- Coffee is a must-have to start the day for many cyclists, but too much caffeine has been shown to raise blood pressure, and may also lead to things like headache, shakiness, or abnormal heartbeat.
- Now, new research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has found the upper limit for coffee consumption is six cups a day.
For billions of people around the planet, coffee is fuel for the daily grind. Endurance athletes swear by java to get them going (in more ways than one). For many, life without at least one daily cup is simply a no-go.
But as with any good thing, too much coffee is a bad thing. Too much caffeine can cause high blood pressure, a precursor to heart disease, and can cause side effects like dizziness, shakiness, headache, or abnormal heartbeat.
Until now it was hard to say how much was too much. Thanks to new research from the University of South Australia, we now have an upper limit for how much coffee is safe when talking about your heart disease risk.
In the study, researchers delved into U.K. Biobank data of more than 347,000 people ages 37 to 73 years to explore how the caffeine-metabolizing gene (CYP1A2) helps carriers process caffeine, as well as identify the risks of cardiovascular disease as it relates to coffee consumption and genetic variations.
They discovered that those drinking more than six cups of coffee a day had a 22 percent higher risk of cardiovascular disease than those who drank 1 to 2 cups a day, putting that ceiling for safe coffee consumption at six cups per day.
Interestingly, the amount for safe consumption did not seem to have anything to do with whether you had the genes to metabolize coffee faster.
Despite carriers of the fast-processing gene variation being four times quicker at metabolizing caffeine, the research does not support the belief that these people could safely consume more caffeine, more frequently, without detrimental health effects, study author Elina Hyppönen, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the Australian Centre for Precision Health said in a press release.
“In order to maintain a healthy heart and a healthy blood pressure, people must limit their coffees to fewer than six cups a day—based on our data six was the tipping point where caffeine started to negatively affect cardiovascular risk,” Hyppönen said.
The study also suggests the heart-protective effects of drinking some coffee, since nondrinkers had an 11 percent increased risk of cardiovascular disease compared to those who drank 1 to 2 cups daily. That follows in line with a 2017 study published in the European Journal of Nutrition, which found low to moderate coffee consumption per day was linked to lower chances of heart incidents, while those drinking the most per day had the highest risk.
An antioxidant in coffee called chlorogenic acid may help improve blood vessel function and thwart the development of the plaque buildup that can clog arteries, those researchers believed. But too much caffeine can not only raise the chances of high blood pressure, but may also lead to artery stiffening—two factors which can raise your chances of heart disease.
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It all comes down to one buzzword that can apply to almost anything in the health field: moderation.
“An estimated three billion cups of coffee are enjoyed every day around the world,” Hyppönen said in the press release. “Knowing the limits of what’s good for you and what’s not is imperative. As with many things, it’s all about moderation; overindulge and your health will pay for it.”
A tree-lined, mile-long stretch of Penfield Road passes an entrance for Corbett’s Glen Nature Park in Brighton, a trailhead for Ellison Park and the hundred-year-old Gentle’s Farm Market in Penfield before it dips down to a commercial area that’s anchored by Panorama Plaza.
For years, an integral part of the charming neighborhood was Bernunzio’s Deli and Bakery, 745 Penfield Road. Neighbors would visit for cold cuts, a sandwich and their famous meatball cookies. On nice days, customers would enjoy their food at picnic tables on the large lawn that faces Colonial Village Road.
Jenna Morgante grew up in the neighborhood, and she and her husband, Pete Morgante, returned when it came time to raise their family.
“Growing up, I used to come to the old Bernunzio’s the whole time,” she said.
It had been a dream of hers since high school to own a neighborhood coffee shop, so when space became available, the Morgantes, along with Dan and Jess Garcia, jumped at the opportunity. The four have been friends since their high school days at The Charles Finney School.
They opened Tree Town Café, a cozy coffee shop that serves baked goods as well as breakfast and lunch fare. The space has been renovated to give it a current look as well as indoor seating.
Breakfast sandwiches are popular, and range from the classic egg and cheese on a hard roll ($3.50) to The Jam ($7.50), which has egg, avocado, hot pepper jam, arugula and feta cheese on sourdough. Lunches bring sandwiches ($5.50 to $7.50) and salads ($7). It also has a full coffee bar, including espresso drinks.
Baked goods are baked in-house (some from Bernunzio’s recipes), or purchased from local bakeries. Ice cream will be added on June 1.
Local sourcing is a priority; among their suppliers are Balsam Bagels; Fiz sodas; The Chai Guy; Evening Star Coffee Roasters; and Amazing Grains Bread Co.
The name of the café was suggested by their four-year-old son, Jenna Morgante said. When they researched the name, they found that trees are an important part of Brighton’s identity; has been a designated Tree City USA through the Arbor Day Foundation since 2003.
“We’re so excited,” Jenna Morgante said. “There’s such a history here.”
Although it is nestled in a residential area, the building was home to commercial enterprises for decades. Before Bernunzio’s, it was home to DiCrasto Dairy from the 1950s (and possibly earlier) and into the 1980s. After Bernunzio’s closed in 2015, the owners of Chef’s Catering ran Chef’s Kitchen and Bakery beginning in September of 2016.
Given its proximity to homes, it’s not a surprise that its history has been punctuated by issues with neighbors dating back to 1962, when residents objected when the DiCrastos asked for permission to sell beer. Neighbors also complained about trucks at Bernunzio’s and battled Chef’s Catering’s proposal to expand its conditional use permit. They expressed concerns when Tree Town Café was proposed.
But now that the business has opened, the Morgantes say they have felt welcomed by the neighborhood, even by some of the folks who initially opposed the business.
“It’s a 20-year dream come true,” Jenna Morgante said.
If you go
The Tree Town Cafe is open 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Beginning June 1 it will be open 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and will add ice cream and family-friendly games on the lawn.
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Having dominated the day-to-night cafe space on H Street NE with his coffee shop-meets-restaurant and cocktail bar Maketto, chef Erik Bruner-Yang is opening …
Consider the Ratio Eight: a luxurious and attractive home coffee brewer first announced in 2013, and one of the original automatic brewers to make coffee with water within the SCA-approved temperature range. But the coffee maker was beset by production delays, and faced a major fundamental issue keeping it out of the hands of most consumers: the price. Ranging between $500 and $750+, the Ratio Eight was prohibitively expensive for most home users. (Why spend espresso machine money when a $40 Chemex or $129 Bonavita could do the trick?)
To combat this, Ratio has just announced their newest creation. Dubbed the Ratio Six and now live on Kickstarter, the new brewer is slightly smaller in size, and sports a similarly reduced price tag.
Functionally, the Ratios Six and Eight are very similar. Both machines have a 1.25 liter/40 ounce brew capacity made using a simple one-button design to initiate the two-stage (bloom and brew) system. But whereas the Eight also put an emphasis on super premium materials like walnut and hand-blown glass, the Six features “precision formed stainless steel, borosilicate glass, and high end BPA-free copolymers,” and is designed to last for at least five years of regular use.
Thanks to the new construction, the retail price for the Ratio Six has dropped considerably from that of the Eight, listing at $345. And if that is still too much of a spicy meatball for your bank account, did I mention it’s currently in Kickstarter, the home of deep discount pre-sale pricing? For the 99 quickest-acting individuals, the Ratio Six will be available at nearly half off, at a cool $194. After that, the brewing system will be available for Kickstarter early-but-not-super-early adopters at $242 or $272, if you want them to include two 10-ounce bags of coffee from Portland’s Good Coffee.
Rewards for backers are scheduled to be delivered in December 2019—just in time for the holiday season—and Ratio founder Mark Hellweg tells Sprudge the company is quite confident they will hit that deadline. That would make it perhaps the first coffee crowdfunding project to hit its delivery date, so take that for what you will. But someone’s gotta be the first, right?
For more information on the Ratio Six, visit their Kickstarter page.
Top image via Ratio Coffee
Our coverage of the Sprudge Twenty interviews presented by Pacific Barista Series continues this week on Sprudge. Read more about the Sprudge Twenty and see all of our interviews here.
Nominated by Tyler Geel
Aubrey Mills is the Director of Wholesale at Dapper & Wise, a coffee roasting company with locations in Beaverton and Portland, Oregon. In her role with the company, Mills has avowedly championed the disparity in cost of production across the specialty coffee chain. She’s made public education her goal, focused on educating the public for the need to pay more for quality coffee and address wage instability for coffee producers. These issues were addressed at a recent forum hosted by La Marzocco USA in Seattle, Washington during a Dapper & Wise cafe residency.
This interview has been lightly edited and condensed.
What issue in coffee do you care about most?
The cost of production crisis weighs heavily on my mind. The first time I heard that many farmers are receiving less money for their green coffee than it costs them to produce was a little over a year ago. I had already been in coffee for four years prior, so finding out that this has been a massive issue for decades was shocking—I felt I should have at least heard about it. It’s not just morally wrong for an industry to be built up on the financial oppression of others, but these are people we call PARTNERS. This doesn’t sound like a partnership to me at all. Even if you look at this issue from a logistical point of view, it’s unwise business for, arguably, the most essential portion of our industry to have the greatest financial insecurity. I know this is common in other industries but I expect better of us in coffee.
What cause or element in coffee drives you?
Coffee is for everyone. I have heard someone say that there is the perfect amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee to bond with someone in conversation. I have no idea if this is scientific fact but I have been in that moment before. If coffee is for everyone and has the ability to facilitate connection then that is something I want to help grow.
What issue in coffee do you think is critically overlooked?
This is a hard question, but I would say that I would like to see more leaders in our industry providing tangible ways for people to be involved in solving issues apart from discussion. I don’t think I am the only one who hears about all of the problems we need to solve but have a hard time of figuring out where to start. It could be as detailed as providing intellectual resources to host an event and raise money for a cause, or it could be simple directions for how to break down these large concepts into conversations that can be had with customers and the public. If people are able to see where they can be useful in a cause and feel empowered to act then I think we will start to see actual change.
What is the quality you like best about coffee?
The smell of coffee is my favorite. Even garbage-tasting coffee usually smells great.
Did you experience a “god shot” or life-changing moment of coffee revelation early in your career?
The first time I tried a naturally processed coffee I was blown away. It was an Ethiopia Yirgacheffe that tasted like a blueberry muffin and I remember asking myself, “If coffee can taste like this, what else don’t I know?”
What is your idea of coffee happiness?
When we work as a fluid team from a place of strength not desperation.
If you could have any job in the coffee industry, what would it be and why?
I don’t have a specific job in mind but I would like to do more things like the panel event I hosted about the cost of production. I loved hearing different perspectives on the same idea and figuring out how to organize that information so the audience could get the most out of it. I am a value-driven person so I love being a part of solving big problems and building meaningful relationships. I don’t think these ideals are specific to a single job and I am starting to feel like the glass ceiling is only in my head.
Who are your coffee heroes?
To spotlight one, Junior’s Roasted Coffee is, in my mind, one of the strongest examples of value continuity in business. Mike & Caryn [Nelson] began Junior’s with the cost of production issue at its center–starting a dialog with customers and staff in every way shape and form. I kid you not, their wifi password is “askmeaboutcostofproduction”. On top of that, they are genuinely kind people who have invested themselves in our Portland community as well. HEROES.
If you could drink coffee with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Other than my dad, Fred Rogers was my childhood hero. He always kept his values in the forefront of his work and had the ability to address major societal issues in a way that a child could understand. If you haven’t watched his documentary (I recommend it) you’ll see moments of his fury communicated with boldness, compassion, and logic in order to change minds. I’d like to be more like that in my work and relationships.
If you didn’t get bit by the coffee bug, what do you think you’d be doing instead?
I played soccer for a majority of my life and believe in the impact that the teamwork mentality can have on a community and an individual. I would probably be trying to work for Adidas in team-centric programs for local communities.
Do you have any coffee mentors?
Not officially—but I do have the benefit of working closely with some really incredible people. To call out one person in particular, Michael Ryan is one of the wisest and most patient human beings I’ve ever met. I have gone to him countless times to help me brainstorm problems I am trying to solve or personal goals I want to refine. He listens more often than he speaks and when he does—it’s always thoughtful (and usually profound). I likely wouldn’t be looking at coffee as a long-term career choice had it not been for working alongside Michael for the past five years.
What do you wish someone would’ve told you when you were first starting out in coffee?
Don’t wait for permission or dwell on qualifications. Honestly, the very event that led me to this questionnaire was an emotional battle for me. I worked my ass off on that event and to understand “cost of production” as an issue but knew I was entirely out of my league to try and communicate its complexities (on stage, while being recorded). But I found a lot of comfort in the fact that it WASN’T ABOUT ME and that I was certainly qualified to ask pre-planned questions to highly intelligent people. All of this to say, I may have started taking risks earlier had I not been silently waiting for someone to give me the nod, and I don’t even know who that person is.
Name three coffee apparatuses you’d take into space with you.
I would take an AeroPress with an Able Brewing disc filter, obviously, because I would love to swim in a room full of thousands of tiny coffee bubbles. My second option would be espresso with a bottomless portafilter. I don’t totally know what would happen but I am trying to find out. My third option is a Voila packet because NASA might actually approve it coming on board.
Best song to brew coffee to:
Gary Clark Jr.’s “When I’m Gone” for a happy morning kind of situation.
Look into the crystal ball—where do you see yourself in 20 years?
I honestly have no clue, but hopefully I am still working with people I love and respect and contributing to something bigger than myself.
What’d you eat for breakfast this morning?
A protein shake. I have two very young dogs to tire out in the morning so the faster I can get calories into my body, the better.
When did you last drink coffee?
What was it?
Drip from the FETCO–Colombia Edilma Piedrahita.
Zachary Carlsen is a co-founder and editor at Sprudge Media Network. Read more Zachary Carlsen on Sprudge.