Despite 20 years of reassuring research, many people still avoid caffeinated coffee because they worry about its health effects. However, current research reveals that in moderation—a few cups a day—coffee is a safe beverage that may even offer some health benefits. The September issue  of Harvard Women's Health Watch weighs the pros and cons of this popular beverage and eases the concerns of moderate coffee drinkers.
The latest research has not only confirmed that moderate coffee consumption doesn't cause harm, it's also uncovered possible benefits. Coffee may reduce the risk of developing gallstones, discourage the development of colon cancer, improve cognitive function, reduce the risk of liver damage in people at high risk for liver disease, and reduce the risk of Parkinson's disease. Coffee has also been shown to improve endurance performance in long-duration physical activities.
Source: Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School, 2006.
BREWING THE PERFECT CUP OF COFFEE
Here are some hints to help you get the most out of every cup of gourmet (Kona) coffee.
Lightly roasted coffees (roughly the color of cinnamon) tend to have intense aromas, with crisp lively acidity as the dominant flavor note and a relatively light body.
Medium roasted beans (roughly light brown in color) typically full in body while still maintaining most of their acidity. This type of roast is also known as American or Traditional roast.
Dark roasts (dark brown in color with slight traces of oil on the surface) replace acidity with a slight roasty bitterness that creates more pungent flavor. Dark roasts are also known as Vienna or Full City roasts.
Very dark roast (dark brown to black in color with oily bean surfaces) have a pronounced carbony bitterness as their primary flavor with a noticeable decrease in body. This type of roast makes the beans appear shiny – the result of oils that rise to the surface of the beans during the roasting process.
DID YOU KNOW?
There are 2 primary species of coffee, Arabica (from Arabia, the ancient name for Yemen), and Robusta. Arabica beans are delicate and flavorful and sell at higher prices because of their quality and limited availability. Robusta beans are often used in the processing of soluble (instant) coffees and popular commercial blends. Makalei Estate Coffee beans are Arabica beans carefully handpicked, estate grown (not mixed with other farms’ coffee beans), sundried and roasted to perfection grown within the Kona Cofee Belt in the Big Island of Hawaii.
The Coffee “bean” is actually the seed of the coffee cherry. Two beans grow face to face within each cherry, and there are about approximately 3,000 handpicked beans in a single pound of specialty coffee.
Did you know that it takes 7-9 lbs of coffee cherry to produce 1 lb of roasted coffee? Each coffee tree produces only about 1 ½ lbs or roasted coffee per season.
Coffee is a big business. It is second only to toll as a commodity on world markets.
CHOOSING COFFEE ROASTS
There are four broad categories of coffee roast: light, medium, dark and very dark.
Roast color terminology is not standardized within the US coffee industry. Thus, make sure that you ask for an explanation of the terminology used by your coffee merchant. Makalei Estate Coffee offers Medium, Dark and Medium Dark roasts. Please visit our products page for more info.
Store fresh unused coffee in an air-tight container in a cool dry place; whole bean coffee stays fresh longer than ground coffee. For prolonged freshness, ground coffee may be kept in a refrigerator for 7-10 days maximum. Freezing coffee is best if you must keep it for an extended time before using. It is best to allow the beans to thaw to room temperature before grinding. However, to maximize flavor, grind coffee as close as possible to the time of brewing.
Always use the correct grind for particular brewing method you have chosen. Often, your coffee is bitter and overly strong, the grind is too fine or you have used too much coffee. If the brew lacks flavor or strength, it is likely that the grind is too coarse, or you have used too little coffee.
Always use freshly drawn cold water. Hot water has a tendency to be flat and stale. Never use softened water – it produces a bad-tasting brew.
Never guess amounts. The recommended proportion of coffee and water is 2 tablespoons per 1 cup cold water for regular strength coffee – preferably measuring both. You may adjust the proportion to suit your taste and gauge your coffee strength preferences.
Make sure the coffee brewer and server are clean and thoroughly rinsed. Coffee quickly picks up flavors during the brewing process.
For best results, always brew to the full capacity of your coffee maker.
To prevent bitterness, remove the grounds from the brew as soon as the brewing cycle is completed. For the same reason, never re-use grounds.
Serve coffee immediately after brewing. With the drip methods, stir the brew before serving.
Never reheat cooled coffee or allow it to sit on a heat source – the coffee will lose its flavor quickly if the brew begins to boil.
An air pot, such as a thermos or any other kind of vacuum container with a glass or stainless steel coating inside, will keep freshly brewed coffee warm for a long time. Storing coffee this way also keeps the coffee from breaking down and losing its flavor.