I am back from vacation, charged with energy to blog more. Of all things in my luggage from India, a small package made me extremely happy. That package held double delight that could brighten my mornings – Coffee powder and a Coffee filter.
The coffee powder was a mix of Plantation A (250 g), Peaberry (250 g) and Chicory (50 g), which is the usual combination my mom uses. I got ready to prepare the decoction. The process is quite interesting.
Preparation of Coffee Decoction:
- Add 5 heaped tablespoons of coffee powder to the upper container of the coffee filter.
- Level and pack the powder tightly using the stemmed disc provided in the filter.
- Pour a cup of sizzling hot water over the powder and allow it to percolate.
- Coffee decoction collects in the lower container in drops. It takes a few hours for the entire water to drain into the lower container.
- Transfer the decoction to a small jug or container.
- Store it in the refrigerator and use when required.
Now, it is time for actual coffee-making.
Preparation of Filter Coffee:
- Take about ¾ cup of hot milk.
- Add coffee decoction according to the ‘body’ or strength you desire-weak, medium (2-3 tbsp) or strong.
- Add sugar (about 1- 1 ¼ tsp) to taste. Do not make it very sweet. Good coffee always bears a hint of bitterness – Don’t you agree coffee lovers?
- Stir ingredients with a coffee frother and that’s it.
A sip of this hot filter coffee and I was at a loss for words – it felt like paradise on earth. I look forward to my mornings, just to have a taste of my favourite South Indian Filter Coffee.
The Java Cup is Brimming with Benefits
- Coffee improves cognitive function.
- Caffeine in coffee works as a therapeutic against Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Cao et al., at the University of South Florida performed a mouse study and reported that caffeine interacted synergistically with a mysterious component in coffee and increased blood levels of GCSF (Granulocyte Colony Stimulating Factor) which is greatly reduced in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. GCSF improved memory performance in the Alzheimer’s mice in 3 ways. It recruited stem cells from bone marrow to enter the brain and removed the harmful beta-amyloid protein that initiated the disease. It also created new connections between brain cells and increased the birth of new neurons in the brain.
“Because Alzheimer’s starts in the brain several decades before it is diagnosed, any protective therapy would obviously need to be taken for decades,” Dr. Cao said. “We believe moderate daily consumption of caffeinated coffee is the best current option for long-term protection against Alzheimer’s memory loss. Coffee is inexpensive, readily available, easily gets into the brain, appears to directly attack the disease process, and has few side-effects for most of us.”
- Coffee also keeps Parkinson’s disease at bay.
- It is associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer.
As good as it may be, coffee is not a drink for indulgence. Let us fathom what’s okay and how much is too much, when it comes to coffee.
What’s Okay and How Much is Too Much, When it Comes to Coffee
About 200 – 300 mg of caffeine a day is considered okay. In terms of cups, that translates to 2-4 cups of coffee a day. Anything more than 400 mg/day is considered harmful. It may lead to nausea, headaches, sleep difficulties, increased anxiety and even heart palpitations. To get an idea about the caffeine content of a few types of coffee, click here.
When to Avoid Caffeine Kicks
Caffeine in coffee is the perpetrator.
- It hampers fat burning when taken early in the morning on an empty stomach. It stresses the body by increasing the blood pressure, heart rate and breathing rate. So, never wake up to coffee or for that matter any caffeinated beverage. Postpone your morning coffee to atleast an hour after breakfast. I know that this advice is a bitter pill to swallow for many. But following it would definitely do good.
- It stimulates the body and interferes with sleep. So, avoid coffee close to bed time.
- It hinders the absorption of nutrients, especially iron and calcium from food. So keep away from it atleast an hour before or after meals.
- It has the tendency to aggravate acidity. So those with heart burns or oesophagitis, stay away from coffee.
- It is associated with foetal growth restriction. It is better to avoid caffeine or atleast limit it to ≤ 200 mg/day when pregnant.
- It dehydrates. Do not drink coffee immediately before or after exercise regimen.
Reap rewards of coffee-drinking by scheduling coffee breaks wisely, at appropriate times.