Category Archives: Caffeine

Health Watch: Java not to Blame for Sleepless Babies

Coffee was what kept me up during those late nights of studying in college; for expecting and new mothers, you’d think it would be their lifeline too! I figured caffeine was the fuel that helped them during long, sleepless nights with their newborns.

But to my surprise, drinking caffeine has been a concern for many mothers. It’s been believed that mothers should cut down on their coffee habit because of adverse affects that could affect the sleeping patterns of their bundles of joy. However, researches have found that coffee does not affect your child’s sleeping habits.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you can keep drinking that Grande Double Mocha you crave each morning, but studies have failed to show any heightened risk correlating between a mother’s caffeine intake and sleeplessness in her child.

Heavy coffee drinkers are defined as consuming about 300 milligrams or more of caffeine per day via coffee or any caffeinated beverage. “In 2010, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) said that 200 milligrams of caffeine a day —  about the amount in a 12-ounce cup of coffee — probably did not carry pregnancy risks.”

In an article in HealthDay, Brazilian researchers conducted an analysis of sleeping patterns of more than 4,200 infants until the age of 3 months. The mothers of these infants had light caffeine consumption before and after delivery. Led by Dr. Ina Santos of the Federal University of Pelotas in Brazil, the study was designed to analyze the possibility that caffeine linked to disrupted sleeping patterns in newborns and babies. Of the 4,200 babies, 885 mothers were interviewed after delivery and three months later to gauge their caffeine-drinking habits. Each baby was then examined after delivery and had follow-up exams three months later. Santos and her colleagues stated that all but one mother consumed caffeinated beverages.

Twenty percent of the mothers were considered to be heavy consumers and 14 percent had heavier caffeine consumption three months after giving birth. About 14 percent of the babies frequently woke up during the night. There was some indication that nighttime wake-ups were more prevalent with babies whose mothers were heavy caffeine drinkers during pregnancy and nursing, but Santos claims these numbers were still not significant.

‘Nighttime wakening among babies that age can be due to so many different things,’ Lona Sandon, a registered dietitian and assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas said. ‘So to tease out caffeine’s role is going to be very difficult.’

Caffeine can cause sleep disruption among adults, but researchers aren’t finding any hard evidence that java consumption, at any particular level, is directly connected to the sleep pattern disruptions of babies.

The Lowdown on Bikini Barista Stands

Putting our noses to the grindstone and getting our hands dirty like the intrepid reporters that we are, Kaylie and I hit the streets with one question on our mind: What’s all the hullabaloo with bikini barista stands?

As far as we can tell (through very informal polling of other crew mates who hail from different states in the union), this type of business is something unique to the Pacific Northwest of the US — scantily clad ladies serving up java in drive through stands. But is it just a marketing ploy to attract the male population or do they actually serve up tasty coffee?

While these stands are hardly an anomaly in our neck of the woods, it was pretty clear that two high class ladies such as ourselves rolling up to the drive through window at the three different stands we visited definitely was. Since this was our first foray into semi-nude java, we were prepared for awkwardness on our side of the car window, but were surprised to find that the bodacious baristas felt the same way!

Read on to find out how we rated our visits — drink making skills, efficiency, service, hospitality and the overall experience.

Businesses Java Juggs
“Some Like It Hot”
“Come get your sexy coffee BUZZ on at the Beehive Espresso!”
“Sexy. Classy. Gourmet.”
Drink: Americano
Allison’s Rating: Scalding hot to the point where we let it sit for almost 45 minutes before we could put the cup to our lips. We know this changes the flavor but we figured the safety of our mouths was a little more important than getting second degree burns over a cup o’ joe.Kaylie’s Rating: Overly hot and a little burnt. Allison’s Rating: A bit watery but reached the average drinking temperature right when she served it since she had the decency to ask if we’d like ice in it.Kaylie’s Rating: Closer to the correct temperature and she asked if we wanted ice in it, which was nice. Allison’s Rating: By far was the strongest and at the right temp cup of coffee. She not only asked if we wanted ice but also offered to make them doubles.Kaylie’s Rating: Best of them all and she offered ice — score! Could drink immediately without saying goodbye to taste buds.
Drink: Latte
Allison’s Rating: Was it curdled steam milk with a tablespoon of espresso or was it just a weak shot of espresso in some milk? All I could taste was a milky concoction with maybe a hint of espresso flavoring.Kaylie’s Rating: I’m not even sure there was actual espresso in there…it just tasted like steamed milk! It also took almost an hour before I could take a sip — way too hot! Allison’s Rating: A better temperature but still a little weak on the espresso, this drink was passable but not exceptional.Kaylie’s Rating: Once again, closer to the correct temperature and could actually tell there was espresso in this one…we’re getting closer! Allison’s Rating: Looks can be deceiving because you’d think a girl with star-shaped pasties would give you a mediocre latte, but surprisingly out of all three she had the best — strong flavor and great temperature that would rival any standard cafe.Kaylie’s Rating: Once again, we have the winner here! Right temperature and could taste the espresso with my milk. Plus? Foam!
Service Rating Allison’s Rating:A bit peppy and nervous when she saw us, I’ll give the barista credit when she said she’s only been working at the stand for a month, but I think her talking and rambling got in the way of the quality of our drinks.Kaylie’s Rating: She was talkative and friendly, but she was also nervous and I think her talking led to the long wait time. Allison’s Rating: Still a bit hesitant but friendly, knowledgeable and more business-like, the barista had more experience and said she’s worked at previous bikini barista stands (i.e. Chicka Latte). She was able to make small talk while efficiently making our drinks.Kaylie’s Rating: She was definitely nervous and made friendly conversation without as much compromise to wait time. Allison’s Rating: There to get the job done, there was no hesitation about asking what we’d like and how we’d like it but with a courteous smile and small conversation. We got out of there with quality drinks in an efficient timeframe.Kaylie’s Rating: She was very nice. Made polite conversation while she made drinks and didn’t seem too nervous.
Timing 3 minutes and 50 seconds 2 minutes and 50 seconds 2 minutes and 30 seconds
Comfort Rating Allison’s Rating: As nervous as the barista was, since this was our first stop we didn’t know what to expect. But once the drinks were ordered, and barista started rambling from nervousness we realized she was just as uncomfortable about serving ladies as we were being there.Kaylie’s Rating: I don’t know if it was because it was the first bikini barista stand we hit or if it was because she had her leg out the window as we drove up, but this stand made me super uncomfortable. Allison’s Rating: A little more comfortable since we got the first one out of the way, it wasn’t until I saw the Penthouse Posters plastered inside of the espresso stand where I once again wasn’t sure what to expect from my drinks. However, after chatting with the barista she was a little more confident than the last and acted more like how a barista should treat their customers, even with a bit of nervousness in her voice.Kaylie’s Rating: Was less uncomfortable on approach than Java Juggs, but the Penthouse posters on the wall didn’t do my uncomfortableness any favors. Allison’s Rating: What do we find but a barista with star-shaped pasties and those same yellow hot pants. Let’s say uncomfortable much? Once you start chatting up the barista with your drink order and she responds back with drink-specific questions, you forget about the pasties and are just impressed by the quality of her drinks and how efficiently she got them to us.Kaylie’s Rating: I really wasn’t that uncomfortable going to this one. Which is surprising, considering she was the only one wearing pasties while the others wore full bikini or bra tops.
Final Thoughts Allison: What I expected was basically what I saw: A girl dressed in lingerie (mind you not a bikini), with no real training except for what she was given when she was hired along with telling us that as long as you apply, be naughty and make customers drinks, you’ll get pretty good tips. Definitely quantity vs. quality of their product.Kaylie: She said this wasn’t their busiest stand, but she still makes $100 per 5-hour day in tips. When she works at the busier ones, in Everett, she gets $300-$400 a day in tips. She told us that she’d never been a barista before and they train you if you get hired, which has the only requirement of being ‘pretty’. Also, she said that when you are hired they instruct you to ‘be naughty.’ Allison: This time we actually rolled up to a barista who I believe was actually in a bikini. I couldn’t help but ask if she had been a barista before, she responded by saying she had previously at a Chicka Latte. With a little more knowledge in making drinks, it made me give the business a little more credit for hiring people with experience.Kaylie: This barista made mention of being in school and said she previously worked for Chicka Latte. She seemed generally sweeter and more ‘put together’ than the barista at Java Juggs. Allison: Once again, the pasties were deceiving but I found that this business used the sex-appeal to their advantage, while still hiring baristas that can slang an ideal Americano and Latte. With themed days, such as Tini-Bikini Tuesday or Fantasy Friday, you can either find this pure entertainment or just wrong. I’ll let you decide.Kaylie: This was by far the best in terms of actual quality and the barista was like a normal girl (pretty but not stick thin). Plus they get extra points for themed days!

Cooking with Kaylie: Chocolate Espresso Cookies with Walnuts

There’s something you should know about me. Ready for it? I love community recipe sites. Seriously. I can spend a whole weekend browsing through them and bookmarking 100+ recipes that I want to make. Sure, I usually only cook one or two before I completely forget about them and start the process over again, but I still get an odd sense of accomplishment out of it.

That being said, I recently found a recipe for Chocolate Espresso Cookies and bookmarked it. Then I started doing these weekly blog posts and I finally had a reason to make them. I knew all that bookmarking would pay off …


  • 3 (1-ounce) squares of unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided in half
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons finely ground espresso beans (I used Velton’s Twilight Blend)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Line cookie sheets with parchment paper
  • Melt together unsweetened chocolate, 1 cup of the chocolate chip and butter. Stir occasionally until melted. You can do this in a double boiler or in the microwave (in small time increments and keeping a close eye on it).
  • In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until thoroughly combined, about 2-3 minutes
  • Mix in the ground espresso
  • Add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and mix well
  • Sift together the flour and baking powder, then stir into the egg mixture
  • Stir in the remaining chocolate chips and walnuts
  • Drop dough by the tablespoon onto cookie sheets, leaving room for expansion during baking
  • Bake 10-12 minutes or until cookie tops have a crackled appearance
  • Cool on baking sheets

Chocolate Espresso CookiesThese really were amazing. Cookie on the outside and brownie on the inside, all with just enough espresso to make your taste buds happy! The Seattle Coffee Gear team gobbled them up in no time and Gail even had one with each of her two morning coffees. Yeah, they were that good.

Now, what are you waiting for? Go get your bake on!

Coffee: A College Student’s Life Line

Before the days — or should I say the long nights — of cramming for tests, writing papers and preparing presentations, I’d never even thought of caffeine as an essential element of balancing my life. But in  my first years of college, I wanted to have fun! And a daily dose of coffee helped me get all my schoolwork done without impacting my ability to hit the dance floor.

From the beatnik vibe of the Solstice Cafe to the hustle and bustle of the University Village Starbucks (one of their busiest shops, even today), my devotion to java ensured I wouldn’t be running on empty before I hit my next lecture.

It’s not that I was before my time or anything, but since I’ve moved from over-caffeinated college student to … er, over-caffeinated working professional, I thought I’d take a look at what the kids are doing these days. Enter this blog from, in which they rate the top 25 college coffee shops in the country that keep our future’s creative juices flowing.

Have you been to one of the coffee shops listed? If so, is it worth the press? What was your favorite java joint when you were in college? Please share in the comments below!

Cooking with Kaylie: Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes

It’s week two in my quest to incorporate coffee into as many foods as possible!

After last week’s recipe, where I semi-deliberately didn’t follow instructions and ended up with slightly less than perfect Espresso Meringues, I decided that I needed to take a step back and make something super easy.

The result? Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes, courtesy of a boxed cake mix. Like I said, super easy!



  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
  • Beat cake mix, espresso, water, oil and eggs on low speed with mixer for 30 seconds
  • Kick the mixer up to medium for about 2 minutes, scraping sides of bowl occasionally
  • Spoon mix into cupcake wrappers, filling about 2/3 full
  • Bake in oven 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean
  • Let cool on a wire rack before frosting

Keep in mind that the ingredients and directions will vary based on the boxed cake mix you use. To adapt the recipe to your cake mix, simply replace 50% or more of the water with brewed espresso.

This time, I used 60% espresso and, while it was definitely noticeable in the batter, it seemed to lose a lot of its taste after baking. Next time I make it, I’ll use only espresso (‘Look ma, no water!’) and see what happens. I’m thinking deliciousness!

The cupcakes turned out yummy and, if I do say so myself, quite pretty! To top it off, they were frosted with Hazelnut Cream Cheese Frosting. I know you want the recipe, so check in on Thursday to see Brandi whip some up!

Cooking with Kaylie: Espresso Infused Meringue Cookies

I recently decided that my mission in life is going to be finding ways to incorporate coffee and espresso into everyday foods. After all, who wants to limit their caffeine intake to mornings?!

So, the first recipe I wanted to tackle was Espresso Infused Meringue Cookies from the Happy Good Times Blog. I think now would be the appropriate time to point out that these meringues didn’t turn out how I think they were supposed to. They were still good (seriously!), but I think I lack the necessary skills to create this lovechild of baked goods and candy. Also, I may or may not follow directions well…


  • 3 large egg whites at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon finely ground espresso or coffee beans (we used Velton’s Twilight Blend)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla (I used powdered, but I don’t think that’s necessary)


  • Allow whites to come to room temperature (about 20 minutes)
  • Clean and dry your mixing bowl
  • Line baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Pre-heat oven to 275 degrees F
  • Stir together sugar, espresso grounds and vanilla – set aside
  • Using a mixer, beat whites on low speed until foamy
  • Sprinkle cream of tartar and salt over foamy whites
  • Increase mixer speed to medium, and beat until medium peaks form
  • Increase mixer speed to high, and add sugar mixture one tablespoon at a time
  • When stiff, glossy peak form, spoon meringue onto your prepared baking sheet
  • Bake for 60-70 minutes in the top third of your oven
  • Allow to cool completely on the baking sheet
  • Store in an air-tight container for about 3 days.

After reading through that, and seeing my pictures, you may have a couple of questions. Questions like: ‘Kaylie, did you use bottled egg whites instead of fresh ones?’ or ‘That sounds like a lot of meringue mixture; did you double the recipe?’ The answer to both of those questions is yes, that is exactly what I did! Remember what I said about not following directions? Well, it’s not that I don’t follow them so much as I try to take shortcuts. Shortcuts which may or may not ruin the finished product.

How so? Well, the meringues were very delicate on the outside and soft on the inside. Not fluffy soft, more like ‘too heavy to rise so it sunk to the bottom’ soft. The result? Something like hollow egg shells that were nearly impossible to keep intact while removing them from the baking sheet.

The crew here at Seattle Coffee Gear still ate them, cutting the sweetness with an iced latte (courtesy of Brandi). I just wish they had turned out pretty and delicious. If there are any readers with mad meringue-making skills, please let me know what I did wrong! I’d love to try these again and have them turn out. In the meantime, I will just need to redeem myself with next week’s recipe … Wish me luck.

Three Cups a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Who would’ve thought that the fountain of youth could be found right in your very own kitchen — and right under your nose? Your morning cup of coffee provides more than just a kick in the pants to get going in the morning, it also has positive affects on your noodle!

Studies have shown that drinking at least three to five cups of coffee a day in midlife can cut Alzheimer’s risk 65 percent in late life.

A July 2011 study by researchers at the University of Florida found that ‘coffee seems to have an unidentified ingredient that combines with caffeine to reduce brain levels of beta-amyloid — the abnormal protein that is thought to cause the disease,’ published the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

In early studies, USF researchers believed that caffeine was probably the ingredient that provides protection because it decreases brain production of beta-amyloid. However, the same study also claims that it may not be the caffeine itself but a combination of the caffeine and coffee’s compounds that, when combined, increases blood levels of a growth factor called GCSF (granulocyte colony stimulating factor). Alzheimer patients are known to have low levels of GCSF.

In their studies, long term treatment with coffee enhanced levels of GCSF and memory in mice with Alzheimer’s. Three key benefits researchers found were:

  1. GCSF recruits stem cells from bone marrow to enter the brain and remove the harmful beta-amyloid protein that initiates the disease
  2. GSCF creates new connections between brain cells
  3. GCSF increases the birth of new neurons in the brain

While this has only been tested and verified on mice, it does demonstrate that coffee can have a strong impact on the progression of Alzheimer’s, to the extent that it’s worth more study. Dr. Chuanhai Cao, one of the study’s lead authors, said, ‘Together these actions appear to give coffee an amazing potential to protect against Alzheimer’s — but only if you drink moderate amounts of caffeinated coffee.’

But who’s to say adding those extra cups of coffee won’t give you a memory like an elephant when you’re in your 90s? Better safe than sorry.

Coffee: An Important Part of Healthy Relationships

Still trying to decide what to get your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day? Look no further than your resident coffee pot!

Seattle’s Best Coffee released survey results last week in which 32% of coffee drinkers surveyed recommend bonding over morning coffee to keep a relationship healthy. In fact, coffee was significantly more likely to be recommended than the usual suspects of flowers, dinner at a nice restaurant and jewelry.

This may have something to do with the physiological effects of coffee consumption. Caffeine blocks certain receptors, allowing dopamine (a neurotransmitter associated with desire) to roam more freely. Romantic, eh?

So don’t panic if you haven’t written your loved one a poem or made outrageously fabulous plans for the day. After all, you’re doing something that will strengthen your relationship all year long!

Cupping: Decaf Coffees

Sometimes you just don’t want too much extra skip in your step, but you’re not willing to give up the flavor of a great cup of coffee. We asked the crew to blind taste the four different decaf coffees we carry — Lavazza, illy, Caffe Mauro and Velton’s — to determine which ones they thought tasted like a good, solid cup of coffee.

If you’re interested in learning about the different methods used to decaffeinate coffee, you can check out this article we wrote a couple of years ago.

Recipe: Espresso Chocolate Bark

A new spin on an old sugary stand-by, Espresso Chocolate Bark takes your grandma’s signature Peppermint Bark recipe and gives its a caffeinated kick.  All you’ll need is three simple ingredients to create this buzzworthy treat.


  • 1 bag (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup whole coffee beans
  • 2 tablespoons coarse cane sugar


  1. Melt down the chocolate chips and lay a piece of parchment paper on a baking tray.
  2. Spread out the chocolate to be about 1/2 an inch thick.
  3. Sprinkle on the coffee beans evenly and press them into the hot chocolate gently.
  4. Lightly sprinkle a layer of sugar over the chocolate while it is still melted. Don’t worry about even layering since most of it will shake off when it’s dried. Just make sure to cover all of the chocolate.
  5. You can either let the chocolate harden at room temperature or speed the process up by putting it in the refrigerator.
  6. When it’s hardened, tilt the large piece of chocolate to shake off all the excess sugar. Break the chocolate into single-sized chunks.

Recipe: The Wannabe Chef