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Tim Thompson has been a member since May 14th 2011, and has created 551 posts from scratch.

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How Do They Make Organic Instant Coffee?

A true coffee lover may buy organic green coffee beans, just enough for the day, grind enough for one serving and drink the best healthy organic coffee from Colombia. Or a person may just drink a cup of coffee from time to time and not be interested in a lot of work to get the cup of java. That is where organic instant coffee comes into the picture.

How Do They Make Organic Instant Coffee?

Instant coffee has been around for a century or more. There are two methods, freeze dried and spray drying.

Spray Dried Instant Coffee

First make the coffee. Roasted and ground coffee beans are percolated much like with a home coffee percolator. The resulting coffee called the extract is then sprayed into hot air at a temperature of nearly 500 degrees Fahrenheit. The water evaporates and the coffee falls in droplets that turn into solid crystals before they land on the floor of the chamber where this happens. Coffee crystals are removed, packaged and end up in your cupboard.

Freeze Dried Instant Coffee

This process is more complicated but ends up with the same product. Coffee is roasted, ground and percolated. But in this method the coffee extract is first cooled to -20 Fahrenheit and becomes a slush. Put on a conveyer belt it is further cooled to -40 degrees Fahrenheit and freezes hard. Then the coffee ice is crushed and broken up into small crystals. The crystals are dried by sublimation and then returned to normal temperature, packaged and end up in your cupboard.

Is Instant Coffee Any Good?

Instant coffee is great for cooking where coffee flavor is required. Please note this does not include coffee cake which is made for consumption with a cup of coffee but does not contain coffee. Most coffee drinkers prefer the taste of freshly brewed coffee over the instant variety. However, instant coffee has some genuine benefits. You don´t need to deal with coffee grounds, cleaning a pot or grinding coffee. The health benefits of instant organic coffee are similar to those of ground and brewed organic coffee and it is a whole lot easier to make. Plus you can get organic instant coffee with various favoring added. But, be careful what kind of coffee is in your instant.

Arabica vs Robusta

A lot of instant coffee is Robusta although the odds of getting Arabica instant coffee go up if you buy organic. Robusta coffee is the high caffeine not so great cousin to Arabica. This variety grows faster and bigger and is more disease resistant. The caffeine in soft drinks comes from Robusta coffee beans. Arabica on the other hand is coffee for coffee lovers. Arabica grows best at high altitude and is the coffee grown in Colombia. If you buy organic coffee, shade grown coffee or gourmet coffee you will be buying Arabica. When you buy instant coffee buy organic and when you buy organic make sure it is Arabica, preferably from Colombia.

What Is Organic Coffee and How Is It Grown?

When you drink a cup of regular coffee you may be getting more than just coffee in your cup. Years ago the Australian Food Authority tested regular coffee and found more than 130 different impurities in a regular cup of Java. The way to get around this issue is to drink organic coffee. But, what is organic coffee and how is it grown so as to avoid all of those impurities? Healthy organic coffee is grown using sustainable agricultural practices.

Healthy organic coffee has been around for a long, long time. Unfortunately in the modern era the use of pesticides and herbicides has entered the picture in growing many crops, including otherwise healthy organic coffee. Although non-organic contaminants do not necessarily reduce the beneficial health effects of a healthy cup of organic coffee the non-organic contaminants cause problems of their own.

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.

The way organic coffee farmers grow coffee is often in the shade which the most natural way to grow coffee. Shade grown coffee also allows for preservation of forest habitat for wildlife or for growing another crop such as plantain side by side with the coffee. In order to be sure that what you are getting is indeed organic coffee look for proof of organic coffee certification.

Organic coffee differs from regular coffee in several aspects. The soil in which organic coffee is grown must have been verified as free from prohibited substances for at least three years. In addition there must be distinct boundaries between land on which organic coffee is grown and land where pesticides, herbicides, and prohibited chemical fertilizers are used. This guarantees that drift of substances sprayed or otherwise applied on adjacent land will not contaminate the organic plot of land. Organic coffee certification includes the adherence to a specific and verifiable plan for all practices and procedures from planting to crop maintenance, to harvest, de-husking, bagging, transport, roasting, packaging, and final transport.

For coffee to be certified organic someone needs to check the soil on the coffee farm and review processes to insure compliance with organic standards. The gold standard is USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) certification. Because the only coffee grown in the USA is in Hawaii the USDA delegates the foot work of certification to agencies such as Bio Latina in Latin America. Other reliable certifications are UTZ, Rainforest Alliance and the Smithsonian’s Bird Friendly certification. This last one helps maintain habitat for migratory birds. We wrote about this in our article Coffee for the Birds.

Many birds that spend their summers in the USA spend their winters in Mexico, Central America and even South America. They live in mountain forests in these regions, the same places that coffee is grown. As sun-tolerant varieties of coffee have been developed, coffee farmers have cut down upland tropical forests and planted coffee. They may have planted the occasional plantain to help prevent wholesale soil erosion but have removed the habitat for local and migratory birds. The question is, if you want to limit your coffee purchases to growers who maintain bird-friendly habitats how do you proceed? The author mentions Rainforest Alliance, USDA Certified, shade grown, Fair Trade and sustainable and asks “what does it all mean?” In the end it turns out that the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center has the strictest certification followed by Rainforest Alliance for coffee farming that is kindest to the birds.

Organic coffee is pure coffee without unwanted impurities. How it is grown is the old fashioned way with natural mulch as fertilizer and attention to protecting the water table.

How Many Cups of Coffee a Day Are Best for You?

It is clear from numerous scientific studies that coffee has lots of health benefits and even has been shown to prolong life. But how much is enough and can you drink too much coffee? The British Medical Journal may be able to help us decide how many cups of coffee a day is best for you. They published a study about coffee consumption and health.

Coffee consumption seems generally safe within usual levels of intake, with summary estimates indicating largest risk reduction for various health outcomes at three to four cups a day, and more likely to benefit health than harm. Robust randomized controlled trials are needed to understand whether the observed associations are causal. Importantly, outside of pregnancy, existing evidence suggests that coffee could be tested as an intervention without significant risk of causing harm. Women at increased risk of fracture should possibly be excluded.

This study was a statistical analysis of many other very large observational studies, many of which we have written about. People were asked many questions including how much coffee they drank and those answers were compared to incidence of diseases and longevity. A useful part of the analysis was that they looked at the optimal amount of coffee for people to drink to get the health benefits and avoid side effects such as jitteriness and excess stomach acid. Three to four cups of coffee a day seems to be the ideal and it can be healthy organic coffee, regular or decaf according to the evidence.

Is There More Too the Story?

The researchers note that interventional studies are needed to find out more. That means picking a group of people and randomly assigning them to coffee drinking and non-coffee-drinking groups. One study would likely be healthy organic coffee versus regular and another might be organic versus regular versus decaf of both kinds. The sorts of things that might show up include what was found in a Spanish study. We noted recently that benefits of coffee improve with age.

Research has shown that if you drink coffee you live longer. That is to say that over a given period of time coffee drinkers are less likely to die than folks who don’t drink coffee.

Another scientific study has come out with the ultimate health benefit of drinking coffee, drink coffee and live longer. The results of the study showed that people who drank between one and five cups of coffee a day had a lower risk of dying that those who did not drink any coffee.

Now those results have been replicated in a Spanish study and in to addition the fact that folks who drink coffee are less likely to die in the next ten years the protective effect of coffee is stronger in people over the age of 45. Time reports the story about how coffee’s benefits may be strongest for people over 45.

Adults who drank four cups of coffee a day had a 64% lower risk of dying during a new 10-year Spanish study, compared to those who rarely or never drank the beverage. The link between coffee and reduced mortality risk was strongest for people over 45, the authors say, suggesting that the drink’s protective elements are even more important in older age.

The researchers say that for every two cups of coffee a person drinks per day they receive the benefit of a 22% lower risk of death in the next ten years. However, when the data is parsed out by age groups it turns out that for those over the age of 45 experienced at 30% reduction in ten year mortality. And when the older people were subtracted from the study there was little change in predicted mortality for the younger members of the study.

The key seems to be the antioxidants in coffee. While many fruits and berries have more antioxidants pound per pound than coffee it is coffee that is the best antioxidant source in the world because we drink so much of it. And it turns out that 3 to 4 cups a day provide the best benefits.

What Makes Organic Coffee?

Coffee used to grow in the wild. It was discovered in East Africa a thousand years ago. From its discovery in Ethiopia coffee was cultivated and domesticated as it spread across the world. The coffee that people discovered a thousand years ago was healthy organic coffee.

Healthy organic coffee has been around for a long, long time. Unfortunately in the modern era the use of pesticides and herbicides has entered the picture in growing many crops, including otherwise healthy organic coffee. Although non-organic contaminants do not necessarily reduce the beneficial health effects of a healthy cup of organic coffee the non-organic contaminants cause problems of their own.

What makes organic coffee organic is the fact that it is grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides or fungicides. Originally organic coffee was also shade grown coffee. Coffee grows naturally under a forest canopy.

Natural coffee strains grow best in partial or total shade. In fact, many plants dry out and die if planted in full sun. Thus coffee has traditionally been grown under a canopy of trees. This method of planting on hillsides helps prevent erosion as is still seen in regions of Colombia, Panama, and other parts of the world where coffee is grown on steep slopes. However, new sun tolerant coffee strains were introduced over the last two generations. These plants thrive in full sunlight and are capable of producing up to three times as many coffee beans as traditional coffee plants in a shaded environment. Unfortunately, in order to boost production rates growers use synthetic fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides to protect the monoculture of coffee that they plant. By taking coffee out of its more normal habitat growers subject it to the same risks as other field crops and orchards in which individual infective pests can enter and destroy a crop.

How Do You Know It Is Organic?

Today in order to know if coffee is organic you look for evidence of organic coffee certification on the package.

Organic coffee differs from regular coffee in several aspects. The soil in which organic coffee is grown must have been verified as free from prohibited substances for at least three years. In addition there must be distinct boundaries between land on which organic coffee is grown and land where pesticides, herbicides, and prohibited chemical fertilizers are used. This guarantees that drift of substances sprayed or otherwise applied on adjacent land will not contaminate the organic plot of land. Organic coffee certification includes the adherence to a specific and verifiable plan for all practices and procedures from planting to crop maintenance, to harvest, de-husking, bagging, transport, roasting, packaging, and final transport.

Certifications to look for start with USDA which is the US Department of Agriculture. Others include UTZ, Rainforest Alliance and the Smithsonian´s Bird Friendly Coffee.

An issue for organic coffee growers is that the sustainable agriculture that is needed to produce organic coffee is more time consuming and can be more costly than the assembly line approach used for regular coffee. Coffee growers need to be able to price their product accordingly. Institutions like UTZ and the Rain Forest Alliance help in this regard by finding buyers for organic coffee.

Reduce Your Risk of Stroke and Heart Failure by Drinking Coffee

The evidence that coffee has positive health benefits keeps on coming. Most recently a paper presented at an American Heart Association meeting demonstrates a reduced risk of stroke and heart failure in coffee drinkers.

Drinking coffee may be associated with a decreased risk of developing heart failure or having stroke, according to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2017, a premier global exchange of the latest advances in cardiovascular science for researchers and clinicians.

Researchers used machine learning to analyze data from the long-running Framingham Heart Study, which includes information about what people eat and their cardiovascular health. They found that drinking coffee was associated with decreased risk of developing heart failure by 7 percent and stroke by 8 percent with every additional cup of coffee consumed per week compared with non-coffee drinkers.

What is striking about this study is that the benefit of drinking coffee is measured in cups of coffee a week instead of per day. That means that the one cup a day coffee drinker will have a substantial risk reduction whereas previously the most benefit was typically with folks who drink four or six cups a day.

This is an observational study which means that scientists found a relationship between the amount of coffee that folks drink and a reduced incidence of both stroke and heart failure. The study does not indicate a cause. However, other research may be helpful in that regard. We wrote that the benefits of drinking coffee improve with age.

The researchers say that for every two cups of coffee a person drinks per day they receive the benefit of a 22% lower risk of death in the next ten years. However, when the data is parsed out by age groups it turns out that for those over the age of 45 experienced at 30% reduction in ten year mortality. And when the older people were subtracted from the study there was little change in predicted mortality for the younger members of the study.

The researchers in this study believe that the antioxidants in coffee which reduce inflammation are more beneficial in older persons for whom inflammatory conditions are more dangerous. Heart failure and stroke are primarily diseases of the elderly. Thus the benefit of coffee in prolonging life is proportionally greater in older people. This argument may well explain how you can reduce your risk of stroke and heart failure by drinking coffee.

Regular or Organic?

The study cited above does not distinguish between regular coffee and healthy organic coffee. However, we know that regular coffee can contain as many as 130 unwanted substances such as residues of synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides or fungicides. These things are not good for your health when ingested. Although coffee in general lets you live longer the effect is more pronounced in older people. We can also assume that if and when someone is able to look at organic versus regular coffee the greater benefit and lesser risk will come down on the side of organic!