Surprising Coffee FactsIf you’re a working adult going back to school to get your online degree, you’re probably quite familiar with the sweet nectar of the gods, otherwise known as coffee. It’s a tool that to many students becomes as necessary as your computer and textbooks to ensure success.

For better or worse, Americans drink a lot of coffee. About 83% of adults drink coffee in the U.S., which equates to 587 million cups of coffee every year. We spend a lot of money on coffee too: It’s a $30 billion-a-year industry.

So, let’s make sure you’re getting the most out of your coffee each morning.

Most people drink coffee for the energy that comes along with caffeine consumption, but there’s a lot of misconceptions about the type of coffee that contains the most caffeine.

People often assume that a darker roast means more caffeine, but it’s actually the opposite. Coffee beans are green and spongy before being roasted, and caffeine is contained naturally in the leaves and seeds of the coffee tree. The roasting process removes some of the caffeine, so lighter roasts have a higher concentration of caffeine than darker roasts.

Darker roasts do have a stronger flavor from the roasting process, and that richness in flavor is sometimes confused as an indicator of more caffeine.

Depending on the beans and the roast (light, medium-light, medium or dark), a typical 8 oz cup of coffee contains anywhere between 75-165 mg of caffeine. Even decaffeinated coffee has a little bit of caffeine in it (only about 2 mg per 8 oz of coffee).

If you have coffee in your home that’s more than a month old, it’s past time to toss it.

Coffee beans absorb moisture, odors and tastes from the air around it, and begin to lose freshness almost immediately after roasting it. That’s why it’s important to store coffee beans in a dry, cool, dark place and to only buy a little at a time.

Know how much coffee you will use in the span of 1 to 2 weeks, and don’t purchase more than that at a time. The container you buy your coffee in probably isn’t the best container in which to store it. Keep your coffee in a canister with an airtight seal to keep your beans as fresh as possible for as long as possible.

If you buy whole beans, wait to grind them until right before you make the coffee.

If you’re worried about coffee having a negative impact on staying hydrated, don’t.

A recent study compared the effects of drinking coffee to drinking water and then determined whether coffee dehydrated study participants. No differences were found between the group of study participants drinking coffee and the group drinking water. In fact, the data suggest that, when consumed in moderation, coffee can actually offer similar hydrating qualities to water.

In fact, the study’s author, Sophie Killer, works with athletes and recommends coffee to them for its performance enhancing qualities. That’s not to say you should replace your water bottle with a mug of coffee the next time you hit the gym, but having coffee before you start your workout may help you get in a better workout than without it. The benefits extend beyond the gym, of course: Coffee can also help you focus on your online degree coursework so that you stay on track with your program!

Now that you’ve prepared the perfect cup of coffee and used it to get focused for the gym or your schoolwork, what are you going to do with the used grounds?

Before you toss your used coffee grounds, consider recycling them in one of the following ways:

  • Fertilize your plants. Coffee grounds have lots of nutrients that your plants will love.
  • Keep your cats out of the garden. Spreading coffee grounds and orange peels around your plants deters cats from using your garden as their personal litter box.
  • Deodorize your freezer. No baking soda on hand, but freezer is starting to smell? Put some used coffee grounds in the freezer overnight to neutralize the odors.
  • Keep your fishing worms wriggling. Mix coffee grounds with soil for your bait worms to keep them living longer.

Appetite for coffee still not satisfied? You can find more fun coffee facts and history of the plant on the National Coffee Association’s website. Happy studying coffee-lovers!