- Food and Cooking
Coffee, Coffee, The Beauty of Coffee
Coffee: Life's Pleasures In More Ways Than One!
Coffee and chocolate are like the terrible twins - they are full of controversy, but we wouldn't ever be without them. It's not quite a love - hate relationship, yet the spell they cast is powerful indeed.
Their flavours are wicked, sensous and teasing, and it is no wonder that so many of us find them irrestible.
I loved coffee before I ever tasted it, you might think it strange, but as a small boy growing up in Kenya in East Africa, my father cultivated coffee trees, and dried the beans ready for market. It was fascinating seeing all the processes that the beans went through, from hand picking to de-husking and washing, to the ingenious drying method.
I was about 8 years old then, but don't think I enjoyed my first cup of coffee for many years to come. However, like chocolate, coffee and I are now firm friends.
But there is so much more to coffee, we know about certain health issues, but what about the area of anti-aging and beauty-care and even art?
COFFEE IS BEAUTIFUL
History of Coffee
Kaldi and his frisky goats!
Around the year 850 AD, an Ethiopian goatherd named Kaldi observed his goat, frolicking in a frisky mood near a red-berried bush. The goat had chewed on the berries then let out an vociferous "Baaaaaaahhh!" - The coffee berry was discovered!
Kaldi then sampled the berries himself. Elated, he shouted to his goat, "These berries are heaven sent." So excited, he and the goat ran to the nearby monastery, telling of their miraculous effect.
The chief monk said to Kaldi. "Are you possessed"? He condemned the berries as the Devil's work and promptly threw them into the fire. But soon afterwards, the smell of fresh roasted coffee filled the pious halls of the monastery, enticing the monks. A rebellious young monk snatched the cooling beans from the fire and became an innovator. He mixed the beans with water and the resulting brew kept the monks up all night thanking their creator. "Hallelujah!"
Image from drawings by a modern French artist
Coffee Production And Distribution
Brazil remains the world's largest producer, followed by Vietnam, Indonesia and Colombia.
The two main types of coffee bean are:
~ Arabica, which is cultivated in Latin America, east Africa, Asia and Arabia, and
~ Robusta, grown in central Africa and southeast Asia, and to a small extent Brazil.
Coffea Arabica has been grown for over 1000 years
Illustration of Coffea arabica plant and seeds
Coffea arabica is now rare in its native states of southeastern Sudan and the southwestern highlands of Ethiopia where it was originally found.
It is common as an understorey shrub, however populations seem to include mixed native and planted trees. It is also found on Mount Marsabit in northern Kenya, but it is unclear whether this is a real native or just a naturalised occurrence.
Coffea Arabica: Cultivation
Takes 7 years to reach maturity
Coffea arabica is usually cultivated between 1,300 and 1,500 m altitude, but there are plantations as low as sea level and as high as 2,800 m.
The plant does best when the temperatures are around 20Â°C (68Â°F), and it can tolerate low temperatures, but not frost. In order to make harvesting easier most commercial cultivars only grow to about 5 m, and are often trimmed down to 2 m.
On well kept plantations, pruning trees prevents over the production of berries. If a plant sets too many flowers that will ultimately form into berries it will be to the detriment of its health. The flowers themselves only last a few days, leaving behind only the thick dark green leaves.
The berries then start to appear, these are as dark green like the foliage, until they begin to ripen, at first to yellow and then light red and finally darkening to a glossy deep red. At this point they are called 'cherries' and are ready for picking. The berries are oblong and about 1 cm long.
Picking the berries too early or too late will result in inferior coffee, so many of them are picked by hand for a better all roundselection, as they don't all ripen at the same time. They can also be shaken off the trees onto mats, which means that ripe and unripe berries are collected together, this is not ideal.
Each tree can produce between 0.5-5.0 kg of dried beans, depending on the tree's character and the climate that season. Each berry holds two locules containing the beans, which are actually two seeds within the fruit. These seeds are covered in two membranes, the outer one is called the "parchment coat" and the inner one is called the "silver skin."
Arabica coffee production in Indonesia began in 1699. Indonesian coffees, such as Sumatran and Java, are known for heavy body and low acidity. This makes them ideal for blending with the higher acidity coffees from Central America and East Africa.
Distinguished by Regions
Rather like wines and winegrowing!
Beans from different countries or regions can generally be distinguished by differences in flavour, aroma, body, and acidity.
These taste characteristics are highly dependent not only on the coffee's growing region, but also on genetic subspecies (varietals) and processing. Varietals are usually known by the region in which they are grown, such as Colombian, Java and Kona.
Coffee Cupping... - ...or coffee tasting!
Coffee cupping is the practice of observing the tastes and aromas of brewed coffee. A normal cupping procedure is very similar to tasting a wine which involves deeply sniffing the coffee, then loudly slurping - by sucking in air to mix with the coffee in the mouth - so that it spreads right to the back of the tongue.
The coffee taster tries to gauge aspects of the coffee's taste, most importantly:
* the body (the texture or mouthfeel, such as oiliness),
* the sweetness (the perceived sweetness at the sides of the tongue),
* the acidity (a sharp and tangy feeling at the tip of the tongue, like when biting into an orange),
* the flavour (the characters in the cup), and aftertaste.
Since coffee beans hold unique flavours from the region where they were grown, cuppers/tasters may attempt to predict the coffee's origin.
Effects Of Coffee On Your Health - Is coffee beneficial to your health or not?
Some say it's the devil's brew, while others like to see the positive effects of this extraordinary beverage.
Who is right? Let's see!
- That boost of energy effect of a morning cuppa could be in your mind - perhaps you didn't get enough sleep. The caffeine will ease withdrawal symptoms from accumulating overnight, but it doesn't make people more alert. Only those who don't regularly drink coffee will get a 'lift' from caffeine, while the British Coffee Association insists that regular drinkers do feel more alert.
Caffeine, the main active chemical of coffee, blocks adenosine, a chemical that makes you naturally drowsy, increasing concentration and reaction speed. But the long term effects can be really tricky. Once the temporary stimulation stops, the brain cells start needing caffeine for stimulation and a sudden neural sluggishness installs.
- Caffeine has been shown to prevent cognitive decline in elderly women. Women over the age of 65 who consumed more than three cups of coffee daily scored better over time on memory tests than women who drank less than one cup of coffee/tea daily did.
The memory benefits of the caffeine seem to rise with age - coffee drinkers being 30% less exposed to memory impairment at age 65 and 70% less over 80. All the same, caffeine consumers did not have lower rates of dementia.
Caffeine seems to slow down the dementia process rather than prevent it altogether. Why caffeine has a slightly different effect on women than it does in men remains a puzzle.
Caffeine has been found also to protect against Parkinson's disease and depression, and this could be connected to its inhibiting effect on adenosine receptors. Depression is eased because caffeine increases dopamine, the "happy feeling" hormone, in your brain.
- High coffee consumption (over three cups a day for years) increases loss of bone mineral density. Caffeine is a mild diuretic, speeding up the urination cycle, but "takes" calcium which is lost through urine. Long term, heavy caffeine use leads to a rapid development of osteoporosis.
- Everybody knows the laxative effect of coffee. Brewed coffee also contains soluble cellulose fibres, which help the body absorb vital nutrients, keep tabs on cholesterol and fight constipation. Freeze-dried coffee came out on top. Men comsume on average about 38 g of fibre a day and women around 25 g. A 240 ml cup of coffee could contain as much as 1.5 g of fiber (3.2 cups means 5 g of fibre).
- Coffee fights symptoms of gout. The beverage lowers uric acid levels on short term, easing the most common and excruciatingly painful inflammatory arthritis in adult males. Drinking 4-5 cups of coffee daily significantly decreases the risk of gout by 40% and over 6 cups per day by 59%.
- Caffeine mixed with acetaminophen (paracetamol), one of the most common painkillers could harm your liver. The caffeine was discovered to triple the quantity of a toxic by-product, N-acetyl-p-benzoquinone imine (NAPQI), produced by the enzyme that breaks down the acetaminophen. Still, the effects would be determined by the daily consumption of 20-30 cups of coffee.
- Caffeine causes sleep disturbances, so don't think about drinking coffee before going to bed. And remember that the alkaloid needs 12 hours to be completely eliminated from your body.
- New research has shown that coffee could reduce the risk of skin cancer. 6 cups of caffeinated coffee daily lowered the likelihood of developing skin cancer by 35%, while 2-3 cups lowered it by 12%. Caffeine is believed to impede cells dividing in the tumor, or to work as an antioxidant. One research found coffee and exercising fight against sun-induced skin cancer by 400%.
Other researches suggest that coffee could also be beneficial against breast cancer.
- Researches show that the consuming of unfiltered coffee increases the level of cholesterol. Why is this? Because coffee contains a substance called cafestol which triggers the rise of cholesterol levels. The cafestol blocks a receptor in an intestinal pathway which is crucial for cholesterol regulation, and is the most potent food chemical to do this.
The cafestol is extracted by pouring hot water over the ground coffee. The same thing happens when the ground coffee is boiled in water as in the case of Turkish coffee or if a paper filter is used, like in French coffee. However, if the coffee is made without the filter, the cafestol remains in the prepared beverage.
Decaffeinated coffee contains cafestol, since removing caffeine does not influence the other compound.
- Caffeine gets women in the mood for sex, especially in moderate amounts and when the women are not heavy drinkers. The chemical is also known to increase excitability in men.
- Coffee can be a killer just as any other drug can, as caffeine is a stimulant In small amounts. The coffee plant synthesizes the alkaloid with the purpose of killing its natural consumers, therefore the grazer who eats too much coffee may well die. We, too, may be killed by any uncontrolled heart beats are the prelude of a heart attack.
Never Enough Coffee Cups - Sequence I by Niro Vasali
Coffee Alertness Belief!
Is it in the mind?
Regular coffee drinkers believe that caffeine taken in the morning wakes them up, and if they don't take it, they feel that they will lack energy, resulting in reduced efficiency, in their work.
Research has shown that a first caffeine intake of those individuals does not affect their alertness compared to those who don't drink coffee.
Caffeine is a bitter, white crystalline xanthine alkaloid that is a psychoactive stimulant. Caffeine was isolated from coffee in 1820 by a German chemist, Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge, and in 1821 by French chemists working independently; namely, by Robiquet and by Pelletier and Caventou. It was Pelletier, noting that the drug had been isolated from coffee (French: cafÃ©), who coined the word "cafeine", which became the English word "caffeine".
Caffeine is found in varying quantities in the seeds, leaves, and fruit of some plants, where it acts as a natural pesticide that paralyzes and kills certain insects feeding on the plants. It is most commonly consumed by humans in infusions extracted from the bean of the coffee plant and the leaves of the tea bush, as well as from various foods and drinks containing products derived from the kola nut. Other sources include yerba matÃ©, guarana berries, and the yaupon holly...
Read more on Wikipedia
Main Side Effects of Caffeine
Author Mikael Haggstram on Wikipedia
You And Coffee - How important is caffeine to you
What Does Coffee Do For You?
Uplifting Coffee Videos
Coffee Can Keep Your Skin Healthy
It's those antioxidant ingredients
Coffee can keep your skin healthy in a so many different ways. The antioxidant properties help to prevent not only skin cancer and melanoma related diseases, but can help in other ways, such as:
- Your skin be free of different radicals that can cause acne, eczema and other skin diseases
- Improving the flow of micro-cellulars in your skin
- Breaking up fatty deposits which cause ugly cellulites
- Clearing up your skin of acne and other blemishes
- Acting as a sunblock to prevent sunburn and wrinkled skin
- Absorbing and neutralizing strong odors such as fish and other smells
How can you get all these skin benefits from coffee?
There are two ways. firstly go to a spa that offers coffee treatment, and the other option is to make your own homemade coffee skin care treatment. Here are some suggestions on how to prepare your own coffee skin care products:
- Use coffee beans to rub on your damp skin before taking a steam bath or going in a sauna bath. Coffee beans can lightly exfoliate your skin and its rich oils can soften it.
- After having your morning coffee, the used coffee grounds can be reused into a variety of skin products:
- Coffee grounds mixed with olive oil - Apply this mixture all over your cellulite regions, and wrap these areas using plastic wrap. Leave this on for at least 5 minutes, remove the plastic and shower off. This can help reduce cellulites from your body.
- Coffee grounds mixed with egg white - Apply this on your skin as an exfoliant for softer skin.
- Coffee grounds mixed with your skin cleanser - This mixture can be your very own coffee exfoliating scrub.
- Coffee grounds mixed with cocoa powder and whole milk or cream - This mixture is a great smelling facial mask.
Another reason we so love coffee!
CoffeeBerry ®: A Wakeup for the Skin - Coffee beautycare products
What is it?
Coffee berry is the rosy, red fruit of the coffee plant and is one of the most potent natural antioxidant available today. Harvested from coffee beans, coffee berries are rich with beneficial nutrients and antioxidants. Until recently, this part of the coffee plant has historically been discarded because the berries are so perishable and difficult to harvest. However, new harvesting techniques have enabled collection of this powerful and remarkable fruit which prevent spoilage and preserves the antioxidant properties of the berry.
Coffee plants traditionally grow in dry, mountainous regions under intense, hot sunlight. In order to survive such arid conditions, the plant has adapted and protects itself by producing potent antioxidants. These antioxidants protect the plant from harsh sunlight and coffee berries have the highest percent of antioxidants of all parts of the plant. In fact, the US Department of Agriculture's Center for Aging at Tufts University has created a scoring system, known as Oxygen Radical Absorbent Capacity (ORAC), to evaluate the antioxidant strength of different plants and extracts. Remarkably, the ORAC has shown that coffee berries have the highest score, higher than even green tea, pomegranate extract, vitamin C or vitamin E.
You'll find it in: Coffee berries are rich in ferulic acid and polyphenols, antioxidants which are known to have many health benefits including neutralizing free radicals, reducing the incidence of coronary artery disease and possibly even certain cancers, and providing treatment benefits for Type 2 diabetes, depression and other diseases.
PRIORI - CoffeeBerry Natureceuticals Supplement
Nutritionally, once the coffee berry is harvested, it may then be turned into an extremely powerful powders or extracts. Just how potent? The concentration of antioxidants in coffee berries is so potent that just one gram of powdered coffee berry is equivalent to 33 grams of fresh blueberries-known to be one of the most beneficial and formidable antioxidants for whole body health and wellness. The extract is equally as formidable. To get the same antioxidant benefit as coffee berry extract, you would have to eat a lot of fruit: 625 grams of fresh blueberries or 974 grams of fresh strawberries or 1,230 grams of raspberries or 2,030 grams of grapes!
Read more from Skincare-news.com
CoffeeBerry ® - by PRIORI
What's Your Coffee?
What type of coffee do you enjoy the most?
Sumatran and Java Coffee
Known for heavy body and low acidity, making them ideal for blending with the higher acidity coffees from Central America and East Africa.
Interesting medium to create art
Andrew Saur and Angel Sarekla-Saur have been painting with coffee for several years, and have completed hundreds of original artworks. Curious people who view the work are amazed that the artwork is painted entirely in coffee - there are no additives, it is 100% pure coffee.
Artists have been using coffee as washes for sketches and other shading for some time, but this is one of the first times where a process is used to gain very dark hues. People ask how this darkness is achieved to only to find that it takes a special process and it is their secret formula.
A range of original coffee artwork is available from their website at http://www.justcoffeeart.com/
- Coffee Art | Painting With Beans
There's no stopping those who really love coffee! Here's a a selection of some amazing works of art by enthusiastic and talented coffee artists. Next time you are sipping yours, think what can be done
French Roast - Coffee art
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Climate change is not something new to coffee. It has already hit the coffee farmers hard in a dramatic manner.
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Coffee and espresso information including coffee makers and types of coffee.