Save the Bees!

We all know that bees are very important to maintaining a healthy ecosystem, but did you also know that they play a role in the production of the coffee that we drink every day?

Coffee such as Arabica is actually a self pollinating plant, however the pollination provided by honey bees acts as a sort of boost for the plants, helping the plants produce 20-25% more fruit while also increasing the quality of the fruit. Bees pollinate 70 out of the approximate 100 crop species that feed 90% of the world!

Nature has an interesting way attract bees to their plants. Caffeine is a natural secondary compound found in the roots and leaves of some plants – like coffee and citrus, for instance. It’s also found in the sweet and appetizing nectar of those plants flowers, as a way to trick honey bees into repeatedly visiting them.

But now climate change is threatening both the bees and the areas in which coffee can grow. Researchers have projected that by 2050, climate change could reduce the amount of ground usable to grow coffee in Latin America by up to 88%. While the future does appear daunting, tons of organizations and scientists around the world are still fighting for the bees.

Coffee and DNA

Ever wondered why drinking caffeine gives you a headache? Or maybe you’re a person (like me) that can drink 6 coffees a day and still have lights out at a reasonable hour. Lots of people can have lots of different responses to caffeine that can be directly linked to your DNA.

When you’re born, your parents each pass on a lot of DNA characteristics to you. One of which being the “caffeine gene”. This specific gene is actually called CYP1A2 because it controls the enzyme CYP1A2, which is the enzyme that controls how fast you metabolize caffeine. We inherit two copies of this gene, one from mom and one from dad. If you have the fast variant of this gene then your liver is able to break down caffeine quickly and efficiently, however having the slow variant has the opposite effect. Are you one of the lucky ones?

  • 40% of people are fast metabolizers, with 2 copies of the fast variant
  • 45% of people have 1 fast and 1 slow, so they are in the middle in terms of caffeine metabolizers
  • 15% of people carry 2 copies of the slow variant

You probably already have an idea of which category you fall into based of your reaction to caffeine, but besides for that there’s no real way to know for sure without DNA testing.

I think I’m apart of the lucky 40% with 2 fast variants, which are you?

How to Brew Teamwork

Whether your day consists of school, work, or errands, everyone knows that coffee can give you the energy you need to get out of bed and get your day started. Sometimes, the thought of my first coffee of the day is the only thing influencing me to leave the comfort of my bed.

If you’re anything like me, you love finding new excuses to further incorporate coffee into your life. Well, did you know that coffee helps people work better as a team? Through experiments, researchers were able to conduct a couple different tests. They used two groups of people; caffeinated and non-caffeinated. The caffeinated individuals had an increased focus and were able to encourage people to participate more in discussions; more so than the non-caffeinated group.

The results were fairly clear – consuming a moderate amount of caffeinated coffee prior to indulging in a group activity enhanced an individual’s task-relevant participation in group activity. All the more reason to grab that morning cup o’ Joe!

Espresso Bella employees hard at work!

Spiced Coffee

For the more health conscious coffee enthusiast, adding sugar to your coffee is a big no-no. Still wanting to attain a versatile flavour with limited sugar free options can prove to be a little difficult. Enter spiced coffee.

This revolutionary new spin on regular coffee is about to change my life and I’m all for it. Being a huge Chai fan personally, I am loving the idea of being able to incorporate those flavours with my daily caffeine boost.

Some other flavours to consider are cinnamon, cardamon, turmeric, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, allspice, and star anise. Adding some of these spices may actually add an extra health kick to your beverage as well! For example, cinnamon is good for your heart, ginger can help in soothing muscle pain, and turmeric can aid in digestion. The spices can be added after brewing your favourite blend, or can be mixed right into the grinds! Want a spiced cappuccino? Try spicing up your milk before frothing, you’ll be amazed at the flavour difference. The possibilities are endless! I know what I’ll be drinking with my breakfast tomorrow, what about you?

Blindfold Drawing Challenge!

The wonderful staff at Espresso Bella just completed (somewhat successfully) the Blindfold Drawing Challenge!

The challenge rules are you have to blindfold the “artist” and that person then has to attempt to draw the object previously decided on. Being coffee enthusiasts, we chose to draw one of our lovely Espresso Bella Black Tie mugs.

We had a lot of fun doing this challenge, hopefully you guys enjoy watching it just as much! Check it out on our Instagram page, which is linked below! Who do you think created the best Black Tie mug?

Does Coffee Reduce your Pain?

Do you start your morning routine with a steaming hot mug of dark roasted coffee, or do you prefer the homely taste of a fresh cup of tea? You may be in luck as new studies are saying that consuming caffeine regularly may increase your ability to withstand pain.

After recruiting 62 men and women, ages ranging from 19 to 77, researchers had them record their daily caffeine intake and after seven days, the volunteers were taken into a laboratory to test their pain tolerance using calibrated devices that gradually increased heat or pressure of the volunteer’s forearm or back. The experiment controlled for sex and race, current tobacco use and alcohol consumption, among other variables that could affect pain sensation. Still, they found that the more caffeine consumed, the greater the tolerance for pain.

Researchers say caffeine reduces pain by blocking receptors in the brain called adenosine, which enhances the effect of dopamine chemicals associated with pain relief. Caffeine has been added to over-the-counter pain relievers like Excedrin for years, and has been shown to increase their effectiveness by as much as 40%.

Next time you’re experiencing some minor muscle pain, try reaching for the coffee pot and getting your caffeine fix, it might just help.