A Senior Citizen’s Guide To Coffee

I (Russell) own and run Lake City Coffee. At this writing, I’m pushing 70 years old. So, as a coffee expert and a senior citizen, I’m not only well versed in this subject, but I also have a vested interest in what coffee is best for senior citizens. Additionally, I'm also a grumpy, but happy, old man. That means that I don't have time to sugarcoat things. In this article and video you're going to get the straight scoop, no BS, truth. If you doubt that, scroll to the bottom of our website and click on our "Terms & Conditions" page. It's a real hoot.

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Better Than Grandma's coffee

Seniors & Coffee - Overview

Senior Citizens metabolize food and drinks different than from our younger selves. With older adults drinking more coffee per day than any other age group, that leaves a few questions. Should senior citizens drink coffee? If so, what coffee is best for senior citizens?

The effects of coffee upon senior citizens is more pronounced than for younger coffee drinkers. That being said, generally speaking, coffee is not bad for senior citizens, as long as the coffee is consumed in moderation. Consuming coffee in moderation was also true of ourselves ‘when we wore a younger man’s cloths’ (For you Billy Joel fans), i.e. moderation of coffee consumption is important for younger folks too.

What does moderation mean? Coffee is the most consumed beverage in the world and it has been for centuries. It is also the most studied beverage in history. Nearly every major medical research facility in the USA (Including the Mayo Clinic) has studied the effects of coffee. Their overwhelmingly universal conclusion is this. If a coffee drinker consumes less than 400 milligrams of caffeine a day, which is roughly (4) 8-ounce cups of coffee, then the numerous benefits of coffee far outweigh the few minimal disadvantages of coffee.

Arabica vs. Robusta Coffee Beans 

As stated above, the effects of coffee are more pronounced with Seniors. Therefore, the subject of which coffee beans to drink is important. 99.99% of the coffee consumed in the USA comes from either the Arabica coffee plant or the Robusta coffee plant.

Which coffee plant you drink from is very important for seniors. Below are some tasty facts that are important to you:

Fresh Roasted Coffee
insulated coffee mugs made in usa

Arabica Coffee Beans

    1. Arabica coffee can be thought of as the nectar of the gods. When grown, harvested, processed, shipped, roasted, packaged, brewed, and drank correctly, the taste is divine.
    2. Arabica has less caffeine as compared to Robusta.
    3. Arabica beans have far less acid than compared to Robusta.
    4. Arabica plants are challenging to grow. They need just the right soil, just the right amount of water, grow at a high elevation, and they need considerable hands-on care by their growers.
    5. Arabica coffee is much more expensive to grow than Robusta.

Robusta Coffee Beans

    1. Robusta coffee plants grow like weeds. They take little tending, not much water, grow at lower elevations, and their beans grow prolifically. Thus Robusta coffee beans are very inexpensive to grow.
    2. Robusta coffee beans have far more caffeine than does Arabica.
    3. Robusta coffee beans are far more acidic than Arabica.
    4. Worst of all, Robusta coffee beans taste very bitter.
    5. Fortunately for the industrial coffee companies, Robusta coffee beans are super cheap.
    6. The number one producer of Robusta Coffee beans is Vietnam. Vietnam’s primary customer is the USA.
    7. The top US purchasers of Robusta beans in the USA are the major industrial coffee companies, such as Charbucks, Maxwell House, Yuban, Hills Brothers, Kirkland, etc.
    8. A vast majority of coffee blends contain a considerable percentage of Robusta beans.
    9. Nearly all instant coffees contain 100% Robusta beans.
    10. A vast majority of decaf coffee is made from Robusta beans.
why roasted coffee doesn't last
cold brew decaf coffee

Positives Effects of Coffee For Seniors

  1. If seniors drink 4 or less cups of coffee per day, tallied up, the benefits far outweigh the consequences.
  2. Improved alertness
  3. Stimulates movement within the colon, thus reducing the risk of colon cancer.
  4. Caffeine drinkers show a markedly higher level of physical activity, thus they’re healthier and tend to not be as overweight as non-coffee drinkers
  5. Due to coffee’s abundance of bioflavonoids & antioxidants, which are anti-inflammatory, thus coffee reduces the risks of
    • Cancer
    • Stroke
    • Parkinson’s Disease
    • 25% less likely to develop Type II Diabetes
    • Liver disease
    • Depression
    • Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease reduced by 65% if started in mid-life
    • 19% less likely to die from Cardiovascular Disease
    • Reduced chance of high blood pressure

Negative Effects of Coffee For Seniors

  1. What negatives that do exist from drinking coffee are almost entirely due from overindulgence, i.e. > 4 cups per day (400mg of caffeine).
  2. Affects certain medications’ absorption
  3. Amplifies or inhibits certain drugs
  4. Coffee, when combined with some foods, has an accumulative effect. The foods avoid for coffee drinkers include:
    • Chocolate
    • Tea
    • Ice cream
    • Frozen yogurt
    • Pudding
    • Hot cocoa
    • Energy drinks
  5. May attribute to Diarrhea or Constipation
  6. Dehydration
  7. Heart Palpitations
  8. Insomnia - The effects of caffeine usually last up to 6 hours, so for seniors who love an afternoon cup of Joe, it is recommended not drinking coffee past 1 pm or simply switching to decaf.  According to a study on the metabolic clearance of caffeine, older adults above age 65 take 33% longer to metabolize caffeine than younger adults, so it stays in the nervous system longer.
  9. Potential for increased anxiety
Whole Bean Coffee
decaf coffee

What’s Causing Your Upset Stomach 

After drinking coffee, many people attribute the coffee’s acid as the cause for an upset stomach. This is not the case.

On the pH scale:

  1. 0 is very acidic
  2. 7 is neutral
  3. 14 is very alkaline.
  4. The human stomach has a pH level between 1 and 2, which is quite acidic.
  5. Coffee’s pH level is typically between 4 and 5, which is close to neutral, thus not very acidic and is about the same pH level as apple juice.

Burnt Coffee Beans And Charcoal

If coffee’s acid is not causing your stomachache, then what is? A vast majority of industrial coffee roasters, including Charbucks and their Wannabes, roast the living snot out of their coffee. Their coffee is so over-roasted that what’s left is charcoal. Your stomach doesn’t like charcoal. That’s what’s upsetting your stomach, not the acid.

The solution for coffee lovers, who have upset stomachs, is to drink a light or medium roasted coffee. That means roasted coffee whose color is between golden and dark brown, never ever black in color. Nearly every major industrial coffee company sells what they call “light” roast. It is in fact, anything but light roasted. These so called light roasts are still black and still charcoal.

fresh coffee beans
best time to drink coffee

What Coffee Is Best For Senior Citizens?

Although we own Lake City Coffee, Alisha and I don’t drink a lot of coffee. Usually, we drink one 16 ounce mug of coffee per day. On occasion, we’ll have two mugs, i.e. about 4 cups of coffee. Why would owners of a coffee roasting business drink so little coffee? Because we drink good coffee. If you drink bad coffee, you tend to drink a lot of it just to be satisfied. With good coffee, you’re more than happy with just a little.

Great coffee comes down to a variety of variables, including beans, roasting, brewing, and drinking. Let’s cover each of these variables and let’s do it specifically from the viewpoint of senior citizens.

Best Beans For Seniors

After years of research, testing, and experimenting, I’ve found that the smoothest, least bitter, most flavorful coffee tends to come from Central America. Again, after years of testing, we believe that the smoothest coffee beans in the world come from the Tarrazu region of Costa Rica.

Each year, Alisha and I taste test coffee beans from two dozen different growers in the Tarrazu region of Costa Rica. From those two dozen growers, we select the single best bean. We then purchase enough beans to last us and our customers for a full year. Those beans are then stored in our environmentally controlled warehouse.

Good Coffee Blends vs. Bad Coffee Blends
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Best Roasts For Seniors

The good news is that the best roast for senior citizens is also the most healthy. As stated above, never drink burnt coffee. If the roasted beans are black, it’s not worth drinking. Italian roast, French roast, Continental roast, Espresso roast, etc., are all simply different shades of burnt.

Here at Lake City Coffee, when I roast, I make sure that my dark roast is “barely” dark, i.e. a very dark brown, but certainly not black. What this does is preserve the oils within the bean. Those oils contain all the bioflavonoids, antioxidants, caffeine, flavor, and aroma. In other words, the oils in the coffee beans are the magic that we call coffee. Without those oils all you have is charcoal.

Best Brewing For Seniors

I love smooth coffee. I detest burnt and bitter coffee. So, not only do we select the smoothest coffee beans known to man, and roast those beans to perfection, but we also teach brewing methods that promote smooth (non-bitter) coffee.

In my humble opinion, the very best brewing methods, that produce super smooth coffee is:

  1. Cold Brew
  2. French Press
  3. AeroPress

I really should make a note here regarding espresso. Generally speaking, I detest espresso. I’m pleased to say that I recently had the opportunity to enjoy a cup of expresso using my own beans. It was fantastic. Check out this article for more details: My First Great Espresso Experience.

conservative coffee
best time to drink coffee

Best Drinking For Seniors

Unbeknownst to most people, coffee should be drank at about 140 degrees Fahrenheit. At 140 degrees your tastebuds can easily detect the nuances of flavors within the coffee. Much over 140 degrees and your tastebuds are just trying to survive, much less actually taste anything.

If you’re drinking great coffee, then you have little reason to add anything to your coffee. Great coffee doesn’t need sugar, whip cream, caramel, chocolate, or sprinkles. All of these things are nothing more than empty calories.

Here’s some great news. A cup of black coffee has about 5 calories. That’s it!  Find some great coffee, like ours, and you won’t want to put anything in it. As one of our customers once said, “Putting anything in your coffee should be a crime.”

Lake City Coffee

What coffee is best for senior citizens? Simply put, drink great coffee. Leave out any sweeteners. Take the time to make and enjoy your coffee. You deserve it.

If you’re looking for great coffee, not just good coffee, but great coffee, then look no further. We’ve got your coffee and we’ll show you how to use it. On top of that, you’ll have fun working with us.

Have a great day,

Russell & Alisha Volz

Russell and Alisha Volz
What Coffee Is Best For Senior Citizens


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