Main

February 26, 2017

Bill Ristenpart: Design of Coffee ECM 1

Bill Ristenpart deals with a lot of spattered blood and aerosolized pathogenic mouse phlegm. But when it comes to teaching wary freshman the basics of mass transfer and thermodynamics, the UC Davis professor relies on a less messy (and more potable) liquid: coffee. Beans go through so many complex chemical changes that they can easily form the basis of a whole curriculum.

Ristenpart's three year-old course, the Design of Coffee, has become the most popular chemical engineering class in the country, enrolling a quarter of Davis' freshmen.

Continue reading "Bill Ristenpart: Design of Coffee ECM 1" »

October 21, 2016

Grind, weigh, pour over: coffee

Three important steps in making coffee.

April 29, 2016

Some coffee in Korea is not that of connoisseurs: busan edition with Jay Song

BUSAN, South Korea -- South Korea's cities are overrun with cafés. According to the Samsung Economic Research Institute, the number of coffee shops here jumped from about 6,000 in 2008 to 9,400 in 2011. Other studies put the number as high as 17,000 in Seoul alone. There are so many coffee shops in the South Korean capital that the Fair Trade Commission set a limit on the distance between new coffeehouse chains to at least 500 meters.

In addition to Starbucks, which is run by Shinsegae, 40 percent of the nation's cafés are run by the top five Korean brands: €”Caffe Bene, Hollys Coffee, Ediya Coffee, Angel-in-us and Tom n' Toms.

A common complaint amongst both expats and an increasing number of Koreans is that chain coffee is cheaply roasted, weak in strength and lacking in taste. This is driving Korea's coffeeholics to seek out better alternatives in smaller roasting companies and independent cafés.

Considering that last year 63 percent of the coffee consumed in Korea was dispersed from a powdery packet, it will take time for a stampede to rush towards indie coffee shops. Even Jay Song has her doubts.

The simple fact is that price is, sometimes, more important than taste.

Continue reading "Some coffee in Korea is not that of connoisseurs: busan edition with Jay Song" »

March 22, 2016

Cappuccino by Torrefazione Italia

Old-school notions of what makes a cappuccino, with the layering of ingredients as the main thing. "The goal is to serve three distinct layers: caffè, hot milk and frothy (not dense) foam," the chef and writer Mario Batali wrote in an email. "But to drink it Italian style, it will be stirred so that the three stratum come together as one."


The Instituto Nazionale Espresso Italian, for one, calls for "25 ml espresso and 100 ml steam-foamed milk." Coffee lovers in Italy believe so strongly in the idea of an authentic cappuccino that in 2007, the head of the nation's commission on agriculture, Marco Lion, proposed government certification for cafes that make the drink the right way.

Continue reading "Cappuccino by Torrefazione Italia" »

November 17, 2015

Five cups of coffee per day

"In our study, we found people who drank three to five cups of coffee per day had about a 15 percent lower [risk of premature] mortality compared to people who didn't drink coffee,"

-- Nutrition researcher Walter Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health.

May 23, 2015

A moderate amount of coffee, about three to five cups a day

Data showed that those who consumed a moderate amount of coffee, about three to five cups a day, were at the lowest risk for problems.

A systematic review published in 2005 found that regular coffee consumption was associated with a significantly reduced risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, with the lowest relative risks (about a third reduction) seen in those who drank at least six or seven cups a day. The latest study, published in 2014, used updated data and included 28 studies and more than 1.1 million participants. Again, the more coffee you drank, the less likely you were to have diabetes. This included both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee.

-- Aaron E. Carroll is a professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine

February 12, 2014

Order coffee in 3000 words or less

It felt like being hungry, I suppose, in a place where being hungry is shameful, and where one has no money and everyone else is full. It felt, at least sometimes, difficult and embarrassing and important to conceal. Being foreign didn't help. I kept botching the ballgame of language: fumbling my catches, bungling my throws. Most days, I went for coffee in the same place, a glass-fronted café full of tiny tables, populated almost exclusively by people gazing into the glowing clamshells of their laptops. Each time, the same thing happened. I ordered the nearest thing to filter on the menu: a medium urn brew, which was written in large chalk letters on the board. Each time, without fail, the barista looked blankly up and asked me to repeat myself. I might have found it funny in England, or irritating, or I might not have noticed it all, but that spring it worked under my skin, depositing little grains of anxiety and shame.

-- Aeon's Olivia Laing

February 7, 2014

Coffee mid morning

Ever wonder what the best time is to drink your coffee? You probably know it is not a good idea to drink part of your daily dose of caffeine in the afternoon. Especially for those who have problems sleeping. But, do you ever drink your coffee and feel like it just didn't work? I know I have that feeling sometimes. The explanation for this has to with a concept that I think is extremely interesting but rarely discussed: chronopharmacology.

IS 8 A.M. REALLY THE BEST TIME TO DRINK YOUR MORNING COFFEE?
Chronopharmacology can be defined as the study of the interaction of biological rhythms and drug action. One of the most important biological rhythms is your circadian clock. This endogenous 24-hour clock alters your physiology and behavior in variety of ways but it can also alter many properties of drugs including drug safety (pharmacovigilance), pharmacokinetics, drug efficacy, and perhaps even drug tolerance.

Continue reading "Coffee mid morning" »

June 27, 2013

Your brain on coffee


Coffee as a health food:

Perhaps most consequential, animal experiments show that caffeine may reshape the biochemical environment inside our brains in ways that could stave off dementia. In a 2012 experiment at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, mice were briefly starved of oxygen, causing them to lose the ability to form memories. Half of the mice received a dose of caffeine that was the equivalent of several cups of coffee. After they were reoxygenated, the caffeinated mice regained their ability to form new memories 33 percent faster than the uncaffeinated.

Close examination of the animals' brain tissue showed that the caffeine disrupted the action of adenosine, a substance inside cells that usually provides energy, but can become destructive if it leaks out when the cells are injured or under stress. The escaped adenosine can jump-start a biochemical cascade leading to inflammation, which can disrupt the function of neurons, and potentially contribute to neurodegeneration or, in other words, dementia.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/06/this-is-your-brain-on-coffee/?ref=health

June 3, 2013

Coffee Shops Everywhere


Coffee Shops Everywhere

Years ago you'd always hear foreigners complaining about coffee in Korea, back when coffee consisted of instant mixes like Maxim. But somewhere along the way, Korea discovered the cafe, and suddenly they're everywhere, to the point where I'm starting to get alarmed at how many cafes are out there. Starbucks is here and it's everywhere, but it has a lot of competition from domestic franchises.

You're never far from a Caffé Bene, or an Angel-in-Us Coffee, or a Hollys Coffee, or a Tom N Toms Coffee, or A Twosome Place. Not to mention all the smaller coffee places out there as well. And they're all far better than instant coffee mix. Many cafes are open 24 hours a day, and due to the vertical lifestyle here it's not rare to see a three-storey cafe offering great views as you sip your coffee.

There's even a term now for women who spend more money on coffee than they do on actual lunch: 됀장녀, though I hear it's kind of dismissive.

Chances are the culprit for this cafe trend is the Korean drama The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince, which introduced the Korean public to the cafe lifestyle, but also inspired many people to open their own cafes.

March 26, 2013

Caffeine May Boost Driver Safety


The researchers interviewed all the drivers, gathering information about various health and lifestyle issues, including caffeine consumption over the past month. The study was published online in BMJ.

After adjusting for age, driver experience, distance driven, hours of sleep, naps, night driving and other factors, they found that drivers who consumed caffeine were 63 percent less likely to be involved in a crash.

Results Forty three percent of drivers reported consuming substances containing caffeine, such as tea, coffee, caffeine tablets, or energy drinks for the express purpose of staying awake. Only 3% reported using illegal stimulants such as amphetamine ("speed"); 3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy); and cocaine. After adjustment for potential confounders, drivers who consumed caffeinated substances for this purpose had a 63% reduced likelihood of crashing (odds ratio 0.37, 95% confidence interval 0.27 to 0.50) compared with drivers who did not take caffeinated substances.

According to the lead author, Lisa N. Sharwood, a research fellow at the George Institute for Global Health in Sydney, Australia, this does not mean that caffeinated drinks are the answer for road safety.

Continue reading "Caffeine May Boost Driver Safety" »