Saturday, 29 December 2012

Coffee Break Will Make the Boss Happy

Several studies have varying opinions on coffee side-effects. On one side, they say coffee is helpful; on the other, they say it’s dangerous. Well only one thing is for sure—having coffee break will make your boss happy.

Better Memory Retention
David Foster’s research along with colleagues from Massachusetts Institute of Technology has discovered that taking a break helps the brain to retain information better.

They experimented on rats to repeatedly run on a track. Their brain has memorized a pleasurable pattern on the track. What’s surprising is that when they repeated the experiment after the rats’ break, their memory retention is 20 times faster.

So, having a coffee break will help you perform better at a mentally-demanding work. Actually, taking any break from work, like enjoying other office refreshments or self-grooming, is also beneficial for memory retention.
Activate Mind and Body
Better have a coffee break than just any other break. Coffee has caffeine that activates mind and body, keeping you perform better at work. It’s the reason behind sleeping difficulty when coffee was taken within two hours before bed time.

In fact, a study from France found out that taking at least three cups of coffee everyday by women 80 years old and over can reduce their risk of having memory decline to about 70 percent.

But don’t overdo your coffee break. Drinking more than four cups of coffee everyday will lead to caffeine addiction with symptoms like depression, fatigue, irritability, brain dilate, and jumpiness. Your boss will never be happy with a caffeine-addicted employee, for sure.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Coffeeshop Customers Mark Their Spot

Photo from
Most adults love coffee. They can’t live without sipping this drink every day either in the morning or in the afternoon.

Thankfully with the mushrooming of coffee shopsin most urban centers around the world, people who travel to different places can still enjoy their favorite drink, hot or cold and even get to taste some new concoctions.

The coffee shops of today, however, have gone beyond just being a place to drink coffee and have some snacks. For some people, it’s become their comfort zone or even their home away from home. Customers now meet up with friends here to discuss projects or business apart from updating each other of their lives while some go here to study or go online via their laptops to check their mails and social media accounts. The others stop by to catch up with their work.

A study has also found that coffee shop customers often display a territorial behavior by marking their spot. Authors Mary C. Gilly, a marketing professor at UC Irvine and Merlyn Griffiths of the University of North Carolina looked into the habits of people at coffee shops through their research “Dibs! Customer Territorial Behaviors published in the Journal of Service Research.

After spending 103 hours observing and taking photos of customers and interviewing them, they concluded that coffee shop habitu├ęs normally mark their spot using their belongings for an indefinite period. They can do this even after consuming their drink and food.

According to the researchers, many of those guilty of showing this territorial behavior are the teleworkers who don’t have an office space and don’t often to work at home all the time. Although it’s not necessarily that they want to be with people, they just want to be around people while doing their work and not be home alone. Students are also part of this territorial group.

A common behavior of this group of people is they believe they can claim theirspace for as long as they want at coffee shops as long as they order drinks and food there. Oftentimes, these territorial customers are seen alone occupying a booth or a table that can accommodate two or more people. And when the shop gets filled, they will even defend their spot and reason out that the extra seat is reserved for a friend although it may not always be true.

For this behavior, the female authors stressed that coffee shops owners should have a clear cut policy notably in using space while still making their shop customer-friendly.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Dessert and Good Coffee

There is, perhaps, no finer marriage in the world than a fantastic dessert and brewed coffee. It’s an interplay of flavors and textures. But not many people realize that (like wine and food) certain kinds of coffee work especially beautifully with certain kinds of dessert. It depends on the flavor personality of the coffee.

There are essentially three kinds of coffee flavors: nutty, fruity and floral. These depend on where the beans originated. An Ethiopian and a Costa Rican coffee are very different.  You can become more sensitive to the nuances of saltiness, bitterness, sourness (or acidity) and sweetness. For example, brewed coffee from roasted nuts tend to be sweet, while others tend to be bitter.

Temperature plays a large role: colder coffee tends to highlight the flavors, while hot coffee tends to have a more “blended” taste.  Iced coffees also tend to be diluted with water or mixed with syrups which can hide the taste of the coffee—so if you’re serious about understanding coffee, take your cup hot, brewed and plain!

To detect the flavor of the coffee, take a sip and let it sit on your tongue awhile before swallowing. Try to make out whether it is sweet, sour, bitter or salty. Then take a sip of water to wash the palate and taste your dessert. Again, pinpoint the different flavors and textures. Now take some coffee and some dessert and see how they play off against each other. What a wonderful way to end your  food adventure!

So remember that the next time you go to a restaurant! After all, most of us dine out in order to enjoy a full flavor experience; in fact, there are gastronomic delights like seven course meals that promise a full range of tastes and textures. Many of them even offer discount vouchers!

Enjoy the play of these flavors on your tongue—from the appetizer down to the dessert and the brewed coffee. In fact, the more you dine out the more you can educate your palate. This is a great way to learn more not just about brewed coffee but about flavors.  That’s a real bargain!

Many fine dining restaurants know this and offer a complete coffee menu. Others will have a house brew, meant to cleanse the palate and settle the stomach. In fact, they consider coffee such a big part of the dining experience that their discount vouchers will include complimentary brewed coffee.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Coffee Drinking and Kids

Coffee and kids don’t mix; at least that’s what they tell us. Common sense also tells us that this is true, especially with countless sources telling us of the bad effects of caffeine on your body.

Lately though, with the popularity of huge coffee chains like Starbucks, the sight of teenagers, even kids, drinking coffee is something that is becoming more common. Are parents wrong to let their kids drink coffee?

I believe that coffee drinking, as with most things, is not bad unless you take itto the extreme (Attention caffeine addicts!  ^_^). Coffee may contain caffeine, which has been proven to be addictive, but more and more studies are also showing that coffee may have more health benefits than we realize; in fact it may actually be beneficial to people suffering from Type II diabetes, hepatitis C, and skin cancer. The question now is whether the positive effects outweigh the negative ones.

With conflicting studies on the benefits and harm that coffee and caffeine bring, I think that it is impossible to draw a conclusion at this point. So instead of overly worrying about the issue, I would just let my kid drink coffee IN MODERATION and let him enjoy the treat, just like he gets his sweets everynow and then. I do not say that he should get a full cup of coffee every single morning, but he sure can take a sip from my cup whenever he wants to (except late in the afternoon and at night because that’s asking for trouble come bedtime). Of course it goes without saying that they should never drink enough for it to replace their regular nutritional drink (read: milk). And as for teenagers who need an energy boost now and then to help them stay awake during exam week, I’d rather see them sipping on a cup of coffee rather than downing bottle after bottle of energy drinks!

What do you think? Is letting your kid drink coffee a sign of bad parenting?

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Does drinking coffee reduce the risk of skin cancer?

A recent study published in the journal Cancer Research claims that coffee drinkers may be at a reduced risk of developing basal cell carcinoma, one of the most common types of skin cancer. According to the research, individuals that drink at least three cups of coffee a day have a 20 percent decreased risk of developing this mild form of skin cancer which, while not necessarily deadly, can cause significant disfigurement of skin.

Jiali Han, author of the study and associate professor of dermatology and epidemiology at both Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and the Harvard School of Public Health, evaluated data on 113,000 men and women, all of who drank three or more cups of coffee a day. She discovered that rates of basal cell carcinoma were 20 percent less among this group compared to those who drank no coffee at all, and that the active substance in question appears to be caffeine.

"Caffeine may help the body kill off damaged skin cells," claimed Dr. Josh Zeichner, an assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, in response to the study's findings. "If you get rid of these cells that are damaged, then they don't have the opportunity to grow and form cancers."

The findings seem to correlate with a 2011 study out of Rutgers University that identified a link between caffeine and skin cancer prevention. According to that research, caffeine appears to be an effective topical treatment for protecting skin against damage caused by excessive exposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays.

"Although it is known that coffee drinking is associated with a decreased risk of non-melanoma skin cancer, there now needs to be studies to determine whether topical caffeine inhibits sunlight-induced skin cancer," said Allan Conney, Director of the Susan Lehman Cullman Laboratory for Cancer Research about the Rutgers study.

Drinking coffee can exhaust your adrenal glands, lead to substance addiction
As promising as the new research on coffee drinking may initially appear for preventing skin cancer, it is important to remember that coffee consumption can be dangerous and damaging to health. There are many other ways to prevent skin cancer, including regular exposure to natural sunlight without burning and vitamin D supplementation, that do not cause other health problems.

Coffee consumption stimulates the production of adrenaline in the body, which can overspend the adrenal glands, leading to chronic fatigue, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), allergies, chronic infections, and other problems.

Drinking coffee is also highly addictive, as many who regularly consume it suffer withdrawal symptoms such as headaches when they try to stop. While it may give its drinkers a buzz that helps them through their busy days, coffee ends up exhausting the body's energy reserves, which can lead to irritability, confusion, severe mood swings, and other problems.

Instead of coffee, why not try naturally exposing your skin to between 15 and 30 minutes a day of unfiltered sunlight, or supplementing with between 2,000 and 10,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D3 every day? This simple, inexpensive, and proven health regimen will not only help protect you against skin cancer, but will also improve your health in many other areas while preventing a myriad of chronic illnesses.