Category Archives: Opinion

Drink Coffee, Live Long(er) and prosper….

There is an article in Melbourne’s “The Age” Newspaper, sharing the wonderfully exciting news that scientists (probably the same ones that can’t seem to agree on the issue of Climate Change) have suggested that if you drink coffee you will live longer, although the article then goes onto say that “The study doesn’t prove coffee makes people live longer, only that the two seem related.”  So I think what they are saying is that you will live longer if you drink coffee, but drinking coffee will not necessarily make you live longer….confused?  Me too – perhaps I need another coffee.

The article goes further by saying that “Even a single cup a day seemed to lower risk [we assume the risk of death in general, not the death star, climate change or being hit by a bus – although that is not clear] a little: 6 per cent in men and 5 per cent in women. The strongest effect was in women who had four or five cups a day – a 16 per cent lower risk of death.” Which then raises the question – if you drank nothing but coffee, 24/7 – would live forever?  Read the article here.

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Buying Coffee Beans Online

Do you buy coffee beans online?

Fresh Roasted Beans - www.sxu.huI live in rural South Australia (about 90 minutes from Adelaide) and so due to the infrequency of my trips up to the ‘big smoke’ I have, for the last three years or so, purchased the vast majority of my coffee beans from online suppliers.  I have, at one time or another, purchased beans from all those listed on the left of this post – under the heading “NEED BEANS?”

On Saturday, I went to the website of my current favourite beans supplier [who, while having beans at the upper end of the price scale, had reasonable postage charges – and the quality was consistently excellent] only to discover that their online shop was closed for renovations, and if I wanted beans to come back Monday.  So I did, and then discovered that they had changed the log in – whereas before you had a username and password, now you needed an email address and password – and the combination that I used – the one that was registered to my username – failed so many times, that I had to create a new user account.  And then, after selecting their Superior product – I went to the checkout to discover that the postage on my order would be $14.65 – and I thought “Hold the Phone” – so digging out a previous order (from last month) I discovered that as of their new shopping system, they had increased the postage charges by 49.4%.  I nearly fell off my chair.  Had I been drinking a latte, I would very nearly have spat it all over the screen – I say very nearly, because their beans are that good – I wouldn’t want to waste them – particularly now I know that the 200g or so that I have left, will be the last I see of them. I thought to myself “there must be a reason for this” so I went to Australia Post – and low and behold – they have instituted a price increase across the board from April 2nd – that had to be the reason, right?  Wrong.  I did the maths, and their price increase is only a paltry 3.79% on packages over 500g going interstate….so what gives?

I am on a fairly tight fixed income and a 49.4% hike on postage, prices these beans out of my market – which really sucks, because I really like  them.  And with prices going up on fuel, it makes the regular trips over the hill less likely – so it returns me to my original question.  Do you buy coffee beans online?  If so, where do you recommend – and are their prices and quality reasonable?

Look who made the Top 10!

Look who made the Top 10!

Due to my mid-week coffee meeting whilst going through my 360 degree ministerial review, I have, after completing a review of said coffee, finally made the Top 10 Users list on the Beanhunter.com!  “Big Woop!” I hear you say, “So What?” I sense you mutter, “Click, click goes the mouse….”

All it actually means is that (a) I have drunk a lot of coffee since discovering the Beanhunter.com and (b) see a.

It was also pleasing to note that during the week Adelaide jumped ahead of the Gold Coast and Canberra as top places for Coffee.  We now have to catch London on 103 (Adelaide is currently on 75) before seriously making a challenge on Melbourne’s status as coffee capital of  the world sitting pretty on 762 places for coffee (excluding franchee shops – sorry GJs, Hudsons, Star Chucks etc.)

Domestic Espresso Machines

This is not a phrase you hear that often among friends (unless you are a tradie, or a golfer, or a …) but let’s talk about your equipment.  What do you use to maintain the caffeine component to your blood stream when all the good coffee shops and cafes have closed (or you just can’t be bothered going out)?

My first coffee machine was purchased with a voucher that my wife and I received at our wedding.  After purchasing copious amounts of tupperware and knives, she graciously allowed me to get a ‘cheap’ machine from Target (I know, I know – I look back in shame) and so I came to have a semi-automatic DéLonghi with an inbuilt milk frother tub on top.  It served me very well for a few years while I learnt more about the wonders of coffee, but I knew that as I wondered from kitchen to kitchen, that my little old DéLonghi (a precursor to the current ECO310W) was only holding my coffee appreciation back.  So, when the milk frother packed it in – in the words of the Lion King’s Rafiki the monkey “It is time!” [As an aside, I sold my old espresso machine for $1 on the weekend at our Moving In Sale]

When not in a cafe, here I can be found

I consulted with Choice Magazine, and joined the forum over at Coffeesnobs.com and even consulted my  coffee guru for his sage advice and for the money that I had available (which wasn’t much) they all agreed that I couldn’t go past the Sunbeam Café Series® EM6910.  I did my research, and found the unit I wanted at nearly $100 less that the RRP that also came with a free  Café Series® Conical Burr Coffee Grinder EM0480. That was two years ago this month, and we couldn’t be happier.  What I like about my machine is that with the trademarked “TPTT™ System of twin pumps and twin thermoblocks” which ensures stable water temperature, it allows me to texture of milk and pour an espresso shot simultaneously – my only criticism of the machine is the lengthy amount of time it takes to texture the milk from fridge temperature into the lows 60s.  Read the rest of this entry

Instant tan, instant coffee or both?

Apparently, according to a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in America, drinking moderate amounts of coffee or even applying coffee to the skin has been shown to help prevent non-melanoma cancer.

“Using mice that had been genetically altered to suppress a protein called ATR, researchers showed the rodents were able to fend off cancer even when exposed to ultraviolet light…The altered mice eventually did develop cancer, but three weeks later than normal mice. Previous studies have suggested that drinking a cup of caffeinated coffee per day has the effect of suppressing ATR and triggering the die-off of cells harmed by UV rays. The altered mice eventually did develop cancer, but three weeks later than normal mice.

The team were able to confirm their hypothesis that caffeine – when consumed or applied to the skin – works by inhibiting ATR. Now they say more studies are needed to see how it may work on humans.

Cosmetic brand Cucina Cosmetica already supports the benefits of caffeine as a beauty product, and has developed a cosmetic range from 100 per cent recycled coffee grinds collected from restaurants and cafés across Australia.  The natural, food-based products such as the Body Grind Rejuvenating Body Polish and Espresso Repair Natural Skin Moisturiser are infused with caffeine and high levels of anti-oxidants aiming to reduce cellulite to de-toxify skin and reduce puffiness.”

To read about this via the BeanScene Magazine click HERE – to via the Herald Sun click HERE

Now, being of the fair hair (whats left of it) and fair skinned variety this really doesn’t hold much hope for me – just sitting here at my computer and thinking about the sun has caused my skin to develop some sun burn – but I wonder – could rubbing coffee grounds into your skin actually negate the need to go out into the sun at all?

Stay with me here.

For those who use an espresso machine at home will have experienced the occasional coffee stain that develops on your hands after a messy pour, or a wiping away the afters from an overly ambitious tamp – so I suggest that just by rubbing the use grounds onto you skin, you could perhaps develop an instant coffee tan!  No need for the sun at all!

Can’t you just see it now?  A romantic Nescafé add which ends not with drinking their horrible so called coffee – but with the leads rubbing each other down with coffee to develop that healthy caffeinated glow – or perhaps the new Vittoria Coffee ad with Al Pacino getting his yearly espresso tan, ready for his next close up Mr DeMille? The instant coffee tan could come in Long Black, Short Black, Cappuccino, Latte and Ristretto(for those who want a really sweet looking yet very temporary tan).

As an aside – did you know that Billy Connelly used to go into coffee shops and order a Robert De Niro?  He used to forget the name of a cappuccino but knew it has something to do with a great actor with Italian heritage….

 

Updates…on everything

Updates, Updates and Updates…

Hi reader – just felt the need to provide you with an update on how things are going, and why activity here seems to be scheduled:

• my wife gave birth to a baby boy – Micah Alexander – on Monday afternoon [excitement plus!] – so ALL my attention has been with them both, while at the hospital and with my older son when home;

• I have become a featured User on Beanhunter this week – on a week when I won’t be reviewing any new coffee places…; and

• if it wasn’t for the skilled baristas at Sazo’n Espresso every morning this week, I would be in serious caffeine withdrawal!!

Customer Service….

As an aside – and not necessarily directed at anyone in particular – but as a general statement and reflection of my experience recently – I found the customer service during my half a day in Stirling to be really ordinary.  Of the three staff at Rubys (my last coffee of the day) only one seemed to have the concept of ‘without return customers, we are just three people in a room with a coffee machine’ front and centre of her approach – my experience of the rest, as you have read was similar.

If your coffee/food is the best there is anywhere – then you can probably be a bit narky and expect people to put up with it – but when you are competing with others in the market place, with coffee of equally average standards, then you need to set yourself apart with something.  I am happy (on the odd occasion) to have a ‘good’ coffee from a place with excellent customer service, rather than going for an excellent coffee at a place in which you do not feel welcome…

So – just to be able to get this off my substantial chest, from this post onwards I am including Customer Service in my reviews – at this stage (until I can think of something more interesting, or funny) it will be based upon the simple   system – probably as follows:

  •  – would have been less painful and awkward to make it myself;
  •   – acknowledged my presence and value as a carbon based entity;
  •  – average – pretty much what you would expect – you go away neither blown away by the experience, nor complaining about it;
  •   – memorable – you talk about this place – this is how everyone should be, but few are – they may have even asked your name…;
  •   –  freaking awesome – I’m going to nominate them for Australian of the Year – I would keep coming back, even if they switched to International Rust and an ern (not really, but you get the drift) – if it weren’t for their calling into the coffee industry, they should be teacher customer service….

I’m just saying. I’m getting off my soap box now….

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