Wake Up And Smell The Coffee

Ever wondered how the morning cup of coffee washes off all the lethargy of sleep and kick starts your brain to face a brand new day? Does credit for coffee’s legendary refreshing effect go to the diminutive but obvious presence of caffeine? Can we reduce the virtues of such a great beverage to a mere work of a chemical? Clearly, the flavor, smell and arrogant upshot of caffeine all contribute towards making coffee a complete experience, rather than just a beverage.

Coffee is basically prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant. The coffee beans – as the seeds are referred to – are roasted and powdered. The processing of coffee beans is a very labor intensive process. The roasting phase of processing considerably influences the final taste and odor of coffee and is thus the most significant part of the whole process. Roasting causes extremely complex chemical action that metamorphoses the insipid taste of the coffee seed to the great taste we all know and love. In some cases the coffee beans are even aged for a considerable period of time before they are roasted.

The range and variety of the experience we call coffee is considerably huge. For the stringent coffee buff that prefers an experience devoid of caffeine, decaffeinated coffee hits the mark. There are the darker roast styles that justify the word ‘black coffee’. There are even special flavored coffees in the market for people who need a twist in the tale. There is no end to the ways you can get your cup of coffee.

But, coffee is more than just a hot liquid in a cup. Its significance and influence extend in all aspects of society and culture. The coffee houses of the 16th century started off a trend of using coffee as an excuse and means of getting people to socialize. Coffee is the greatest social lubricant ever invented, capable of bringing people together to mingle, talk, debate and decide. The coffee houses of India became the axis and base camp of the workers struggle where people and propaganda celebrated the birth of a new political age. In Sweden and the Nordic countries, coffee is an important cornerstone of their culture.

In the past, coffee had a religious and spiritual significance. This appears quite natural given the experience of coffee is nothing short of divine. The early Arabs created wine from the coffee fruit which was used during religious ceremonies. In many cultures coffee naturally substituted wine when wine was prohibited.

The experienced connoisseurs of coffee indulge in coffee cupping. Coffee cupping is simply a great excuse to turn your love for coffee into a professional pursuit with all the semblances of any grave enterprise. Some professional coffee tasters are so proficient in drinking coffee they can identify the geographical origin of coffee from its taste.

Coffee is a great accompaniment for any informal meal, typically as an integral component of breakfast. In relatively more formal settings, like for instance, in a restaurant, coffee fits in perfectly during the dessert course. It’s obvious that coffee is a great accompaniment to anything from pastries, cookies, shortbread to muffins. But, if the coffee lovers of the world are to be taken seriously, coffee goes with any occasion or time no matter what.

Fasting Your Way to Better Health and Fitness

When I was younger, I used to sing a great deal in public and earn from it. A bad cold, therefore, meant harmed voice, equals no income. In those days, I believed a great deal in the curative powers of medicines and so every time a cold attacks, I did the usual “stuff a cold and starve a fever”. What was worse was that it usually took me too long to recover from a single attack that left me unable to perform and earn a living. There was this very important concert then that I had to perform in along with others. I was so excited because this was no small-time concert. All forms of advertisements were exhausted for the event and the venue had been long prepared. Suddenly, three days before the anticipated performance, I caught an awful cold.

I went to the manager of the affair and reported my sad predicament. Fortunately, the manager was a doctor who was not overly convinced by the curative powers of medicines. And he was the one who introduced me to the “fasting cure” which he, himself practices when he’s afflicted with one. I was advised to starve and eat nothing but I can drink all the water I can until my pulse and body temperature returned to normal. I was also advised to rest in bed for about three days and he promised me I’d be as good as new after that. I was told not to listen to my family, relatives and doctor if they tell me to eat to gain my strength back. He assured me that I would not grow weak for lack of nourishment in a three-day fasting. I also learned about not being able to digest food well if the person has a fever, so it is advisable, really to fast.

I took his advice and the results were exactly as he had stated. After the end of the three-day fast, I was able to join a last rehearsal in the afternoon of the big event. And that night, I sang my numbers without a trace of the bad cold! In three days I was able to recover fully well from a bout of cold through fasting, which would have normally taken me much longer if I had succumbed to purely medical solutions.

Digestive disorders are caused by many factors. Eating a lot and eating more than what is required is quite a common cause. Other factors include hurried and improper eating. These two alone cause about 80% of digestive disorders. Then there’s the tobacco or after-meal cigar, “treats” and the business-first-before-meal attitude.

I have a very good appetite or digestion though some things could cause it to falter once in a while. In those cases, I eventually resort to fasting to give my stomach a few days’ rest. For my fever, catarrhal problems and bad cold and glandular disorders, fasting never fails to restore me up. Fasting can help clean the digestive system. It can be done through the supervision of a capable nurse without inducing any other commercial medicine. Under these conditions a satisfactory cure is almost certain.

My summary of the matter is, as I have stated, that the difference between starving and fasting lies in the mental attitude. The beneficial effect of fasting is that it gives the stomach needed rest from any digestive disorders. While in “bad colds” the clogging rubbish or surplus matter is burned up or eliminated from the body and glandular structures very much in the same way that this end is accomplished by prolonged systematic exercise.

The only danger in the fasting system, if not of too long duration, seems to lie at its termination. Taper off gently and don’t gorge yourself. Do this and no harm will result. At the end of the four days’ fasts I have taken, I ate in moderation; grape juice, well-boiled rice, green peas and carrots. The next day I ate anything I liked, provided I chewed it properly and slowly.

Working Out for Extreme Fitness

Many people think about building muscles as abandoning life outside the gym and devoting hours in the gym like a monk in a monastery. Perhaps the only way to chisel the body into a hot muscular physique is by toiling hour by hour over the rusty iron day in, day out and year in, year out.
This need not be so. Although hard work is truly required, extreme fitness demands one to be a slave of the iron weights. Full-body work outs can make one progress and it easily fits in one’s schedule. This is very convenient if one is looking forward to achieving extreme fitness but finds it hard to hold on to a single work out routine.

Genuine full-body work outs done by athletes with an aim in mind makes for maximum muscle contraction using heavy weights, makes room for full recovery so one can actually grow and continue to train hard plus it also prevents burnout which is inevitable due to excess training.

So if one is ready for extreme fitness, here is all there is to know about full body work out:

Full-body work out is a time saver. The biggest plus about having the whole body trained all at once is probably having to go to the gym less frequently; perhaps around two to three times for every seven days would be enough.

Another advantage of working out the entire body all at once is that one need not spend two or more hours of strenuous exercise in the gym for every session; one only spends one hour in the gym for every session. So that’s just three to four hours per week in the gym right? With full-body work outs, it is all about the quality of exercise one does for session and not the quantity, nor even the amount of time you allot per session.

Full-body work out boosts the cardiovascular system for extreme fitness. One must allot two to four sets for every body part into the one hour session. Jam packed with exercising, each one hour session then gets the heart and the rest of the cardiovasular system pumping and up to speed in a flash.

Now feeling pumped up, next find out what rules does one have to follow when engaging in full-body work outs:

Training commences only once every two to three days. This is so easy isn’t it? What is great about this is that there is time spared during rest days so that one can indulge in a few cardio exercise sessions instead of depending on cardio execises one normally does at the end of each work out session which after all, are not at all very effective.

Heavy lifting is strongly advised. Contrary to popular belief, especially among athletes. It is not true that it is good to get trapped on training lightly than one actually could so as to conserve energy for the other body parts that will come later in the routine. What is true is that one cannot achieve optimal progress if one is not training heavy, no matter which program that person is doing.

One exercise only per muscle group. This is very easy to follow and is also important. Doing basic exercises which are also intense means you do not have to do another different exercise for that body part.

Keep work out short. Resistance training affects the natural homones of the body connected to muscle building. Intense exercising boosts the testosterone levels and long work outs increase those of catabolic cortisol. Sixty minutes of work out allows you to get the best of both worlds.

Now with this convenient and powerful work out regimen, one can now truly experience extreme fitness.

The Spirit of Coffee – Coffees of the World

Ever wonder where the coffee beans in your morning coffee come from? You probably know words like Arabica and Robusta in terms of taste, but did you know that these words can also tell us where those coffees were grown? Here is a look at three of the world’s best specialty coffees and the regions in which they originated. Read on to discover the rich history of these coffees.

Yemen Arabian Mocca

Grown in the mountainous region of Sanani in south Yemen at an altitude in excess of 4,500 ft, Arabian Mocca is the world’s oldest cultivated coffee, distinguished by its richness and full body with chocolate undertones. Yemen is on Asia’s Arabian peninsula, a stone’s throw from Africa. Since there are no other Arabian coffees, it is classified as part of the family tastes of North African coffees.

It is here that the term “mocca” was coined. Its correct spelling is Mokha, for the port city that Yemen coffees ship from. Yemen’s arid climate contributes to the production of one of the best-loved specialty coffees that led Europeans to fall in love with coffee many centuries ago.

Yemeni coffee is one of the most distinct and prized coffees in the world. It’s been called a “wild” or natural cup, earthy, complex, pungent — to some it may be strange and bitter. This coffee can also be characterized as dry, winey, and acidic with chocolate and fruit undertones, rustic flavors, and intense aromas.

(Source: http://www.sweetmarias.com/coffee.arabia.yemen.html)

Mexico “Spirit of the Aztec”

The state of Veracruz produces many average coffees in its low-lying regions, but atop the tall mountains near the city of Coatepec an excellent Arabica bean coffee called Altura Coatepec reigns. The word Altura itself means “high grown”. Altura Pluma indicates the finest coffee of Mexico. Coetepec, a coffee district of Veracruz, provides particularly outstanding coffee beans. Mexican Altura beans have a full medium body, fine acidity, a wonderful bouquet and a satisfying flavor that is mild and sweet. This fine Mexican coffee is noted for delivering a consistently smooth taste and fragrant flavor with good body, depth, and overall balance. It is likely one of the most underappreciated coffees around.

Mexican coffee botanists celebrate Mexico’s highest altitudes (with their approximately one hundred species of Arabica coffee plants) as the finest region of all the world’s gourmet coffees. An inferior grade of coffee bean known Robusta grows at lower altitudes. Mexico itself produces huge quantities of these unremarkable coffee beans, often utilized as dark roasts, supermarket coffees and beans for blending.

Arabica coffee arrived in Mexico at the start of the nineteenth century from the West Indies. Today, Mexico ranks among the world’s top coffee exporters. Most Mexican coffee is processed by the wet method to ensure better acidity and body. Mexican coffee is graded based on the altitude where it is grown. The plantations of Veracruz account for 60 to 70 percent of the Mexican coffee crop. Approximately 5 million bags of coffee a year originate in Mexico. Most of the better beans are grown on large plantations in the states of Oaxaca, Chiapas, and Guerrero. These are producers of “high-grown” Altura Coatepec coffees, among the finest coffees grown in the Americas.

Their flavor is light and nutty with medium acidity and a mild, well-balanced body. With a fine chocolate tang and a hint of sweet undertone beneath the finish, these coffees make an ideal beverage for those of us who enjoy a smooth, mellow-tasting brew that is not overpowering. Altura’s smoothness produces many loyalists of the coffee drinkers who sample it. Mexican Altura Coatepec is an incredible morning coffee, as it could be used in a blend to tone down accompanying fuller-bodied coffees, or better yet, alone for the pure regional flavor.

(Source: http://www.coffeeuniverse.com/world_coffee_latin.html)

Java “Dutch Estate”

As a synonym of coffee, “java” introduced itself in the seventeenth century when the Dutch began cultivating coffee trees on the island of Java (part of the islands of Indonesia) and successfully exported it globally. Often the standard by which all other coffees are measured, Java’s finest golden beans are roasted to yield a piquant aroma, displaying an exquisite acid balance, a heavy body with chocolate undertones, and a lighter finish than Sumatran.

At one time the island of Java was ruled by sultans and dominated by mysticism. The early Dutch settlers who came in the late 17th century found Java to be a wonderfully diverse place with high mountains, thick tropical rain forests and a sultry climate that revolved around the monsoon rains. The Dutch and the Javanese settled the coastal volcanic plains, while much of the interior of the island was left to the jungle and a few tribal groups. The Dutch found that coffee grew very well in this climate, and began to set up plantations around their initial foothold in Batavia (modern day Jakarta). Initially Arabica coffees were planted, but many of these were killed by the coffee rust plague that devastated the region in the 1800’s. Robusta was the logical replacement — a tough plant resistant to many diseases.

Eventually the Dutch plantation owners conquered Java and took on the elements. Large plantations were established in the east of the island, as well as in Central Java and the west. After the Japanese occupied Java in the 1940’s many of these plantations were destroyed or absorbed back into the jungle with their owners imprisoned by the Japanese. After the war and the ensuing independence struggle, many of the larger plantations ended up under the control of the government. Today the big Java plantations (such as Nusantara XII) are still government-owned. However there are many medium and smaller growers who produce excellent quality Arabica beans. These coffees are known as “Government Estate” Java. They are primarily produced at 4 old farms (Kayumas, Blawan, Djampit, Pancoer). The Government body grows about 85% of the coffee in East Java, close to Bali on the Ijen area. The range of altitudes suitable for coffee production is 3,000 to 6,000 feet, with most growing in the plateau region at 4,500 feet.

Fitness Personal Training for Healthy and Fit Living

It’s never easy to avoid being a victim of food. Chocolates, ice cream, cake, etc., how can one resist? It’s really hard to avoid digging in to a plate of delicious goodness. But, if you want to stay healthy and fit, do you have to neglect eating? The answer is no! There’s no need to watch out keenly over your diet. You can lose those extra ounces of fat in your body without having to starve to death. The secret to a healthy and fit life is fitness personal training. Continue reading

Limit the Number of Milk When Making Bread

When they wanted to buy bread, surely you will choose bread that big fluffy and smooth. You probably would not choose a flat bread because it looks certainly do not draw.

“Bread can be inflated because of the mixture of yeast (yeast) in the dough. Yeast reacts with the air to produce gas,” said Herman Ahmad, baker ASA Food, cooking demonstrations with current bakery Pane del Giorno in PT ASA Food, Sentul, Bogor.

Herman added that the common mistakes made when making bread dough is too much milk.

Many people think that the mixing of milk that much (even replace water with milk) will make more bread so soft and delicious. When in fact, too much milk it will cause the dough can not inflate perfectly. Ideally, the dough will expand 2-3 times its original size.

“The batter can not expand because yeast can not absorb lactose from milk. Consequently maximal yeast can not react with air and cause gas,” he added. In the right amount, yeast could tolerate the presence of lactose, and react to form a gas.

So how does the exact composition of the flour and milk?

Herman advised to use only a third of the milk of the amount of flour used. If using powdered milk, then for one kilogram of flour, milk used is 300 grams. Whereas if you use milk, you can mix water and milk 50:50 according to the size prescribed water.

“But it’s most convenient is to use powdered milk,” he said.

In Search of the Best Coffee Makers

Coffee may be the most popular beverage in the world. Recent statistics indicate that over 50% of the American population are coffee drinkers and this number would more than likely hold true in many other countries as well. This more than any thing else helps to explain why there is such a wide range of coffee makers available for purchase today.

With such a diverse range of coffee machines, there is more choice for the coffee drinking public than ever before. Main stream popular styles include the Automatic and Manual Drip, Pod, Automatic Espresso, French Press, Percolator, Stovetop Espresso and the Vacuum. Each one of these styles has some unique characteristic that are sure to appeal to a certain segment of the coffee drinking public.

Automatic and Manual Drip Coffee Machines

The most popular style of coffee maker continues to be the automatic drip coffee maker. The basic design is very simple and efficient. Add fresh water to the built-in reservoir, insert a filter in to the handy filter holder, measure your favorite coffee grounds and pour into the filter and then press the start button. Within minutes your senses are excited by the smell of freshly brewed hot coffee! Most models also have a built-in timer and a pot warmer included so that you can set your coffee to brew and be ready at any hour of the day or night, and kept constantly warm as well.

Manual drip coffee brewers do take a bit more work since you need to boil the water using another heat source, but after that it is basically the same coffee making process of putting coffee grounds in the filter and pouring the hot water through the filter so that the coffee liquid is collected in the pot or container below. One great advantage of the manual drip coffee machine is that is can go most any where with you as it is not dependent upon having electricity to operate so it is great for camping and other outdoor activities.

Pod Coffee Machines

These are becoming very trendy and popular in recent years. Working similar to the automatic drip machines, they feature the ability to use pre-packaged containers or pods of specialty coffees to brew great tasting coffee. With many reputable coffee chains such as Starbucks now selling their most popular coffee blends in the pod format, consumers can get the same tasting cup of specialty coffee at home that they had to go out and purchase before at a much higher price.

Automatic Espresso Coffee Brewer

Espresso coffee makers have become much more affordable in recent years and because of this, they are gaining in popularity amongst serious coffee drinkers wanting something more than just a normal cup of coffee. There are currently three types of espresso coffee brewers to choose from, namely semi automatic, fully automatic, and super automatic. As a rule, the more automatic the espresso maker is, the less you need to do to brew your coffee, but unfortunately the more expensive it is to purchase. For example, where a semi-automatic model will tamp the coffee grounds, brew the coffee, fill your cup and eject the old grounds, an entirely automatic model will also grind the coffee for you as well, and the super automatic espresso coffee maker will do all of the above plus having additional features such as built-in water filters and self-cleaning.

Stovetop Espresso Coffee Maker

The stovetop espresso coffee brewers are basically a manual method for preparing espresso coffee when you do not have access to an automatic version or an electrical source of energy. This makes it an ideal coffee maker for taking outdoors on camping or fishing trips if you feel the need to make an espresso cup of coffee. First water is placed inside the underside boiler and then a cone filter is situated inside the boiler and filled with coffee grounds. Next the top is lightly tightened and the brewer is place over the heat source. After a few minutes, once the top of the boiler is filled with the freshly brewed coffee it is removed from the heat supply and the coffee is ready to be served. Here again, the absence of any warming feature means the coffee has to be served immediately.

French Press Coffee Maker

Also known as “press pots” or “plunger pots”, the French Press coffee makers are not as common as they once were. Preparing coffee is more work than it would be using any of the coffee makers already discussed as it is a manual coffee machine. The pot is actually a glass or porcelain tube consisted of a stainless, mesh plunger that acts like a filter. To make the coffee you must first measure the coffee grounds into the pot, then pour in almost boiling water. After allowing the coffee mixture to steep for a few minutes, the plunger is then pushed downwards and the liquid beverage is forced into the waiting cup or container. As there is no built-in heating plate or element beneath the coffee container, you must serve the coffee beverage immediately or place it into an insulated container to keep it hot for later.

Percolator Coffee Maker

At one time percolator coffee makers were the standard type of coffee brewers in most households, a role now held by the automatic drip machines. Although not as popular today, they still have their place when a coffee maker is required that can brew large volumes of coffee rather than the 10-14 cup limit or less in most other popular coffee machines sold these days. Modern percolators are available as stove top models and electric and can be programmed like other automatic coffee machines. The coffee making process is based on running water continuously over the coffee grounds, held within a metal filter, as the water is boiled. One drawback of this method is that the coffee often gets stronger and more bitter tasting the longer it goes through the brewing cycle.

Vacuum Coffee Maker

Perhaps the strangest looking type of coffee machine is the vacuum coffee maker. Looking like something from a science fiction movie, the apparatus is made up of two overlapping containers connect by a siphon tube. The filter is located in the bottom section of the upper container. To brew coffee, the user first adds coffee grounds to the upper container, then pours water into the lower container. Next the brewer is placed on top of a stove where the water is then boiled and the resulting steam is passed along through the siphon tube into the upper container. After about 3 minutes the container is removed from the heat source and the steam condenses back into liquid water which is forced through the filter and back into the lower unit. Your fresh pot of coffee is now sitting in the lower unit. An interesting way to brew a cup or pot of coffee!

Needless to say, coffee lovers can select from a wide variety of coffee makers. From cheap stove top coffee pots to high end super automatic coffee machines, there is a coffee machine for every inclination as well as for every budget. Fantastic news! Now here is the unpleasant news. With all the many coffee machines to choose from today, even knowing the style you favor is not enough. Within each of the coffee maker styles noted above there are numerous different brand names and models to choose from.

Fortunately the Internet gives you a quick and really helpful way to unearth what’s presently accessible at what price. With a bit of time and investigating it’s also possible to weed out the junk from the best coffee makers. Merely go online and visit some coffee maker review websites. Please keep in mind that all coffee brewer review websites usually are not created equal, so you must take what you read with caution. For myself I’d look for coffee review sites where the reviewers include independent test data together with buyer feedback to provide unbiased and truthful information about the coffee makers being reviewed and rated.

Fitness For Busy Corporates

Companies of all shapes and sizes are striving to make physical fitness part of their employees’ lives. Aside from the proven health benefits of exercise, physically fit employees can also handle physical work tasks better, deal with stressful situations more easily and tend to be less susceptible to illness and injuries. Companies are discovering the positive benefits of providing workplace fitness programs. Continue reading

Sproutarian

Vegetarianism and raw food enthusiasts fall into many different groups with different theories of what kind of natural foods are best. Most vegetarians eat fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains. Vegans eat no animal by-products at all, including dairy or eggs. Fruitarians eat primarily fruits. And some vegetarians eat only sprouts.
Sprouts are very nutritious because they contain all the elements a plant needs for life and growth. The endosperm of seed is the storehouse of carbohydrates, protein and oil. When the seed germinates, these become predigested amino acids and natural sugars upon which the plant embryo feeds to grow. This life force we eat is filled with energy which is capable of generating cells of the body and supplying us with new vigor and life. For this reason sprouts can retard the ageing process.

Sprouts contain goodly amounts of male and female hormones, as well, in their most easily assimilated form. Research shows that sprouts are among the highest food in vitamins. They are not only a low cost food but are also tasty and easy to grow. Children and the elderly can make sprouting a profitable hobby. All of us can profit from the boost to health they provide.

Almost any seed, grain or legume can be sprouted though some are tastier than others. You may try mung beans, alfalfa, wheat, peas, fenugreek, chickpeas, radish, fennel, celery seed, etc. These are most readily found in natural food stores. Remember to soak small seeds only for 4 hours and beans for 15 hours. You also can mix these seeds. Get a 2 liter wide-mouth jar and a piece of cheesecloth or old nylon stocking to fasten as a cover with a rubber band. Put seed into the jar as follows:
2 Tsps alfalfa, 2 Tsps radish or fenugreek, 1/4 cup lentils, 1/2 cup mung beans. Soak these seeds for 15 hours and drain the water. Afterwards rinse and drain well twice daily for about 3-5 days. If you wish to make larger amounts of sprouts, so you may share with others, place 2 cups of mixed seed into a large porcelain pot, in the bottom of which holes have been drilled for easy rinsing. Simply place underneath the faucet and rinse morning and evening with warm water. Cover with a plate. The seeds grow beautifully and abundantly in a few days.

The Road To Fitness

For most of us, choosing to be fit is more a test of will than a one time decision. Being “fit” covers a change in our lifestyle much more than just embarking upon a new exercise or diet program. For me, the choice came about 15 years ago. I was about 24 years old when friends of mine convinced me to start going to the gym as a group. At that time, I knew I didn’t really like the way I looked, so I thought it would be a good idea. How hard could it be? Well, it didn’t take long before I knew the answer to that question. Continue reading

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