E., van Dam, R. M., Rajpathak, S., Willett, W. C., Manson, J. E., & Hu, F. B.  Changes in caffeine intake and long-term weight change in men and women. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 83(3), 674–680. 2006.
  4. Pereira, P. C., & Vicente, F.  Milk Nutritive Role and Potential Benefits in Human Health. Nutrients in Dairy and Their Implications on Health and Disease, 161–176. 2017.
  5. Xuejiao Qie, Ya Cheng, Yao Chen, Maomao Zeng, Zhaojun Wang, Fang Qin, Jie Chen, Weiwei Li, Zhiyong He, In vitro phenolic bioaccessibility of coffee beverages with milk and soy subjected to thermal treatment and protein–phenolic interactions, Food Chemistry, 375, 2022.
  6. Bae, J.-H., Park, J.-H., Im, S.-S., & Song, D.-K.  Coffee and health. Integrative Medicine Research, 3(4), 189–191. 2014.
  7. Bastian F, Hutabarat OS, Dirpan A, Nainu F, Harapan H, Emran TB, Simal-Gandara J. From Plantation to Cup: Changes in Bioactive Compounds during Coffee Processing. Foods. 2021
  8. Farah, Adriana.  Nutritional and health effects of coffee. 10.19103/AS.2017.0022.14. 2018.

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