Coffee, and how I use it.

I’m relatively new, to the coffee fanclub. I started around the time I was experimenting with the keto diet. Got hooked on it, and have stayed hooked since. At several points over the last ten years I’ve tried quitting and have been successful for several months at a stretch. But I always come back to it. I’ve finally decided I’m not going to quit. I’m no quitter!

Why drink coffee? Primary reason for me is taste. All the health benefits can take a hike. I’m not drinking this for the health benefits. I drink coffee because I like it. We’ll talk about the health benefits later in this post.

Why shouldn’t you drink coffee? Because it’s addictive. Because you tend to add stuff like sugar to it. Because you abuse it. There’s also an argument that it depletes micronutrients and neurotransmitters. That it causes dehydration through diuresis(makes you pee more)

Health benefits. Good source of anti oxidants and bioflavonoids. For most people who don’t eat enough vegetables, coffee is probably the biggest source of anti oxidants in their daily diet. There is marked reduction in liver disease when coffee is consumed daily- less liver cancer, less fatty liver, less cirrhosis. Risk of metastatic prostate cancer and malignant melanoma also comes down. Coffee is a nootropic. It helps the brain function better. There is a lowering of the risk of dementia asking regular coffee users. Coffee use also seems to decrease the risk of diabetes and it’s complications. It is important to note that simply consuming coffee in buckets and living a crappy lifestyle will not help.

Theories on why coffee is beneficial. Thought to be mainly because of its anti oxidant content. Also due to its hormetic effect. Hormesis is a process by which the body becomes stronger when exposed to a sub lethal challenge. Coffee has compounds in it, that challenge the liver and the liver responds by getting stronger. Then there’s the effect it has on your mood. Makes you happier and motivated. The elevation in mood has it’s own effects on health.

How I drink coffee. I like my coffee strong. And I like it freshly ground. I pick up my coffee beans from a trusted local shop. I absolutely do not use instant coffee. I do not add sugar. Ideally I shouldn’t be adding milk, but I use a dash of it anyway, because I like how the flavours combine. I grind the pre roasted beans every morning by hand. It is a ritual, and that is part of the charm. Early morning, when it’s dark outside, I’ll have my headphones on and the kitchen to myself. The peace and solitude is necessary before I have to plunge into the day.

How much? It depends on your needs. I limit myself to two cups maximum. Most days it is one cup. Never after 12noon because the coffee reliably disrupts my deep sleep if consumed after noon. I use two spoons of coffee beans. See picture above for quantity.

How do I use it? There’s 3 main methods. Favorite is extra strong, with a little milk. Heat the water+ milk to boiling and add it to the grounds in the cup, I let it sit for 5 minutes to cool. I don’t bother straining it out most of the time. Second favourite is a cold brew, where I grind the coffee beans the night before, and leave it in around 400ml of water in the fridge. After it sits in cold water for 8 hours, while I sleep, it comes out with a really smooth flavour. You can then strain the grounds out and take it with you in a flask. The decoction isn’t heated at any point. This is what I use during travel or trips. The third is black. Nothing but coffee and hot water.

Varieties. There’s two main varieties. Robusta and Arabica. I like both. Depending on mood. Robusta has a stronger flavour and is more of a stimulant. Arabica is smoother. You’ll have to experiment with blends to find out what you like best. I’m not fond of the chicory blend. 50:50 blend is what most cafes use. Arabica 75: robusta 25 is what I tend to use. But pure Robusta or pure Arabica brews are also pretty nice. Blending the two varieties is a bit of a lottery. And the result will vary from batch to batch depending on origin of beans and how optimally they’ve been roasted.

Equipment. You don’t need an expensive coffee machine. Use a hand grinder. You’ll get good ones off Amazon for less than 1k. If you’re making coffee for the whole family you’ll need a bigger, table mounted one.

Note on bulletproof coffee. Don’t do it. It is a fad in the keto world to use butter+coconut oil in black coffee. I’ve done it myself. It has it’s advantages in suppressing appetite, but in the long term you don’t want to be consuming fats in the form of liquids. It would be preferable that you burn your own fat stores, than supply it from outside, in the mistaken belief that externally supplied fat will make you better at metabolising fat.

Abusing coffee. If you’re using it to stay awake, that’s abuse. You’re feeling sleepy because your body needs rest. Countering that need with a strong coffee, is abuse. If it makes you irritable and jittery, you’re probably abusing it. If it causes physical dependence, you’re probably abusing it. You shouldn’t have to use coffee to stimulate a bowel movement. Lack of coffee shouldn’t trigger a migraine. Missing a dose of coffee should not make you irritable.

Coffee and sleep. There’s plenty of people who will claim that coffee doesn’t affect their sleep. It does. Just that they don’t know it. If you use a sleep tracker you’ll see how much deep sleep you lose if you have a late afternoon or evening coffee. Even if total quantity of deep sleep stays the same, it will be more fragmented.

Coffee and weight loss. Coffee can help in weight loss if used right. It suppresses appetite. Increases lipolysis (breaking down of body fat). Is ergogenic-improves physical performance, letting you workout harder. Coffee before a workout may help you burn more fat.

Best time to drink coffee. I think that the best time is around half to one hour after waking up. The natural spike of cortisol would be just beginning to drop and you would be getting ready for your workout. The worst time to drink coffee would be, before you go to bed.

Please let me know about how you use coffee. Your sources, techniques and insights. Also ask any doubts in the comments. Thanks.

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