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Have A Cup – It’s Good For You

Coffee, regular or decaf, is apparently not as bad as we have been led to believe. The CBC reports on a study that shows it reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes, and Science Friday reported on a study that showed it significantly reduces the risk of the aggressive form of prostate cancer.

What isn’t known is why. Coffee is a very complex natural compound, and all they know for certain is that caffeine is not the agency. It is loaded with antioxidants and trace minerals, so tracking down the actual reason for these effects is a very long-term project.

Of course, it is also possible that people who like coffee weren’t going to be afflicted by these problems, so don’t start overdosing on Arabica.

The diabetes study also gave a thumbs up to tea, and a good cup of tea is easier to make if you are traveling, as all you need is a teaball and your favorite tea. Good coffee requires the proper tools which take up a lot of space.


1 Kryten42 { 12.14.09 at 11:28 pm }

When I was diagnosed with Diabetes a few years ago, I was told to stop drinking coffee, or at least limit my intake. So, I limited myself to one cup in the morning. A year later, a diabetes specialist dietitian said that was bogus. So I went back to 2 to 4 a day (I generally only drink fresh ground organically farmed arabica coffee beans. Usually from Ethiopia, Papua New Guinea, or Brazil). A year later, my daily diabetes med dosage was halved and I now find my glucose levels are much more stable during the day. I don’t know (and don’t believe) that this is due to coffee alone, I did change my diet significantly, but that had changed immediately I was diagnosed and had only improved somewhat until I went back on coffee. Maybe it’s a cumulative thing, I don’t know. I’ve found serious research in Diabetes generally to be piss poor!

Well… the equipment needed for good coffee can be modest. I have a small (and large) sealed glass jar (used for bottling fruit or pickling usually) that keeps ground coffee fresh for some time, and a French press (plunger) works fine when space and facilities are at a premium. 🙂

But I also enjoy good tea. Especially white tea and rooibos. High in anti-oxidants! 😉

2 Bryan { 12.15.09 at 1:14 am }

The key seems to be weight which is tied to diet and exercise. Most people gain weight when they get older because they slow down and don’t exercise as much as they did. Old “wounds” catch up with you and you have to slow down the pace. The exercise goes down a lot sooner than the appetite, so you gain weight. The more you gain, the less you feel like exercising.

Then, if you start an exercise program, you have to watch your appetite, because your body wants you to eat more.

The Air Force weight loss program starts with eating your meals at regular times, because they figured out that the irregular eating habits of a lot of people trigger weight gain. The body isn’t going to chance waiting for the next meal, so it stores up extra supplies.

You get lousy eating habits flying and then working rotating shifts. Lots of health problems if you make it to retirement.

Yeah, but do you want to chance a French press to the kindness of baggage handlers, or to explain it to airport security? Tea only requires hot water, and you are better off boiling any water you drink, even in US hotels.

3 Kryten42 { 12.15.09 at 2:23 am }

Well… You do have a point about airports and the people who work therein! BUT… 😉 You can get a french press almost everywhere for $20 or less (for a small one). 😉

One of the biggest problems with diabetes is the inability of the body to regulate glucose, and therefore, energy. My dietitian changed my eating habits from 3 main meals over 16 hours, to eating a smaller meal every 3 hours. I found it quite difficult to do initially, but now I’m used to it and I don’t feel like going for a nap half way between meals because of lack of energy. My blood glucose fasting level when I was diagnosed was over 20, now it stays fairly constant during the day at under 7 (I test 3 times a day). Hot days causes a spike or rise in the levels strangely, and we discovered that I have a slightly higher than normal Hypoglycemic level than most people, so I have to watch I don’t get my sugar levels too low. When it starts heading towards 5, I generally have a soda or a sweet. Heh… I like when it get’s low because I can have something I used to enjoy but can no longer have usually. 😉

During my time in the military, and within the regiment I was part of, we never had to worry about how we would loose several thousand calories a day! We were usually more worried about if we could find enough food too keep us going! 😆 We actually had some special high-energy food bars in a resealable pack where we would break a piece off during exercises every half hour or so (depending on the exertion level etc.), or when we were on duty somewhere. We generally kept 5 days supply in our kits, with three pairs of treated sox (Very important!!) 😀 I remember that we had 4 weeks training and practice with our special kits (backpack, belts, harnesses, pockets in fatigues, and so on) that had lot’s of places to put everything, and everything had a proper place to be put! We had to be able to find anything while moving in the dark by touch without making a sound. It was tricky. When I think back now… I am amazed at the inventory we had to carry and we knew where everything was! It used to take an hour to assemble a field kit (more or less depending on the mission), and as we were each responsible for ourselves, we didn’t trust anyone else to do it! When you are in the middle of a firefight, you seriously don’t want to have to think about where you put the bloody spare ammo clips! 😉 Annnnddd… yes, we used to carry tea (well, it wasn’t a standard part of a kit, but everyone I knew did). 🙂

I’ve seen in some *war* movies (mostly US) where the grunts have some of those fire-lighter things that they use as fuel for cooking etc. I was always curious about if that were the case. We were issued C4. It makes a much better fuel in small amounts than those fire-lighter things, and has so many other uses! Much more versatile! From brewing tea, to blowing locks off doors or treads off tanks! 😆

4 cookie jill { 12.15.09 at 5:19 pm }

Love the coffee…hate acidity. I have found that Cafe Appassionato
is specially roasted to maintain the flavor yet lose the acidity…and they have both organic and fair trade, too.

And, for tea, love it, except for Tazo which really freaks my system out. I don’t know what is in it but my body doesn’t like it. I remember meeting up at the Fancy Food Trade Show with the guy who started Tea Forte…so have always had a little soft spot in my heart for his company.

.-= last blog ..Still up in the land =-.

5 Kryten42 { 12.15.09 at 7:48 pm }

I’m weird with coffee. 😉 Usually I like it smooth, but sometimes I like it bitter and sharp. *shrug* The smoooooothest coffee I’ve ever had is the PNG Blue Mountain coffee. But it’s hard to get and damned expensive. German blends seem to be pretty mild, they make a good evening coffee. 🙂 Now and then, I love a strong, spoon melting, Turkish coffee that’s so thick the spoon almost stands up (before it starts to dissolve) 😉 😆 It’s hard to find a place that makes it properly though. 🙂

I like the tazo Chai teas. For black tea, I prefer Dilmah, especially their large leaf teas. 🙂

As will everything, it’s a trial and error process to find the coffee & tea you like, and tastes do change over time. 🙂

6 Bryan { 12.15.09 at 10:33 pm }

The body changes over time, and its ability to process what you put into it. I would no more consider drinking what we called coffee at military mess halls, than battery acid, which shared a good deal of commonality.

Like every other growing thing, climate and soil conditions make a big difference in the end product. Take the best coffee tree in the world and put it in bad soil, and you will get bad coffee. The processing of the beans is also important, and that can have a big effect on acidity. Then there is the final processing in the kitchen, the grinding and brewing.

It isn’t easy to get a great cup of coffee, and all of the care comes at a steep price. I don’t mind paying the price if the result is good, but there are a lot of people who charge premium prices for mediocre products. Unfortunately too many people assume the price means quality, which is rarely the case.

Turkish coffee will keep you going for two days straight. The first time I saw it all I could think of was used motor oil. It’s another thing that is filed under “an acquired taste”.

I heard that some people got “fire starter”, but flight crews made do with flint sticks and cans of pine punk to light whatever fuel was available, if it was prudent to start a fire. Of course, there were always flares, if you really wanted a fire.

We had thermite grenades, but those were for certain pieces of equipment and the classified.

You don’t really believe they would trust us with C4? Hell, the Air Force required you to carry a revolver with an empty chamber under the hammer, and the next chamber also empty, to prevent accidents. The US military does some weird stuff.

7 Kryten42 { 12.15.09 at 11:37 pm }

LOL @ Turkish coffee! Very true! And certainly an acquired taste (one which I did acquire!)

I heard the same from our RAAF pilots about carrying a revolver (Webley I think initially) with an empty chamber under the firing pin. Crazy IMHO!

Our special issue support weapon (what we called the ‘backup’) that we were issued in Cambodia was a Glock 17. Depending on the mission, we had the standard 17 round clip, or a 33 round clip with 1 to 3 spare clips on quick release belt holders (and maybe a couple spares in the backpack). I was told we were issued the 17 because it used a NATO-standard round, which our normal service handguns didn’t, that and we were planning on dumping them for the new Glock’s modified for us (Glock 17A) with a longer barrel. Towards the end of the 80’s, I heard the SF teams were issued Glock 18’s (the full auto version of the 17 which was semi-auto). The tricky thing with the Glock was it only had a trigger safety (externally, it had 2 internal safeties to prevent accidental firing, such as when dropped). Could get dangerous in nervous hands. 😉 Our usual primary field weapon was the HK MP5. Nice! 😉 I also often carried a Parker Hale model 82. I hear they dropped that in the 90’s for the Accuracy International AW (though it’s manufactured here). I liked the PH82. It behaved and did what it was expected to do. *shrug* Militaries always have to stuff around. Why can’t they just leave the things that work alone? *sigh*

I don’t think we would have known what to do without C4!! Need some firewood? That small tree looks good… Fish in a stream or lake and no tackle? No worries… concussion works well! 😆

8 Badtux { 12.16.09 at 7:07 pm }

Kryten, what sucks even more is when the military keeps things around that *don’t* work, even though they should have been replaced 40 years ago when it was proven that they don’t work, but too many generations of Pentagon acquisitions geeks have their career too involved in the disaster to change course.

Case in point: the M-16/M4 rifle. This thing has been a disaster since day one, great on paper, but in real life the bloody thing simply *isn’t reliable*. It can’t be. No direct impingement action rifle of that type could be. Any dirt or sand that makes it down the barrel (like, if you’re fighting in a jungle or a desert) ends up getting blown straight into the action and jamming it after a while. Yeah, if they’d put a gas piston in there to cycle the action the rifle would have been heavier, but it would have also been as reliable as the AK-47s’ that arm the folks our troops have been fighting these past 40 years, while being far more accurate. Instead, for 40 years U.S. troops have been dying because they have the least reliable infantry rifle of any major military power. It is to laugh, because otherwise you curse too much and scare the women and small children.
.-= last blog ..Too much LSD? =-.

9 Bryan { 12.16.09 at 10:13 pm }

I acquired it too, but it is another thing I can’t replicate down here. There were places in New York and California, but not on the Gulf Coast.

You can’t make any money if the military doesn’t upgrade.

You don’t understand, Badtux – people weren’t cleaning them properly… the wrong oil was being used… the ammunition wasn’t properly formulated… the evidence was anecdotal… it is a plot by competitors.

In addition to humidity and dust, they don’t like flying in unpressurized aircraft, going from heated buildings into the cold, or cooled buildings into the heat.

They are a great weapon in a climate-controlled firing range with HEPA air filtration systems.

10 Kryten42 { 12.16.09 at 11:32 pm }

Yes. the M16 was a complete dogs breakfast. At the time of my deployment, my regiment was one of a couple that didn’t use the M16 by choice. Unfortunately, choices were few. We didn’t have the option of the Steyr until the late 80’s, and the MP5’s were in restricted supply. I heard many stories from vet’s about the M16 problems, like double-feeding, feed jam’s, etc. The primary culprit was the magazine. This unfortunately was carried over to the M4, though the number of problems with the m4 decreased somewhat.

I saw a report a while ago that I kept a copy of, where infantry and SF personal serving in Afghanistan were asked to give anonymous reports on the M4 they used.

* 20% were dissatisfied with its ease of maintenance.
* 34% of soldiers reported that their M4’s handguards rattle and become excessively hot when firing.
* 15% reported that they had trouble zeroing the M68 reflex sight.
* 35% added barber brushes and 24% added dental picks to their cleaning kits.
* Soldiers reported the following malfunctions:
– 20% reported double-feeding.
– 15% reported feeding jams.
– 13% reported that feeding problems were usually due to magazines.

Soldiers requested the following changes:
* 55% requested the firearm be made lighter
* 20% requested a slightly larger magazine

After 4 decades of use from the original AR-15, you would have thought they would have worked out the bugs by now. I saw another report from 2007 that said the US Army had just completed reliability tests on the M4 in desert conditions. They tested 10 (ONLY!!) M4’s with 6,000 rounds fired through each. 882 stoppages were recorded, compared to 233 stoppages for the H&K made version (HK416). They have apparently decided that the magazine on the Colt M4 needed a redesign, and a new cold-hammer-forged barrel (the original wears out quickly). Geee…. Ya think??! Morons.

BTW, The US Army was quick to point out that most stoppages were only *minor*. They required 10sec or less to clear. I can assure anyone reading this, that in a combat situation, you don’t have 10 sec’s! You have a high-probability of being dead.

This is why we went with the Steyr, and our SF regiments use a highly modified M4 (from H&K) which is much more reliable.

Surprisingly, the one champion of dumping the entire M16/M4 line of weapons is a Repug! Senator Tom Coburn.

“We know there are some pretty exciting things on the horizon with technology … so maybe what we do is stick with the M4 for now and let technologies mature enough that we can spin them into a new carbine,” said Col. Robert Radcliffe, director of combat development at the Army’s Infantry Center. “It’s just not ready yet. But it can be ready relatively rapidly.”

That’s not good enough for some on Capitol Hill who’ve pushed hard for the so-called “extreme dust test” since last spring. Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn placed a hold on the nomination of Army Secretary Pete Geren earlier this year to force the Army to take another look at the M4 and its reliability.

In an April 12 letter to the still unconfirmed Geren, Coburn wrote that “considering the long standing reliability and lethality problems with the M16 design, of which the M4 is based, I am afraid that our troops in combat might not have the best weapon.” He insisted the Army conduct a side-by-side test to verify his contention that more reliable designs existed and could be fielded soon.

Despite the 98 percent reliability argument now being pushed by the Army, one congressional staffer familiar with the extreme dust tests is skeptical of the service’s conclusions.

“This isn’t brain surgery — a rifle needs to do three things: shoot when you pull the trigger, put bullets where you aim them and deliver enough energy to stop what’s attacking you,” the staffer told Military.com in an email. “If the M4 can’t be depended on to shoot then everything else is irrelevant.”

The staffer offered a different perspective of how to view the Army’s result. If you look at the numbers, he reasoned, the M4’s 882 total stoppages averages out to a jam every 68 rounds. There are about 30 rounds per magazine in the M4.

By comparison, the XM8 jammed once every 472 rounds, the Mk16 every 265 rounds and the 416 every 257 rounds. Army officials contend soldiers rarely fire more than 140 rounds in an engagement.

“These results are stunning, and frankly they are significantly more dramatic than most weapons experts expected,” the staffer said.

I wouldn’t sign up with the US Army if my life depended on it! 😈

We have been using the F88 AuSteyr since the 80’s (now the F88S-A2 AuSteyr) and don’t have anywhere near these kinds of problems. Best thing the Aus Army ever did IMHO. Well… one of the best. 😉 The only reason the SF regiments use the M4 is because half of it is made here and the rest in Europe by H&K, but it can use all the fun M4 gizmose like grenade launcher, lot’s of sight options, laser designators, etc. The design is very versatile, as a platform or framework, it’s great. As a weapon, it’s garbage. 🙂

11 Bryan { 12.17.09 at 1:05 am }

It wouldn’t be too difficult to modify a firearm that worked to accept all the accessories, and you wouldn’t have to put up with the soap opera that Colt has become.

There were a lot of Marines who didn’t give up their M-14s for a very long time after the transition. I had a lot more confidence in that Smith & Wesson, than I ever had in the M-16, and they were cleaned and maintained by gunsmiths between flights.

I know that we carried a lot of cleaning kits and gun oils into the area for people, as the guys on the ground tried to get the things to work. The old guys wanted their World War II Garands back, and some claimed the bolt action 1903 Springfield would have been a better choice.

It was another overly complex, multiple use, technological advance that are the scourge of US equipment.

12 Kryten42 { 12.17.09 at 1:26 am }

Yeah! Colt are just dumb. I was reading a Wiki on the Colt lawsuits:

Colt previously held a U.S. trademark on the term “M4”. Many manufacturers have production firearms that are essentially identical to a military M4. Civilian models are sometimes colloquially referred to as “M4gery” (pronounced ĕm’fôr jə-rē, a portmanteau of “M4” and “forgery”). Colt had maintained that it retains sole rights to the M4 name and design. Other manufacturers had long maintained that Colt had been overstating its rights, and that “M4” had now become a generic term for a shortened AR-15. In April 2004, Colt filed a lawsuit against Heckler & Koch and Bushmaster Firearms, claiming acts of trademark infringement, trade dress infringement, trademark dilution, false designation of origin, false advertising, patent infringement, unfair competition, and deceptive trade practices. Heckler & Koch later settled out of court, changing one product’s name from “HK M4” to “HK416”. However, on 8 December 2005, a District court judge in Maine granted a summary judgment in favor of Bushmaster Firearms, dismissing all of Colt’s claims except for false advertising. On the latter claim, Colt could not recover monetary damages. The court also ruled that “M4” was now a generic name, and that Colt’s trademark should be revoked.

So much for that then! 😉

So… back to coffee!! 😉 I found a website called TurkishCoffeeWorld (who knew?) They have a great guide to making real Turkish coffee! I’m gonna get the gear and give it a go. I have an Italian stove-top espresso maker, but it’s not the same.


Prices are reasonable for the traditional copper coffee *pot*, starting at US$14. 🙂 They sell coffee too, from 100g to cases. They are in CA I think and will ship. 🙂

Sherefe! (Cheers!) 😉

13 hipparchia { 12.17.09 at 1:55 am }

i tried it, but i never acquired a taste for rooibos tea.

i’ve never had turkish coffee, but i’ve never liked sugar in my coffee [or tea], so i’m not sure i’ve missed anything.

campfire coffee is still my favorite [and i’ve still got my hand-me-down percolator from my earliest camping days].

14 Kryten42 { 12.17.09 at 2:47 am }

I like the Rooibos with vanilla which seems pretty popular. It’s easy to find. 🙂 The one I really like is with vanilla and cinnamon! Yumm!

Bourbon St Vanilla Rooibos caffeine free tea loose leaf

You can even get a Rooibos Earl Grey I’m told (Rooibos with bergamot). I’ve never tried it, but I plan to. I like variety. 🙂 We have a chain of tea sellers called T2. They have over 80 varieties and blends of tee, and you can make your own. Expensive, but they guarantee only the best and freshest teas, and you can sample before you buy. 🙂

I think the most exotic (and expensive) tea I’ve ever had, was called ‘Buddha Tears’ (also called ‘Jasmine Downy Pearl’). It’s a Jasmin/white tea where the leaves are tightly rolled (by hand apparently!) into balls that do look look tear drops. It was an amazingly good restorative I found. 🙂

Jasmine Dragon Pearls (Buddha’s Tears)

I’m not *supposed* to have sugar (and I don’t), but I will make an exception for a Turkish Coffee very occasionally! (when my blood sugar levels are low). 😉

15 hipparchia { 12.17.09 at 2:57 am }

hey, the coffee helps counteract the sugar! have some more! 😉

rooibos with cinnamon might work. i loooooove cinnamon. i think the container of white tea i have now has jasmine, but i’d have to go dig it out of the one cupboard that the cats haven’t figured out how to get into to check the label though.

i’ve bookmarked that tea site, but it’ll have to be more in the nature of window-shopping than as a place to buy from. we’ve got a couple of stores here in town where you can buy exotic teas and i occasionally treat myself to something new.

16 hipparchia { 12.17.09 at 2:59 am }

oh, and you can keep the earl grey. there’s another flavor i’ve never become a fan of.

17 Kryten42 { 12.17.09 at 3:17 am }

Earl Grey is a funny one. I discovered that you have to find a *REAL* Earl Grey where they use REAL bergamot citrus essence. Many just use a kinda smokey-almost-bergamot-sorta flavoring. It’s like the fake vanilla syrup (ie. crap!) 😉 I use real vanilla essence as a sugar substitute actually. 🙂 One drop of real vanilla essence is almost as sweet as 2 teaspoons of cane sugar.

That cinnamon rooibos is a good price actually. 🙂 $3.50 for 4oz. Good enough for a sampler.

I’m actually going to the local Tea Addict store tomorrow (there’s no T2 here sadly). They have a Rooibos blend that helps me sleep (called Field of Dreams ) 😉

They also have a great Rooibos Chai I haven’t had the money to buy for several months! It’s my Xmas gift to myself! 😆

I know your ‘closet kitty’ post well. I commented twice there! 😉 😆

Well… time to do the dinner dishes and clean the kitchen, and make a coffee! 😀

18 hipparchia { 12.17.09 at 11:40 pm }

fake vanilla, gack. not anywhere near as good as the real thing and i’d rather do without than have the substitute on this one.

that could possibly explain my objection to bergamot, then. don’t know if the few times i’ve tried earl grey it was fake or real, but if i get the chance to try the real one for real, i’ll give it another shot.

yep 😉 i love that photo. 😀

19 Kryten42 { 12.17.09 at 11:53 pm }

Yeah, it’s a great pic (and captures the *essence of kitties* pretty well!) 😀

For a *real* Earl Grey, if you look at tea bags, they should be a slightly oily yellow-mustardy color. 🙂 The best is loose leaf, then you can see (and smell!) the bergamot. 🙂 But, it is an acquired taste as with many things. I was the same… hated it for years! Didn’t know that most (even Twinings that everyone associates with Earl Grey and buys) is fake. One day, i was introduced to a *real* Earl Gray… Haven’t looked back! 🙂
There is a Lady Grey which is milder. 🙂

Did you know that vanilla (REAL vanilla – 4-hydroxy-3-methoxybenzaldehyde) is the 2nd most expensive spice in the World (after saffron)? Why is EVERYTHING really good so damned expensive??! *sigh*

20 hipparchia { 12.18.09 at 3:34 am }

i love saffron too. i even buy it once in a blue moon.

Why is EVERYTHING really good so damned expensive??! *sigh*

double sigh…