Caffeine Celebration

I would rather suffer with coffee than be senseless.” Napoleon Bonaparte

In celebration of International Coffee Day, I enjoyed my usual skinny latte (or was that two) today with a friend and as it was a celebration (and celebrations need cake) a rather tasty slice of Banana and Chocolate loaf (try Cafe Firenze in Al Zeina for the best banana loaf in the capital). 

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Today’s skinny latte at Cafe Firenze consumed in celebration of International Coffee Day

Let’s be honest here when I arranged the coffee date yesterday, I hope no idea today was worldwide caffeine appreciation day, but as a self-confessed coffee lover (if you can call a skinny latte a coffee, more like hot milk) I am happy to recognise all things good about the brewed brown beverage and its place in today’s society.

IMG_6397Cafe Culture is huge here in the UAE for obvious reasons as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, so we are literally spoilt for choice wherever you look there are cafes. Historically, the rise of Islam has attributed to the popularity of coffee as an acceptable drink instead of prohibited alcohol. In my Coffee Confidential post (wow, can’t believe I wrote that over a year ago back in September 2013) I touched on how your choice of caffeinated beverage can reveal common personality styles and traits of its drinker. My choice of latte ‘shows neurotic attributes‘ which is more believable than the other traits of ‘easy to please‘ and ‘intent of pleasing others‘, I’ve tried both and quite frankly they’re both overrated (cynical much!). I wonder what my choice of Expresso Martinis says about me ……….?!? I do know that they always seem like such a marvellous idea at the time and that more than two literally keeps you up all night, three has you wired for days!

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So is coffee good for your health? Ok, if you order the oversized milky type beverages (like me) or those with lashings of cream on top, then NO! Any health benefits of these popular cafe choices (lattes, cappuccinos etc) are out weighted by calorie intake but coffee itself can help you burn fat by boosting your metabolism (can increase metabolic rate by up to 10% with one or two cups a day). Caffeine is a stimulant that increases your energy levels and your alertness so that’s a good reason to drink it, right? Researchers in the Sunshine State (Florida if you are not familiar with that term) found that coffee consumption is associated with a reduced risk of dementia. They discovered that adults who drink an average of three cups of coffee a day were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s. Another research study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that drinking four or more cups of caffeinated coffee cut the risk of clinical depression by 20% particularly in woman, when compared with drinking one or fewer cups per week (interesting stuff). The last point maybe a little more controversial, coffee may prolong your life! National Cancer Institute (NCI) researchers found that adults who drink three of more cups of coffee a day have a 10% lower risk of death (all medical related info was sourced from http://www.independent.co.uk).

IMG_5473What exactly is International Coffee Day? Well I’m glad you asked, International Coffee Day   (Coffee Day or National Coffee Day as it’s also known) is an annual event observed on September 29 in countries around the globe just celebrating a good old cup of coffee. More importantly, this day which was started in Japan in 1983, is also used to promote fair trade coffee (certified as having been produced to fair trade standards, see below for more details) and to raise awareness for the plight of the coffee growers. Celebrations take place in all sorts of ways from friends enjoying a coffee to businesses offering free or discounted cups of coffee to its patrons. 

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Fair trade where farmers and coffee producers are paid a fair and stable price (source:www.borgenproject.org)

Coffee is the second most-traded commodity around the globe and one of the most highly consumed drinks in the world today. Even with its popularity most people are not concerned with where it comes from and the conditions that the coffee producers endure to make a living, most of who live in poverty. Informed coffee drinkers buy and consume certified fair trade coffee where farmers and coffee producers are paid a fair and stable price for their crop regardless of any changing conditions such as climate or natural disasters. 

18529877Oxfam Australia’s Fair trade coffee capsules were launched today to coincide with International Coffee Day (source: www.oxfamshop.org.au)

This year the charity Oxfam (Australia) launched its first range of Fair trade certified organic and biodegradable coffee capsules to coincide with International Coffee Day. The InterContinental Hotel chain in Australia has shown its appreciation of coffee by launching ‘High Coffee’ as an alternative to the traditional High Tea, which starts off with an Expresso Martini along with the usual petite sandwiches and cakes, sounds perfect don’t you think, although quite a long and expensive trip to test it out, let’s hope the Intercontinental Hotel here in Abu Dhabi introduce it soon!

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Expresso Martini in the making (source:www.highteasociety.com)

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Think this might be my favourite type of coffee, shaken not stirred of course!