If you’re anything like us, a hot cup of coffee in the morning is absolutely vital to ensure the health of everyone around you. If you’re also kratom enthusiast (and why else would you be here?), it may have crossed your mind that powdered kratom might go well with your coffee. After all, the bitterness of coffee and a spoonful of sugar might just help the medicine go down.
Kratom & Coffee- A Perfect Match
Aside from the idea that the flavors might be compatible, it’s worth noting that coffee and kratom are both from trees in the family Rubiaceae, meaning that they’re genetically related and share similar traits. Furthermore, you may have come across the idea on the interwebs in various forums. Sounds like a good idea, right?
In fact, it sounds like such a good idea that our friends over at the lifestyle blog Bistro Grace devoted an entire article detailing how to go about mixing coffee and kratom. Here’s a small part of their excellent guide:
“Mix the two in equal amounts, and voila! You have successfully mixed coffee with kratom. Furthermore, keep a close eye on the kratom as if you boil it for too long, you could denature the alkaloids and lose all the benefits. Therefore, don’t simmer for over 3-4 minutes.”
Alkaloids are our friends
Alkaloids. We throw the word around a lot because, well, they’re the molecules produced by plants that make life interesting. Alkaloids are a class of molecules with a few notable characteristics. RxList defines alkaloids as, “A member of a large group of chemicals that are made by plants… Many alkaloids possess potent pharmacologic effects. …[Common] alkaloids include cocaine, nicotine, strychnine, caffeine, morphine, pilocarpine, atropine, methamphetamine, mescaline, ephedrine, and tryptamine.”
Here’s the catch- most of the alkaloids known to science are from plants, but all alkaloids share common characteristics. All alkaloids, including the alkaloids in kratom, have nitrogen in them. Additionally, the Encyclopedia of Analytical Science (Second Edition) notes “The fact that alkaloids are water soluble under acidic conditions and lipid soluble under neutral and basic conditions give them unique properties for medicinal use…”.
OK, But What About the Coffee?
We wrote all that to drive home the point that all alkaloids share common properties. One of those common properties is that they denature (break down) when exposed to heat. Coffee is mostly served hot. See where we’re going with this?
So let’s talk about coffee for a second. The National Coffee Association USA tells us that “Your brewer should maintain a water temperature between 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal extraction. Colder water will result in flat, under-extracted coffee, while water that is too hot will also cause a loss of quality in the taste of the coffee. (However, cold brew does not need any heat.)”
Got it. Now for a question asked on ResearchGate.net, the professional network for researchers and scientists; at what temperature do bioactive compounds (like alkaloids) denature or degrade? The following answer was given by Maël Gainche, a chemist at the University of Strasbourg.
Gainche said, “…Generally I never heat them above 40°C. Others parameters could be the pH of the solution (if in water solution), or the time you heat them (I observe degradation of some extracts in EtOH 30% solution after 1h of extraction without heating). Degradation could also be the light, the oxygen in the air, the solvent you choose (DMSO sometimes is not a good option…), so it’s difficult to highlight one and only factor. For good preservation, I use amber flask under argon or nitrogen at -25°C. [Emphasis added]”
The Final Countdown
Dude. We gotta talk. That answer was obviously a little detailed for our purposes, but the takeaway here is that coffee is brewed at around 200°F and our man Gainche is keeping his alkaloids at -13°F (-25°C); that’s a difference of more than 200 degrees! Even the general rule of the thumb to “never heat them above 40°C” means that alkaloids don’t like temperatures above 104°F, and your morning cup of joe is brewed at nearly twice that temp.
Does that mean you absolutely should never ever in a million years like ever put kratom in coffee? Not really. That may sound nuts, but hear us out! Buried in that answer is an important little nugget of information- degradation could be from other sources “so it’s difficult to highlight one and only [one] factor”. Beside that entirely, another important factor in chemical denaturing is time.
Your morning coffee isn’t exactly a long, drawn-out procedure. You setup, you brew, you drink, you move on. You’re not letting that pot sit out for six hours (we hope). It may be that you lose a little potency during the brewing process, but you’re not wiping out all traces of an alkaloid by heating it up in the span of ten minutes.
Keep Calm and Kratom On
The short version? Do what makes you happy. If you’re interested in coffee and kratom, the article from Bistro Grace is truly excellent and provides step-by-step instructions to get the effect you’re looking for. We’re not here to tell you how to live your life.
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