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Beneficial Antioxidants Come From The Coffee Bean Roasting Process

February 2, 2011: 11:03 AM EST

Canadian food scientists have found that the predominant antioxidants in dark roasted coffee are derived from the browning of green beans at high temperatures, not from caffeine or other sources. The scientists analyzed the complex combination of chemical compounds produced during coffee bean roasting, a process known as the “Maillard reaction” after the scientist who first studied heat’s effect on carbohydrates, sugars and proteins in food. Scientists have long thought that coffee’s antioxidants were from caffeine or chlorogenic acid in green coffee beans. But coffee beans lose 90 percent of the chlorigenic acid during roasting, a finding that points to the Maillard reaction as the main source of antioxidants.

Yazheng Liu and David D. Kitts, "Confirmation that the Maillard reaction is the principle contributor to the antioxidant capacity of coffee brews", Food Research International, February 02, 2011, © Elsevier B.V.
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