Coffee Factoids Archive
Strong Java For Good Health
Somehow, coffee has managed to develop a bad rep—undeservedly so, considering published scientific reports citing its abundance of health benefits. Java has been linked to reduced risks of type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and more. To completely realize coffee’s risk deduction benefits, most people need to consume between four and six cups a day and, it seems, the stronger the brew, the greater the payoff.
As a matter a fact, coffee is the top source of antioxidants in the modern American diet, outranking other food and beverages such as tea, cranberries, and chocolate. However, experts advise consumers to limit their intake of over-processed coffee drinks such as Frappaccinos or cappuccinos, as these beverages tend to be saddled with high calorie contents and large quantities of sugar. If you’re drinking a sugary confection, laden with saturated fat, you may be doing more harm than good. Instead, try a low-fat latte or Americano for a toast to good health.
Caffeine Test Strips Put Coffee Through the Ringer
Have you ever ordered decaf at a restaurant but were given a regular cup of Joe? Or, perhaps you were expecting a little pick me up only to find out you've been drinking decaffeinated Java. The new D+Caf Caffeine Test Strips promise to sort of the dreaded caffeine confusion plaguing "Coffeeheads" worldwide.
In order to test a beverage, all you have to do is dip about 1/8th of an inch into the cup and wait 30 seconds for the indicator lines to appear. The manufacturer, Lake Research Company, claims that D+Caf has the same accuracy rate as those of professional labs. But, there's one major drawback, apparently the test strips are rendered ineffective once milk or sugar has been added to a drink. So, forget about testing lattes, sweetened teas, or even cappuccinos!
D+Caf appears be a great idea on paper, but not terribly practical in real life. It seems there's only one way to know for sure what is in your java. To paraphrase an old adage, if you want coffee done right, you better brew it yourself. As a rule of thumb, regular coffee contains between 75-150 milligrams of caffeine per cup. In accordance with FDA guidelines, decaf beans must contain less than 2.5% caffeine in order to be labeled as decaffeinated.
Coffee You Can Eat - Solid Espresso
Ferran Adrià, named one of the best chefs in the world by the European Restaurant Ranking, is the mastermind behind "èspesso"—a solid espresso. Èspesso reportedly maintains the full flavor and aroma of regular coffee, while delivering a foamy consistency, similar to mousse. It sprays out of a can, like whipped cream; you serve it on a plate and eat it with a spoon. Èspesso is available in three flavors: cappuccino, macchiato, and of course, espresso.
Adrià's culinary exploits have been associated with molecular gastronomy. In addition to èspesso, he is responsible for creating foamed mushroom and meats, as well as liquid ravioli and frozen Parmesan air.
White House Going Green
The White House certainly does not serve its coffee in your average Dixie cup. Staffers and visitors enjoy their java from crisp white paper cups adorned with the presidential seal, but good looks aren’t enough for President Obama—who will be leading by example, demanding greener cups as he pushes for a greener America.
During President George W. Bush’s tenure, the White House used coffee cups coated with a heat-resistant material, which provided added insulation and made it easier for staffers to carry hot coffee without having to resort to using two cups. Even though President Bush used biodegradable coating on his cups, his successor is looking to make a few upgrades. The White House is reportedly on the hunt for cups that offer increased biodegradability without sacrificing the quality and performance that made President Bush’s old cups so popular.
Brewing a Fresh Cup of Coffee is Just A Click Away!
Imagine coffee served just the way you like it, and only a click away. That was exactly the idea a group of coffee-lovers had because they were unhappy with coffee they had been served in the past. They devised a computer-to-coffeemaker connection that allows the user to program their coffeemaker to brew a cup of coffee how they want it, when they want it, and from anywhere with an Internet connection. Imagine ordering a double shot of steaming-hot espresso from across the room, across the street, or across town! Seriously, what will they think of next?
Smell the Coffee...and wake up?
Remember last year when researchers discovered that a single protein determines whether or not you crave caffeine? Well those same guys are at it again. Researchers at Seoul National University just released a report suggesting that laboratory rats react positively to the smell of coffee.
According to the report in last month's Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 30 sleep-deprived rats were tested to see if the smell of freshly roasted coffee would have an effect on their brain function. As it turns out, the impact of the aroma was significant, as the rats that were exposed to the smell of roasted coffee beans were shown to have increased brain activity, as compared to those who were not exposed.
Researchers say these results may explain why so many people drink coffee to stay up late while they're studying. Turns out, they may just need to smell the coffee to get the same results.
Organic, Green and Delicious Market Grows
Organic coffee is hotter than ever according to the Sustainable Markets Intelligence Center and the Organic Trade Association. This news comes as no surprise to many Americans, who, according to reports, consumed more than 65 million pounds of organic coffee last year.
Many attribute the spike in sales to the increase in education and global awareness of organic and sustainable farming methods. While many coffee lovers are choosing organic products for personal reasons, a growing number of caffeine addicts are buying organic as their way of helping the environment and preserving our natural resources.
The move toward organic products, specifically coffee, represents an overall attitude by some, that organic is better for the individual, better for the community and ultimately better for the planet. Whole Latte Love shares in that same feeling, as we recently launched the Organic Green and Delicious program. Check out our organic coffee and syrups, as well as our entire line of sustainable products.
Coffee Olympics held in Beijing
Rolling out the Red Carpet in China is becoming old hat for the good people of Beijing. Recently, Beijing played host to the 6th Annual China Barista Championship. Baristas from all across China, including the Chengdu, Shamghai and Guangzhou regions competed at the New International Expo Center.
The championship consisted of three parts, including a 15-minute preparation, a 15-minute coffee making session, and a 15-minute cleanup. The rules required baristas to make four cups of espresso, four cups of cappuccino and four cups of creative coffee within a 15-minute time frame.
The Winner? Lin Jinbao, a 26 year-old teacher from the Beijing Sculpting in Time Coffee College. He beat out 11 other competitors and will quality for the World Barista Championship in Denmark next June.
This was a good practice run for Beijing, which is set to host the 2008 Summer Olympics in August. It's also a good time to figure out how much coffee they'll need as the coffee market in China is growing by leaps and bounds – more than 20% annually.
Everyone knows that all-stars can't stay out of the spotlight long, especially in the case of veteran quarterback Drew Bledsoe. After more than a decade in the NFL, Bledsoe retired to Bend, Oregon and opened a coffee roasting company. Aptly named 11 Roasters, after his jersey number at New England, Buffalo and Dallas, Bledsoe plans on passing his passion for great tasting coffee to football fans and coffee connoisseurs alike.
"I swore that I would never drink bad coffee again once I was done playing," Bledsoe said. "I hope to help others make the same commitment."
Bledsoe estimates that during his tenure in the NFL he drank a respectable 20,672 cups of coffee. "Life is too short to drink bad coffee," he said during an interview – and we agree.
When do you draw the line between haute couture and brazen excess? Now maybe it depends on what tax bracket you're in, because Contexture Design, a Vancouver-based firm is offering a pretty pricey coffee sleeve.
They're reclaiming the past by turning historical, cultural and environmental relics into elegant and sustainable designs. The Coffee Cuff ($68 CAD) is handmade from either maple or rosewood and is designed to eliminate the need for wasteful coffee sleeves. And, when it's not in use, wear it on your arm as a bracelet. It's sure to take the burn off your hands, but will it burn a hole in your wallet?
Stolen Painting Turns Up
The people of Brazil can relax because the famed “O Lavrador de Cafe” painting by Candido Portinari has been recovered by police after an art heist last month. Thieves broke into one of Brazil’s most famous art museums in São Paulo and stole the $5 million portrait that depicts a Brazilian coffee picker.
Portinari, known for his neo-realism style, didn’t just paint pictures of coffee pickers - he was actually born on a coffee plantation near Rio de Janeiro where his parents worked.
Coppola Loves Film, Wine and Espresso too!
If you thought that legendary film director and award-winning vintner Francis Ford Coppola was only into making epic films and extraordinary wine, think again. Coppola recently revealed that he's a huge espresso enthusiast as well.
Coppola told the New York Times that he's owned about 300 espresso machines over the years, buying his first in 1968. He's bought them for houses around the world, most of his movie sets, and all of his offices and apartments. After taking a tour of Illy's Trieste facility in northern Italy, with close friend Andrea Illy, Coppola managed to score espresso machine no. 301 - the FrancisFrancis! X7.
Not expected to hit the US market until sometime in April, the FrancisFrancis! X7 boasts all things devotees like Coppola have grown to expect out of an espresso machine.
Illy in a Box
Step one: Cut a hole in a box
Step two: Put the Illy in that box
Step three: Open the box, and that’s the way you do it.
I’m sure Lorne Michaels never thought the heavy hitters at Illy would take SNL’s 2:44 second skit and make it reality – but they did. This month, Illy is unveiling what looks like, to the unknowing eye, a rusty old shipping container in New York City. When you open the container, it features a futuristic object d’art – Illy in box.
For a whole month, visitors to Columbus Circle can explore the fully functionally Illy box and grab a free espresso. Not only is it equipped with an awesome coffee bar, it also features a dining room, living room, bedroom and bathroom. Essentially Illy’s leaving it up to you to decide if you like what’s in the box.
Consider yourself a moderate, somewhere in the middle?
Research suggests that when it comes to drinking coffee it’s all or nothing. There’s really no middle ground in caffeine tolerance according to clinical researchers at the world-famous University Medical Center of Utrecht in the Netherlands.
Dr. Cuno Uiterwall and his team found that people who drink coffee on a regular basis eventually develop a tolerance to caffeine, while those people who drink coffee infrequently remained sensitive to caffeine and its effects.
Uiterwall said that handing out blanket advice on coffee, or any food for that matter, is very difficult. But these findings come after 11 years of research on nearly 6,400 Dutch men and women, and may be something to keep in mind.
Folgers vs. Maxwell House
Procter and Gamble, the parent company of Folgers, filed a lawsuit last month against the makers of Maxwell House, claiming they made off with their packaging ideas.
Allegedly, Kraft Foods infringed on the design of the lightweight 11.5-ounce plastic containers, which were designed by Folgers to withstand pressure changes that may occur between their New Orleans based plant and consumers homes. The lawsuit filed seeks to stop Maxwell House from selling coffee in those containers, as well as unspecified damages.
We’ll just have to see what happens.
Boosting Donut Sales
Timing is everything, and no one knows that better than Dr. Robert Bohannon, a molecular scientist from North Carolina. For the past several years, Bohannon has worked tirelessly at marketing his caffeinated creation, Buzz Donuts, to national food chains across the country.
Seen most recently at the Institute of Food Technologies Expo in Chicago, Buzz Donuts are being tested in select markets nationwide. The donuts, according to Bohannon, have the caffeine equivalent of about one cup of coffee or between 50 and 100 mg of caffeine. The secret to these caffeinated donuts is how the caffeine is added to the fry-cake, Bohannon explained. And while he wouldn’t get into the details because of trade secrets, Bohannon said the micro-capsulation process used to eliminate the bitter taste and gritty texture of the caffeine is unique thanks to the higher melting point.
According to Bohannon, Environostics, the parent company to Buzz Donuts, is in final negotiations with a national food chain, and expects the donuts to hit shelves in mid to late October. So if you’re looking for a little artificial stimulation this cider and donut season, just reach for a vanilla-glazed donut and catch a little buzz courtesy of Dr. Bohannon.
Olympic Committe OK’s Coffee
Good news for athletes headed to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. The International Olympic Committee has removed caffeine from their list of banned substances.
Previously, athletes who tested positive with more than 12 micrograms of caffeine per milliliter of urine had been banned from participating in events. That’s great for athletes who enjoy coffee and espresso, because a mere five cups of coffee will elevate your levels to 12 micrograms.
The IOC said it wanted to prevent athletes from suspension because of simply drinking coffee or soda. "We must adjust our list to modern thinking and to changes of attitude and changes of knowledge," said Arne Ljungqvist, head of the medical commissions of the IOC.
Or ‘drink up’ as they say in Mother Russia!
Coffee: Preventing Pancreatitis
If you’ve ever had a bad bout with pancreatitis, listen closely. It might not be too late to prevent another flare-up, because one of the United Kingdom’s leading research institutions found that coffee might reduce the risk of alcohol-induced pancreatitis.
Researchers from the University of Liverpool have determined that caffeine, particularly the caffeine found in coffee, may close up special channels within pancreatic cells and reduce the damaging effects caused by alcohol. Who would of guessed that a mug or two a day of your favorite brew could help protect you from pancreatic problems?
So, while there are no specific pharmacological treatments for pancreatitis other than painkillers, physiologist Ole Petersen suggested that drinking coffee might reduce the risk of painful alcohol-induced pancreatitis.
A Coffeeshop Without Bean Counters
Patrons of Terra Bite, a coffeeshop in Kirkland, Washington, use the honor system to pay for their beverages. There are no prices listed, no cashiers, and no toll at the front door. Customers pay at the anonymous drop box on a voluntary basis.
Why would a for-profit business rely on the charity of its patrons? Founder Ervin Peretz, a programmer for Google, believes that people are “essentially good, but can be influenced by their environment. If people see good, they’ll be good.”
Although this seems like a social experiment gone awry, the patrons continue to pay it forward. The average transaction has been around $3.
Rather than skimming the profit froth for himself, Peretz says his intention is to spread it around and give back. However if patrons abuse the system, he will convert to a more traditional payment system.
Let’s hope the clientele continues to do right by the honor system. Otherwise the baristas might decide to add a not-so-special ingredient to your next cup of joe.
Coffee, Tea or Me? It’s Going to Cost You
Think low-cost airlines had eliminated just about every luxury known to man? Tickets, blankets, pillows, peanuts, pilots—just kidding. Well, think again, because even a cup of coffee will cost you now - $1 to be exact. Low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines recently announced that coffee, tea, soft drinks and juices will now cost $1. Luckily, water is still free (for the time being).
Are travelers outraged by this announcement? Some are. “Only an airline with no pride would charge you,” said budget traveler Robert Berger who lives on Long Island. “But we’ll pay them for the baggage and $1 for the soda because we’re still ahead of the game when it comes to ticket prices.”
The Future of Cocoa
Even though the Dow Jones took a tumble last month, futures trading reached an all-time high. What does that mean for someone who doesn’t work at Merrill Lynch? It means that soft products or futures, as they’re called, specifically cocoa, coffee, cotton, ethanol, wood pulp, sugar and orange juice, exchanged at the New York Board of Trade, set a record high for electronic trading.
This all came about when the University of Nottingham Medical School in England reported the consumption of cocoa, specifically cocoa rich in flavanols may promote blood flow to and around the brain. This could implicate improvement in brain function – including memory.
Coincidence? I think not.
Wanted: Experienced Barista, Sex Appeal A Plus
Face it, sex sells. And the residents around Tacoma, Washington will attest to that. Every morning coffee addicts line up around Cowgirls Espresso to catch a glimpse of several scantily clad girls grinding, tamping, brewing and steaming hot caffeinated drinks.So far, things seem to be running pretty smoothly for owner Lori Bowden, who didn ’t face any challenges from the Kent City Planning Board when she applied for a permit. According to City Planner Sharon Clamp, there haven’t been any complaints either. “As long as they don’t start dancing and stick to making coffee, they won’t be breaking any municipal codes.” Clamp referred to municipal code 15.02.006 in which adult entertainment in the City of Kent means any dance, amusement, show, display, merchandise, material, exhibition, pantomime, modeling or any other like performance of any type for the use or benefit of a member of the public.
So just like Hooters Restaurant founder Robert Brooks, Bowden based the concept on the female sex appeal, similar to the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and the girls at Coyote Ugly. It’s a work environment where joking and sexual innuendos seems to be commonplace.
Let’s just hope they don’t run out of milk.
Is it in the Genes?
If you love your morning coffee, there’s a chance it’s because you have been pre-programmed to. It’s in your nature, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, who recently discovered that a single protein, known simply as Gr66a, might determine whether or not you crave caffeine.
In the study, fruit flies with the Gr66a gene removed flocked to caffeine-laced food products. The flies would normally avoid these products because of the bitter taste caused by the presence of caffeine. However, the flies seemed to overcome their dislike of the bitter taste with the gene removed - suggesting the taste for caffeine is inherent.
Keeping our Kids Wired
If you thought kids nowadays were restless enough, listen to this.
Last year, Brazil’s Coffee Industry Association launched a program to provide free breakfast to more than a million Brazilian school children. What are the coffee barons including in that free breakfast you might ask?
Why free coffee of course!
After all, Brazil with all of its vast coffee-growing regions, happens to be the world’s second largest coffee consumer - after the United States. And in Brazil it’s common for young children to drink coffee by the age of three.
Darcy Lima, Professor of Clinical Pharmacology and History of Medicine at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, defended the coffee growers’ plan. “Kids have soft drinks at school. Why not drink coffee instead to make them alert and attentive?”
Why not indeed.
Pimp My Audi: Coffee Enthusiast Gone Wild
Admitted coffee addict, Dan Haller, may have gone too far when he mounted his Jura Capresso 1500 in the back of his Audi A6.
After anchoring the super automatic to the rear seats using Isofix brackets and running a 12-volt/110-volt inverter between the 60/40 rear split seats, Haller hit the streets. While this may seem like the answer for coffee-to-go, Haller said the espresso just didn’t taste the same.
"The machine was too heavy to leave in the car long-term," he said. "And since the rear seats of the Audi slope back, it disturbed the normal flow of crèma."
Haller did manage to take some pictures of the modification before removing the super automatic though. Another complaint of Haller’s was the espresso could have been hotter.
Maybe he should have contacted rap superstar and car enthusiast Xzibit at MTV’s Pimp My Ride before he called it quits.
Mocha Kiss: Coffee To The Stars
Add gourmet coffee to the list of must-haves for Hollywood divas. Personal trainers, therapists, drivers, stylists and Mocha Kiss Coffee are now the norm for Hollywood’s elite A-list.
Mocha Kiss Coffee is the brainchild of former film student and barista Jeremy Gursey. In 1994 Gursey formulated the Mocha Frost while working out of a homemade kiosk on a back lot in Hollywood. Similar in taste to a Starbuck’s Frappuccino, but more convenient for weary and overworked actors, the Mocha or Vanilla Frost have become a delicious alternative for Hollywood’s movers and shakers. Cast and crewmembers from hot shows like The Sopranos, Grey’s Anatomy, Entourage, Nip Tuck and Curb Your Enthusiasm are requesting Gursey and his Mocha Kiss Coffee months in advance according to Erin Day, a spokesperson for Mocha Kiss.
Gursey has since opened a few retail stores in addition to servicing sets, back lots and special events like the Academy Awards. Now somewhat of a mainstay on Hollywood lots, the mobile espresso carts serve chai, lattes and hot chocolates at Sony Picture Studios, Paramount Studios and NBC.
Coffee Flavored Gum
Now you can join the ranks of coffee geeks along the Asian-Pacific rim who are getting jazzed up on coffee-flavored chewing gum. A few months ago Chicago based gum manufacturer Wrigley unveiled "Kona Crème," the American equivalent of "Coffee Gum," also manufactured by Wrigley but previously limited to the People’s Republic of China.
Test marketed this spring in 7-Eleven stores nationwide, Kona Crème is a unique combination of two distinct flavors – coffee and gum. Tasnim Idris, owner of 7-Eleven in Penfield, NY said that compared to other flavored gum available in the store, Kona Crème sales seemed a bit slow. "Very few people are buying it," Idris said.
But Wrigley spokesperson Jessica Shilling said sales on the national level were impressive, and a Limited Edition Kona Crème will be available in September at retail outlets nationwide. Shilling said the Limited Edition Kona Crème Gum would be available through the holidays – making it the perfect stocking stuffer for those who want to streamline two activities; drinking coffee and chewing gum.
Coffee Business Boom
While it’s nothing fancy, 13 year-old Cody Spear of Purvis, Mississippi has kept Katrina-battered residents caffeinated over the past nine months, serving up instant cappuccinos on the roadside. His mother, Melissa, said that Cody, who is going into the 7th grade, has been selling the powdered cappuccinos for 50¢ and has made over $450.
"He’s funny about his stand," she said. "He’ll change where he sets up depending on what day of the week it is." On the weekends Cody set up his stand on the main road in town she explained, whereas during the week, he sets up near neighborhoods.
Since September, Purvis has been host to a large recovery center for FEMA and is incidentally, a storage site for the highly controversial unused trailers. FEMA has now earmarked the Purvis site for closure due to reduced activity, federal and state officials recently announced.
This being the case, his mother said Cody would be turning his efforts to mowing lawns. "He’s a real entrepreneur, and he realizes there is money to be made mowing lawns now."
Serving Justice One Cup at a Time.
Five years ago, some butt-kissing law clerks walked into a Newark, NJ coffee shop and had a special blend whipped up for their boss, Samuel Alito, Jr., in honor of his birthday. The blend, dubbed "Judge Alito’s Bold Justice" wasn’t too popular with anyone but the judge until his recent US Supreme Court nomination - at which point everyone jumped on the Alito bandwagon and this little coffee shop had more business than it could handle. Listed on the shop’s website as a "mix of Columbian, Java and New Guinea with a bit of espresso," we can only hope that Judge Alito is a bit more knowledgeable and coherent when it comes to the law than this particular shop is about coffee, espresso, and the "blends" they peddle.
Will the Real Jamaica Blue Please Stand Up?
In an effort to weed out impostors, the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica has been using Jamaican natives living in the US to "mystery shop" coffee branded as Jamaica Blue Mountain. After purchasing the coffee from either online or brick and mortar stores, the coffee is shipped back to Jamaica for authenticity testing. Anyone producing "fake" Jamaican Blue had better watch out – the Jamaican government is planning to prosecute any violators. Source: TimesArgus.com
Folgers in a Half Shell.
The same week that Folgers announced its New Orleans plant was back in full operation, some other news broke that’s had us wondering if they shouldn’t have inspected the facility a little more carefully before resuming production. Marge of Ainsworth, Iowa brewed her pot of Folgers the same as every other day, but November 6th’s pot tasted a little, well, reptilian. Upon further inspection of the vacuum-sealed bag, good ole’ Marge found a 2-inch turtle in her grounds, fully intact and yes, dead. After calling Folgers (whose apparently un-PR savvy customer service department informed her that it was probably from the New Orleans plant), the apparently unfazed Marge put "Mr. Turtle" in her freezer as a souvenir and switched to tea, stating, "It’s safer because it’s in a bag." Given her chosen memento of the event, it seems that Marge too was in the bag.
Source: KCRG TV-9 News and Reuters
Stand Aside Pepsi and Coke, Here Comes Coffee
The National Coffee Association released a report stating that daily coffee consumption in the US has increased from 49% in 2004 to 53% in 2005. Which age group saw the highest increase in coffee guzzling? 18-24 year olds, of which an all time high of 26% are daily coffee consumers. Source: Reuters
Coffee Picking Cons
Once one of the world’s largest coffee exporters, Puerto Rico is trying to reclaim its former success by jump-starting its coffee production. The commonwealth has identified its largest problem to be a lack of willing coffee pickers, most of which have moved to factory or construction jobs that are less strenuous and pay more. To solve the problem, Puerto Rico’s agriculture secretary has proposed using minimum-security prisoners as coffee pickers – a venture that Puerto Rico will begin testing this fall. Source: The New York Times