Iced coffee? A delicious and trusty standby. Mocha smoothie? A great way to drink coffee and chocolate while still sounding like it’s a healthy option. Coffee-infused popsicles? A tasty alternative, but you need a popsicle mold.
So, I was pondering new ways to meet my summertime coffee intake requirements when I came across a recipe for Mocha Granita, which I modified a bit for espresso rather than French press coffee.
- Espresso (I used Caffe Umbria’s Terra Sana blend)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- Brew 3 shots of espresso
- In a baking dish, combine hot espresso shots with sugar, cocoa powder, and 1/2 cup hot water
- Mix until sugar and cocoa powder dissolve
- Place in the freezer
- After 30 minutes, mix with a fork
- Repeat every hour until completely frozen
- Transfer to a glass and enjoy!
This granita is super rich and almost tastes like a frozen coffee brownie. You can’t go wrong with that! Added bonus: Other than the time factor, this recipe takes very little work.
The counterpart to the recently reviewed Nespresso Maestria, the Gran Maestria features a new variation of their Aeroccino milk frother (the Aero 4, which offers you the ability to control different types of milk froth and temperatures) and a demitasse cup steamer. Also, it’s built like a B52 bomber!
Watch Gail introduce us to the machine, from box to cup. She talks about its features, how capsule espresso works and then demonstrates making a cappuccino.
For ease, convenience and cleanliness, there’s really no beating a capsule espresso machine. Sure, you’re not going to achieve the God Shot, but if you’re looking for a great cup of coffee that you can easily make at home — one cup at a time — Nespresso‘s series of machines are definitely worth your consideration.
One of their newer machines, the Maestria, combines their typical espresso extraction technology with one great new feature: A steam wand! We really dig this because, historically speaking, milk frothing on a Nespresso machine was handled either by a stand alone frother (different variations of the Aeroccino) or via a cappuccinatore type system — neither of which gave you much control over the milk foam quality nor temperature.
Watch Gail take us from box to cup — showing us how to set up the Maestria and then making a latte using its steam wand.
Chocolate and hazelnut is a combination that no one (in their right mind) can deny! Watch Brandi make us this delicious drink on the Saeco Xelsis.
Combine syrup and sauce together, mix well. Add espresso and then top with steamed milk. Enjoy!
After a couple of weeks of tame, kid-friendly fare, Brandi could hold back no longer! She whipped up a delicious smoothie with the help of her recipe bible, Never Cook Sober.
- 1 oz espresso
- 1 oz coffee liqueur
- 1 oz Irish cream liqueur
- 1 oz vodka
- 2 cups ice
- 1/2 cup half & half
- Monin Dark Chocolate sauce (to taste)
Combine all the ingredients except for the chocolate sauce in a blender. Blend for about 20 – 30 seconds. In your serving glass, drizzle dark chocolate sauce for decoration. Pour in smoothie and get ready to rock!
Easy Serving Espresso (E.S.E.) pods provide a simple, mess-free way of conveniently producing a shot of espresso. You don’t have to worry about grind and tamp as each pod is ground and measured for a single shot dosage, plus the post-shot clean up is a breeze. While they’re incredibly popular for their cleanliness and convenience, E.S.E. pods don’t produce a particularly amazing shot, so there is definitely a trade-off.
Watch as Gail talks to us about pods, what they are, which machines can use them and the pros and cons of going this route vs. freshly ground coffee.
Studies have shown that men and women who are drinking six or more cups of coffee a day have a 10 (for men) and 15 (for women) percent lower risk of dying at an earlier age.
Historically, doctors have noted a correlation between caffeine and an increase in bad cholesterol, high blood pressure and the risk of heart disease; however, a recent study has revealed an interesting pattern: Drinking coffee may extend the overall lifespan in already healthy individuals.
A study held from 1995 to 2008 involving the National Institutes of Health and AARP members between the ages of 50 to 71 from all over the US has given researchers a better look at the possible health benefits of coffee. They made sure to exclude people who already had heart disease, a stroke or cancer or had too many or too few calories a day.
‘By 2008 about 52,000 had died. Compared to those who drank no coffee, men who had two or three cups a day were 10 percent less likely to die at any age. For women, it was 13 percent,’ revealed the study.
Since previous studies have suggested that coffee may have a part in heart disease, this study inspired Neal Freedman, nutritional epidemiology researcher at the National Cancer Institute, to consider another contributing factor. He noted that many who were at higher risk of death were coffee drinkers and tobacco smokers, too. ‘It was only after we took into account people’s smoking that the association, the inverse association, revealed itself,’ he said. ‘Smoking has a really strong association with death.’
In the end, Freedman’s study showed that those with healthy habits who drink six or more cups of caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee did cut the risk of dying but not to the extreme. Freedman couldn’t calculate the exact amount of extra life each cup can give you. However, he admits coffee drinkers were less likely to die from heart or respiratory disease, stroke, diabetes, injuries, accidents and infections. No effect was seen on cancer death risk, though.
So we’ll admit that we’ll grab that extra cup of java to increase the longevity of our lives, even if it’s only by a few percentage points, but a word of advice: More coffee does not mean you should pack on the sugar and cream.
As Dr. Frank Hu of the Harvard School of Public Health advises, ‘Watch the sugar and cream. Extra calories and fat could negate any benefits from coffee.’
But wait, did you ever think a bag of potato chips could give you the same amount of energy?
Arma Energy Snx and NRG have done the what many may consider to be the unthinkable: Created a crunchy + salty + caffeinated snack with a dash of taurine (an ingredient often found in energy drinks) to boost our mood.
Given that we often associate potato chips with being a couch potato, a high energy version definitely borders on ironic. But Arma claims that each 2-ounce bag comes with about 70 milligrams of caffeine while NRG says that every 3.5-ounce bag is ‘equivalent to 3 and a half cups of coffee, 350 mg of caffeine.’
However, with each bag also comes 290 calories. Compare that to an energy drink that has 80 mg of caffeine and 110 calories and a shot of espresso with only 5 calories and 75 mg of caffeine.
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.