CAFE2U BLOG

Coffee Gene Opens Up New Possibilities For Coffee

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Traditionally the quest for the perfect cup of coffee has combined a number of distinct factors, from the type of coffee bean and quality of the filter used to the temperature of the water and even, as recent research has suggested, the colour of your mug.


However, there is now a new tool which can be used in the search for the perfect cuppa, a tool which until now has usually been the domain of futuristic science fiction thrillers and high-tech Japanese laboratories.

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The Coffee Genome


Earlier this year scientists unlocked what they are calling the ‘coffee genome’ – which they believe will help coffee aficionados around the globe home in on the perfect brew.


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World Coffee Research, which is a scientific collaboration formed by the coffee industry and based at Texas A&M University, managed to sequence the genome of Coffea canephora, which is widely referred to as robusta.


This important discovery uncovers many of the genes involved in making caffeine and various aromas.


Indeed, using this information, coffee makers will have the ability to make better quality and even tastier varieties of coffee, as well as being better informed about protecting coffee plantations from climate change and many diseases.


Dr Timothy Schilling, the executive director of the research laboratory, likened this significant breakthrough to somebody finally “turning on the lights” when it came to making coffee.


However, according to the report, coffee lovers will have to wait approximately five years before the impact of this research is felt in the coffee industry.


More Flavours & Improved Taste


Experts believe that sequencing this genome, in addition to unlocking new coffee flavours which may be “sweeter and more floral”, will eventually result in better-tasting cheaper coffee - that is the kind you usually find on your high street.


Low-quality coffee typically blends arabica, for flavour, and robusta, which doesn't taste as good but provides the caffeine punch.


By boosting the caffeine content of the robusta bean you can therefore substitute less robusta into the mix and still get the same amount of caffeine.


As a result, non-speciality coffee could then include more arabica, and would taste better, without losing its kick.


Protecting Coffee Plantations


Scientists also believe that this genome will help us protect against the various threats that coffee plants face around the world, principally climate change and diseases such as coffee rust fungus.


How exactly?


Well, firstly, the coffee genome will help quicken the development of coffee plants that can sustain the dramatic impact of climate change, and also breed resistance into the coffee crop to protect against the various diseases.


What do you think about this development?


Get in touch with us here at the Cafe2U Blog with your opinions!


How To Properly Describe Your Coffee

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Like tasting expensive wine or sampling gourmet food, evaluating coffee is often associated with snobbery.

In other words, there is, according to tradition, a correct way of describing the coffee we are tasting, which can often be somewhat intimidating for those of us who are not au fait with the precise terminology.

Well, here at Cafe2U, we believe there should be no snobbery involved with coffee.

Great coffee should be for everyone – regardless of whether or not you know what ‘acrid’, ‘mellow’ or ‘rounded’ means.

However, should you find yourself involved in a social situation where these words are being banded around willy nilly, here are some choice words which should enable you to hold your own and impress your companions.

Starting with the basics, here are some of the most common flavours and ‘types’ which you will come across in the vast majority of coffees around the globe.


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Acrid

This word is used to describe a harsh, sour taste or aroma. Other similar adjectives can include tart, sharp or acerbic.

Alkaline

This describes a dry taste sensation which is usually felt at the back of the tongue. Although it can be bitter, this flavour is not always disagreeable. It is common in dark roasts and some Indonesian coffees.

Baked

This is a term used to describe an uninteresting, dull and flat coffee, often the result of it being roasting too slowly.

Bright

This word is commonly used to describe pleasant, acidic (think wine) and almost tangy flavours.

Caramelly

A caramelly coffee will have a syrupy flavour, which is usually the result of sugars in the coffee oxidising and becoming caramelised.

Carbony

Carbony, or ‘smoky’, describes a flavour which is evocative of burnt wood or burnt food. This is usually used when describing darker, roasted coffees.

Chocolatey

This is a rare aroma/flavour, but some Central American coffees do boast a distinct chocolatey aroma and a bitter-sweet chocolatey taste.

Clean

This term can be applied to coffee which is full of flavour and does not have any pungent or unusual notes.

Rubbery

This characteristic is evocative of rubber bands and hot tires. A rubbery flavour/aroma, while not always negative, is highly recognisable in some coffees, particularly fresh Robustas.  

Smooth/Rounded

A smooth or rounded coffee is smooth and balanced without any overwhelming taste or aftertaste sensations.

Spicy

This term refers to sweet spices – for example cinnamon and cloves – rather than savoury spices such as curry, oregano and pepper.

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So, there we have it, some useful terminology which should hold you on good stead the next time you are surrounded by coffee snobs using obscure terms!

Also, next time you order a Cafe2U coffee, why not impress your colleagues with some of these flash sounding terms!


Looking At Coffee & Creativity

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Many of us rely on a cup of coffee to get us motivated for an uphill task, whether that’s getting through an arduous workout at the gym or toughing out a nightmare day at the office.


But one group of people that are commonly associated with using caffeine as a crutch more than any others are the creative folk, the painters, writers, poets and musicians of this world.


However, the jury seems to be out as to whether coffee and creativity are really that good of bedfellows.


Indeed, some say that coffee can provide invaluable fuel for the creative mind while others say that drinking coffee can drastically hinder the flow of creative juices.


So, without further ado, here, below, are some points from both side of the fence.


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Coffee impairs creativity


For starters, too much coffee can diminish the amount of quality sleep that we get each night, and sleep – as shown by many, many studies over the years – is vital in order to keep us mentally alert and creatively fresh.


Secondly, when our body absorbs caffeine it rapidly crosses the blood-brain barrier and subsequently blocks the activity of a protective substance called adenosine – a substance which lowers energy levels and promotes sleep.


And although coffee keeps us focused, this is not necessarily always a good thing for the creative mind, as artists are often at their most inventive when their minds wander and become playful.


Coffee fuels creativity


On the flip side of the last point above, one can quite easily make the point that a focused mind is an essential ingredient for creativity to flourish – at the end of the day everyone is different!


What’s more, throughout history, some of the world’s most creative and exceptional minds have vouched for the magical creative powers released by sipping from a cup of coffee, such as Gustav Mahler, Beethoven, Simone de Beauvoir, and, famously, Honoré de Balzac, who, according to legend, ploughed through 50 cups of coffee a day to power his novel writing!


Lastly, one of the best ways to kick-start creativity (in my experience), is to make a start, regardless of how ‘good’ this start actually is. Indeed, fear of the blank page is one of the biggest barriers for the creative mind, and drinking coffee can inspire you with the confidence and motivation – as well as eking away all that self-doubt - that you require in order to get started and put pen to paper.


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So, there we have it, reasons for and against drinking coffee to inspire creativity.


What side of the argument are you on? For or against?


Do you find coffee helpful for any other activities apart from spurring on creativity?


Let us know here at Cafe2U HQ what you think!