A Word on Tea

For centuries, tea has been much more than a simple beverage beloved around the world. People drink it to reinvigorate, relax and soothe. Not just a drink, many consider it to be medicine.

In the UK where tea drinkers, according to the Tea Advisory Panel, drink a million cups a day it is very much a part of the cultural fabric and traditions of the country. While lattes, espresso drinks and such are becoming more popular the idea that a cup of tea makes things better is still alive and well.

With tea becoming ever more popular around the globe, the United Nations created International Tea Day, which takes place each May 21st.

Even in the coffee dominated United States tea drinking has grown from 12.7 ounces per person per year to 14 ounces per person per year. It is believe people are turning to tea and away from soda, milk and fruit drinks.

Scientists are looking into how the tea affects mood and cognition—mostly at the relaxing and alerting effects. They want to know if it is a compound in the tea itself, the setting it is consumed in or a combination of both. Scientists also believe certain teas will have a positive impact on mental health.

Xbar Espresso Maker on KickStarter

The newest coffee related Kickstarter project is a portable espresso brewer called the Xbar. It employs either CO2 cartridges or a bike tire pump to create water pressure.

A pair of valves on the side of the Xbar allow for the two different pressures sources. One is a Shrader valve compatible with many kinds of bike pumps. The other valve, of course, takes one use 8-gram CO2 cartridges. Much like those in small seltzer makers.

If using a bike pump, the pump controls the upward ramp of pressure during brewing. If using a cartridge, a paddle on the top of the Xbar lets brewers control the upward ramp of pressure. In both cases a metal knob on the side is used to throttle the pressure down. A standard pressure gauge on the face of the espresso maker lets brewers monitor the pressure level.

The brew head is stainless steel. The pressure control system is aluminum, stainless steal and brass. The aluminum stand comes in two heights depending on what kind of cups brewers prefer.

Xbar says a user should get 4-8 double or triple shots of espresso from one CO2 cartridge—all dependent on water volume, extraction duration etc.


EPA Allows Use of Chemical Fungicide in Hawaii’s Battle Against Coffee Leaf Rust

The United States Environmental Protection Agency, also known as the EPA, has approved a request from Hawaii’s Department of Agriculture to allow coffee farmers the use of a chemical fungicide in the state’s ongoing battle against the extremely devastation leaf rust disease.

Coffee leaf rust has appeared in nearly every country or region in which coffee is cultivated on a commercial level over the past 150 years. It was discovered for the very first time in the state of Hawaii in October 2020 on Hawaii’s island Maui.

It was discovered in November on Hawaii’s “big island” where a large portion of the state’s commercial coffee is grown. This includes the popular Kona coffee.
Coffee leaf rust has the ability to destroy, quickly, large portions of farmer’s crops. Between 2012 and 2017 coffee leaf rust caused an estimated $3 billion dollars in loss for coffee producers throughout Latin America.

That same threat hovers of the heads of and crops of coffee farms in Hawaii. The market value of green coffee grown in Hawaii in the 2019-2020 season was estimated at $102 million and the value of roasted coffee at $148 million. If coffee leaf rust isn’t stopped in Hawaii the outcome could easily be economically devastating for the industry.


Cooking with Tea

Both tea and coffee can be used not only as the basis for some of our favorite beverages but can also be used as ingredients in the food we eat! Here is one interesting recipe. Jasmine glazed pork or chicken.

1 C brewed Jasmine tea
1 tablespoon water
¼ C olive oil
¼ C sugar
2 cloves fresh garlic, pressed or chopped
1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Pepper to taste (salt optional)

In small saucepan heat the cup of Jasmine tea. Add sugar and boil until dissolved.
Add garlic and pepper. Simmer.

Put cornstarch in small bowl and mix with 1 tablespoon water to make a paste.
While stirring constantly add paste until glaze reaches desired consistency.
Remove from heat. Add olive oil. Let cool. Add balsamic vinegar. Marinate meat in tea glaze in a covered container.

Coffee as the Cure

According to research, coffee may help reduce Multiple Sclerosis related fatigue for those who have milder cases.

MS related fatigue is a huge problem affecting about 70% of MS patients and the fatigue they report is more than just being tired. It as been described by many as “extreme exhaustion” which can occur suddenly for no reason or be triggered by things like stress, infections, digestion or simple activity. Most experts agree that there is no clear therapeutic recommendation to treat this fatigue.

However, researchers at the University of Regensburg Hospital in Germany saw that coffee helped patients with mild MS symptoms concentrate better and helped them achieve a more structure daily routine.

The study’s authors noted that in the absence of any severe side effects and any other effective fatigue therapy that coffee consumption might be an approach for some patients with MS-related fatigue.

The self-reported study was limited to just 124 subjects and is not conclusive. However, it is a step forward.

As always it is recommended that both those that are healthy and those who have acute or long-term illnesses consult with a doctor before making changes to their diet or trying new therapies.