CAFE2U BLOG

10 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Caffeine

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Many of us consume caffeine every day as part of our regular coffee and tea regimen – but how much do you really know about this ingredient which perks us up in the morning and helps us get through the day in one piece?


Well, to help make you more caffeine-literate, here are 10 facts about everyone’s favourite pick-me-up which you probably did not know…


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1.       85% of USA’s population consumes caffeine every single day. The split goes something like this: 64% coffee, 17% tea, 17% soft drinks, 2% energy drinks.


2.       Birds, cats and dogs are unable to metabolise caffeine – so whatever you do not feed them caffeinated products!


3.       Caffeine is found in more than 60 different plants around the world. These seeds and leaves comprise, obviously, coffee beans and tea leaves, but also kola nuts, guarana plants, yerba mate, and cocoa beans (to name but a few).


4.       According to the history books, the first person to consume caffeine was a Chinese emperor in 3,000 BC. The story goes that he accidentally discovered the effects – and potential – of caffeine when certain leaves fell into boiling water. This accidental discovery became what we know and love today as tea.


5.       Caffeine is not recommended for children of pregnant women.


6.       The chemical structure of naturally occurring caffeine (tea and coffee) and the synthetic form of coffee (Coca Cola, energy drinks) is actually identical – and the effect on the human body is exactly the same.


7.       It takes between 15 and 45 minutes for caffeine to have an effect on the body. The average person will eliminate half of the original amount consumed between 4-6 hours.


8.       The darker the coffee roast, the less caffeine present. For example, green, unroasted coffee beans have a very high concentration of caffeine. (Interestingly, the opposite is true of tea, in that darker teas are stronger.)


9.       In addition to its energising properties, caffeine is also proven to prevent the negative effects of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.


10.   According to medical recommendations, 400mg of caffeine is a safe amount to consume daily. That's about 6-7 cups of tea, 4-5 cups of home brew coffee, 2-3 large lattes, 8 cans of soft drink, or 5 cans of energy drink.


Over to you


How many of these caffeine facts did you already know?


How many were new to you?


Are there any facts that we haven’t mentioned that deserve a place on this list?


Remember to get in touch with us here at the Cafe2U blog with your comments!

Irish Coffee Anyone?

Thursday, March 05, 2015

With St Patrick’s day just around the corner (March 17), it’s time, once again, to dust down your green clothing (socks, pants, scarves), dig out that ungainly novelty hat, and prepare your stomach for a shedload of Guinness.


Or, as is the case for many of us coffee lovers, re-learn how to make the perfect Irish Coffee.

But just what is this popular night-time tipple? Where does it come from? And how can you make the perfect cuppa?


Well, luckily, Cafe2U is on hand to answer your questions…


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History


The Irish Coffee, unlike many world-famous cocktails, has an undisputed origin and originator.

It came into being during a particular bitter winter Limerick 1943 when an Irish chef by the name of Joe Sheridan created the brew for tired passengers from a transatlantic flying boat who were being forced to return to Ireland because of inclement weather.


The drink subsequently became a speciality of the airport in Limerick, and, after the Second World War, it was taken back to the USA by a journalist from the San Francisco Chronicle.

This man persuaded his local bar to recreate it for him and today that same bar, the Buena Vista Café, reportedly serves up to 2,000 Irish coffees on a busy day!


Tips for the perfect Irish Coffee


When it comes to making this particular coffee, we recommended a regular filter coffee when going Irish.


In our experience, the espresso or Americano type coffee overpowers the smoothness and mellowness of the Irish coffee, impinging on the overall enjoyment of the drink.


Next, remember that sugar is essential, as without it your cream won't float properly - so whatever you do don't cut back!


The original recipe was reputed to include brown sugar and this is an approach still favoured by most recipes.


Stirring in the whisky is the easy part, but when it comes to getting the cream to float (the hardest part to perfect), ensure that the coffee is piping hot, the cream is cold, and that it isn't whipped too thickly.


Also, consider adding a little Kahlua or Baileys for an extra special Irish Coffee!


And, above all, avoid drizzling creme de menthe on your Irish Coffee as so many questionable Irish themed pubs sometimes do – you’re better than that!


Over to you


Will you be indulging in an Irish Coffee this Paddy’s Day?

Or do you think this somewhat tacky creation is best left to the dingy confines of an Irish themed pub?


Get in touch with us here at Cafe2U to let us know your thoughts!


An Introduction To Latte Art

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Chances are, if you frequent any trendy coffee shop, are Italian, or have an Instagram account (quick plug – you can follow us on IG here), you will be familiar with the concept of latte art.

Simply put, latte art is the method of preparing a cup of latte so that a pattern (such as a rosetta, love heart or tulip) appears on the surface of the drink.

This will, as a latte dictates, involve producing an espresso with crema and microfoam, and then combining these two to make the latte art.

This form of latte art (there are two) is called ‘free pouring’, and it is the most common.

A pattern can also be achieved after the coffee has been made by drawing – or etching, to give it its proper term – in the foam.

Etched latte art usually has a considerably shorter lifespan than free poured latte art – this is because the foam dissolves into the latte a lot more quickly.

Latte art can be rather tricky to master – especially on a consistent basis – simply because of the demanding nature of effectively blending the shot of espresso and milk in the required manner.

Good quality latte art is also dependant on both the quality of the coffee machine as well as the experience and expertise of the barista.


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History

According to the history books (these days read: the internet), latte art developed completely independently in two countries: Italy and the United States.

This art form followed the introduction espresso and the development of microfoam, which, as mentioned above, are combined to make latte art.

In the US, latte art was developed and popularised by one David Schomer in the 1980s and 1990s.

The heart shape was one of the earliest examples of his latte art.

Schomer, a resident of Seattle, later brought latte art to the masses in his course "Caffe Latte Art".

At the same time Luigi Lupi (a latte art proponent from Italy) met Schomer on the internet and they exchanged videos on various types of latte art.

You can learn more about Schomer’s techniques in this YouTube video on Latte art.

Over to you

Have you come across latte art, and, if so, what do you make of it?

Have you seen any particularly impressive patterns, and, if so, where?

Make sure you get in touch with us here at the Cafe2U Blog to give us your comments!

And don’t forget you can also tag us on Instagram to show us examples of your cafe latte art!