News from the Cupping Table

  • February is American Heart Month

    February is American Heart Month

    It's February and thoughts of love are in the air.  

    February is also American Heart Month, a timely reminder of how much our hearts contribute to our well-being making it a good opportunity to reflect on the ways we can support our heart health.

    We want you to know that beyond just a morning pick-me-up, your cup of coffee might hold more benefits than you realize. In a recent study published online on Sept. 27, 2022, by the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, researchers discovered an interesting link between moderate coffee consumption and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death.

    The study, which involved nearly 450,000 individuals with an average age of 58 and without pre-existing irregular heartbeats or cardiovascular conditions, shed light on the positive impact of consuming two to three cups of coffee daily. Over a 12-year period, participants who enjoyed moderate coffee intake exhibited lower incidences of irregular heartbeats, cardiovascular diseases, heart-related deaths, and overall mortality compared to non-coffee drinkers. Particularly noteworthy was the finding that those consuming two to three cups daily showed the lowest risk of heart-related issues and mortality.

    Interestingly, the benefits were consistent across various types of coffee, suggesting that it's not just about the caffeine content. However, it's worth noting that decaffeinated coffee did not demonstrate the same risk reduction for irregular heartbeats.

    So, what's the secret behind coffee's potential heart-protective effects? One plausible theory points to the presence of polyphenols in coffee, compounds known to combat oxidative stress and inflammation.

    Consider incorporating moderate coffee consumption into your routine as a simple yet potentially impactful way to support your heart health. Remember, moderation is key, so enjoy your cup of joe responsibly as part of a balanced lifestyle.

    Other Ways of Taking Charge of Your Heart Health

    Embrace Healthy Habits: Eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and managing stress are key factors in promoting heart health.

    Don't Ignore Symptoms: If you experience any of the warning signs mentioned above, don't hesitate to see your doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment can significantly improve your chances of a healthy outcome.

    Schedule Regular Checkups: Regular visits to your doctor allow for early detection of potential problems and ensure you're on the right track with your heart health management.

    We wish you good heart health as you enjoy good coffee..

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  • All About Decaffeinated Coffee

    All About Decaffeinated Coffee

     Reprinted from the National Coffee Association (NCA)

    Independent scientific evidence shows coffee, with or without caffeine, is associated with many unique health benefits, including increased longevity and decreased risk of multiple cancers and chronic diseases.

    More than 90% of American coffee drinkers choose caffeinated brews, but decaf is a great option for those who want the taste and social connections of drinking coffee without the energy boost of caffeine. Luckily, a serendipitous accident in 1905 swamped a shipment of coffee beans with seawater, washing the caffeine out and prompting the development of modern decaffeination methods.

    How is coffee decaffeinated?

    Like regular coffee, decaf coffee begins as green, unroasted beans. The hard beans are warmed and soaked in liquid to dissolve and remove the caffeine in one of four ways: using water alone, using a mixture of water and solvents (most commonly methylene chloride or ethyl acetate) applied either directly or indirectly, or using water and “supercritical carbon dioxide.”

    All four methods are safe, and once the caffeine is removed (well, at least 97% of it), the beans are washed, steamed, and roasted at temperatures that evaporate all the liquids used in decaffeination.

    How much caffeine is in decaf coffee?

    Decaffeination removes about 97% or more of the caffeine in coffee beans. A typical cup of decaf coffee has about 2 mg of caffeine, compared to a typical cup of regular coffee, which has about 95 mg of caffeine.

    Is decaf coffee bad for you?

    Like all coffee, decaffeinated coffee is safe for consumption and can be part of a healthy diet.

    If you are wondering whether the decaffeination process itself is safe, the answer is yes. All four methods are safe, and once the caffeine is removed (well, at least 97% of it), the beans are washed, steamed, and roasted at temperatures that evaporate the liquids used in decaffeination.

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has set a rigorous standard to ensure that any minute traces of solvents used to decaffeinate coffee are safe. FDA measures these traces in “parts per million.” After decaffeination, coffee can contain no more than 10 parts per million of, for example, methylene chloride -- that’s one one-thousandth of a percent.

    How much caffeine is too much?

    Regulators and health authorities in the United States and around the world have concluded moderate caffeine intake can be part of healthy diets for most adults -- generally up to 400mg per day, or about 4-5 cups of coffee. Guidelines may vary for people with certain medical conditions.

    As you think about caffeine intake, be mindful that caffeine is found not just in coffee but also in other foods and beverages, so consider all potential sources. Everyone’s body is different, so everyone should check health recommendations from recognized authorities, listen to how your body responds to caffeine, and consult your personal physician if you have any questions.

    Check out our decaffeinated favorites here.

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  • Elevate Your Home Brewing Game

    Elevate Your Home Brewing Game

    Introduction:

    The best coffee is grown at high altitudes. Most coffee is consumed in the lower regions where coffee drinkers vary widely in their commitment to making their daily brew. Some of us are super-serious about using the right coffee makers, grinders, and the finest beans available. On the other end of the spectrum, there are those who just want a quick morning caffeine fix. And coffee preparation methods provide an answer for each of those groups and everyone in between. Our customers have told us that they appreciate the quality of our specialty coffees and tend to lean towards taking care to get the most from every cup. Wherever you are, here's a place to start considering how to elevate your coffee enjoyment.

    To begin: The Grind Matters:

    Once you've purchased a bag or two of quality specialty coffee beans, your journey for the perfect cup moves to the grind. According to coffee experts, like our friend Leo Fante of Fantes Coffee in Louisville, KY, achieving uniformity in grind size is crucial for optimal extraction. Cheap blade grinders, which chop the beans rather than grind them, produce unevenly sized grounds, leading to under-extracted sour notes or over-extracted bitter notes in your coffee. Investing in a quality burr grinder is key, we like the affordable Baratza Encore burr grinder.

    Grind Fresh, Brew Fresh:

    Here's another must do experts unanimously agree on: grind your coffee just before brewing. The aromatics that make coffee smell and taste so good begin to fade within 30 to 45 minutes after grinding. You can't over emphasize the importance of freshness. Some argue that pre-ground beans have a week to a week and a half before losing flavor, however we advocate for grinding right before brewing for the ultimate coffee experience.

    Expert Insights on Grinding:

    While we're emphasizing the significance of grinding your beans at home, you might be asking how to discern the differences in grind sizes. For those unsure, purchasing beans from a coffee shop and having them grind them can be a good starting point. Grinder manufacturers like Baratza mentioned earlier provide a starting point for you in the instructions with their grinders. And the Encore has 40 adjustable grind settings to find just the right grind for whatever brewing preparation you use, from very fine for Espresso to coarse for French Press.

    Coffee-to-Water Ratio:

    Understanding the coffee-to-water ratio is crucial for achieving a balanced and flavorful cup. A good starting point is use 1to 2 tablespoons to 6 oz. of water. Use a real measuring tablespoon leveled off to be consistent in your measurement.  Experimentation is key to finding the right balance based on taste preference. If you want to go all in, a quality coffee scale can help you precisely dial in the numbers. And filtered or bottled spring water is best - never use distilled water.

    Fool-Proof Coffee Makers:

    For now, I'll focus on drip coffee makers because it remains the most popular brewing method. For those intimidated by the plethora of coffee-making options, many great choices under $150 are out there. Breville, Bonavita and Ninja offer models that heat the water to the correct temperature for extraction (195-205 degrees Fahrenheit) and slowly shower the grounds to ensure the water is applied evenly for the best extraction.  All of these coffee makers have automatic machines certified by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) the standard of the specialty coffee industry.

    Conclusion:

    In the quest for the perfect cup of coffee at home, focus on the grind emerges as a top priority among coffee experts. Investing in a quality burr grinder, grinding fresh, and understanding the coffee-to-water ratio are key elements. However, the journey is personal, and preferences vary. Whether you embrace high-tech brewing or stick to a trusty auto-drip machine, the ultimate goal is to enjoy the coffee that suits your taste buds. So, embark on your coffee-making adventure, experiment, and savor the rich flavors of a perfectly brewed cup.

    If you have any questions, drop us a line and we'll be happy to respond.

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  • Why Your Home-Brewed Coffee Might Taste Bad

    Why Your Home-Brewed Coffee Might Taste Bad

    Introduction

    Ah, the comforting aroma of freshly brewed coffee—there's nothing quite like it to kickstart your day. However, if your home-brewed coffee doesn't quite live up to the taste of your favorite coffee shop, you might be wondering what's going wrong. Fear not! In this blog article, we'll explore some common factors that could be contributing to the less-than-satisfying flavor of your coffee.

    Title: Common Culprits:

    Poor Quality Beans

    The foundation of great coffee always begins with the quality of the beans. If you're using old, stale, or low-grade beans, you're setting yourself up for disappointment. Coffee beans are at their best within a few weeks of roasting, and as they age, they lose their flavor and aroma. All good coffee shops will serve specialty grade coffee so to ensure a better-tasting brew at home, always opt for fresh, 100% Arabica specialty coffee beans and store them properly in an airtight container away from light and moisture. Avoid storing in the refrigerator or freezer where they will absorb odors that will affect their flavor.

    Incorrect Coffee-to-Water Ratio

    Getting the right coffee-to-water ratio is crucial for a well-balanced cup of coffee. Using too little coffee grounds can result in a weak and watery brew, while using too much can lead to a bitter and overpowering taste. A standard starting point is using about 1 to 2 tablespoons of coffee per 6 ounces of water, but feel free to adjust based on your preference. Only you can decide the best ratio to use to satisfy your taste preference.

    Inconsistent Grind Size

    The grind size of your coffee beans has a significant impact on the extraction process. If the coffee grounds are too coarse, the water may pass through too quickly, resulting in a weak and underwhelming flavor. On the other hand, overly fine grounds can lead to over-extraction, causing a bitter and unpleasant taste. Blade grinders will produce an inconsistent grounds size and overgrinding with these high-speed blades can burn the coffee grounds. We recommend investing in a quality burr grinder to achieve a consistent grind size suitable for your chosen brewing method.

    Water Quality

    Surprisingly, the water you use to brew your coffee can make a big difference in taste. If your tap water has a strong odor, taste, or contains impurities, it will affect the final cup. Use filtered or bottled water  (spring water, not distilled) to minimize any unwanted flavors and ensure a cleaner, more enjoyable brew.

    Brewing Time and Temperature

    The length of time your coffee brews and the water temperature are crucial factors to consider. Over-extraction from a prolonged brewing time can lead to bitterness, while under-extraction can result in a sour or weak taste. Aim for a brewing time of around 3-4 minutes for most methods like drip, pour-over, or French press. Additionally, water that is too hot (over 205°F or 96°C) can scorch the coffee, so keep your water temperature in the “Goldilocks zone” between 195°F and 205°F (90°C to 96°C).

    Using the Wrong Brewing Method

    Different coffee beans and roasts excel with various brewing methods. Using the wrong brewing technique might not bring out the best in your coffee. For example, some beans shine in a pour-over, while others are better suited for a French press or espresso machine. Experiment with different methods to find the one that complements your beans' flavor profile.

    Equipment Cleanliness

    Neglecting to clean your coffee equipment regularly can negatively impact the flavor of your coffee. Old coffee oils and residues can accumulate in your coffee maker or grinder, leading to rancid and bitter notes in your brew. Make it a habit to clean your coffee maker, French press, and grinder according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Simple solutions of water and vinegar are great for descaling.

    Conclusion

    Achieving a perfect cup of home-brewed coffee takes a combination of art and science. By paying attention to the quality of your beans, mastering the right coffee-to-water ratio, using consistent grind sizes, selecting clean and filtered water, and controlling brewing time and temperature, you'll be well on your way to a superior coffee experience. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don't be afraid to experiment and tailor your coffee brewing process to suit your taste preferences. Check out our Perfect Cup here. Happy brewing!

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