Coffee For A Better Life

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Coffee, a drink cherished by many; a drink avoided by others. Tea, its main rival, seems to offer a bounty of better health benefits; a drink for the New Agers and those who want to escape the decadence of the brown, caffeinated drink. The fact stands that tea can only be as beneficial as its preparation, which in some cases may have as much sugar as a can of soda. To understand coffee, one must understand the core value of tea: that the brewed leaf itself is the only healthful component. Everything else is decadence.

To that, the coffee bean itself contains a number of benefits to health. But the culture of coffee, like the tao of tea, contains a lot of excess trimmings. Espresso machines, for example, produce a highly concentrated form of ordinary coffee. And then the all-consuming vice: sugar. Along with cream, sugar waters down the benefits of coffee, where it turns the brew into drinkable candy. But all of this remains unchanged from tea. The bean is the important part.

Caffeine can wreak havoc on the nervous system, but that does not make it synonymous with coffee. Different kinds of coffee (all prepared differently) will yield varied levels of caffeine content. Serving size also comes into play. To those sensitive to caffeine, the obvious alternative can be found in decaffeinated coffee. But such an alternative could downplay the positive affects of the drink. Coffee is rich in the B vitamin niacin; and in recent studies has been shown to have antioxidant-like effects on the body by eliminating free radicals. As a caution, these benefits only arise with a balanced drinking habit. Too much cream and sugar can prove to be detrimental, while too much coffee poses many long-term hazards. While coffee may provide the B vitamin niacin, it in turn restricts the body from other vitamins. And depending on the brew, coffee contains acids that have been linked to stomach ulcers. Symptoms like these may sound off-putting, but they exist only in the long run for an abusive drinker. A daily cup poses no threat to the average person.

And a cup can be prepared several ways. The standard method used by drip machines yield a good amount of caffeine and the filter traps out most of the volatile fatty acids in the bean. The use of a French press, with its lack of a filter, will keep the acids in the brew (though some claim it helps the coffee to taste better). The pressurized water in an espresso will not keep out most of the volatile acids, and it will also increase the caffeine content. All told, for those who refuse to switch to decaffeinated, instant coffee granules contain less caffeine and fatty acids. Compared to their quality cousins, instant coffee should satisfy the balanced drinker. This along with less cream and less sugar, can make for a risk-free casual cup of coffee.

From Green Coffee Beans To Aromatic Powder

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Coffee does not exist in the form that we are used to purchasing it in at the stores. Coffee comes in the form of green coffee beans that grow on the coffee plant. These green coffee beans are then collected from coffee plantations and are sent to places to be roasted, ground and finely crushed to make the coffee powder that you are use to purchasing at your local store.

The Processes that Green Coffee Beans Undergo

There is a process that these green coffee beans must go through before they actually become coffee powder. Firstly, the beans must be picked from the coffee plantations. This is usually done by hand by laborers who get paid for each basket that they pick. Then, since coffee beans have a fruity flesh that directly wraps around the coffee bean, once they are gathered this flesh has to be removed right away. This is done by soaking the beans, scouring them and then mechanically rubbing the bean.

Once the green coffee bean is free from its fruity flesh it is then cleaned with water. This is done in order to remove any of the fruity flesh that may still be sticking to it, as well as any additional sugars that are on it. The beans are then dried by spreading them over a large concrete or rock plane where they are dried by a combination of the air and direct sunlight.

After the beans have been dried it is time for the beans to be put into categories that are based upon the color and the size of the coffee bean. Any beans that are discolored, decayed or damaged are removed from the other beans at this point.

When the beans are finally dried, they are then roasted. This process is important if you want an aromatic cup of coffee. At this time, the coffee bean will actually expands to nearly twice that of what its initial size was. It will also change color and density as it takes in heat. The color turns to yellow and then to a light cinnamon brown. At this point the coffee beans will start to crack, just like popcorn does. As coffee is grown in different parts of the world, varying climate conditions and other factors also play a role in how the beans are processed. The final product is then crushed into the savory coffee powder which we are accustomed to seeing.

The Perfect Coffee Is Here

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If you have ever made your own wine, you may be the type who is curious to know what it would be like to make your own coffee, from scratch, that is. You have a coffee grinder, and now you have to roast your coffee.

Roasting and grinding your own coffee will give you a perfect cup, and it is not as hard as it sounds. There are many kinds of roasters, but something simple as a frying pan or popcorn popper would work. The most important quality is that whatever you use is very clean. You do not want to spoil the taste of your coffee with oils or foods that were cooked before.

Start with very good beans, and then decide which type of coffee you want. A dark roast coffee will have less caffeine than light roast coffee, but the lighter roasts usually have a bitter taste. You need to roast your beans to a temperature between 460F (223C) and 530F (262C). At these temperatures, you will create some smoke, so put your ventilator on, or have a small fan running. You will also want to open all of your windows to get rid of some of the smells. In addition, since the smoke and heat may set off your fire and smoke alarms, you may want to disconnect them. Just remember to put them back on when you are done.

If you are using a coffee roaster, there may be a temperature gage built in, but if you are using something else, you will need a candy making thermometer to make sure you reach the right temperature. As you are roasting you will see the green coffee beans turn yellow, then brown. If you like a dark roast, you will leave the beans a bit longer.

The moisture in the bean will be released as the heat increases, and you will start to hear cracks after about 5-7 minutes. Keep stirring so that the heat is evenly spread and you roast all of the beans in turn.

Now the sugars inside the coffee bean will start to caramelize as they brown and even burn slightly. Check the color to make sure you get the darkness of roast you want. If some of the beans are starting to crack for a second time, you probably should stop roasting; this degree of dark roast is too strong for most people.

Now you will pour the beans into a metal container till they are cool and then start to shake them. Roasting the bean has removed some of the chaff, and you will now want to separate that away by putting it through a mesh screen.

You can try small batches at a time until you find the exact degree of roasting that suits your taste. If you are using the popcorn popper to roast your beans, be sure it is one that is not enclosed. You want to be able to see the beans and agitate them so they are roasting evenly. If you use a pan, a cast iron one works very well.

Now you are ready to make your gourmet espresso, with your own ground and roasted coffee beans.