Spilling the Coffee Beans

Barista Horror Stories

Annoyed Lady in Cafe

During the last seven months or so before I left for college (and a couple months into it too) I was a barista at a local coffee shop in both my hometown and college town. Of all the jobs food industry jobs that I’ve had (waitress, caterer, etc.) being a barista definitely holds the number one spot for being the most memorable.

This isn’t just because I still consider one of my crowning achievements mastering the skill of latte art, but because of the breed of customer that coffee houses seem to attract. I’m not entirely sure how interactive major coffee franchise workers are with their customers (from my experience of being a customer, not very) but in the two small town coffee shops where I worked; being interactive with our customers wasn’t a choice. They knew my name, my major, what year in school I was in, whether or not I had worked last Wednesday… Most everyone that came into the shop was friendly and the atmosphere day-to-day was family-like and normal. Every now and then however, a really memorable customer would come in.

Once, I had a woman whose order total came to a couple pennies short of $5. She handed me a $5 dollar bill and when I returned four pennies to her, she dropped them into my tip jar. “For your college fund,” she stated before picking up her latte and walking out. Another day, one of my co-workers was getting coffee and scones for an elderly man. When she handed everything to him he looked at us and said, “I’m not going to tip either of you because I fought in the war, and that’s enough of a tip.”

My friends used to love when I’d come home with a story or two about the bizarre, weird and downright mean customers I’d had to deal with that day. Here are some (true) stories found on various barista blogs, for your enjoyment. May your day be going better than theirs and remember— your barista is the gate keeper to your caffeine for the day… be good to them.  If you aren’t, you might just wind up on a blog like this one where your story can be shared for us all to delight in. Here are some of my favorite barista stories.



Identity Gift – 3/23/2013

There is a man loudly reciting his credit card number, bank account number, phone number, and address over his cell phone.

Identity, anyone?

Anyone want an identity?


The Fake Bill – 3/8/2015

Man enters with a $50 bill on his hand, grabs a water and hands me the bill.

I walk to the cash register and notice the man staring at all of the cameras.

I then look at this bill and see it’s poorly constructed.

“I can’t take this. It’s a fake.”

“No. You’re the one giving me a fake bill!”

“Why would I hand my customers fake bills?! And you cut the corners all weird on this one…I could’ve done a better job.”


I point at the corner and he mumbles “damn…”


Medium – 7/24/2013

“I’ll get a medium coffee”

He sees me grabbing the middle cup, I pour the coffee and hand it to him.

“Wait, that’s a medium? I asked for a MEDIUM.”

“There’s three cups and the one in the middle is the medium one.”

“So this is the medium one?”


Italian or French Latte – 4/2/2014

Diva enters wearing several scarves.

“I want a coffee!”

“What kind??”

“I want a regular sized (WHAT IS REGULAR?) ITALIAN LATTE. Not a FRENCH one. You know what I’m talking about.”

“No. I don’t.”

She stares at me and stays silent for 13 seconds and leaves.


Smelling The Beans

A customer refused to pay for her coffee until she could “smell the beans.” She then declared that it didn’t smell like coffee, and got far too personal with the roast by sticking her hand right in the coffee hopper to grab a handful of coffee beans. The employees had to throw her original drink out — along with the five pounds of coffee she had touched. She stormed out saying, “I didn’t want coffee anyway.”


No Money – 10/21/2013

Man in a suit comes in and asks for a complicated drink….not that complicated, but just annoying for 8am. I make it anyway.

“That’ll be three dollars.”

Man checks his wallet for cash.

“Ugh. I have no money. I left it in the hotel.”

“Well, there is a 5 dollar minimum that I can overlook—”

“I’ll be back. I’m gonna go to the hotel to get the money. Can I come back?”

He grabs the drink. I grab it back.

“You can use your card for this one sir.”


He rushes out and walks straight into another coffee shop.


The Butter Croissant – 10/21/2013

Russian Mafia looking man enters with a purpose.

“I NEED a croissant.”

“We have these butter croissants over here and they are gr—”

“You got any butter?”

“No butter to put on the croissants, but these ARE butter croissant and they just came out of the oven.”

“No Butter?! Sorry I need butter!”

He rushes out.

I whisper to myself as he walks away “…but these are butter croissants sir…”


It’s Cold #2 -10/17/2013

Man with a dirty school bag enters and orders two double espressos from my co-worker. She barks the orders at me and I make it.

I call out the order; man walks to the counter, looks inside of both cups and is disappointed.

“I said I wanted milk in both of them.”

“Alright. I’ll just pour the milk in it for you.”

“THIS one with lots of milk and this one with a little bit of milk. ”

I top off the first one with milk and the second one I pour a little bit in.

“A little more—”

Milk goes in.

“—Some more…”

Milk goes in again…

“…More milk.”

Everyone in the store is now looking at this.”

“More milk! YOU GOT IT?”

I fill the cup with milk to the top and he touches both cups.

“They’re cold.”

“That’s what happens when you add cold liquid to hot liquid!”

“Can you heat it up for me? They’re col—”

(He just didn’t want to pay the extra fifty cents to make it into a latte.)

“I know that. You wanted it with milk and now it’s cold. I’ll warm it up for you, next time order a latte. A latte is what you want.”

I steam the living s— out of his drink. I hand it to him.

“They’re really hot—”



Bad Bet – March 19, 2013                         

A woman just tried to pay with a casino card.


Medium Milk – 9/29/2013

“Large coffee with skim milk…”

I pour the milk in and hand it to her.

“…This should be a medium.”

“What? I thought you wanted a large coffee.”

“Yes, but with medium milk. MEDIUM.”

“What is a MEDIUM MILK?!”

(You can’t just make up sayings and assume that your barista will know your secret milk sayings, alright?)

She grabs the carton of milk and pours it all the way to the top.

“See? Now THAT’S a medium milk.”

She puts the top on and the drink spills everywhere…

I don’t bother helping her clean her mess because… just because I CAN.


Too Late – 9/2/2013

Lady wants a large coffee with cream and sugar. I hand it to her; she grabs it and holds


Lady: “Is it too late for me to change that into a small skim milk cappuccino?”

I look at the drink in her hand.

“What… YES.”


Have any funny barista stories yourself? Share them in the comments below!


FullSizeRender-1   About The Writer:

Sky Andersen holds down the position of the writer for Coffee Wholesale and largely attributes her successes to binge drinking coffee. Currently studying Public Relations at Virginia Commonwealth University, she is passionate about all things writing, travel and photography.

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Coffitivity and The Concentration Formula


It was a pleasant cafe, warm and clean and friendly, and I hung up my old water-proof on the coat rack to dry and put my worn and weathered felt hat on the rack above the bench and ordered a cafe au lait. The waiter brought it and I took out a notebook from the pocket of the coat and a pencil and started to write. ~ Ernest Hemingway

It can be incredibly discouraging to be a writer. Inspiration comes and goes, but when it goes- you’re left with a searching and restless mind. When the words come easily, there’s not a whole lot more that truly satisfies your soul than seeing your thoughts pour out onto the screen or paper in front of you. At times though, the words are way off on the horizon of your mind… you can see pieces of them, but actually grasping onto enough of them to create the perfectly formed sentence you know you’ve got inside of you can be almost so frustrating that you decide to pick a different profession.

I, personally, have always written my best work in coffee shops. Which doesn’t really make sense, because I’m notorious for telling people that I can’t study with them due to my required need of absolute silence (I actually just retain the most information when I can talk aloud to myself, and don’t want other people to witness me doing that…) As soon as I get to a semi-noisy coffee shop however, something in my brain clicks- it knows it’s time to pull through for me. Research papers, articles, blogs and creative writings… all have been done most successfully while binge drinking 6 vanilla lattes over the course of 8 hours in the same wooden chair at the same wooden table, every now and then zoning out and staring at strangers for an uncomfortably long time.

Coffee shops somehow always embody the best zone for deep concentration by inherently capturing the perfect blend of noise, every single time. Don’t agree with me? Maybe your coffee shop ambiance is broken. Here are the signs that you’ve found one that has gotten the concentration formula correct:

-There will always, however distantly, be the sounds of grinding coffee beans.

-One annoyed and/or disinterested coffee barista

-An overly cheerful one


-Chatter, on cell phones or in person

-Clanking of dishes

-Scraping of chairs/tables

-Coffee shop music humming quietly but oh-so-perfectly

It might not sound like much, but don’t underestimate its power to unleash the creative build up you’ve been feeling in your mind. There will also always be something or someone to watch. The best scenes unfold at coffee shops; you just have to be aware enough to catch them. Nancy Warren (USA Today bestselling author) said about coffee shops, “I was writing about the human condition and that day, as every day, I was surrounded by it in my local coffee shop.” It’s a proven thing people. Writers swear by it- and we’re a trustworthy group.

You might find though, that there will times in your life when you can’t spend your days idly sitting in a coffee shop writing or working. Some of us have offices; some of us have bosses that prefer to see our faces (myself included.) Getting paid to write is a wonderful thing; you might even go as far to say it’s a gift. Getting paid to write when you are confined to a quiet building of professionals whom you have no idea what they’re doing all day but can confidentially assume it isn’t writing about coffee shops, can be mentally exhausting. I constantly find myself running out of ideas, searching for inspiration and staring at white walls trying to remember if I’m actually clever with words or if I accidentally was once and mistakenly pursued it on a whim. It’s impossible for my mind to effectively communicate when I feel stifled.

Then, in typical miracle fashion, an unexpected Godsend happened. My boss e-mailed me a link to a TIME article entitled, “50 Best Websites of 2013: TIME’s annual salute to sites and services that keep you entertained and informed, save you time and money — and maybe even change your life.”

Upon reading the title I thought they were perhaps running the risk of sounding a little overdramatic at the “change your life” part, but I see now I was in the wrong and TIME; you were correct. Ever heard of Coffitivity? I hadn’t. Created in Richmond, Va. here’s what it does and how your writing career is about to revive itself. coffitivity.com

“Coffitivity masterfully re-creates the sensation of being in a cheery coffee shop. The concept is simple: this site endlessly loops the white noise of people indiscernibly chatting and cups clanking at 40% volume, while you set your own background music at 60% volume. The result is a perfect mix of environmental stimuli that keeps you focused and productive.”

–TIME, Doug Aamoth.

Coffitivity perfectly captures the concentration formula and then gives it to us wrapped up in a bow for our writing delight. There are six different “Café Library’s” to choose from: Morning Murmur, Lunchtime Lounge, University Undertones, Paris Paradise, Brazil Bistro and Texas Teahouse. Thus far, I’m partial to Morning Murmur and University Undertones. I play Morning Murmur at 35 (you can sent this on the website) and then I go to Spotify and find ‘Your Favorite Coffeehouse’ under moods. The result? My brain is completely tricked. It sounds exactly like I’m sitting in a coffeehouse, the music and coffee shop combo aren’t distracting at all and productivity and words are booming.

Aside from coffee shop white noise, Coffitivity also includes the research to prove that it isn’t just in your imagination that your creative juices are flowing more freely and you work better when surrounded by a moderate level of noise… it’s a proven theory. The link to the study they based their ideas from is provided here:   www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/665048

The most disappointing part of the entire thing is that TIME printed this in 2013… I could’ve been saved two years ago. Let us know if you use Coffitivity and whether or not it helps you focus!


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Coffee Boosts Mood

Girlfriends Enjoy A Conversation


Feeling a little down today? In our past blog post Coffee and Your Health: Current Findings, it was stated that coffee increases dopamine (a “feel-good” chemical) production in your brain, which in turn reduces symptoms of depression, especially in women. Unaware of this benefit, I decided to research this a little more to see exactly how coffee affects the stimulation of dopamine and how this can help improve your mood.

In case you didn’t know, dopamine is a neurotransmitter known for activating pleasure-enhancing properties by signaling reward within certain parts of your brain. It releases feelings of pleasure or satisfaction, and is usually in response to activities like eating favorite foods and sex. Dopamine makes you feel good, which in turn makes you crave it (and the triggers that help release dopamine) even more.

Depression for women is twice as more likely than for men. This is believed to be due to the changes in hormone levels that occur regularly throughout a woman’s life. Approximately 12 million women in America experience clinical depression each year, and is most common between the ages of 25 to 44. It is estimated that 17.5 million Americans in general suffer from depression every year. According to an article found on hsph.harvard.edu, the risk of suicide for adults who drank two to four cups of caffeinated coffee a day was cut in half compared to adults who drink decaffeinated or very little to no coffee.

According to the Huffington Post, Americans consume over 400 million cups of coffee per day, which is equivalent to 146 billion cups of coffee per year. This makes the United States the leading consumer of coffee in the world. In a new study done by researchers from Harvard University, results showed that women who drink two to four cups of caffeinated coffee a day had a 15-20% lower risk of depression. This is because caffeine increases the production of dopamine in the brain’s pleasure circuits, thus becoming one of those triggers that release dopamine that we crave. It’s no surprise that so many Americans claim to be coffee addicts… they actually might be!

Coffee lovers rejoice. Next time you’re feeling a little down, trying drinking a cup of coffee… positive feelings come with every sip!

by Sky Andersen

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Back Stage: Secrets from the Barista


The life of a barista isn’t always easy—after all, a barista has to be cheerful and on his or her toes at 5am when the morning rush begins. However, despite the challenges, working as a “coffee slinger” has its rewards. Consider these secrets about the coffee business I learned from my days as a barista.

-Even when kept warm, old coffee is NOT good coffee. We had a policy at my store that coffee had to be tossed and remade every 30 minutes. When I first started, I thought that was a little crazy. However, after taste testing fresh coffee, 30-minute-old coffee and hour old coffee (all perfectly warm) I could tell a distinct difference.

-French pressed coffee is naturally sweeter and fuller bodied. I am a cream and sugar kind of girl, but even I can enjoy a nice medium roast coffee in the French press with nothing added. If you are looking to cut back on calories when drinking coffee, switching to pressed instead of brewed coffee is a great place to start.

-At 6am, coffee drinkers do not like to hear “no.” If we were out of a product, I learned which were good substitutes so that I could get caffeine pumping through my customers’ veins. For instance, an Americano is a good alternative to a dark roast brewed coffee.

-A bigger cup doesn’t always mean more “coffee.” For instance, at many popular chains a medium and large espresso-based drink will both contain two shots of espresso. You simply get more milk and sugar in a bigger drink.

-Fresh ground coffee makes a big difference. If you wonder why that cup of Joe at the coffee house is better than when you brew it at home, it could be a freshness issue. Most large coffee shops grind coffee throughout the day from a fresh bag of beans. If you’re using the bag you bought and had ground 3 weeks ago, you’re losing a lot of flavor.

The secrets of coffee are actually quite simple. Coffee can seem like an almost mystical product, but it all comes down to science. The right beans, grind, clean filtered water and a good brew or press method will produce a good cup of brew—each and every time.


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Coffee and Your Health: Current Findings

One week we hear on the news that coffee has detrimental effects on the body; the next, we read on a CBSnews.com blog that coffee reduces depression. With so much flip-flopping over coffee and its effect on your health, how do we know what to believe?

latte art

It’s a good idea to go beyond the headline and lede when you see the words “scientific study” attached to any news item. I’ve discovered that, in many cases, these studies are funded by special interest groups. A PR firm hired by a popular coffee brand might fund a study to show that coffee lowers cholesterol as a retort to a big name news outlet reporting the opposite findings.

The foremost example of illegitimate coffee information readily available on the web is “The Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee” (ISIC) —  an alliance between Nestle, Lavazza, Kraft, Douwe Egberts, and other big name roasteries. The ISIC homepage, www.coffeeandhealth.org, is obscured by it’s misleading categorization as a non-profit organization, with the help of a disingenuous URL name and URL extension. Click on the top left link, “Coffee & Health Topics”.

Choose from any of the topics, and you will be presented with a seemingly neverending chain of slideshow-formatted pages presenting “fact” after “fact” of purported scientific findings. Note that you will never run across a negative correlation between coffee and their widely recognized contradictions. In the rare case that you do, the spin doctors have neutralized the facts to make them seem benign and insignificant. Moreover, the majority of the studies’ summaries do not give essential details or link out to the full report. Another red flag are “statistical” studies which are poorly designed, as when the population samples are much too small from which to draw a legitimate conclusion.

In the name of science and truth, I waded through many recent studies pertaining to caffeine and found, on balance, that coffee — although slightly addictive — is surprisingly good for you. Not only does it have a positive effect on mental health, it’s good for the body, too.

-Coffee makes the ladies smile. By increasing dopamine production in the brain, this “feel good” chemical can lead to reduced symptoms of depression. Especially in women. [Source: Harvard University Study]

-Coffee wards off hypertension. Chlorogenic acid (CGA), a chemical found in coffee has been proven to lower blood pressure. [Source: Cornell University Study]

-Coffee will pep up your peepers. The same chemical mentioned above, CGA, was recently proven to also stave off blindness and deteriorating eyesight. [Source: Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry]

-Coffee helps to you drop extra lbs. In a randomized, double-blind study funded by a the US government, coffee (specifically green coffee extract), was found to help the study’s participants to shed pounds and was effective in fighting obesity. [Source: National Institute of Health]

-Coffee is like a shield against liver failure.  Lowering risk of death from cirrhosis of the liver by 66%, caffeine from coffee isn’t the mean bean some people make it out to be. [Source: National University of Singapore Study]

-Coffee lowers your chances of getting diabetes. Since 1986, studies have been conducted on huge population samples ending with the conclusion that coffee can decrease your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Exercise and proper diet don’t hurt those chances, either [Source: Harvard School of Public Health Survey]

We also know that coffee is jam-packed with antioxidants — and is America’s number one source of these toxin-busing chemicals (according to the American Chemical Society). If you drink it black, it’s calorie-free.

What are some other benefits to being an avid coffee consumer? How has coffee helped your mental or physical health?

By: Alex Riesdorff (G+)

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Green Tea and the “Feel Good Float”

lovely-teaHave you ever felt a bit euphoric after a strong cup of quality green tea? No, this is not a coincidence of any kind — instead, this phenomenon known as “tea drunk” or “tea-induced euphoria” comes from a tiny little chemical unique to green tea: Theanine.

Theanine is an amino acid that makes up about half of the total amount of amino acids found in green tea. It adds to the aromatics and delicious flavor profile of green tea. Theanine promotes better absorption of antioxidants. Studies have shown that theanine has been found to enhance certain cancer-fighting drugs while reducing horrific side-effects.

Now for the fun part: If you drink a large cup of strong, freshly-picked green tea, you will notice some enjoyable psychoactive effects as well. Many people equate consumption of Theanine similar to the effects that would come from ingesting a small quantity of Valium. Theanine provides a relaxed state of alertness. It helps you calm down and focus. It has been studied for it’s ability to mitigate anxiety, mental, and physical stress as well as improving cognition and performance. Theanine works synergistically with caffeine to do so. It boosts alpha waves in the brain and increases levels of dopamine — a neurotransmitter that “helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers” as well as regulating emotions and emotional response. It is an all-natural “feel good” chemical produced inside the brain.

If you like the mood-boosting, stress-reducing, and stimulating feeling brought on by Theanine, you may be pleased to know that it has been extracted from green tea and is available as a supplement marketed as “L-Theanine” or “Suntheanine”, available at most vitamin and supplement shops. Or, you can just drink a couple cups of strong green tea. Pick from one of many brands and flavors of green tea on Coffee Wholesale. Bigelow and Pickwick green teas taste great, but if you are looking for a mood-boosting jolt, try a caffeinated green tea from Tazo (China Tips, Green Ginger, or Organic Chun Mee) or Mighty Leaf (Green Dragon, Jasmine, Hojicha, or Tropical Green). Brew longer for more noticable effects.

Have you ever experienced this feeling from an excellent cup of tea? We’d love to hear your experience with Theanine and mood-boosting green tea!

By: Alex Riesdorff (G+)

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Fun Coffee Statistics



It’s Tuesday: statistically the day that I drink the most coffee. My scientific proof is that I drink two cups except on Tuesdays. I indulge in three. I’m a creature of habit like that. This is a boring coffee statistic, so let me introduce to you some fun and colorful coffee facts, by the numbers:

  1. 55% of coffee drinkers would rather gain 10 pounds than give up coffee for life.
  2. Americans consume 400 million cups of coffee per day, equivalent to 146 billion cups of coffee per year, making the United States the leading consumer of coffee in the world.
  3. Coffee represents 75% of all the caffeine consumed in the United States, and it’s the most widely-used drug nationwide.
  4. 29% of coffee drinkers go to lower price places for their coffee like McDonalds, Dunkin Donuts,etc.
  5. 54% of coffee drinkers agreed that “coffee makes me feel more like myself.”
  6. Seattle has 10 times more coffee stores per 100,000 residents than the United States has overall.
  7. 52% of coffee drinkers would rather go without a shower in the morning than give up coffee.
  8. 31% of coffee drinkers make coffee the most important part of a morning, brewing a cup first before any other morning behavior.
  9. 49% of coffee drinkers would rather give up their cell phone for a month than go without coffee.
  10. 20-30% of coffee sales are made up of flavored coffee. The five most popular flavors are chocolate, vanilla, caramel, hazelnut, and cinnamon.
  11. Hawaii and Puerto Rico are the only places in America where coffee can and is grown.
  12. Three out of Five people say “I need a cup of coffee to start my day”


I can relate to only some of these. I definitely would say that I need a cup of coffee to start my day — you don’t? I could never go without a shower or giving up my cell phone for a month for some coffee. Sorry, I do not understand. But, the aforementioned, more ‘extreme’ statistics make me feel a little bit better about my own comparatively mild morning coffee habit. Do they make a coffee addiction rehab?


For less “fun” but a little more informative and in-depth coffee statistics, check out the International Coffee Organization’s page on Trade Statistics and Historical Statistics.


By: Alex Riesdorff (G+)



Huffington Post

Live Science

Statistic Brain


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Now on Coffee Wholesale: PG Tips!

UK's #1 Tea!

UK’s #1 Tea!

Attention tea lovers: you will be uber pleased to know that we are in the process of expanding our tea selections on Coffee Wholesale to include fine artisanal teas (oolongs, pu ehrs, rose tips, mate) … and other delicious varieties like the UK’s best-selling and most-adored tea, PG Tips. They are inexpensive (40 bags/box @ $7.50), made from the finest part of the tea leaf — the tip — and dried within hours of picking for maximum tastiness. The taste is mild, clean, and with the perfect balance of earthiness, and is boldly herbal.

This is a non-flavored tea that comes in pyramid-shaped bags. PG Tips were one of the first companies (if not THE first) that used tetrahedron shaped tea bags, which allow 50% more room for the tea to move around inside it’s paper infuser. The idea was to create a paper infuser that acts more like a normal pot of loose tea.

Quick history lesson: PG Tips date back to the 1930’s when it was called Pre-Gest-Tee, implying that the tea was effective in aiding digestion when consumed as an aperitif. Remember: this was a time in history in which heroin was still legal in the UK, so companies could get away with a labelling food and drug basically whatever they wanted to. After WW2, food and drink labelling regulations called ‘Tips out, because it was proven to not help in aiding digestion when consumed before a meal. This is when the name changed to PG Tips. “PG” came from the “pre-gest” and “Tips” came from the foodie-approved picking process: PG Tips only picks the top two tea leaves and bud of the tea plant.

Looking for a new favorite English Breakfast Tea? We NOW have the end-all/be-all of British black teas: PG Tips. You’re welcome!

By: Alex Riesdorff (G+)


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Why Morning May be the Worst Time to Drink Coffee

It’s official, we now know that the morning is not the best time for you to consume coffee. I mean, you can, and with real no side effects from doing so, but it isn’t the healthiest or most logical choice when you look at the facts:

I drink two cups of coffee a day: one at 8 am when I am getting ready for work, and one at 9 am when I am just getting to work. A lot of people follow the same schedule I am on. Due to your body’s natural inborn clock, known as the circadian clock or circadian rhythms, your body produces different hormones throughout the day. Some hormones make you hungry, some make you energetic, some make you tired. Circadian rhythms govern hormone secretion and bodily functions. The hormone cortisol makes you feel awake and alert, a kind of “natural caffeine”. The body produces this hormone right around 8-9 am. The next time that you reach for your crusty office coffee mug during these hours, wait a minute and sit; reach into your consciousness to assess whether or not you actually need coffee at this time of day. Odds are, you are probably feeling adequately energized and can pass on the second (or first!) cup of joe.

Ever noticed how you get a little energy slump right after lunch? Around 2 pm? This is when alertness diminishes. This is also because of our circadian clock. During this time of day, many of us are apt to reach for a few quarters for the candy machine. Next time you catch yourself with the post-sandwich nods, swap that candy right out for that am coffee you skipped over while your cortisol was fully activated.

Drinking coffee during cortisol production can cause some problems: first, the coffee won’t work as well, because it’s effects are diminished by the natural speediness going on inside that cranium of yours. Second, you will build up a tolerance to caffeine quicker. Your body doesn’t notice much of a change in alertness, so you drink more. The higher your level of addiction is to caffeine, the worse your withdrawal symptoms become: headache, moodiness, anxiety, lethargy… ew, forget all that! According to this wicked cute infographic, the best time to consume your coveted coffee are between the hours of 9:30-11:30 am and 1:30-5:00 pm. I’ve been trying this for the past week and my energy levels have been more stabilized throughout the day more than average, and noticeably so.

What time do you drink coffee? Do you believe that changing the time you drink coffee can promote stabilized energy for the entire duration of the day?

By: Alex Riesdorff (G+)

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Yerba Mate

I first heard about yerba mate at a local cafe when I was a sophomore in high school. This was 12 years ago. It was the only place in town that sold it at the time — a wildly popular coffee shop called World Cup. The shop has since ceased to exist, but the popularity of World Cup’s flagship tea was a yummy gem from South America called yerba mate. The now-defunct cafe was just the first of many locally-owned and independent coffee shops and/or tea houses that host this crowd-pleasing beverage.

Very few cafes actually serve this tea in the traditional manner, utilizing a traditional bombilla (a metal straw that also acts as the sieve filter), calabash gourd, steaming hot water, and of course, the yerba mate tea itself. This is how you traditionally prepare a gourd of mate:

1. Put the straw (bombilla) in the gourd before the tea leaves. Otherwise, the straw can become clogged.

2. Pack (not pour) the gourd 23 full of dried and minced yerba mate leaves. Consider optional additives: dried fruit, dried flowers, fruit peels.

3. Sprinkle a little bit of sugar of the top of the leaves.

4. Pour hot water (or steamed milk) to a couple cm below the top of the gourd, over the tea leaf mixture, to steep. Important note: boiling water will make your beverage too bitter! The best way to heat the water is in a pan, so you can see the water start to simmer and move; this is the best temperature for tasty mate.

5. After a couple minutes, your strong and earthy-tasting tea beverage is ready to be savored. Enjoy!

Yerba mate was first discovered and documented in Paraguay, 1537. Mate tea ceremonies were established in Paraguay, but mate eventually found its peak popularity in Argentina, followed by Brazil, Uruguay, and then the surrounding areas. In the late 1700’s/1800’s, due to the Paraguayan Golden Age, Paraguay became a major export/import location to European countries. It also became popular amongst the upper class in Chile, making the crop lucrative to produce. By the 20th century, yerba mate was popping up worldwide. It made a somewhat recent revival in popularity in the popular culture of the late 1990’s/early 2000’s in North America and has been one of the world’s best-selling teas. The yerba mate ritual was a communal event, enjoyed in the company of friends. In South America especially, this ritual continues to be significant in bringing people together — friends and strangers alike.

Yerba mate contains 24 essential vitamins and minerals; 15 amino acids; and 11 polyphenois (antioxidants), but is popular for its notable energizing effect: mateine. Or is it caffeine? There’s much debate on whether mateine is different or the same of caffeine. Mateine is a stereoisomer of caffeine; it appears to have the same effect as caffeine with the added benefit of a muscle relaxant. Today, it’s easy to find and purchase traditional loose yerba mate — they even sometimes come as a kit with the traditional gourd and bombilla. Your other option is to take the easy way out and enjoy yerba mate tea in tea bags, or for a real treat, enjoy a mate latte — a steamed yerba mate and milk-based beverage served at many independent coffee shops that sell loose yerba mate in bulk.

Have you ever tried yerba mate? Did you drink it out of the traditional gourd and metal straw or some other method? Let us know!

By: Alex Riesdorff (G+)

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