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Tea and Coffee to cut your blood pressure

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Coffee 111Tea and coffee may not be as bad for your health as many people think, new research suggests.

People who drink four cups a day have been found in a major study to have lower blood pressure than those who drink none.

The findings seem to fly in the face of previous research which has linked caffeine intake to high blood pressure, or hypertension. High blood pressure, which affects one in four middle-aged people, can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and other illnesses.

Beyond the age of 65 around half of Britons suffer from the condition, with millions having to take medication to treat it. A 10-year study by French scientists showed heavy tea drinkers had lower blood pressure, pulse pressure and heart rate than lighter drinkers.

Heavy coffee drinkers were found to have slightly higher blood pressure than normal but ­non-drinkers had the highest readings. Report author Bruno Pannier, from the Preventive and Clinical Investigations Centre in Paris, said it was possible that the flavonoids in tea had a relaxing effect on blood vessels.

girl drinking coffeeHe said: “The vasorelaxing compounds included in these beverages might be involved in these results, something that has been suggested by the experimental data.” The study, presented to the European Society of Hypertension in Milan, made no distinction between black, herbal and green teas.

Researchers looked at the tea and coffee drinking habits of 180,000 men and women aged between 16 and 95. Subjects were asked to record their intake of coffee and tea and the results were divided into those who abstained, those who drank between one and four cups a day and those who drank more than that. The difference between the groups was small but scientifically significant, the authors concluded.

Doctors have argued for many years over the link between drinking coffee and tea and the risk of developing high blood ­pressure. While some studies suggest modest intake can reduce blood pressure, ­others have been inconclusive.

However, Nottingham GP Ian Campbell said people should not take the findings of the French study to mean that they can drink even more tea and coffee. He said: “This is a fairly unusual study and appears to go against conventional understanding of the effects of too much caffeine. “Nobody should be encouraged to drink more tea and coffee as a result of this. Current guidance that two or three cups a day is sufficient is worth sticking to.”

According to current guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, doctors should ­“discourage the excessive consumption of coffee and other caffeine-rich products”.

The best coffee maker...

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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 Art Workshop

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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.

Coffee "vital" at work

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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

Know your coffee...

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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....