What color is your coffee mug? If you’re anything like me, the answer to that question is the color of ‘whatever mug my hand finds first in the cupboard’. I don’t pay that much attention to the color of my mugs – but I probably should and you should, too. A new study shows that the color of your coffee mug can influence the flavor of your coffee. The study, published in the journal Flavour, found that white cups make people perceive cafe lattes as being more strongly coffee flavored – e.g. more bitter and generally more intense - than lattes served in other mugs. A second experiment evaluated the shapes of mugs and whether that would have an impact on the perceived intensity of coffee, but that showed that color mattered more than shape. Coffee served in white cups – no matter the size or shape – was consistently perceived as being less sweet than coffee served in clear or blue mugs. Researchers theorize that it is the color contrast between a white mug and dark coffee (or even a darker-than-white latte) is what impacts the perceived intensity of the coffee.
In other words, you might not want to reach for the white mug when you pour your next cup because, like it or not, you might believe that it tastes better when you sip it from a cup of a different color.
Coffee does a lot of wonderful things, in addition to simply tasting good, and we can add one more to the list today. A new study has linked coffee consumption with lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers at the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee, a nonprofit that studies the heath effects of coffee, found that there are several things going on in coffee that may be relevant to slowing age-related cognitive decline.
ISIC researchers point to the caffeine and polyphenol content in coffee as the protective factors. Caffeine, they say, prevents the buildup of the protein that creates plaques and tangles in the brain, which researchers believe is one of the key causes for the memory-robbing disease. Caffeine, along with polyphenols, chemical compounds that have an antioxidant effect on the body, both reduce inflammation, which some researchers believe is the key to age-related decline.
Their study looked at a ground of around 5,000 middle aged participants whose coffee consuption was monitored from 1989 to 1991, and again from 1997 to 2011. Participants in the study who consumed more than three cups of coffee a day were found to be less likely to develop dementia or experience the onset of Alzheimer’s. Research suggests that coffee consumption could be causing a delayed onset of symptoms, rather than reversing damage that is already present, since there was some indication that the “protective effect” of coffee may diminish over time. That said, there is still lots more research to be done and a delayed onset – a slowing of the disease’s progress, especially at the beginning – is certainly a wonderful thing because it buys you extra time, as anyone who has had a loved one fall victim to dementia will certainly tell you.
Have you ever wandered into a Starbucks and wished that they offered more Halloween-centric drinks? If so, now is your chance to grab one. Starbucks has launched a new secret drink just for Halloween: the Franken Frappuccino! The green drink starts with a green tea Frappuccino base, wo which white mocha sauce, peppermint syrup, java chips, whipped cream, and a mocha drizzle are added. It sounds over-the-top, but like many Halloween treats, it is probably over-the-top in a good way. Are you brave enough (or have a big enough sweet tooth) to give this one a try? Bonus points if you can get your barista to draw a little franken face on the side of your cup!
If you want to go for it, know that Starbucks is running a Halloween promotion for Frappuccinos. From October 29 – 31st after 2:00 PM, you can order any Grande size Frappuccino for just $3.00, including the Franken Frappuccino. And if your barista hasn’t been briefed on the drink, you can get the recipe here at Starbucks Melody.
As more people do their shopping online, brick and mortar retailers often feel the pinch. We usually picture clothing stores and toy stores, but this kind of shift in shopping behavior also affects other types of stores, including the food and drink vendors in malls and shopping centers. Starbucks is just one example of a store that has seen a dip in some in-store sales over past holiday seasons – after all, commuters may not be stopping in for their morning coffee drink, either! – but this year, they are introducing a promotion that just might turn that trend around. Starbucks will be giving away free drinks for life to 10 lucky customers who use their registered Starbucks card between December 2nd and Christmas. Winning the promotion would entitle you to a free drink of your choice (I assume that you could select a different one every day) every day for the next 30 years. They’ll also be giving away other prizes for participating consumers.
The odds may be slim, but that is a pretty tempting prize for a coffee (or tea, especially since they’re incorporating more Tevana products) lover this holiday season. I’ll most likely be stopping by anyway, but it is a good excuse to get out of the house for a bit after doing the rest of your holiday shopping online.