Coffee is a fickle beast.
As researchers turn out pages of studies on the long-term effects of downing the oily, black beverage, it sometimes seems as if each week brings a new set of tips on how to order a latte that won't give you a heart attack.
Well, a group of South Korean researchers uncovered an interesting link between moderate coffee consumption and a lowered risk of heart disease.
A study encompassing self-reported data from more than 25,000 people of both genders showed those drinking between three and five cups of coffee each day had 40 percent fewer coronary artery calcifications (CAC) than their caffeine-free peers.
Even those drinking between one and three cups had 35 percent less calcium than those not consuming coffee at all.
CAC builds up in the arteries, providing an early indicator of potential heart disease.
The research team also took into account lifestyle choices, family history, smoking habits and age.
While there's a definitive link between the caffeine and heart health, researchers aren't going so far as to call it conclusive.
They'd like to perform further studies to better determine what it is about coffee drinking that leads to improved health.
If coffee does help prevent heart disease, it would have a major impact in modern healthcare. In the United States alone, heart disease is responsible for about one in every four deaths each year.
While the study, based on South Korean lifestyle, doesn't mean a happy ending for the global community of caffeine junkies just yet, keep your ears open – this is one piece of research we'll happily track for updates.