Tag Archives: Coffee

Coffee wisdom

Coffee never knew it will taste nice and sweet, before it met sugar and milk. We are good as individuals but become better when we blend with the right people. The world is full of nice people, if you can’t find one, be one.

The richest wealth is wisdom. The strongest weapon is patience. The best security is faith. The greatest tonic is laughter, and the greatest force is love. The surest assurance is hope in God. And the source of our strength is the joy of the Lord. Surprisingly all are free.

Sooner or later, any self-respecting coffee connoisseur is going to have to pucker up and discover the taste of the infamous Kopi Luwak (civet coffee). It even has Oprah Winfrey’s seal of approval.
And like much that goes all the way to the top – after all, how much higher than The Big O can you go? – debate rages about just how much is quality and how much is hype.
Some coffee experts in Jakarta dismiss the brew as merely another overhyped, commercialized fad. Others, such as culinary legend William Wongso, believe quality Kopi Luwak exists and should be valued.
Even those who aren’t interested in coffee will pause for thought once learning about the extra step in the Kopi Luwak production process – before it passes into your cup, it passes through the bowels of a furry animal.
The Asian palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) is a cat-like mammal that lives in coffee plantations in Sulawesi, Java and Sumatra.
The civet is unable to digest coffee beans properly; when it eats them, they pass through its digestive system, ending up back on the ground at the other end, more or less intact.
But not untouched – as the bean makes its journey through the civet’s insides, it is exposed to the animal’s stomach acids and enzymes, which give it a special kind of fermentation. The excreted beans thus take on an unusual taste.
Brewing these beans (after washing, one hopes) produces an unusual drink. The beans are hard to come by, given the specialized harvesting techniques required, which makes it boutique and hard to come by and therefore, to some, very high class.
At the Kopi Luwak café in Mal Kelapa Gading 2, you can try both “pure” Kopi Luwak, or a mere hint in a blend of Luwak (3%) and standard coffee beans.
A 10 gram sachet of the unadulterated variety costs around Rp 75,000 (US$8).
So it’s not just its origin that raises eyebrows. It is reportedly the most expensive coffee in the world.
The high price is a simple matter of supply and demand, says Indonesian coffee expert Alun Evans.
“Is it worth the price? Well I guess that is all in the eye of the beholder.”
Nevertheless, Yudhi, 26, is still eager to try the Indonesian drink.
After all, what does he have to lose – it wouldn’t be the first time someone pays too much for a coffee that tastes like it’s come out of an animal’s rear end.
But 24-year-old Filipe Campos Michel just can’t stop thinking about where it came from.
“I don’t think I could drink it,” he says. “I just don’t think I could.”
Others see it as a special coffee experience, endorsed not only by Oprah but by a civet as well.
“The civet finds a good quality of coffee bean,” Yudhi says. “That’s why people like to drink it.”
The Kopi Luwak is served black, so it is at its richest. It has a deep chocolate color, with a rich, sweet flavor. It is also a little more grainy than standard coffee.
Yudhi, at least, liked it.
“It tastes sort of creamy,” he says. “It has a very strong aftertaste.”
He won’t make it a habit, though, with its designer price tag.
“It is good to try it, but not to drink it all the time.”

JP/Michelle Keenan

Coffee Tied to Lower Stroke Risk in Women

Women who enjoy a daily dose of coffee may like this perk: It might lower their risk of stroke.

Women in a Swedish study who drank at least a cup of coffee everyday had a 0.22 to 0.25 times lower risk of stroke, compared to those who drank less coffee or none at all.

“Coffee drinkers should rejoice,” said Dr. Sharonne Hayes, a cardiologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. “Coffee is often made out to be potentially bad for your heart. There really hasn’t been any study that convincingly said coffee is bad.”

“If you are drinking coffee now, you may be doing some good and you are likely not doing harm,” she added.

But Hayes and other doctors say the study shouldn’t send non-coffee drinkers running to their local coffee shop. The study doesn’t prove that coffee lowers stroke risk, only that coffee drinkers tend to have a lower stroke risk.

“These sorts of epidemiological studies are compelling but they don’t prove cause,” said Dr. David S. Seres, director of medical nutrition at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York.

The findings were published online Thursday in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.

Scientists have been studying coffee for years, trying to determine its risks and benefits. The Swedish researchers led by Susanna Larsson at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm said previous studies on coffee consumption and strokes have had conflicting findings.

“There hasn’t been a consistent message come out,” of coffee studies, said Dr. Cathy Sila, a stroke neurologist at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland.

For the observational study, researchers followed 34,670 Swedish women, ages 49 to 83, for about 10 years. The women were asked how much coffee they drank at the start of the study. The researchers checked hospital records to find out how many of the women later had strokes.

There were 1,680 strokes, including those who drank less than a cup or none.

Cup a day enough

Researchers adjusted for differences between the groups that affect stroke risk, such as smoking, weight, high blood pressure and diabetes, and still saw a lower stroke risk among coffee drinkers. Larsson said the benefit was seen whether the women drank a cup or several daily.

“You don’t need to drink so much. One or two cups a day is enough,” she said.

Larsson, who in another study found a link between coffee drinking in Finnish men who smoked and decreased stroke risk, said more research needs to be done to figure out why coffee may be cutting stroke risk. It could be reducing inflammation and improving insulin sensitivity, she said, or it could be the antioxidants in coffee.

Since study participants were asked about their past coffee consumption and then followed over time, there is no way to know if they changed their behaviour.

Women in the study were not asked whether they drank decaf coffee, but most Swedes drink caffeinated coffee, the researchers said.

Larsson and others point out that those who want to reduce their chances of a stroke should focus on the proven ways to lower risk:

  • Don’t smoke.
  • Keep blood pressure in check.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.

Last year, British researchers also reported a link between any coffee drinking and reduced risk of stroke in a general population.