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The latest buzz on coffee

It’s addictive. It’s delicious. And it may actually be healthy for you. New studies suggest that drinking coffee may protect against liver cancer and type 2 diabetes. In a number of studies, people who drank coffee every day lowered their risk of type 2 diabetes by 30 to 50 percent, even when the coffee was decaffeinated. So go ahead, enjoy your joe! To reap the maximum health benefits and enjoyment, keep the following in mind.

Choose brewed.

Drip brewing uses a coarser grind than espresso and allows water to stay in extended contact with the coffee, extracting more healthy compounds. Paper coffee filters also filter out a substance called cafestol, which boosts LDL cholesterol.

Go dark.

Sensitive to caffeine? You’re better off with a darker roast. Roasting breaks down caffeine, so lighter roasts are actually more potent. On the other hand, coffee aficionados swear that lighter roasting does better justice to the bean’s subtle, complex flavors.

Pass on preground.

For maximum coffee flavor, grind beans at home. Look for whole beans with a full, smooth sheen on the surface; oily spots mean the bean is old.

Divide and freeze.

To prolong shelf life, divide coffee into small bags (each with enough beans to last several days) before freezing. Taking coffee in and out of the freezer causes freezer burn and flattens the flavor, so remove bags one at a time and store in the refrigerator. And make sure coffee is well wrapped, because beans easily absorb surrounding flavors and odors. In other words, leave your special stash of pricey Kona poorly protected and it may end up tasting like the fish you plan to grill for dinner.

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