The Rich History of Coffee: Separating Fact from Fiction

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You might not give your coffee a second thought when you take that first sip in the morning. But as it so happens, your beloved morning cup of joe has a very interesting backstory. Let’s delve into the true history of coffee, to see where this beverage finds its origins.

Mysterious Origins of Coffee

Regarding the history of coffee, its initial discovery is shrouded in mystery, but there are a few legends. As one story tells it, a traveling Sufi mystic who went by the rather lengthy moniker Ghothul Akbar Nooruddin Abu al-Hasan al-Shadhili was trekking through Ethiopia when he noticed that a particular flock of birds seemed to have more than their fair share of vim and vigor. He observed them dining on a particular berry, and upon eating a few of them himself, discovered that it imbued him with the same spunk he’d observed in the local avian population.

Another account credits a Sufi disciple named Omar with discerning the coffee bean’s stimulating properties. Exiled to a desert cave, Omar found himself in desperate need of sustenance. In an act of desperation, he began to eat coffee berries, but found them unpleasantly bitter. So he built a fire and roasted them, but they became too crunchy to eat. Finally, he boiled them and found that the resulting liquid gave him the extra vitality he needed to survive in the desert. Word spread of his discovery, and he was welcomed home to Mocha as a holy man.

Yet another origin story tells of Kaldi the goatherd, who saw his goats frolicking a little more enthusiastically than usual after eating some strange red berries. After trying a few, he gathered some of the berries and took them to a local monastery, hoping the learned monks could explain the berries’ mysterious properties. The monk he met there was leery of these unusual berries, so he threw them into the fire, at which point all the other monks came to investigate the enticing aroma wafting around the monastery. “This smells great! Maybe we can drink it,” they said to each other, and soon, all the monks in the monastery were sweeping the halls with a ferocity not often witnessed in such hallowed locales. Or so the story goes.

Exploring the History of Coffee: Arabian Nights

We’re not sure which of the legendary accounts are true, but one thing is for certain: coffee as we know it did come from the Sufi monasteries of southern Arabia, probably sometime during the 15th century.

The Arabians knew a good thing when they saw it, and they were eager to share it with traders from neighboring lands. Soon, the intoxicating aroma of coffee was filling the air in Persia, Syria, Egypt, and Turkey.

Coffeehouses began to spring up in the more cosmopolitan cities, and the originals were much like the ones we frequent today. There were chess games, gossip, intellectual debates, and the occasional open mic night, only without the microphones, of course.

With Mecca being a popular destination for religious pilgrims, word of the invigorating and pungent beverage soon spread far and wide. The Arabians were fine with visitors enjoying their coveted local flavor, and didn’t mind selling them some beans to take home, but they certainly didn’t want to lose their hold on such a profitable product, so they kept their cultivation and production secrets closely guarded. Or so the ancient history of coffee goes…

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The Dawn of European Coffee Culture

Later on in the history of coffee, by the 1600s, the beverage had found enthusiastic fans in Europe. In typical fashion, members of the clergy initially condemned it, but calmed down once the Pope gave it the papal OK. Soon, there were coffee shops all over London, Vienna, Venice, and Amsterdam, and they quickly became popular social gathering places.

Coffee in the Colonies

Coffee’s first introduction to the New World took place in New York City, which was then known as New Amsterdam. The colonists enjoyed coffee, but weren’t completely sold on it at first. Of course, that all changed with the Boston Tea Party. After that, Americans switched to imported Dutch coffee in droves, just to spite the Brits. To this day, we’re still a devout nation of coffee drinkers.

Latte Art Makes Beautiful Coffee Pictures on Social Media

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Image: Morten Rand-Hendriksen/Flickr

If you’ve had a dine-in latte at a neighborhood coffee house, chances are pretty good that the foam on top of your coffee has been decorated with a beautiful design. Those in the know refer to this as “latte art,” a practice that’s actually been around for a few decades now.

Even if you haven’t had the pleasure of a professional barista using your latte as a canvas for his or her design, you’ve probably seen pictures of coffee art on social media. After all, what better way to start your day than with coffee – especially when it features beautiful art on top!

What Is Latte Art?

Latte art is the result of steamed milk that is then poured into a shot of espresso. By varying the volume, speed, and other factors related to the pour, a barista is able to create a drawing or design on the surface of the beverage. To further embellish the surface of the latte, a barista can draw into the top layer of foam with utensils, such as the back of a spoon or a stir stick.latte-art-dog-picture

In order to create latte art, a couple of elements must be present: first, the espresso shot must have crema, or that foamy, silky layer or head that’s typically lighter brown in color when compared to the actual shot of espresso beneath. The second element is known as microfoam, which is the dense, foamy mixture at the top of a pitcher of steamed milk.

When the hot milk is poured into a latte, the foam separates and rises to the top where it can be mixed together with the brown crema from the coffee. The resulting contrast in colors allows the barista to create designs in the surface of the latte.

Styles of Latte Art: How to Make Coffee Pictures

There may not be an infinite number of pictures and styles to decorative latte art, but there are certainly quite a few. From hearts to rosetta shapes, intricate designs to flowers, the pictures of coffee that we see online depict a bounty of beautiful images that resemble high art more than a morning beverage. So what styles of latte art exist, and what are the designs called by the professional baristas who make them?

There are two principal ways that latte art can be created. Free pouring is the act of simply pouring steamed milk into the espresso to create coffee pictures. Etching, a variation of making coffee pictures, involves the use of a tool once the pour has been made. With free pours, most coffee pictures involve either an image of a heart, or an image of a leafy fern shape, known as a rosetta. A direct pour will result in a heart shape, while more wiggling of the milk pitcher during the pour will yield the rosetta coffee picture.

With etching, even more intricate designs can be achieved, creating pictures of coffee that resemble masterful works of art, perfect for social media use. Geometric shapes that vary in intricacy, animal images, and flowers are all common coffee pictures.

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How Is Decaf Coffee Made?

How Is Decaf Coffee Made Question Is Solved by CoffeeForLess

Image: Ronnie Pitman/Flickr

Decaf coffee tends to be regarded as one of those eternal mysteries. If the coffee bean naturally contains caffeine, then how in the world is that caffeine extracted? We might speculate idly over this conundrum with friends, but the conversation invariably moves on to more important topics, like cellphones and vacation plans.

And still, the question often remains unsolved. So once and for all, let’s take a look at how decaf coffee is actually made.

Three Methods for How Decaf Coffee Is Made

Actually, there are three methods by which our coffee loses its precious caffeine: water processing, the direct solvent method, and carbon dioxide decaffeination. To decaffeinate coffee using water processing, a batch of beans is first moistened and soaked while still green. While in the water, the beans release their caffeine and much of their flavor properties. Then, the caffeine is removed from the water, yet the flavor properties remain.

When the beans are returned to the water, they can re-uptake their flavor properties. Some processes will remove the caffeine from the water, discard the first batch of beans, and introduce new beans. When fresh beans are introduced, the water is already fully saturated with flavor and the beans can only release their caffeine.

The Direct Solvent Method of Making Decaf Coffee

The direct solvent method uses more chemicals to decaffeinate coffee. In Europe, they use methylene chloride, while other areas prefer using either coffee oil or ethyl acetate. These chemicals can isolate and extract the caffeine from the beans, rendering them safe for those unable to drink caffeine. Methylene chloride is considered a workplace toxin by OSHA, but it never comes into contact with the coffee beans themselves. Rather, it is used to extract the caffeine from the water that’s been used to extract the caffeine from the beans.

While ethyl acetate sounds like a big, bad chemical, it is an organic, naturally occurring substance that’s commonly found in fruits and vegetables. It is non-toxic and perfectly safe to use when making decaf coffee.

Carbon Dioxide Decaffeination

The final method, carbon dioxide decaffeination, is much like the direct solvent method, but uses carbon dioxide rather than either methylene chloride or ethyl acetate. High pressure is utilized in this method of making decaf coffee. When the beans have been soaked to allow the caffeine molecules to become solvent, they are placed in a high-pressure chamber. The solution essentially becomes soda water. The carbon dioxide doesn’t affect the other molecules in the bean, only the caffeine, so the stimulant is safely and effectively extracted.

So there we have it. Science has figured out how to remove the world’s favorite stimulant so that those who suffer high blood pressure, or those who have a caffeine allergy, are not adversely impacted. Thus, everyone can enjoy one of the world’s most common and popular beverages. Cheers!

How Coffee Shop Music Became a Musical Genre

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The next time you’re enjoying a cup of java at your favorite local coffee purveyor, pay attention to the music emanating from the house sound system. Those soothing yet engaging sounds you’re hearing might be classified as any number of musical genres, and they can come from just about any era. And yet, they all share a certain essence, don’t they?

They’re smooth and melodious enough to sit in the background, with just enough musical tension to make them engaging. That perfect balance between softness and edge makes them the ideal soundscape for a place like a coffeehouse.

Think about it: we all go to our local coffeehouses for different reasons. Sometimes we treat them as an office. Other times, we go there to socialize. Some mornings we’re in and out, just stopping by for our morning fix, and other days we spend hours studying or reading our favorite new book.

As the coffeehouse serves so many purposes simultaneously, it needs music that supports the roles it plays. It needs “coffee shop music.”

Coffee House Music: A Genre Defined

While individual examples of coffee shop music might be classified as jazz or soft rock, and others could be called electronic music or bossa nova, when taken as a whole, coffee shop music can be viewed as an eclectic genre of its own.

It’s a different type of genre than we’re used to. Instead of being defined by stylistic touchstones such as instrumentation or lyrical content, coffee house music can be characterized by an overall vibe. A single artist may even have some songs that fit this genre, and others that do not. Regardless of where it comes from, you know coffee shop music when you hear it.

We’re not the only ones who have come to think of coffee shop music as a distinct entity, by the way. There are satellite radio stations, musical compilations, and even bands devoted to the genre of coffee music.

Selected Musical Works for Quaffing Coffee

Singer-songwriters are popular choices for coffeehouse-friendly music. Artists such as Ray LaMontagne, Norah Jones, Iron and Wine, and Landon Pigg are great examples.

Coffee house music can also come from the alternative rock world. Bands such as Coldplay, R.E.M. and Death Cab for Cutie make an excellent complement to an iced Americano and a stimulating conversation.

Electronic music is another popular choice for coffeehouses. Selected works from artists like Royksopp, Owl City, and Frou Frou are ideal for studying over a cappuccino.

If you’re more into the classics, check out the works of Nick Drake, Loudon Wainwright III, Tim Buckley, Jackson Browne, and Leonard Cohen.

Feeling jazzy? Put Miles Davis’ seminal album Kind of Blue on the turntable. Follow it up with some of Charlie Parker’s iconic Verve Records output. After that, try some Dave Brubeck or Wynton Marsalis.

Perhaps you’d care for some Latin flavor with your Cortado? Stream selected works from João Gilberto, Chico Buarque, or Gal Costa.

Enjoy the Sound of Coffee With Coffee Shop Music

You’ve always loved the aroma, flavor, and boost that coffee gives you, but now you can become a connoisseur of the sound of coffee as well, giving you one more reason to stop by your local coffee shop or hit your favorite record store for rare grooves. Enjoy that selection of coffee house music!

SEE ALSO: Turn Your Break Room into a Coffee Bar

Turn Your Coffee Obsession Into a Profession and Learn How to Become a Barista

Barista doing your coffee

People who are passionate about wine can become sommeliers, but people who are passionate about coffee become baristas. Because about 65% of adults drink coffee every day, there is no shortage of opportunities out there for baristas. Espresso, coffee, or cappuccino – most of us know that the recipes are all different. And while the average coffee drinker might not know if their beans are Arabica or Robusta, their barista surely knows the difference. Passion for coffee is the most important ingredient to creating a great cup of coffee, so let’s look at how to become a barista.

How to Become a Barista: What It Takes

People who love good coffee rarely understand the amount of testing and planning and training that goes into creating their favorite morning beverage. The brew process is complex, and starts with understanding and selecting beans. After that, training for how to become a barista includes grinds, brew methods, times and temperatures, and even cup selection.

Wine geeks have wine tastings but coffee geeks have cuppings. Part of your barista training will include refining of your palate. The last ingredient to any barista education is practice and more practice. But just how does one get the training necessary to become an actual barista?

There Are Schools That Teach You How to Become a Barista

There are many schools and training classes available when you want to become a barista. Simply search online by using a phrase like ‘Barista Schools’ for a list of institutions and programs near you. Often, a part of the training occurs online, which is convenient if you work or go to school. Some of these schools offer certificates so you can find a job right away, after you’ve learned how to become a barista.

On the Job Training for Baristas

For those who want experience and pay while they are training, working as an A barista creating latte coffee art.apprentice barista is a great start. As an apprentice, you get experience while you train – and you typically get paid for your time, too. You can opt to apply at a chain or a small, local coffee shop near you. Either way, make sure the training is thorough and includes a variety of options and specialty drinks, so you can maximize your experience as you learn how to become a barista.

Working as a Barista

The job of a barista is fast paced, flexible, and includes lots of interaction with people. Most baristas make a wage plus tips, and the better you are, the better the tips tend to be. Once you’ve been trained and have some experience, you can get a good job, even if you move to a different city. All it really takes to start is a love and passion for coffee!

10 Things I Want My Kids To Know This Mother’s Day

10 Things I Want My Kids To Know This Mother’s Day

Source: Flickr user Rudolf Vlček

This article was originally written by Ann Brenoff in the Huffington Post.

Before my kids came along, Mother’s Day was just another Sunday in May for me. In fact, I once went to brunch that day, not even realizing it was Mother’s Day.

“Why are all these kids here?” I asked my boyfriend at the time.

“Shoot, it’s Mother’s Day,” he said with a palm slap to his forehead just before he jumped up from the table. “I need to go call my Mom. What’s the number for FTD?”

Now that I am a Mom — an older Mom at that — there are some things I need to tell my kids (now 17 and 14) this Mother’s Day.

1. I am not perfect.
I’m pretty sure that you knew that already. I mostly want you to know that I know it too. I do, however, remember when you were little and thought I was perfect. There was nothing more that you wanted than to be around me, for me to hug you, hold you, be with you. My touch was curative, my words healing. I made you laugh when you felt bad. I made you feel secure when you were scared. In turn, you made me feel like a goddess. That was pretty heady. Once in awhile, I like to think about the good old days before you figured out that I’m not perfect. I told you: I’m imperfect and that right there is just more proof of it.

2. I have always tried my best.
You are the lights of my life. But mothering didn’t come naturally to me the way it does to some women. I am still the one who doesn’t like to hold newborns. I followed my instincts a lot and sometimes they were wrong. I approached motherhood much the way I approach reporting: I read a lot and talk to a lot of people and then go with my gut. I learned that parenting is indeed the hardest job out there. And screwing it up is far worse than having to run a correction.

3. I’ll always have your back, even when you don’t need me there.
I am your Mama Bear, the bane of a bad teacher’s existence who hollers at unfair soccer refs and is ready to dismember any child who thinks about bullying you. I will protect you long after you need my protection. That probably includes now. I think you will just have to get used to it. Remember: I’m not perfect.

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Source: Flickr user Heather West

4. I have every picture you drew me and every handmade gift you ever made me.
Nowhere does Dr. Spock ever say exactly how long a good mother is supposed to hang on to this stuff. I know a mother of six who gives everything a shelf life of one month. Me? I’m not ready to part with any of it. I know one day I will, but just know that the praise I showered you with when you gave me all this stuff was genuine and real. And so will be my tears when it comes time to toss the lot of it away. Until then, I am perfectly happy to park in the driveway and sacrifice the garage to your creative efforts.

5. Letting go is hard.
One of you will be leaving for college in a year and while I am so proud that you got to this place in your life, I simultaneously hate it. Hate, hate, hate it. I will miss having my baby girl around. With your dad, the four of us are a family. I knew the day would come when you would leave the nest, but I just never imagined that time could fly by so quickly. Please forgive me if I cry when The Day comes. This isn’t me being imperfect; it’s me nursing the ache in my heart.

6. Teenagers are hard people to understand.
Hormones are crazy-making, aren’t they? Thank you for not being as wild and crazy as I was when I was a teenager. I sincerely appreciate the fact that you never did half the bad stuff I did. Thank you for believing that maybe your parents know more than you do about some things. Thank you for not testing us too hard, not pushing the boundaries too far, not making us sick with worry. You are both great kids. You know right from wrong and are kind people who forgive those who don’t. Your only crime is your insistence on growing up.

7. I thank you for forgiving me.
I have my Mommy Dearest moments. Sometimes I yell (OK, scream) loud enough for the neighbors to hear. Sometimes I go all cold on you (that’s pure manipulation on my part). And sometimes I over-confide in you, forgetting that you are my children not my adult friends. I shouldn’t put my adult worries on your shoulders. No parent should. I know that. But again, I’m imperfect.

8. Our house is too quiet without you.
My dear daughter: Do you remember how as a toddler you would sing all the time in the car? We’d strap you into your little car seat and just as soon as that seatbelt snapped closed, the orchestra in your head began playing. You sang loud, pure, and from the heart. Yes, you sang off-key and when I hear your song coming from the shower now, I always flash back on those car rides. Your Dad once suggested that we needed a soundproof glass like they have in taxis. When you would fall asleep in the car, we’d joke how the silence felt like a mini-vacation. We didn’t mean it. Really.

My son, you are the quiet one. A man of few words. But what is it about your presence that so fills the room? Without you two around, I swear I hear an echo in the house.

9. I love that you embrace differences, not shun them.
I’ve been so proud of both of you for not letting others define you by your differences. You are both Chinese, being raised in an Anglo society. You are both obviously adopted, unlike the 15 percent of the population who is adopted but you can’t tell by looking at them. You have two old geezer parents and a full-time working mother– both anomalies where we live. And yet you thrive.

10. For Mother’s Day, what I want from you is …
Absolutely nothing but you. OK, maybe a nice handmade card for me to save too.

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Source: Flickr user swong95765

Mum’s the Word at CoffeeForLess

We loved this list, and hope your Mother’s Day weekend is shaping up nicely. For those of us  in need of last minute Mother’s Day gifts, check out our 7% off storewide sale happening now at CoffeeForLess.com. Just remember to use Coupon Code WELUVMOM at checkout, and make mom’s day extra special with her favorite coffee, K-Cups, and tea beverages!

 

 

Your Favorite Coffee Flavors Taste Even Better as Coffee Smoothies

Try coffee in smoothiesIt’s that time of year: the flowers are blooming, the night is losing its chill, and the birds are filling the mornings with song. Soon, it will be summertime. We love the warm weather, but drinking hot coffee on an equally hot day isn’t necessarily the most refreshing experience. And yes, we’ve heard those dubious rumors that drinking a steaming cup of java on a hot day can actually cool you down, but our money’s on cold brew, or better yet, coffee smoothies!

Coffee smoothies are the ideal warm-weather pick-me-up. They’re a frosty morning treat that will give you your daily jolt of caffeine, and you can mix in all sorts of healthy extras, taking your coffee smoothie to the next level.

Making a Coffee Smoothie? Start With Good Cold Brew

Any great coffee smoothie starts with good cold brew coffee. In a pinch, you can toss a spoon into the freezer and pour hot coffee over it to avoid melting all of your ice, but that only does so much. You still end up with tepid, watered-down cold brew. So let’s do this the right way. Though it requires some preparation, in the end, it’s totally worth it.

Start the cold brew for your coffee smoothie the night before with your favorite coffee beans, coarse ground. Add 1 part beans to every four parts water, put the mixture in a mason jar, and whip that bad boy into the refrigerator. Now go to sleep.

Yay! It’s tomorrow already. Get your mason jar out of the fridge, and use a fine strainer to filter out all the grounds. That’s it. Easy peasy. The first step of your coffee smoothie is complete!

It’s Coffee Chocolate Banana Smoothie Time

Now that you’ve made pro-level cold brew, you’re ready to make coffee smoothies. Let’s start with a classic: chocolate and bananas.

Mix 16 oz of chocolate milk or soymilk with two ounces of that strong cold brew we just made. Add a big banana or two small ones into the mix. Toss in a tablespoon of chia seeds, and blend to perfection. Serves two.

Fresh made Banana Milkshake

Vanilla Protein Blaster, Including Coffee Smoothie!

This version of a coffee smoothie is an excellent pre-workout drink. Make your vanilla protein shake as usual. Hemp and soy protein will do in a pinch, but we find that whey provides optimum results for this recipe. Add two tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt for some extra muscle fuel, and blend in half a cup of cold brew. Bam! Your coffee smoothie just got pumped up!

Tropic Lightning Coffee Smoothies

For this coffee smoothie recipe, you’ll need a cup of pineapple chunks (canned or fresh), 5oz light coconut milk, 3oz cold brew, 1oz of water, and some ice cubes, just for extra frostiness. Blend it all together, and voila: a pina colada with some serious kick!

The Wicked Green Speed Machine

wicked-green-machine

via Jules, flickr.com

We know what you’re thinking: coffee smoothie that includes green juice? Come on. But don’t be frightened. This particular coffee smoothie is going to turn out great.
Here’s what we’re tossing into the blender:

  • A cup of cold brew
  • Two cups of rainbow chard, juiced
  • ¼ cup of rice milk
  • Two heaping tablespoons raw cocoa powder
  • Your sweetener of choice
  • A dash of vanilla extract
  • A tray full of ice cubes

Fire up the blender, and when you’re done, you’ll have a phytonutrient-rich super drink that will also give you a nice caffeine kick. We know this coffee smoothie might look a bit questionable, but just go with it. See? It’s great.

Spent Too Much Time in the Sun? Try This Black Tea Sunburn Solution

 

Black Tea as Your Sunburn Solution This Summer

With summer right around the corner, it’s definitely time to start thinking about the beach, the lake, or spending time outdoors in the sun. And there are so many important items to consider: What books and magazines should I be saving up? What’s the best spot for surfing, windsurfing, or simply soaking up the sun’s rays? It is also important to consider what, apart from a pulpy novel and towel, to pack in your beach bag.

And namely, it’s vital to have some sort of plan to deal with the potential for sunburn. Sunscreen is known to come off in water, or to lose its effectiveness through the day. When it comes to the kids, things get even trickier, resulting in poor sunscreen application or sunscreen that doesn’t get applied often enough. This can lead to painful and often dangerous sunburns in a hurry. In fact, some sunburn may even necessitate a visit to a doctor, so it’s always best to be prepared.

Black Tea for Sunburns: An Unlikely Source of Comfort

One sunburn remedy comes from an unlikely source: your daily cup of black tea. While many use it as a coffee substitute or a backup for those houseguests who don’t want a fully caffeinated beverage at dinner or breakfast, black tea is also full of healthy antioxidants. The tannins in black tea can deliver a flavor that some find a bit astringent, but it’s those same tannins in black tea that will help to soothe your irritated, reddened skin when you get a sunburn.

Avoid Sunburn in the First Place, Before Turning to Black Tea

First, it is important to stress that proper protection should be used at all times when venturing out on a sunny, hot day. Loose-fitting, light-colored clothing is a must, and adequate sunblock should be worn at all times. Many recommend using a sunblock of 30spf or greater. Consult with a skin care professional to determine the best SPF for you and your family members.

Simple Preparation: Getting Your Black Tea Sunburn Remedy Ready

To take advantage of the black tea for sunburn remedy, be sure to have plenty of tea bags on hand, and a cup to hold 8oz of boiling water. Once you end up with a sunburn, boil a cup of water and steep 6-8 teabags in the water for up to 5 minutes. Then, transfer the super-concentrated tea to a jar and allow it to cool to lukewarm or room temperature. As the concentrate cools, tie the strings of the teabags together. Then, when the liquid has cooled, reintroduce the bags for 3 more minutes.

Tea With Lemon

The tannins in black tea may help soothe irritated, reddened skin when you get a sunburn.

Easy Application

Now, apply the teabags to the area that’s been affected with sunburn. When they are tied together, you can cover a larger area such as your shoulders, back or thighs. In the case of a severe burn, it may be best to wrap the teabags in an old t-shirt that can be sacrificed to the cause. Dip the shirt, bags and all, into the concentrated black tea and then apply to the inflamed, sunburned area.

Apply the compress until you feel the burn has absorbed the moisture. Then, re-soak and reapply. Continue to reapply the black tea compress until the inflammation from the sunburn has thoroughly dissipated.

Avoid Sunburn at All Costs, But Be Prepared With Black Tea

Sunburn is sometimes seen as a rite of passage for sunbathers and other sun worshippers. However, sunburn has been linked to serious skin diseases, too, and so it’s well worth avoiding, especially when you’re young. If sunburn does arise, try to remedy the problem as soon as possible. Bring a box or two of black tea along for any sunny summertime holiday, and you’ll be ready to deal with even the reddest of sunburns, on the spot.

Liven Up Your Friday Night with These Coffee Cocktail Recipes

irish-coffee-recipe

True lovers of morning coffee often face a disappointing realization. Sure, if you work in an office environment, chances are pretty good that around 2 or 3pm, you’re ready for an afternoon pick-me-up, but after that… what are you supposed to do? Too much caffeine in the evening or after dinner may adversely affect your night’s sleep, and brewing up a full pot of coffee at home might be a bit much as you head into the later part of the evening.

Enter the amazing world of coffee cocktails, a paradise where two flavorful worlds collide to create something truly special – specifically, for the coffee fanatic. Let’s take a look at a few coffee cocktail recipes, both classic and exotic, for the coffee lover in you.

Classic Coffee Cocktail Recipes

Every great two-part combination that comes out of the food and beverage world is taken to legendary heights of flavor when the quality of each ingredient is scaled up. So these coffee cocktail recipes may sound simple due to their pronounced lack of ingredients, but the devil is in the details: the better the brew and the spirit you use, the better the cocktail, so don’t skimp on the quality of either.

The Irish Coffee is perhaps the most well-known coffee and alcohol combination. The good news is that this cocktail coffee recipe is maybe as easy as it gets: simply combine 1.5oz of Jameson Irish Whiskey with a hot cup of coffee, and a teaspoon or two of sugar if you prefer it on the sweet side.

The Spanish Coffee cocktail recipe is another simple classic one. Start with your favorite brandy snifter for the vessel, and add in 0.75oz of brandy, together with 0.25oz of Kahlua. Top the combination off with hot coffee, and a float of whipped cream for a dash of sweet-creamy goodness.

Lovers of The Big Lebowski will know the White Russian coffee cocktail recipe by heart, but for the rest of us, this classic cocktail recipe goes like this. Combine the following ingredients into a shaker with ice: 2oz vodka, 1oz Kahlua, 1oz cream, 0.5oz cold-brewed or chilled coffee. Shake the ingredients together and pour into an Old Fashioned glass for serving.

More Exotic Coffee Cocktail Recipes

One of the more exotic and involved coffee cocktail recipes is the Café Brasileiro, which yields a rich and complex drink that’s not as sweet as you might think, given the recipe’s ingredients. For this coffee cocktail recipe, start by adding the seeds of a Vanilla bean to 2oz of heavy cream in a cocktail shaker, and shake until frothy. Next, add 1.5oz Cachaca, 0.5oz chocolate liqueur, and 2.5oz fresh hot coffee to a clear mug so you can see the drink as it’s being created. Pour the frothy vanilla combination over the other ingredients, which should float on top, adding extra sweetness with each sip!

We like the Black Forest cocktail, which combines the tastes of stout beer with nuts and chocolate to create a coffee cocktail recipe you won’t soon forget. Add the following ingredients into a shaker with ice: 2oz cold-brewed or chilled coffee, 0.25oz Benedictine, 0.25oz maraschino liqueur. Shake together and strain out the ice, pouring the mix over a fluted champagne glass. Perfect for a fabulous brunch cocktail with coffee!

Creating Coffee Cocktail Recipes of Your Own

Now that we’ve covered a bit of ground when it comes to classic and simple, or exotic and complex coffee cocktail recipes, it’s time to try a few of your own. Why not try a classic peaty Scotch with your morning brew? Or perhaps a bit of Bourbon and whipped cream might make for a delightful combo. With just a bit of experimenting, you might stumble on a brand new coffee cocktail classic!

Recent Studies Have Found the Benefits of Caffeine for ADHD

Studies Find Benefits of Caffeine for ADHD by CoffeeForLess

One of the most beloved effects from your morning cup of coffee comes in the way that it wakes you up. Because of the caffeine, you become more alert and focused. Well it turns out that the caffeine in coffee can also help to allay symptoms related to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD.) Studies are starting to show that drinking the caffeine in coffee for ADHD can help to treat a problem that doctors tend to refer out to the pharmacy.

For decades, children and adults with ADHD have been treated with powerful prescription amphetamines such as Ritalin and Adderall. While patients often see their symptoms eased, they are also left with strong physical addictions as well as other side effects, including bipolar disorder, aggression, anxiety, and seizures.

Prepubescent ADHD and Caffeine

A 2011 study showed that caffeine was effective for allaying ADHD symptoms in neonatal rats. While the rats did not show any improvement in motor activity, they did improve their focus when scientists provided them with caffeine. Scientists hypothesized that caffeine might thus be effective in treating prepubescent ADHD in human subjects.

The Heart of the Issue: Dopamine

Dopamine is at the heart of the issue, chiefly because patients with ADHD have been shown to have lower than normal levels of dopamine. Stimulant drugs are then used to raise the dopamine levels to more correct levels. If dopamine goes too high, patients experience anxiety and other negative side effects. However, with the right dose, a stimulant like caffeine can raise dopamine production to a level that helps an ADHD patient focus. And this includes focusing enough to perform daily tasks such as reading, or remaining attentive to duties at work.

Synergistic Treatment: Caffeine for ADHD

Coffee Health Benefits ADHD

A cup of coffee may produce a heightened effect for those taking Adderall or Ritalin for ADHD.

For some, having a cup of coffee on top of their pharmaceutical medications might be
helpful, and caffeine and prescription amphetamines have a synergistic relationship,
meaning that each enhances the effects of the other. A patient who drinks a cup of coffee
for ADHD treatment, on top of his Adderall or Ritalin prescription, will experience a heightened effect, but he will also find that any negative side effects are enhanced. Patients might use this information to work with their doctors to see if lower doses of their regular ADHD medications could be prescribed on the assumption that they can be augmented with a cup or two of coffee.

Caffeine for ADHD: Not a One-Size Fits All Fix

It should be noted that caffeine may not provide the same benefits for everyone. ADHD arises from many different genetic mutations, which can come in a variety of combinations and create the same effects. So, if a cup or two of coffee is making someone anxious and jittery, that might not be an appropriate treatment for their ADHD. They might want to try decaf coffee and discuss their issues related to focus with a medical doctor or other healthcare provider, instead.

ADHD is a serious mental health issue that can be potentially helped out with caffeine. While there doesn’t seem to be any great risk in drinking coffee to help with focus and attention, no one should attempt to medicate themselves without consulting a healthcare professional first.