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Coffee Factoids

Coffee: Preventing Pancreatitis

If you’ve ever had a bad bout with pancreatitis, listen closely. It might not be too late to prevent another flare-up, because one of the United Kingdom’s leading research institutions found that coffee might reduce the risk of alcohol-induced pancreatitis.

Researchers from the University of Liverpool have determined that caffeine, particularly the caffeine found in coffee, may close up special channels within pancreatic cells and reduce the damaging effects caused by alcohol. Who would of guessed that a mug or two a day of your favorite brew could help protect you from pancreatic problems?

So, while there are no specific pharmacological treatments for pancreatitis other than painkillers, physiologist Ole Petersen suggested that drinking coffee might reduce the risk of painful alcohol-induced pancreatitis.

Coffee, Tea or Me? It's Going to Cost You

Think low-cost airlines had eliminated just about every luxury known to man? Tickets, blankets, pillows, peanuts, pilots—just kidding.

Well, think again, because even a cup of coffee will cost you now - $1 to be exact.

Low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines recently announced that coffee, tea, soft drinks and juices will now cost $1. Luckily, water is still free (for the time being).

Are travelers outraged by this announcement? Some are. “Only an airline with no pride would charge you,” said budget traveler Robert Berger who lives on Long Island. “But we'll pay them for the baggage and $1 for the soda because we're still ahead of the game when it comes to ticket prices.”

The Future of Cocoa

Even though the Dow Jones took a tumble last month, futures trading reached an all-time high. What does that mean for someone who doesn't work at Merrill Lynch? It means that soft products or futures, as they're called, specifically cocoa, specialty coffee, cotton, ethanol, wood pulp, sugar and orange juice, exchanged at the New York Board of Trade, set a record high for electronic trading.

This all came about when the University of Nottingham Medical School in England reported the consumption of cocoa, specifically cocoa rich in flavanols may promote blood flow to and around the brain. This could implicate improvement in brain function – including memory. Coincidence? I think not.

Wanted: Experienced Barista, Sex Appeal A Plus

Face it, sex sells. And the residents around Tacoma, Washington will attest to that. Every morning coffee addicts line up around Cowgirls Espresso to catch a glimpse of several scantily clad girls grinding, tamping, brewing and steaming hot caffeinated drinks.

So far, things seem to be running pretty smoothly for owner Lori Bowden, who didn't face any challenges from the Kent City Planning Board when she applied for a permit. According to City Planner Sharon Clamp, there haven't been any complaints either.

“As long as they don't start dancing and stick to making coffee, they won't be breaking any municipal codes.”

Clamp referred to municipal code 15.02.006 in which adult entertainment in the City of Kent means any dance, amusement, show, display, merchandise, material, exhibition, pantomime, modeling or any other like performance of any type for the use or benefit of a member of the public.

So just like Hooters Restaurant founder Robert Brooks, Bowden based the concept on the female sex appeal, similar to the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and the girls at Coyote Ugly. It's a work environment where joking and sexual innuendos seems to be commonplace. Let's just hope they don't run out of milk.

Is it in the Genes?

If you love your morning coffee, there's a chance it's because you have been pre-programmed to. It's in your nature, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, who recently discovered that a single protein, known simply as Gr66a, might determine whether or not you crave caffeine. In the study, fruit flies with the Gr66a gene removed flocked to caffeine-laced food products. The flies would normally avoid these products because of the bitter taste caused by the presence of caffeine. However, the flies seemed to overcome their dislike of the bitter taste with the gene removed - suggesting the taste for caffeine is inherent.

Pimp My Audi: Coffee Enthusiast Gone Wild

Admitted coffee addict, Dan Haller, may have gone too far when he mounted his Jura Capresso 1500 in the back of his Audi A6.

After anchoring the super automatic to the rear seats using Isofix brackets and running a 12-volt/110-volt inverter between the 60/40 rear split seats, Haller hit the streets. While this may seem like the answer for coffee-to-go, Haller said the espresso just didn't taste the same.

"The machine was too heavy to leave in the car long-term," he said. "And since the rear seats of the Audi slope back, it disturbed the normal flow of crèma."

Haller did manage to take some pictures of the modification before removing the super automatic though. Another complaint of Haller's was the espresso could have been hotter. Maybe he should have contacted rap superstar and car enthusiast Xzibit at MTV's Pimp My Ride before he called it quits.

Coffee Flavored Gum

Now you can join the ranks of coffee geeks along the Asian-Pacific rim who are getting jazzed up on coffee-flavored chewing gum. A few months ago Chicago based gum manufacturer Wrigley unveiled "Kona Crème," the American equivalent of "Coffee Gum," also manufactured by Wrigley but previously limited to the People's Republic of China.

Test marketed this spring in 7-Eleven stores nationwide, Kona Crème is a unique combination of two distinct flavors – coffee and gum. Tasnim Idris, owner of 7-Eleven in Penfield, NY said that compared to other flavored gum available in the store, Kona Crème sales seemed a bit slow. "Very few people are buying it," Idris said. But Wrigley spokesperson Jessica Shilling said sales on the national level were impressive, and a Limited Edition Kona Crème will be available in September at retail outlets nationwide. Shilling said the Limited Edition Kona Crème Gum would be available through the holidays – making it the perfect stocking stuffer for those who want to streamline two activities; drinking coffee and chewing gum.

Coffee Business Boom

While it’s nothing fancy, 13 year-old Cody Spear of Purvis, Mississippi has kept Katrina-battered residents caffeinated over the past nine months, serving up instant cappuccinos on the roadside. His mother, Melissa, said that Cody, who is going into the 7th grade, has been selling the powdered cappuccinos for 50¢ and has made over $450.

"He’s funny about his stand," she said. "He’ll change where he sets up depending on what day of the week it is." On the weekends Cody set up his stand on the main road in town she explained, whereas during the week, he sets up near neighborhoods.

Since September, Purvis has been host to a large recovery center for FEMA and is incidentally, a storage site for the highly controversial unused trailers. FEMA has now earmarked the Purvis site for closure due to reduced activity, federal and state officials recently announced.

This being the case, his mother said Cody would be turning his efforts to mowing lawns. "He’s a real entrepreneur, and he realizes there is money to be made mowing lawns now."

Serving Justice One Cup at a Time

Five years ago, some butt-kissing law clerks walked into a Newark, NJ coffee shop and had a special blend whipped up for their boss, Samuel Alito, Jr., in honor of his birthday. The blend, dubbed "Judge Alito's Bold Justice" wasn't too popular with anyone but the judge until his recent US Supreme Court nomination - at which point everyone jumped on the Alito bandwagon and this little coffee shop had more business than it could handle. Listed on the shop's website as a "mix of Columbian, Java and New Guinea with a bit of espresso," we can only hope that Judge Alito is a bit more knowledgeable and coherent when it comes to the law than this particular shop is about coffee, espresso, and the "blends" they peddle.

Will the Real Jamaica Blue Please Stand Up?

In an effort to weed out impostors, the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica has been using Jamaican natives living in the US to "mystery shop" coffee branded as Jamaica Blue Mountain. After purchasing the coffee from either online or brick and mortar stores, the coffee is shipped back to Jamaica for authenticity testing. Anyone producing "fake" Jamaican Blue had better watch out – the Jamaican government is planning to prosecute any violators. Source: TimesArgus.com