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Showing posts from January, 2011

Espresso as Metaphor: Trying a New Coffee Drink and Looking Towards the Future

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Several years ago when I was in grad school at NYU, my professor, Dr. Robert Bench, a respected publishing professional, often used the term “future forward.” I found the term charming and provocative all at once. The alliteration notwithstanding, the term evoked an image of people moving rapidly into a physical future space. Plus it synched with my approach to life. The reality is that we are always moving forward and need to make room for new experiences and ideas, including what we consume.

That’s why when it comes to coffee, trying a new brew or new type of drink is a good idea. Yesterday I tried a low-sugar, skim caramel macchiato. According to the barista at Starbucks, macchiato means “marked”. Basically, the drink starts with milk on the bottom, with foam above that. The drink is then topped off with espresso---you really taste the espresso. As most other coffee drinks go (lattes, cappuccinos, etc.) macchiatos are upside down. The caramel drizzle is an added plus. For me, t…

Bottoms Up… Happy National Coffee Break Day! (Free Coffee Available at a Cafe Near You)

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In honor of its centennial anniversary the National Coffee Association has ordained January 20th National Coffee Break Day. From New York City, to Portland Oregon, to Muscle Shoals, Alabama, coffee purveyors nationwide are joining in the celebration by offering free coffee and other enticing opportunities. Find out how to celebrate in your area here. Visiting this link will also give you a chance to look at the National Coffee Association’s mochalicious site redesign.

In the midst of our busy, busy lives, taking a break feels good, and in reality a well-deserved break actually stokes productivity. Here’s a historical tidbit about the origins of the coffee break as a part of American culture: In 1964, 74,000 United Auto Workers (UAW) members were ready to stop working if management would not agree to give them a daily coffee break. After a series of tiresome negotiations, management conceded and the 12-minute-daily coffee break became part of work-a-day life for U.S. auto workers.

Ca…

Bring on the Emoticons: Coffee Makes You Happier

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Coffee has long been appreciated for its buoying effect on mood. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 1996 showed that women who regularly drank at least 2 cups of coffee daily during a 10-year period (between 1980 and 1990) were less likely to commit suicide than their non--coffee-drinking peers. Looking at data from the Nurses’ Health Study on 86,625 female registered nurses who were between the ages of 34 and 59 in 1980, researchers considered not only coffee-drinking, but also smoking status, marital status, alcohol intake, levels of perceived stress, and diseases that may have affected the women’s feelings about the value of their lives.

78% of the women drank coffee. Overall, women who drank 2 to 3 cups of coffee per day were 66% less likely to commit suicide. Researchers found that 56 of the women in the study committed confirmed suicide between 1980 and 1990. There was one negative coffee-related finding in this study. The presumably positive effect of coffee…

Make Me Happy: Low-Acid Coffee=Less Anxiety and More Joy

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On a recent morning that could have been high anxiety, I chose a low-acid coffee: Purroast. This smooth coffee delivered on its promise---very low acid coffee with a rich, full-bodied taste. The previous afternoon while forecasters were once again promising blizzard conditions, I had joined other shoppers in buying last-minute items that would allow me to comfortably hunker down. Puroast’s bright red-and-white packaging featuring a red bird with geometric plumage appealed to me, but I was also interested in the low-acid experience.

That evening as we waited for the snow fall to start, I was glad I had coffee and also glad that it was low acid, because the next day promised to be challenging. Despite the storm, I was expected to be at an important event involving a workout outfit, a makeup artist, cameramen---and a good friend who I would not let down. As the snow softly pelted the ground, I became increasingly anxious. Would I take the train or wake early to shovel so I could drive …

5 Reasons to Love Coffee in 2011

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Love of coffee endures, but sometimes it’s nice to reflect on what we love about coffee. Here are 5 reasons to love coffee in 2011.

1. Coffee makes you healthier: Studies show that coffee reduces the risk of Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, stroke, depression, liver disease, and high cholesterol.

2. Coffee variety abounds: Beyond the Arabica-versus-robusta divide, coffee differs based on how its roasted, where it’s grown, how it’s brewed, and many other conditions that contribute to a flavor, acidity and overall taste. Recently, we were snowbound and coffee reserves were diminishing rapidly. In order to make coffee, I combined Seattle’s Best Blend with two Starbucks blends, including the slightly sweet Italian Roast and the super-dark smoky extra bold French roast. The result: a dark, sweet, smooth blend. It tasted even better as we watched the snow fall.

3. Coffee bolsters community: During the holiday, we enjoyed Prosecco and coffee in equal measure. Mornings and early afternoons, ho…

Embracing the Yang: Coffee in China

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In China, 2011, the Year of the Rabbit, may very well become the year of coffee. According to a report from Marketplace on National Public Radio , consumption is up 25% a year. In the last 10 years, Starbucks has opened 400 locations, and in November 2010, Howard Schulz announced that the first Starbucks coffee farm will soon open in the Pu’er region, located in Southwestern China.

The driving force behind this trend is the collective yang energy of the legions of urban and professional Chinese city dwellers who are rapidly increasing their coffee consumption. Yan Ciyong, a 26-year-old farmer (seen here holding a red coffee bean) has started growing coffee and earning a great deal of money. He is on the cutting edge of a new trend in a country where tea consumption is the norm. Meanwhile, 70-year-old Liao Xiugui, a farmer who specializes in growing coffee and actually drinks coffee (rare among famers in China) has become a highly sought after teacher. Fortunately, tea and coffee a…