What Does Organic Mean?

Coffee is good for you and organic coffee is better. Regarding coffee, just what does organic mean? Here is a primer on healthy organic coffee.

Organic Coffee

Organic coffee is grown with the addition of artificial substances such as synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides or fungicides. Organic coffee is also processed and stored separate from other non-organic produce. To obtain organic coffee certification a grower must abide by several restrictions. Fertilizers must be one hundred percent organic. Such fertilizers include chicken manure, coffee pulp and general compost. Three fourths of all organic coffee is grown in Latin America.

Preserving the Environment

Organic agriculture can strengthen the natural environment’s resistance to disease. Organic coffee is commonly shade-grown. This helps preserve forests and provides habitat for birds. Soil erosion is minimized and the water table is spared the polluting effects of synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides and insecticides. Insect populations are more balanced and less likely to case plant disease.

Organic Means Cleaner Coffee

A study by the Australian Food Standards Authority revealed that as many as 133 contaminants may be in a cup of commercially available coffee. These contaminants include metals such as aluminum and zinc, pesticide residues, ochratoxin A, acrylamide, furan, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Some polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are found to cause cancer. Furans have been associated with skin disorders, liver problems, certain kinds of cancers, impairment to the reproductive, endocrine, and immune system, as well as effects on embryonic development. What does organic mean? It means a cleaner cup of coffee with no harmful additives.

Coffee Is Good for You

Coffee is good for you. So don’t take away from the benefits by adding things that are bad for you. Coffee drinkers get less type II diabetes.

Women who drink at least four cups of coffee a day have less than half the incidence of Type II diabetes as women who do not drink coffee. The coffee drinkers all had elevated sex hormone-binding globulin levels while the non coffee drinkers did not. The relationship was complete between the elevated enzyme level and a reduced incidence of Type II diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association says that nearly 24 million Americans have diabetes of which more than 9 in 10 have the Type II variety. That comes to roughly 22 million people with Type 2 diabetes. The fact that more organic coffee can lead to less diabetes could be a significant issue in US public health.

Drink coffee and reduce your risk of this disease.

And coffee reduces the risk of diseases like colon cancer.

It turns out that one of the antioxidants obtained during the process of roasting organic coffee may well reduce the risk of getting colon cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death in the USA. For many years medical researchers have known that a set of enzymes in the human body, phase II enzymes have a protective effect. They help us avoid getting colon cancer. The higher the level of phase two enzymes you have the lower your risk is of getting colon cancer. Here is where a good cup of organic coffee comes in. The methylpyridium produced as a natural byproduct of roasting organic coffee raises phase II enzyme levels. In fact more coffee means more methylpyridium which means higher levels of phase II enzymes. Medical studies are underway to determine the precise amount of methylpyridium that would be recommended.

What does organic mean? It means healthy, good tasting safe-for-you coffee!

 

Marijuana Coffee

Who would have thought, marijuana coffee is now commercially available. Of course you need to be in a state where selling cannabis and cannabis products is legal. Think of marijuana coffee as a variant on liqueur coffee, something to relax you and something to pep you up in the same cup. Fox News reports on marijuana-infused coffee pods.

Cannabis-infused coffee is now available in convenient single-use pods for those who want a little more buzz to their a.m. jolt.

Seattle-based Uncle Ike’s Pot Shop now sells pods of  premium Catapult coffee at a steep $10 per pod. Each pod works in standard, single-serve coffee makers and contain 10 mg of THC, marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient. The shop previously sold loose grounds infused with marijuana but the pods are “quickly becoming big sellers,” said the shop.

“I liken it to a Red Bull and vodka,” Jennifer Lanzador, Uncle Ike’s sales manager, told Yahoo. “I had more energy, but I still had the relaxation you get from cannabis.”

Fairwinds Manufacturing, the Vancouver company that actually makes the pods for Uncle Ike’s, reported that the pods now account for 60 percent of company sales.

House of Jane in California has four types of cannabis K-cups: medium roast, dark roast, decaf and mocha café.  It also sells marijuana infused coffees, teas and creamers-one of which recently won a best-edible award at one of the world’s largest medical marijuana trade shows HempCon.  It is also working on cannabis-infused “Frappuccino”-the drink will not be sold at Starbucks but the team hopes to capitalize on the popularity of the well-known creamy beverage during the hot summer months.

What will be next, Irish coffee in k-cups? Just make sure that it is organic!

Where Is Marijuana Coffee Legal?

The New Health Guide lists where marijuana is legal. The categories are as follows:

Light Green: State with legal medical cannabis

Medium Green: State with decriminalized cannabis possession laws

Dark Green: State with both medical and decriminalization laws

Purple: State with legalized cannabis


If you want marijuana coffee your best bets are Washington and Colorado. In small quantities you might be able to get buy in the rest of the West Coast but you might want to ask your lawyer before bringing a case full of marijuana coffee K-cups across the border to neighboring states!

OK in LA

According to the LA Weekly it is 100 percent legal to buy weed-infused coffee in L.A.

The aroma hits you as soon as you pop open the black zip-top bag.

These are heirloom Ethiopian Yirgacheffe “Zero Defect” coffee beans – so-called because they’re triple-sorted until measured to have less than one defect per 300g. But after taking a huge whiff, all that comes to mind is Dude, this smells like super dank weed.

Kian Abedini, owner and roastmaster of L.A.-based coffee company Compelling & Rich, gives a knowing smirk. “You really get the cannabis notes when you brew a cup,” he explains. “Take a sip, breathe out and you can taste the skunkiness on your breath.”

Weed and coffee, a combination sometimes called “the hippie speedball” or “‘spro and ‘dro,” have a long and stimulating history together. Not long after pot was legalized in Washington and Colorado, baristas were already hard at work finding ways to combine their love of beans with their love of bud, producing concoctions such as weed butter “bulletproof” coffee and THC-spiked cold brew. On a trip to Denver for the Big Western Regional Coffee Championship last year, Abedini was hanging out with industry friends wondering why, among the existing weed-coffee products out there, none captured the actual taste of the combination. What if there was a way to flavor the beans with cannabis?

Who would have thought, marijuana coffee in the land of dreams?

 

Healthy Coffee Grounds

Not only are there good things in healthy organic coffee, the grounds are healthy too. Unfortunately coffee grounds usually go down the garbage disposal or into the landfill. With hope that some of the benefits of the byproducts of making a cup of coffee can be made use of, here is a bit about healthy coffee grounds.

All about the Antioxidants

UPI reports that researchers at the University of Granada in Spain have looked at coffee byproducts and found that a large amount of regular and organic coffee antioxidants remain with the grounds after you make your coffee.

Researchers from the University of Granada found that antioxidant levels in spent coffee grounds and coffee silver skin are especially high. The silver skin is one of the protective layers in between the outer coffee berry and the beans inside; it is typically removed prior to roasting.

Some consumers use spent coffee grains as a do-it-yourself exfoliant. Others deposit coffee grounds into their compost pile. But the vast majority of coffee byproducts make their way to the landfill.

That’s a shame, according to researcher and food science professor Jose Angel Rufian Henares. Henares’ research team found silver skins and used coffee grounds to be rich in fiber and phenols, and to have antimicrobial and antioxidant properties 500 times greater than vitamin C.

Researchers hope that their findings will inspire food producers and others to devise ways to recoup these healthy coffee grounds and make use of them in healthy products.

Coffee Grounds for Skin Care

Someone is already taking advantage of the benefits of healthy coffee grounds. According to Florida Today, Star Beauty Products turns coffee grounds into skin care products.

Star Body Beauty Products, recycles espresso grounds and converts them into a variety of skin care products, including facial and body scrubs, soaps, lotions and bronzing balms.

The company’s founder, Barbara Mekolites-Marich, said she started manufacturing recycled coffee beauty products because she wanted to simultaneously reduce the amount of waste that goes into landfills and produce organic, caffeine-infused cosmetics.

Some medical research indicates that topical caffeine products reduce inflammation, reverse sun damage, provide antioxidant protection and minimize the appearance of cellulite. Although those scientific theories have not been definitively proven, they are causing some women to add caffeine skin products to their beauty regimen.

Star Body Beauty Products is a green company that uses reusable packaging gets its coffee grounds from local coffee houses.

Why Antioxidants?

What is the point about antioxidants? That is, why should we want to recover them from healthy coffee beans? Scientifically an antioxidant is a molecule that inhibits the cell damage and cell death in human cells caused by oxidative breakdown of other molecule in the cell. Oxidation is a factor in sickness and aging. Antioxidants help prevent the damage caused by excessive oxidation and to a degree inhibit the aging process. When an oxidative reaction brought on by disease gets going it produces free radicals that start chain reactions which in turn cause cell and tissue damage. The human body has or uses antioxidants to control this situation. Natural means of controlling oxidation include vitamins C and E as well as glutathione. It is low levels of antioxidants that can lead to a condition referred to as oxidative stress and resultant damage to cells in the body. Organic coffee antioxidants are in the same class of molecules that help reduce oxidation.

Espresso in Space

The fondest wish of Italian astronaut, Samantha Cristoretti, was to have a cup of espresso during her sojourn on the International Space Station. An Italian made espresso machine arrived on the most recent supply ship and now there is espresso in space. The RT website reports on how real coffee hits space.

Last month, the Dragon spacecraft, built and operated by SpaceX, delivered the first-ever space espresso machine, built by Italian coffee company Lavazza and Italian aerospace firm Argotec, to the space station, along with special, zero-gravity cups. Prior to the coffee machine’s long-awaited arrival, the only option aboard the orbiting laboratory was powdered instant coffee. The cups, co-designed by International Space Station researcher Mark Weislogel and astronaut Don Pettit, are peculiarly shaped so that a sharp corner makes the liquid inside stream toward a person’s mouth when they drink from it.

At last there is espresso in space. If there is an Irish astronaut will Irish coffee be next?

Espresso in Space

The Nasa.gov website reports that the espresso machine in space is about the size of one on earth.

ISSpresso is not much larger than a typical Earth-based espresso machine, and produces espresso, broth or tea.

Making espresso in space is fantastic but how about drinking it from a cup?

The Zero Gravity Coffee Cup

Liquids act strangely in zero gravity. They float around like blobs. NASA Science explains the zero gravity coffee cup.

High above our planet in the realm of satellites and space stations, the familiar rules of Earth do not apply. The midday sky is as black as night. There is no up and no down. Dropped objects do not fall, and hot air does not rise.

Of all the strange things that happen up there, however, it is possible that the strangest happens to coffee.

Physics professor Mark Weislogel of Portland State University has given a lot of thought to coffee (and other fluids) in space, and he describes what happens:

“For starters,” he says, “it would be a chore just getting the coffee into the cup. Absent the pull of gravity, pouring liquids can be very tricky.”

[BUT] If two solid surfaces meet at a narrow-enough angle, fluids in microgravity naturally flow along the join-no pumping required.  This capillary effect could be used to guide all kinds of fluids through spacecraft, from cryogenic fuel to recycled waste water. The phenomenon is difficult to study on Earth, where it is damped by gravity, yet on the space station large scale corner flows are easy to create and observe.

Basically, one side of the cup has a sharp interior corner.  In the microgravity environment of the space station, capillary forces send fluid flowing along the channel right into the lips of the drinker.

“As you sip, more fluid keeps coming, and you can enjoy your coffee in a weightless environment – clear down to the last drop,” says Pettit. “This may well be what future space colonists use when they want to have a celebration.”

The photos are of the zero gravity coffee up uniquely designed for drinking espresso in space and the zero gravity espresso maker.

Single Serve Decreases Coffee Consumption

We recently addressed the issue of who drinks the most coffee and it is the USA. Now it would appear that the USA is steadily consuming less coffee, not because anyone is cutting back but because of the single serve revolution. Bloomberg Business reports on how single-serving pods have decreased coffee consumption.

Single-serve brewing machines popularized by Keurig Green Mountain Inc. are now used by more than one in four Americans and are altering the way coffee is consumed. Almost every brand, from Folgers to Dunkin’ Donuts, is sold in disposable 2-inch-by-2-inch plastic pods that yield just one serving. They’re more efficient than drip-brewing pots capable of making 10 cups, some of which isn’t consumed and gets dumped.

While Americans still drink more coffee than any beverage except water, expanded use of single-serve machines has slowed demand growth for a $52 billion market in the U.S., the world’s biggest consumer. That’s hurt sales at a time when ample inventories of the commodity have sent prices tumbling.

One observer says that coffee farmers have lost their most lucrative consumer, the kitchen sink where unused coffee poured.

Who Started Single Serve?

Keurig is an American manufacturer of coffee brewers and producers of K-cups.

Each K-Cup is a plastic container with a coffee filter inside. Ground coffee beans are packed in the K-Cup and sealed air-tight with a combination plastic and foil lid. When the K-Cup is placed in a Keurig brewer, the brewer punctures both the foil lid and the bottom of the K-Cup and forces hot water under pressure through the K-Cup and into a mug or cup.

From small beginnings this single serve revolution has moved into one in four US homes as well as offices and hotel rooms.

And Lots of Plastic

Those of us who like healthy organic coffee also care about the environment. As single serve decreases coffee consumption it should be a good thing. But the single serve plastic pods are an environmental disaster according to the Montreal Gazette.

The increasing popularity of single-serve coffee brewing technologies is not only decreasing overall demand for coffee in North America, but also producing colossal volumes of un-recyclable and non-compostable plastics. While the efficiency of these machines (which help reduce coffee waste) can be seen as an improvement from conventional methods of brewing coffee, arguably, this is offset by the excessive plastic waste generated from their use. Not to mention the amount of fossil fuels used and burned in creating the plastic cups. The amount of coffee wasted from old-fashion coffee machines could be mitigated through a fundamental shift in the North American economic system. If coffee prices included environmental externalities, they would undoubtedly rise and consumers would be more economically inclined not to waste their precious coffee.

If you like organic coffee and are friendly to the environment consider buying whole bean roasted coffee, grinding just enough before making coffee and enjoying fresh coffee every time. Along the way you will not be cluttering up the world with single serve plastic containers.

 

The Biology of Shade Grown Organic Coffee

Coffee has lots of great health benefits and healthy organic coffee is the best as going organic helps you avoid more than a hundred impurities that can be found in cup of regular coffee. We know that certified organic coffee is better for the environment as organic coffee farming follows sustainable practices. These practices for coffee include interspersing coffee among shade trees to secure the soil and provide shade for coffee plants. The use of commercial fertilizers is limited and pest control requires natural practices as opposed to chemical insecticides and fungicides. All of this sounds very straightforward from a distance but just what is the biology of shade grown organic coffee? Why does coffee like the shade? Why does coffee grow best in mountainous terrain under cloud cover? Here are a few thoughts about the biology of shade grown organic coffee.

Where Coffee Originated

Coffee evolved in the forested highlands of East Africa (Ethiopia, Eritrea and Sudan). Here is where the plant became accustomed to the seasons, degree of rainfall, soil conditions and pests. From an evolutionary viewpoint coffee has arrived way to fast in various locations around the world and cannot be expected to adapt without some forethought and help in its new locations such as Brazil, Colombia or Vietnam. Nevertheless coffee is planted and flourishes in these locations. And coffee does best where the conditions are similar to where it grew up. The biology of shade grown organic coffee is such that growing coffee in the shade resembles how the plant was meant to grow.

Basic Plant Biology and the Coffee Perspective

Plants use photosynthesis to convert sunlight to energy and along the way convert carbon dioxide in the air in order to grow and exhale oxygen. Plants need nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus and other nutrients. And if they get too much of these and if they get too much sun light they need huge amounts of water as well. But too much water can drown the roots of a plant, including a coffee plant and make it sick. Thus there is an advantage to the biology of shade grown organic coffee in that the terrain of the mountainside keeps water from flooding the plant and the forest canopy limits the amount of sunlight powering growth. Organic coffee farming uses less of the chemicals that fuel growth but also uses an appropriate amount so that the plant does not need excessive amounts of water.

Location, Location, Location

Picking the spot for growing Arabica coffee is a lot like dealing with real estate, location, location and location. Arabica organic coffee likes a temperature range between 15 and 24 degrees Celsius. (That’s 59 degrees to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.) This sort of temperature range is found in the land of eternal spring along the mountainous spine that runs from southern Mexico to Ecuador and Brazil. Soil quality and soil management are important but it starts with an ideal location and ideally a shady one.

Avoidance of Coffee Leaf Rust

The fungal disease that can devastate coffee crops is more prevalent where coffee is planted too closely together, when they are planted in full sun and where it is planted in warmer locations. Growing organic coffee under forest cover at higher altitudes is a better approach if you want to avoid coffee leaf rust than planting tightly spaced coffee at lower altitude in full sun.

Where Are the Real Coffee Drinkers?

In an article last week we asked who drinks the most coffee. It turns out what matters is the number of people in a nation who are drinking coffee more so that per capita coffee consumption.  Thus the USA is the hands down winner in the race to consumer the most coffee.

The USA consumes the most coffee followed by Germany Japan and France. What these nations lack in per capital consumption they make up for in population size.

But among the whole list of coffee drinking countries, where are the real coffee drinkers? In general the farther north you go the more coffee people drink.

The Netherlands Is Where the Real Coffee Drinkers Are

  1. Netherlands, 2.414
  2. Finland, 1.357
  3. Sweden, 1.257
  4. Denmark, 1.231
  5. Germany, 1.201
  6. Slovakia, 1.188
  7. Serbia, 1.17
  8. Czech Republic, 1.152
  9. Poland, 1.128
  10. Norway, 1.076

This is the list of the top coffee consuming countries rates by per capital coffee consumption. According to The Atlantic,

The Netherlands’ per-capita consumption of 2.4 cups a day is almost the same as those of the US, UK, Spain, and France combined.

It turns out that as a nation, The Netherlands are where the real coffee drinkers live.

What Occupations Drink the Most Coffee?

According to ABC7 Chicago here is the ranking of professions drinking the most coffee.

  1. Journalists and media staff
  2. Police officers
  3. Teachers
  4. Plumbers and trade workers
  5. Nurses and medical staff
  6. Company executives
  7. Telesales
  8. IT technical support
  9. Retail staff
  10. Drivers

The article quotes a study by a PR organization that surveyed ten thousand professionals. Seventeen out of twenty drank at least three cups a day and seven out of ten claimed that they would perform less well on the job if did not have their coffee. Where are the real coffee drinkers? They are in the news room, squad car or in front of their class.

Coffee Drinkers by State

The Daily Beast tells us which the twenty most caffeinated cities are. Their info comes from the research firm NPD Group.

Cities by number of coffee shops per 100,000 residents

Seattle, Portland, San Jose, San Francisco, Denver, San Diego, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Phoenix, Boston, New York, Miami

Estimated caffeine consumption per capital

Seattle, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Boston, Houston, Phoenix, San Francisco, Minneapolis, San Diego

Here the assumption that those in the north drink more coffee seems to break down. However, not everyone goes to the coffee shop for their pick me up.

What Age Group Drinks the Most Coffee?

Where are the real coffee drinkers? It turns out that the most frequent coffee consumption is in the sixty and older age group! Statista presents the results an online survey of coffee drinking consumers by the National Coffee Association.

This statistic shows the results of an online survey conducted by the National Coffee Association (NCA) from January 27 to March 2, 2014. U.S. survey respondents were asked what kind of beverages they have drunk during the past day. The survey revealed that coffee penetration among U.S. consumers aged between 18 to 24 years was 51 percent.

Percentage of Coffee Drinkers by Age Group

18-24 years, 51%
25-39 years, 62%
40-59 years, 63%
60+ years, 65%

It may be that the higher level of coffee consumption in the older age group is because of taste. But we know that coffee has a whole bunch of healthy effects. Could it be that those in younger age groups who did not drink coffee did not survive until later years???

Who Drinks the Most Coffee?

According to the International Coffee Organization the world produces about 133 million bags of coffee a year and exports 93 million bags of coffee a year worth roughly $15 billion.

Global consumption in coffee year 2009/10 totaled around 133.9 million bags, of which 72 million bags were consumed in Importing Member countries, 21.2 million in non-member countries and 40.7 million in producing countries.

These are 70 kg bags (154 pounds). Coffee FAQ’s from Quartermaine states that you can make 40 cups of coffee (five ounces) from a pound of coffee beans.

Q: How many cups of coffee can I make with one pound of coffee grounds?

A: With a coffee to water ratio of two level measuring tablespoons per five ounces of water, you can make approximately forty cups of coffee.

So, 133 million bags x 154 pounds per bag x 40 cups per pound = 819,280,000,000 cups of coffee per year. This is a lot of coffee. Who drinks the most coffee?

 

Irish Coffee

Irish Coffee

Coffee Consumption Per Capita

If you are looking for serious coffee drinkers go north. The Atlantic posted an article showing countries that drink the most coffee.

America might be famous for running on coffee, but it doesn’t run on much. Not compared to a handful of other countries, anyway. When it comes to actual coffee consumption per person, the US doesn’t even crack the top 15. The Netherlands’ per-capita consumption of 2.4 cups a day is almost the same as those of the US, UK, Spain, and France combined.

Think of living in a cold climate where a hot cup of coffee not only warms your stomach but your hands as well.

Here is the coffee per capital leader board.

Nation and Cups per Day

  1. Netherlands, 2.414
  2. Finland, 1.357
  3. Sweden, 1.257
  4. Denmark, 1.231
  5. Germany, 1.201
  6. Slovakia, 1.188
  7. Serbia, 1.17
  8. Czech Republic, 1.152
  9. Poland, 1.128
  10. Norway, 1.076
  11. Slovenia, 1.076
  12. Canada, 1.009
  13. Belgium, 0.981
  14. Switzerland, 0.971
  15. New Zealand, 0.939
  16. USA, 0.931
  17. Austria, 0.803
  18. Costa Rica, 0.793
  19. Greece, 0.782
  20. Algeria, 0.765

Interestingly the list gets to # 18 before a coffee producing nation, Costa Rica, shows up. And the only Southern Hemisphere country represented, New Zealand, is so far south that it gets cold there. But, the Netherlands, Finland and Sweden are not populous countries. Who drinks the most coffee by nation?

Coffee Consumption by Nation

The USA consumes the most coffee followed by Germany Japan and France. What these nations lack in per capital consumption they make up for in population size. According to e-imports.com, coffee statistics, there are 150,000,000 coffee drinkers in the USA.

Over 50% of Americans over 18 years of age drink coffee every day. This represents over 150 million daily drinkers. 30 million American adults drink specialty coffee beverages daily; which include a mocha, latte, espresso, café mocha, cappuccino, frozen/iced coffee beverages, etc.

By comparison to the 150 million US coffee drinkers, the population of the Netherlands is just under 17 million and Finland has five and a half million people. These folks are trying hard but there simply are not enough of them. Who drinks the most coffee? The USA does.

Antioxidants in Coffee

Coffee is good for your health. Daily coffee consumption reduces your risk of type II diabetes and various forms of cancer. The caffeine in coffee elevates your mood and reduces the risk of clinical depression, neurologic diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and even the risk of suicide. Aside from caffeine the active ingredients that are responsible for all of these good things are the antioxidants in coffee. Just what are antioxidants and what are the antioxidants in coffee?

List of Antioxidants in Coffee

The American Institute for Cancer Research says that coffee contains the following:

  • Chlorogenic acid, an antioxidant compound that is the major phenol in coffee
  • Quinic acid, a phytochemical that contributes to the acidic taste of coffee
  • Cafestol and kahweol, compounds that are extracted from the beans’ oil during brewing. Unfiltered coffee, such as French press or boiled coffee, contains these compounds
  • Caffeine, a naturally occurring stimulant that affects the central nervous system
  • N-methylpyridinium (NMB), created by roasting, may make the antioxidants more potent

Chlorogenic acid may be slightly lower in decaf coffee according to limited research, but it still contains plenty of phytochemicals. Lab studies suggest that instant may be lower in antioxidant potency than brewed coffee, though more research is needed.

And just what do antioxidants do?

Antioxidants

An antioxidant is a molecule that inhibits cell damage and cell death in human cells caused by oxidative breakdown of other molecules. Oxidation is a factor in sickness and aging.  Antioxidants in coffee do the same things chemically as other antioxidants and because we drink so much coffee worldwide coffee is the primary source of antioxidants.

Antioxidants help prevent the damage caused by excessive oxidation and to a degree inhibit the aging process. When an oxidative reaction brought on by disease gets going it produces free radicals that start chain reactions which in turn cause cell and tissue damage. The human body has or uses antioxidants to control this situation. Natural means of controlling oxidation include vitamins C and E as well as glutathione. It is low levels of antioxidants that can lead to a condition referred to as oxidative stress and resultant damage to cells in the body. Methylpyridium is one of the organic coffee antioxidants and is created during the roasting process of organic coffee. This breakdown product of trigonelline has been found to increase activity of phase II enzymes. Doctors believe that these enzymes protect against colon cancer, which is the second leading cause of death from cancer in the USA. Recent research shows that organic coffee antioxidants include chlorogenic acid lactones and lipophilic antioxidants. Chlorogenic acid lactones and lipophilic antioxidants are capable of protecting nerve cells when challenged with hydrogen peroxide.

Blueberries, celery seeds, etc. have very high levels of antioxidants but due to the sheer volume of coffee that we consume, antioxidants in coffee outshine all other sources as a benefit to human health.

Antioxidants Content of Coffee

The Nutrition Journal published a study of antioxidant content of foods in 2010. In the beverage section the researchers found a total antioxidant content range of

0.89 mmol/100 g for one type of brewed coffee with milk to 16.33 mmol/100 g for one type of double espresso coffee.

These measurements were taken from commercially available coffees. In short, antioxidants in coffee are good for you and readily available at the nearest coffee shop or in your own kitchen.

Coffee Economics 101: Brazil

Brazil is the largest producer of coffee by far. So, it should not be a surprise that Brazil drives the supply side of the supply and demand equation for coffee. Here is a snapshot of the coffee producing countries from Bloomberg Business.


Total Coffee Production, thousands of 60 kilogram bags, 2010 to 2011 season
Brazil 54,500
Vietnam 18,725
Colombia 9,500
Indonesia 9,325
India 5,100
Arabica Coffee Production, thousands of 60 kilogram bags, 2010 to 2011 season
Brazil 41,800
Colombia 9,500
Ethiopia 4,400
Honduras 4,000
Peru 4,000
Robusta Coffee Production, thousands of 60 kilogram bags, 2010 to 2011 season
Vietnam 18,150
Brazil 12,700
Indonesia 7,950
India 3,600
Cote d’Ivoire 2,100

 

As the table shows Brazil is far and away the biggest coffee producer, especially in Arabica coffee and the second largest producer of Robusta coffee. Coffee economics have to do with supply and demand and Brazil controls the major part of the supply side.

Current Coffee Prices and the Brazilian Real

The Wall Street Journal recently published comment about how a weak Brazilian currency serves to drive down the price of sugar, coffee and orange juice.

Sugar, coffee and orange-juice futures tumbled Tuesday as a weak Brazilian currency encouraged growers and exporters there to sell the commodities onto already oversupplied global markets. A weaker real encourages Brazilian producers and exporters to sell their orange juice and other products because they get more of the local currency back when they repatriate their dollar-denominated profits. Brazil is the world’s biggest producer of sugar, coffee and orange juice.

Brazil is a large and largely self-sufficient country. Thus most things that people need are available in Brazil and not imported. The cost of living does not go up or down when the local currency suffers. But coffee is priced in US dollars and when the real becomes less valuable the value of coffee in the Brazilian currency rises. Coffee economics 101 tells us that the value of the Brazilian real helps drive the supply side of the coffee equation.

A Crisis in Brazil Means a Cheaper Cup of Coffee

So, we know that a weak real leads coffee farmers to sell coffee instead of storing it for later. Where is the real going next? Forbes polled those with investment experience in Brazil and currency risk in that country.

The biggest number of respondents, 32.8%, think the real is going to R$4.  Another 14.8% said it could weaken over R$4.  A small number, 8.2%, think the real will hold firm where it is now, which is closer to R$3.30.  Given the fact that the real is already R$3.20, the market is more short the real than it is long.

The financial experts think that the real is going to get weaker versus the US dollar. If that is the case coffee farmers in Brazil will have little incentive to hold on to coffee and will probably sell more into a market that is already oversupplied. Coffee economic 101 implies that a cup of coffee will cheaper over the next year.