In Caffeine We Trust: Infographic Print For Tracking Your Coffee Consumption Data, a cool limited edition print to measure your caffeine addiction.  Best idea:  you can fill in the columns using coffee instead of a pen!  From Column Five Media.



I know, it's a commercial, but they're so cute!



London-based graphic designer David Staffell


[Photo: Liz Clayton]
Serious Eats features a Japanese device called the Clever Dripper that makes coffee through a hybrid of the principles of immersion brewing—or steeping like a French Press—with the principles of extraction via pouring water over the grounds into a conical brewer.




Like all of us, I gravitate toward news and information that support beliefs I already hold:

A new study, which was published online in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, shows that caffeinated coffee may be good for our brains and may, in fact, help keep Alzheimer’s at bay. Caffeine has been sited in previous studies as having potentially positive effects on the brain. and specifically Alzheimer’s.

The study looked at mice whose DNA had been tweaked to contain a human Alzheimer’s gene. Just like humans with familial Alzheimer’s, these mice become increasingly forgetful as they age.  The equivalent of four to five cups of caffeinated coffee every few days led to much improved memories in these Alzheimer’s mice.


Too much coffee makes you hear voices, really?

Reported by MSNBC and filed by me under the category of--
"We're really using some pretty thin science to prove we hate coffee," a recent Australian study claims to show a link between heavy coffee consumption, stress -- and auditory hallucinations.
The volunteers listened to white noise played through a computer's headphones for three minutes. Every time they heard even a snippet of Bing Crosby's White Christmas, they were told to press a hand tally counter. (They weren't aware of the real point of the study -- they were told it was about auditory perception.)
The song was never played.
Let's just stop there for a minute.  

Is it truly a valid science experiment for hallunications if the subject is TOLD what they will hear?  It wasn't an 'auditory perception,' it was a study group thinking they better push the button at some point because they were told they were going to hear ole Bing crooning--whether they actually heard it or not.   
But the participants who said they were very stressed, and very caffeinated -- those who regularly drank five or more cups per day, at 200 milligrams of caffeine each -- were more likely to imagine they'd heard it.
Whoa!  If I drank five or more cups of anything, I'd be stressed and thinking: I gotta hurry up and press this buzzer so I can get out of this experiment and go pee!!!!
"We believe that high stress, in addition to taking high levels of caffeine, makes people yet more stressed and thus makes them more likely to 'overreact' to the environment -- i.e., to hear things that just aren’t there," explains Simon Crowe, the lead author of the study and a neuroscientist at Australia's La Trobe University, located in Bundoora, Victoria. The report was published in the April issue of the Journal Personality and Individual Differences.

It's worth noting here that there are some limitations to the study: The levels of stress and caffeine consumption were both self-reported by the 92 volunteers who participated in the experiment. And what if, somehow, the caffeine-stressball combo made participants more eager to try to please the researchers -- yes, of course we heard the song! It's lovely, isn't it?! 

sigh. . .


Best Coffee in the Miami Airport?

Forget Starbucks. Find a place that serves cafe con leche. Beg for a paper cup instead of Styrofoam. Enjoy!

I found mine at the Lorena Garcia Cocina immediately next to the Mojito Bar, (I know--it was a tough choice) at gate D-53 in the American Airlines Concourse.




"Behind every successful woman is a substantial amount of coffee."*

There are good coffee days and there are not good coffee days.  It has nothing to do with the taste of the brew, although a weak blend can try anyone's patience. 
Good coffee days lend themselves to only one cup for the day.  It's a satisfying place to be.  I don't leave my coffee mug on the roof of the car as I exit the driveway. Things get done all the way to 'finish.'  Co-workers don't intrude on your space and the microwave doesn't steam lunch into a gooey mess.  The good coffee days are when you read an article that supports one's own prejudices about the benefits of drinking coffee—things like coffee provides antioxidants, may help fight against dementia, Parkinson's disease and type 2 Diabetes.  Women in a recent Swedish study who drank at least a cup of coffee every day had a 25 percent lower risk of stroke, compared to those who drank less coffee or none at all.  One appreciates these articles, as they offset another recent article that said coffee consumption results in heightened anxiety, caffeine addiction, or (gulp!) dry skin. 
Good organic, fair trade coffee purchased out of a bin at the local natural foods store makes me feel virtuous and right in supporting the workers of the world.  Coffee made at home in my beloved coffeemaker is the best.  This cup of coffee has just the right amount of organic, brown sugar and organic soy milk.  It's just the right temperature, as I pour it into my favorite insulated mug—the one that says “A day without coffee is like a day without coffee.”  Ah, a good coffee day.  The sun is shining, my laundry is folded and that ex-best friend from high school's Facebook picture makes her look ten years older than she really is.
The bad coffee days result in that afternoon second cup of brew.  Things are piled high on the desk and everything gets recorded on sticky notes instead of lining up neatly on the To Do pad.  The phone sits silent until the exact moment when I decide to place a call on my cell phone.  Bad coffee days are cloudy times when co-workers never seem to be able to put the new roll of paper towels on the roller in the kitchen.  Perhaps, I should type out instructions?  The bad coffee days include the ones where I wake up, stumble out to the kitchen, open the cupboard only to find that my suddenly new coffee drinker in the house, age 17, has neglected to tell me that he used the last of the ground beans during a late night study session over Skype.  On these days, I could almost be convinced that coffee consumption might result in high cholesterol or a stroke, if I had the time to worry about it. I'm certain that coffee's co-dependent partners are pastries and cookies.  My body can't ingest one without the other.  It doesn't help that a co-worker's two-day-old birthday cake is in the break room.  The one she brought to share, but later confessed she couldn't resist the temptation if she was left home alone with it.  Right now, the cake is plotting with the coffee pot against my waistline. However, let's be clear.  Chocolate in any form, even on bad coffee days, does not count as sugar consumption among any women I know. 
Here's a picture of my desk.  Was this a bad coffee day or a good one?  If I hadn't spilled my coffee all over my desk, I wouldn't have a photo opportunity to include in this blog post.  I wouldn't have been able to rationalize buying a replacement latte from our local barista, nor would I have gotten out the spray furniture polish and cleaned my entire desk.  It's actually perspective.  It's really not about the coffee. 
*coffee quote from Stephanie Piro, a cartoonist for Six Chix, who draws and writes “Fair Game.”  Her latest book is "My Cat Loves Me Naked.”




Salon is hosting a coffee art contest with prizes from Bodum.

Photo by Scooter Vagabond




They Should Have Served That Cup of Coffee:  Seven Radical Remember the '60's, edited by Dick Cluster, published by South End Press.