Coffee is a key part of many people’s morning rituals. It is a delicious, comforting drink that can also be quite healthy. Most enthusiasts have a favorite type of brew that they passionately defend as superior to others. Cappuccino, espresso, decaf, and filter coffee all have their own unique properties; coffee enthusiasts have long been spoiled for choice, but which one is the healthiest option? The answer lies not in which type of coffee you choose but in how it is prepared. Whether you’re looking for a boost of energy, a caffeine-free alternative, or just a comforting cup of joe, the right preparation can make all the difference. Read on to discover the healthiest type of coffee for you.

To start with, the word "healthy" can be incredibly subjective, even more so with regard to coffee. A cappuccino might have a significant calorie count in contrast to something like coffee made from a v60, while the latter has significantly higher acidity. It’s hard to settle on one form of the beverage without compromising in some way. Read on to find out the pros and cons associated with popular iterations of the beverage so that you can make more informed choices with regards to the same.

Instant Coffee 

Instant coffee is probably the most widespread iteration of coffee around the world. You'd be hard pressed to find a household that doesn't have a tin of the freeze dried granules. Coffee in this form is concentrated, incredibly processed, and made with low-quality coffee beans. The beans used in most blends are low-quality robustas that are produced for the purpose. More expensive brands may use commodity-grade arabica, which only tastes a tad bit better. We’d recommend avoiding instant coffee for a number of reasons. The most pressing of the lot is the beverage’s high chicory content, which is known to induce a number of lifestyle-based health conditions, such as acid reflux and bloating, when consumed in excess. A tin of inexpensive filter coffee may contain anywhere from 20–40% chicory root fiber. This amount might also be considered a filler, since chicory does not contain caffeine. Instant coffee also has a low caffeine content per serving, about 45 mg per cup, which is quite low for a caffeinated beverage. In contrast, a can of energy drink has 75–85 mg of caffeine, which is a far more optimal dose for productivity. It is also difficult to consume large amounts of instant coffee due to the more astringent taste that results from being highly processed.

Filter Coffee 

The term "filter coffee" may be used to refer to one of two things: coffee made using percolation methods such as the v60 or the Kalita; and south Indian filter coffee, which is a blend of coffee beans and chicory sold as a fine powder. For the purpose of this article, we will use this term to refer to the South Indian beverage. South Indian filter coffee is the most popular form of coffee that is served in the state of Karnataka, where most of the country's coffee is grown. The coffee powder consists of dark roasted arabica and/or robusta coffee blended with a large proportion of chicory root fiber, as high as 50%. To serve, a concoction is made using this powder in the namesake South Indian coffee filter and topped with milk and sugar. Although this form of coffee contains chicory, it is considered healthier than instant coffee because it is less processed and contains more coffee than fillers.

Espresso, Americano, and Cappuccino

These drinks together constitute the bulk of orders at any specialty coffee shop. An espresso is coffee made using finely ground coffee beans in an espresso machine, which uses heat and pressure to draw out coffee solids into hot water to make an incredibly concentrated beverage. Espresso made with good-quality arabica can be drunk as is, but most consumers prefer a milder beverage, which is made possible through the addition of water or milk. An espresso diluted with water is called an americano, and one that is diluted with steamed milk is a cappuccino. All three of these beverages are significantly healthier when compared to offerings that contain chicory, having relatively low acidities and high caffeine contents. The americano and espresso are great choices for caffeine junkies, and the cappuccino is a low-acid alternative for consumers who have some calories to spare.

Cold Brew 

Cold brew is made by steeping coarse coffee grounds in water for an extended period of time, anywhere from 8 to 24 hours. The resulting beverage is one that is smooth, low in acidity, and incredibly high in caffeine. This is a perfect alternative for those who cannot consume espresso or drip coffee because of acute acid reflux. Cold brews are also convenient to make at home, with coffee roasters selling both coarsely ground coffee beans in bags and ready-to-use pouches.