It can be frustrating to pull up to your favorite coffee shop and be confronted with a long line when you want to get your coffee and get back on the road. This is especially true here in LA, where a 5 or 10 minute delay in getting on with your commute can mean you’ll be spending an extra 30 minutes in traffic. Yesterday, CEO Howard Schultz confirmed plans to allow customers to place orders through Starbucks’s mobile app and pick them up later. That means that you will eventually be able to order and pay for you drink before you even arrive at Starbucks, so you just need to run in and out with your drink. The idea of “mobile ordering” is one that Starbucks has been talking about for some time, but this is the first time that they’ve confirmed it is in the works. While it might not be a must-have feature for regular drip coffee drinkers, it is a big plus for people who order food that needs to be prepared in some way before it is served. Since Starbucks is planning to continue to build its food options, there will be an increasing demand to cut down the wait times associated with ordering food, especially during busy morning commuting hours.
A cup of coffee can get you going in the morning, but it may also help you remember all the details of your morning meeting a bit better. The results from a recent research study from published online in Nature Neuroscience shows that coffee can actually improve your memory. The study involved asking a group of men and women to study pictures of a variety of objects and then given (or not given) the caffeine equivalent to 2 cups of coffee. The next day, the subjects were asked to perform a test that would show how well the remembered the images from previous day and the caffeine-assisted people consistently remembered more accurately than the group without caffeine. Memory wasn’t helped by just a half a cup, you needed at least the 2 cup dose to see results in the study.
These results back up previous findings that the caffeine in coffee makes you more alert and that alertness allows you to pay more attention to anything you need to remember, but this shows that it likely improves your ability to recall that information later. This isn’t to say that it is a memory pill that will suddenly turn you into Sheldon from Big Bang Theory (if it did, you probably would already have noticed that), just that you shouldn’t hesitate to take that second cup in the morning because it will probably pay off later in the work day.
You’ve probably been told that coffee causes dehydration because it is a diuretic. It turns out that this widely-repeated “fact” is nothing more than an old wives’ tale. A new study conducted at the University of Birmingham concluded that “coffee … provides similar hydrating qualities to water” and that consumption of caffeinated coffee had no influence on hydration status. This means that coffee doesn’t encourage the body to pee or otherwise cause you to dry out more quickly – reassuring news for regular coffee drinkers who often hear that they need to drink more water. This isn’t the first study on this subject, and more research out there counteracting this long-standing myth is the first step towards getting a real fact out there in place of the old tall tale.
That said, you probably aren’t drinking enough water, so you might want to order an extra coffee or a cup of water the next time you are out so that you really do stay hydrated!
Coffee is something that most people develop a taste for sometime in high school or college. In fact, your parents might not have let you drink coffee as a kid. They may even have told you that coffee could stunt your growth or have other negative side effects (besides caffeine-induced hyperactivity) to discourage you from drinking it. But have you ever heard of a study where those claims are proven alongside all those studies that show that coffee can actually be very good for you?
The answer seems to be that the claims that coffee is harmful to kids are rooted in pseudoscience and marketing – marketing created by the early 20th century cereal Tycoon, C.W. Post who wanted to get kids drinking his cereal-based, caffeine-free coffee substitute, Postum. Rules about health claims in the early 20th century were quite different than rules today, so to make Postum (which is tasty, for those who grew up on it) sound appealing, Post just needed to make the competition sound terrible. Ads stated that “a ‘world famous Research Institute’ had found conclusive evidence that drinking coffee brought down children’s grades” and that it generally “hampers proper development and growth.” It wasn’t a hard sell for caffeine-drinking parents, who did know that excess caffeine consumption could cause one to become jittery, and parents gradually stopped giving their kids coffee and tea with their breakfasts. They didn’t all switch to Postum, of course, but the impact of this campaign is still being felt today and it may continue to lurk in old wives’ lore for decades to come.
But, rest assured, drinking coffee isn’t going to keep kids from growing an extra 2-3 inches or keep them from getting good grades. In fact, a little caffeine might just help them concentrate enough to memorize a few more facts for that upcoming test.