Later On

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

Archive for the ‘Caffeine’ Category

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. Amazon.ca 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

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