Coffee has been enjoying a health resurgence. It was once considered a bad thing because of caffeine but now it is lauded for its antioxidants

A new paper details how free radicals and antioxidants behave during every stage of the coffee brewing process, from intact bean to coffee brew.

The researchers observed the behavior of free radicals - unstable molecules that seek electrons for stability and are known to cause cellular and DNA damage in the human body - in the coffee brewing process and discovered that under certain conditions coffee can act as an antioxidant, a compound found in foods that helps stabilize free radicals. 

"The most important aim of this research was to better understand the development of stable free radicals during the roasting process and the possible influence exerted by developed radicals on the well-documented coffee antioxidant properties. We also wanted to evidence possible coffee constituents as a source of antioxidant activity," said  Italian coffee roasting company Illycaffè Chief Chemist Dr. Luciano Navarini.

Dr. Simon Drew from the University of Melbourne carried out the using Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) Spectroscopy at the University of Melbourne. 

"Our research studied both the Arabica coffee bean itself and what happens to its stable free radical and antioxidant properties during the brewing process," said Monash physicist Dr. Gordon Troup.

How to make coffee even better. Add some chemistry to your mug:

Top image credit: Credit: Andy Ciordia, CC BY-NC-ND