Coffee: Healthy or Harmful?

As you know, we’re passionate advocates of all things coffee (as long as it’s Fairtrade Organic, right?) We love this beverage from cherry to bean and everything in between. But, really, honestly, is drinking coffee day after day doing our bodies a service or is it actually harmful?

Well we have great news for all you coffee buffs out there because drinking up to 4 cups of coffee a day can actually provide incredible health benefits for your body. A recent review by the BMJ looked at the results of over 200 studies on coffee consumption and found some surprising benefits for a range of health issues.

Heart

According to the study, participants who drank up to three cups a day had a reduced risk of death from heart disease by an impressive 19% and 30% less chance of dying from a stroke compared to the non-drinkers.  When it came to impacting blood pressure, the results were marginally better for the coffee consumers than their caffeine-free counterparts but nothing to write home about. All in all, the studies showed a positive impact on the heart by drinking a moderate amount of coffee each day.

Cancer

40 studies were reviewed looking at the relationship of coffee and cancer. We’re happy to report that coffee actually has a substantial impact in a reduction of a wide variety of cancer including prostate, endometrial, melanoma, leukaemia, liver cancer and more! Why does coffee have such a positive impact when it comes to cancer? Researchers aren’t 100% sure but some say it due to the level of antioxidants, an improvement in insulin sensitivity or coffee’s ability to stop long-term inflammation in the body. Others still claim that coffee slows tumours’ growth, protects our DNA or even makes bad cells die before they become cancerous. It’s all so fascinating but the facts are in and most of the new is positive – coffee lowers likelihood of a range of cancers in our body!

Liver

There was happy news for our livers as well with coffee drinkers 29% less likely to suffer from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and 27% less likely to experience liver fibrosis. Ultimately if you drink up to 3 coffees a day, you’re 65% less likely to develop Liver Disease and 40% less likely to suffer from Liver Cancer which is pretty darn impressive. With Liver Cancer being a sneaky, silent kind of cancer, this is good news indeed.

Brain Matters

Coffee, or rather caffeine, has been found to prevent a range of neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s and depression. According to the Harvard School of Public Health research paper, people who drink 4-5 cups of coffee a day have 50% less chance of developing Parkinson’s that those who consumed no coffee at all.

Drinking coffee has also been shown to have a positive impact on those suffering from moderate depression. How? One theory is that depression could be caused by inflammation in the brain and coffee combats this with a fabulous mix of antioxidants full or amazing chemicals such as trigonelline, nicotinic acid and more hard to pronounce scientific terms. Another theory relates to caffeine’s ability to make us feel alert and energetic and increases dopamine levels so we feel more motivated. Whatever theory is true, many studies have agreed that coffee loves our brain and our brain simply adores coffee!

Limits

Of course with every good thing in life, there must be limits. So don’t go crazy and start drinking coffee every other hour. And if you are into drinking up to 5 cups of coffee a day, make some of them short blacks – that’s right, no milk, no choccy sprinkles. Keep it healthy. The paper also recommended that women who are prone to fractures and pregnant ladies should steer away from having too many coffees each day. Know your body, know your limits and enjoy a balanced life!

Keen to try something a bit different? Check out our Moonlight Blend. Party decaf, part caffeinated, this baby is great for morning, noon or night!

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Get Your Blend Bundle On!

All of our coffee blends have been beautifully and carefully curated by our Master Roaster, a former French chef, no less. This is why they’re so darn smooth, well balanced and simply delicious. Having four amazing blends to choose from, you’re really spoilt for choice – yep, you can enjoy the variety of flavour notes one after the other with our Blend Bundle. What’s it all about? Read on…

Sacred Grounds Coffee Blend Bundle

Sacred Blend

We searched the world east to west, north to south to find the most exotic, the best quality, the greatest tasting beans in the globe and we found them. Our Organic Fairtrade Sacred Blend is our signature blend sourcing beans from Papua New Guinea, Ethiopia, Peru and Nicaragua. It really is a crowd pleaser! Check out the specs below…

Tasting Notes: Sharp, clean acidity with a sweet and spicy aftertaste and a long dark chocolate finish
Variety:  Arabica
Roast:    Medium

Spirit Blend

Besides tasting the goods, our Spirit Blend is all about Sustainability. These particular beans have been sourced from farms focussing on eco-friendly growing and harvesting techniques as well as sustainable farming practices so you can enjoy a guilt-free cuppa. With delectable beans from Ethiopia and Sumatra, this blend is sure to lift your spirits!

Tasting Notes: Floral and fruity front notes, caramel middle and deep dark chocolate finish
Variety:  Arabica
Roast:    Medium

Neighbours Blend

Sourced from our closest coffee cohorts, our Neighbours Blend isn’t just a fab tasting coffee but it’s also the blend with the lowest carbon footprint. Compared to their more international coffee cousins, these beans haven’t had to travel so far to reach our fair shores which means less pollution, petrol and impact on the environment = win! Our Neighbours Blend proudly features beans from Papua New Guinea, East Timor and Sumatra delivering a smooth, nutty beverage time after time.

Tasting Notes: Subtle berry characteristics with a nutty aftertaste
Variety: Arabica
Roast: Moderately Dark

Moonlight Blend

Our last blend is a bit of a special character; not decaf and not fully caffeinated, our Moonlight Blend is the perfect compromise. This low caffeine coffee combines beans from Mexico (decaf), Papua New Guinea, Ethiopia, Peru and Nicaragua to create a sweet, smooth coffee you can enjoy day or night.

Tasting Notes: Hints of cocoa and spice with a pleasant caramel aftertaste
Variety: Arabica
Roast: Medium

Keen to try all four blends? Order your Sacred Grounds Organic Fairtrade Blend Bundle right here…

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Sacred Grounds Single Origin: Peru

There are so many things to love about Single Origin coffee, from the range of strong flavour notes to the quality and traceability of the beans themselves. But let’s not forget the stories behind the coffee, the people, the places that have created such a beautiful brew. This is just one of them, the birthplace of our delish Single Origin – Peru…

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How Fairtrade Impacts Communities

Fairtrade means what it literally says… a fair go for everyone. Fair price, fair treatment of workers, communities, the environment. We’re so passionate about this organisation that we’ve sourced all of our coffee from Fairtrade only farms and producers. We love the stories that are told from these places where people are reclaiming their lives and the future of their families by growing some really great coffee. Here are the stories of our producers across the globe; how the Fairtrade Premium has made an impact on the communities around them. Enjoy!

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5 Savoury Recipes Made with Coffee

sacred grounds-5 recipes-coffee

We all know how great coffee is – that’s why we’re here! And we’ve all probably got our favourite sweet coffee-flavoured recipe but have you ever thought of using coffee in a savoury dish? Coffee is being used more and more in gourmet dinner dishes and why not! It’s an earthy, delish ingredient that is pretty hard to beat. So, we’ve gathered five of the best savoury coffee recipes to start you on your way! Enjoy.

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Meet Our Sumatran Producers

Sumatra is a tropical island situated in Western Indonesia and right next door to Malaysia. This island is a whopper; in fact it’s actually the sixth largest island in the world. Thanks to its tropical climate, Sumatra has been a haven for coffee crops since the Dutch imported, planted and started production in the mid 1870s.

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Sacred Blend – Sweet & Rich

Our Sacred Blend is like a party person – a crowd pleaser; yep this blend lights up a room (make that a coffee machine, work meeting, yawning morning or whatever coffee situation you find yourself in). Sweet and delicious, this blend combines the best coffee beans from around the world, honed by our Master Roaster and former French chef – so it’s got to be good, right!

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Shade vs Sun Grown Coffee

We’re following on from last week’s blog, digging into the differences between shade and sun grown coffee. Why does it matter? What are the real differences and implications for taste, quality and sustainability?

Keep on the Shady Side

Since the discovery of coffee in the 11th century, crops have generally been grown under a wide variety of shady trees and plants. Canopies protect plants from the sun and create a haven for plants to thrive side-by-side with native plants and animals. Birds are particularly important in this process as they act as pest controllers; in fact research has suggested that without our feathery friends there would be a 70% increase in Coffee Berry Borer beetle and another study found that there would be 30-64% more caterpillars.

Fun fact, there are actually three ways to grow shade-grown coffee:

Rustic: where crops are planted in established habitats with natural plants
Traditional Polyculture: plants are integrated into existing forests along with fruit/vegetable crops to supplement farmers’ incomes
Commercial Polyculture: Native plants are replaced with coffee plants, often growing under taller trees to provide shade.

Environmental Hero

Diverse shade grown coffee makes up 25% of the world’s coffee crops with 35% in part shade/sun and 40% in full sun. The environmental benefits for shade grown coffee is crucial when we think about the future of coffee. How?

1. Less pesticides leaching into soil and waterways
2. Erosion is reduced, protecting the quality of soil
3. Foliage from surrounding trees and plants act as a natural fertiliser
4. Remove carbon from the atmosphere
5. Reduce temperatures by retaining rainfall, ensuring the longevity & health of plants.

Sun-Drenched Plantations

Coffee was never meant to be grown in full sun, however 20% of the world’s coffee beans use this method creating the good old Robusta bean. Thanks to an increase in demand, some farmers have embraced this way of farming as sun-grown crops have a greater yield, although the lifespan of crops is usually a lot less than their shady cousins.

The environmental impact of sun-grown coffee is considerable, leading to…

  • deforestation – clearing native plants/trees to make room for high yield, fast growing coffee plants
  • an increase in fertilisers – with no natural leaves etc to provide nutrients, farmers must resort to nitrogen fuelled fertilisers
  • more herbicides – more weeds mean more chemicals to keep them at bay
  • poor soil conditions – exposed to sun, heat, chemicals and erosion from downpours, this soil also leaches chemicals into nearby waterways causing pollution
  • an increase in plant turnover – sun grown crops only last 15 years, while shade grown survive for 30 years

The only real benefit of sun-grown coffee plants is their higher yield. More coffee to meet the growing global demand. But this has resulted in a lower quality bean, more bitterness, less flavour varieties. This is why we use Arabica, shade-grown coffee at Sacred Grounds.

Taste & See

To taste the difference, why not try one of our Fairtrade Organic Single Origins:

  • Australia – displays characters of spiced berry, sweet caramel and chocolate.
  • East Timor –  A sweet spicy cup with notes of cloves, leather, tobacco and pepper; a bright orange acidity and a silky body leading a long malt, burnt toffee and walnut finish.
  • Ethiopia Limu – Citrus lime acidity, notes of stone fruit with a hint of spice
  • Ethiopia Yirgaheffe – Very clean, sweet, delicate floral notes, light lemony aromatics
  • Nicaragua – Chocolate, sweet aroma, citrus tones, honeyed, bright medium acidity, well rounded cup.
  • Papua New Guinea – Chocolate, nutty flavour with a slightly fruity finish of cherry undertones and hints of vanilla. Balanced and smooth aftertaste.
  • Peru – Displays herbaceous overtones with a soft chocolate finish
  • Sumatra Gayo – Delicate aroma of blackcurrant, followed by hints of dark cocoa and soft spice. Bright tangy acidity.

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Why Organic Coffee Matters

We love all things organic, from fresh produce to organic supermarket items but did you know that coffee is one of the most chemically drenched products in the world? This is why we only use organically grown coffee beans from reputable producers throughout the world. Chemicals not only mess with our bodies, our health but impact ecosystems and the future of the coffee industry as a whole.

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