Can Coffee Help You Get in Shape?

November 17, 2008 at 5:40 am | Posted in Coffee Info | Leave a comment

bagcoffeeResearch on the benefits of coffee always makes me happy. I suppose because I am always hoping my coffee drinking habit will do me good in the end! I found this research interesting, since I am officially a coffee addict and am trying to get in better shape. Apparently “no pain, no gain” might not be the truth… if you are a coffee drinker!

If you’re planning on using exercise to get yourself in shape for summer, you might want to drink a couple of cups of coffee first. In a study recently released, researchers at the University of Georgia in Athens found that the amount of caffeine in two cups of coffee cut exercise-induced muscle pain in half.

The group studied nine college-aged women who were given caffeine or placebo at 24 and 48 hours after performing what is called eccentric exercise. The two intensities of exercise tests were actually designed to cause soreness in the subjects’ thigh muscles, or quadriceps. It is interesting that the harder the women exercised, the more effective the caffeine was at relieving their muscle pain. Those who consumed caffeine one hour prior to the more difficult exercise test had 48% less pain than the placebo group, while the women who consumed caffeine prior to the less difficult test had 26% less pain than the placebo group.

The authors wrote: “Eccentric exercise occurs when skeletal muscles produce force while being lengthened. For example, the biceps brachii muscles act eccentrically when a cup of coffee is lowered from the mouth to a tabletop. This experiment found that caffeine (equal to approximately 2 cups of brewed coffee) could produce a large reduction in pain resulting from eccentric exercise-induced, delayed-onset muscle injury. This finding may improve the quality of life of individuals who experience skeletal muscle pain after engaging in unaccustomed, eccentrically biased exercise.”  According to Dr. Victor Meridakis, “If you can use caffeine to reduce the pain, it may make it easier to transition from that first week into a much longer exercise program…. but you have to apply some common sense and not go overboard.”
Reference: Caffeine Attenuates Delayed-Onset Muscle Pain and Force Loss Following Eccentric Exercise. Maridakis V, O’Connor PJ, Dudley GA, McCully KK. J Pain. 2006 Dec 8; [Epub ahead of print]


God In A Cup

November 3, 2008 at 3:26 pm | Posted in Coffee Info | Leave a comment
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It is true that in the specialty coffee world women are drastically outnumbered by copious amounts of highly caffeinated men. As a coffee company owned 100% by women, we were excited (and, honestly, a little surprised) to run across a well written coffee book penned by a woman.

Journalist Michaele Weissman has put together a great overview of the world of specialty coffee in God in a Cup. She traveled around the world with coffee buyers and explored the contrast between mass-produced, commodity coffee and artisan-focused, quality-oriented specialty coffee like we use at Urban Grounds.

This book isn’t really about searching for great tasting coffee, but uses that pursuit to frame the genesis and impact of specialty coffee for consumers and especially producers.

Weissman preserves her artfully-paced narrative by placing the in-depth background information at the back of the book or in boxes, but still provides enough detail in the main text to clearly explain to readers unfamiliar with the coffee trade and the stakes involved.

She does a great job of highlighting the passion — and activism — of the pioneers in this industry. Much of the focus is on her travels and interviews with three of them: Counter Culture’s Peter Giuliano, Intelligentsia’s Geoff Watts, and Stumptown’s Duane Sorenson, but many others are mentioned. Following these coffee buyers provides an opportunity to really understand the complexities involved in producing this crop and bringing it to market. Most revealing for me were the discussions about Fair Trade, and in particular the examination of the cooperative system. The example of the troubles Watts has had with poorly run organizations helps to illustrate that cooperatives (which are the only producers allowed to be certified Fair Trade) are not always the best way to protect farmers.

I approached this book with a little trepidation, as I have read way too many articles about coffee that were superficial, not factual, lacked a fresh approach, or were just examples of lazy reporting. This was none of these. If you are at all interested in coffee (which you must be if you have read this far), I highly recommend this book. Further, get a couple extra copies for your coffee-loving friends, people you would like to convert to specialty coffee, or those in your life that don’t really “get it.” God in a Cup will make a great gift this holiday season. Find it on Kalahari.

Free Coffee For You!

November 1, 2008 at 11:00 am | Posted in Coffee Info, The Coffee, Urban Grounds | 1 Comment
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Here are two ways to get any coffee drink of your choice at Urban Grounds for FREE!

1.  Blog about us on your blog, can be either positive or negative, and link back to our blog.

2.  Join our facebook group (click here) and then upload a photo of yourself at Urban Grounds on the group page.

Enjoy your free coffee! Offer ends 31/12/08, so hurry!

Going Green with Fair trade

October 30, 2008 at 7:23 am | Posted in Coffee Info, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Monday October 20 2008

Coffee company Bewley’s has agreed to a $1.5 million deal with Soppexcca , a farmers co-op in Nicaragua for the supply of fair trade-certified coffee.

The Soppexcca group of 15 co-ops comprises 650 coffee producers and their families.

The development is part of a long term sustainability drive by Bewley’s, which will become Ireland’s first fully certified carbon neutral coffee company by the end of this year.

The initiative will remove over 3,500 tonnes of CO2 from the athmosphere each year according to the company.

Great Blog Post

October 26, 2008 at 2:58 pm | Posted in Coffee Info, The Coffee, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ennis Pepper just wrote an awesome post about Urban Grounds on his blog.  Ennis, we at Urban Grounds welcome you to a free coffee of your choice!  Check out his post at

A New Book!

October 23, 2008 at 6:32 am | Posted in Coffee Info | Leave a comment
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It is not often that a book worthy of writing about pops up in the coffee world. So, when one does come along, it is worth hopping up and down about! I have not gotten my hands on this book yet, but I do know that the photographs alone will make you want to run to your nearest coffee haven for a good cup… I just hope that run finds you at Urban Grounds!

The Espresso Quest is an exciting tale of an espresso lover’s quest to find the pure joy experienced in a perfectly prepared cup of espresso coffee.

In the Espresso Quest, Instaurator weaves in tales of how he became enlightened to that perfect espresso, and how his journeys – and people he met along the way – helped him realize that espresso is not something that can be prepared by following a set of rules. Instead it requires passion – of the grower, roasters and barista – to ensure the coffee bean is brought to its purist state.

Join Instaurator as he dives into the intricacies of growing, processing and brewing espresso, revealing how each are necessary to understand if that perfect little cup is to find a place in your heart. Throughout the book he shares memories of his first true perfect espresso, then takes the reader on his journey to seek that sublime taste time and again. Along the road, he recounts his observations, discussions and first-hand experiences in the world of espresso coffee. Through it all, Instaurator emphasizes “Let taste be your guide.” His quest is sure to incite many more passionate discussions about how to best experience that ultimate espresso.

Check out the website to view the amazing photographs, read a sample and learn more about the author.

Coffees of Ethiopia

October 8, 2008 at 7:15 am | Posted in Coffee Info, The Coffee | 1 Comment

Because I am drinking a nice Ethiopian cappuccino this morning, I thought I would post something about this amazing coffee region. This is by no means a comprehensive education, just a quick overview of Ethiopia’s best coffee producing regions.

Ethiopia is the birthplace of Arabica coffee, and Ethiopians have been drinking coffee longer than anyone else. Coffee is the national drink, with over 50% of the country’s production internally consumed. Wild coffee trees still grow below the canopy of forests in southern and southwestern Ethiopia (Anyone had our Organic Ethiopian Wild Limu?). The coffee trees’ natural diversity makes them a unique repository for selection and breeding around the world. Around 25% of the Ethiopian population is involved with coffee production, which represents over 50% of Ethiopia’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Here’s a look at the different regions coffee is grown. All of these coffees can be found at Urban Grounds, depending on seasons and availability.

Coffee is grown over a wide area, from the southwestern to the southern and eastern regions. By far the two most recognized of these are Harrar, to the east, and Sidamo, in the south. There could not be two more different coffees than those produced by these regions.

Harrar is a natural processed coffee and provides a preferred flavor profile of the Middle East: medium-bodied, acidic, winy, even “wild”, a euphemism for bearing the traces of vinegary fermented fruit. (I refer to Harrar as a rustic coffee, borrowing from modern wine terminology) This coffee is often “enhanced” in the Middle East with cardamom and other ingredients. Since production is limited and demand in Middle Eastern centers is great, prices for Harrar can be quite high.

Sidamo, to the south, on the other hand, specializes in washed coffee. These coffees are delicate and can attain a unique floral aroma. Within the region of Sidamo lies the valley-town of Yirgacheffe. The heart of the Yirgacheffe Valley; Yirga means “let it settle” and cheffe means marsh. It is the coffee from the slopes bordering this valley that Ethiopian coffee attains the fullest expression of terroir. No other coffee in the world has its perfumed, sweet, lemon-apricot aroma. It has been prized by coffee blenders since cultivation began after World War II.

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