Have you ever wondered where coffee comes from?
Or how it is traditional enjoyed?
Do you know the economic impact of one of the world's most consumed beverage?
Do you understand the science behind what coffee does to your body?
In this blog post, you will learn all this &
some TIPS to a healthier cup of coffee.
Together we can make some changes on
how we participate in this habit.
So What's It Take to Drink Coffee with a Conscience?
To be a conscious consumer you need to be aware of certain points that are not only health related, but preparation techniques and economic impacts.
Then, you can make wise choices.
Conscious Coffee Consumers Know:
- Where the Coffee Comes From
- How the Coffee Beans & Growers Are Treated
- What the Health Effects of Coffee are on Your Body
- How The Coffee Is Prepared
- How Much Is Consumed
- Options of Styles to Drink
The Origin of Coffee & the Size of the Cup
When I spent time there, one of the most enjoyable daily rituals was the coffee ceremony. Life and culture are linked to drinking coffee. But it's so different than how coffee is drank in some countries, especially in the U.S.
For starters, this tradition often happens after a meal. The Ethiopian meal is a whole other blog post. And the cups are so much smaller. To the left is a medium sized Starbucks cup and a regular Ethiopian cup of coffee. Simply put, it just feels different to partake in a coffee ceremony than swing by the drive-by window for a boost.
Allow me to share the traditional coffee ceremony with you. Please, have a cup of buna (coffee in Amharic) with us...
A Traditional Coffee Ceremony
She returns, the air heavy of frankincense smoke and sits back on her little stool, placing her clay coffee pot over the fire. She puts water and the freshly roasted, hand ground coffee into the pot. It boils away as she prepares the tray. The tray is filled with tiny cups, a bowl of sugar, and little spoons. As the coffee water brews to perfection, she remove it from the heat and puts it on its base. This allows the grinds to settle to the bottom. When she decides it's time, she pours coffee & a little bit of sugar into the ceramic cups. She hands you a cup of coffee first because you are the guest. Everyone chats and enjoys the company of sitting in a circle. But it's not over yet! The grounds are the boiled again to serve three cups of buna to each person. As you can imagine by the third cup, it's not very strong coffee.
Being married to an Ethiopian, there are certain things I have to serve to honor his birthright. But I don't prepare him coffee this way; below I will share tips on preparation. I shared this story because coffee is a cultural and social experience. I also think it is an opportunity to make a conscious buying decision. Now, let's turn to the Economic and Social Impacts of purchasing a bag of coffee.
Equal-Exchange, Fair Trade Coffee Business Helps Indigenous People
I met a remarkable man the other day in the parking lot who was coming to share about his company that supports these precise practices. His name is Steve Hackman. He is the President and Owner of One Village Coffee, which is a Certified B Corporation. One Village Roaster is currently involved in many projects to help society. They are supporting a bee project and building schools in Nigeria in addition to growing relationships with countries all over the world who grow coffee. Pretty awesome, right? If you are going to drink coffee, do it with a conscience. Support a company that treats the coffee growers fairly while you enjoy a delicious cup of coffee. I believe that one of the only economic powers we still have as consumers is how we choose to spend our money. We can make a difference one dollar at a time.
THE SOURCE - I'm a big believer in buying local & organic as well as supporting global communities. Our favorite brand that meets all of the above criteria is ONE VILLAGE COFFEE.
Check out there site here: http://www.onevillagecoffee.com/ovc-store/
The Science of How Coffee Effects Your Body
Conversely, why do you crash later?
Why do you feel like you HAVE TO HAVE that cup of coffee?
I find the answers from a scientific man, Dr. Maxwell Nartey, who is the founder of Symptometry: Root Cause Therapeutics. In his book, The Downside of Nutrition, he makes these points about coffee from a scientific background, not from a place of health fad or solicitation.
Coffee is acidic from both tannic and palmitic acids. It also has theobromine in it, which combines with pyridine. Pyridine is what inhibits your brain from receiving nutrients. It's a domino effect that eventually causes an addiction because the hippocampus is waiting to get that stimulus that only the coffee is delivering. It's not a surprise, I think my long-term coffee drinker friends would openly say that they can't start their day without a cup or more of coffee. Clearly that's the definition of addiction. I'm not judging it, I'm just being scientific about what's going on in this situation. For this reason, I do encourage coffee drinkers to take breaks, limit their consumption, and follow the other tips at the end of this post.
You may have heard about the relationship between coffee and B Vitamins. It's the theobromine in coffee that is actually causing the depletion of B vitamins. The infamous "coffee crash" happens because of this. When the body is being deprived of those B vitamins, it eventually loses energy. Over time this absence has an effect on overall sleep patterns of coffee drinkers because of the lack of melatonin being developed by the pineal gland. There is a variety of instant coffee that has B vitamins in it. See the Tips below.
Ways to Make Coffee Healthier - New School Merges with Old School
Method of Preparation and the Level of Caffeine.
1. PREPARATION -
First of all, the white coffee filters have dioxin in them, which cause cancer. Not only do I recommend avoiding these bleached coffee filters, but also to avoid preparing coffee with a hot brewing system entirely. We've just discussed that coffee is acidic. The acidity in coffee is heightened by brewing it with hot water.
Cold-pressed coffee is a much safer option.
Here is the tool I use to make cold pressed coffee: http://toddycafe.com/
The cold pressed coffee maker is a vessel that steeps the coarsely ground beans overnight. You then drain the coffee through a wool filter. This is your coffee concentrate, which lasts up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. You can drink the coffee cold blended with milk and/or water. Or you can warm up milk & water and add a small amount of the cold, coffee concentrate to the hot beverage.
2. NON-CHEMICAL DECAF - The chemicals in the decaffeinating process are terribly unhealthy. But there is another process that extracts the caffeine out of the bean: the SUN and WATER!
Check out the full story here: http://www.descamex.com.mx/2_proceso_naturali.html
Also, above I mentioned the theobromine in regular coffee causing the addictive aspect of coffee drinking. There is less theobromine in Decaffeinated Coffee, so the addiction process happens much slower, years in fact for the addiction to be set in the hippocampus. An occasional cup of de-caff made with the water & sun method is a decent option.
Coffee Drinking TIPS
2. Brush your teeth after you drink your coffee because coffee stains your teeth! I also suggest a tongue scrapper to remove the film coffee leaves behind.
3. Limit your coffee consumption. Sure have that cup in the morning, but come afternoon choose a different way to get your lift. I take my herbal supplement, Protandim, as my afternoon lift. This Self-Care remedy fights 2 million free radicals a day, which is really what I need at this hour - not more coffee. If you need this lift to be a beverage, go for Yerba Mate, which is Alkaline and doesn't have caffeine, but is still a stimulant. Plus, Mate brings clarity to your mind.
4. Eat food with your coffee. Don't be the person who just drinks a cup of coffee for breakfast. Because coffee suppressed your appetite don't let it stop you from staying nourished.
5. Stay hydrated! I started this list with drinking water. Keep drinking water throughout the day.
6. Take B Vitamins or drink a coffee drink that has B Vitamins blended into it. One that contains these is Ganovia Coffee. It has Ganoderma/Reishi Mushroom, Goji Berries, and Cordyceps. If you are a hard core coffee drinker, I will warn out, it doesn't taste like a straight coffee. However, I got used to it. When I take homeopathic remedies, particulates, and molecules, coffee dulls the effect of the remedies, so I switch to Ganovia during these times. It works;)
Following these tips will help you over-ride the negative effects of coffee and make you a conscious coffee consumer!