Later On

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Archive for the ‘Caffeine’ Category

The Forgotten Drink That Caffeinated North America for Centuries

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Ben Richmond writes in Gastro Obscura:

EVERY MORNING, EVERY DAY, 85 percent of Americans alter their state of consciousness with a potent psychoactive drug: caffeine.

Their most common source is the roasted seeds of several species of African shrubs in the genus Coffea (coffee), while other Americans use the dried leaves of a species of Camellia plant from China (tea).

Americans love caffeine, but few realize just how ancient the North American craving for caffeine truly is. North Americans have been enthusiastically quaffing caffeinated beverages since before the Boston Tea Party, before the English founded Jamestown, and before Columbus landed in the Americas. That is to say: North Americans discovered caffeine long before Europeans “discovered” North America.

Cassina, or black drink, the caffeinated beverage of choice for indigenous North Americans, was brewed from a species of holly native to coastal areas from the Tidewater region of Virginia to the Gulf Coast of Texas. It was a valuable pre-Columbian commodity and widely traded. Recent analyses of residue left in shell cups from Cahokia, the monumental pre-Columbian city just outside modern-day St. Louis and far outside of cassina’s native range, indicate that it was being drunk there. The Spanish, French, and English all documented American Indians drinking cassina throughout the American South, and some early colonists drank it on a daily basis. They even exported it to Europe.

As tea made from a species of caffeinated holly, cassina may sound unusual. But it has a familiar botanical cousin in yerba maté, a caffeine-bearing holly species from South America whose traditional use, preparation, and flavor is similar. The primary difference between cassina and maté is that while maté weathered the storm of European conquest, cassina has fallen into obscurity.

Today it’s better known as yaupon, and . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

3 April 2018 at 12:05 pm

Posted in Caffeine

Jiggly coffee sounds great

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It also sounds as though it’s made from jiggly beans, but no. Tautiana Bautista explains in Taste:

How do you take your coffee? Cream and sugar? On ice? In Jell-O form? Walk into any 7-Eleven in Tokyo and amongst tuna onigiri and Calbee butter potato chips, you’ll find coffee jelly—a perky dessert made with coffee-flavored gelatin mixed with condensed milk or heavy cream. In the refrigerated desserts section, it’s sold in a foil-sealed plastic cup with a shot of creamer on the side or in a slightly fancier plastic sherbet dish, filled with jelly cubes and milk with a dollop of cream on top. The simple combination of coffee, agar, and cream is sublime—it’s bouncy and chewy, milky sweet and bitter, creamy yet gel-like.

An array of Japanese desserts are made with agar, a vegetarian gelatin derived from seaweed, including bowls of anmitsu (translucent jelly squares topped with red bean paste, fresh fruit, and black sugar syrup) and mizu shingen mochi (the raindrop cake that went viral a few years ago). So it’s a no-brainer that the Japanese have jellified their cups of joe.

First served in Tokyo at Mikado Coffee in 1963, creator Kanasaka Keisuke marketed it as “coffee you can eat.” Coming from a culture that has so many jiggly, jelly-like desserts, it quickly became a popular summertime treat, soon stocked on grocery store shelves and slapped onto café menus. Even Starbucks caught on, serving its own limited-edition coffee jelly Frappuccino, which garnered tons of online buzz back in 2016. Served with a boba straw to slurp it all up, the drink has layers of coffee jelly, vanilla custard, and frozen coffee finished off with whipped cream.

But coffee jelly isn’t just a Japanese thing. It dates back to the early 19th century and has British origins. The first traceable recipe is circa 1817, when . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 February 2018 at 3:22 pm

Posted in Caffeine, Drinks, Recipes

Best solution so far to keeping a pot of tea hot

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After some experimentation, I have a combination of pot and cosy that works extremely well. I fill the pot with hot water from the tap to warm the pot, and put the pot in the cosy to warm the cosy. When the water’s boiling in the kettle, I dump the hot water from the pot, insert the filter with three measures of tea, and fill the pot with the boiling water. I let it steep 3 minutes, remove the filter with the leaves, and return the pot to the cosy. The tea stays warm quite a while.

Above is the pot I like: Tealyra Drago Ceramic, available in various colors. It’s 1.1 liters so you get several cups of tea.

And this is the cosy I like: Ulster Weavers Twitter Muff Decorative Tea Cosy. The muff design consists of two halves attached to a base. You put the pot on the base and bring the two halves up on either side, and an elastic band secures them together at the top. This leaves the handle and the spout uncovered, so you can use the teapot without removing the cosy. (The little bow knot is fake: it’s merely for decoration. The elastic band is independent of the bow knot, which is sewn into place.)

Written by LeisureGuy

27 January 2018 at 9:09 am

Posted in Caffeine, Daily life

Cold-brewed coffee note

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I’ve been making cold-brewed coffee for a while now and have my routine perfected.

I have found that a 1-qt Mason canning jar works extremely well. The jar has measurement markings on the side, so I can easily fill it to the 3-cup mark. And since a canning funnel (which has a large opening) fits nicely inside the mouth of the jar (because the funnel is in fact made to fit canning jars), it’s easy to add 2/3 cup coffee grounds with no spills. Then 12 hours later, I strain, filter, and add water equal to the amount of coffee, which (after straining and filtering) is 2.5 cups. I pour the coffee concentrate into a pitcher and add 2.5 cups water, so I get 5 cups cold-brewed coffee.

The Younger Daughter passed along this interesting tip: add a few springs of mint leaves when you add the coffee grounds. I can’t wait to try it.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 August 2015 at 11:04 am

Countdown to the Joeveo Temperfect mug

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Back in November 2013, there was a Kickstarter campaign for a double-walled coffee mug that would quickly cool the coffee down to drinking temperature and then keep the coffee at that temperature for a long, long time. The space between the walls contained a wax that absorbed heat (by melting) and then slowly released heat (as it resolidified).

I was eager to get one for The Wife, and today I got this email from the company:

A year and a half ago we ended our Kickstarter campaign for the Temperfect Mug and were launched head first into the trials and tribulations of taking a plan from paper to production. We are committed to delivering a class A product that we know the world will love. We can proudly say we have reached Joeveo’s biggest milestone to date, beginning pilot-scale production of the world’s first Temperfect Mugs!

It seems that we have run into every problem in the book, plus some! From a tree collapsing the workshop to an engineer being injured in the factory, we’ve seen it all. Recently we have been delayed by defects at the production level, and other larger orders taking precedence in the factory line. The latter is to be expected somewhat, as it is the busy season for these facilities. But even through these setbacks we have managed to make progress, and the train is leaving the station. It might be moving slowly, but it’s only going to pick up speed from here.

Over the last few months we have been in constant contact with our sourcing partners and manufacturing facility to make sure the project stays on track. It has taken some serious effort to tie up loose ends and have all aspects of every part finished according to their specifications. These efforts are finally culminating in a pilot batch of 500 Temperfect Mugs, which are being manufactured while you read this. These proto-mugs are slated to be finished August 16th, and will serve as an indicator of how the factory will be able to handle larger orders. If these mugs are defect free, we can move forward to full-scale production, and will finally be able to announce that the mugs are on their way!

We’ve been pretty poor at predicting the shipment date of our first mugs in the past [massive understatement – LG], so we hesitate to make shipping estimates at this point. We do know that once full-scale manufacturing is approved, production should take about a month and a half. Add to that about a month for ocean freight, and then we will start finishing and shipping the mugs here in NC.

We want to give a special thank you to everyone reaching out with their comments, words of encouragement and enthusiasm. It means a lot to us to know people are still excited about the product and the idea. We really appreciate everyone’s patience and support as we forge forward in this endeavor. The first milestone is down and we’re moving onward to full-production and delivery of the world’s first Temperfect Mug.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 August 2015 at 2:49 pm

Caffeine Boosts Memory Consolidation?

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Tracy Vence notes at The Scientist:

Consumption of caffeine after learning could boost memory consolidation, according to a study published in Nature Neuroscience this week (January 12). A team led by investigators at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, studied the memory performance of 100 participants, half of whom received a pill containing 200 mg of caffeine—the equivalent of two regular cups of coffee—after completing a learning task. The other half were given placebo. The next day, members of the caffeine-pill group were better able to identify images that were the same, similar to, or different from those they were shown during an initial learning tasks than participants who received the placebo.

“The paper demonstrates that giving caffeine after seeing images does improve recognition of them 24 hours later, supporting the idea that it helps the brain consolidate the learning,” the University of Oxford’s Anders Sandberg told BBC News. “However, there was no straight improvement in recognition memory thanks to caffeine. Rather, the effect was a small improvement in the ability to distinguish new images that looked like [the old ones], from the real old images.”

And as National Geographic’s Only Human blog pointed out, some scientists are questioning the statistical significance of the study’s results on Twitter. One of those scientists, Jon Simons from the University of Cambridge, told The Guardian: “The claim that caffeine affects the consolidation of memories is based on quite a small effect that would really benefit from replication in a larger sample to be convincing.”

OTOH, caffeine doesn’t seem to harm memory.


Written by LeisureGuy

13 January 2014 at 11:03 am

Ice Cream, Chocolate, Coffee, and Beer

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The piece on some small new businesses in Redlands, CA, sound quite idyllic.

Written by LeisureGuy

7 January 2014 at 8:34 pm

Posted in Business, Caffeine, Food

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