Sunday, January 24, 2010

Vitamin A

Well known as the vitamin that helps you see in the dark, it does do this but an excess to help you see better is a fallacy. A deficiency can cause night blindness. Vitamin A is an antioxidant and a shortage can lead to certain types of cancer. Vitamin A may help protect against heart disease it is necessary for sexual function and helps to fight infection. It also helps the formation of bones and teeth, helps keep skin and hair healthy.

It’s found in some foods from animals e.g. liver, eggs and butter are very rich source, however there are two problems with these sources they are often very rich in fat, which can block your arteries, lead to the development of heart disease and cancer. Some of the animal products are so rich in Vitamin A they can be dangerous and you can overdose.

Most of the Vitamin A that you need can be obtained from plant foods—carrots and other red and yellow vegetables, dark green leafy vegetables are another excellent source of beta-carotene the precursor to Vitamin A. you can get plentiful amounts of beta-carotene from carrots, broccoli, chicory, spinach, endives, lettuce, apricots, elderberries and mangoes.

Other useful suppliers of Vitamin A are sweet potatoes, pumpkin, peas, kale, peppers, melons, cabbage, peaches, asparagus, watermelon, tomatoes, parsley and avocado. You don’t need to worry much about a deficiency of Vitamin A as the average person has enough stored in their liver to last about two years. But you should keep eating a wide variety of foods to ensure that you do not run out.

Deficiency: can be a cause of night blindness, lack of tear secretion, changes in the eyes and eventual blindness if deficiency is severe and untreated, respiratory infections, dry skin, changes in the mucus membranes, weight loss, poor bone structure, weak tooth enamel, diarrhoea and slow growth.

Overdose: Retinal—the animal form of vitamin A—can be harmful, and cause liver and bone damage. Anorexia, drowsiness, irritability, hair loss, headaches and skin problems are some of the symptoms.

Excessive consumption during pregnancy has been linked to birth defects. Children are more sensitive and are more likely to develop toxicity at high doses. Oral contraception may increase concentration.

Friday, January 30, 2009


Thai Iced Chai


Gurana or California Chai made with 3 bags. Cooled.
16 oz Water
8 to 12 ice cubes
1 oz Half & half
4 oz Milk
2 oz Almond Syrup
2 oz Coconut Syrup
1 oz Passionfruit Syrup


In a blender combine above ingredients. Blend in bursts on high till all the ice is chopped fine and the mix is even. Pour into tall glasses and garnish each with a cinnamon stick.

Fruit Tea Punch


2 Bags Golden Green tea
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup honey
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup fresh fruit, crushed
1 pint ginger ale


Make tea as per instructions on the tea bags. Allow it to cool. Mix all ingredients except ginger ale. Just before serving add ginger ale and crushed ice. If the punch is too strong for your taste you can dilute with ice water or more ginger ale.

Spiced Tea


4 bags of your favorite tea from our Traditional Teas Collection
1/2 cup (4 oz) sugar
1 cup (8 floz) water
1 stick cinnammon
6 whole cloves
3 cardamom pods (optional)
2 tbsp tea leaves
4 cups (32 floz) boiling water
juice of 1 large lemon and 2 oranges
ice cubes
iced water or soda water (club soda) to taste
orange and lemon slices to decorate


1. Boil the sugar, water and spices for 5 mins, then remove from heat. Put the tea bags in a large pot and pour the boiling water over, leave for 5 mins.
2. Strain into large bowl, add the strained syrup and leave to cool. Stir in the strained lemon and orange juice, then add ice cubes and dilute with iced water or club soda to taste. Decorate with slices of orange or lemon.
Serves: 8-10

Tea Punch

1/2 pint Golden Green tea
6 oz. sugar
1/2 pint orange squash
4 tbsps. lemon juice
2 small bottles ginger ale
1 large bottle lemonade
1 orange, sliced


Put the hot tea in a bowl, add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the orange squash and lemon juice and strain. Chill. Just before serving mix in the ginger ale, lemonade and orange slices. Sufficient for 12 people.

Tea Ice Cream (for making 2 lbs. of tea ice cream)

Dry tea (with good flavour) - 2 oz
Refined sugar - 1 lb
Arrowroot or cornflour - 1 oz
Fresh milk - 2 lbs
Water - 10 oz

Heat water and remove quickly from fire when boiling. Rinse out teapot with hot water and put in tea leaves. Pour boiling water into teapot. Infuse for 8 to10 minutes. Strain off infusion and keep aside.

Boil milk. Next, blend sugar with arrowroot (or cornflour) thoroughly and add lo boiled milk. Let mixture simmer for about10 minutes stirring continuously to avoid lumps. Remove from fire, add tea infusion, stir and freeze.

Cranberry Iced Tea Cooler


2 quarts CRAN-AID Iced Tea
1 can (6 oz.) frozen cranberry concentrate, partially thawed and undiluted
1 cup orange juice
¼ cup sugar


ICED TEA: Place 4 CRAN-AID tea bags in a glass or porcelain container. Pour 2 quarts boiling water over tea bags and steep 7 to 10 minutes. Squeeze and remove tea bags, allow tea to cool.
In large pitcher, combine the cranberry and orange juice. Stir until both are well mixed. Then pour in the ice tea. Add the sugar and mix until you dissolve the sugar. Cover and place in refrigerator to chill about 1 hour. Serve in ice-filled glasses.


Hot Tea Punch


5 bags of your favorite tea from our Traditional Teas Collection
6 cups water
3/4 cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
8 whole cloves
1 1/2 cups orange juice
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice


Bring first 4 ingredients to boil in heavy large saucepan over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Add tea bags. Cover and let steep 10 minutes. Discard tea bags. Add orange and lemon juices to punch. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm before continuing.) Using slotted spoon, remove whole spices. Serve hot.

Indian Chai Tea
3 teabags black tea
4 cups water
1 3 inch cinnamon stick
1 inch piece of ginger root cut into 4 slices
1/2 tsp (2 ml) cardamom seeds
1/2 tsp (2 ml) black peppercorns
1/2 tsp (2 ml) whole cloves
1 tsp (5 ml) whole coriander seeds
1 cup (225 ml) milk
honey or other sweetener to taste


Bring water to boil in a saucepan. Add spices, cover, and simmer 20 minutes. Add teabags and steep 10 minutes. Add milk and heat to drinking temperature-do not boil. Strain mixture through a cheesecloth or cotton dish towel. Serve with honey or other sweetener to taste.

Hot Ginger Tea


4 Ginger Aid Tea bags
2 Pieces (3" ea) cinnamon Sticks
8 Whole cloves
6 cups Boiling water
2 Orange slices


Put tea bags, cinnamon sticks, cloves, ginger and sugar into a large teapot. Pour boiling water over and allow to steep 3 minutes. Remove tea bags and steep for 5 minutes. To serve, pour tea into cups and float a quarter slice of orange in each cup.
Black Saffron Tea


4 bags Golden Green tea
6 Green cardamons
4 tsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Saffron threads
4 cups Water
4 bags Golden Green Tea Black


Add the cardamon, sugar and saffron to the water and bring to a boil. Simmer until reduced by half. Bring to a boil again, add tea bags and steep for 8 minutes. Strain out tea and spices. Serve hot.
Tea Nog


6 Tea bags, your favorite tea from our Traditional Teas Collection.
2 Eggs
14 oz Sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp Vanilla
1/4 tsp Salt
1 quart Milk
1/2 pint Whipping cream
Ground nutmeg


Brew all 6 tea bags in 1 cup of water. Steep for 5 minutes and remove bags. Let the tea cool, then add eggs (beaten), both milks, vanilla, salt, and mix well. Serve, with whipped cream and nutmeg for garnish. Serves 8.

Almond Tea


4 Tea bags your favorite tea from our Traditional Teas Collection
1/2 tsp Lemon zest, finely grated
4 cups Boiling water
1/2 cup Sugar
2 tbs Lemon juice
1 tsp Almond extract
1/4 tsp Vanilla


Steep tea and lemon rind in boiling water for about 5 minutes. Stir in sugar, lemon juice, almond and vanilla. Serve hot.

Coffee Recipes

There is as many ways to serve coffee as there is people! While we each have our favorite, it never hurts to try something different.

On these pages you will find some of the most popular recipes. Just think how much money you will save not having to go out to some fancy coffee house, not to mention it a great way to impress your friends. ;-)

All the recipes below contain no liquor, however if you enjoy your coffee spiked there is an entire page of these recipes.

Cafe Borgia (hot) 4 servings
2 cups strong Italian coffee
2 cups hot chocolate
whipped cream grated orange peel (garnish)

1. Mix coffee and hot chocolate
2. Pour into mugs
3. Top with whipped cream and orange peel

Caribbean (hot) 8 servings
1 coconut
2 cups milk
4 cups strong coffee
1 tablespoon sugar

1. Punch two holes in to coconut, pour liquid into saucepan
2. Bake coconut for 30 minutes at 300 F degrees
3. Break open coconut, remove meat, and grate.
4. Mix coconut meat, coconut liquid, and milk in a sauce pan
5. Heat over low heat until creamy.
6. Strain
7. Toast grated coconut under broiler
8. Mix milk mixture, coffee, and sugar
9. Pour into mugs, garnish with toasted coconut.

Coffee Float (cold) 4 servings
2 1/2 cups strong coffee
2 teaspoons sugar
2/3 cup cream
4 scoops of coffee flavored ice cream
1 large bottle of Coke

1. Sweeten coffee with sugar, and chill
2. Mix coffee and cream
3. Fill 4 glasses half full
4. Add one scoop of ice cream to each glass
5. Top with coke

European (hot) 2 servings

1 cup strong coffee
1 egg white
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons half and half

1. Beat egg white until forms soft peaks
2. Gently add vanilla, and continue to beat to stiff
peaks are formed
3. Place into 2 coffee mugs
4. Pour coffee over egg white
5. top with half and half

Grog (hot) 6 servings

3 cups coffee
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons softened butter
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Peel of one large orange, broken into 6 pieces
Peel of one large lemon, broken into 6 pieces

1. Place one piece of each peel into cups
2. Mix butter, sugar, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon
3. Mix coffee and cream
4. Pour both mixtures into cups and stir.

Irish (hot) 2 servings

2 cups strong coffee
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 teaspoons lemon juice
whipped cream

1. Mix coffee, orange juice and lemon juice
2. Pour into Irish whiskey glass
3. Top with whipped cream

Mediterranean (hot) 8 servings

8 cups strong coffee
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup chocolate syrup
1/2 teaspoon aniseed (tied in cheesecloth)
20 cloves
4 cinnamon sticks
whipped cream
orange and lemon twists

1. Place coffee, sugar, chocolate syrup, aniseed, cloves and
cinnamon into a sauce pan
2. Heat to 200 F degrees over medium heat
3. Strain into mugs
4. Top with whipped cream and twists
Mexican (hot) 2 servings

2 cups water
1/4 cup coffee grounds (ground coarsely)
1 table spoon brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick

1. Place all ingredients into a sauce pan
2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes
3. Strain into mugs

Mexican Mocha (hot) 4 servings

1 1/2 cups strong coffee
4 teaspoons chocolate syrup
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream

1. Put 1 teaspoon of chocolate syrup into each cup
2. Mix Whipping cream, 1/4 teaspoon of the cinnamon, nutmeg,
and sugar.
3. Whip until you have soft peaks
4. Place the last 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon into coffee, and stir
5. Pour coffee into cups, stir to mix in chocolate syrup
6. Top with whipped cream mixture.

Mocha (hot) 4 servings

2 cups coffee
1/3 cup cocoa
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup whipping cream
dash cinnamon

1. Mix cocoa, sugar, coffee and milk in a sauce pan
2. Heat, over medium heat constantly stirring, until
3. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla
4. Pour into cups, top with whipped cream and cinnamon

Nogged Coffee (hot) 2 servings

1 cup coffee
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup cream
dash nutmeg

1. Beat sugar and egg yolk together
2. Place cream into sauce pan, and heat over low setting
3. Whisk in egg mixture
4. Heat to 200 F degrees
5. Pour coffee into to cups, and top with cream mixture
6. garnish with nutmeg

Orange Coffee (hot) 2 servings

1 cup strong coffee
1 cup hot chocolate
2 orange slices
whipped cream
dash of cinnamon

1. Mix coffee and hot chocolate
2. Place one orange slice into each cup
3. Pour coffee mixture into cups
4. Top with whipped cream, and garnish with cinnamon

Spice Coffee (hot) 8 servings

8 tablespoons coffee grounds
8 cups water
Peel of one large orange
Peel of one large lemon
30 cloves
4 teaspoons sugar

1. Place coffee and spices in coffeemaker's basket
2. Add water and brew
3. Add sugar to coffee and serve.

Turkish (hot) 4 servings
1 1/2 cups cold water
4 teaspoons dark roast coffee (ground very fine)
4 teaspoons sugar

1. Heat water in saucepan, add coffee and sugar when warm
2. Bring to boil
3. Pour half of the coffee into demitasse cups.
4. Return remaining coffee to stove, and allow to return to boil.
5. Spoon off foam, and gently place into each cup (don't stir)

Viennese (hot) 4 servings

1/2 cup chocolate
2 1/2 cups strong coffee
4 tablespoons light cream
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon sugar
dash of cinnamon
dash of cocoa

1. Melt chocolate in sauce pan
2. Stir in light cream
3. Slowly add coffee, beating until frothy
4. In a cold bowl whip heavy cream and sugar
5. Pour coffee mixture into cups
6. Top off with heavy cream
7. Garnish with sprinkle of cinnamon and cocoa

Drink Coffee to Keep Your Body and Brain Healthy

By Steve Hanson

A cup of coffee daily will help you in more tactics than you think.

For instance, the daily dose of caffeine can keep Alzheimer's sickness in check, can help reduce cholesterol, protects against dementia, and decreases the chance of developing type 2 diabetes.
A daily dose of caffeine blocks the disruptive effects of high cholesterol that scientists link with Alzheimer's illness.

Caffeine equivalent of just a daily cup of Joe could protect the blood-brain barrier ( BBB ) from damage that occurs with a fat heavy diet, according to a study. The BBB protects the central nervous system ( CNS ) from what's left of the body's circulation, providing the brain with its own controlled micro-environment.

Previous research has demonstrated that raised levels of cholesterol break down the BBB which will then no longer protect the CNS from the damage due to blood borne contamination. BBB leakage occurs in a variety of neurological disorders like Alzheimer's sickness.

In one report, researchers of School of North Dakota ( UND ) gave rabbits 3 mg caffeine daily or the equivalent of an average daily cup of joe. The rabbits were fed a cholesterol-enriched diet in this time. After 12 weeks some lab tests indicated the BBB was noticeably more intact in rabbits getting a daily dose of caffeine.

The findings of the study have been broadcast in the open access Book of Neuroinflammation. "Caffeine appears to block many of the disruptive results of cholesterol that make the blood-brain barrier leaky," says Jonathan Geige of UND. "High levels of cholesterol are a risk factor for Alzheimer's sickness, perhaps by compromising the defending nature of the blood-brain barrier. For the first time we've shown that chronic ingestion of caffeine protects the BBB from cholesterol-induced leakage.

Caffeine is a safe and generally available drug and its capacity to stabilise the blood-brain barrier means it could have a critical part to play in therapies against neurological disorders."
Danish and Swedish researchers have disclosed that folks who drank three to five cups of coffee daily were 60 5 % not as sure to have developed dementia, compared to people who drank 2 cups or less. Earlier studies have linked coffee to a number of health perks that will make a contribution to this latest finding.

Coffee drinkers have shown a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, less plaque formation in the brain, and reduced vascular risk - all three of these effects could contribute to lowering Alzheimer's risk. Coffee isn't the single thing that may help you boost your brain.

A new English study shows that vitamin D could help ward off dementia and lower your risk for Parkinson's sickness. You will supplement your brain with omega-3 fatty acids found in this power food. Caffeine would most likely not be good for pregnant moms as it increases the risk of miscarriage.

Yet another new report has discovered that drinking three cups of coffee daily can help forestall ovarian cancer in girls.

A gang of world analysts has carried out the study and made public that women who take caffeine matching to three cups of coffee common-or-garden are no longer as sure to develop ovarian cancer later in life. The team came to the conclusion after researching the effects of coffee intake on a grouping of nurses.

The researchers compared the diets of 80 thousand of these girls with the superiority of ovarian cancer as part of the study between 1976 and 2004. According to the researchers, 737 of them developed ovarian cancer in the study period. Those that had at least three cups of coffee a day were found to be 20% not as certain to develop the sickness than those that drank none. Likewise, folk who did not select hormone replacement care, the likelihood was 43% less.
The benefits and hazards of drinking coffee remain the subject of much debate. I am not saying that you should start drinking five cups of coffee a day if you do not already drink coffee.

Obviously you shouldn't feel so bad if you DO drink many cups a day. If you want to stay healthy for life, make this straightforward choice - it is the smartest thing you may do for your brain.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Coffee: What Are The Health Benefits

Coffee: What Are The Health Benefits?
by: Aaron Matthews Morgan

If you are a coffee drinker, you no doubt have asked yourself how much coffee is it safe for you to consume on a daily basis. This is not surprising since so much has been blamed on coffee.

Heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, you name it. At one time or another, coffee has been made to blame. Coffee has joined the ranks of red wine and chocolate as a guilty pleasure that may actually be good for you. As much as it is a great way to get that fix in the morning, recent studies have shown that coffee has been found to be rich in antioxidants and contains hundreds of pain-relieving and anti-bacterial compounds. Although one should not drink coffee with wild abandon, it's comforting to know that maybe that cup or two in the morning may be good for you. Here is a statistic to ponder: did you know that there are over 160 million coffee drinkers in the Unites States alone? In terms of consumption, the average American consumes 8.8 lbs. of coffee per year. But consider this: the world leader in terms of consumption is Finland which comes in at nearly 30 lbs per year. That's a lot of coffee!

Another statistic is that there have been well over 19,000 studies done to analyze the effects of coffee. Now, studies can often be skewed to show whatever the author wants, but here is what is generally agreed: consuming 2 to 3 cups of coffee per day is often considered more beneficial than harmful. Recent studies have shown that moderate coffee drinking can reduce the risk of colon cancer (due to it's ability to keep you regular), gallstones, cirrhosis of the liver and more, due to the fact the it is loaded with healthy antioxidants. So loaded, that studies have implied that coffee contains higher levels of antioxidants compared to other commonly consumed beverages, such as tea and fruit juice.

Coffee has joined the ranks of red wine and chocolate as a guilty pleasure that may actually be good for you. As much as it is a great way to get that “fix” in the morning, recent studies have shown that coffee has been found to be rich in antioxidants and contains hundreds of pain-relieving and anti-bacterial compounds. Although one should not drink coffee with wild abandon, it's comforting to know that maybe that cup or two in the morning may be good for you. Several studies are also being conducted on Parkinson's and diabetic Patients. Research has shown that just one cup of coffee per day can halve your risk of Parkinson's, the brain disease that causes tremors and affects movement.

Caffeine may protect the brain cells typically lost to Parkinson's disease. However, it has been noted that women on hormone therapy do not seem to benefit. It is felt that Estrogen may dilute the effectiveness of caffeine. It has also been found that if a woman drinks three cups of coffee a day, she can reduce her risk of Type 2 Diabetes by twenty to thirty percent. Coffee may help promote the delivery of insulin to the tissues. Experts believe that coffee's antioxidants, such as chlorogenic acid and caffeine acid, deserve the credit. There are also on going studies that are producing favorable reports on coffee helping to fight Alzheimer's due to the caffeine stimulating the cognitive area of the brain. This is just the tip of the ice berg.

People with asthma who drink coffee can have up to 25 percent fewer symptoms because one of the compounds in coffee - theophylline - acts as a bronchodilator. A recent Brazilian study showed that consumption of coffee promotes better sperm mobility - and now studies are in progress to determine whether caffeine can help infertile men. Coffee contains polyphenols, substances that may reduce the risk of cancer and coronary artery disease. Caffeinated coffee, as opposed to decaffeinated coffee, makes you a better thinker. Studies have shown that coffee keeps you focused, particularly when you are doing not-so-pleasant work. A researcher with the U.S. Army stated caffeine improved scores on a range of cognitive tasks, such as decision making, learning, and attention in the sleep-deprived. Coffee can also boost your mood, probably by making you feel more energetic.

A little known fact is that coffee contains antioxidants which have been shown to imporve oveall health. Here is a short list of some benefits which have been shown to be present in coffee:

Reduce symptoms of Parkinson's Disease

Antibacterial ingredients

Reduce the risk of developing gallstones

Preserve mental accuity

Reduce risk of developing type 2 Diabetes (if you have diabetes, reduce your consumption

If you are free of hypertension, coffee will not likely produce it

Headache relief

Reduce the risk of some types of cancer

Improve physical endurance

The Gourmet Coffee

The Gourmet Coffee - The Top Ten Ingredients

by: Joachim Oster

Premium arabica coffee is a gift from the sun and the earth, born only under perfect environmental conditions in the mountainous regions between the tropics of Capricorn and Cancer. The best coffee requires light, fertile volcanic soil, abundant rainfall, some cloud cover, warm temperatures, very little wind, sunny mornings, rainy afternoons and the purest air. But where on earth can these ideal conditions be found? How about Kona, Hawaii? At the base of volcanoes Mauna Loa and Hualalai, the view is bounded on one side by mountains of perpetual green and pacific blues on the other. The morning air is soft and balmy, yet pure and refreshing. There is no place more beautiful where one would desire to pass their allotted time on earth, nor is there any other place better suited for growing specialty coffee! This is the Kona Coffee Belt, a 20-mile long by 2-mile wide band, which rests 700 to 2,500 feet above sea level. Spanning between the slopes of two volcanoes, lush green hills are covered by small, family owned plantations made up of trees that are sometimes more than a hundred years old. Here's are the 10 key reasons why Kona coffee, one of (if not THE) worlds top gourmet coffees can come only from Kona, Hawaii.

The Air

There is an island, which is far away from any other land. So far actually, that when the winds finally arrive, the air is cleaner and clearer than anywhere else on earth. Naturally filtered of pollutants and oxygenated by thousands of miles of ocean in each direction, it feels like breathing pure silk. This is Hawai'i, the most isolated archipelago in the Pacific and in the world. Hawaiian weather patterns are affected primarily by high-pressure zones in the north Pacific that send cool, moist trade winds to the island's northeastern slopes. The winds are forced up-slope, where moisture condenses into rain producing clouds - a phenomenon that creates the rich tropical environment for Hawai'i's flowers and vibrant greens.

The Earth

The Big Island is a bit smaller than the state of Connecticut and slightly larger than the island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea. It's the largest of the seven Hawai'ian islands though, yet only 130,000 inhabitants call this place home. Due to Hawai'i's remoteness, the islands have been spared many diseases and countless pests have never landed on its shores, which enables the land, the sea, even the air to remain abundant, fertile and pure. The disintegrating volcanic rock on the Big Island is rich in natural minerals and erodes easily. This geologically young, porous and well-drained soil, mixed with decayed vegetation creates nutritious and healthy pastures for Hawaii's flowers, fruits and verdant greens. The Big Islands broad slopes and high peaks obstruct the flow of weather patterns over the Pacific, causing 13 of the world's 16 global climates to be found here: sunny beaches, tropical rain forests, cool alpine regions and stony deserts - each with its own unique weather, plants and animals.

The Water

The year-round warm ocean waters are responsible for the equally balmy air temperature. On their long journey, the trade winds pick up the cleanest ocean water and drop it onto our mountains. Rain is not gloomy here, but nurturing, cleansing, warm and refreshing. Towering cumulus clouds tend to build up over the volcanoes on sunny warm afternoons, resulting in brief, intense and localized showers. One may ask where all the rainwater goes, if not used by vegetation or running back to sea? Accumulated rainwater is filtered through rocks and pools between ancient layers of lava, creating gigantic aquifers of the purest fresh water deep in the earth to be tapped by future generations.

The Fire

The Hawaiian islands were created by a fine crack in the mantle of the earth, which leaked so much lava onto the deep ocean floor that it created the world's highest volcano. And if measured from the ocean floor, it is also the world's highest mountain. Magnificent steam explosions occur where the glowing lava flow enters the ocean and creates new land out of rocks, pebbles and sand. The volcano is believed by Hawaiian's to be an incarnation of the goddess Pelé, who is soothed by sacrifices and offerings of respect. Occasionally one may find stony strands of her 'hair' or pellets like shiny 'tears' on the beach, from when she wanders amongst us mortals in the figure of an old woman. Sun drenched mornings and misty afternoons are not all Kona needs in order to produce the perfect Hawaiian coffee climate. Large steam plumes on the other side of the island are produced where lava enters the ocean. These clouds contain a mixture of light hydrochloric acid and water droplets, which is created when the intense heat of lava evaporates salty seawater. This hazy mixture we call 'laze'. The constant airborne emissions of the Kilauea crater releases sulfur dioxide gases, which react chemically with sunlight and oxygen. They form a sulfuric acid fog we call 'vog' (volcanic fog). The trade winds dilute these cloud mixtures and send them on a hundred mile journey around the southern tip of the island to Kona. Here in the coffee belt this cloud mixtures serve as a gentle and natural fertilizer for the coffee trees. Volcanic soil is sometimes too alkaline and requires these acids in order to balance the pH value, which in turn creates the perfect growing conditions for coffee arabica trees. This unique combination is yet another reason that Kona coffee beans come from the most productive trees on earth!

The Trade Winds

Throughout most of the year Hawaiian weather patterns are affected primarily by high-pressure zones in the north Pacific that send cool, moist trade winds to the island's northeastern slopes. The strength of these winds build as the heat of the day rises and reach a peak in the afternoon, only to diminish in the evening and start again the next day. The trade winds are forced up-slope by the mountain heights where moisture condenses into rain producing clouds. Most of this rain falls then in the mountains and valleys on the wet, windward (northeastern) side of the island and it is this weather phenomenon that creates the rich tropical environment for Hawaii's flowers and vibrant greens. Shelter on the dry, leeward (southwestern) side from the prevailing trade winds and occasional tropical storms is provided by the 14,000 foot height of the volcano Mauna Loa. But there is enough wind left for the Kona coffee belt for some cooling breezes during tropical nights.

The Shade of Vector Clouds

Coffee trees cannot withstand dryness, heat or frost. For these reasons only the world's premium coffees are grown under shade trees, which protect against the overhead tropical sun. Other commercial or inexpensive coffee varieties require additional fertilizers and pesticides in order to thrive in harsh, sunny terrains. Without a lush tree canopy for protection, the thin tropical soil of these sun-loving varieties is exposed to blazing rays and eroding rains. The sun literally scorches the much-needed microorganisms that exist within the earth. Once destroyed, they must then be replenished artificially. Naturally shade grown Kona coffee maintains a nutrient rich soil, which reduces acidity and produces dense and more flavorful beans. During the course of any given Kona day the land is gently heated by the sun, which draws moist breezes up the slopes to create what's called vector clouds. These clouds not only make shade trees obsolete, but they prompt drizzly convection rains throughout the afternoon. Therefore only in Hawai'i is coffee grown at lower altitudes and naturally irrigated. Each day around 20,000 gallons of pure, fresh Pacific rainwater is poured onto each acre of happy coffee trees. But moments after these periodic rains disappear, one may witness the sun once again pushing its way through at the coast below, creating magnificent rainbows and the most breathtaking Hawaiian sunsets.

The Trees

The coffee tree is one of the few plants that can simultaneously grow a blossom as well as a ripe fruit on the same branch. These trees develop a deep root system in our porous, deep and well-drained soil. Not really huge trees, they appear more like bushes with heavily ridged leaves and long whip like branches that bend toward the ground once heavy with fruit. Members of the gardenia family, they produce amazingly fragrant, brilliantly white flowers that coat the hills many times throughout the year. Over here the folks like to call these blooms 'Hawaiian snow'. Century old coffee trees are handpicked to obtain the best flavor, assuring that only the reddest, ripest and finest cherries make it into your cup. Picking cherries too early or too late in the season will affect the taste of coffee, so only a trained eye knows exactly which fruit is at the right stage. Not many people know this, but the average Kona coffee tree yields about 13 pounds of raw cherry, which results in about 2 pounds of roasted coffee. So when you order 2 lbs from a Kona coffee farm, you're actually buying the yearly fruit of an entire tree! If you want to avoid consuming higher levels of caffeine,make sure to always serve coffea arabica beans, as they have half the caffeine, but double the aroma of the cheaper coffea robusta beans. To know that you got any of the other aforementioned benefits buy only pure Hawaiian Kona coffee (100% Kona Coffee).

The Sun Drying

During the pulping process the harvested red berries are soaked in the freshest and purest rainwater to ferment overnight. This labor-intense 'wet method' is the preferred way of processing high grown arabicas. The soaked skins and pulp are then removed from the beans, which are later washed and spread out to dry on a wooden dry deck. The moist beans are raked many times throughout the day so that the drying happens uniformly. Kona's warm sun and gentle breezes dry the beans slowly to the perfect moisture level. Commercial grades of coffee utilize a mechanical drying method, which forces hot air over the beans to speed up the drying process. This method proves less labor intensive, therefore lowering the price. Sundried coffee maintains more of a delicate, mellow flavor--whereas kiln dried coffee will oftentimes lose some of the aromas Kona coffee is famous for. The only way to safely preserve coffee and its rich aromas for as long as possible is to keep it in its parchment form. Yet most coffee is processed very quickly to its green bean form in their respective country of origin. Once the green beans are exposed to air, light and humidity, the surface oxidizes and bacteria, yeasts and moulds start their deteriorating work. Many months journeys in the stuffy hold of a ship, various cargo trucks and warehouses go by before the green beans get to the roasters and ultimately to your cup. Better to only hull the parchment of the beans right before they are roasted. It's simply healthier and tastier.

The Small Estates

Family owned plantations produce the finest, estate-grown coffee with superior large, dense and flavorful beans. Kona coffee maintains individual subtleties; much better tasting than pooled, generically sold cheaper alternatives. Kona is comparable to the Champagne region in France, which produces the only legitimately named 'Champagne' product. And like Champagne, 100% Kona coffee is distinguished from commercial blends not only by region and the ideal growing conditions, but also by the enormous amount of care taken throughout each step of the farming, harvesting and roasting processes. Whether it's from the individual pruning of the trees, handpicking only the ripest coffee cherries, carefully sun-drying on large open decks and roasting prior to packaging the coffee in specially sealed bags to ensure freshness--you can be assured that Hawaiian Kona coffee is comparable to no other. Only 14,000 to 16,000 sacks of this precious Kona coffee is produced each year by the few hundred farms dotting the hills of this region, making pure Kona coffee the rare and sought after gourmet coffee in the world.

The 100% Rule

Most likely any coffees you ever drank came from ultra-productive, low-waged labor, machine-picked and pesticide sprayed coffee farms in other parts of the world. Large companies who trade in coffee are interested in buying the cheapest beans available, resell, ship, store it for many months to the point where they have to infuse coffee aromas back into the beans during the roasting process! And you wonder why your stomach rebels against that second cup... Intense hand labor, only ripe beans, a unique climate and soil in Kona combined with natural processing gives this coffee its greatness. Real, fresh 100% Kona coffee is hard to come by outside of Kona, which is why many coffee drinkers are easily duped. Companies all over the world mislead customers and profit on the reputation of the Kona fame by mixing few Kona coffee beans with much, much cheaper inferior Central or South American beans. This combination produces an atypical, cheaper taste, and is commonly referred to as '10% Kona Blend', 'Kona Roast', or 'Kona Style'. Yet this name misleads folks to believe that the bag of coffee they've purchased contains a mix or 'blend' of various Kona coffees. The law of Hawai'i stipulates that a bag of pure Kona coffee must have printed on its label the words 100% KONA COFFEE to guarantee its contents. So watch out for it and check the bag or cross check the coffee websites carefully before you order!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Green tea and cholestrol

Studies have been done on green tea and cholesterol that indicate that you can lower your cholesterol by adding green tea to your diet

Green tea consumption has been known for its many health benefits but for those of you who are suffering from high cholesterol there is some encouraging news. By drinking a few cups of tea a day you can naturally lower your cholesterol levels.

There have been studies that indicate that tea can not only lower bad (LDL) cholesterol but also raises good cholesterol (HDL). Studies done on animals have shown that the polyphenols found in tea will inhibit cholesterol absorption due to the high levels of EGCG.

A study at the Chinese University of Hong Kong found that the antioxidants found in green tea also speed up the breakdown of triglycerides to fatty acids so they can be burned as energy.
High cholesterol can lead to cardiovascular disease and as cholesterol is oxidized it could block off an artery and lead to a stroke. Strokes are the third leading cause of death, behind heart disease and cancer.

With all the tests done on green tea it’s no secret that the antioxidants found in this tea are quite amazing. You can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and other serious health problems by adding tea to your diet. Reducing the risk is essential to living a healthy life.