Without my morning coffee, I’m just like a dried-up piece of roast goat, Johann Sebastian Bach once said. Ah, yes, indeed. Centuries later, many of us would agree. That’s why, whenever another new piece of research around the health benefits of coffee turns up, it’s greeted with great fanfare – as has been the case with a new study, from the University of Southampton, which found that drinking coffee can cut the risk of developing chronic liver disease or fatty liver disease.

Hang on – haven’t health experts long told us that coffee is bad for us?

Absolutely. In the not so distant past, the World Health Organisation, in 1991, classified it as a possible carcinogen, and the world was full of warnings about the demon coffee, which was then thought to be linked with high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. But more and more it seems the research around coffee is nothing but a good news story. This study into liver disease and coffee is one of just many. There are others that have linked coffee consumption to reduced risk of Parkinson’s, heart disease, type 2II diabetes, gallstones, depression, liver cancer, melanomas and prostate cancer.

Does this study mean I can prevent liver disease by offsetting a boozy bender with an espresso nightcap?

Nope. Even coffee does not have such super powers.

Is there any end to these coffee health studies?

I know, I know. Sometimes it seems we are obsessed with measuring our lives out with coffee spoons. It’s one of the most studied of beverages – up there with red wine for hours spent in discussion of health impacts. Only, unlike red wine, it’s looking like the benefits of coffee far outweigh the negatives. A 2017 meta-analysis published in the British Medical Journal found coffee was “consistently associated with a lower risk of mortality from all causes of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease and stroke”. A UK Biobank study in 2018 found coffee drinkers lived longer.

READ MORE: Is coffee good for you?

So how much should I be drinking?

Most studies suggest that around three or four cups a day produce maximum benefit – any more and you get no further benefits.

Are there any downsides?

Not sleeping? And lack of sleep has been linked to numerous other health issues. If your coffee consumption keeps you awake at night, best to keep it to the early part of the day.

What if I’m pregnant?

Ah, well now, in that case, it will be zero coffee for you. A paper published in the BMJ Evidence journal advises pregnant woman to cut out caffeine to help prevent miscarriage low birthweight and stillbirth. Sorry mums.

Any other coffee-related health tips?

Hold the sugar. Possibly the cream too.