Coffee can help colon cancer patients

Another reason for daily coffee!
An interesting new study shows that colon cancer patients have a higher survival rate if they were drinking a few cups of coffee a day, compared to non-coffee drinkers. These patients also had a lower rate of the cancer reoccurring later, and lived longer lives.
The study followed 1,000 patients who all recorded their daily food intake and exercise habits. All of the patients had been diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer, and they all went through both surgery and chemotherapy. However, those who drank at least four cups of coffee a day were 42% less likely to experience a relapse, and 33% less likely to die of cancer.
Drinking 2-3 cups a day had a similar benefit, although the effect was not as strong. Drinking other caffeinated drinks, such as soda, decaffeinated coffee, and tea, did not show the same benefits.
It's hard to say what caused the benefit, and it could easily be something that was not recorded during the study, which did not note how the patients took their coffee (black, with sugar, and/or with cream). Many people believe it could be the antioxidants in coffee, but at this point, we have no way to know. 
Until we work it out - enjoy that cup of joe!

Starbucks loads up 6 new "Fan Favorite" Frappuccinos

Will you try them?
Starbucks knows its customer base well. For years, people have been requesting (occasionally demanding) custom Frappuccino flavors off the "Secret Menu." And now, Starbucks has brought the six most popular of those flavors officially to life.
Personally, I have always hated the "Secret Menu" thing. When done right, it's great. You ask for a  mocha Frappuccino with a shot of raspberry and a shot of vanilla syrup, boom: you've got your Red Velvet Frappuccino. Easy peasy.
But too often, people just walk in and demand "a red velvet Frappuccino," expecting the barista will automatically know what they are talking about, and get angry when they can't deliver. Don't expect the employees to know your weird internet flavor combination by name, people!
My other problem with Secret Menu items is that frankly, they are not very good. These six fan flavors are a great example. They all look too sweet, and some of them seem downright weird:
  • Red Velvet
  • Lemon Bar
  • Cinnamon Roll
  • Cotton Candy Crème
  • Caramel Cocoa Cluster
  • Cupcake Creme
Or maybe I'm just bitter because I can't have any of them! I'm allergic to wheat, and all six new flavors have either chips or vanilla bean base, both of which contain gluten.

Starbucks switching to Spotify

Baristas will now be DJs
Starbucks has announced that they are moving away from physical media. They will no longer be selling CDs at the counter, and instead of piping in the in-house music, they will be hooking up Spotify to each of their cafes - then giving the keys to the baristas at the counter.
This may seem like a small thing on the face of it, but I predict that it is going to be a big change for Starbucks cafes across the nation. And like all big changes, it will have mixed results.
The music being played in each Starbucks is going to change from town to town, and shift to shift. You could end up listening to classical music, experimental jazz, twee indie fare, or country music, depending on who's in charge.
This also opens the door for customers to argue with staff about which song is playing. I imagine a lot of baristas are less than thrilled at the prospect of taking requests from customers. Not only do they have to remember and prepare your order correctly, they have to be a jukebox, too!

Innovative mobile nitro cold brew coffee trike

I want some!
Florida is the land of eternal hot weather, and what better place to start a unique form of food truck, dedicated to iced coffee? In Tampa, Joel Davis developed a new way to cold brew coffee, then designed a custom-built tricycle with a keg on the back to brew and dispense it. 
Davis uses pressure to force water through the grounds, not unlike vacuum coffee makers for hot coffee. This one uses a nitro tap to deliver the fresh, cold coffee to customers, while Davis is free to bike around Tampa, popping up at local businesses to work the sidewalk.
Davis is planning to create a retail coffee bar and a pressure-brew facility in Tampa, if demand is high enough. I can't wait to try it!

Keurig bows to consumer demands, brings back My-K-Cup

About time!
When Keurig released a new model a few years ago, many customers were outraged to discover that it would no longer accommodate My-K-Cups. These are the refillable K-Cups which let you use any coffee you want in your Keurig machine.
My-K-Cups are not only more affordable than regular K-Cups, they also help cut down on the extreme amount of waste which those products generate. Even the original inventor of the Keurig machine has expressed regrets for the high amount of waste.
This week, Keurig revealed that when they quit allowing My-K-Cups, their sales declined drastically, by 23%. As a result, they are bringing back the Keurig machines which will accept refillable K-Cups. Hooray!

Have you tried "bulletproof coffee"?

I don't think I can do it!
"Bulletproof coffee" is the latest craze in the coffee world. It was inspired by the traditional Tibetan yak butter tea, which is black tea blended with yak's butter, milk, and salt. Entrepreneur David Asprey optimistically decided to import this concept to America by adding butter to coffee.
Bulletproof coffee is a blended mix of coffee, butter, and MCT oil. Its adherents claim that it is not only delicious (a claim I find dubious), but that it also helps with weight loss by burning fat, keeping your appetite down, and increasing your metabolism.
Frankly, even if it worked (which I'm sure it doesn't), I don't think I could bring myself to try this stuff!

Limited time coffee flavors

Do you fall for it?

Coffee places are constantly finding new ways to lure us inside for a cup of Joe. One of their commonly used tactics is to introduce coffee flavors that are available for only a limited amount of time. Often the newly introduced coffee flavors reflect the season at hand.  For instance, during this time of the year, just about all of the places that sell a cup of coffee are promoting their limited time pumpkin lattes.Since its introduction this year, I have personally ordered two lattes induced with the pumpkin flavor. That is a lot, considering the fact that I am not much of a coffee drinker. So does that mean I am falling for the whole available for a limited time only thing?  I guess to some extent I am.  However, I must point out that I actually do have a thing for the pumpkin flavor.

Because of the fact that pumpkin lattes are hard to come by at any other time of the year, I do try to buy a couple while I still can.  I do not feel as though I am simply buying one because it is constantly being advertised in front of me.  Afterall, I am highly unlikely to be the one to buy the peppermint lattes come Christmas time. 

For the remainder of this season, I will try to stop myself from buying another pumpkin latte. Why is that? Simply because of the amount of calories that are in one is not something that I can afford to have too often.

Starbucks to offer magical cashless payment method

The Square Fairy will just debit it from your pocket

Square is the hot new kid at school, the Silicon Valley start-up most likely to be labeled "an upstart" or "disruptive." But I have to tell you, in the case of Square, the goofy jingoistic business lingo may be correct. 

Square made its name as the company which offers a white cube shaped dongle that lets anyone take credit card payments. If you have a smart phone or a tablet with internet access, you can take payment by credit card just by swiping it through the little gadget. 
I live in a remote rural area, and I was pleased to see that one of the nearby farm stands now accepts cards through Square. It's so modern of them - trust me, when you get out of the city, no one takes credit cards. 
Square's next leap forward is going to involve Starbucks, and it will be happening very soon. The vision is that you can walk into any Starbucks with your cell phone in your pocket, and have your order added onto your tab. No cash involved, no need to hand over your card. Just tell them your name, and poof: your account is magically deducted the cost of your latte.

The first stage will be rolling out this fall. It will require you to hold your phone up to the sensor at the cash register. (This is similar to the way it works now, if you have a smartphone and the Starbucks Card app.) 
In the next stage, if you have a smartphone with GPS enabled and the Square app installed, it will know that you have entered a Starbucks, and will automatically put the cost of your purchase on your tab. When you walk up to the register, apparently your picture will be displayed, and you will tell the barista your name and that you want your purchase put on your tab.
This helps to alleviate some of the security concerns that I'm sure a lot of people will have. After all, it raises the prospect of someone stealing your smartphone, then just walking into a Starbucks and buying a $600 espresso machine on your bill.
Of course, those of us who have been in the high tech trenches for a while remember the other attempts to create new currency systems. The day I can pay for a Starbucks latte with leftover Flooz will be a remarkable day indeed.

The True Price of K-Cups: $51/lb!

Compared to $10-15 per pound of normal coffee!

A little while ago I had an encounter with a K-Cup machine in a waiting room. It was pretty snazzy, I had to admit: it made me a delicious cup of coffee in just a few minutes, with no muss or fuss. Impressive! I began flirting with the idea of buying myself one. But I had to ask, how much do K-Cups really cost, versus making coffee "the regular way?"

For me, "the regular way" means buying coffee - usually Starbucks - either whole bean (which I grind myself in my burr grinder) or pre-ground from the grocery store. 
(Speaking of costs, I am very price-conscious when it comes to these bags of ground Starbucks at the grocery store. The savvy shopper will note that the bags ARE NOT ONE POUND BAGS. Instead, they are 12 ounce bags. Be sure to compare the price per pound correctly! Unless they are on sale, it is always cheaper to buy a pound of coffee at a Starbucks café. They will grind it for you for free, if you like.)
I am willing to pay a certain amount of premium cost for added convenience. But I was shocked when I learned that the price of K-Cups amounts to $51 per pound of coffee! Even the extra-fancy coffee blends at Starbucks rarely cost more than $20 per pound, and that's for the limited edition and seasonal blends. Your average every day Espresso or Italian blend is usually around $12 per pound.

I can't bring myself to pay THAT much more for coffee!
This New York Times article makes the point that most younger coffee buyers these days are thinking about the per-cup price. If you are accustomed to paying $3.25 per cup of latte, then paying about $1 for a cup of K-Cup coffee is definitely a bargain. It probably saves you time, too, versus parking, waiting in line, and waiting to have your drink made.
However, there is an additional cost that the New York Times overlooks: the added waste of all those discarded K-Cups. They can't be recycled, and the coffee grounds inside them can't be composted. The last thing our planet needs is more plastic waste! 
This is the extra cost overhead for me. I compost my coffee grounds. Whereas I live in a rural area and have to pay dump fees whenever I haul my trash to the dump. So if I went to K-Cups I would be paying an extra fee to dispose of the cups that I don't pay for coffee.
I think I will keep making coffee "the regular way" for now!

Who drinks the most coffee?

Science is awesome, but on a day-to-day basis it is also often very boring.

According to this infographic by, the #1 most coffee-drinking-est career is "Scientist/Lab Technician." I can see the sense in that: science is awesome, but on a day-to-day basis it is also often very boring. How much pipetting can you do before you fall asleep, the drone of the lab hood lulling you off to the Land of Nod? Better get some coffee, then!

And remember, it was mathematician Alfred Renyi who famously said that "A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into theorems." 
I am also not surprised about the #2 slot, which goes to "Marketing/PR Professional." If you have ever spent any time around marketing or PR professionals, you know that they are annoyingly frenetic. I'm pretty sure that "I drink a lot of coffee" is just a cover story for all the coke they are snorting in the bathroom. (Totally not kidding about that, by the way.)

Teachers, nurses, writers: three other professions which are known for their coffee consumption. It's the need to stay alert against the vicissitudes of a boring job and/or long hours. I'm sure every Teacher's Lounge in the country has a giant pot of coffee that basically has been continually brewed for the last 30 years. The same goes for most nurse's stations. And as for the lonely writer, well - I just made myself a cup, personally.
"Fighting off boredom" is probably the source of the coffee consumption at job #12, Human Resources Benefits Coordinator. I have been a Human Resources Benefits Coordinator, so I am in the perfect position to tell you: it is an incredibly boring job. Imagine explaining the difference between Short Term and Long Term Care insurance, every day, forever. It makes me bored just thinking about it.
I must take umbrage in the next section, at the assertion that the Northeast is "where the workday coffee ritual is the strongest." This infographic is sourced partly from Dunkin Donuts, which may explain this particular blurb. Dunkin Donuts is strongest in the Northeast, it's true. The doughnut chain has made few inroads into the West Coast culture. But hello? We gave the world Starbucks for pity's sake. I challenge their assertion. I challenge it!
Finally, I am not really sure what to make of the information that writers are most likely to add a flavor to their coffee, while judges are most likely to drink it black. (Personally I almost never add flavor, but I realize that I am but a blip on the statistical map.)