Coffee Roasts 101 – What Are You Drinking?

You’re new to the world of coffee and you want to digest as much information as possible in the simplest way to consume. You’ve been drinking your father’s Yuban for years and you just know there has to be something better out there. You want to buy good coffee, but you’re not sure where to start. This guide will serve as your starting point, your beacon of hope in the night.

Let us begin with simple terminology and then we’ll move on to a more refined glossary. There are three ‘main’ categories of roast. There is the Light Coffee Roast, Dark Coffee Roast, and Medium Coffee Roast. To put it simply any coffee you choose is going to fall upon this range of flavor. Each roast is denoted as such by the time spent in the roaster, the temperature it is roasted at, and the color of the bean after the roast.

Coffee Roasting:

This is the process of transforming a green coffee bean into its more noticeable self, the roasted coffee bean. Coffee roasting can last anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes and goes through multiple stages of low to high heats in order to capture the complexities and flavors that are sought in the final production. Coffee has a large spectrum of flavor and color that denotes its characteristics.

Light Coffee Roast:

A light coffee roast is perhaps the least popular of all coffee roasts, but that isn’t to say that it is the least desired coffee or that it is inherently worse than a darker roast. Quite the opposite is true in that a light coffee is more apt to capture the true flavor of a coffee bean. Because its flavors will stay intact a green coffee bean of high quality and desired taste is much more suited to a lighter roast. A lower quality coffee bean will be roasted longer and at higher temperatures to mask its inferior taste.

A light coffee roast will typically have more caffeine than its darker counterpart. As a coffee bean roasts longer the caffeine is ‘burned off’ thus a lighter roast will keep more caffeine intact.

Certain regions and blends are more apt to produce a high quality light roast coffee. Roasters often choose a particular region of green bean coffee to use in their light roast coffee.

How to tell if you’re drinking a Light Coffee Roast?

A light coffee roast is denoted by its light body, full taste, and its bright liveliness. The first impression you will experience is the taste. Because the green coffee bean has been roasted for as little time as possible the true flavors are still in tact. As the coffee is tasted across the palate you will be able to extract the full flavor of the bean. The finishing taste of the light coffee is often described as sweet or lively. A bad light roast will have the acidic taste of grass left on your palate. A good light roast will have a slightly acidic, floral aromatic finish to it often described as citrus or fruity in flavor.

Dark Coffee Roast:

The dark coffee roast is the second most popular of all the coffee roasts, but that isn’t to say that it’s the best roast available. It is often characterized as a dark roast because of the amount of time spent in the roaster

Raw food, less water

When you start eating more raw foods, you may find you’re not as thirsty or don’t need as much water or other beverages as you normally do. There are several reasons for this.

First of all, raw foods, such as raw fruits and vegetables have a higher volume of water in them, so your body is getting the hydration it needs from foods.

This doesn’t mean you should stop drinking water or juices. You don’t want to adopt some of the more radical elements of the raw food trend. First and foremost, listen to your body. It will tell you what it needs. If you’re overweight, sluggish, tired, depressed, your body might be telling you to make some dietary changes, and raw foods might be one way to alleviate some physical disorders.

But if you’re overweight and have symptoms of Type II diabetes, overwhelming thirst can be one symptom. When you start consuming more raw foods, with a higher fiber and moisture content, you may start to lose weight, and that can go a long way to reducing your blood sugars.

If you’re not overweight, or don’t have Type II diabetes, you still might find you’re not as thirsty as you normally are. First of all, if you’re drinking water and juices, you’re not consuming caffeine, which is so dehydrating and makes you thirstier. And by not consuming as much in the way of cooked foods or especially highly processed foods, which have astronomical sodium counts, you won’t be as thirsty either.

By consuming more raw, uncooked food, and pure water and fruit juices, you’re putting your body into balance. Keeping sodium to normal levels found in foods means you’ll start to require a more balanced amount of water. Don’t think of this as changing or taking away. Think of it as adding balance, and it will make the process of eating healthier much easier.

Your Guide to Fitness

Fitness is something our culture knows about, but doesn’t activity participate in. Our lifestyles contain too much fast food and not enough exercise. Fitness is essential for your well being and overall health. It can make you age slower and live longer. Fitness keeps the blood pumping in your body and your heart healthy. Those who participate in fitness activities for at least 30 minutes each day significantly reduce their risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. (more…)

The Food Cooking Show Fascination

The premise is simple. Take a chef, put him or her into the kitchen and watch them prepare their signature dishes. You might think that this would be boring after a bit but the public has proven this wrong.

Food cooking shows are the “in” thing right now. We love the idea of making food and combine it with reality television and suddenly we come back week after week to see what happens next.

Fox Network has uncovered a phenomenon with the cursing antics of Chef Gordon Ramsey. We cringe at his explosive attitude yet are somehow sympathetic at his attempts to turn would-be chefs into professionals.

We might not want to put ourselves on the line of fire but we love watching other contestants wither under his furious stare and tirades. Our kitchens may not be stocked with fois gras but we still take something away from each episode.

Food Network has a reality show titled “Who Wants to Be the Next Food Network Star” where amateur and professional cooks alike are given tasks to perform that somehow weed out the would-be television chefs from the rest.

We root for our favorite contestants as the season progresses until only one contestant remains. He or she is then given a food cooking show of their very own.

What is the fascination with meal preparation shows? Perhaps it is the ease at which dishes are prepared. It might be the professional cookware and charming personality of the hosts.

Some of the most popular meal preparation show hosts is not formally educated at cooking schools. Thus they give us hope that anyone can prepare delectable dishes from the comfort of their own home.

Whatever the reason behind our fascination, these shows has become an integral part of television viewing. As great chefs from the past such as Julia Child pass on, a new generation of friendly, knowledgeable faces comes to the forefront of culinary society.

Perhaps it is the grand showmanship of Emeril LaGasse yelling out “BAM” or Rachel Ray’s cute acronyms such as EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil); we are drawn to our television sets and the expanding culinary world.

As other television networks air cooking shows, especially ones where competition and cut throat antics by the participants are involved, we will continue to avidly watch food cooking shows.

Fitness Personal Training for Healthy and Fit Living

It’s never easy to avoid being a victim of food. Chocolates, ice cream, cake, etc., how can one resist? It’s really hard to avoid digging in to a plate of delicious goodness. But, if you want to stay healthy and fit, do you have to neglect eating?

The answer is no! There’s no need to watch out keenly over your diet. You can lose those extra ounces of fat in your body without having to starve to death. The secret to a healthy and fit life is fitness personal training. (more…)

The Sweet Health Benefits Of Sour Foods

As a young man, I remember my grandmother trying to give me sauerkraut for dinner once and making the worst face possible in response to which my grandmother laughed and said, “Sauerkraut is not only good, it’s good for you!” When I tell my patients about sauerkraut as a health food, they make almost that same funny face! Recently, however, it turns out that grandma’s words were correct – sauerkraut has a surprising health benefit to it as do other fermented foods. In fact, a group of Polish women were recently studied for their rates of breast cancer. The group who ate a lot of sauerkraut had very low rates of breast cancer.

Health Benefits of Fermented Foods

Fermented foods, like sauerkraut, olives, pickles, sourdough bread have been around for a long time. They were created to help food keep longer using a natural fermentation process called lacto-fermentation. In this process, beneficial lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria (the kind that live in your gut and help digest your foods) convert the starch and sugar in foods to lactic acid. The lactic acid acted as a preservative so refrigeration was not necessary and food had a long shelf life.

A surprising, little known health benefit about these fermented foods was then discovered. It seems that the same fermentation process that both preserves and gives these foods their distinctive sour-tangy taste are also higher in vitamins and actually help your digestion, remove excess saturated fats and cholesterol, and keep your digestive tract healthy and happy.

In fact, these good bacteria present in naturally fermented food have recently started popping up all over television ads and health food articles as “probiotics” which restore and maintain your intestinal flora, i.e., the level of good bacteria in your gut. In case you didn’t know this, your large intestine, the place that houses all these beneficial bacteria, is the very seat of your immune system. When your beneficial bacteria levels are optimal, you have a healthy immune system strong enough to ward off infections and other diseases.

Many fermented foods, like olives, also contain good Omega-3 fatty acids that are beneficial in reducing inflammation throughout your body.

Not All Sour Foods Are Naturally Fermented

When I tell my patients about naturally fermented superfoods, they say, great I’ll pick up some at the grocery store! However, most canned sauerkraut, pickles, greek olives on the shelves, and buttermilks, yogurts, and kefir in your dairy section of your grocery store may not have been created through a natural fermentation process and may not contain the live bacteria.

In fact, many of these grocery store varieties of sour-tasting dairy foods are pasteurized, and the canned-shelf varieties can get their sour taste through the addition of vinegar (a fermented food in itself) and/or certain preservative-grade minerals like potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate added to extend shelf life. Most have lactic acid added to them rather than it developing naturally in the fermentation process described above. However, even these grocery store varieties of “fast” fermented foods give some health benefits in addition to their vitamins, minerals, proteins, fiber, etc, just not as much as naturally fermented that contain the live culture.

Unless your local grocery store has a special section for refrigerated health foods, you likely will have to go to a health food or natural foods store to get real, naturally fermented,

Exploring the Mental Aspect of Fitness

I promote and teach the 3 phases of fitness to all my clients. Many are unaware of what the three phases entail. If you fall into this same category…let me take this opportunity to enlighten you. The 3 phases are the Mental, Physical and Financial aspects or phases of fitness. This is a concept I developed a little over two years ago and have had great success with improving client’s mindsets. Let’s look at how each of these relate to your health and fitness. (more…)