Wednesday, August 29, 2007

James Bond-inspired coffee blend takes top award

12:57PM Thursday August 30, 2007

A James Bond-inspired coffee blend from an Auckland suburb has won the gold medal at the New Zealand Coffee Awards.

Toasted Espresso, a roastery in Auckland's Takapuna, took the top honour with a blend titled AA7, inspired by James Bond's 007, at this year's New Zealand Coffee Festival in Auckland.

AA7 received the highest number of points from judges who tasted more than 200 coffees, in a record number of entries.

The blend also won the gold medal in the flat white category at the fourth annual awards.

Toasted Espresso owners Chris Innes and Stuart Cross have tasted success before, winning a bronze medal in 2004 and a silver in 2006 before taking gold and the supreme award this year.

Mr Innes said the blend was developed from coffee beans, including some from Kenya with a premium AA rating.

"Then James Bond somehow came into the picture so we called it our AA7 blend."

Mr Cross said he wanted to produce a coffee which everybody would like.

Toasted Espresso supplies its coffees to customers mainly in Auckland but has spread to include places in Matakana, Whangamata, Mt Maunganui, Taupo, Rotorua and even flies coffee to supply a Sydney cafe.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Intelligentsia: Signs of Smart Coffee in Silver Lake

posted on 17 August 07

Intelligentsia's new location in Silver Lake at Sunset Junction as seen from the Outside After much anticipation, this afternoon marked the opening day of Chicago's Intelligentsia Coffee in Silver Lake at their new Sunset Junction location. I've been looking forward to this opening since the announcement of their arrival some months ago, mainly because after falling in love with their bean roasts while on vacation in the Windy City last year, ordering bags of beans for home brewing via the internets was getting to cost me a pretty penny. This way, so long as the parking situation is palatable, I can slip into their chic new local emporium, pick up a bag or two of beans, and get one of their creamy signature espresso drinks while I'm at it.

Which is precisely what I did today, and was pleased to be a part of their debut.

The inside of Intelligentsia is a departure from the buttery yellow and warm wood tones of their Midwestern outposts; instead their floors boast lovely blue and white tiles, the counter tops are stainless steel, the ceilings high and flocked with lights suspended on squiggly wires, all of which combined give the place an overall air of boho chic urbanity. The staff were warm and friendly, and the atmosphere rather congenial. Folks were already taking advantage of the refuge their covered patio offers. I grabbed a bag of the Flecha Roja beans from Costa Rica off the shelves, and when I inquired about the future availability of Intelligentsia's house blends, the associate let me know that he wasn't sure if they would be carrying them, since right now they were focused on their Direct Trade line. I happily accepted my bag of beans and admiringly watched as my barista put the swirled milk design atop my tasty latte.

Welcome to LA, Intelligentsia. We're happy to have you.

If you want to help them celebrate their opening, there will be a reception at the store tonight at 7 p.m.

3922 West Sunset Boulevard, Silver Lake
Open Monday-Sunday, 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

posted on 17 August 07 for some great images

Sex and the Mind's Decline

US News and World Report


By Bernadine Healy M.D.
Posted 8/19/07

All you have to do is visit a nursing home to see that Father Time is not as good to women as it might seem: Women may live longer than men, but they are more likely to face Alzheimer's disease. If the recent report in the journal Neurology from the French medical research institute INSERM bears out, Mother Nature may have stepped in by offering up the gift of coffee to protect her daughters' ability to think, remember, and communicate into old age. If its protective effect endures further study, coffee holds a promise of saving aging brains from the onslaught of dementia.

To be precise, over a four-year period, coffee use in excess of three cups a day in patients age 65 and older slowed down cognitive decline. People with mild cognitive impairment—a medical state halfway between normal brain functioning and Alzheimer's disease—have memory difficulties but show none of the deterioration in reasoning, mood, movement, and consciousness that defines life-destroying dementia. Once mild cognitive impairment emerges, however, the odds of Alzheimer's following within four years are at least 40 percent. Notably, many beat those odds, suggesting there's a window of opportunity for stopping or slowing down the pace of mental deterioration.

Cognition can be measured with a variety of tests of verbal recall, fluency, and visual retention. Once performance scores begin to fall, decline moves fastest in older patients and in women. Coffee seems to benefit both groups. In the French study, women over 80 who drank lots of coffee showed 70 percent less cognitive decline than their peers who imbibed a cup or less daily. The reduction was a more modest 27 percent for the younger women, and absent in men.

A shield. It is not the first study to show that coffee is good for some brains. As any aficionado knows, one cup is often enough to bring on a burst of energy and mental focus. But to generate an age-defying benefit in memory or thinking, it takes regular use over many years. This may be explained in part by lab studies showing caffeine can shield certain memory-forming neurons from destruction caused by the toxic amyloid deposits, which are known to accumulate in older brains long before dementia is evident.

What has researchers scratching their heads is why at least some studies show the gender difference. In a 2002 report, performance on a battery of memory and reasoning tests among elderly residents of Rancho Bernardo, Calif., was better among women—but not men—who had the highest lifelong intake of caffeinated coffee. Some researchers surmised that men and women may metabolize coffee differently. Others, that biological sex differences in cognitive decline make women more sensitive to coffee's protection. In the French study, men tended to have more advanced education—but they also scored higher on baseline mental testing than did the women, a fact the researchers tried to take into account. Still, the men may have been less prone to cognitive deterioration from the outset, coffee or no coffee.

This should remind us that using one's brain is a health food in and of itself. It's been long known that dropping out of school early is a risk factor for Alzheimer's later in life. And there is new evidence that regardless of formal schooling, cognitive activity in older individuals exerts its own benefit on brain health, while mental sluggards are more than twice as susceptible to cognitive decline. To be sure, keeping your brain active takes more effort than sipping a Starbucks. But it has none of coffee's side effects, like palpitations or trouble sleeping. So for those who like coffee, why not do both? Enjoy a good book and a cup of joe, or a lively kaffeeklatsch brimming with brainteasing discussion.

As for men, don't give up. The French study continues and just may turn up positive for them, too. Not long ago, researchers from Finland, Italy, and the Netherlands reported that elderly coffee-drinking European men, when followed for a full 10 years, behaved just like women: They had less mental decline with greater coffee consumption. And three cups a day seemed to be the magic number.

So it's quite possible that la difference will vanish with further study. After all, most other health benefits gleaned from a coffee habit—such as a lower incidence of gout, type 2 diabetes, and Parkinson's disease—serve men and women equally. I'd suggest for now that it's only prudent and fair to invite men to the kaffeeklatsch as well.

This story appears in the August 27, 2007 print edition of U.S. News & World Report.

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Friday, August 10, 2007

Drinking More Coffee May Decrease Risk of Renal and Hepatocellular Cance

Pooled data from 13 prospective studies have shown that increased intake of coffee and tea appears to decrease the risk of developing renal cell carcinoma (RCC). The details of this study appeared in an early on line publication in the International Journal of Cancer on June 21, 2007.[1] A separate meta-analysis of ten studies, published in the August, 2007 issue of Hepatology suggested that coffee drinking also decreased the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).[2]

An important focus of research in prevention of cancer and other diseases is diet. Several studies have indicated that diets high in fruit and vegetables may provide certain health benefits compared with diets higher in meats and processed foods. Researchers continue to evaluate this issue, as disease prevention remains a significant goal. Recently, researchers have focused on coffee as a possible agent for the reduction of HCC and tea, especially green tea, as an agent for reduction of a variety of cancers.

Researchers from several institutions around the world were involved in a clinical study to evaluate associations between coffee, tea, milk, soda, and fruit and vegetable juice intake and risks of developing RCC. This study included results from 13 studies including 530,469 women and 244,483 men. Follow-up was between seven and 20 years. Information about diet was gathered at the beginning of the trial.

* Individuals who drank three or more 8-ounce cups of coffee per day had a reduced risk of developing RCC compared with those who drank less than one 8-ounce cup per day.

* Individuals who drank one or more 8-ounce cups of tea per day had a reduced risk of developing RCC compared with those who did not drink tea.

* There were no associations between milk, soda, or juice intake.

The researchers concluded that “greater consumption of coffee and tea may be associated with a lower risk of renal cell cancer.” These results add to existing evidence suggesting that intake of coffee and tea does not appear to contribute to the risk of developing cancers.

Coffee drinking has been associated with a lower risk of HCC in studies from Japan (see related news). Researchers from Italy recently conducted a clinical study to evaluate data regarding potential associations between coffee consumption and the risk of HCC, as results from several studies have indicated that coffee reduces the risk of HCC. This study included data from 10 studies conducted in southern Europe and Japan.

• The more coffee individuals drank, the more their risk of HCC was reduced.

• For each additional cup of coffee an individual drank per day, the risk of HCC was reduced by 23%.

• Overall, individuals who were coffee drinkers had a 41% reduced risk of developing HCC compared with those who did not drink coffee.

The researchers concluded that these results provide further evidence that coffee reduces the risk of developing HCC. Furthermore, greater consumption reduces the risk of HCC even further. However, excessive coffee drinking may carry its own risks in individuals with specific medical conditions, so patients may wish to discuss their individual risks and benefits of drinking coffee with their physician.

Comments: These observations suggest that coffee and tea drinking may lower the risk of RCC and HCC but the mechanisms of these effects are unknown.


[1] Lee J, Hunter D, Spiegelman D, et al. Intakes of coffee, tea, milk, soda and juice and renal cell cancer in a pooled analysis of 13 prospective studies. International Journal of Cancer. [early online publication]. June 21, 2007. DOI: 10.1002/ijc.22909.

[2] Bravi F, Bosetti C, Tavani A, et al. Coffee drinking and hepatocellular carcinoma risk: a meta-analysis. Hepatology. 2007;46: 430–435

Related News:

Coffee Drinking Lowers the Risk of Liver Cancer in Japanese (06/06/2005)

Habitual Coffee Drinking Reduces Hepatocellular Cancer in Japanese (02/17/2005)

Tea Consumption Associated with a Decreased Incidence of Ovarian Cancer (12/27/2005)

Green Tea Intake Associated With Lower Incidence of Breast Cancer (12/05/2005)

Green Tea Does Not Appear Effective for Treating Androgen Dependent Metastatic Prostate Cancer (05/02/2002

this article was first published by the on 08/10/2007

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Coffee May Protect Women's Memory, Study Says

Caffeine May Boost Memory for Older Women, Study Suggests


ABC News Medical Unit

For women over 65, drinking that extra cup of joe may protect thinking and memory skills, according to a new study published Monday in the journal Neurology.

Women who drank more than three cups of coffee -- or the equivalent amount of tea -- per day showed less decline in performance over time on memory tests than women who drank only one cup or less of coffee.

"We looked at the relationship between coffee drinking and cognitive decline, and we found that there was a relationship," said Karen Ritchie, an epidemiological and clinical researcher at La Colombiere Hospital in Montpellier, France.

"It was clear -- the more coffee, the less the decline. We then had to adjust for other factors, and we found that the more we adjusted, the greater the effect."

The study observed 7,000 people over age 65 whose memory skills and caffeine consumption were monitored for four years.

Since most people get their daily dose of caffeine in a cup (or three) of coffee, the number of times participants enjoyed this beverage daily was used as a measure of how much caffeine they took in daily -- though the chemical also exists in tea, soda, chocolate and other foods in smaller amounts.

The researchers found that not only did heavy coffee-drinkers have less memory decline, but the benefits increased with age. Women over the age of 80 who drank four or more cups of coffee were 70 percent less likely to have a decline in memory. However, consuming caffeine did not seem to reduce rates of dementia.

The benefits of increased coffee intake are significant for women, but caffeine's mind-preserving effects were not seen in men, causing researchers to wonder why.

"It could be something about the difference in sex hormones and coffee, or it could be that women metabolize caffeine differently," said Ritchie, who considers herself a modest tea drinker.

"We do know that men and women do metabolize caffeine differently," she said, adding that they also metabolize alcohol and other substances in different ways.

The researchers said that although they are not sure exactly how caffeine, a stimulant, seems to decrease memory loss, they think it may put the brakes on the chemical changes in the brain that are thought to eventually lead to Alzheimer's disease.

Caffeine: It Does a Body Good?

Ritchie is quick to point out that drinking more than three cups of coffee per day isn't recommended for everyone, including people who have high blood pressure.

"Please don't run out and drink coffee if you're not used to it," she said, citing the possible problems that can arise with a dose of caffeine, including increased blood pressure, insomnia, irritability, and a racing heartbeat.

Other experts agree that the research is encouraging, though preliminary.

"This is a good study, but one thing did concern me: it is assumed that caffeine is the operative compound here," said Keith Ayoob, associate professor in the department of pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.

"The authors said that women were greater consumers of tea -- very high in antioxidants -- but that there was no difference in effect between coffee and tea," he said. "Fine, but coffee is also loaded with antioxidants -- some different ones, but antioxidants nonetheless."

In addition to the question of antioxidants, some researchers believe there may have been some problems in the design of the study.

"There are questions about the dosage, because some people would make stronger coffee than others, so the amount of caffeine can vary per cup," said Zaven Khachaturian, editor in chief of the journal Alzheimer's & Dementia: Journal of the Alzheimer's Association.

He added, "In order to really get a handle on the effectiveness of this for treatment, one needs to have a much larger number of people in the trial."

Study author Ritchie agrees that this is just the beginning. She envisions a future where older women may use a caffeine patch to preserve their minds, but says that a lot of research needs to be done before that time.

"This study opens the door for biologists to look at this question," she said. "To reduce cognitive decline, caffeine is one of the many things we are looking at."

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