Not gonna lie – we love our coffee. From a fancy double-shot soy latte whipped up by a slick city barista to a trusty cup of java brewed with love at home, coffee is the bomb.
We also love the latest health reports that coffee might not only help reduce the risk of conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, dementia, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers, but also might lower the risk of clogged arteries, making it heart healthy, too. So pour a nice hot cup and read on.
FInd your grind
Espresso (aka short black) Very hot water is forced through finely ground coffee to produce a ‘shot’ of espresso in about 30 seconds. Good espresso is characterised by a thick layer of golden ‘crema’.
Ristretto (Italian for ‘restricted’) Made by capturing just the first 15ml of an espresso shot, ristretto is sweeter and more intense than
a whole shot.
Long black A double shot of espresso or ristretto is poured over very hot water. (Serious baristas insist this is the correct order. The other way around would create an ‘Americano’.)
Latte A shot (or more) of espresso is poured into a glass, then 200-250ml of textured (frothed) milk.
Cappuccino Made with one shot (or more) of espresso and about 2cm of textured milk dusted with chocolate powder.
Macchiato Espresso is ‘dotted’ with textured milk to take the edge off the intensity. (Macchiato means ‘spotted’.)
Flat white This is an Antipodean creation made with espresso and steamed milk – but without any ‘foam’.
Greek/Turkish/Lebanese coffee Finely milled coffee is boiled with water – and usually sugar – in a long-handled pot on the stove. Very intense brew.
Drip/filtered coffee is made by pouring hot water over ground coffee beans through a filter.
Instant Freeze- dried powder or granules (from brewed beans) is rehydrated with hot water.
Must be coffee time!
Ramp up your workout
Drinking coffee about an hour before exercising can improve your motivation and focus and also help you achieve better results, according to a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Caffeine increases the number of fatty acids in the bloodstream, contributing to greater muscle endurance and improved fine motor skills. Coffee drinkers reported they were also psychologically pumped to work out the next day. Win/win!
Too much coffee?
Drinking four or five cups of brewed/filtered coffee spread over the day is considered safe for most people. Unfiltered coffee (such as espresso, that is also used in lattes and cappuccinos) contains more caffeine per 100ml than brewed, so several double-shot lattes a day might be overdoing it. The actual caffeine content of drinks and foods varies widely, so check labels and pay attention to how you feel. Signs you might be overdoing it can include rapid heart rate, tremors, irritability, anxiety, sleeplessness and upset stomach.
If you are trying to reduce your caffeine intake, do it gradually. Going cold turkey can bring on killer withdrawal headaches. Be mindful, too, of any caffeine you consume from other sources. Tea, chocolate and cola don’t contain as much caffeine as coffee but it all counts. ‘Energy’ drinks, in particular, can contain very high quantities of caffeine per can.