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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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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Fad Follower or Purist?

Images:Pinterest, Bon Appetit, The Urban Listibrewcoffee

There’s something a little fun about fads, even though we all know they’re not often here to stay. But is a ‘fad’ coffee everything it’s cracked up to be? Most of us simply want a great coffee (which is what we pride ourselves on) rather than something a little left of field. But, just for fun, let’s look at some trends you might encounter in 2018.

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Coffee FAQ’s

You know those little niggly questions about coffee that have had you baffled for years? Don’t you wish you had a professional on hand to relieve your enquiring mind? Well now you do, for today’s blog post is all about answering the most frequent of coffee questions. And the best part is that if we haven’t included your burning question, then you can send it straight through to us and we’ll answer it pronto. Bonus!

Here are some of the more common questions we get asked and the handy professional answers…

Coffee FAQs


How should I store coffee?

The best way to store coffee is in a cool, dark place in an airtight container; your pantry cupboard is ideal. Never store your coffee in the fridge or freezer, this will allow moisture into your coffee and will dull the taste.

How long does coffee last?

Ideally you want to be drinking all your coffee within a month from roasting. Though, if stored correctly, coffee shouldn’t go off, though the flavours will fade over time.

When is the optimum time to drink coffee after it’s been roasted?

Depending on the brew method you use and the coffee that you’re buying, the optimal age for coffee can vary. We generally recommend that coffee is ready to drink 4 – 5 days after roasting.

Which grind do I use for which brewing method?

This is really important because grind size is a vital component when it comes to making a great coffee. So if you’re using a filter system like V60, AeroPress or Chemex etc, or  whipping up a Cold Brew and or getting stuck into the old Plunger then coarsely ground coffee is the go! But for your Espresso machine and Stove Top coffee maker you’ll want to go for finely ground coffee. 

Which Coffee should I use for which brewing method?

Coffee is subjective is there is no definitive right and wrong answer, though we definitely have our recommendations:

  • Filters (V60, AeroPress, Chemex etc.): Single Origin – Light or Medium Roasted beans
  • Plunger:  If you enjoy black coffee then a Single Origin, Medium Roast is best. And if you prefer your coffee with milk then we recommend a Blend or Medium Roast.
  • Coffee Machine or Stove Top:  For black coffee choose a Single Origin, Medium to Dark Roast but if you prefer a white coffee, then go for a Blend, Medium to Dark Roast.
  • Cold Brew: Choose Single Origin or a delicious Blend; Light to Medium Light roasted beans.

What is the difference between a Blend and a Single Origin?

A Single Origin refers to the coffee grown in a single geographic area, region; this can be an entire country or smaller region within. A Blend is where coffee beans from different countries are blended together.

A Blend is created to produce a consistent, well rounded flavour whereas a Single Origin contains the flavours of the natural environment and processing techniques of that particular region.

 Did we answer your question? If not, feel free to comment below & throw a curly coffee question at us!  

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Understanding the Coffee Menu

When you’re out and about, looking for that perfect coffee, what do you order? Is it always a cappuccino, long black, flat white? Or are you always up for trying something new? If you’re not behind the coffee machine, it’s hard to know exactly what you’re drinking so we’ve made it easy for you. Today we’re breaking down each coffee menu option so you can experiment or learn to order exactly what you need and of course, want!

The Coffee Menu

6-12 oz Coffees

1. Long Black 

If you’ve ditched all kinds of milk then the Long Black is for you. Now this doesn’t mean that it’s going to be one bitter, strong caffeinated ride. Oh no, a Long Black begins with 3/4 of hot water, finished with a lovely Ristretto or Espresso shot on top. Then ta-da, it’s ready to enjoy!

2. Flat White 

Invented in Australia, the Flat White is often confused with a Latte. So what’s the difference? It’s all in the milk but first comes the Espresso/ Ristretto. Then the milk is textured so that there is only a thin layer of foam.

3. Latte

Like the Flat White, our Lattes start with a beautiful Espresso/Ristretto. As mentioned above, the main difference between a Latte and the Flat White is how the milk is textured. For a Latte, your local Barista will froth the milk so that it has about double the froth of a Flat White.

4. Cappuccino

Froth is the cappuccino’s best friend, along with the firm foundation of an awesome Espresso/Ristretto, of course. Some may remember those awful Cappuccinos that had super-light froth bulging over the top of the cup with chocolate dusted on top. Nowadays cappuccino’s tend to look a lot more sophisticated. With Cappuccinos, baristas will start with the espresso/ristretto base, then dust the chocolate powder over the espresso shot. Finally, they’ll pour in the frothed milk causing the chocolate powder to lift and create a speckled pattern around the latte art. Of all coffees on the menu, Cappucino’s have the highest amount of froth.

5. Mocha

A close relative to the latte, Mocha is all about the chocolate! As with all our milky coffees, this one begins with an Espresso/Ristretto shot. Then simply add some quality Sacred Grounds Organic Fairtrade Drinking Chocolate (sneaky plug) and finish it all off with some Latte-style froth. Delish!

4 oz Coffees

1. Espresso 

If you’re a coffee purist then you’ll love the flavours oozing out of an Espresso Shot. Basically, it is what it says it is, one Espresso Shot of coffee served in a handy tiny cup. Tasty!

2. Ristretto

This beauty is a more intense version of the Espresso. In Italian, Ristretto means ‘narrow’ and the size of this beverage echoes that. It consists of only the first 15ml up to 20ml of the Espresso extracted in 15-20 seconds.

3. Macchiato 

This cutie-patootie consists of a single shot of Espresso with a spoonful of velvety smooth milk popped on top.

4. Piccolo 

Picture a mini-sized latte and you have a Piccolo! One shot of Espresso is finished off with Latte-style milk to give you a quick, beautifully milky coffee experience.

 

Inspired to order something new?

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6 Things All Home Baristas Should Know

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Flavour Wheel: Understanding Coffee Flavours

Unless you work in the coffee industry or are highly passionate about all things caffeinated, you probably wouldn’t have heard of the Flavour Wheel. This colourful fella provides an easy way to extend your coffee knowledge by training your palate to identify various flavours while you’re drinking. It’s loads of fun and something that will make you appreciate your daily cuppa even more!

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Unit 2
87 Sydenham Rd
Marrickville, Sydney, NSW 2204,
Australia


02 9550 2222

Homepage 'Sacred Grounds Tree' painting by Fernando Mosca

About Us

We’re all about the “Spirit of Coffee”, from where we source our beans through to the cup of coffee you drink. With the “spirit” of coffee in mind, we roast every origin individually to bring out the best possible flavours.

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