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The makers of a new kind of plastic lid are hoping to ride coffee's growing "Third Wave" movement by appealing to consumers who would appreciate a better smell—and hence better taste—from their daily to-go cuppa joe.

Vaporlid 1The Viora Lid—the product of a 20-year-long coffee obsession by its inventor Doug Fleming—is designed with a three-times-bigger-than-average mouth hole and an enlarged center steam hole. The goal is to give coffee and tea drinkers much more aroma from their beverage of choice by better exposing the liquid below to their nostrils.

"The overwhelming science is that what you characterize as flavor or taste is predominantly contributed by odor," said Fleming, a lawyer by trade whose company Vaporpath introduced the Viora Lid this week at the Specialty Coffee Association of America trade show in Seattle, where his company is also based.

"Our lid is designed to essentially that target, the opening, right below your nose," said Fleming, 49, whose lid also has a "well" around the top of the mouth hole, which pools liquid as the cup is tipped, further enhancing the aroma effect.

The Viora Lid, which is protected by several patents both issued and pending, is landing in a huge, established market, where billions of plastic lids for paper coffee cups are sold each year by companies such as Dart, and where java giants such as Starbucks, McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts pay wholesalers just several cents per lid, at most.

So to get a foothold in that vast space, Vaporpath at first is marketing the Viora Lid to smaller fry—the relatively tiny specialty coffee chains or one- or two-shop operations, who would be willing to spend 6 cents per lid because their customers are much more discriminating about the taste of the coffee that they're consuming from their to-go cup.

Vaporpath's president, Barry Goffe, a Microsoft veteran and Fleming's college classmate, said that at those specialty java joints, "People realize this piece of plastic that sits between you and your precious cup of coffee has a huge impact on how you experience this custom of coffee."

But, noted the 47-year-old Goffe, "There's so many of these 'Third Wave' shops that put all this time and effort brewing this cup of coffee, and then they put this 30-year-old product on top of it and push the customer out the door and hope for the best."

"Third Wave" is the coffee world's term for the burgeoning trend treating coffee as a high-quality drink. Third Wave shops are focused—often obsessively—on the sourcing and roasting of their beans as well as the painstaking way they brew espresso-based drinks: without push-button espresso machines, or pods of preground beans.

Third Wave stores also are largely responsible for the rediscovery of the joys of so-called pour-over coffee: java made one cup at a time, with specialized cone-shaped drippers and filters.

Vaporlid 2But espresso-based drinks like lattes and cappuccinos as well as pour-over coffee can cost customers as much as four times per cup as they would pay for a cup of standard drip coffee at a gas station or a store such as McDonald's or Dunkin' Donuts.

Despite that price premium, and despite the fact that coffee snobs prefer to consume such drinks out of ceramic cups if they have the time, the majority of Third Wave shop customers get their cups of joe to go, in paper cups with a plastic lid.

"You spent $4 on a cup of coffee and $3 is trapped inside," Goffe said.

Fleming said that "the vast majority" of those lids "involve what we call 'straw-like'" holes—a small, raised opening that drinkers suck the brew out of into their mouths. Not only does that minimize the amount of coffee they can smell as they drink, he said, it also concentrates a hot liquid into the mouth.

"People tend to burn their tongues," Goffe said.

To solve those problems, Fleming, who had been inventing coffee-oriented products for years, focused on creating a bigger mouth hole for the Viora Lid.

He realized that making it bigger, without creating the opportunity for unpleasant spills when the cup was jostled, would require that much of the hole would have to be on the vertical, back edge of the lid, with the smaller part of the hole forming a smiley face on the top of the lid.

"That opening on the side, it's really difficult to manufacture, it turns out," Fleming said. "We were initially told it can't be done."

The bigger hole, as designed, had another effect that went beyond making the coffee easier to smell for drinkers. It made the coffee pour more smoothly out into the mouth than conventional lids.

"You experience the familiar comfort of an open mug on your lips," Vaporpath's promotional material boasts.

When the company had people try the lid, there was "a very large number of folks who appreciated the aroma aspects of the lid," but a substantial minority didn't care about the way their coffee tasted, Goffe said.

"For them, gas-station coffee was good enough because it gave them the kick they wanted in the morning, but even those folks liked the lid ... it felt like they were drinking out of this regular ceramic cup," Goffe said.

That gave him and Fleming hope that the Viora Lid would have wider appeal beyond just hard-core coffee geeks.

So they did a taste test of the Viora Lid last year at a Seattle shop, where more than 90 percent of the respondents said they liked the lid "a lot" or just liked it, while "zero percent said they disliked it," Goffe said.

And when drinkers were asked, given the choice between going to the same kind of high-end coffee shops, the only difference being that one shop a block farther away than the first used the Viora Lid, about one-third of the respondents "said they would walk the extra block based on the lid alone," Goffe said.

Although they're targeting primarily Third Wave shops for now, Goffe noted that "the rest of the industry pays attention to what they do."

He expects that if the Viora Lid gets picked up by a number of those shops, and it draws interest from bigger coffee retailers, Vaporpath has the ability to scale up its production capacity, and also would be willing to license its technology to larger lid manufacturers.

Phil Patton, a design historian who has written about coffee lids, and whose own collection of java lids was displayed at the Cincinnati Art Museum in 2007, said that coffee devices and products is "one area in our society where there's unbelievable innovation."

But, Patton noted, "I think it's fair to say that lid innovation is something of a trailing indicator of these changes."

He said the Viora Lid, which he was not personally familiar with, could gain a foothold among gourmet coffee shops, because it "would allow this highly competitive world of these Third Wave shops to distinguish themselves."

—By CNBC's Dan Mangan.

Rising heat, extreme weather and pests mean the highland bean is running out of cool mountainsides on which it flourishes.

Rich western urbanites expecting to dodge the impacts of climate change should prepare for a jolt: global warming is leading to bad, expensive coffee. Almost 2bn cups of coffee perk up its drinkers every day, but a perfect storm of rising heat, extreme weather and ferocious pests mean the highland bean is running out of cool mountainsides on which it flourishes.

Coffee Hands"The rise in global temperature is of great concern for us in the coffee industry because it will – and has already started – putting the supply of quality coffee at great risk," said Dr Tim Schilling, executive director of the World Coffee Research programme, based at Texas A&M University. "It is also obvious that increasing temperatures – as well as extreme weather events – have a very negative affect on production. Over the long term, you will definitely see coffee prices going up as a result of climate change."

Mauricio Galindo, head of operations at the intergovernmental International Coffee Organisation, is equally worried: "Climate change is the biggest threat to the industry. If we don't prepare ourselves we are heading for a big disaster." Coffee drinkers may see the effect in their cups, but the 25m rural households around the globe whose livelihoods depend on coffee will be hit far harder.

The world's foremost climate science group, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), will include the effect of warming on coffee as part of a landmark report published next Monday on the global impacts of climate change. It is expected to conclude: "The overall predictions are for a reduction in area suitable for coffee production by 2050 in all countries studied. In many cases, the area suitable for production would decrease considerably with increases of temperature of only 2.0-2.5C."

The IPCC will report that in Brazil, the world's biggest coffee producer, a temperature rise of 3C would slash the area suitable for coffee production by two-thirds in the principal growing states of Minas Gerais and São Paulo and eliminate it in others. While growing will become possible in states further south, this will not compensate for losses further north. An IPCC report on the science of climate change published in September projected the world will warm by 2.6-4.8C by the end of the century without deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

Coffee BerriesThe dangers to coffee stem from its origins in the highlands of east Africa, where the relatively cool and stable climate found between 1,500-2,800m allows the berries to thrive. But at 23C and above, the plant's metabolism starts to race, leading to lower yields and, crucially, a failure to accumulate the right mix of aromatic volatile compounds that deliver coffee's distinctive taste.

Worse, pests like the berry borer beetle and leaf rust fungus are flourishing as the world warms. Leaf rust has already savaged recent harvests in the coffee heartlands of central America, with yields down 40% in 2013-14 compared to 2011-12. "The only way you can make sense of it is through climate change," said Galindo. "The temperature has risen and this fungus can attack with a speed and aggression we have never seen." At least 1.4 million people in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua depend on coffee production for their livelihoods. When coffee's susceptibility to changes in climate has caused crises in the last few decades, a quarter of all households have been forced to migrate.

The pest, berry borer beetle, was unknown until about 2000 in Ethopia, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda, as it preferred the warmer temperatures at lower altitudes. But warming has driven the beetles up the hillsides and into the coffee plantations and it now causes $500m damage a year. The beetle currently reproduces five times a year but further warming is expected see that to rise to 10 times. Endosulfan, the pesticide once used to control the berry borer, was banned in 2011.

Climate change is also increasing the frequency of extreme weather events, as more energy is trapped in the atmosphere. According to Galindo, 2014's severe drought in Brazil has shown how sensitive prices are to such climate impacts, with the price doubling to $2 per pound, even before the harvest.

Assessing all the combined impacts of climate change, Galindo said: "In the worst-case scenario, we will only have a few places producing coffee." Brazil, Vietnam, Indonesia, Columbia and Ethiopia are the biggest producers and will probably have the resources to attempt to adapt, he said. "But central America and Laos and Peru and Burundi and Rwanda, they are gone."

The IPCC report will state that in some places, such as Uganda, adaptation by shifting plantation up hillsides will be impossible: they will simply reach the top and run out of land. Efforts are being made to develop new coffee varieties, to tolerate higher temperatures and resist pests. The coffee industry was worth $173bn in 2012, but Galindo said: "You need major financial means to change all your trees." Lab-based genetic engineering, like that used to insert pest-killing toxins into maize and cotton, has been ruled out by the industry due to consumer opposition.

"But the real genetic variety of coffee has never really been exploited," Schilling said. For arabica coffee, 70% of the world market, "every plant derives from only two or three Ethiopian varieties from 2,000 years ago", he said. Researchers are now working to identify the 10 or 20 most genetically diverse coffee plants from 1,000 native varieties collected in the Ethiopian forests in the 1960s by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, with the results expected later in 2014.

These can then be crossed and put into field trials to develop what Schilling calls "super races" of coffee. Once identified, conventional techniques can quickly deliver millions of plants.

"I am very optimistic this strategy will produce the plants we need," Schilling said. "But the weak point is the time available. It is a race – if we had started 10 years ago, we would be very confident that today we would have tools to battle climate change. But I wonder if coffee growers will be able to withstand climate change for another 10 years."

Source:  www.theguardian.com

Is caffeine good or bad for your health?  It may come down to who you are and what your health is like. Before you decide if that coffee, tea, or energy drink habit is right for you, consider the following 10 things you really need to know about caffeine:

The Sliding Caffeine Threshold

Everyone is different and so is our caffeine-tolerance.  One person’s perfect amount is another person’s nerve-rattling, hand-shaking, can’t-sleep-at-night amount. What’s right for you depends on many factors like whether you metabolize caffeine slowly (it stays in your system longer), whether you’re on medications that slow the rate of caffeine metabolism (such as the birth control pill which tends to double your jolt), whether you suffer from a nervous system disorder or insomnia, if you’re petite or big-built, are pregnant or whether you’re a smoker.


Decaf vs. No-Caffeine

You might be inclined to think that decaffeinated coffee is always free of caffeine, but that’s just not the case. Decaf coffee still contains some caffeine; it is simply caffeinated coffee that is processed to remove a large percentage of the caffeine.

Coffee BrainCoffee Standards

The average person consumes 300 mg of caffeine, which most doctors consider moderate consumption. Every cup of coffee or tea tends to differ in the exact amount of caffeine. Starbucks coffee, for example, tends to contain about 20 milligrams of caffeine per ounce, so a 16-ounce coffee provides 320 milligrams, which is more than the average daily recommended amount.

Medical Students Hopped Up on Energy Drinks

While we tend to think of caffeine as increasing our energy, in a study of over 900 medical students, researchers found that of those who drank caffeine-containing energy drinks, 29% experienced increased weight gain and 32% experienced increased overall fatigue over students who didn’t drink energy drinks.

The Caffeine-Alzheimer’s Link

In a Florida-based study researchers found that women who drank three cups of coffee daily had reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Drink Up to Reduce Inflammation

In an animal study, researchers found that caffeine supplementation combined with moderate swimming, reduced inflammation. Another study at the University of Illinois showed that caffeine may block brain inflammation linked with brain diseases.

Ditch the Caffeine While Expecting

There’s controversy over the role of caffeine consumption and pregnancy, but staying away from the java may be a good idea anyway.  In a study of children born to pregnant women who ingested caffeine, the caffeine-exposed babies had signs of impaired growth, including low birth weight.

espresso 111Natural Born Slacker? Cut the Caffeine

Researchers from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, studied the effects of caffeine on rats after first assessing their natural motivation levels.  They found that the natural “workers” started slacking off after consuming caffeine.  The natural born “slackers” remained slackers regardless of caffeine ingestion.  Caffeine could not motivate them. While the results may or may not translate to humans, if you’re trying to encourage someone to “get the job done” you might want to buy them a coffee after the task is completed.  The study is scheduled for publication in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.

The Gender Factor

Scientists studying the way caffeine affects people made an interesting discovery:  Higher caffeine consumption was associated with decreased risk of diabetes in men and an increased risk in women.  So caffeine consumption and its effects even depend on gender.

The Female Cancer Connection

Women who drank 4 cups of coffee daily had a 25% reduction in endometrial cancer.

The Caffeine-Skin Cancer Link

In another study mice fed caffeine developed 27% fewer skin cancer growths after UV exposure.  Combining the caffeine with exercise resulted in 62% reduction in tumors.  The researchers believe the results will translate to people as well.

Source:  www.care2.com

Coffee is good for you. For many people, it is actually the single largest source of antioxidants in the diet, outranking both fruits and vegetables… combined. Here are a few tips to turn your coffee from healthy… to super healthy.

1. No Caffeine After 2PM

Caffeine is a stimulantThis is one of the main reasons we enjoy coffee so much… the caffeine gives us a jolt of energy and helps us stay awake when we feel tired. But if we drink coffee late in the day, this can interfere with our sleep, but poor sleep can cause all sorts of problems (3, 4). For this reason, it is important not to drink coffee late in the day. If you must, choose decaf or opt for a cup of tea instead, which has much less caffeine than coffee. Abstaining from coffee after 2-3 p.m. is a good guideline, depending on the time you go to bed and how sensitive you are to the caffeine.

2. Don’t Load Your Coffee With Sugar

It is very easy to turn coffee into something completely unsuitable for human consumption. The best way to do that is to put a whole bunch of sugar in it, which is arguably the single worst ingredient in the modern diet. Sugar, mainly due to the high amount of fructose, can cause all sorts of serious diseases like obesity and diabetes (5, 6). If you can’t imagine living your life without a sweetener in your coffee, use Stevia.


Happy Coffee3. Choose a Quality Brand, Preferably Organic

Just like it is with other foods, the quality of the product can vary greatly depending on the processing method and how it was grown. Coffee beans tend to be heavily sprayed with pesticides, herbicides and various toxins that were never intended for human consumption. For this reason, I recommend that you choose organic coffee whenever possible.

4. Don’t Use Artificial Sweeteners

Putting artificial sweeteners in your coffee instead of sugar might seem like a good idea, given that they’re calorie free. But the evidence doesn’t support it. Multiple observational studies associate artificial sweeteners with all sorts of health problems (7, 8). For this reason, do not put artificial sweeteners in your coffee. Again, Stevia is a natural alternative, but really… unsweetened coffee is wonderful if you just give yourself some time to get used to it.

5. Add Some Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a tasty herb that mixes particularly well with the flavor of coffee. Studies show that cinnamon can lower blood glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides in diabetics (9). If you need some flavor, try adding a dash of cinnamon. It’s surprisingly good.

6. Avoid Low-Fat & Artificial Creamers

The commercial low-fat and artificial creamers you might come across tend to be highly processed and full of unnatural, harmful ingredients. High fructose corn syrup and trans fats are likely suspects, as well as others. I recommend you avoid these like the plague. Instead, consider adding some full-fat cream, preferably from grass-fed cows. Studies show that high-fat dairy products are actually associated with a reduced risk of obesity (10).

7. Add Some Cocoa

Cocoa is loaded with antioxidants and associated with all sorts of health benefits, including a reduced risk of heart disease (11). If you want some flavor in your coffee, try adding a little organic unsweetened cocoa to your cup.

8. Brew Your Coffee Using a Paper Filter

Brewed coffee may contain harmful substances known as diterpenes, which can raise cholesterol levels in the blood. However, getting rid of them is simple… just use a paper filter. Brewing coffee with a paper filter effectively removes all the diterpenes, but lets the caffeine and beneficial antioxidants pass through (12).

Article by Kris Gunnars.

Marley Coffee 1The son of legendary late musician Bob Marley started a coffee company in 2009 with only 52 acres of farmland in Jamaica and a stern warning to his farmers against using pesticides. 

"I said to them, 'If you use any chemicals on this property, I will come and cut every tree down and you won't have a farm,'" Rohan Marley, the founder and chairman of Marley Coffee, told Business Insider in an interview.

Today, Marley Coffee is sold in thousands of stores worldwide. In North America, its biggest market, more than 8,800 stores will sell Marley Coffee this year, up from 300 stores a year ago, according to CEO Brent Toevs.

The company is still small, however, with revenue of just $4.6 million in the nine months ending Oct. 31, 2013. That's up from $1.4 million during the same period a year earlier. 

Marley attributes the company's recent growth to its sustainable farming practices, which he says were inspired by his father and his Rastafarian beliefs.

"I was truly inspired by a vision that came into my mind as the son of Bob Marley," he said. "I thought about how I could really encompass his message of peace, love and sustainability."

He says that he didn't inherit his father's musical talents, so he wanted to find another way to honor him. His father grew up on a farm and often talked about wanting to retire on one, Marley said. Bob Marley died of cancer in 1981 at the age of 36.

Today, the company continues to grow pesticide-free coffee under the "Jamaica Blue Mountain" label. It also sources sustainably grown coffee from sister farms in the Jamaican Blue Mountain region and from farms in Ethiopia and South America.  

In the Jamaican city of Kingston, Marley Coffee is the largest employer.

"We’re more than just this brand that is trying to market some coffee," Toevs said. "We are creating good lives for people who are helping to produce that product through sustainable farming. We’re really passionate about it."

Many of the roasts use the names of Bob Marley songs, including "Get Up, Stand Up," "Buffalo Soldier," and "Simmer Down."

The company also sells four kinds of single-serve coffee pods compatible with Keurig machines, and has plans to add another five flavors in the coming months, Toevs said. A line of Nespresso-friendly pods is also in the works, he said.

Source: businessinsider.com

Marley Coffee 2

Complete Book of CoffeeComplete Book of Coffee. Authors: Mary Banks, Christine Mcfadden, Catherine Atkinson.

A great book for all coffee lovers!

This is the definitive guide to coffee, from humble bean to irresistible beverage. It includes more than 100 classic recipes using coffee - 30 for coffee drinks and over 70 for great desserts, cakes and cookies. It also offers a fascinating tour of coffee throughout history that traces the enduring appeal of coffee, from its early use by dervishes to the widespread popularity of coffee houses across the world. It features a guide to coffee-producing countries around the globe, exploring the wide range of flavours, aromas and characteristics to be found from the different beans. It offers advice on how to achieve a truly satisfying cup of coffee whatever brewing equipment is used - from simple saucepan to electric espresso machine. It provides fabulous photography throughout, including 585 specially commissioned colour pictures. This comprehensive guide explores all aspects of coffee, from aromatic beverage to indispensable cooking ingredient. This book is divided into two main sections: the reference section includes a history of coffee drinking around the world, the rise of coffee houses and cafes, as well as giving comprehensive advice on the wide range of coffee brewing equipment available. The recipe section, features 30 coffee drinks and over 70 step-by-step recipes for delicious desserts, cakes and cookies. All the classic coffee dishes are included, such as Tiramisu, and Coffee and Cardamon Zabaglione making this book a must for coffee-lovers everywhere.

Available from the Exclusive Books website for R178.