Okay peeps. Finally a blog post about coffee!
This morning I woke feeling more tired than usual (must be all that weekend sunshine) and my first instinct was to get a coffee when I got to work. Habit, or something more you ask? Some argue that there are scientific health benefits relating to caffeine consumption:
- Caffeine blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, which leads to a stimulant effect. This improves energy levels, mood and various aspects of brain function.
- Several studies show that caffeine can increase fat burning in the body and boost the metabolic rate.
- Caffeine can increase adrenaline levels and release fatty acids from the fat tissues. It also leads to significant improvements in physical performance.
- Coffee contains several important nutrients, including Riboflavin, Pantothenic Acid, Manganese, Potassium, Magnesium and Niacin.
Scientific truth? Placebo effect? Marketing PR spin? You decide.
All I know is that the psychological benefits of drinking coffee need acknowledgement. I for one like the ritual of having coffee. Not only does it give me routine, it also allow me to make time for myself. I can savour the taste, appreciate the creaminess of the foam, experiencing the warm sensation with each sip. I genuinely do love the taste of coffee and enjoy picking up the subtleties of the aromas.
Seeking out coffee also makes me go out to a destination – I physically remove myself from the office and engage in a different environment. Even better when the barista remembers my name or ‘telepathically’ knows my order!
The act of getting a coffee is also a social experience, heck, how often is the term ‘catch-up’ associated with coffee (rather than tea, or some other drink). Connecting and spending time with others is such an important self-care and wellbeing activity.
Naturally this is a biased article, so the only downsides I find with coffee drinking is cost (very rare to get a coffee under $4 in Auckland), having a bad (burnt or weak) coffee, or unintentionally spilling it on yourself. I have done this many times in the past… I like multi-tasking but have a bad habit of not finding the sipper on my KeepCup and coffee squirts out onto my shirt and keyboard.
Can’t tell your flat white from your long black? Here are some fab descriptions from the Canstar Blue website:
Caffè Americano: You can make this type of coffee quite simply by adding hot water to a shot of espresso coffee. It has been said that American soldiers during the Second World War would make this type of coffee to make their beverages last longer. It was then (apparently) adopted by American baristas after the war.
Café Latte (or Café au lait): A fairly popular option for coffee drinkers, a latte consists steamed (or scolded) milk and a single shot of coffee. It is usually quite frothy, and you’ll occasionally encounter cafes that don’t understand the difference between this and a flat white.
Cappuccino: Possibly the most popular type of coffee in the world, a cappuccino consists of three layers (kind of like a cake). The first is a shot of espresso, then a shot of steamed milk, and finally the barista adds a layer of frothed, foamy milk. This final layer can also be topped with chocolate shavings or powder. Traditionally, Italians would consume this type of coffee at breakfast.
Espresso: To make an espresso, shoot boiling water under high pressure through finely ground up coffee beans and then pour into a tiny mug. Sounds simple right? Well, it’s surprisingly difficult to master. Espressos are the purest coffee experience you can get, and while they’re not for everyone, it can be a truly singular drinking experience when you find a good brew.
Flat White: The most Aussie coffees available are the long black and the flat white – as both originated in Australia and New Zealand. For a flat white, the steamed milk from the bottom of the jug (which is usually not so frothy, but rather creamy) is poured over a shot of espresso. It is now popular among mums and dads at school fetes who are desperately trying to stay awake.
Long Black: Hot water is poured into a cup, and then two shots of espresso are poured into the water. If you do the inverse of this, it will result in an Americano. Long blacks can be quite strong, and have more crema (a creamy foam that tops espresso shots) than an Americano.
Macchiato (also known as a Piccolo Latte): Although it has similarities to a cappuccino, a macchiato is different in that it is a shot of espresso which is then topped off with foamed milk dashed directly into the cup.
Vienna: A vienna is made by adding two shots of particularly strong espresso together before whipped cream is added as a substitute for milk and sugar. The Vienna is a melding of the strong flavours of straight espresso, with the smoothness of sugary cream.
Mochachino: A ‘mocha’ is just a latte with added chocolate powder or syrup, as well as sometimes being topped with whipped cream. If anything, this is a good entry level coffee – living in the worlds between the childlike hot chocolate and the adult café latte.
Affogato: Affogatos aren’t a coffee at all really, as they’re a shot of espresso poured over a desert (usually ice cream). That doesn’t make them any less delicious though.
So what’s your coffee of choice?
Here are some photos I’ve taken of coffee in 2017…