Monday, May 20, 2013

Clinical Data from the Mayo Clinic: Coffee has Anti-inflammatory Effects—Plus, Tips for Drinking Coffee in the Summer

Dr. Craig Lammert, a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic, recently completed a study showing that drinking coffee can decrease the risk of primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), a rare, but very serious, autoimmune disease that affects the liver. In people with PSC, the bile ducts---the tubes that carry liquid bile from the liver to the intestines--- become inflamed and hardened. Eventually, patients develop cirrhosis of the liver and often cancer.  Most patients are diagnosed between 20 and 30, and die within 25 year, unless they have a liver transplant. 

This study looked at the impact of coffee drinking not only on PSC, but also on primary biliary cirrhosis. Coffee drinking had no impact on PBC, but a noteworthy impact on PSC. Healthy controls were more likely to drink coffee than the patients with liver disease---and they also drank more coffee overall. When it came to not drinking coffee at all, 13% of the healthy controls were non-coffee-drinkers, compared with 21% of PSC patients. PSC coffee drinkers drank an average of 50 cups per month, compared with an average 78 cups per month among healthy-control coffee drinkers. When researchers considered personal history, they found that the subjects with PSC had spent only 50% of their lives “actively drinking coffee” compared with healthy coffee drinkers, who had been actively drinking coffee for 67% of their lives.

The takeaway message is pretty consistent with other studies that we’ve been seeing about coffee. Drinking more coffee over a longer period of time has positive effect on certain aspects of our health---though we are not exactly 100% sure why this is true. Certainly the antioxidants and chlorogenic acids help, but what we saw in this study was a truly anti-inflammatory effect that has far-reaching implications for the link between coffee and good health.

Now for more good news: It’s warming up! That means trips to the beach and the pool, sundresses and shorts, late nights at the museums and sipping iced coffee on the patio. Note that conventional wisdom has recently changed: Coffee counts as a liquid, so consider yourself hydrated when you’re sipping a cup of Pike Place. And if you’re watching calories, remember to use skim milk whenever possible and not too much sugar. Finally, if it’s sunny out, take care to wear sunscreen and sunglasses and sit under an umbrella while enjoying your iced latte. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Love is in the Air at Java Love Montclair

It’s spring. Finally. And love is in the air. And if you love coffee, you will love the fact that Java Love Coffee Roasters (founded in 2011 by Jodie Dawson and Kristine Petrik in Bethel, NY) has opened in Upper Montclair, New Jersey. This funky little cafĂ© is located at 244 Bellevue Avenue, right next to the Bellevue Theater and Anderson Park. 

It’s been open about a week and there’s already a scene building. First and foremost, the coffee is good. Jodie and Kristine only source green beans that are sustainably farmed, organic, fairly traded, rain forest certified—and in the case of decaf bean, water processed. Plus, in addition to coffee, tea, espresso drinks, chai and juices, there is a nicely stocked array of gluten-free vegan, healthy, yummy food---from baked goods to salads to sandwiches. The vegan orange cranberry organic cookie is especially delicious. 

According to Jodie, “We try to source as many healthy, natural products as possible. Freshly baked goods, sandwiches, and salads arrive every morning from Little Daisy Bakery and Montclair Bread Company.  Other food products are sourced as locally and regionally as possible from NJ and NY purveyors and artisans. All our dairy is from Five Acre Farms, which sources its dairy from local farmers that only have sustainable practices.”

Evidence of Java Love’s artisanal coffee-related sensibilities are everywhere. On display and on sale are coffee soap, mugs, Java Love t-shirts and coffee-sack pillows. The space is comfortable, wood-planked, airy and well-lit. The vibe is positive, productive and very coffee- and tea-focused.
Now getting back to the coffee, it’s really very good. They pay close attention not only to how the beans are sourced and roasted, but also to the attributes of each cup, with specific attention paid to acidity, flavor, body and aroma.

It’s going to be a fun summer at Java Love Montclair. They are hoping to have special events, music, coffee tastings and more! 

Here's an interesting piece of metaphorical coffee wisdom from Jodie and Kristine...

"Like wines, coffee from different regions tastes uniquely different. The sweet, fruity taste of a Riseling is a world apart from dry, hard Bordeaux. Similarly, the wake-me-up snap of a Kenya AA is  distinctively different from a smooth, deep-bodied Sumatra Mandheling."