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Showing posts from 2016

Why we need coffee now more than ever---and why not add a little cardamom?

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This post is intentionally short.  Sometimes less is more---and in this season of everyone weighing in on everything, I’m going to stay on-topic.
Coffee.
Although the economics of coffee have a political dimension, coffee itself is not political. You either drink it or you don’t.
There are lots of ways to drink coffee. Perhaps you like skim milk, whole milk or cream. Perhaps you take your coffee black. Perhaps you prefer lattes and cappuccinos. Or maybe you just like a nice shot of espresso---or two or three.
Caffeinated or decaf. The choice is yours...
2016 has been challenging on practically every existential level---from numerous deaths of well-known and beloved people, to an extremely contentious election in the U.S., to natural and man-made disasters and a surge of refugees due to what the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, called, “the biggest humanitarian and refugee crisis of our time," which is happening in Syria.
Syrians are born coffee drinkers. It'…

The glorious truth behind the coffee-“I have to poop” meme

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There’s a meme circulating on Facebook featuring a coffee cup with top-to-bottom writing as follows: “Ssshhh…almost…now you may speak…nevermind I have to go poop now.” For many people with morning coffee rituals, this about sums it up. You wake up groggy, get a cup of coffee and slowly come to life. And because coffee significantly increases intestinal contractions, due partly to theophylline, a well-known fat-burner, it often facilitates the morning de-bulking ritual often referred to as “taking a poop.”



Less diabetes and colon cancer
Intestinal cleansing is one of the benefits of coffee, along with another related benefit---decreasing glucose absorption, which contributes to coffee drinkers’ decreased risk of developing diabetes. According to a study conducted at the Harvard School of Public Health, drinking one cup of coffee per day decreases the risk of diabetes by 13%, while a four-cup-per-day habit literally cuts the risk in half.

And then there’s the positive effect of coffee o…

Using coffee to combat SAD or why pumpkin lattes can make us happier in November

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Who doesn’t love the fall? What’s not to love when turning leaves are providing a visual feast of saturated reds and yellows, and it’s absolutely fine to eat an apple cider donut once in a while? People put on their hiking boots, call in the chimney sweep and embrace the culture of harvest in all of its pumpkin-and-hayrides glory.
But there’s a downside for people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). As the days get shorter, the lack of sunlight wreaks havoc on their serotonin and melatonin neurotransmitters. Roughly 6% of Americans suffer from SAD and another 14% experience the ‘winter blues,’ a less severe variant of SAD, but very real nonetheless.  

Seventy million Americans face a seasonal problem that wasn’t acknowledged as a real condition until 1984 when Dr. Norman Rosenthal, a clinical psychiatry professor at Georgetown, laid out the diagnostic criteria for SAD.  The DSM-V categorizes SAD as a modifier—“with seasonal pattern” to recurrent major depressive disor…

A fresh perspective on a five-year-old indie coffee house or why Java Love is still the bomb---By Megan Wilt

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Life as a mom in Suburbia can be a bit cookie-cutter.  Life as a stay-at-home-mom in Suburbia can be nearly surreal in its fulfilled expectation.  This is not the 1950s and it’s the rare SAHM who prides herself on a Donna Reed-esque tidy home and nightly roast.  We are modern women living out vintage lives in a modern world. 

Thankfully, for those of us living in the Manhattan-adjacent burbs, there are a few more opportunities that keep us tied to the real world.  It is just a situation like this that draws me to our town’s stand-in for the water cooler – Java Love.  While I have often spent an afternoon sitting in the reclaimed comfort of burlap coffee sacks and beautifully collaged wood, the café thrives as a setting for an afternoon of shop-talk--- getting acquainted with a local friend in a way our busy lives and Facebook banter cannot provide. 
Unlike the ubiquitously-branded Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts stores scattered about town, Java Love tends thankfully toward the adult –…

Montclair welcomes the crazy dancing goat to the fold

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Three weeks ago, there was a pleasant buzz about the latest coffee shop to open in town. Crazy Mocha, located at 491 Bloomfield Avenue on the ground floor of a 93-year-old bank building, is a Pittsburgh-based chain owned by Ken Zeff.
According to a brief convo with the super-friendly, attractive young baristas, Zeff’s brother lives in Montclair. Having spent a fair amount of time visiting his brother, Zeff decided that Montclair would be a good location for another Crazy Mocha storefront.
Because of its philosophy of locating its stores so as not to cannibalize the business of independent coffee shops (such as Java Love downtown on Church St.), its location on Bloomfield Ave. several blocks north of Trend Coffeehouse, is perfect.


Not only is there plenty of table seating, but there is a lounge communal area near the front windows replete with comfortable large leather shares, tables made for hanging out and other little seating nooks for those who are seeking a more relaxed experi…

Why craft fair coffee doesn't have to be amazing, it just has to be hot---and available

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It’s fall and in fall, people like to get crafty. Craft fairs are a standard-bearer of community tradition, in communities across the world---and coffee is the lubricant that keeps people shopping, buzzing around and having a chance to interact with others.
Just because something is expensive or ‘gourmet’ or deemed ‘high-end’ doesn’t mean it’s good---and even if it is good, sometimes it’s just not necessary. Sometimes all you want and need is a good cup of steeping hot brew and access to whatever it is you like to add to it (milk, sugar, etc.)
 Such was the attitude at the Anderson Park Craft Fair in Montclair, NJ last Sunday. The coffee was provided by CTX Jorges ICE Xpress, LLC, a national food vendor.  It was served by George, who greeted everyone with a smile.

People would breathlessly approach him and say, “Are you the one with the coffee?” He would nod, point them to the Styrofoam cups and let them get a nice cup of coffee for $2.00. Then they would meander over to the funnel …

The Second Annual NY Coffee Festival: Coffee, food, fun and a reality check about water

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"Water ,water everywhere and not a drop to drink."---From the Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Coleridge Taylor

The global coffee industry is worth more than $100 billion. So it’s no surprise that there is a full line-up of industry trade shows and conventions scheduled over the next few months in the U.S. Brazil, Hungary, Turkey, China, Switzerland, Colombia, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates.
However, although there are a lot of trade shows for folks involved in the coffee industry, such as growers and coffee farm owners, sometimes the role of the consumer is underappreciated. Not so with the NY Coffee Festival, which starts today and runs through Sunday late afternoon at NYC’s 69th Regent Amory, located at 68 Lexington Ave. (between 25th and 26th St).

This year’s festival---the second ever---promises to be stimulating, with over 70 coffee, food and equipment suppliers, interactive workshops, barista demonstrations and competitions, lots of nosh, a DJ, bands, art …

Pharma’s quest to unlock the molecular mystery of coffee

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It’s fascinating to consider how coffee is de-caffeinated. The general idea is that the coffee beans are steamed and then rinsed repeatedly with a solvent to extract the caffeine, while leaving the other components intact.
What happens to the caffeine? It turns out that when coffee companies extract caffeine from coffee beans, they send the caffeine to pharmaceutical companies. Pharma companies then take the caffeine and use it as part of analgesic medications, such as Excedrin and other OTC medications.
The magic of caffeine Coffee contains lots of things besides caffeine, which is just one of the hundreds of bioactive ingredients found in coffee, in addition to antioxidants, chlorogenic acids, melonoidins and other components.
All of the components of coffee combined confer numerous benefits to those who consume it, such as a decreased risk of diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, certain types of cancer and depression, among other things. However, as the world’s most consumed psychostimula…

Are mycotoxins ruining the health benefits of coffee? A fair-balance discussion

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Does the coffee you drink every day have mycotoxins? Yes, according to researchers. Mycotoxins are naturally occurring mold toxins found in susceptible grains, nuts, beer, wines and coffees.  Their presence and concentrations depend on various conditions---humidity levels, temperature, rainfall and storage conditions.
 There are dozens of types of mycotoxins; however, regulators and health advocates are most concerned about ochratoxin A (OTA). OTA is naturally occurring and highly prevalent. Medical researchers have linked excess OTA exposure with liver cancer, renal failure and neurotoxicity that may lead to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Parkinson’s disease.
If every person on earth were tested for OTA, 100% of us would test positive. It’s not whether we are consuming OTA, but how much we are consuming. The OTA-in-coffee issue has stoked controversy and disagreement between those who are concerned that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is too lax, and those who point to evidence (…

CRUSH your workout with coffee and stave off multiple sclerosis too...

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Yesterday I was so excited to tell you about Mountie’s that I forgot to share the latest health benefit that I just discovered---a long-term benefit related to coffee’s neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory properties.
Drinking coffee over a period of years decreases the risk of multiple sclerosis (MS), a neurological disease in which the immune system attacks the protective coating of the nerves. Total risk reduction based on two large-scale studies---one in the U.S. and the other in Sweden, is about 30%, but the magic number to attain that benefit is six cups of coffee a day.


The connection between coffee and MS makes sense, given the well-established connection between increased coffee consumption and decreased risk of Parkinson’s disease.
Long-term benefits are great, but sometimes instant gratification is what we all want. You can instant benefits from drinking black coffee (no milk/no sugar), according to Men’s Fitness. Long story short: Coffee can help you CRUSH your workouts.…

Meet me for coffee at Mountie’s---this place has what it takes to make it in Montclair

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Sunday, August 21, was a full-spectrum summer day: bright, hot sun in the morning, followed by an uncomfortable onslaught of humidity in the afternoon, until the sky opened and it rained. Then finally, we had a perfect summer evening, with a mellow post-rain vibe in the air, a cool breeze blowing and the anticipation of nighttime.
That was the context in which Mountie’s Eatery had their soft opening. My first impression was that this is a pleasant, clean, well-organized space, despite the fact that not all of the ingredients are in, and some of the final touches are still to come. That’s why it’s called a soft opening.



Mountie’s Eatery, which is named after the Montclair High School’s Montclair Mounties, looks like it could be a chain, but it’s not, according to the owner Sam, and his son, Omar. Sam owns a restaurant in Warren, NJ—the flagship location for his unique style of eatery---called Pita, Grill and Crepe. He also has several restaurants in Pennsylvania.

The basic concept …

Meet me for coffee at Mountie’s---this place has what it takes to make it in Montclair

Image
Sunday, August 21, was a full-spectrum summer day: bright, hot sun in the morning, followed by an uncomfortable onslaught of humidity in the afternoon, until the sky opened and it rained. Then finally, we had a perfect summer evening, with a mellow post-rain vibe in the air, a cool breeze blowing and the anticipation of nighttime.
That was the context in which Mountie’s Eatery had their soft opening. My first impression was that this is a pleasant, clean, well-organized space, despite the fact that not all of the ingredients are in, and some of the final touches are still to come. That’s why it’s called a soft opening.



Mountie’s Eatery, which is named after the Montclair High School’s Montclair Mounties, looks like it could be a chain, but it’s not, according to the owner Sam, and his son, Omar. Sam owns a restaurant in Warren, NJ—the flagship location for his unique style of eatery---called Pita, Grill and Crepe. He also has several restaurants in Pennsylvania.

The basic concept …

The Coffee House Scene in Montclair Just Got Groovier

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Groov Café and Juice Bar: 127 Valley Road, Montclair, NJ 07042
Groov Café has been in town now for a little more than a year---and it has carved out a niche among cafe-groupies, vegetarians, musicians and lots of people who simply want reliable wifi and a good cup of coffee.
Groov Café is a nice complement to Trend Café and Coffeehouse downtown, Java Love uptown and the two major Starbucks locations. And now folks who live on Midland and environs (as well as everyone at School of Rock) have a walkable coffee destination besides Starbucks---which feels like a schlep when you’re coffee-deprived.
Groov Café is like a breath of fresh air in a town that values coffee, community and culture. This centrally located café (with parking in the back!!) has all of that on top of a vegetarian menu featuring mega-burritos, ramen, quinoa wraps, muffins and bowls of steeping hot pho that are so large you need a ladle and a very strong slurp-muscle.
How about the café/juice bar offerings. This is when…