chocolate covered coffee beans

coffee: the nectar of the gods

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Is My Favorite Coffee Bad For Me?

Can most of us in America do without our daily fix of caffeine that comes from our favorite cup of coffee? Ask 80% of Americans over 20 who are addicted and you’ll hear a big ‘No’! But how good is coffee when it comes to our health? Do we really know? Some research seems to indicate that there is a link between coffee drinking and a greater risk when it comes to heart attacks. However, the findings were not conclusive as certain other studies found no basis for this at all. Was coffee to blame or was it the fact that many coffee drinkers were smokers as well? But there did seem to be a connection even among non-smokers under certain conditions.

What seemed to emerging was the fact that the connection was apparent in Europe, not in the U.S. This could perhaps have something to do with the way coffee is brewed there. Coffee is also said to raise cholesterol levels. The substances in coffee that do that are cafestol and kahweol which tend to leach into the coffee. Put coffee grounds into boiling water and whatever coffee you make, decaf or regular, you will find these substances in it. But when you make drip coffee – and that’s the way most Americans make it – the coffee oils get trapped in the filter and so the coffee hardly contains either of these substances. So that was probably the explanation as to why the link between the risk of heart disease and coffee was not that apparent in the U.S. Instant coffee and percolated coffee scored low as far as these two substances were concerned.

Both cafestol and kahweol have been known to raise cholesterol levels. The LDL levels are boosted which in turn blocks arteries. So if you were to drink say, 5 cups of Turkish coffee, your LDL levels could rise alarmingly by about 25%! The added disadvantage is the fact that coffee tends to be of a stimulative nature and people with high blood pressure could be at risk. In a study, caffeine equivalent to 2 or 3cups of coffee were given to the participants and it was observed that the levels of the stress hormone cortisol went up. Cortisol tends to make the blood pressure go up. So it would be better to keep that coffee down to an absolute minimum if you are prone to high blood pressure problems. The caffeine in coffee could also react with your medication so do consult your doctor.

So is coffee then by itself really bad for the heart? There still seems to be no consensus on that score. But moderation could be the key, just out of consideration for your heart. How on earth do you know what is ‘moderate’ and what is ‘too much’? Well, five cups of instant, percolated or drip would be the limit per day and this would be particularly so if there were issues of hypertension or high cholesterol. If you need to cut back, do it slowly, say a cup less every couple of weeks, so it won’t seem so hard. A slow decrease helps avoid possible withdrawal symptoms. Also try and use decaf instead of regular coffee and do this substitution slowly as well.

For more information about coffee and health and coffee roasting visit

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Coffee Health - New Antioxidant On The Block

Green coffee beans have supplied a new player in the antioxidant arena. An extract of green coffee beans has been found to have a stronger antioxidant effect than established antioxidants like green tea and grape seed extract.

The active constituent in coffee that is responsible for its many health benefits is a compound called chlorogenic acid. It neutralizes free radicals, and addresses the problem of hydroxyl radicals, both of which can lead to cellular degeneration if left unchecked. Chlorogenic acid also helps regulate metabolism. Compared to green tea and grape seed extract, green coffee bean extract is twice as effective in absorbing oxygen free radicals.

One of the advantages of using the green coffee bean extract is that the negative effects of coffee are avoided. The chlorogenic acid is thought to boost metabolism by changing the way glucose is taken up by the body. And it does contain caffeic acids, which give a boost to energy levels like regular coffee does. But unlike boiled coffee, green coffee bean extract contains no cafestol, which is a diterpene. Along with its diterpene relative kahweol, cafestol increases concentrations of the 'bad' cholesterol, LDL, to levels that over a lifetime might increase the risk of coronary heart disease by as much as 20% These diterpenes also had an effect on the levels of liver enzymes measured. When these are elevated it is an indicator of stress on the liver. However the study that measured this found this was a transient effect, and also that the levels of liver enzymes were much lower than those with liver disease.

As a side note on the health effect of the diterpenes found in regular coffee, it was found that by simply drinking filter coffee, none of these effects on cholesterol levels or the liver took place. The coffee filter removed the offending diterpenes. And levels of these diterpenes in instant coffee are low.

Other benefits of green coffee bean extract include an increase in the effectiveness of pain killers, especially for migraine medications; a reduction in the risk of diabetes; and assisting the body burn a higher proportion of lipids (fats) compared to carbohydrates, which could help with muscle fatigue for athletes and bodybuilders.

Interestingly, on the subject of caffeine and liver disease, further studies have indicated it may in fact support liver health for some people. Those who were at high risk of developing liver disease due to drinking too much alcohol were found less likely to suffer liver damage if they drank more than two cups of coffee or tea a day. This was a population based study, not a clinical trial, and so is not conclusive on the subject. But it does offer some promising information. Those drinking in excess of two cups or more a day were half as likely to develop liver disease compared to those drinking less than one cup a day. Researchers do not know what caused this protective effect.

One of the criticisms of coffee in regards to health is that it leaches calcium from the bones. But this effect has been found to be overemphasized, at least in children. And adults who consume a diet with sufficient levels of calcium will be protected from the small amount of calcium that is lost due to coffee consumption.

So the old axiom that caffeine can stunt a child's growth is a myth. It was based on the fact that in older studies, caffeine was associated with low bone mass because those studies were done on elderly people who both drank a lot of coffee and had diets that were low in calcium. Recent studies in the US followed 80 teenagers over 6 years, and found no difference in the bone density of those with a high level of caffeine in their diet, compared to those teenagers who had little caffeine. Other studies determined that the amount of calcium lost from bones is small and can be balanced by having sufficient calcium in your diet.

References: Australian Healthy Food Magazine, January.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Coffee Flavors - Chocolate, French Vanilla, Espresso, Amaretto, Hazelnut, Kona

Who doesn’t enjoy waking up to a fresh pot of brewed coffee? With so many different flavors, it can be hard to figure out which are the best ones out there. It is definitely a subjective matter. You should try different varieties to see what appeals to your tastebuds. Try to make your own choices about the best options in coffee flavors.

According to our research from a variety of sources, here are some other most popular coffee flavors:

* Chocolate. Believe it or not, people love their chocolate. Now, this could be a bit of dark or even white chocolate that is added. It can be sweet or bitter. The smooth texture that it adds to the coffee is always a draw in for many.

* French Vanilla. This creamy blend of vanilla and cream is perfect for a luxury coffee drink. You’ll find them in all sorts of types. Being one of the most popular options out there, you can find it quite easily to sample.

* Love That Espresso. Yes, especially if you are from Europe, you know the value of a good cup of coffee. In Italy, ordering a cup of coffee will get you this small cup of very strong, very wonderful flavor.

* Go For The Nut. Hazelnut is another one of the wonderful blends of coffee that coffee drinkers are after. When it comes to tasting like a nut, you won’t get much of that here. But, you will get an even taste, one that is not too bitter, yet not too sweet either.

* Amaretto. This type of coffee is sure to give you a little zing. That’s because it is made to taste like the Italian liquor. Most times you will find it called Almond Amaretto.

* Dark Roast It Has To Be Here! There is just something amazing about the flavor and after taste of a dark roast coffee. If you haven’t had it, try it.

* Kona Anyone? Kona is a very wonderful coffee that is much unlike other flavors out there. It has an underlying hint of citrus that is just enough to make you say, “What is that wonderful coffee flavor?”

There you have it. You might’ve heard of some of these, and the others must be new to you. You’ll never know what you’re missing out on till you try the others. Have fun.

On you will find articles about kona coffee online and other ideas, products to make all your coffee dreams a reality.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Gormet Flavored Coffee: Simply The Best

There is nothing that beats a good gormet flavored coffee bean. Gourmet flavored coffee beans are specially created for the coffee drinker and connoisseur. Of course, the process is unique to the gourmet coffee experience from the get go. Flavors are extremely versatile. You can get vanilla, chocolate, mint, chocolate mint, and so many others I could never name them all. That is because someone is always creating brand, new flavors!

Coffee manufacturers know what you and I like. They make a profit knowing what to bring to us. They are people pleasers; they want your business. Gormet flavored coffee allows coffee manufacturers and retailers to reach their target audience: you and me. Each manufacturer has a special process that allows them to bring you your every desire. Then they make flavors you never imagined. Yet, when you taste and smell the new flavor, you wonder where it has been your whole life. Mmm, mmm, good!

Coffee retailers often roast, flavor, then package there own gormet flavored coffee. By adding their own label, they keep your attention. They make you and I loyal coffee drinkers. Often, coffee retailers create a unique coffee flavor and name to get your attention and keep it. Does it work? If it didn't work, they wouldn't keep doing it!

Gormet coffee drinkers expect only the best. Coffee connoisseurs expect their tastes and styles to be catered too. Of course, coffee retailers are more than willing to give us what we want. In addition, it is plain fun to create such flavorful examples of artist coffee. Yes, gormet flavored coffee is an artistic form of self exploration. A lot can be discovered by taking notice of the type of gourmet coffee someone drinks and prefers. Are you a decaf or regular? Whole coffee bean or coffee ground? Flavored or non-flavored? Gourmet or non-gourmet? The choices are endless. Some people like a regular coffee of Java; others, like me, enjoy a gourmet flavored coffee: buttered rum is my choice.

Whatever flavor you prefer, there is a gormet flavored coffee for you. Maybe you aren't sure which flavored coffee you prefer. Then you get the fun of tasting all sorts of flavors and smelling all sorts of unique aromas in the search of finding the perfect gourmet coffee for you. Of course, why stop at just one? Keep going and find two, three, four or more! The possibilities never end.

The true gourmet coffee connoisseur goes one step further: they create their own flavored coffee! Yes, you too can be a coffee connoisseur. Buy green coffee beans at a discount; buy an inexpensive coffee roaster; a coffee grinder. Viola! You have the ability to create your own gourmet flavored coffee. The true coffee connoisseur enjoys only the best gourmet coffee created by his or her own hands.

My suggestion to you: trial and error. Through trial and error you choose a gourmet coffee flavor just for you. If all else fails, create you own mixture! For you, the coffee drinker, nothing is too good. The coffee retailers and coffee manufacturers believe that, so should you. Discover what is truly you, and what is truly not. Try drinking many types and flavors. Maybe you will be surprised by what suits your tastes. Whatever your choice, be sure to enjoy your decision.

Tana has been an avid coffee and tea drinker her whole life. She has tried more than 100 different varieties of coffee and tea. At her site, Tana reveals to you her delicious secret blends of coffee and tea that she has experienced through her years. To learn more about premium gourmet coffee visit

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Why Antique Coffee Grinders Are So Great For Grinding Coffee Beans

For coffee lovers, the rich smell of freshly ground coffee beans in the morning is enticing. The aroma fills the house and you can almost taste the coffee before you pour it in your cup. The delightful aroma increases as the coffee brews and you stand ready with your mug in your hand just waiting to take that first delightful sip. For coffee lovers such as this, an antique coffee grinder is a welcome kitchen appliance.

Reasons to Buy an Antique Coffee Grinder

You can buy pre-ground beans in packages or cans, but there is no comparison to the taste of the freshly ground ones. You can also buy whole beans at the grocery store and grind them there, but if the person who used the machine before you ground a different flavor of bean, then that flavor could change the flavor of the ones you choose to grind.

You also have to grind all of the beans at once, instead of grinding them as you need them. Grinding them all at once will still allow that fresh taste to come through in the first cups that you brew but the flavor may decrease with each successive cup that you make. That's why it's better to own your own coffee mill. A lot of people purchase electric coffee grinders. They work well but they make a lot of noise. There's also the chance that it may heat up the beans and take away from the great flavor.

Unlike their electric cousins, antique coffee grinders grind the beans to the proper texture with the added benefit of not overheating the beans. Another reason to own one is that they are beautiful objects, rich in history. Since they come in different styles, you can find one that will go well with whatever decor you have in your kitchen.

What Styles do They Come in?

Some antique coffee grinders mount on the wall, while others are countertop models. They are made from a variety of materials, one of which unpainted wood. These have handles that are made of cast iron and have intricate designs painted on them. There are other collectible coffee grinders, such as the Parker Nation Coffee mill. This mill was created circa 1905, in Connecticut. The beautiful bronze finish at the top sets them apart from other antique coffee mills. Another popular one was made in the 1920s, during the famous Art Deco era. Its sleek design makes it an attractive addition to any kitchen.

An antique coffee grinder is a great investment, not only for the wonderful coffee it provides but also because it's attractive and lends a sense of history to your home

Gregg Hall is an author living in Navarre Florida. Find more about this as well as Gourmet Coffee Gifts at

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Kona Coffee: the Pride of Hawaii

Coffee is one of the most important commodities the world over. This byproduct of coffee cherries and coffee beans has remained one of the most popular beverages.

From the time that it originated from Ethiopia centuries ago, coffee has become a household basic – something that people cannot do without.

There are two basic coffee variants: one is the traditional Arabica, and the other is Robusta coffee. Many coffee enthusiasts agree that the former has a stronger flavor than the latter, so it tastes better.

This is because Arabica coffee contains beans in its purest form – rather than Robusta coffee which only has half of the caffeine amount that can be found in Arabica coffee variants.

Due to the high demand of Arabica coffee in the industry, many rare coffee variants found only in certain places have found a niche market.

Hawaii's Kona Coffee

Aside from the gorgeous beaches, lush forests and warm people, another thing that Hawaiians are proud of is a coffee variant that is solely produced in their islands, which is the Kona coffee.

Kona is a part of the Hawaiian archipelago where this special coffee variant is grown. Kailua-Kona is the largest town in the district, and it has two districts: the northern and southern districts of Kona.

On the Dry Side of the Island

The word Kona literally means on the dry side of the land. Kona coffee if therefore grown on the dry side of Big Island, which is the largest among all the Hawaiian islands.

There are two districts which divide Kailua-Kona, and Kona coffee grows primarily on the West side of the Hawaiian archipelago.

This location, as well as the climate, makes Hawaii an ideal setting to grow Kona coffee, which has become a world-class coffee variant.

What makes coffee plants in Kona unique from other coffee plants in the world are:

1. The ideal location

Hawaii is basically a group of islands formed by volcanic slopes. Kona coffee if grown along the rocky volcanic slopes of Mount Lona and Mount Hualalai.

2. The ideal climate

Due to the tropical climate in Hawaii, the mornings are almost always warm and sunny. During the afternoon, there is a slight mist which befalls the islands, further nurturing the coffee plants.

3. The meticulous care of coffee farmers.

Most of the coffee farmers in Hawaii rely on the basic hand-picking method, ensuring the freshness of the freshly-gathered coffee cherries.

Some coffee producers use modern machinery to ensure fast harvesting when the coffee cherries are mature enough. However, a machine cannot give out the personal touch that farmers can give during harvesting.

A machine may not recognize overripe or immature coffee beans, and put them all together once harvested. This results in an impure coffee blend once the beans are processed.

On the other hand, a hand-picked batch of coffee cherries is assured of almost 100 per cent quality.

Kona coffee is also an Arabica blend, making it a truly premier coffee variant that Hawaiians can proudly offer to the world.

Dave Poon is an accomplished writer who specializes in the latest in Food and Drink. For more information regarding Kona Coffee please drop by at

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Coffee from Kenya

Mount Kenya is one of the tallest peaks on the planet. That's an appropriate metaphor for the coffee that comes from this region, since coffee from Kenya is one of the finest brews on Earth.

But beyond literary allusions, there's a real benefit to the area in which these superb beans are grown. The high plateaus of Mount Kenya provide excellent climatic conditions for growing coffee plants.

Add to that the volcanic soil and you have a stellar combination for growing some of the world's finest coffee beans.

In this region there are now thousands of small farms, farms that may average only a half acre. But thanks to those small plots, individual, careful attention can be given to the plants.

Fortunately, there also exists a system of cooperatives that allows these small farmers to efficiently market their product. Coffee drinkers everywhere are the beneficiaries.

Coffee from Kenya is famous for its intense flavor and full body. That flavor isn't overwhelming, though. For reasons known best to coffee chemists, the strong acidity of Kenyan coffee is well-balanced resulting in a pleasant tang, rather than a bitter jolt.

Some of that heady flavor is the result of using primarily AA beans in gourmet Kenyan coffee. The ratings - AA, AB, PB, C, E, TT, and T - refer, not directly to the quality, but to the size of the bean. But size matters.

The larger the bean, the greater the accumulation of fine coffee oils. It's those oils that produce many of the hundreds of compounds that combine to produce a fine cup. The larger the bean, all other things being equal (which, admittedly, isn't always the case) the more heady the aroma and the more flavorful the cup.

Though each individual coffee aficionado will naturally have his or her favorite, anyone who enjoys fine coffee will give a Kenya AA high marks. It is the perfect way to start a busy day, or sooth the nerves after a hectic afternoon. Try some and find out for yourself why.

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