Nervous About Caffeine? Don’t Be.

StockSnap_D3MS3XB0UW.jpg

Go ahead, have another cup.

An unprecedented scientific review on caffeine safety confirms that drinking up to four cups of coffee daily, or about 400 milligrams of caffeine, is “not associated with overt, adverse effects” in healthy adults. (Pregnant woman and minors should reduce their intake below that amount, according to the report.) [1]

The review was conducted by the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI), and is the most extensive of its kind to date. Scientists scoured data from more than 700 independent studies related to various human health effects and caffeine.

Continue reading

Seeding Coffee’s Future: A Conversation About Conservation and Verification

By Hanna Neuschwander, World Coffee Research

madagascar-wild -coffee.JPG

An unidentified Coffea species found in Madagascar, which is preserved in a coffee genebank. Ensuring these genebanks have adequate funding to continue operations should be a major priority of the coffee industry. Source: Sarada Krishnan

Sometimes facts are so obvious they become invisible.

In the case of coffee, one of those facts is this: Coffee comes from a plant. The entire $225 billion dollar coffee industry in the U.S. is built up from the roots of billions of living, breathing coffee plants that spend their days turning sunlight into fruit. Once you stop and think about it, it’s kind of profound. Nearly 1.7 million jobs — including, if you are reading this, probably yours — depend on those plants doing their thing, photosynthesizing, outsmarting diseases and pests, being rained on at the right time in the right amounts.

It’s also profound to think about just how fragile the entire arrangement is. The vast majority of coffee plants in the field today are really, really (really) genetically similar. Most varieties are not resistant to major diseases. Most are way too old (World Coffee Research guesses that about 50% of coffee trees are more than 50 years old). That leaves coffee especially vulnerable — to disease epidemics like the one that devastated Central American production after 2012, to extremes in weather like excessive rain or drought or frost.

When crops are facing challenges like these, it helps to go back to basics: Coffee is a plant. So — what is needed to help the plant thrive? And, thereby, to help the humans who depend on it?

Continue reading

Innovation, Sustainability, and the Global Coffee Industry

By Bambi Semroc, Conservation International

[Ed. note: To learn more about this project, join Bambi Semroc and Annette Pensel, Global Coffee Platform, for the breakout session “Making Coffee the First Sustainable Commodity,” at the NCA Annual Convention 2017, March 23-25, Austin, TX]

ci_30097488_full-768x512

Source: Conservation International, Cristina Mittermeier ©

Innovation is all around us.

From a 3D printer that enables doctors to construct human tissue, to a virtual reality headset that transports a policymaker in Washington, DC to a remote village in the Amazon to experience projects helping prevent deforestation. Things we never dreamed of 20 years ago are changing our daily lives. And, innovation is not just defined as “the next hot thing” – it’s critical to ensuring the sustainable growth of an industry.

The coffee sector is continually innovating. Consider the new roasting and brewing techniques that led to cold brew and single serve coffees. Or, consumer engagement through creative retail shops offering everything from hands-on technology to fully compostable cups.

That said, innovation in coffee also includes things the everyday drinker might not know about – from researchers developing new varieties and improved practices, to small-scale farmers adopting those varieties and experimenting with new techniques on their farms.

One of the most important innovations the coffee sector has been leading includes the work being done on sustainability.

Continue reading

Addressing an Aging Population

StockSnap_8C35014CE3.jpg

Report highlights coffee’s potential role in reducing cognitive decline

Moderate coffee consumption (3-5 cups per day) may protect against age-related cognitive decline and related neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, according to a new report from the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC).

This research supports mounting evidence suggesting that “long-term coffee intake could be a viable strategy for reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other diseases associated with aging.”

Key highlights about coffee from the report include: Continue reading

Behind the Headlines: Coffee, Health, and Research

For the informed coffee drinker.

By Bill M. Murray, CAE, NCA, CEO
@Bill_CoffeeAssn

blog-coffee-health

We know that coffee helps fight fatigue – but how do we know this?

First, from personal observation – coffee drinkers feel the effects of caffeine, and sometimes observe them in others.

Second, there’s evidence in the form of coffee-drinker surveys. In 2016, 84% of coffee drinkers said that “coffee wakes me up and gets me going.”[1]

Third, independent researchers suggest that consuming caffeinated coffee may be linked to improved brain function, physical endurance, and athletic performance.[2]

Three different types of research, all leading to similar conclusions.

But when it comes to diet and health-related research, there are new headlines every day – sometimes with opposite claims. Coffee itself isn’t immune from this phenomenon, and it’s easy to see why.

Since the early 1990’s, at least 2,700 coffee and health related studies have been reported by researchers from all around the world.[3] With new coffee and health headlines emerging on a weekly basis, it is important that coffee drinkers think smart about the coffee and health news that breaks over their morning cup of coffee, some of which may even appear to be contradictory.

If you’re trying to stay up-to-date on coffee and health research, here are 4 things to keep in mind when reading the headlines.

Continue reading