French Lavender Mint Tea

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Photo courtesy of Alvin’s of San Francisco.

A blend of the finest lavender buds from Provence, France blended with a sweet Moroccan spearmint leaf to produce this mellow herbal tea. The subtle taste cooling mint and soothing lavender together form a relaxing tea for any occasion. This caffeine free blend is great for bedtime or after a heavy meal and is wonderful iced. Lavender and mint have been proven to ease headaches and sooth stomach pain. Please leave your thoughts and comments below.

Kenya Gaturiri

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Lion walking down the road in Kenya. Photo courtesy of Klatch Coffee.

When we think of Kenya we think of lions…and great coffee. In Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, the city stretches around Nairobi National Park on three sides. Here rhinos, lions, and other wild beasts roam free against the backdrop of the only capital in the world with a national park. The continued encroachment of humans has led to a decrease in these magnificent animals. Here is one boy’s clever solution. Please leave your thoughts and comments below.

Colombia Los Naranjos

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This coffee farm rests along the edge of Cueva de los Cuacharo, Colombia, a 500 square mile biosphere where two mountain ranges converge.  Photo courtesy of Coffea Roasterie.

Coffee leaf rust, or roya, could affect a majority of the Central American crop for the next several years. Only a few years ago the Colombian coffee crop was 40 percent infected. However, Colombia is now recovering while its neighbors to the North are in crisis. Through a Herculean replanting effort and investment things are looking up. Farmers are now planting a crossbreed of Robusta and Arabica called Castillo that is roya resistant and tailored to the Colombian climate. What do you think of this new hybrid varietal? Please leave your thoughts and comments below. Read more

Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Kochere

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As one of the most sought after coffees in the world, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe has a floral, sweet, and citrus flavor profile. In Ethiopia you still find coffee trees in the wild and growing at elevations above 6000 feet. Ripe coffee cherries, such as these from the Kochere District, are processed at local cooperatives. The combination of wild trees, harvested by small farms, at these extraordinary elevations produces an incredibly complex and desirable coffee experience. Photo courtesy of Victrola Coffee. Please leave your thoughts and comments below.

The Buzz About Caffeine

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Photo courtesy bigstockphoto.com. According to new research from the U.K., caffeine can give a memory boost….. at least to bees. The nectar of certain citrus flowers, along with coffee plant flowers,  contain caffeine. The study found that when bees feed on nectar containing caffeine they are three times more likely to remember the scent of that particular flower and are more motivated. It seems that caffeine is a stimulant for bees and influences their behavior much as it does our own. Who knew I was improving my memory with coffee all this time?

CAFFEINE SHOWN TO IMPROVE MEMORY IN BEES

Many plants contain caffeine in their leaves naturally as a defense mechanism. The bitter taste deters hungry animals from eating plants containing it. Caffeine can  also be found in the nectar of the plant. The amount of caffeine in the nectar of a coffee plant is similar to what we find in a cup of instant coffee. The bees do not taste the caffeine at these low doses  but it is high enough to affect their behavior.

In a recent study from the U.K., caffeine was shown to improve memory in honeybees. The bees were trained Pavlovian style to remember the scent of certain flowers. The ones that were fed the caffeinated nectar, as opposed to just sugar nectar, were three times more likely to remember the scent of that flower 24 hours later. Also, twice as many bees still remembered after 72 hours.

Caffeine changes how Kenyon cells, neurons which are involved in memory and learning, respond to information. It leads to more sensitivity and stronger reaction to input. In other words, caffeine helps bees remember the floral scents and come back more often. This gives these plants an advantage by having a “faithful” pollinator.

While the effect on bees is obvious, researchers are hesitant to say caffeine has beneficial effects on memory in humans. More study is needed  to see how caffeine affects us. But how many people drink coffee while reading or studying? Maybe our bodies are trying to tell us something. I think I’ll have another cup just in case.

What are your thoughts on caffeine as a memory booster?

Originally published by www.emerycoffee.com

Colombia Giraldo Exotico

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In the central northwestern part of Colombia, known as the coffee belt, coffee is produced year round with certain peaks. This coffee in grown high in the Andean mountains of Antioquia. Photo courtesy of Klatch Coffee. Please leave your thoughts and comments below.