Coffee Break

“Coffee first. Schemes later.

~ Leanna Renee Hieber

Full Disclosure: This post is an updated and revamped version of two posts I wrote on my personal blog in 2016.

I love the aroma of freshly brewed coffee percolating through the house in the morning. My favourite coffee is that first cup of the day — the elixir of the gods! I relish the surge of well-being and renewed energy when the caffeine kicks in after those first few sips. I am a tea lover as well, but my morning routine is not complete without a coffee.

What about you? Are you a coffee-hound, or a tea-sipper? Are you worried about the adverse effects that caffeine may have on your health? Do not despair — here are three reasons coffee is good for you — so don’t kick your habit just yet!

Coffee Makes You Happy
Studies have shown that drinking coffee can boost your mood. Increasing evidence has suggested that coffee promotes dopamine production. Dopamine has many functions in humans. One of which is to stimulate the pleasure centre of our brain. According to research, coffee drinkers are less likely to suffer from depression than non-coffee drinkers. So, go ahead, have that second cup!

Coffee Makes You Smart
Dopamine also helps our working memory, focus, attention, and problem-solving. By increasing dopamine levels in our brain, coffee may make you a little smarter. Test your coffee smarts by taking this fun quiz.

My score was 82%! assessment of my coffee knowledge: “Jumpin’ Joe! You perked right along on this quiz.” Bahaha!

What was your score?

Coffee Helps You Stay Healthy
Drinking coffee may help you ward off certain types of ailments such as type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s, heart disease and certain types of cancer, such as liver cancer. Coffee contains many antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, which, according to studies, helps fight these illnesses.

New research indicates that drinking coffee in moderation may help guard against ageing-related diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. Also, coffee may slow some of the physical processes of ageing

Another plus, coffee raises metabolism and increases the oxidation of fatty acids, which helps weight loss. These same effects also boost exercise performance which helps keep us at our optimum weight.

Coffee can boost your memory, too! A study done at John Hopkins’ University in Baltimore discovered that caffeine may boost long-term memory. Bonus! More reasons to have another cup!

I love a good cup of coffee, and of course, I drink one or two every day. There are several methods of making coffee, including percolating, drip, and pour-over. I use a French Press — it makes the best cup of Joe.

The French Press was invented in the mid-1800s, in France. It is also known as a cafetière, plunger pot, coffee plunger, or press pot. Whatever you call it — the French Press makes the most exquisite brew! Find out more about the history of the French Press.

Photo by Fabrizzio Portillo from Pexels

Five easy steps to a perfect cup of coffee with a French Press.

Make sure your French press is thoroughly cleaned. If any old grounds are stuck in the mesh filter, your will have a bitter taste.

Start with whole bean coffee and grind only the amount needed with a burr grinder right before brewing coffee This will ensure that your coffee will be delightfully aromatic and delicious. Grinding the beans too soon before brewing causes a loss of the flavour compounds.

Use a medium to coarse grind for your French Press — a fine grind will clog the filter.

For an 8-cup French Press use 8-10 tbsp of ground coffee and 3.5 cups of water, plus a little extra for preheating* the press.

Step 1: Take the lid and plunger out of the press. Add the ground coffee to the clean, dry pot.

Step 2: Boil the water and carefully add it to the pot. You will find that some coffee grounds will float — use a chopstick or wooden spoon to briefly stir them into the water.

*If you wish, you can first add a little of the boiled water to the pot to cover the grounds and let it sit for 15-20 seconds, then stir before adding the remainder of the water. This is known as the coffee bloom.

Step 3: Insert the lid and plunger into the pot and lower the plunger to the top of the grounds. Do not plunge!

Step 4: Wait for three to five minutes before pressing the plunger to the bottom of the pot.

Hold the lid with one hand and carefully push the plunger down, the mesh filter will force the grinds to the bottom. Push slowly, there will be some resistance — do not exert pressure on the plunger.

Step 5: Pour your perfectly brewed coffee into your favourite mug and enjoy!

But what to do with that extra coffee?

Whip up a pan of fudgy brownies, or a batch of cookies of course!

Yes, a pan of brownies — gooey and chocolatey with a hint of espresso! Add in some hazelnuts for a decadent dessert that is sure to assuage your sweet cravings!

Who can resist the soft, spicy goodness of a Hermit cookie? Packed with dates, raisins or even cranberries. Teamed with walnuts or pistachios and spiced with cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg, and infused with strong coffee, Hermits are a bite of heaven. Remember them, Boomers?

How do you brew your coffee? Let us know!