Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for the ‘Caffeine’ Category

A very nice green tea this morning

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A tea The Wife brought me from Paris. It has an unusual taste. It tastes a bit like food, somewhat like a freshly baked bread. It provides 7 brewings.

Brewed leaves

Initially it looks like short, fine pieces of dried grass, but the leaves unfurl in the brewing and look like tiny bits of paper. Here:

The back of the package notes:

Precious Liquor

The rarest of the Gyokuro Grands Crus, whose minuscule production is limited to less than 10kg per year, is organically cultivated in a family garden for Mariage Frères. This “White Leaf Gyokuro” is an absolute masterpiece, the tea buses being shaded from the sun for almost a month. Their newly grown tender buds yield a unique pale colour. The velvety, sweet infusion offers rich umami and ooika notes, deliciously refreshing and redolent, flourishing with fragrance and unforgettable emotions.

Tea for an emperor.

Written by LeisureGuy

26 February 2020 at 9:42 am

Posted in Caffeine, Daily life

These tea bags release billions of plastic particles into your brew, study shows

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Plastics are endocrine disrupters, so small amounts do big damage. (I always make tea using loose tea: cheaper and also makes better tea. I do have a stainless-steel fine-mesh tea strainer that’s amazingly easy to use.)

Kayla Epstein reports in the Washington Post:

A couple of years ago, Nathalie Tufenkji stopped by a Montreal cafe on her way to work and ordered a cup of tea. She sat down with her mug, enjoying its warmth, before she noticed something strange: Her tea bag appeared to be made of plastic.

“I thought, ‘That’s not a very good idea, putting plastic into boiling water,’ ” she told The Washington Post.

Tufenkji was worried that the plastic bags could leach particles into the beverage that she and her fellow customers were consuming, and as a professor of chemical engineering at McGill University, she was well positioned to investigate. She dispatched her student Laura Hernandez to purchase tea bags from stores in the area and bring them back to the lab.

It turns out Tufenkji’s hunch was right. The bags were releasing plastic particles into the brewed tea. Billions and billions of them.

Hernandez, Tufenkji and their fellow researchers at McGill University tested four kinds of plastic tea bags in boiling water, and found that a single bag would release more than 11 billion microplastic and 3 billion nanoplastic particles. You would not be able to see the contamination with your own eyes; the researchers had to use an electron microscope. But it’s there.

Their findings were published in the American Chemical Society journal Environmental Science & Technology this month.

The four brands of tea they tested came from regular grocery stores in Montreal. After emptying and cleaning the tea bags of any trace of tea leaves, they submerged them in water heated to 203 degrees Fahrenheit, and then they left the bags to steep for five minutes.

The researchers then examined the water for leftover particles, placing drops on a slide and examining them under an electron microscope. There, they could see particles of varying sizes, some a little larger, some frighteningly small. Further testing of additional samples revealed their structures and confirmed that the material was made of the same plastic materials as PET, a kind of polyester, and nylon. It was clear, Tufenkji said, that the plastic was coming from the tea bags themselves, not the tea.

Though Tufenkji declined to name the brands they used for fear of singling out one company over others, she said that some frequent tea drinkers could be repeatedly dosing themselves with billions of particles of plastic as they drank the beverage day after day. Some of the particles, she noted, would be small enough to potentially infiltrate human cells.

Some manufacturers sell tea in plastic bags rather than loose or in paper bags, even as the public becomes increasingly aware of how plastic is clogging our bodies of water, as well as our bodies. While the health implications of consuming plastic are unknown, people around the world are inadvertently eating quite a lot of it.

Earlier this year, a report by the World Wide Fund for Nature estimated that on average, a person might ingest 5 grams of plastic a week, the equivalent size of a credit card. Researchers at the University of Newcastle in Australia compiled dozens of studies on the presence of plastic in water, as well as in food such as shellfish and even beer. Studies are underway to establish how plastic consumption can affect human health, according to WWF’s study.

While the McGill study did not explore the human health effects of consuming this plastic, when some of the particles were given to water fleas, they began acting erratically and developed some deformities, Tufenkji said. . .

Continue reading.

This is exactly the sort of hazard that requires government action. A law forbidding the use of plastic mesh with food is needed.

Written by LeisureGuy

28 September 2019 at 12:57 pm

Green Ray + Tallow + Steel Grog + Rockwell

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A great start to a beautiful morning: bright sun, no clouds, light breezes, cool but short-sleeve temperature. Tallow + Steel makes very good and very interesting soaps and aftershaves, and Grog is a favorite among all my soaps. “Grog” in part because it’s a twist on Bay Rum, and the lather I got this morning with the Green Ray brush was luscious.

Three passes with the Rockwell did a superb job. I notice that the new Edwin Jagger 3ONE6 is $125, $25 more than the Rockwell 6S, and the 6S offers 6 baseplate options rather than one. I don’t see that the EJ razor is worth the price charged. But I may in time try it.

A splash of Grog aftershave, and the day is launched. My Temperfect mug is by my side, BTW, filled with delected Murchie’s No. 10 blend of tea. I do like that mug, and starting the day with a pint of good tea is a pleasure. I also like Murchie’s Storm Watcher and Harney & Sons’ Malachi McCormick.

Written by LeisureGuy

12 June 2019 at 7:51 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Rediscovering and reclaiming the past: The Brown Betty teapot

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Interesting story of the classic British teapot, the Brown Betty, newly available with some improvements (stackability, for example). A quick search found local sources. If you’re a tea-drinker, this is a bit of history. A “cup” in teapot usage is 6 oz (not 8 oz, the standard measuring cup), so a four-cup teapot holds 24 oz and will pour 4 teacups or 2 large mugs.

Written by LeisureGuy

11 May 2019 at 8:27 am

Posted in Caffeine, Daily life

Beanless coffee

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From a newsletter from Institute From The Future:

Call it Impossible Coffee. Seattle’s Atomo has developed coffee that uses “upcycled plant-based materials” instead of coffee beans by combining about 40 of the compounds that give coffee its distinctive taste, smell, and mouthfeel. Why would anyone want “molecular” coffee over the real thing? Because coffee is often produced by slave labor and is a cause of deforestation, says Atomo.

Written by LeisureGuy

14 February 2019 at 5:08 pm

How To Brew Pu Erh Tea

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This is for tea fans.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 September 2018 at 12:21 pm

Posted in Caffeine

More on pu-erh tea cakes: how they’re made, how to age them, how to break them up and rewrap them

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Three videos:

First, how the tea cake is made (and you’ll notice that the cake contains a lot of tea):

Next, how the tea cake is aged. currently offers some tea cakes that are 20 years old and some that are 16 years old, and neither is particularly expensive (around CDN$20). So if you want an aged tea cake, they’re available.

And finally, how to break the cake and how to rewrap it. (There’s much more to this than I realized.)

Written by LeisureGuy

24 August 2018 at 3:38 pm

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

The perfect coffee/tea mug

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Wow. I want one of these, and I’ve already put a note in my calendar for July 14, 2014.

Written by LeisureGuy

18 December 2013 at 12:18 pm

Posted in Caffeine, Daily life

Matcha for me

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Steve of Kafeneio pointed out to me the health benefits of matcha, so I got a kit: bamboo spoon, sieve, bamboo whisk, whisk stand, and bowl, along with some matcha. It came yesterday—and I could have had it sooner by getting the components at Whole Foods, which also carries it, but I’m an on-line sort of guy.

Last night I had my first two cups. It tastes very good—sort of like wheat grass: a fresh, green taste. I cannot get the foam right yet, but it’s early days. And I do like it: quite refreshing and quick and easy to make (since I don’t do the whole ceremony thing).

Well worth a try. I checked out some YouTube videos on making matcha to see the whisking technique in action, but I’m still struggling.

Written by LeisureGuy

12 February 2013 at 11:11 am

Posted in Caffeine, Drinks, Health

Coffee addicts

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Take note.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 February 2013 at 1:41 pm

Posted in Caffeine

The Case for Drinking as Much Coffee as You Like

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Coffee drinkers rejoice.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 November 2012 at 12:37 pm

Posted in Caffeine

Best coffee tools

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Good to know if you like coffee—I mean, if you really like coffee.

Written by LeisureGuy

10 September 2012 at 2:33 pm

Posted in Caffeine, Daily life

Roasting your own coffee with a stainless Whirly-Pop

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I had an aluminum Whirly-Pop for years. It worked like a charm, but I finally decided that popcorn was an ill-advised snack for me (carb, fat, and salt) and gave it away. I didn’t even know that stainless ones were available.

And the stainless ones apparently are great at roasting your own coffee beans. Read this Cool Tool review for more info. The review was previously published, but it is new to me.

Written by LeisureGuy

14 August 2012 at 8:08 am

Posted in Caffeine, Daily life

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