O, Coffee. Is There Nothing You Can’t Do?

O, Coffee. Is There Nothing You Can’t Do?

Coffee has been a frequent subject of scrutiny by the medical community… perhaps because it’s so widely consumed, yet offers no apparent nutritive value. Or, maybe doctors are just looking for a really good cup of coffee.

Coffee Notes from All Over

The cool kids at Barismo do a deft take on a David Letterman style top-ten list with 10 Reasons Coffee Doesn’t Taste Like the Bag Descriptions. Number 10 – Juan Valdez is dead. Get over it. Number 9 – The marketing team ran out of ways to say, “tastes just like coffee, but better.” Number 8 –  Two words: cat poo. Okay…  none of these are actually on Barismo’s list, I’m just feelin’ punchy. Despite the fact that it gets a lot of the salient facts about coffee and health right on the money, I got a beef with the recent NY Times’ health article — Sorting Out Coffee’s Contradictions — for perpetuating the myth that Howie Schultz was the founder of Starbucks… When Howard D. Schultz in 1985 founded the company that would become the wildly successful Starbucks chain, no financial adviser had to tell him that coffee was America’s leading beverage and caffeine its most widely used drug. The millions of customers who flock to Starbucks to order a double espresso, latte or coffee grande attest daily to his assessment of American passions. To set the record straight, Schultz *left* Starbucks — the company founded in 1971 by Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegl, and Gordon Bowker  — to start his own coffee company, Il Giornale, in 1985. Two years later Howie bought out the original Starbucks’ stakeholders with the profits from his new company and the help of a few investor friends, and bundled everything under the name of the coffee company that made its bones on Pike Place… Starbucks. So there. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation...
Green Up Your Coffee House!

Green Up Your Coffee House!

It’s Earth Day 2008. The climate crisis is accelerating, vast sheets of ice are collapsing, islands in the Pacific have been drowned in rising seas, and weather the world over is growing increasingly violent. If we don’t take immediate action — all of us, and right now — we face a future unlike anything we’ve known. But let’s be honest… running a successful and (ideally) profitable coffee house is something of a high-wire act at the best of times. And — economically-speaking — these aren’t the best of times. You’ve got a budget to watch; a creeping expense column can throw things out of kilter. Fast. It’s not going to do you or your environmentally-minded customers any good for you to bankrupt yourself in the name of ecology. That said, there are savings to be found in running a more efficient and sustainable coffee house, coffee shop or espresso bar. Some of these savings can be realized pretty quickly, others require a longer view. If you can, don’t just consider today’s bottom line, but tomorrow’s. And next year’s. And — for goodness sake — don’t lose sight of the ultimate bottom line here… the planet’s climate is in crisis. And it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that the viability of specialty coffee is at the forefront of that crisis. In greening up your coffee house, there are (at least) three distinct areas where you can bring your efforts to bear: reducing energy, increasing sustainability, and making it easier for your customers to go green, too. We’ll look at each in turn. There’s a lot to slog through here, so...
Coffee & Health: More Benefits, Still

Coffee & Health: More Benefits, Still

Daily Coffee May Protect the Brain. New research suggests coffee may cut the risk of dementia by blocking the damage cholesterol can inflict on the body. Coffee had already been linked to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s Disease, and –according to the BBC– a study by a US team for the Journal of Neuroinflammation may explain why. “Caffeine appears to block several of the disruptive effects of cholesterol that make the blood-brain barrier leaky,” said Dr Jonathan Geiger, who led the study. “High levels of cholesterol are a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, perhaps by compromising the protective nature of the blood brain barrier. “Caffeine is a safe and readily available drug and its ability to stabilise the blood brain barrier means it could have an important part to play in therapies against neurological disorders.” And while we’re at it: Caffeine may help protect memory in women Coffee is tied to a lower risk of Parkinson’s Coffee is linked to a lower risk of Diabetes Coffee drinking is related to a lower risk of Liver Cancer. Drink...

Coffee Notes from All Over

Just the same, don’t forget the sunscreen. Researchers have found that caffeine boosts resistance against UV radiation, and skin cancers. The relationship between caffeine and cancer cells is under close scrutiny following evidence that it can increase a process called “apoptosis”, in which the body gets rid of damaged or even cancerous cells by killing them off. To really boost the cancer-resisting effect? Add exercise into the mix. Talk softly, and carry a hot cuppa joe. Psychologists at Yale altered people’s judgments of a stranger by handing them a cup of coffee: The study participants, college students, had no idea that their social instincts were being deliberately manipulated. On the way to the laboratory, they had bumped into a laboratory assistant, who was holding textbooks, a clipboard, papers and a cup of hot or iced coffee — and asked for a hand with the cup. That was all it took: The students who held a cup of iced coffee rated a hypothetical person they later read about as being much colder, less social and more selfish than did their fellow students, who had momentarily held a cup of hot java. Let the battle begin! The World Barista Championship is underway in Tokyo, Japan. Forty-nine countries are represented this year, each by its own national champion. And this round of the WBC introduces a tasty new twist — for the first time ever spectators are able to sample some of the barista’s work. (What a concept!) While you can’t taste from here, you can watch the entire event. It’s not real-time, but that’s just fine… I understand they’re all night-owls...
Coffee Notes from All Over

Coffee Notes from All Over

Where’s the next battleground for coffee supremacy? Place your bets on India… Today, there are about 750 cafés across India, two-thirds of which are owned and operated by Café Coffee Day, a company that plans to have 1,400 cafés across India in five years’ time, as well as 10 in Pakistan and 10 in Austria. “I expect this market to grow 40 per cent annually for the next three years,” says Jagdeep Kapoor, director of Samsika Marketing Consultancies. “That is going to be huge.” Of course, Starbucks is looking to enter the fray, and is reported to be scoping out New Delhi and Mumbai. I started drinking coffee regularly when I was 14, though it would be several years on that I discovered good coffee (and I haven’t looked back.) While we know that coffee doesn’t really stunt your growth (it certainly had no effect on mine,) is there such a thing as being too young to drink coffee? Like many people, Nicole Rivera uses coffee to survive a long day of hard work. One cup in the morning, and sometimes a second at lunch for a little pick-me-up. Another cup in the afternoon to avoid a late-day slump. A final mug around 7 p.m. to help her finish the work she’s brought home. “Without coffee, I’m dead to the world,” she says. Rivera may sound like a veteran of the corporate world, but she just finished ninth grade. It’s a Jewish thing… Here’s one I haven’t heard before… kaffei hafukh, or “upside-down...
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