I was pretty much a coffee rookie before starting here at CBD. I was prone to ordering a flat white purely for ease and I’m definitely guilty of having slurped down a Starbucks frozen monstrosity in the middle of Summer, only to be left slightly cooler but riding a sugar rush. But I’ve been learning a lot about coffee, caffeine and what you should and shouldn’t be doing with it! Here are a few things I’ve picked up so far:
1. Timing is everything
Most people wake up and drink their first cup of coffee with their brekkie, around 8 o’clock, before heading off to work (including me, until very recently). But the human body works on a 24 hour hormonal cycle called the circadian clock. That means our bodies produce higher levels of cortisol (the hormone that makes us feel alert and awake) between 8-9am, precisely when we are pumping our bodies with an extra supply. Not only is having your coffee at this time unnecessary, studies show that the caffeine might interrupt your natural cortisol cycle, and lead to diminished effectiveness of the stimulant, and even decrease your sensitivity to it and lead to a higher tolerance. No thanks! Instead, drink your coffees between 9:30-11:30 am and 5:30-6:30pm where a natural lull in cortisol levels occur and your coffee will be most effective.
2. Taste the goodness
Coffee is going to taste different everywhere you go. With the sheer amount of blends, varieties and roasts available (not to mention brewing methods), no two cafes will serve the same coffee. So why would you order the same amount of sugar each time you try a new brew? Instead for going straight for your flat-white-with-half-a-sugar order, taste the coffee first. You may find the beans have a creamy and sweet flavour already, so you can skip the sugar, or maybe they have a fresh, bitter aftertaste, so maybe you’ll need a pinch extra. The barista doesn’t know how you like your coffee, so taste it first and then add what you need after.
3. Coffee pods are not real coffee
Well, technically it is real coffee. But you wouldn’t drink a pot of coffee that has been left out all day (I hope) so why would you drink the stale coffee that’s packed into those tiny pods. Who knows how long they have been sitting on the shelf for? Not to mention the excessive amount of waste produced from the single serve pods. Did you know they are made up of too many materials to efficiently recycle (unless you have half an hour to meticulously pull apart that tiny pod, which cancels out the convenience of them). They’re actually so inefficient and wasteful that the original inventor of the K-Cup regrets inventing them. Also, hiding in the nooks and crannies of that genius coffee maker is mould that is probably making you sick.
4. Frappucinos are just coffee flavoured sugar
Did you know that a Starbucks Frappucino has about the same amount of sugar as a litre bottle of Coca Cola. And almost no actual coffee content. They might taste good but there is little to no benefit of drinking one, unless you don’t need the caffeine and are keen for a crazy sugar rush followed by a crash. But if the Summer swelter is preventing you from having a regular hot brew, instead go for an iced latte, or iced long black if you like it strong!
5. Reduce – reuse – recycle
Australia produces around 750,000 tonnes of coffee waste a year! So it’s about time we all started thinking about ways to re-use parts of our brew. When you’ve got a little left over in the pot, pour it into an ice tray and keep it on hand to cool down ice coffees without watering them down or to quickly cool down a too hot coffee in the morning. And if you’ve been wondering why your neighbour has been tossing their grounds all over their garden, they are making use of the fertilising properties of the used coffee. There are heaps of ways to recycle grounds, but more on this later!
Are there any coffee mistakes that you see all the time?