Caffeinate Me

“There’s no mistaking what kind of potion I need. Caffeine – for alertness and rejuvenation.”

― Amy Alward

Joe, dirt, mud, java, cuppa, jitter juice, wakey juice, cupped lightning, rocket fuel.

C8H10N402.

Coffee. With the exception of water, it’s the #1 liquid consumed world-wide. Tea is #2 (followed by orange juice, beer, Coca Cola, wine, vodka, energy drinks, soup and finally, rounding out the top 10, breast milk.)

Coffee has an interesting history, if you care to read about it, but I’m not going there, I’m going to write about what we know about it today from a health perspective. Not so long ago it had bad press, so to speak, it was thought to cause heart attacks, ulcers and more. Today, we know that ain’t so. In fact, it’s quite healthy for you, with one or two exceptions for some folk.

[As a disclaimer, I have no financial interest in any coffee business, nor am I an MD. What I’m presenting is based on research from reputable sources via on-line search. Of course, consult your physician when in doubt.]

Some people’s chemistry just can’t handle caffeine in any amount, or in an amount more than 1-2 cups, they can sometimes suffer heartburn, or have trouble falling to sleep at night, get over stimulated (bad if they suffer from hypertension) or if they have kidney problems. These people also need to avoid chocolates of any kind (except white chocolate – the caffeine is removed in the production process), and colas of any kind as the cocoa bean contains caffeine just like the coffee bean (which is actually a seed inside the fruit). But the vast majority of us can indulge if we enjoy its taste and effects – in moderation, of course, generally recommend as 5-6 cups a day.

So what are the health benefits of coffee? Compared to noncoffee drinkers:

• less likely to acquire type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s and dementia

• have fewer cases of certain cancers (mouth, throat, liver, colorectal), heart rhythm problems and strokes

• improved memory, mood, vigilance, energy levels, reaction time, general cognitive function

• burn fat

• improved physical performance

• increased intake of vitamins B2, B5, manganese, potassium, magnesium, niacin

• 80% less incidence of liver problems – hepatitis, fatty liver disease (of people who drink 4 or more cups per day)

• less depression

• added antioxidents (most people get more of these from their coffee intake than the fruit and vegetables they eat)

Which leads us to the best method of brewing coffee to attain these benefits. This becomes problematic. All the benefits listed above are not derived from the caffeine, but rather the essential oils in coffee. And in the drip-system, by far the most popular system, most of these are captured in the paper filter. There are alternatve methods: boiling, steeping, or pressurized percolation (i.e., expresso).

But by all accounts, the stepping method, commonly known as the French Press, is the best for both health benefits (with one caveat: this method may minimally elevate bad cholesterol level, which isn’t cause for alarm for most people. Again, consult your physician if in doubt), and taste.

Which leaves us with taste. There are two types of coffee beans, Coffee Robusta and Arabica, and since 70% of the coffee you can by is Arabica, that’s what you’ll get everywhere. How it’s ground also deternimes the taste, but that is dictated by what coffee maker you use and the “strength” you select.

But taste is really a matter of…well…taste. Different brands, different tastes. And some like it plain-just-black, some with sugar and/or cream, or flavored. I’m a flavored guy. Sometimes during the holidays I’ll sprinkle a little cinnamon over regular, plain grounds before brewing, but usually I’ll buy the vanilla variety (I love vanilla!) of the brand that “bucks” (if you catch my drift).

So there you have it. Coffee is good for you and the French Press is lauded as the best method of brewing for health and overall taste.

Somebody caffeinate me, please.

– Bill

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