Written by Brian Strauss
Date: 16 December 2009
Comment: learn about coffee and the dos and donts of coffee preperation
Coffee beans are actually the seeds inside coffee cherries. The cherries grow on trees that are usually cut to about eight feet to allow for easier picking. However, in many forests the trees grow wild and much taller.
Each coffee cherry normally holds two beans. Some freak cherries only hold one bean. These are called peaberries and tend to have more intense flavor.
Coffee beans have little taste before they’re roasted. Unroasted beans (called green beans) have a slight grassy smell and are very hard. Roasting coffee is somewhat like cooking anything else: the cooking process brings out the real taste of the coffee.
Roasting the coffee allows the sugars, fats and starches within the bean to be emulsified, caramelized and released. This creates the delicate coffee oil. This oil is what gives coffee its distinctive aroma and taste.
In general, lighter roasts are sharper and more acidic than the darker roasts. Darker roasts have a fuller flavor. Beans that have been over-roasted will take on a burned, smoky or charcoal flavor. There is less caffeine in the darker roasted coffees.
The origin of the beans makes a big difference. A bean from Ethiopia will taste differently than a bean from India, even if they are both French roast.
Coffee’s three worst enemies are light, air and moisture. The longer coffee is exposed to air, light or moisture, the quicker it will go stale. Always store coffee in an air tight container that blocks the light.
If it will be longer than 3 weeks put it in an airtight container in the freezer. Warning: moisture is coffee’s enemy. Therefore, put the container right back in the freezer after taking out the beans you need for that day.
We highly recommend grinding your coffee immediately before brewing.
Use a brewer that only lets the water go through the ground coffee once. Or use a French press.
Results from long-term studies are showing that coffee may not increase the risk for high blood pressure over time, as previously thought. Study findings for other cardiovascular effects are a mixed bag. What we do know is that for non-habitual coffee drinkers, those first few cups will cause a temporary rise in blood pressure, but for regular drinkers, a tolerance develops and won’t cause any long term, permanent increase.
Cancer— Coffee might have anti-cancer properties. Last year, researchers found that coffee drinkers were 50% less likely to get liver cancer than nondrinkers. A few studies have found ties to lower rates of colon, breast, and rectal cancers.
Diabetes— Heavy coffee drinkers may be half as likely to get diabetes as light drinkers or nondrinkers. Coffee may contain chemicals that lower blood sugar. A coffee habit may also increase your resting metabolism rate, which could help keep diabetes at bay.
Coffee is very high in antioxidants. Most Americans get their antioxidants from coffee. That doesn’t mean it’s the best source of antioxidants, just that it’s the most consumed.
Parkinson’s disease. Coffee seems to protect men, but not women, against Parkinson’s disease. One possible explanation for the sex difference may be that estrogen and caffeine need the same enzymes to be metabolized, and estrogen captures those enzymes.
Coffee reduces muscle pain. After a hard workout, a cup or two of coffee has been shown to reduce muscle soreness (in women, anyway) more effectively than naproxen, aspirin and ibuprofen
For women, caffeine may prevent long term memory loss— Because caffeine is a psychostimulant, older women who drink 3 or more cups of coffee or tea a day have less memory loss and cognitive decline than their counterparts who drink less or none. Unfortunately, caffeine consumption doesn’t seem to have any preventative effect against dementia.
Coffee does not contain additives or preservativess— Coffee and instant coffee always are 100% natural products and do not contain any additives. Coffee is nothing else than the seed of the coffee plant, which has been roasted and grounded. By differences in origin of the coffee, the method of roasting and the mélange we get different types of coffee. Nothing is added to decaffeinated, either. Decaf coffee is pure coffee, just the caffeine is removed. Coffee remains fresh thanks to the special package (canned, vacuum) and does not need any preservatives.
Regarding nutritional information for brewed coffee, there are no significant levels of carbohydrates, fats, protein, fiber, vitamins or minerals. There is no cholesterol and no calories. Adding a sweetener and/or a creamer may change the nutritional profile.
Drinking caffeinated coffee has been correlated with a lower incidence of gallstones and gallbladder disease in both men and women in two studies performed by the Harvard School of Public Health. A lessened risk was not seen in those who drank decaffeinated coffee.
Apparently, coffee and alcohol really do go together. Believe it or not, alcohol drinkers who also drink coffee regularly have a lower chance of developing cirrhosis of the liver. That’s not to say it’s a healthy lifestyle – obviously, lowering your alcohol consumption is better.
Coffee consumption decreased risk of gout in men over age 40. In a large study of over 45,000 men over a 12-year period, the risk for developing gout in men over 40 was inversely proportional with the amount of coffee consumed.
Source :Harvard School of Public health, http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource