Coffee is one of the world’s most popular beverages and it has been enjoyed by people around the world for many centuries. Whether you prefer single or double shot, short or grande, no fun or wild, the world is a better place because of coffee!
A coffee bean is a seed found inside the fruit of the coffee plant, often referred to as a coffee berry. Each coffee berry has two beans. When dried, roasted and ground, coffee beans are used to brew coffee. If the seed is not processed, it can be planted and will grow into a coffee plant. Even though they are seeds, they are referred to as ‘beans’ because of their resemblance to true beans which are part of the legume family (see the post Keep Your Finger On The Pulse for more info on legumes).
Click here to see a very informative infographic on where coffee comes from.
Making a good cup of espresso is an art within itself, but latte art is the cherry on top! Latte art, also known as barista art or coffee art, refers to the practice of pouring steamed milk into a shot of espresso and resulting in a pattern or design on the surface of the resulting latte. There are two main types of latte art: free pouring (pattern created during the pour) and etching (using a tool to create a pattern after the pour). The exact origin of Latte Art remains hazy, but the trend presumably began in Italy.
On its own, coffee has no kilojoules and is packed with healthy antioxidants. Having up to 5 cups of coffee per day is linked to several health benefits. Drinking coffee may:
- reduce cavities,
- boost athletic performance,
- improve mood
- stimulate the central nervous system, i.e. making you feel more alert
- boost nerve cell activity in the brain, potentially protecting against memory loss.
- lead to a decreased risk of contracting alzheimer’s disease and certain cancers.
- help t0 prevent gout, Type 2 Diabetes and Parkinsons disease
- may reduce the risk of developing clogged arteries, which in turn might reduce the risk for heart attack
- used ground coffee makes great compost!
On the downside, coffee may increase LDL cholesterol, affect pregnancy outcomes and increase anxiety and blood pressure.
- more than 98 percent of our caffeine intake comes from beverages (see the chart below)
- a light roast has more caffeine than a dark roast
- decaf does not mean zero caffeine, it still has 8.6 to 13.9 mg caffeine
- caffeine’s chemical name is trimethalxanthyne
- combining a pain reliever with caffeine can make it 40 percent more effective
- Caffeine overuse can trigger a fast heart rate, insomnia, anxiety and restlessness, among other side effects.
- Abruptly stopping use can lead tosymptoms of withdrawal, including headaches and irritability.
Sources: www.thecoffeemag.co.za; www.bizbrain.org, www.health24.com and www.huffingtonpost.com