How often do you drink french press coffee? I know some people who drink it every day, stating that it is the only way to drink coffee. I know others who, like me, enjoy a good french press but don’t have the time or desire to make one every day. I know that there are plenty of days when I just brew a full pot of drip coffee because I know I’m going to have multiple cups, or share it with others. This seems to be a good decision on my part because french press coffee is essentially regarded as being the most unhealthy type of coffee for you because french presses don’t use a paper filter. This lack of a filter does two things. First, it allows a tiny amount of oil from the coffee to get into your cup of joe. The amount is very small, but I have actually heard people cite french presses as being “fattening” because of it. The second is that it allows a substance called cafestol to get into the coffee from the beans. Cafestol actually affects the liver and raises your LDL cholesterol, which is the “bad” cholesterol. Again, this is a trace amount, but the paper filters in drip coffee virtually eliminate all traces of cafestol, making drip coffee that much healthier than pressed.
Is this going to change the way you drink coffee? As an occasional French press drinker, nope. I’m still going to enjoy a press with a lazy Sunday brunch once in a while and as a way to enjoy some of my very favorite coffee beans. The small amounts of cafestol and of fat, for that matter, don’t bother me when I’m only having them on occasion. Now if I were a 3 press-a-day person, I might want to reconsider that stand.
I love hearing good news about coffee – and not necessarily that Starbucks Tribute Blend is back in stock or that my local coffee shop is going to be lowering their prices on my favorite drinks. This time, the good news is that a new study has linked coffee addiction to a lower risk of prostate cancer in men. Average coffee consumption for a regular coffee drinker is about 2 cups a day. The Harvard-based study showed that men who drank at least 6 cups of coffee a day – three times the average “normal” amount, but only around a half of a pot – showed a noticeably reduced risk for prostate cancer than other men in the study.
The results were not attributed to caffeine, but instead to the “biologically active compounds [in coffee], including caffeine and phenolic acids that have potent antioxidant activity.” In short, getting a big boost of the antioxidents that can be found in coffee can be very good for your health. This isn’t going to take the place of other antioxident-rich foods, of course, and it doesn’t mean that a venti Frappuccino is going to make you healthier. It does, however, mean that you don’t need to feel one bit of guilt going back for an extra cup (or two) of black or lightly sweetened coffee from the break room at work.
Flavored coffees aren’t usually the first coffee that I look for when I’m looking to stock up on beans. Often, flavored coffees are made with bean blends that don’t pay a lot of attention to the flavor profile of the beans themselves (or not much attention to it, certainly) and count on the added flavor to dominate the brew. This isn’t to say that all flavored coffees are bad, just that you can get away with more than you can when you’re tasting the beans themselves. Starbucks Natural Fusions are flavored coffees from Starbucks made with all natural flavors. The Fusions come pre-ground and are sold in grocery stores, rather than at Starbucks locations, and they are available in Cinnamon, Vanilla and Caramel.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I tried them, but I was very pleasantly surprised at how well the flavors came through – with no artificial overtones – in the brewed coffee. The Vanilla is made with ground vanilla beans that lend a subtle vanilla flavor and lend a smoothness to the coffee that makes it go quite well with milk. The Caramel is flavored with butter, licorice orange peel, ground cinnamon and nutmeg and, while it has a bit of spice to it, it also captures a light and buttery toasted-sugar flavor that a lot of flavored coffees miss (or just over-do to the point where they get a funky aftertaste). My favorite was the Cinnamon, and my preference is probably influenced by the fact that I will sometimes add a sprinkle of ground cinnamon to my coffee when I want to spice it up a bit (often at coffee shops when they have just so-so coffee). The Cinnamon is flavored with cinnamon, dried orange peel, nutmeg and sarsaparilla root. It has a definite, but not aggressive, cinnamon flavor and makes a great base for cappuccinos.
Overall, I know that in all honesty I will always choose something like Tribute Blend over a flavored coffee, but these coffees are quite good and I really did enjoy them. They are definitely the way to go if you are looking for a flavored coffee because of the all-natural flavoring and the smooth overall flavors. I would also definitely put them on the shopping list when I’m entertaining and need to brew up several big batches of coffee because I have a feeling that they’ll be real crowd pleasers!
I would like to say that I’m always able to relax at my kitchen table or at my desk while I’m drinking my coffee, but the truth is that, like just about everybody else out there, I am often drinking coffee while engaging in some other activity. They make travel mugs for commuters and other active coffee drinkers, and now I’ve seen the Knee/Lap Mug, which is intended for those whose “other activity” is a little more sedentary. The mug comes in two formats: an over the knee model and on the lap version. The knee mug has a base the curves up in an inverted arc, which will sit snugly over the curve of your leg and offer much more stability than a flat-bottomed glass. The lap mug has a pointed base that sits comfortably between your legs. It does make a difference when you just want to kick back on the couch and work on a crossword puzzle without having to reach over to the table every few minutes to grab your mug!