YeCup- A Smart Cup That'll Keep Your Coffee at the Right Temperature

Our Kickstarter of the Week column looks for the coolest new projects you can fund on sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, among others. We're always looking for projects to back because some of the most interesting products we've seen of late - like the Pebble smartwatch and the Oculus Rift - have come from small companies and not giant corporations. We're watching out for what comes next.

There's always a chance that a Kickstarter will not work out, even if it's fully funded, so you should always be aware of the risks involved, but even so, crowdfunding is one of the most interesting spaces in consumer technology today, and definitely worth checking out.

And it's only through crowdfunding that you'll find projects like the Yecup, a smart cup that we found on Indiegogo.

The Yecup is a really cool idea. You've probably seen cups that can be powered by your computer's USB port to keep your tea or coffee warm. That's pretty handy, but also fairly limited. Yecup takes that idea, and then improves it, in a number of different ways.

The first big improvement is that instead of tethering the cup (which looks more like a short thermos) to your PC to charge the heating element, the Yecup comes with a battery built in. This can be used to maintain the temperature of your drink, or even bring it to a boil if it's gone cold. And because the cup is battery powered, you can do this in your car, or anywhere in the house, without needing to be next to a USB port.

The Indiegogo page doesn't mention how big the battery is, but there's a full-size USB port at the base of the cup, and the company claims that you can use this to charge your phone twice.

The second cool improvement is that the Yecup connects to your phone using Bluetooth, so you can see the current temperature of your drink. Sounds fun, but a little pointless? Sure, but you can also use the app to set the temperature you want the drink to be at, set it to boil, or check the battery level of the cup. The cup also has a button you can press to warm the drink at any time.

This also means that you can get notifications, warning you when your coffee has gone cold, or letting you know that your tea has been heated and is ready to drink, or even warning you that the cup's battery is running low.

For some reason, you can also press a button on the cup to trigger the camera on your phone - great for taking selfies, according to Yecup's Indiegogo page. Some questionable choices aside, this sounds like a really cool project, and you can see more details in the video below:

On the first day of the campaign which started on Tuesday, Yecup has already raised over $10,000 (nearly Rs. 6.5 lakh) against a target of $40,000 (over Rs. 25 lakh), and the project will be accepting funding for 39 more days. To get a Yecup, you'll have to pledge $169 (a little over Rs. 10,000), and the expected worldwide delivery (with free shipping) is November 2015.


Is the plastic used in Keurig K-Cups safe?

People continue to think they are not.

From time to time we post here comments that are left on the Coffee Detective blog by their readers...

Jul 04, 2015
Polystyrene water reservoir toxic 
by: Anonymous 

I would suggest first looking at your coffee maker. Check the bottom of the water reservoir and see what is the recycle code listing. My Keurig coffee maker had a recycle code of 6 which is polystyrene and cannot be recycled. Worse than that it leaches toxic chemicals into the water reservoir ...especially when heated. I have since called Keurig and have replaced it with an old fashioned glass carafe and drip stainless steal filter. Great coffee ... no toxins!

Jun 25, 2015
Additional Waste - Do we really need that for the convenience of one cup coffee? 
by: Anonymous 

I can't help wondering what the long term effect will be to the world adding all these K-cups to our land fills. Don't we have enough to worry about without adding more and more issues. 


The Smart Reason We Waste Our Dollars On Coffee

We adore coffee, and we’ll pay more than we need to for it, even after a devastating recession that left permanent scars on our memories. That says something about our odd human nature, but also about where entrepreneurial opportunities lie ahead.

When the global economy began circling the drain in 2008, Starbucks began laying off employees and shuttering stores. Experts debated whether Starbucks could hang on much longer. “[H]onestly, I’m over it,” Dan Macsai wrote in BusinessWeek. “And apparently, so are you.” At the time, Starbucks had 15,000 stores in 44 countries, and Macsai expected to see rapid decline.

Today it has 21,000 locations in 65 countries. So never mind. Today, the lines at Starbucks and rival chains are clogged with customers ordering 17 mocha lattes and half-caff cappuccinos and venti frapps for themselves and their friends back at the office. Today, people risk missing connecting flights at airports because they gotta have their fix—freshly dispensed by a busy barista.

Let’s not be too harsh on the experts. It was logical, it was only reasonable, to assume that human beings are economic creatures who would cut back on needless purchases when money is tight and jobs are scarce. You can make decent coffee at home for 27 cents a cup—or Maxwell House for 8 cents in a pinch, according to one connoisseur.  So why pay $2 for a drip coffee or $4.50 for a cappuccino?

The Economist once described the popularity of bottled water as “one of capitalism’s greatest mysteries.” Consider coffee to be another one of them.

But while bottled water still strikes me a strange and wasteful concept, I do believe coffee shows us some important value judgments that we tend to make, even when cost is an issue.

Yes, buying a $4 espresso drink isn’t fiscally prudent, as financial gurus have been saying for years. “A savings calculator will tell you that such a once-a-day habit adds up to $133,000 over 30 years if the same amount was invested instead at a modest interest rate,” workplace psychologist Bill Dyment concedes. “That’s 25 safaris or nice trips to Europe, a very nice car or addition to one’s retirement.”

But Dyment is willing to point to other factors that make the long-term economic factor less relevant: “There is something emotionally or physically powerful going on for those who wouldn’t miss their daily $4 coffee,” Dyment tells me. “So what drives us? Is it simply the caffeine?  No, you can satisfy that craving for much less money at home. I think there’s more to the story: The $4 coffee is a pleasing brew of social ritual, self-reward, feeling valued by attentive servers and a welcome pause in a busy day.”

I’d add to that that humans are a peculiarly tribal people. When we pay a premium for a grande latte at Starbucks or the latest iGadget from Apple, we’re buying into a particular tribe or club. That gives us a daily experience and identity that can’t easily be quantified. (And rest assured, there will always be a rival tribe of cheapskates standing off to the side, taking pleasure in the act of judging us loudly.)

Joanne Weidman, a licensed marriage and family therapist in the Los Angeles area, knows a thing or two about money issues that can cause conflict within relationships. But she too sees a reality regarding the coffee craze: We all need a safe way to splurge. “Everyone has their splurge, their personal indulgence,” she tells me. “The 1% may splurge on cars, furs or vacations, but the 99% have theirs–the unnecessarily expensive hair salon, the top-shelf whiskey, the running shoes, the occasional massage –and coffee.

“Once the habit is developed,” she says, “then it’s about the comfort that comes with routine. Jobs may come and go, marriages end, friends get sick, but Starbucks always smells the same when I walk in the door.  That’s the brilliance of the luxury brand—it’s not about money, but meaning.”

It may surprise you (it frankly shocked me), but Americans actually consume far less coffee than we did a few generations ago. Jeremy Olshan noted in 2013 that, at our peak in 1946, we drank twice as much coffee as today (and most of it was inexpensive bland, brown water). Coffee declined in popularity as warnings arose about its unhealthful effects. But now coffee is widely seen as offering health benefits (despite the occasional spoilsport), and it’s brewed with a level of care unheard of in past generations. And it’s presented as an essential glue for human community.

“Personally, I remember well the rise of the modern American coffee craze,” Dyment tells me. “It was the early 1990s and I was a young professional on the road constantly.  Coffee shops seemed to be popping up everywhere overnight and just where you needed them. I felt like I had found a public living room where I could catch up with friends, a neutral place to hold business meetings. or take care of work calls and emails. It was perfect– clean, upbeat, hip and predictable–not as casual as my home but much more relaxing than my office. What’s more, it felt good to be there.  It didn’t take me long to realize that I wasn’t paying $4 for my coffee. I was renting the whole experience and basking in the feeling of importance in an often big, impersonal city.  I liked the experience of ordering from a pleasant barista who asked about my day and got my coffee quirks just right.”

So coffee indeed became the affordable luxury; and the cup itself remains merely a cover charge for the larger experience.

Yes, at some level it still seems crazy how many Americans continue to spend more than $1,000 a year on their coffee fix. It’s nuts how it’s a $30 billion (and growing) industry. It’s bizarre how mobs of people crowd coffee chains and then linger for 20 to 25 minutes while mixing the perfect amount of vanilla, nutmeg, half-and-half and Splenda into those drinks.

It doesn’t make sense at a rational level, but it makes perfect sense at an emotional level. It’s a very human source of delight. And, in this age of ongoing automation and downsizing and outsourcing, more and more of the business opportunities of the future will involve creating such rituals of delight.

SOURCE: forbes.com

Coffee’s Next Generation of Roasters

After the success of once-scrappy roasters, such as California’s Blue Bottle and Portland’s Stumptown, a new generation of small shops is reshaping America’s coffee obsession

ABOUT 15 YEARS AGO, a handful of small-time roasters set out to revolutionize their industry by approaching a cup of coffee with a chef’s reverence for ingredients and a bartender’s flair for presentation. They pioneered a direct-trade system, sourcing beans straight from farms around the world. Thanks to their efforts, America fell in love with flavorful, fragrant single-origin coffees and expertly crafted cappuccinos made with milk so creamy and sweet that sugar became unnecessary.

Those once-scrappy roasters—Blue Bottle, Counter Culture, Intelligentsia and Stumptown—have now grown from regional companies with cult followings to national players with global profiles. In 2014, Google Ventures, Morgan Stanley and other investors raised $26 million for Blue Bottle. When the company opened in Tokyo earlier this year, there was a three-hour, Apple Store–like wait to get in the door. Stumptown, meanwhile, is now sold at the Moda Center, home of the Portland Trail Blazers.

But as these purveyors grow into mature, influential organizations, the next class of innovators is surfacing. Populated by veterans of those first pioneering brands, this new guard isn’t reinventing coffee so much as continuing a transformation already underway. Small, creative and hyperlocal, they’re sourcing even more adventurously and sustainably, importing the best beans from the farthest corners of the earth. And they’re opening in ever-smaller cities, turning America’s long-brewing revolution into a full-blown indie coffee diaspora.

In Miami—a place not especially known for its coffee geekery—hipsters line up at Panther Coffee, founded in 2010 by Leticia and Joel Pollock (a Stumptown alum), for a taste of beans sourced from Finca Kilimanjaro, an experimental farm in El Salvador run by Aida Batlle, a fifth-generation farmer acclaimed for her ecologically aware practices. Kathleen Pratt, co-founder of Tandem Coffee Roasters in Portland, Maine, started as a barista at Blue Bottle in San Francisco and eventually opened the company’s large roasting facility and coffee shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. In 2012, Pratt and her husband, Will (who had been a Blue Bottle roaster), decamped to Maine; they launched Tandem five months later in the former office of a scrap-metal yard. “We wanted it to feel like you’re walking into our home,” says Pratt, who learned at Blue Bottle “how important it is to create an overall experience.” In addition to beans sourced from Rutsiro, Rwanda, Nyeri, Kenya, and Caldono, Colombia, Tandem offers free tasting sessions each Friday to demystify its coffees’ flavors and scents and allow customers to watch the roasting process. Last year, the Pratts opened a second shop in a converted mid-century gas station, adding a bakery. Now Tandem sells about 900 pounds of coffee per week.

A return to intimate spaces and individualized attention is a distinguishing feature of coffee’s newest all-stars. In Williamsburg, Dillon Edwards—formerly of Blue Bottle and Stumptown—opened Parlor Coffee in 2012 in the back of a barbershop. It was one of the tiniest coffee bars in the city at the time, just a single barista behind a Speedster espresso machine, and its quaint atmosphere stood in stark contrast to the jam-packed rush-hour scenes at the city’s Stumptown and Blue Bottle outposts. Last year, Edwards became a fully operational roaster, and Parlor is now selling beans to larger destinations like Williamsburg’s Wythe Hotel and Greenpoint’s Propeller cafe.

One factor driving the proliferation of independent cafes and roasters is that it’s never been easier to source obscure, overlooked coffees. The supply chains that established coffee importers spent years creating—and, in many cases, jealously guarding—are now accessible to small buyers with good taste. And a group of influential wholesale roasters is supplying high-end beans to neighborhood cafes (and even selling directly to customers online). At various coffee shops in Portage County, Wisconsin, you can now find beans hailing from Gitesi—a well-respected washing station in Rwanda, where the coffee seed is removed from its skin and dried—by way of Ruby Coffee Roasters, a local outfit started by former Intelligentsia roaster Jared Linzmeier.

But the past year’s most anticipated opening was Supersonic Coffee in Berkeley, California. The first roasting company in the U.S. to buy from Nordic Approach, a renowned Norway-based importer that sources only high-quality “green” coffees, Supersonic will light-roast in the so-called Scandinavian style used by groundbreaking roasters in Northern Europe. “We wanted to look five years ahead,” says John Laird, one of Supersonic’s founders, “and do something that would feel fresh down the line.”


Panther has two locations in Miami: an airy shop in Wynwood (2390 NW 2nd Ave.) and one in a converted garage in Sunset Harbour (1875 Purdy Ave.), which feels more like a local bar. panthercoffee.com


The coffee bar in the back of Brooklyn barbershop Persons of Interest (84 Havemeyer St.) is one of the most stylish in the city; the roastery and tasting room are open to the public on Sundays. parlorcoffee.com


Supersonic will soon open a shop adjacent to its roasting facility in Berkeley, California (2322 Fifth St.); until then, they’re serving out of a 1965 Airstream trailer in the parking lot.


The Portland, Maine–based company has a tiny coffee bar at its roasting facility (122 Anderson St.) and a new bakery (742 Congress St.) in a 1960s gas station in West End. tandemcoffee.com

SOURCE: wsj.com 

Saving coffee from extinction

sky reflected in a cup of Ethiopian coffee
Photo: Jenny Williams/RBG Kew

Two billion cups of coffee are drunk around the world every day and 25 million families rely on growing coffee for a living. Over the past 15 years, consumption of the drink has risen by 43% - but researchers are warning that the world's most popular coffee, Arabica, is under threat.
Although there are 124 known species of coffee, most of the coffee that's grown comes from just two - Arabica and Robusta.

Robusta makes up about 30% of global coffee production, and is mainly used for instant coffee. As the name implies, it is a strong plant - but for many, its taste cannot compare to the smooth and complex flavours of Arabica.

It is Arabica that drives the industry and accounts for the majority of coffee grown worldwide, but it is a more fragile plant and only tolerates a narrow band of environmental conditions. It is particularly sensitive to changes in temperature and rainfall.

In 2012, research by a team from the UK's Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, revealed a bleak picture for wild coffee in Ethiopia, where Arabica originated. They did a computer modelling exercise to predict how environmental changes would affect Arabica for the rest of the century. They forecast that the number of locations where wild Arabica coffee grows could decrease by 85% by 2080 - the worst-case outcome was a 99.7% reduction.

Dry coffee leaves
Coffee leaves feeling the heat Photo: Jenny Williams/RBG Kew

"If we don't do anything now and over the next 20 years, by end of the century, wild Arabica in Ethiopia could be extinct - that's in the worst-case scenario," says Dr Aaron Davis, head of coffee research at Kew, who led the project.

The report made headlines around the world and spurred the industry into action. Since then, the team from Kew and their partners in Ethiopia have covered 25,000km in Ethiopia, visiting coffee producing areas to compare their predictions with what is happening in reality. "It's important to see what's happening on the ground, observing what influence climate change is having on coffee now, and talking to farmers. They can tell us what has happened, sometimes taking us back many decades, with several generations of farmers involved," says Davis.

Coffee fruit
Ripe red coffee cherries, ready for harvest. Photo: Jenny Williams/RBG Kew

Read the rest of the article at bbc.com

Artsy coffee chain Blue Bottle brews long queues in Tokyo

In this April 27, 2015 photo,  Michael Lin, 35, right, and Emily Chiu, 33, left, both travelers from Taipei, speak during an interview at a coffee shop of Blue Bottle Coffee Inc., in Tokyo. Japan, famous for green tea, is welcoming artisanal American coffee roaster Blue Bottle with long lines that have at times meant a four-hour wait for a cup. (AP Photo / Shuji Kajiyama)

In this April 27, 2015 photo, Michael Lin, 35, right, and Emily Chiu, 33, left, both travelers from Taipei, speak during an interview at a coffee shop of Blue Bottle Coffee Inc., in Tokyo. Japan, famous for green tea, is welcoming artisanal American coffee roaster Blue Bottle with long lines that have at times meant a four-hour wait for a cup. (AP Photo / Shuji Kajiyama)

TOKYO (AP) - Japan, famous for green tea, is welcoming artisanal American coffee roaster Blue Bottle with long lines that have at times meant a four-hour wait for a cup.

The company, which began in Oakland, California in 2002, hopes its early popularity is more than a passing fad. Japan's consumer culture is littered with manias for Western food imports: pancakes, popcorn, doughnuts, even Taco Bell.

Success in Japan is important for Blue Bottle, which operates 17 cafes in the San Francisco Bay area, New York and Los Angeles. Japan is its first foray outside of the U.S. Blue Bottle raised nearly $26 million last year to invest in expansion, including financing from Silicon Valley executives, setting the stage for a test of whether an artsy gourmet coffee chain can go big.

Founder James Freeman, a musician, was inspired by Japan's old-style "kissaten" coffee-shops: tiny dimly-lit establishments, with good music and a barista behind a wooden counter. Think places for quiet serious thinking and real drip coffee, not sweet, frivolous drinks.

"We care about every part of the coffee. We call it from seed to cup," said Saki Igawa, the business operations manager for Blue Bottle in Japan.

Attention to detail that dovetails with aspects of Japanese culture accounts for part of the coffee chain's early popularity. The spread of Starbucks internationally, which has created a cookie-cutter coffee culture that some people want to trade up from, is another factor. Blue Bottle is also benefiting from the image problems in Japan of fast food chains and highly processed foods.

"It's a new era in eating out," said food industry consultant Jotaro Fujii who contends that Blue Bottle's arrival and the decline of McDonald's in Japan is part of a bigger trend of consumer interest in the safety and quality of the entire food supply chain.

McDonald's is suffering declining popularity in Japan, a problem exacerbated after plastic pieces, and even a tooth, was found in its food last year, setting off outrage among consumers.

Upscale burger chain Shake Shack, which started as a hot dog stand in New York, is expected to arrive in Japan soon, said Fujii.

Such chains, including Blue Bottle, are likely to aim for 50 or at most 100 outlets in Japan, not the thousands that fast-food eateries, such as McDonald's, has achieved here, he said.

Instead, they will focus on fortifying a brand image, which can lead to other kinds of lucrative businesses.

Although the prevalent image of Japan might be tea, it has long had plenty of affection for coffee.

Starbucks has been a hit since arriving in 1995. It now has more than 1,000 shops in Japan. Not a single prefecture (state) is without a Starbucks with one opening in holdout Tottori Prefecture this month - not surprisingly, welcomed with long lines.

Even convenience stores are serving freshly brewed coffee. Japan also invented "manga-kissa," or a cafe-cum-library, where you can curl up with a comic book and sip on coffee for hours.

Such newcomers have hammered the once omnipresent kissaten. Their numbers have dropped by half from the 1980s, or to 77,000 in 2009, according to a Japanese government study.

But Blue Bottle's popularity is part of a rediscovery of cafes serving carefully prepared, quality coffee, a trend already long evident in the U.S.

Blue Bottle's first Japan shop, which has a roaster, is in Kiyosumi, an older part of Tokyo, chosen because it reminded Freeman, the founder, of Oakland. It opened in February. The second shop, in a backstreet of Tokyo's fashionable Omotesando, opened in March.

A third, likely opening later this year in Tokyo's Daikanyama shopping area, will feature a menu that reflects Blue Bottle's recent acquisition of San Francisco-based Tartine Bakery, which serves croissants, sandwiches and pastries.

Blends such as "Giant Steps," combining African and Indonesian-grown beans for a chocolate taste, sell for 450 yen ($3.75) a cup. A latte costs 520 yen ($4.30).

On a recent day, the Blue Bottle shop in Kiyosumi, Tokyo, was filled with sunlight pouring through huge windows, the hum of a giant roaster, the fragrant aroma of fresh coffee and a crowd of people.

Takuya Nakagawa, a 39-year-old hairdresser, who came all the way from rural Toyama Prefecture (state), was impressed with the coffee's taste and the store's stylish stark decor. He bought granola and coffee beans as souvenir gifts.

"I just love the taste," he said. "This kind of place doesn't exist in Toyama."

True to its inspiration, Blue Bottle is learning from Japan, said Andrew Smith, 29, of San Francisco, a barista and one of three Americans who came to work for the chain in Japan.

"People here have different ways of conceptualizing about coffee so they taste things differently," Smith said.

"They are looking for different kinds of things in coffee. And that is a fun way to learn how everyone in the world perceives coffee differently."

SOURCE: Philly.com

Literally & Figuratively Coffee Keeps You Up!

Couple Of Cups Of Coffee A Day May Keep Erectile Dysfunction Away

Coffee may offer more of a "lift" than thought; men suffering from erectile dysfunction linked to obesity or hypertension may get some help with their problem from a few cups of coffee day, a study indicates.

Men who consume two or three cups of coffee, and its caffeine, each day are less prone to erectile dysfunction (ED) than counterparts who consume little or no caffeine, researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston found.

The study found an association between caffeine intake and lowered incidence but could not prove a direct cause and effect, the researchers acknowledge.

Still, they point out, caffeine is known to be beneficial to heart health in some ways, including blood vessel circulation, and erectile function -- as well as dysfunction -- is linked to blood flow and therefore cardiovascular health.

Caffeine's effect on ED is likely due to its ability to relax and open arteries, improving blood flow to the penis, the researchers suggest.

In the study involving 3,724 men who were surveyed on their health and lifestyle -- diets, exercise, consumption of caffeine and alcohol -- those who drank 85 to 170 milligrams of caffeine daily were 42 percent less likely to have issues with ED, the researchers found.

The effect of caffeine in reducing erectile dysfunction was readily apparent in men who were overweight, obese or who had high blood pressure; however, men with diabetes experienced no similar improvement, they report.

"Diabetes is one of the strongest risk factors for ED, so this was not surprising," says Dr. David Lopez, lead author of the study and an assistant professor at the university's health center.

"Even though we saw a reduction in the prevalence of erectile dysfunction with men who were obese, overweight and hypertensive, that was not true of men with diabetes," he says.

Erectile dysfunction affects around 44 percent of men over the age of 40, and by age 70 that rate reaches 70 percent. In total, ED affects around 30 million men in America, figures from the National Institutes of Health show.

Coffee is not the only possible source of caffeine in diet, the researchers note, as it is also found in tea, soda and some sports drinks.

The study findings are in line with previous research about the health benefits of reasonable levels of caffeine consumption, one expert says.

"These findings also support the latest U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee position that drinking three to five cups a day reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease; two conditions that are well established as significant risk factors for erectile dysfunction," says Dr. Natan Bar-Chama, director of Male Reproductive Medicine at New York City's Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

SOURCE: TechTimes


Your Keurig Is Basically One Humongous Bacteria Colony


According to lab tests, harmful bacteria is coming out of Keurig machines. And while much everything has bacteria crawling on it, the bummer here is which bacteria the CBS affiliates in Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Dallas discovered in several dozen machines.

Essentially, Keurigs could enjoy a second life of culturing microbes if they wanted: Lab results showed lots of E. coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterobacter, as well as others commonly found on human hands, like staph and strep. Enterobacter is a "below the belt" coliform bacteria, an infectious disease specialist told the Dallas station, meaning it comes from the colon. Keurig says any time a machine isn't used for several days, it needs "several cleansing brews." Duly noted.

Coffee antioxidants found to be 500 times more effective than Vitamin C

The components of coffee beans that are typically discarded are 500 times higher in antioxidant activity than vitamin C and serve as powerful prebiotics and antimicrobials, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Granada that was published in the journal Food Science and Technology.

The byproducts of roasting coffee beans and brewing coffee amount to more than 2 billion metric tons each year. These byproducts include the silverskin -- the outer layer of the bean, which is removed after drying -- and the coffee grounds, which are generally discarded after brewing.

In the new study, the researchers sought to determine whether these "waste" products might have any nutritional uses.

Powerful antioxidants, immune boosters

Coffee grounds are already used for several purposes, albeit mainly on the small scale. They can be used as fertilizers for certain soils as well as for homemade exfoliants or abrasive cleaners. Nevertheless, nearly all coffee grounds are disposed of in landfills, and nearly all silverskins are also treated as waste.

The new study found that coffee grounds and silverskins are remarkably high in fiber and phenolic compounds with both antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. The coffee grounds alone have 500 times more antioxidant power than vitamin C.

"They also contain high levels of melanoidins, which are produced during the roasting process and give coffee its brown color," lead researcher Jose Angel Rufian Henares said.

Melanoidins are powerful antimicrobials.

"The biological properties of these melanoidins could be harnessed for a range of practical applications, such as preventing harmful pathogens from growing in food products," Rufian Henares said.

Coffee grounds and silverskins are not edible, so their potential likely lies in finding a way to extract the antioxidants found in them and adding them to other foods. This might be essential for the prebiotic potential found in the coffee byproducts because melanoidins are so antimicrobial that they would counter these prebiotic effects.

"If we are to harness the beneficial prebiotic effects of the coffee by-products, first of all we need to remove the melanoidins," Rufian Henares said.

The researchers also found that including sugar during the roasting of coffee beans increased both the antimicrobial and antioxidant activity of the "waste" products without reducing prebiotic activity.

The Spanish Ministry of Economics and Finance has allocated more resources to the researchers to continue their studies. The scientists hope to find way to recycle coffee byproducts as food ingredients, thereby boosting the nutrient content of foods while reducing the environmental impact of the coffee industry.

Coffee benefits without the risks?

The study is significant, partly because it suggests that people might be able to reap some of the health benefits of coffee consumption without actually drinking the caffeinated beverage. This is especially important for people concerned that caffeine consumption might cause or worsen a condition known as adrenal fatigue.

Adrenal fatigue refers to a cluster of fatigue-related symptoms said to be caused by overstressed, poorly responsive adrenal glands. In addition to directly reducing people's quality of life, adrenal fatigue is also believed to threaten their long-term health.

"The hormones produced by your adrenal glands, particularly the stress hormone cortisol, play an important role in regulating your immune system," writes The Adrenal Fatigue Solution author and wellness coach Fawne Hansen at Adrenalfatiguesolution.com. "If your cortisol levels go too low or too high, this can lead to regular infections, chronic inflammation, autoimmune diseases or allergies."

The term "adrenal fatigue" was coined in 1998 by chiropractor and naturopath James M. Wilson. Wilson notes that people suffering from adrenal fatigue might need to rely on coffee to get out of bed in the morning, but he does not suggest that caffeinated beverages can cause the condition. However, other writers such as Hansen warn that the adrenal glands can be stressed by constant caffeine consumption, thereby inducing adrenal fatigue.

SOURCE: naturalnews.com


Roasting coffee ... by bike!

Alex Roth delivers his coffee roasted by bike by bike,

Davis is one of America's best bike cities. Bikes are everywhere. That may be why Alex Roth rides an old Schwinn for a living. He's the "Pepper Peddler."

Roth used to roast peppers and never changed the company name. On his rickety stationary bike, with the assist of propane, Roth pedal-powers a giant steel drum. Inside, coffee beans roast. A low cost, environmentally friendly way to run a coffee business.

How Davis is this?

Roth described his roasting drum as a "glorified dryer. Clothes dryer, basically. Tumbling the coffee in there."

Roth has been peddling coffee behind an industrial warehouse for eight years. He sublets a small space from a bakery to save money.

Tuesday is roasting night. For three hours Roth will pedal 200 pounds of raw green beans into various roasts ready to grind. Thursday is delivery day to homes and businesses in Davis. Sacramento too. By train.

"I take AMTRAK out to Sac for deliveries and bike from there and continually bump into people who know about the product and that's one of the most rewarding things," Roth said.

The Pepper Peddler - coffee peddler - rides the train to Sacramento with his bike and puts in another 15-20 miles delivering his Peruvian La Florida blend in Mason jars.

He'd love to expand from the back of a bakery into, say, San Francisco and Palo Alto. Coffee lovers seem to be drawn to the unique way the coffee is roasted and delivered by bike.

"I do limited shipping, that's mainly like my mom and some family members, and what not," Roth said.

He keeps it basic. More of a passion than a way to get rich, but the chemistry major from UC Davis is riding a unique way to stand out in a crowded coffee world.


The Space Station Gets A Coffee Bar

Italian astronaut Samantha Christoforetti sees the sun rise every 90 minutes on the International Space Station. But she can't get a decent cup of coffee to go with the view.

In space, all they have is instant.

"For an instant coffee, it's an excellent instant coffee," says Vickie Kloeris, who manages the space station's food supply for NASA. Astronauts are allotted up to three freeze-dried cups (pouches, actually) a day, and Kloeris says it's "extremely popular."

But, she adds, "can it compete with brewed espresso? No."

And that is a problem, particularly for the Italian astronauts that occasionally come to the station. In 2013, Luca Parmitano reportedly said the only food he missed from Earth was espresso coffee.

Now a resupply mission with a space-aged espresso maker is coming to the rescue of Italy's current astronaut aboard the space station, Samantha Cristoforetti.

The machine was designed by Argotec, an Aerospace company based in Torino, Italy, together with the Italian coffee company Lavazza.

It's called ISSpresso.

"I-S-S for the International Space Station," says David Avino, Argotec's managing director. "'Presso' like the espresso."

The ISSpresso is a box about the size of a microwave. You put in a pouch of water, add a little capsule of espresso and press the button marked "brew." The espresso comes out in a second pouch. (Avino says the Italians are still trying to develop a little cup that will work in zero-Gs.)

As The Salt has reported previously, this is an experimental machine. Nobody's sure how all coffee and steam will behave in zero gravity, and they've had to take extra safety measures, including steel tubing and lots of sensors. Avino says he's confident hot espresso won't squirt into the cabin.

Assuming it works, Italian astronaut Cristoforetti will probably get the first shot, but Avino says the machine is for everyone.

"Everybody can join and can also be happy getting an espresso coffee," Avino says. "And this will be also a great occasion, you know, to all meet together and [have] a coffee all together on the station."

It's perfect for the astronauts, but NASA's Vickie Kloeris is anxious. "Each cup has an individual capsule that has to be packaged separately. So there's a lot of trash and a lot of volume involved in it," she says. Getting things in and out of space is expensive, and Kloeris says NASA managers are still trying to figure out how to deal with all those finicky plastic pods.

Assuming it works, she thinks the astronauts will soon be needing more: the machine comes with just 20-30 coffee capsules.

"We'll see how it goes," she says. "If it's successful, then we'll have to figure out how we're going to resupply it."



How to make Coffee cubes

Picture of Coffee Cubes

In this instructable I will show you how to simplify your coffee routine with coffee cubes. We've all been in a hurry, fixed a cup of coffee and then experienced the agony of not being able to drink it because it is too hot. I'm going to show you how to keep your coffee at the perfect temperature (hot or cold) without sacrificing the integrity of your coffee's flavor with watery ice cubes. Let's get started!

-A pot of room temperature coffee. I used Mexican Chiapas. (Yum)
-Your favorite creamer or flavor shot
-Ice cube tray

That's it. You should have all these things on hand if you are a coffee drinker and use ice.

Step 1.

Brew your coffee and wait for it to cool down. It doesn't have to be room temperature, but I find that burns are less likely if it is cooler.

This is where your personal preferences come into play. Typically people drink coffee in three basic ways.
1.Coffee with cream and sugar=cold coffee and creamer mixed together
2.Black coffee with flavor shot=cold coffee and a flavor shot
3. Black=cold coffee

I've done all three because sometimes you want cold coffee and sometimes you don't. The great thing about these cubes is that as they melt they only add flavor and more coffee to your cup. 

Now that you have your mixed liquids just pour them into the ice tray.

Now that they are done you can use them how you want. If you are in a hurry and want to cool your coffee from scalding to drinkable in seconds pop in a couple of coffee cubes and you're ready to go. Want to make sure that your ice coffee ratio stays all coffee and no water to ensure that sweet coffee goodness hits your tongue then pop in a couple of coffee cubes. You will no longer have to burn your tongue or water down your coffee. It's cheap. It's easy. It's perfect. I hope you enjoy.

SOURCE: Instructables 

How to keep your coffee healthy

Your morning coffee may give you the energy to start your day, but did you also know that daily coffee habit is good for your health, especially your cardiovascular health?

The coffee plant and its beans are chock full of thousands of chemicals and polyphenol antioxidants, vitamins, bioflavonoids, and minerals that promote heart health and help to neutralize the effect of naturally occurring caffeine.

Drinking a moderate amount of coffee each day—one to five cups—can help you avoid clogged arteries. The plaque that forms in arteries consists of calcium deposits that contribute to hardening of the arteries, and is a big predictor of heart disease and risk for heart attack.

According to several studies, coffee appears to have a protective effect on the heart itself. Drinking over four cups coffee per day can reduce your chances of being hospitalized for heart rhythm problems by 18%. Another study found that drinking coffee might take some strain off your heart by triggering a 30% increase in blood flow in the small blood vessels.

Coffee’s effect on other conditions

There is more good news for coffee drinkers. A February 2015 report from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee addressed coffee consumption. Based on several studies and meta-analyses, they noted that there is strong evidence showing that drinking three to five cups of coffee per day (or up to 400 mg of caffeine per day) is not associated with an increased risk for long-term health problems in healthy people.

They also noted that drinking coffee with about 400 mg of caffeine might even lower a person’s risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease. One cup of coffee usually contains about 100 mg of caffeine.

Other chronic conditions that coffee may reduce your risk for include the following:

Melanoma and other skin cancer
Multiple sclerosis (drinking four to six cups per day)
Dementia and mild cognitive impairment
Parkinson’s disease
In addition, research that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that coffee consumption can lower a person’s risk for premature death. The more coffee people drank the lower their risk of death became. That includes deaths from heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, diabetes, infections, and injuries.

Other benefits to coffee and caffeine include helping with alertness, boosting metabolism (especially if consumed before exercise), and reducing risk of injuries.

How to get the most benefits from your coffee

Coffee is best when your drink it black. When you add milk, creamer, nondairy creamer, flavors, sugar, and artificial sweeteners you are potentially hurting your health and reducing the therapeutic benefits. To get the most health benefits from your coffee skip the add-ins. If you really need to doctor up your coffee, try coconut milk.

If you want to reduce hunger cravings, do what my grandparents used to do and put some butter in your coffee. Butter has healthy fats and is rich in fat-soluble vitamins, which all helps signal your brain you’ve had some nutrition and you’re full.

The color of your coffee makes a difference too. Choose darker roasts, which typically have more neuroprotective agents and can help restore antioxidant levels (vitamin E and glutathione) than unroasted green and lightly roasted coffees. Darker roasts also have been shown to have significantly better weight-loss results in obese coffee drinkers.

Going green

Whenever possible, buy certified organic coffee. Coffee beans are heavily sprayed with pesticides. Purchasing sustainable “shade-grown” coffee also helps protect the planet, rainforests, and all the birds and animals that live there, all while protecting your body from harmful pesticides.

These Dissolving Coffee Pods Are The Anti-Keurig


A minimally designed new coffee maker from Singapore-based designer Eason Chow fixes one of the biggest problem with single-serving coffee machines, like Keurig: their plastic coffee pods are incredibly wasteful. Chow's Droops Coffee Maker—unfortunately just a concept at this point—uses coffee pods covered in sugar, which dissolve as hot water pours through the pod. His pods come in various shapes and sizes to include different coffee flavors and to adjust the amount of sugar to the drinker's liking. Chow said he was inspired by sugar-coated candy from his childhood, which would reveal different flavors as the layers dissolved.

Chow's design is brilliantly simple: the three-part machine is stacked on a heating base. On top of that, you have a metal water container and a pump. When all three are stacked, they complete a circuit, allowing the product to function without any additional wiring or controls, aside from an on/off button on the front.
Chow says that the aesthetic of the machine was as important to him as the function. Most coffee machines, he told Co.Design "neglect the importance of their appearance and of social responsibility." Droops seems like a smart alternative for all the Keurig-crazed consumers out there—as long as they can handle a little sugar.

Coffee Flour a by-product of java production that can be used for cooking and baking will soon be available

Perk up, java lovers. Coffee Flour is coming your way.

The light-brown processing by-product is set to jolt caffeinated cooks with its earthy, dark, fruity flavor lending itself to baking, cooking and even chocolate-making, according to its purveyors.

Coffee Flour will make its debut Monday at two TED2015 conferences in Canada, and should be available in New York later this year.

Dan Belliveau and Andrew Fedak are on track to produce 1.2 million pounds of the buzzy product this year — 900,000 more pounds than they made in 2014.

The coffee they grind every day comes from a cherry-red berry, the interior of which is a bean and an inedible pulp. The bean gets processed into coffee, and the pulp gets discarded or turned into fertilizer — until now.

Belliveau, who was fired from Starbucks for wanting to change facility operations, came up with the idea after realizing how much waste coffee production creates.

“If you try to take all the pulp from a harvest and put it in a field, it’s too much, you can’t,” Belliveau told the Daily News. “The pulp is not a great fertilizer, although it can be a really great part of it.”

The farmers — in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico and Vietnam — aren’t tasked with any extra work either. They take their crop to the mills for processing and get 3 cents for every pound that’s turned into flour. That’s on top of the 5-to-10-cent take-home they tend to get for every pound of coffee.

Belliveau hopes to leave 50% of the product in origin countries so that their citizens can benefit from its nutritional and financial potentials.

The flour’s nutritional stats read like a dietitian’s dream. Coffee flour has more fiber than whole-grain flour, more protein than kale, more potassium than a banana and more iron than spinach — and it’s gluten-free, to boot.

But how does it taste? According to one James Beard-winning chef, pretty darn good.

“Coffee flour brightens the flavor of existing ingredients, much like a vinegar or fat,” says Seattle chef Jason Wilson, who called it “a breakthrough.”

And despite the name, it won’t give you the shakes. The amount of caffeine in a typical coffee flour recipe is just 12% to 15% of that of a cup of coffee.

But some fear the flour rips off farmers who use it as fertilizer.

“Buying up the pulp and exporting it as flour is another way of extracting wealth from us so that people in rich countries can have another fancy product,” one Salvadoran farmer told The Guardian.

Belliveau was quick to back his brand.

“We’re interacting with farmers to ensure there’s a revenue stream that gets back to them,” he said.

The Fair Trade USA Council, which certifies businesses that pay farmers fairly, told The News that Coffee Flour has not yet approached the council, but “it is something we would be open to exploring.”

SOURCE: NY Daily News 


Here’s How Much You’d Save by Dumping K-Cups for Traditional Brewed Coffee


The inventor of K-Cups says he regrets coming up with the idea and doesn't even own a K-Cup machine.

This week, the Atlantic ran a story in which John Sylvan, inventor of the K-Cup—the single-serve coffee pods that are increasingly taking over home and office counter space—dropped a bombshell. “I don’t have one. They’re kind of expensive to use,” Sylvan said of the K-Cup system he created. “Plus it’s not like drip coffee is tough to make.”

This isn’t exactly like Henry Ford saying that he prefers bicycles to cars, or Steve Jobs praising the cost-effectiveness of a rotary phone over an iPhone, but it’s sorta in the same ballpark.

Sylvan acknowledged that he feels “bad sometimes” about creating the K-Cup, which he likened to “a cigarette for coffee, a single-serve delivery mechanism for an addictive substance.” Also, the proliferation of coffee pods—which are mostly unrecyclable, and which take up more and more space in landfills thanks to America’s ever-growing love affair with coffee—have raised serious environmental concerns as they’ve increased in popularity. Quartz declared them “the most wasteful form of coffee” on the planet.

For now, though, let’s focus strictly on the household economics of single-pod coffee brewers. To what degree are they “kind of expensive” compared with regular coffee makers?

First, there’s the cost of the machine. Recently, marketing professor Eric Anderson at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management noted that in 2002, the average coffee maker cost $35. Today it’s still easy to find a basic coffee maker for that price, or even $20 or $25. By 2013, however, the average coffee maker purchase price hit around $90, partly due to the spread of pricey single-pod brewers from Keurig (the K in K-Cups), Nespresso, and others. At Bed Bath and Beyond, the least expensive Keurig coffee maker is $100, which seems fairly typical.

But that’s only a small factor in how much more K-Cups cost compared with brewing traditional drip coffee. The Atlantic story estimates that the tiny amount of coffee used in each K-Cup winds up costing the equivalent of $40 per pound. That’s easily three times the price of a pound of ground or whole bean Starbucks coffee.

How much more money, then, does a household spend by using K-Cups? The answer depends on several factors, including how much coffee you drink and what kind, and how carefully you shop for deals on coffee makers and the coffee itself. Over the years, various penny-pinching individuals have done the math on the subject, and the breakdown usually shows that K-Cups cost two or three times more per cup compared with traditionally brewed coffee.

One fairly typical analysis, comparing Caribou brand K-Cups versus ground coffee, showed that the per-cup cost was 66¢ versus 28¢, respectively. If you make three cups a day, 365 days a year, that adds up to around $723 spent on K-Cups, versus $307 for regular coffee brewers. So you’d easily save $400 a year by going the old-fashioned route—which, again, Sylvan points out accurately, ain’t exactly hard to handle.

For an idea of how much your household specifically would save—or, on the flip side, how much you’re paying for the convenience of K-Cups—check out the coffee maker calculator one economist created a couple years back. Enter a few data points into the Excel calculator, including how many cups of coffee you brew per week, the cost of coffee machines you’re considering, how much you typically spend on coffee, and even how much of the coffee pot you usually wind up pouring down the drain, and it’ll spit out the per-cup price breakdowns. We entered several different scenarios, and K-Cups were at least twice as expensive in all cases.

If the majority of your coffee does come brewed via K-Cup, at least you can take solace in the fact that you’re not hitting Starbucks or another coffee shop several times a day. Compared to that, your K-Cup habit will seem downright cheap.


The abominable k-cup coffee pod environment problem

A Brewing Problem
What's the healthiest way to keep everyone caffeinated?

“I don't have one. They're kind of expensive to use,” John Sylvan told me frankly, of Keurig K-Cups, the single-serve brewing pods that have fundamentally changed the coffee experience in recent years. “Plus it’s not like drip coffee is tough to make.” Which would seem like a pretty banal sentiment, were Sylvan not the inventor of the K-Cup.

Almost one in three American homes now has a pod-based coffee machine, even though Sylvan never imagined they would be used outside of offices. Last year K-Cups accounted for most of Keurig Green Mountain’s $4.7 billion in revenue—more than five times what the company made five years prior. So even though he gets treated like a minor celebrity when he tells people he founded Keurig, Sylvan has some regrets about selling his share of the company in 1997 for $50,000. But that’s not what really upsets him.

In 2010, journalist and caffeine aficionado Murray Carpenter visited the Keurig facilities in Waterbury, Vermont, reporting for The New York Times that the K-Cup idea posed environmental concerns, as the pods were not recyclable or biodegradable. It was that same year that the Keurig model seemed to take off, doubling in sales. In a 2011 local-boys-make-it-big story in Boston magazine, Eric Anderson, a professor of marketing at Northwestern University, likewise noted that the coffee machines could invite significant backlash because they “generate a ton of plastic waste.”

At the time of Carpenter's visit, Keurig was on pace to sell three million K-Cups. So to say that growth has been good since then is understatement; last year they topped 9 billion. But today the cups are still not recyclable or biodegradable. And they only stand to become rapidly more ubiquitous. Later this year, in partnership with Coca-Cola, the company will release a machine called “Keurig Cold” that will “introduce Coca-Cola’s global brand portfolio” to the machines, growing rapidly closer to the corporate mission: “A Keurig brewer on every counter and a beverage for every occasion.”

Though the predicted consumer backlash has arrived, especially in recent months, the company continues to grow. Others have entered the market very successfully. While drip coffee-maker sales are stagnant, pod-machine sales have increased six-fold since 2008. Looking back on his invention, amid increasing public condemnation of K-Cups as a scourge on the planet, Sylvan told me, “I feel bad sometimes that I ever did it.”

* * *

As a twenty-something Bostonian in 1992, John Sylvan didn’t have a particular passion for coffee. But he was drinking 30 to 40 cups a day. He had to drink that much because, intent on starting his own business, Sylvan had left his menial office job and become his own test subject for coffee—which was at times barely palatable—that he could produce via a homemade pod device.

Sylvan was certain there was a market for a better, more customizable, more liberating caffeine experience than the tepid office percolator, run by vendors with a corner on the market for delivering terrible coffee en masse. Once he had a design that worked, he looked up the word excellence in Dutch—because “everyone likes the Dutch”—and he and his college roommate Peter Dragone named their new company Keurig.

Sylvan knew the pods would sell. As he explains the appeal now, “It's like a cigarette for coffee, a single-serve delivery mechanism for an addictive substance.” But he had no idea at the time how ubiquitous the product would become. And like printer cartridges or razor blades, the Keurig business model was predicated on another type of dependence.

The machines are not too expensive as appliances go. You can get one for $63; a bargain for a taste of the good stuff. But once you have one, it has you, too. The cups contain a mere 11 grams of ground coffee, vacuum-sealed in nitrogen to prevent oxidation. K-Cups are extremely profitable, selling standard coffee grounds for around $40 per pound. But what are you going to do, not buy the refills for your machine?

And when the pertinent K-Cup design patents expired in 2012, and the market was suddenly flooded with off-brand competitors, the company created a second-generation (2.0) machine that would only function with Keurig-brand cups. It’s digital rights management, the coffee equivalent of Steve Jobs’ attempt to fill iPods only with music sold through iTunes. That might seem like a reasonable, defensible move to protect intellectual property and keep a corner on the market—except that some of the competitors’ cups are nearly completely biodegradable or reusable. Which does little to deflect the growing criticism that Keurig Green Mountain is not seriously prioritizing sustainability.

“Watch this. Oh my.” Sylvan sent me a link to a YouTube video entitled “Kill the K-Cup.” It was an apocalyptic two-and-a-half minutes of K-Cups raining down on humanity like hellfire. Flying monsters and aircrafts made entirely of K-Cups shoot K-Cups down onto people cowering in the streets, which are filled with empty K-Cups. The video was highly produced, with Hollywood-level, Cloverfield-esque special effects and disdain for subtlety: K-Cups are quite literally destroying the planet. The implicit scale of the tragedy is enormous, even if we only see two people actually crushed by K-Cups.

The doomsday sequences are interspersed with statistics that drive the point home: In 2014, enough K-Cups were sold that if placed end-to-end, they would circle the globe 10.5 times. Almost all of them ended up in landfills. They are not recyclable. Using them is extremely wasteful and irresponsible; they are a stupid way to make coffee that simply cannot be sustained. Stop using them, stop using them, stop using them; “Kill the K-Cup, before it kills our planet.”

Read the rest at The Atlantic