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Coffee contains more than 1,000 single substances; even today, not all of these have been entirely decoded yet. The proportions vary depending on the type of coffee, the conditions in which the plants were cultivated, and the roasting procedure. The most important ingredients of the coffee bean are carbohydrates, fats, water, protein, acids, alcaloids (caffeine), minerals, and natural flavours.

Approximately one third of the coffee bean consists of carbohydrates; during the roasting process, however, they are transformed into other compounds or completely broken down. The remains are nearly entirely composed of water-insoluble sugars that remain in the coffee grounds during the brewing procedure.

Raw coffee contains about 10-20 percent fats; however, these are mainly water-insoluble and do not appear in the finished brewed drink.
The coffee bean contains 10-13 percent water, but after the roasting process, only approximately two to three percent remain left. During storage, the coffee absorbs a small amount of the environmental humidity again. Ten percent of the raw coffee are composed of protein. After the roasting procedure, however, these literally almost vanish as the heat destroys protein or causes it to combine with other compounds.


More than 80 different acids can be found in coffee; they add up to four to twelve percent in the raw coffee. A large share of this is composed by chlorogene acid, a typical coffee characteristic, but also linoleic acid, palmitic acid, acetic acid, citric acid, malic acid and oxalic acid are found. Many of these acids have a strong influence on the flavour.

Alcaloids, including caffeine, are nitrogenous natural substances.

The most familiar vitamins contained in coffee are the vitamins of the B group – B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid) and B6 (pyridoxine). The body needs these vitamins to generate energy and to support the metabolism of protein, carbohydrates and lipids, the nervous system, hematosis, and skin and hair growth.

Raw coffee contains three to five percent mineral nutrients; approximately ninety percent of these can still be found in the brewed coffee drink. Instant coffee even contains nine to ten percent mineral nutrients; mainly potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphor, but also traces of sulfur, manganese and iron. These minerals are needed by the metabolism to grow and sustain strong bones and teeth; they also regulate the permeability of cell membranes, muscular and nervous excitability, and maintain an even acid-base balance.