Acrylamide in coffee: what roasters ought to know

FDA warns against acrylamine in coffee

Acrylamide develops naturally within the coffee roasting process. Creative Commons photo by John Lodder.

The U.S. Fda yesterday released someone warning on acrylamide, a naturally a compound present in cooked foods — including coffee — we know of to result in cancer in creatures.

The warning was already selected up by numerous mainstream sources, that have casually reported coffee among the offending foods, although it’s important to note immediately that acrylamide cause within the roasting process is dramatically reduced after ground coffee is made. Regardless of this fact, a little consumer uproar will certainly be here, now is really as good a period just like any to examine what we should learn about acrylamide.

Caffeine compound was initially discovered by Swedish scientists in 2002, even though it is broadly thought to happen to be gift for as lengthy as humans happen to be baking, frying and roasting foods. Most frequently present in plant-based products, it develops when foods containing sugar as well as an amino acidity known as asparagine are cooked at high temperatures. In animal testing since its initial discovery, high amounts of acrylamide have been discovered to result in tumors along with a high incidence of cancer.

And its latest warning, the Food and drug administration is the very first time assembling a draft document for food producers (within this situation, coffee roasters) on acrylamide in foods. The document is presently within the comment period.

Inside a 2011 story in Roast Magazine highlighting the possibility results of Califonia’s Proposition 65 around the coffee industry, National Coffee Association President Robert Nelson provided probably the most comprehensive summary of acrylamide in coffee up to now, writing:

For coffee, the problem of acrylamide arises within the roasting process. As espresso beans are roasted, natural sugars and moisture let the desirable browning process, which chemically creates some acrylamide. The precise mechanisms of acrylamide’s formation in coffee may involve asparagine along with other possible pathways. However, the greatest degree of the compound occurs in a roasting level too light for consumer preferences, and starts to degrade considerably during further roasting. Completed roasting leaves only a small fraction of the initial acrylamide levels within the bean. Furthermore, there’s hardly any acrylamide left in made coffee because it is consumed.

Actually, the greatest levels discovered by Food and drug administration researchers have been in store-bought ground coffees (The Food and drug administration compiled a summary of acrylamide test recent results for probably the most popular store-bought and made coffees — mainly instant — within the U.S).

Nelson continues by thinking about what coffee roasters can perform to lessen or eliminate the existence of acrylamide in coffee. Regrettably, the reply is most likely hardly any:

Other products, for example fries, chips, cereals and crackers, have experienced some success in lessening acrylamide levels by altering cooking processes and component profiles. But no minimization methods have proven workable in lessening the amount created during coffee roasting despite strong research efforts. Roasting coffee more dark, for example, makes taste and aroma unpalatable to consumers. Other approaches, for example steam roasting, haven’t proven any significant decrease in acrylamide levels in finished products. However, jobs are arrived on the discovering that acrylamide seems to degrade when roasted coffee is stored with time. Because which impacts freshness, though, it might not be a workable solution.

Read Nelson’s full story on Prop 65 and acrylamide here.

Nick Brown

Nick Brown may be the editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. Feedback and story ideas are welcome at

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  • Tags: acrylamide, chemistry, National Coffee Association, Robert Nelson, science

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    Bruce Stewart

    Feb 20, 2014 10:10 pm

    Would you give some levels? So how exactly does coffee match up against a bag of poker chips or perhaps a serving of fried potatoes? Will a paper filter affect levels?


    James Mort

    August 18, 2015 4:50 pm

    There is a Food and drug administration list known as “Survey Data on Acrylamide in Food: Individual Food Products” using the link here: and drug



    September 25, 2015 2:31 am

    The main reason acrylamide is ‘reduced on brewing’ happens because it infises direct in to the drink. Your article is misleading



    December 14, 2016 3:24 am

    “The chemical compound was initially discovered by Swedish scientists in 2002”

    It’s existed because the early 1900s as well as in use within the 1950s so somebody didn’t do proper research from you


    Lynn Frumkin

    Feb 26, 2017 6:49 pm

    This really is unacceptable! I have not so far, seen a “warning for use of coffee” because of the chemical acrylamide! We question why everybody is sick with cancers! Where’s OUR Food and drug administration???? How dare they permit products hitting our markets! They aren’t doing their job!! The coffee I simply found an alert on, is organic! That do we trust??? I’m tossing it away! Exist coffees that do not produce this chemical through roasting? Which brands? Exist warnings on every box of coffee? We ought to begin being bold such things as this that matter and harm human health as opposed to the a lot of things we spend our time dwelling on.


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