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New Starbucks record....


Starbucks recordA Florida woman has broken the record for the most expensive drink ever ordered at Starbucks with a Frappucino that cost nearly $61. Sameera Raziuddin, a 23-year-old medical student, beat the previous $54.75 record set by a Dallas, Texas man in May with her caffeinated cocktail that contained a whopping 60 shots of espresso.

The $60.58 also contained white mocha, hazelnut, soy milk and caramel syrup. And Sameera didn't pay a dime for it. Sameera first got a few bucks knocked off her considerable total by scanning her Starbucks loyalty card, bringing the cost of her concoction to $57.75. She then used a coupon for a free drink, bringing her total to $0 and it was clear she'd put some thought into her record-breaking Starbucks visit.

The Indiana native even brought her own container for the drink, since even the chain's massive Trenti cup only holds 31 ounces and Sameera's sixty shots could hardly fit in that. Sameera also invited the press to the Pembroke Pines store, which seems to have angered Starbucks corporate.

Starbucks informed Consumerist that drinks like Sameera's are against company policy since Frappucinos may not be made in cups larger that the 24-ounce Venti. What's more, Starbucks said that no drink at all may be made larger than 31-ounces.

In addition to the rules of Starbucks, Sameera suggested that some critics point to the medical student's hijab and say she's even broken the rules of her religion. She told MailOnline: 'I've been seeing a lot of comments about the fact that this month is Ramadan and that I should be fasting...Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, and the drink was made at 11:02PM.'

Sameera also quashed any suggestions that she may have chugged the dangerously large beverage herself. 'I am still working on the drink and have been sharing it with my friends,' she revealed. 'As a med student, I know better than to try to consume 60 shots of espresso in one sitting.'

a coffee a day keeps the dentist away?


SmileIf you want to have healthier teeth, you might want to take a look at the kind of coffee that you're drinking. It appears that brushing and flossing your teeth properly are not the only means to have smile-worthy teeth. A new study suggests that drinking black coffee may also help you maintain a healthy set of teeth.

For the study "Antibacterial effect of coffee: calcium concentration in a culture containing teeth/biofilm exposed to Coffea Canephora aqueous extract" which was published in Letters in Applied Microbiology on June 7, researchers from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil found that coffee which contains high amounts of caffeine can destroy bacteria that cause dental plaques.

"Dental plaque is a classic complex biofilm and it's the main culprit in tooth decay and gum disease," said study researcher Andrea Antonio, from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

Unfortunately, you may not be able to enjoy the dental health benefit of coffee if you like yours with sugar, milk or cream because these will give your teeth the opposite effect. You should drink your coffee black, strong and unsweetened if you want it to have a positive effect on your oral health.

For their study, Antonio and colleagues used bacteria in the saliva to cultivate biofilms in fragments of milk teeth that were donated by children. They then treated the teeth daily with an extract of the coffea canephora. Also known as Robusta coffee, this particular variety of coffee, which makes up about 30 percent of the coffee produced worldwide, is mostly grown in Vietnam, Brazil and Africa. Earlier studies showed that Robusta coffee contains high amounts of polyphenols, compounds that are known to prevent and treat oral diseases.coffee extract appeared to have been lysed, a process wherein the polyphenols destroy the bacteria on the teeth by bursting them open. After a week, the researchers also observed that the teeth that were exposed to coffee extracts appeared to be in better condition compared with those that were treated only with filtered water.

Despite the study finding association between strong coffee and dental health, Antonio warned against drinking too much coffee. Although coffee can help destroy plaque-causing bacteria, she said that excessive coffee consumption may also cause staining and the coffee's acidity may negative impact the tooth enamel.

Other food products that are known to have a positive effect on dental health include cheese and yoghurt because of their calcium content, as well as green tea, grapes and coffee because of their antibacterial properties.

Coffee - Follow your nose


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.

Climate Change Threatening Coffee's Future


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

11 Things you should know about Caffeine


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