Thursday, February 25, 2010

One cup at a time...

I’m excited about this post, mainly because I mentioned a few weeks ago I wanted to write about it and finally found some things out and now I can. My first Sip of the Week, I went to The Donkey in Athens and I tried to get the Brew of the Week, which at that point it was Dean’s Beans No CO2 coffee, but unfortunately they sold it out before I could try it. I told you all I would figure out what the No CO2 brew was and let you know, so that is what I’ m going to do now.

Before I begin, I just want to explain what Dean’s Beans is. Dean’s Beans is a company that makes coffees that are organic, fair trade and kosher. The beans are roasted in a beanery in Orange, MA.

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Using pesticides in coffee production really impacts the ecology of the coffee-growing world, so Dean’s Beans is committed to buying only shade grown coffees, which supports healthy environments for coffee growers and protects bird habitats.

Dean’s Beans No CO2 coffee was launched to help fight Global Warming one cup at a time. The company calculated the total carbon load generated by a pound of coffee, from growing, harvesting, and processing, to shipping, roasting, and brewing it in our homes. Once the process was complete, Dean’s Beans found that seventeen pounds of coffee generates about fifty pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. They also found out that one tree in the Tropics of Coffee releases about fifty pounds of CO2 annually.

The research done by Dean’s Beans has led them to starting a project with the Ashaninkas indigenous farmers of Pangoa, whose land was denuded by illegal logging in the 1980’s. The whole goal of the project is to plant one tree in Pangoa Cooperative for every 17 pounds of No CO2 Peruvian coffee consumed.

The tree species they are planting the the Tornillo. It grows about fifty feet tall over a period of time and provided shade and critical migratory bird habitat. So far into this project, over 80,000 tress have been planted.

I think this a great project! In recent years we have all heard about global warming and how it’s affecting the world, so any little way to help it I think is perfect. So many people consume coffee, so this an excellent way to get trees planted.

One con to this project...the only time I have ever heard of this type of coffee was when I went to The Donkey a few weeks ago, so that means there probably isn’t many people who actually know about it. I think that if more people would hear about it somehow (oh...maybe through ads??!!) then this could potentially do great things. If yo are really into helping the environment and want to try this coffee, you can purchase it here through the Dean’s Beans Web site.

Have a wonderful weekend everybody!


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Week two and finally getting to me

Well, this is the second week of not having coffee and it’s really getting to me. I’m finally feeling better and I want some coffee, but I’m not going to jump the gun. I think I will take one more week off and try to get back to my Sip of the Week next week, so my apologies...again.

Since I will not be doing a Sip of the Week today, I’m going to post Part II to continue Part I from last week: the effects of too much caffeine on your body.

ABC Health & Wellbeing says that caffeine not only has long-term effects but short-term and some people may experience withdrawal if they go even a day without caffeine.

Let me start by talking about withdrawal. Once someone drinks or takes in a lot of caffeine, they form a tolerance for it, just like if you take a certain medicine everyday, it probably won’t help much later on. Caffeine works the same way, after awhile it just no longer affects people, so they drink more and more so they feel energized, then a day without it for them is very bad. ABC Health & Wellbeing said that “withdrawal symptoms occur because after a day or so without caffeine the brain becomes oversensitive to adenosine, causing blood pressure to drop dramatically.”

Some of the withdrawal symptoms include:
•caffeine headaches

Excessive caffeine intake can also cause caffeinism, which is a syndrome resulting from the chronic consumption of caffeine and addiction.

Symptoms of caffeineism include:
•nervous irritability
•muscle twitching
•sensory disturbances
gastrointestinal disturbances

Reading how all the caffeine I drink effects my body really makes me think, is it worth it? Is it worth sacrificing my body for coffee or a Mt. Dew? For those that don’t know me well, I don’t drink alcohol (I know you’re thinking WHAT??!!! You go to OU and don’t drink???!!!) That’s right, I said it. Anyways...I know caffeine is bad, but I would rather drink that than alcohol and alcohol can hurt your body just as bad. Knowing what caffeine does to my body, I do want to cut down, but I don’t want to take it completely out of my diet...

All of this talk about caffeine and coffee is making me really thirsty, so I think I’m going to go grab me a big glass of water. I hope that next week I can get back out and do a real Sip of the Week, I know a few of you reading really enjoy those.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

How to grind your own fresh coffee!!

Have you ever wanted to grind your own coffee, but don't know how? Well I am here to help. I had never done it before either, so I figured it out and now I am going to tell you how. Here is a special video I made that I hope will help you and entertain you. Enjoy!


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Did you know??

Did you know that TOO much caffeine (in coffee and pop, etc..) can be bad for you? Well I found that out the hard way last week and because of that, and I apologize, I will not be doing a Sip of the Week for this week.

Last Monday when I did my Sip of the Week, that was the second cup of “specialty” coffee I had that day and I just think that was way too much caffeine for my body. I spent the rest of the evening with a horrible migraine and upset stomach, and now when I think of getting any type of coffee it makes my stomach turn. I’ve decided to take a week or two off of drinking coffee, so then maybe that will help my body a little bit. I guess it is healthier for me to NOT drink coffee, but I’ve committed myself to writing a coffee blog and if I don’t drink it then that would ruin my purpose, so I will take a week or two off and see if I can tolerate it again. I hope I can, because I used to love coffee so much.

Anyways, since that happened to me, it sort of prompted a perfect post topic for me this week: The effects of too much caffeine on your body.

I wanted to find the perfect info graphic that would show how much caffeine comes in some of the popular drinks we all enjoy at least once a day, so I did a Google images search and found this.

Photo courtesy of Randy Krum.

According to this poster, caffeine intoxication usually occurs after you have consumed 300 milligrams of caffeine. Last Monday, I had two “specialty” coffees, one from Starbucks and the other from Court Street Coffee. Each of these drinks had approximately 260 milligrams of caffeine in them and I had TWO! That is 520 milligrams, and when coffee intoxication is when you have more than 300 milligrams, I think that could explain why I felt so horrible that evening.

According to a New York Times Health Guide, caffeine is a substance that exists naturally in certain plants and is produced synthetically and used as an additive in food products. Caffeine overdose occurs when someone intentionally or accidentally consumes more caffeine than the normal or recommended amount. This can be through too much caffeine in drinks, as seen above in the info graphic or too much caffeine medication.

Symptoms of caffeine overdose in adults include:

•Breathing trouble
•In and out of consciousness
•Increased thirst
•Irregular heartbeat
•Muscle twitching
•Rapid heartbeat
•Sleeping trouble
•Urination- increased

Symptoms in babies may include:

•Muscles are very tense, then very relaxed
•Rapid, deep breathing
•Rapid heartbeat

If you think you are experiencing caffeine overdose, do NOT induce vomiting right away, call a doctor or the poison control center and if they recommend you induce vomiting, then by all means do so. The National Poison Control Center can be reached anywhere in the United States at 1-800-222-1222. If all else fails, then going to the emergency room at a local hospital is another option.

As I have already stated, I have not had coffee since my incident and I’ve had little caffeine from soda, so I’m trying to help out my body by drinking water and juice. Hopefully I’ll be back to normal soon so I enjoy my morning latte!


Editor's Note: This is Part I of a series of posts about the effects of coffee on the body. I will post Part II next week. 

Saturday, February 13, 2010

"I love you a latte!"

Hey everybody! Well, I heard tomorrow was Valentine’s Day so I figured I should dedicate this post to something related to Valentine’s Day. You might be thinking, and boy I was too, how the heck is coffee related to Valentine’s Day? After a couple hours of looking around online I found something that really caught my eye and thought it would be a great subject to write about.

Before I get started I wanted to tell you guys about the title of this post, “I love you a latte!” A few weeks ago I went to The Front Room Coffeehouse in Baker University Center and got my normal caramel latte. While I was there I noticed the employees got new shirts, but they were kind of plain, just black with a small logo on the left side, where you might see a t-shirt pocket. As I ordered, the guy turned around to make my latte and I saw that the back of the shirts said, “I love you a latte!” That just brought the biggest smile to my face and I don’t even know why, but I thought the saying was clever. Ever since I saw that, I’ve been waiting until Valentine’s Day to use it as my title, so there you go, I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do (which you probably won’t).

Anyways, I came across this article on WebMD titled “Caffeine: Potion for Female Sex Drive?” It was published in 2006, a little outdated, but I didn’t think that much has changed about caffeine in the last four years. The article is talking about a study done at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas titled “Coffee, Tea, and Me.: Moderate doses of caffeine affect sexual behavior in female rats.” This article basically asked one simple question, “Could something as simple as caffeine be the female version of Viagra?” On a side note, this study was the first study to examine the interaction between caffeine and sex in females.

The study was conducted by Fay Guarraci, an assistant professor of psychology at Southwestern University, and Staci Benson, a 2005 Southwestern graduate. They gave 108 female rats a moderate dose of caffeine before a mating test and wanted to look at the effect the caffeine had on the mating behavior of the rats. After Guarraci and Benson examined the effects, they found out that caffeine shortened the time it took females to return to males after receiving ejaculation. They believe this meant that the caffeine made the females more motivated to be with the rats.

Although this worked with rats, it may have different effects on humans since most humans consume moderate doses of caffeine on a daily basis. For the rats, this was the first dose of caffeine they ever had. Guarraci suggested that this might effect “people who are not habitual users.” She also said that, “Understanding the circuits that control this behavior will help us understand how the brain works and what part of the brain mediates motivation because sexual behavior is a motivative behavior.”

According to this Web site, coffee is considered to be an aphrodisiac because of the caffeine in it, but I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to just drink lots of caffeine for a sexual drive.

Well I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine’s Day <3


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

“I think I may have found a new favorite drink”

As I sat in plant biology yesterday I got a sudden, ehhh remember that, from last week? Well I was in plant biology and I did get a sudden craving for coffee, but it really wasn’t the class that set me off. Basically it was cold outside and I wanted something to warm me up and as of Saturday, I am now going back home this weekend for an emergency dentist appointment, so I didn’t think I would have any other time to get out and try a new coffee shop. On Saturday, I was chewing a piece of gum and out came my crown that once was on a tooth I had a root canal in, so I had no other choice than to go home this weekend and get it fixed. Well enough of my rambling on onto the post.

My “Sip of the Week” this week was from Athens’ newest coffee shop, Court St. Coffee. It is located on South Court Street and now occupies the space that one held Baron’s Men Shop. This was the first time I have ever been inside and I was very impressed when I walked in the door. Here were a few things that struck my attention:

1. It was clean and warm. Some places I’ve been to in Athens are like holes-in-the-wall and that sometimes makes me feel uncomfortable, but this place was very nice, not only because it’s new, but looks well-maintained.

2. Signs. The signs with the different types of coffee were very readable and that makes it nice. When I can’t read something I get aggravated and just leave or order something simple like water or pop.

3. Having not been here I had no idea how busy it got during the day, so I didn’t really know what to expect. This place wasn’t bad at all! I mean, there were maybe six people here when I came in, so it was quiet and relaxing.

4 (because I don’t like odd numbers). The furniture was really nice and that says a lot. It was clean and inviting. Sometimes when places have furniture that is outdated, I usually think to myself, “I wonder when that was last cleaned” or “Did two co-workers have some fun after work last night,” so I usually avoid those types up places.

As I came in, the lady at the counter kindly greeted me and asked what I wanted, like literally RIGHT when I came in. Keep in mind, I had never been here before, so I kindly replied, “Hello. I just need a minute to look.” I then began to gawk at the menu. Some things sounded incredible and it all revolved caramel (my favorite drink so far is the caramel latte at The Front Room). Since I reviewed a caramel drink last week and have that everyday, I went for something different. The first item listed on the “espresso” menu was a “Court Street Mocha.” I figures I would give that a try and it was definitely worth it!

The Court Street Mocha is:

•White Chocolate
•Swirls of Caramel
•Steamed Milk
•And as always, I asked for whipped cream on top.

When the lady handed me my coffee, I grabbed a lid and immediately took a sip. Right then I thought to myself, “I think I may have found a new favorite drink.” I then walked to the back and grabbed a seat and enjoyed the rest of my delectable drink.

I guess once my “Flex Points” run out and I stop getting coffee from The Front Room, I may try to come get the “Court Street Mocha” more often and I advise you guys to do the same. I hope you get out to enjoy, maybe not the Court Street Mocha, but any coffee, because according to Alphone Allais ; “Coffee is the beverage that puts one to sleep when not drank.”


Sunday, February 7, 2010

A Visual Tour of Coffee Shops in Athens

If you don't get a chance to venture out in Athens, Ohio much, there are plenty of coffee shops on Court Street and places out on East State Street to get coffee. I've made a video to help you find the perfect coffee shop you are looking for.

Here is an interactive map I made so you can see exactly where the coffee shops are located and get more information about them.

View Coffee Shops in Athens, Ohio 45701 in a larger map

I hope the video and map are helpful to you and that you can get out and try some of the unique coffee shops in Athens.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Gettin' my "Donkey" on

Like every other student at Ohio University, there is always one class (maybe more) you take throughout your college career that doesn't particularly get you going or excited to be there. This class is one that I torture myself by going to everyday, only because I am not a class skipper. The class I'm talking about is plant biology and it's not a horrible class by all means, but there are some days that really drag and today was one of them. I wanted nothing more than to get out and get a cup o' joe and that was my exact mission when that clock struck 3:00 and believe you me, I bolted out of Walter Hall as fast as a cat (except mine) would in water. So, because of my coffee craving during plant biology, I've decided to designate today as the first post of my new feature I'm calling, "Sip of the Week."

Once a week I am going to gain some confidence, stand tall, explore out of my comfort zone, spread my wings and fly away. No...I'm not really going to fly away and I don't have wings, but I will go out of my comfort zone once a week (and my comfort zone is the caramel latte from The Front Room in Baker Center I get every morning) and try a new coffee shop in the Athens area and drink a coffee drink I've never had before.

Today's "sip" was from the popular coffee shop to many university students and townies, "The Donkey." Officially called, Donkey Coffee & Espresso, located on West Washington Street.

View Larger Map
  Map courtesy of Google Maps.

After a long trek from Walter Hall at the southern side of campus to the north end of Court Street, I had finally made it and was greeted at the door by an accordion player. I can't say it was the best musical talent I have ever heard, but the accordion is an instrument I don't hear enough of and it's just so unique that I don't care how many bad notes you play or how out of tune it is, I am willing to listen to it just about whenever.

As I made my way inside, I was expecting to have to wait forever in line to order, but luckily for myself I made it at an "off" time I guess. I wasn't complaining. I've only been to The Donkey a few times before and I usually just ordered and italian soda and then left, so today I wanted something different. As I waited in line I saw a sign for the Brew of the Week, and this weeks sounded very interesting. It was Dean's Beans No C02- "World's first carbon neutral coffee." I thought to myself, hmmm...what would that taste like? Would I even like it? Would it make me sick? Or, would it be a waste of money? I put all of my thoughts aside and got really excited to try something new, so when it was my turn to order the guy behind the counter asked what I wanted and told him I wanted the Brew of the Week. He then proceeded to ask what size and I told him a small and then he went to fill up the cup. In like a split second he turned around and informed me that they were out of it, because he just gave away the last bit. I was bummed, I got excited for nothing, so since the line was long I just ordered a normal ol' caramel latte with whipped cream. How. Unoriginal.

After I collected my thoughts and received my caramel latte, which was in a big rounded cup with the whipped cream whipped around the top and overflowing down the side, I headed to the back of the building to sit down and enjoy my coffee. I want to add that it looked....amazing, and boy it was!

My caramel latte from The Donkey. Photo taken on my cell phone because I left my digital camera at home. Sorry for it being so dark, the lighting was dimmed. I said above that the whipped cream was overflowing down the side and it really was, this picture was taken after I had been drinking it for a bit.

I want to list some things I noticed during my recent visit to The Donkey:

1. It's bigger than you would think, if you go all the way to the back there is a huge room with a bunch of tables and seats and even a few couches, so if you ever want to go there with some friends, there will definitely be room.

2. The music seemed loud in the front of the building, but once I went more to the back it seemed to get quieter and the lights were dimmed, so it made for a nice studying atmosphere.

3. They support local music, which is very cool. Athens has a unique music scene and I don't get a lot of free time to attend some of the events in town, so it was nice I could listen to some of it during my stay.

4. Games and lots of them. I am an avid board game player (especially Scrabble), so when I get some extra free time I will definitely be back to play something with my friends and not do homework. Shh...don't tell my mom!

5. The decorations throughout the building gave it a unique look and weren't over-the-top annoying and distracting. Again, this added to the calmness of it and the relaxing atmosphere.

And finally, 6, because I don't like odd numbers. The drink I had was amazing, the italian sodas are delicious, so I would assume everything from here would be worth the price and time to get here. This place is one I recommend to everyone and I will of course be back.

That is all I have for now, so get out there and get some coffee...I know you want to. I will try to do some research on that carbon neutral coffee for my next post and figure out what that is, because I am really curious now and hope you are too.