Coffee News Roundup 11/25/2013


Over the past week, coffee has featured in a number of health-related stories and a few others. Researchers continue to discover new ways that coffee may help our bodies deal with various conditions, including Alzheimer's disease and coronary artery disease. At the same time, the FDA has released guidance for the food industry regarding a chemical that naturally forms in coffee during roasting. In other news, coffee people are warming up to the suspended coffee movement. Here's a closer look at last week in coffee news.


Coffee and Health

FDA acrylamide guidance for food industry includes coffee

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration has released new guidance for the food industry aimed at reducing acrylamide in foods. Acrylamide is a chemical that forms when some starchy vegetable foods are cooked at high temperatures. It forms in coffee when the beans are roasted. Acrylamide has been connected to cancer when given to lab animals in very high doses and may be a human carcinogen. While the industry has devised ways to reduce the formation of acrylamide during coffee roasting, the quality of the coffee is seriously degraded. Darker roasts seem to contain less acrylamide than lighter roasts, and brewed coffee appears to have far less acrylamide than ground coffee. In addition, researchers note that brewing methods make a difference in the amount of acrylamide in coffee. Some scientists also note that the levels of acrylamide used in research were far higher than people would ingest in real life.

In other news, researchers in Japan say that a cup of coffee improves your circulation, scientists at the University of South Florida believe that three cups of coffee a day may help prevent Alzheimer's disease, and a team of researchers in Sweden suggest that you turn on a blue light instead of drinking a cup of coffee when you need an attention booster. We bet the coffee tastes better, though.



Coffee Culture

Suspended coffee continues to spread

While the origin of the suspended coffee movement is a bit clouded in myth, its recent history has been more carefully documented. The tradition of paying for a "suspended coffee" may have begun in wartime Venice, when many of the city's businessmen found themselves in financial troubles. It became a tradition for those who were better off to buy a coffee and pay for a second coffee to be made and served later to a less fortunate associate who could not afford to buy a coffee for himself. The tradition was revived earlier this year after a blog post publicizing it went viral. The simple gesture of paying for a cup of coffee for a stranger seems to touch a spirit of generosity for coffee lovers around the world, with even Starbucks joining in on the concept.

Are any coffee shops near you participating in the suspended coffee movement? The Facebook page Suspended Coffees is tracking the trend and developing an app to make it even easier to join in on the generosity of paying it forward with a cup of coffee.

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