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French PressOne thing is certain, ask a dozen people the best way to brew the perfect cup of coffee and you'll get a dozen answers. Last week, the guys at lifehacker.com asked readers to vote. The results were interesting to say the least, with the good old french press coming out tops.

The venerable French Press and all its brands and varieties (voters nominated Bodum, Grosche, Espro, the IKEA Upphetta, and a few others) took the top spot after a fierce battle for first place with just over 30% of the overall vote. Those who voted for the French press praised its ease of use, simplicity, and most importantly, its delicious coffee.

In second place with another 30% of the vote, missing the number one spot by a mere 17 votes, was the Bialetti Moka Pot, which had taken the lead in early voting and looked to be the outright winner...until Monday rolled around. Still the Moka Pot has a huge following, and for good reason. In third place with over 23% of the total vote was the Aerobie AeroPress, the portable, single-cup hand-pressed coffee maker that everyone loves. In fourth place were the Pour-overs, including the Chemex, Hario V60, Melitta, and the Clever Coffee Dripper, with close to 13% of the vote. Finally, bringing up the rear was the Technivorm Moccamaster, an amazing (but pricey) automatic drip maker, with 4% of the votes cast.

Latte artJoin us on Saturday 25 May for a LATTE ART WORKSHOP presented by Matt Carter. The workshop will cover the basics of latte art including:

  • Extracting a good shot of espresso.
  • The composition of milk.
  • Milk steaming procedures and techniques.
  • Basic latte art pouring techniques.

Snacks will be provided and guests may drink as much coffee as they like! Space is limited and booking is essential to secure your seat for this workshop.

Cost: R500 per person
When: Saturday 25 May 08:30 to 12:00.

Where: Nuova Simonelli SA.
6 - 6th Street, Parkhurst, Johannesburg.
Bookings: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

For more information contact Matt Carter on 074 115 2801.

Espresso runningThe Daily Buzz Coffee Workplace Survey about South African's attitudes to coffee in the workplace found that over 80% of respondents believe drinking coffee at work is vital or at least important to their productivity levels. It also revealed that 64% of respondents believe that their coffee routine is extremely important or important to their happiness at work.

Chris Brown, Director at The Daily Buzz, the corporate coffee bar operator that conducted the survey amongst more than 800 employees working for a number of South African companies, says various studies have found that coffee helps to improve people's short-term memories and concentration for various periods.

"Coffee is part of many people's daily routine and often people feel that they can't start their day until they've had a cup of java. It is not just a way to improve mental performance but it also has health benefits. Coffee beans are loaded with antioxidants, which have been shown to help minimise the risk of heart disease and certain cancers, as well as improving the performance of the liver.

"Of course, everything should be done in moderation and the survey does show that most of us are heeding this advice," says Brown.

The survey revealed that most people (65% of respondents) drink between two to three cups of coffee a day, while 22% drink just one cup. However, 8% said they drink between four and five cups a day while 4% said they drink more than five cups a day.

coffee at workNeed the 'kick'

Further results showed that people certainly need the kick that they receive from a cup of coffee. An overwhelming 66% said they don't like decaffeinated coffee and a further 11% ask what's the point of decaffeinated coffee? Only 24% said they do like it.

Respondents were also asked to choose their main reasons for drinking coffee at work. The highest response was to 'have a break', followed by 'the taste of coffee', both receiving more than 400 responses. 'Part of my routine' and 'it wakes me up when tired' also received more than 300 responses each.

He notes that in the past, many employees would take a short break from their daily tasks by having a cigarette. "Luckily we have become far more health conscious now and far fewer of us smoke. However, it is still important to have a reason to take a break throughout the day and making a coffee or visiting the local coffee bar is an excellent - and healthier - way to do so."

Interestingly, the favourite coffee among respondents was overwhelmingly a cappuccino, which scored more than twice as many responses as its closest contender, the caffe latte. Other popular choices were filter coffee, flavoured latte, café mocha and Americano. Espresso and macchiato were the least favourite choices.

"Coffee - and especially a cappuccino - is fast becoming the beverage of choice among many South Africans but perhaps even more important, it helps us stay focused while at work and provides a perfect reason to take a break for those who don't smoke," concludes Brown.

Courtsey: Bizcommunity.com

espressofabriek-5This chalk board was spotted in a coffee shop in Amsterdam. It really is a sign of the direction the coffee industry is moving towards. Similar to wine, more and more consumers want to know the origin of the product they are consuming. The connection between the source of the product and the end consumer can not be under estimated. It creates an appreciation for the product when the consumer understands the time, attention and love that went into creating the product.

Sure there will always be a place for mass produced "commercial" blends, but there is no reason why the bigger coffee companies can't communicate basic things like origin (country or region) and perhaps even processing and/or roasting details. Unless of course they have something to hide....

TRIBE roasterTRIBE Coffee Roasting recently opened its doors to its TRIBE family, media and celebrity guests. The TRIBE Trailblazers have moved their roastery to a new site in the artists haven of the Woodstock Foundry with a café bar designed by Rivets and Rockets and bamboo recycled set pieces from MBA Architect Design.

TRIBE Coffee Roasting is now situated in one of Cape Town's oldest residential and business nodes, at 170 Albert Road - The Woodstock Foundry. At the Tribe Cafe, patrons will be able to discover up to nine different coffee beans from around the world including: Brazil, Peru, Costa Rica, Indonesia, India, Malawi, Rwanda, Zambia, Guatemala, El Salvador.

Jake Easton, Bradley Juter and Kate Nero, the trailblazers behind TRIBE Coffee, share their passion in the specialty coffee revolution which is strongest in Cape Town. The trio look beyond the horizon and tried to gaze into the future with coffee flavours, café design, training ideas, ethical sourcing of coffee and unparalleled customer service.

Founder, Jake Easton says "The coffee revolution is in full swing in Cape Town and after starting at the bottom three and a half years ago, we've got our whole team here, fully embracing this revolution with passion and artistry".

TRIBE welcomes all to join them by visiting their new premises between 7am and 4pm Monday - Friday and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

For more, go to www.tribecoffee.co.za.

Coffee BeansOne study found that 98 percent of people in North America consume some kind of caffeine every day. Caffeine is a natural stimulant that comes in all shapes and sizes, including coffee, tea, chocolate, soda, and energy drinks. Moderate doses — about 200 mg, or two cups of (strong) coffee – can increase alertness, fight off headaches, and may even help prevent Alzheimer’s and other diseases. But more than 500 mg per day can lead to addiction, anxiety, irritability, and hallucinations. Get the facts before drinking that eighth cup o’ Joe.

Buzzing to know - why it matters

Caffeine is the most widely used psychoactive stimulant in the world. Stimulants (a class of drugs that also includes tobacco and cocaine) target the central nervous system and affect the brain, creating a feeling of alertness. Five cups of coffee can cause a caffeine overdose, but it’s pretty difficult to get too much caffeine from something like soda or chocolate — to hit 500 mg a day, a person would need to consume 14 cans of Diet Coke or five cups of chocolate chips. But just a little more than two 5-Hour Energy drinks can put someone in the caffeine danger zone.

Consuming too much caffeine in one day can exacerbate or induce psychiatric conditions such as panic attacks, psychosis, and mania. And lay off the caffeine benders — long bouts of caffeine-induced insomnia have even led to acute suicidal thoughts or death in some cases. That fifth vodka Red Bull might not be the best choice either, since certain symptoms of caffeine intoxication — like vomiting,cardiac arrhythmias, and high blood pressure — can get worse when combined with alcohol.

In the long term, substituting lattes for a regular sleep schedule can have some scary consequences. Consistently consuming too much caffeine over many months can lead to dependence and some rough withdrawal effects like migraines, depression and fatigue. But it’s not all doom and gloom for caffeine connoisseurs.

Coffee CupThe Shakes - Answer/Debate

It’s difficult to say how much caffeine is too much because the substance can have vastly different effects depending on the person consuming it. Veteran caffeinators might laugh in the face of danger (I drink five cups a day and I’m not sick) but they may have a medical reason to do so. People naturally build up a tolerance to the effects of caffeine, meaning they need more to get the same buzz. Other factors like weight and body mass index also come into play; in general, those with a higher BMI can tolerate larger quantities of caffeine.

There’s no need to go cold-turkey on caffeine, since moderate amounts may actually have some big benefits. Five cups of coffee might be overdoing it, but one can help us power through a tough meeting by increasing alertness and improving knowledge retention. Caffeine may even help fight some diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. And studies show that consuming caffeine just before exercise can improve attitude and performance.

But caffeinators worried they’ve overshot their limit can take some simple steps to recuperate, such as drinking water (to help flush the liver), resting if possible, and cutting their caffeine intake in the future. Easier said than done? Instead of using caffeine, try getting that energy boost from quick workouts or smelling lemons (really).

The Takeaway

  • More than 500 mg of caffeine in one day can be dangerous (even though that number is subject to the individual).
  • Potential effects of consuming too much caffeine include panic attacks, cardiac arrhythmias, and even suicidal tendencies.
  • Recognize a body’s limit. Manage caffeine intake and be wary of unexpectedly caffeinated foods, such as chocolate and soft drinks.
  • If you need a fix, caffeine’s fine. Just stop at the third cup.
  • By Zachary Sniderman - Greatist.com