Coffee is the result of brewing the roasted seeds and cherries of the Coffea plant, and has been around since ancient times, mostly being used in religious and cultural ceremonies. Today, coffee is enjoyed by millions of people all over the world, but some experts have mixed views on the effects of coffee on our health.
While coffee has been touted as a potential risk to our health due to the caffeine content, studies have also shown its beneficial impact on certain disorders like Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia. Even though the jury is still out on coffee, I believe that everything in moderation is key to ensuring good health.
I drink coffee once a day, and I absolutely love the deep robust taste of it with a bit of heavy cream mixed in, but I also know many people who simply can’t stand the taste of coffee. Even if you already drink coffee on a regular basis, there are a few things you can do to improve your overall experience with your morning cup of joe!
Always By Organic Coffee
Organic coffee? Is that really a thing? Most people don’t even realize that there are organic versions of the coffee bean, or at least I didn’t until I started researching coffee a bit more. Shockingly enough, the majority of coffee on the market today is heavily sprayed with pesticides, which means that each cup you make in the morning is swirling with toxic chemical residues. Lovely…
You should be able to find an organic version of coffee at your local grocery store, which will be much safer to drink than the regular version. Here are some of my personal favorites that I drink:
- Equal Exchange Organic Coffee, Mind Body Soul
- Cafe Don Pablo Gourmet Coffee Medium-Dark Roast
- Cameron’s Organic Whole Bean French Roast
Best Ways To Brew Coffee
I can honestly admit that I’m slightly obsessed with coffee, and I have the coffee equipment to prove my insanity. There are so many different ways to brew coffee, but I did away with the typical drip coffee maker years ago because it just didn’t give me that robust coffee flavor that I love.
Here are some of my favorite brewing devices for coffee that I personally use:
By far, the biggest name in single serving coffee is Keurig. When Keurig came on the market, it really changed the whole coffee brewing game and took it to the next level. Making coffee was no longer a hassle since you needed no measurements, no coffee filters, and virtually no cleanup.
The Keurig was one of my first coffee makers after ditching my drip brew machine, and you’ll love the simplicity of having a single serving of coffee right in your cup. There are many different models of Keurig machines out there now, which is great for versatility, and I have two favorite machines that you’ll absolutely love.
- Keurig Elite Brewing System – If you’re familiar with Keurig, this is probably the one you will recognize the most. It’s a simple design which makes it easy to use, and it takes the guesswork out of making a cup of coffee. This was my very first Keurig machine, and it has been a favorite of mine for years.
- Keurig K550 2.0 Brewing System – After the success of the original Keurig, the company decided to take it a step further and create a machine that would not only make a single serving of coffee, but offer the option of brewing a pot of coffee, very much like a conventional drip machine would. This system can use regular K-cups and carafe pods, which allow for a 4-cup coffee brew in the included carafe. I love this system because it gives you versatility if you have a family of coffee drinkers, or just want to make a pot of coffee for friends and guests.
- Organic Coffee Pods – I talked about the importance of using only organic coffee beans, and luckily Keurig has organic coffee pods as an option. One of my favorites is the San Francisco Bay OneCup Organic Rainforest Blend.
The French Press
While working in an office, I used to see several co-workers with these miniature coffee pots on their desks and always wondered what the hype was about these simple manual coffee presses. I decided to try one, and now it’s one of my favorite ways to make coffee in the morning, especially when I need to travel.
The French Press is truly the simplest and purest way to brew coffee. All you do is spoon the desired amount of coffee grounds into the bottom of the press, and fill the rest with boiling water. After the coffee brews for a few minutes, you use the mesh filter press to slowly push the coffee grounds (which will now be floating on the top), all the way to the bottom of the glass carafe. The end result is a smooth, wonderfully pure brew of fresh coffee.
You’ll want to make sure that you use coarsely ground coffee, as finely ground coffee will clog up the mesh filter and not produce a good brew. I usually buy whole coffee beans and coarsely grind a batch when I’m using my French Press. Here is my personal favorite press:
SterlingPro French Coffee Press – You’ll like the design of this French Press because they really took the time to ensure that no plastic parts will touch your coffee, meaning you will get a very pure brew each and every time. Super easy to clean, and it’s really perfect for travelling with, but be careful because it is made of glass.
My first experience with Nespresso coffee was when I vacationed in Spain, and ever since drinking that first cup, I was hooked. Nespresso is huge all over Europe, as the coffee maker was originally designed to be marketed in Switzerland. While it didn’t have much success in Switzerland, it soon took off in Europe and became a favorite in many homes and restaurants.
Nespresso is basically the espresso coffee version of a Keurig. It uses single serving coffee pods, just like Keurig, but the difference is that it’s designed to brew a shot, or double shot, of espresso. This difference is visibly noticed by the “crema” that is left on top of the brewed coffee, which gives it a deep, rich texture and flavor. The machine takes the guesswork out of trying to make a perfect espresso shot, and allows anyone to easily make hot, or cold, cappuccino or latte.
- Nespresso with Aeroccino Milk Frother – This is the machine I personally use, and it’s one of my favorite designs because it has a built in milk frother that comes with two different attachments to make either a latte or cappuccino. It does take up a bit more surface space on the counter because of the built-in frother, so if you’re looking for something more compact, the next option would be a good choice.
- Nespresso Inissia with Aeroccino Milk Frother – This is one of the smallest Nespresso machines out there, which makes it perfect for smaller homes or apartments. It still comes with a milk frother, but it’s a separate unit from the actual machine.
You can buy the Nespresso pods online at places like Amazon, however the most cost effective option is to buy directly from Nespresso. Many of the espresso pods outside of the official company website are usually marked up in price, and buying directly from Nespresso also gives you the opportunity to participate in their pod recycling program.
The only caveat to buying Nespresso pods is that they currently don’t have any organic sourced coffee, which is a big disappointment for me. Luckily, though, I did manage to find a company who specializes in making organically sourced coffee specifically for Nespresso machines called Artizan. You can grab some of their espresso pods here.
Making A Perfect Cup Of Coffee
I always wonder if there is a perfect cup of coffee out there, but I think that it really depends on the individual drinker to decide what is perfect for them. I personally love a dark roasted coffee, full of body and flavor, but I know many people who love very light bodied coffees, and some who like medium-roast.
The beauty of coffee is that there’s something for everyone, and making the perfect cup of coffee just depends on how you like to drink yours. However, there are a few things you’ll want to do to really get the most out of your morning cup:
- Avoid Using Sugar – This one is probably the toughest things to do when making coffee, because most people don’t know how to drink coffee without sweetening it in some way. When I first started drinking coffee, sugar was an absolute must for me just to handle the strong taste of coffee, but as I started experimenting more and more with different strengths and varieties, I didn’t depend on sugar to enhance the flavor any more. Coffee tastes wonderful on its own, and you should definitely try to experience all the complex flavors as much as possible, but if you absolutely need to sweeten your Cup O’Joe, I would recommend using an organic raw honey for natural sweetness.
- Use Purified or Filtered Water – One of the worst things you can do is use regular tap water for coffee…well, for anything really. I talked about the dangers of chlorine in the water, so ensuring that you have clean and pure water in your coffee will not only make it much safer to drink, but it will enhance the flavor of the coffee tenfold.
- Froth Your Milk – Have you ever gone to a coffee shop and been amazed at how thick and creamy your cafe latte was? That’s because those coffee shops use a frothing machine to gently heat and fluff your milk before adding it into your coffee. It’s like making a warm whipped cream for your cup of joe, and luckily you can replicate it at home! Frothing your milk or cream will completely transform that standard coffee into a luxuriously decadent drink, you’ll be pondering whether you should open your own shop! My favorite cost friendly frother is Epica Automatic Electric Milk Frother.
There is some debate as to whether drinking coffee is really hurting, or helping you. Caffeine, the main ingredient in coffee, is technically a drug that some studies have shown may cause adverse effects like heart palpitations, higher blood pressure, insomnia, and feeling jittery or anxious.
On the flip side, other studies have shown that caffeine – especially in coffee – can actually help protect against cognitive degeneration like Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia. While it’s true that caffeine in any form (tea, coffee, chocolate) can have the potential to create side effects, I personally believe that as long as you’re drinking a pure organic source of coffee or tea in moderation, you are less likely to experience any of the negative side effects that may be associated with caffeine.
Are you a coffee drinker? Do you worry about the possible side effects of caffeine?