Category Archives: Coffee

Your Preference for Coffee is in Your Genes

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Coffee – After reading the article “Why Do I Like Coffee, But Not Tea? Science Says It May Come Down To Your Genetics” I now know part of what is in my genetic makeup – bitter taste receptor genes.

A study was undertaken at the University of Queensland in Australia to find out more about the genetic factor in the individual’s preference for coffee. The results of their study (“Understanding the role of bitter taste perception in coffee, tea and alcohol consumption through Mendelian randomization“) has been published in the journal Scientific Reports.

The study looked at 400,000 people in the UK between the ages of 37 and 73. It compared both their coffee/tea-drinking habits, along with data on their genetic makeup. They found that those who carry the “bitter taste receptor gene” are much more likely to drink large amounts of coffee. In fact, for each “extra copy” of that gene, the probability that the individual would be a coffee drinker went up by 20%.

Feeling Anxious? A Cup of Coffee with Satori Might Help

Coffee – Coffee has many benefits of its own as I have posted about previously. While I don’t use creamers in my coffee, the “Vanilla Steamer” from Satori Food Project might be something to think about.

Dr. Kwadwo Owusu-Ofori, while he was pursuing post-doctorate work in pharmaceutical sciences, wanted to find an easy way for people to manage stress and anxiety without prescription drugs. He worked with the startup accelerator Gener8tor and received an award from the National Science Foundation to further his efforts to create foods for mental health. The result is the Satori Food Project based out of the Concordia University of Wisconsin Pharmacy School.

They currently have two products – the powdered coffee creamer mentioned above and a hot chocolate mix. Both are enriched with magnesium, GABA, and L-theanine. They say on their website about their creamer:

You know that feeling you get when you’re painting, writing, or coding. You know. When you’re 100% focused on what you’re making. When you’re in that special place where joy meets skill meets performance…

Well, scientists have figured out the brain chemistry behind that special place, and they call it “FLOW”. And we have turned that discovery into a delicious vanilla steamer that unlocks your brain’s potential to get into Flow – and stay there.

. . . helps you calm your nerves and stay focused on accomplishing your goals. Imagine what you can do at the next level of CONSCIOUSNESS and Clear Thinking…

As for their hot chocolate, their website claims:

RELAX. Imagine finally returning home from a long and busy day. You did a lot of things. And you helped a lot of people. 

Now it’s time to lay on the couch, snuggle under a warm blanket, and watch your favorite shows with your favorite drink.

Satori Hot Chocolate Mix is a gourmet beverage that helps your brain CALMLY UNWIND and detach from a hectic day. Now it’s night-time. Your time.

A Peaceful Mind can be yours with every cup of SATORI Hot Chocolate. It gives your brain the vitamins it needs to relax after a busy day. No Artificial Flavors. NO PILLS. No Stress. JUST CHOCOLATE.

A $25 can of the hot chocolate mix will make eighteen 56 calorie cups of hot chocolate. The $25 can of Vanilla Steamer provides twentyone 63 calorie servings.

Perhaps one or both (you can buy a package with a can of each for $45) is something to help you through your day.

Atomo, the Coffee Replacement

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Coffee – Climate change is affecting the coffee fields around the world. Some predict that the supply of coffee will be severely curtailed in the years ahead. The International Center for Tropical Agriculture in their 2014 report “A bitter cup: climate change profile of global production of Arabica and Robusta coffee” predicts that less than half of the land now used for growing coffee will support the crop within 30 years.

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The Seattle based start-up Atomo is planning ahead to this potential shortage. It is trying to replicate the flavor and mouthfeel of coffee at a molecular level. There are more than 1,000 compounds in a roasted bean, and 40 of those are critical for taste. They hope also to remove or reduce the strong acids that give coffee its bitter taste.

They ran a small scale test on the campus of the University of Washington. Of the students participating, 70% chose Atomo’s “coffee” over Starbucks. They have a Kickstarted campaign going on to fund further development. At the time I wrote this post their campaign for $10,000 had already reached $11,698 and had 24 days remaining. If you pledge $24 or more they will send you enough Atomo to brew 50 8oz cups.

Atomo is more expensive coming in at around $0.48 per cup. Compare that to a 38.4 oz container of Folgers for $6.91 on Amazon which will brew (using the recommended 2 Tbsp. [10.6 g or 0.37 oz] of ground coffee) about 78 cups of the same size for about $0.09 per cup.

Atomo will likely come down in price as they ramp up production. The price of real coffee will likely begin to climb as the coffee fields are affected by climate change.

Good Instant Coffee?

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Coffee – I am not a fan of instant coffee. That is why the article “Specialty Instant Coffee” caught my attention.

Instant coffee has been around a long time. The first patent on it was granted in 1881 to Frenchman Alphonse Allais. The well known Nescafé brand was introduced in 1938. Instant coffee became a staple of the military during World War II.

Early instant coffee was made using a “spray drying” method which strips the coffee of most of its aromatic compounds. That resulted in poor flavor and coffee quality. A much better “freeze drying” process was developed after World War II that produces a much more flavorful cup of coffee.

I don’t plan to switch to instant coffee anytime, but in certain situations it may be the only option. At least with article cited above you have some recommendations for high quality instant.

 

Study Shows Dark Roast Coffee Helps to Protect Your DNA

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Coffee – I came across an article a short time ago that gave further reasons to drink coffee. In the study “Consumption of a dark roast coffee blend reduces DNA damage in humans: results from a 4-week randomised controlled study” published in the European Journal of Nutrition helps protect your DNA.

In this test, participants were split into one group that drank water and another that drank coffee. At the end of a month, those who had been drinking the coffee had fewer breaks in their DNA strands. The official conclusion of the test:

Our results indicate that regular consumption of a dark roast coffee blend has a beneficial protective effect on human DNA integrity in both, men and women.

Just one more test that indicates that drinking coffee in reasonable amounts is good for you.

Automation the End of Coffee?

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Coffee, Robots – I came across the article “The rise of robots might make coffee obsolete, according to RBC analysts” today and found it to have some interesting points. Among the points brought up by the article:

  • $2 trillion in annual US wages could be affected by automation, RBC says in a new report
  • RBC analysts argue that the loss of “grunt work” means that people will no longer need caffeine in 2025 in the same way they do in 2018
  • a less obvious outcome of the robot takeover: coffee and other caffeinated drinks becoming obsolete
  • RBC analysts predict that every industry will be impacted by the rise of AI and automation. On the positive side of the equation, AI can be used to reduce costs and personalize products. On the negative side, AI might help make privacy obsolete and hasten the loss of middle-class jobs, which can in turn feed into the rise of authoritarianism.

Most of what is in this article is not new. The prediction of middle-class job loss is pretty consistent with articles on the growth of AI and automation. The prediction of coffee becoming outmoded seems extreme to me. But then I drink it because I like it.

14 More Reasons to Drink Coffee

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Coffee – So much has appeared about coffee recently. I came across the article “14 Reasons You Should Drink More Coffee Gallery” this morning. So what are their 14 rasons:

  1. It Could Make You Live Longer – drinking coffee could cut your risk of dying by 16 percent
  2. It Helps Your Heart Beat –  coffee can actually help prevent atrial fibrillation
  3. It Can Make Your Workout More Effective – coffee can improve your workout performance
  4. You Might Not Get to for Much Longer – coffee might not be around for much longer
  5. It Reduces Your Risk of Early Death – coffee lowers your risk of early death
  6. It’s Got Antioxidants – coffee is an incredibly rich source of antioxidants
  7. It’s Good for Your Brain – drinking three cups of coffee daily can help prevent Alzheimer’s
  8. Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes – drinking coffee was correlated with a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes
  9. It’s Good for Your Liver – increasing your coffee intake by at least two cups dramatically decreases your risk of liver cirrhosis, or chronic liver damage
  10. Lower Risk of Depression – increased coffee consumption results in a decreased incidence of depression among women
  11. It Strengthens Your DNA – drinking dark roast coffee decreased the frequency of DNA strand breaks
  12. It May Lower Risk of Cancer – studies show that coffee could reduce your risk of multiple types of cancer
  13. It Prevents Cavities – strong black coffee actually kills bacteria that lead to tooth decay
  14. It Boosts Productivity and Morale at Work – coffee enhanced productivity in a workplace setting and made people work better together

Of course there is that overwhelming fifteenth reason to drink coffee. IT JUST TASTES GOOD!

Hot Coffee Better for You than Cold Brewed

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Coffee – Personally I like hot coffee. Now there is some scientific proof that hot coffee is better for you than the ever more popular cold brewed coffee. I read that today in the article “Hot brew coffee has higher levels of antioxidants than cold brew“. Specifically:

the researchers [from Philadelphia University & Thomas Jefferson University] found that hot-brewed coffee has higher levels of antioxidants, which are believed to be responsible for some of the health benefits of coffee.

Their report was published Oct. 30 in Scientific Reports (Scientific Reports is an online multidisciplinary, open access journal from the publishers of Nature) “Acidity and Antioxidant Activity of Cold Brew Coffee“.

So buy some freshly roasted coffee beans, grind them yourself, and brew up some healthy coffee!

Some Coffee Hacks

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Coffee – As my followers know, I like coffee. I came across the article “7 coffee hacks that can save you time and money” today and wanted to share their suggestions. So how can you same time and money with your cofee:

  1. Invest in some gadgets – buy appliances to improve your coffee brewing experience
  2. Subscribe to a coffee subscription box – order your coffee beans on-line and have them delivered automatically so you will never be out of your favorite blend
  3. Make bulletproof coffee at home – as with many things, it is generally less expensive to prepare food at home rather than going out
  4. Add salt to take away the bitterness – I had never heard of this tip before.
  5. Whip up some cold brew in a few easy steps – again, make it at home instead of buying it out
  6. Make coffee ice cubes the right way – don’t dilute your iced coffee
  7. Add some spice – add to your coffee for taste and health

An interesting list. If I were living back at home in Texas I would consider a subscription service. On the other hand I have a Sprouts five minutes away from home so I can easily replenish my coffee bean supply without too much trouble.

I have always wanted to try Bulletproof coffee. This recipe might be my way. Hmm, adding salt to take away the bitter taste. I will have to try that! Unfortunately there are too many times when I am out and order coffee that it turns out to be bitter.

I have not tried cold brew coffee. Nor do I drink iced coffee. Perhaps adding tumeric to my coffee is something to try, though honestly I just like my coffee black most of the time.

Do you think that these ideas will improve your coffee consumption?

More Proof That Coffee is a Good Habit

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Coffee – I like coffee and because of that I am always on the lookout for serious, science-based articles promoting coffee as being beneficial to your health. Today I came upon “Another giant study confirms that your coffee habit is probably good for you” an article that fills that criteria.

The study that article refers to is “Association of Coffee Drinking With Mortality by Genetic Variation in Caffeine Metabolism” just published in the August JAMA Intern Medicine. This study included 502,641 participants of both genders ranging in age from 38 to 73 years old. The gist of the study showed that the more coffee consumed the less likely the participant was to die (The difference wasn’t a lot, but was statistically significant).

Don’t let this “more coffee” is better for you get out of hand. Remember that the Mayo Clinic recommends limiting yourself to about 400 milligrams of caffeine a day.  Consuming too much caffeine can certainly affect your sleep, not to mention causing headaches, irritability, restlessness, a fast heartbeat, and muscle tremors. To put that in some perspective, a Starbuck’s Venti (20oz) Pike Place brewed coffee contains 410 milligrams of caffeine. For those who brew their own coffee at home, an 8oz cup contains an average of 95 milligrams of caffeine so you can drink up to four cups while staying under the suggested limit.