What’s The Deal With Coffee?

This piece is loosely based on information, originally brought to public attention in 1997 via Stephen R. Braun’s 224-page book: Buzz: The Science and Lore of Alcohol and Caffeine.

First of all, know this: the human brain, and caffeine are not explained easily by modern science. When you are awake, brain neurons are shooting away rapidly, and as a byproduct they produce something called adenosine. When adenosine levels climb to a certain point in the spinal cord and brain, you will become sleepy. Out of the body’s adenosine receptors, caffeine interacts with the A1 receptor the most. Caffeine functions as an adenosine copycat.

So caffeine is not as simple as a direct stimulant, such as amphetamines; its effect on alertness is more subtle than that.
Caffeine can enhance work output for work which is straightforward and does not require lots of abstract and subtle thinking, in which, coffee has proved to help increase output and quality. In addition, caffeine has been seen to improve memory creation and retention when it comes to “declarative memory,” which what students use to remember lists or answers to questions on their exams.
When it comes to caffeine’s effect on your work, you will do better to think speed and not power.
The effectiveness of caffeine consumption varies significantly from person to person, because of genetic and other factors. The average half-life of caffeine is about five hours in a human body. Women taking oral birth control medication need about twice as long to process caffeine. Women whom are between the ovulation and beginning of their menstruation period see a similar, if less severe, extended half-life. And as one starts to take in caffeine regularly, the body and mind build develop a tolerance to it.

Solar Powered Coffee

Cup of JoeI’m in a solar mood today. I often am. I really think it’s the future of the energy market, because, when it comes down to it, everything is solar powered. The sun is the Earth’s only source of energy, ultimately speaking.

With that in mind, let’s turn to Waterbury, Vermont, where Green Mountain Coffee Roasters just completed the installation of a 572-panel solar array to power its coffee-producing operations. Altogether, the array provides 100 kilowatts of electricity to the plant. They are teamed up with Green Mountain Power, which has promised to install 10,000 panels in 1,000 days in the state of Vermont. I’ll be here counting and reporting.

“In addition to generating clean electricity for use in our facility, the array also demonstrates the feasibility of solar panels as a viable solution for producing power in Vermont,” said Paul Comey, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters’ vice president of environmental affairs, said Thursday.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters also offers its employees group discounts on solar power systems through a green benefits program with groSolar. They donate $1,000 toward an employee’s solar electric system, which also receives a $0.25 per watt installation discount. Now THIS is the kind of stuff we need to get off of foreign oil. If you’re going to pass a multibillion dollar stimulus, you might as well do it here and focus it in on this stuff.

And it seems this environmental company is getting place. Its most recent quarterly report had a 61 percent increase in revenue and 123 percent boost in profits. Wow. I might just buy some stock right now.

Printer Runs on Used Coffee Grinds, No Electricity

I can’t wait until this bad boy comes out. I’m getting my hands on one of these immediately. The thought of using old coffee and tea grinds to print my next paper gives a whole new meaning to the idea of coffee stains on your homework.

RITI PrinterThe RITI printer was invented by Korean Joen Hwan Ju, and has not yet made it to market, but word is now exploding about it. Here’s what you do: Drink a cup of coffee (not instant) and put the grinds into the ink cartridge on the top. (Drinking the coffee not required for printing.) Add some water. Move the cartridge back and forth with your hand, and watch as your document gets burned in very precisely-patterned coffee stains into a readable document with words on it. Take the cartridge out and wash it. You’re done.

You can also use tea schmutz. After an English breakfast, take your teabag, rip it open, pour the contents into the ink cartridge and do the same thing.

Advantages: Leftover coffee and tea is generally a bit cheaper than a $50 ink cartridge. No electricity means you get some forearm workout and save power. Finally, you paper smells like coffee and/or tea. Just make sure that whatever color fluid you’re using doesn’t smell too bad.

Disadvantages: It’s slow, so if you have to print up thousands of flyers, don’t use this unless you’ve got forearms of steel and about 3 weeks of free time to do nothing but move tea dregs back and forth.

Drinking Coffee Good For Bad Breath

This may seem to hard to believe, but recent scientific findings show that certain extract ingredients found in coffee beans are proving to have a positive effect on curing bad breath, by killing harmful bacteria in the mouth.

Professor Mel Rosenberg, at Israel’s Tel Aviv University, has been studying the effects of drinking coffee and has found that contrary to popular belief, drinking the brew from the seeds of the coffee plant, known as coffea Arabica, coffea canefora, and others, actually prohibit the bacteria from forming. This finding is contrary from most mouthwashes and other breath aids, which merely “mask” bad breath with various ingredients, including mint extract and eucalyptus oil.

Dr. Rosenberg, of the Sackler Faculty of Medicine at TAU, did say however that because many people drink coffee mixed with milk and other substances (sugar or sweeteners), it causes the entire drink to “ferment” into a smelly stuff that is conducive to bacteria growth. Prof. Rosenberg went on to say:

“The lesson we learned here is one of humility. We expected coffee would cause bad breath, but there is something inside this magic brew that has the opposite effect”.

While many Americans drink black percolated coffee, which fits in line with the positive findings of Prof. Rosenberg’s study, many do not; and brews such as Café au lait (Coffee and milk) Café Cappuccino which have milk in them won’t work for maintaining good breath. It looks like drinking standard coffee shop perked java or even Turkish coffee (without sugar) may be the best way to avail one’s self to the coffee bean’s bacteria fighting qualities.

Naturally, eating onions or garlic prior to work or social engagements should be avoided, as well as heavy foods that might cause one to belch.

Organic Coffee

Mmm… the scent of freshly brewed Coffee is so wonderful. Look at this friendly farmer from Hawaii, he has his own organic coffee and cocoa fields. What a life!

Now I feel like having a Super Great Cup of Coffee. 🙂

High Caffeine Consumption and Hallucinations

Caffeine up close
Image by eyeore2710 via Flickr

A psychology research in Durham University, UK, has discovered a link between high caffeine consumption and a higher tendency to experience hallucinations. It was conducted by a PhD student by the name of Simon Jones.

People who consume the equivalent of 7 cups of instant coffee a day, are 3 to 4 times more likely to see and hear things that aren’t there.

The finding is not causal, meaning we can’t tell whether a high dose of caffeine is directly causing hallucinations, or whether people who hallucinate more often are avid consumers of caffeine.

Are we going to see underground coffee parties any time soon? Coffee arrests? Will it ever be illegal to pump up our veins with caffeine, adrenalin and cortisol?

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