Monday, 17 June 2013

Iced Coffee

Recently, I took a trip to Boston.  One of the first things I noticed about Boston was that iced coffee could be found just about anywhere.  But what is the best way to make it?

First, you should never use coffee that has been heated.  When coffee is heated it brings out an assortment of acids.  These acids don’t taste good when the coffee is cooled.  Therefore, it is best to use a cold brewing method.  Contrary to popular belief you do not need an expensive set-up to brew cold coffee.

What do you need?

Fresh ground coffee, filter, 2 mason jars, and a Miletta (or something to hold the filter when you strain the coffee).
  1. Put fresh ground coffee in the jar and then add water at a ratio of 3 parts water to 1 part coffee.
  2. Stir.
  3. Put the coffee in the fridge overnight.
  4. In the morning take the mason jar with coffee in it out of the fridge.
  5. Set-up a Miletta with a coffee filter on top of the empty mason jar.
  6. Slowly pour (to prevent overflowing) the coffee mixture into the filter.
  7. Now you have a strong mixture of cold brewed coffee.

You can keep this mixture in the fridge and use it anytime you want iced coffee.  You can add the mixture to a cup with ice and milk.   You could also drink the coffee black over ice (although you might want to add some water). Enjoy!

Monday, 27 May 2013

Climate Change Could Wipe Out Wild Arabica by 2080, Study Shows

Climate change may have devastating impacts on the long-term health of wild arabica, to the point of near extinction by 2080. That’s the thrust of a spine-chilling new study released by the London-based plant research group Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.

In collaboration with researchers in Ethiopia, Kew scientists used several climate change models to explore the damaging effects of climate change on various strains of arabica, with best case results showing 65 percent local deterioration by 2080 and worst-case results showing near extinction.

Here’s what some of the project’s researchers had to say about the frightening, first-of-its-kind study:
Aaron Davis, Head of Coffee Research at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, says, “Coffee plays an important role in supporting livelihoods and generating income, and has become part of our modern society and culture. The extinction of Arabica coffee is a startling and worrying prospect. However, the objective of the study was not to provide scaremonger predictions for the demise of Arabica in the wild. The scale of the predictions is certainly cause for concern, but should be seen more as a baseline, from which we can more fully assess what actions are required.”

Tadesse Woldemariam Gole, from the Environment and Coffee Forest Forum in Ethiopia, says, “As part of a future-proofing exercise for the long-term sustainability of Arabica production it is essential that the reserves established in Ethiopia to conserve Arabica genetic resources are appropriately funded and carefully managed.”

Justin Moat, Head of Spatial Information Science at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, says, “The worst case scenario, as drawn from our analyses, is that wild Arabica could be extinct by 2080. This should alert decision makers to the fragility of the species. Our aim is to develop and apply these analyses to other important and threatened plants, on a routine basis. There is an immense amount of information held in museum collections around the world, such as Kew, and we have only just started to unlock their potential for assessing some of society’s most pressing issues.”

Monday, 20 May 2013

Weird facts about coffee

The name cappuccino comes from: The drink's resemblance to the brown cowls worn by Capuchin monks
  1. Espresso literally means: In Italian, the word espresso literally means "when something is forced out."
  2. Coffee was the first food to be  freeze-dried.
  3. 40% of the world’s coffee is produced by Columbia and Brazil
  4. Kopi Luwak, the world’s most expensive coffee (up to $600 per pound) is Made from coffee beans eaten and then excreted by a Sumatran wild cat
  5. Coffee beans grow on Coffee beans grow on a bush. 
  6. Most coffees are a blend of: Arabica and robusta beans are the most common.
  7. An ibrik is This Turkish pot makes quite the cup of joe.
  8. Arabica varieties such as Java and Mocha are named after: These beans are named after their ports of origin.
  9. Sixteenth-century Muslim rulers banned coffee because of: It was banned for its unusual stimulating effects.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Coffee Meditation

Sit down somewhere quiet with your cup of coffee where you won’t have any distractions.

Take a deep breath in 1….2…..3…..and breath out 1…..2……3……

Now put your nose close to your cup of coffee and slowly smell the aroma.

Do you recognize a food in the smell of your coffee? ie. nuts, figs, oranges

Now, slurp your coffee with a loud noise. Let the coffee wash over your pallet?

What do you taste? Do you recognize a favorite foods? ie. almonds, cherries, popcorn.

Now set your coffee down. Take another deep breath in 1….2…..3….. and breath out 1…..2…..3……

Thank yourself for taking the time to slow down, meditate, and deeply enjoy your cup of coffee.

Monday, 22 April 2013

People with Parkinson’s May Benefit from Coffee

In the latest medical discovery, a new study has found the significant role played by coffee in people suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Based on the new research, regular intake of coffee benefited those who have the disease by way of helping control their movement. This is considered one of the first studies in humans suggesting that caffeine can help in the movement of people diagnosed with the illness.

The research findings were published in the online journal of Neurology published by theAmerican Academy ofNeurology. Lead author Dr. Ronald Postuma said they found that those who use caffeine are less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease.

A total of 61 people were involved in the study. They were all displaying symptomsof Parkinson’s disease such as sleepiness during the day. The researchers then divided them into two groups with one given only a placebo while the other group was given the pill containing 100 milligrams of caffeine which they took twice a day. After the first three weeks, their dosage was increased to 200 milligrams twice a day for another three weeks. The caffeine consumed was equivalent to about two to four cups of coffee per day.

Among those who were given caffeine, the researchers found a five -point average improvement in the severity of their condition. Additionally, they displayed a three-point improvement in their motor symptoms such as the speed of their movement and body stiffness compared to those who were only given the placebo.

In the area of daytime sleepiness, depression and quality of life, there was not much positive improvement owing to the short duration of the study.

The experts expressed enthusiasm on these findings considering the fact that coffee can become a cheap alternative to helping control body movement which is a major symptom of Parkinson’s disease. They suggested that caffeine can be explored as a treatment option and can even be used as a supplement to the regular medications.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Wanna Espresso con Panna?

Need a serious caffeine boost but craving for something sweet at the same time? I suggest you try an espresso con panna.

Espresso con panna, or espresso with cream, will give you the caffeine boost that only espresso can give in one small satisfying shot and at the same time tickle your taste buds with the hot and cold medley from the contrast between the cream on top and the coffee at the bottom.

If you plan on getting a good espressocon panna, like the one in the photo up there (which coffee-addict Noemi Ruthswore the me it definitely is), make sure you don’t go for watered-down versions that some coffee shops serve. Stay away from their espresso con panna if you see the barista taking out his canned whipped cream, which might be less fattening than old-fashioned hand-whipped heavy cream, but won’t give you the same satisfying creamy goodness of a properly whipped cold cream.

You can also make espresso con panna at home quite easily. All you need to do is to whip up some cold heavy cream and add your whipped cream on top of a freshly brewed single or double shot of espresso (a 3oz shot should be enough to start your day right). You can add a tablespoon of sugar or a drop of vanilla extract on the cold cream before you whip it up, depending on sweet you want your whipped cream to be. It’s also a good idea to make more than you need for a couple of espresso shots and just store the rest in your fridge for your next espresso con panna.

Photo via NoemiRuth

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Could Coffee Protect Against Liver Disease in Alcohol Drinkers?

For guys who drink alcohol, heavy coffee consumption may protect against liver damage, according to a new study from Finland.

"Our findings suggest a possible protective effect for coffee intake in alcohol consumers," said study researcher Dr. Onni Niemelä, of Seinäjoki Central Hospital and the University of Tampere in Finland.

The researchers asked nearly 19,000 Finnish men and womenbetween ages 25 and 74 about their coffee and alcohol consumption. They also measured participants' blood levels of the liver enzyme gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT).

Drinking alcohol raises levels of GGT in the blood. Over time, drinking can also lead to alcoholic liver disease. People with liver disease show higher levels of GGT in their blood. Men in the study who consumed more than 24 alcoholic drinks per week, or about 3.5 drinks daily, had the highest levels of the liver enzyme — about three times higher than men who did not drink alcohol.

But among the men who were heavy drinkers, those who also consumed five or more cups of coffee daily showed a 50 percent reduction in GGT compared with men who drank no coffee.
The researchers found no significant association between coffee consumption and GGT levels in female drinkers.

"The findings are thought-provoking, though it is impossible to derive meaning from them," said Dr. David Bernstein, chief of the division of hepatology at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York, who was not involved in the new study.

In addition to drinking alcohol, smoking, older age and being overweight can also raise GGT levels. While there were no differences in these variables among heavy drinkers, moderate drinkers, former drinkers and nondrinkers in the study, the researchers cannot say for sure whether some interaction between alcohol and one of these factors affected the results. And participants may not have estimated accurately the amount of coffee and alcohol they drink.

The researchers found that the way that coffee was prepared — whether it was filtered, boiled or served as espresso, for example — did not seem to make a difference in the findings.

Previous studies have suggested that drinking coffee may decrease GGT levels, and that caffeine may play a role in this.

It remains unclear whether elevated levels of the liver enzyme correlate with symptoms of liver disease. "If I go out and have a six-pack tonight, my levels will be up, but it doesn't mean I have liver disease," Bernstein said.

People should not think that drinking more coffee will cancel out the effects of heavy drinking, he said. "We know nothing about whether decreasing levels of the liver enzyme leads to improvements in overall health, or a decreased risk of liver disease," Bernstein said.

The study was published online March 14 in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism.