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Oct 26, 2001 02:34 PM

Food myths---fact or fiction?

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So I posted my homemade cold remedy down by the chain on feeding a cold, and it got me to thinking about how many food myths we just hear about and accept as truths. Here are a couple that come to mind...I was told that carbonated beverages make you bloated. I have no idea whether this is true, but I avoid carbonated water and soda partially for this reason. Orange juice (vitamin C) for colds? Never works for me. I'd love to hear more of these commonly held assumptions, and whether or not any of them are backed scientifically.

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    Peter B. Wolf

    Coffee or Tea, none will keep me or my wife awake, nor will it ever get us going. It does not matter, whether it's great or cheap coffee or tea. Espresso does not do it either, we have a very expensive (bought in Europe) Saeco-Bistro machine, and I buy Illy coffee, no beating hearts or racing pulse, ever. I can drink three/four or more cups at any time of the day, and will go to sleep anytime I want. So, what gives? or takes?. Again, thats Coffee, Tea or Espresso!!

    12 Replies
    1. re: Peter B. Wolf

      I read a book about coffee that came with my cappuccino maker, and it revealed that espresso has no more caffeine than regular coffee -- it's just roasted darker. Not sure about the details on that, a little fuzzy.

      As for tea, are you sure you're drinking "regular" tea, and not herbal? Herbal is caffeine free. Try Lipton or something else. Then again, the beverage that keeps me awake the longest is Sprite, which is caffeine-free. (Must be the sugar. . .)

      1. re: Denise K.

        If my memory serves me correctly (I gotta remember how to say that in Japanese so I can sound like Takeshi Kaga on Iron Chef... ok here we go, it's "Watakushi no kioku ga tashika naraba"), espresso has twice the caffiene cup-for cup agains regular coffee, but serving for serving (demitasse vs. coffee cup), they're about the same. I believe it has something to do with espresso being a much stranger brew than regular coffee ever is.

        Then there was the time someone I know made coffee using deionized water. They tried making a second brew with the same beans and the water ran clear. Somebody in the group figured out that the pot of coffee they had brewed was eight times normal strength.

        1. re: JK Grence

          sometimes the typos slip through... I meant stronger brew, not stranger.

        2. re: Denise K.
          Brandon Nelson

          Espresso is a method of brewing coffee...

          Espresso is brewed under pressure to extract a greater flavor profile from ground coffee.

          Roasts are about flavor. Darker roasts have more carbon in them and taste more "burnt" lighter roasts are more complex, but less stable.

          The caffiene content is dictated by how a roaster or retailer chooses to blend beans. Arabica beans are considered to have superior flavor. Robusta beans, although less desirable for their tase, have about twice the caffeine. Adding a robusta to your blend will give it more caffeine.

          I just returned home home from "Coffefest", a three day coffee trade show in Seattle. It was a great learning experience.


          1. re: Brandon Nelson
            Vital Information

            I have been meaning to ask this, and this thread has given me an opening.

            My query: why is it that sometimes the sugar does not fully dissolve in my espresso. This especially occurs at starbucks. Invariably, at the botton of my doppio is a thick goo of sugar a coffee essence. I feel like the best of the brew remains stuck on the bottom. This problem rarely happens at our preferred espresso choice on the far western fringe of chicago.

            Ms VI believes it has to do with the shape of the coffee cups. She thinks the flat bottom of the starbucks cups keep the sugar from melting away, while the more peaked shape of the continental demitasse aids in dissolution. I do not know if I agree.

            So, does anyone else have this problem? If so, why? And what can we do about it?


            1. re: Vital Information
              lee in chicago

              Use less sugar, or stir harder... :)

              1. re: Vital Information

                Maybe it has to do with brewing the espresso directly into the serving cup vs. a shot glass and the amount of heat lost?

                I've seen both, and in my barista days I was asked to put sugar in the cup before the espresso as well (presumably to ensure that it dissolves).

                1. re: Vital Information

                  Another question may be "Why do you put sugar in your espresso"? :)

                  1. re: Vital Information
                    Brandon Nelson

                    There is an easy solution...

                    Why don't coffee joints offer simple syrup as a condiment? There would be less waste, and greater consistancy. I don't often order sweetened drinks, one of the reasons is that last inch of liquid is often filthy sweet and awful. Hardly good to the last drop.


                  2. re: Brandon Nelson

                    I've heard that dark roasts (such as used in espresso) actually have less caffeine, because they lose some in the roasting process. Any truth to this?

                    1. re: SKU
                      Brandon Nelson

                      Don't know for sure...

                      I believe caffeine is water soluble. If that is the case Some would be lost in roasting, because it is a cooking process. Since there is no actual water involved in roasting I think the loss would be minimal.


                2. re: Peter B. Wolf

                  I'm a person who doesn't drink coffee after lunch if I want to sleep that night. My sister drinks it around the clock with no apparent effects, although she feels she's getting a boost.

                  You're just one of those people who isn't affected very much by caffeine, and maybe you need stronger stimulants (g).

                  How much of this do you actually consume (is it a lot?), and if you stop, do you get withdrawal symptoms (headaches, lower backache)? The more caffeine you consume on a regular basis, the less it charges you up.

                  For maximum effect, you would have to consume it less often than every day.

                  That's no fun.

                3. Well, I can't say my knowledge is any more fact-based than yours, but I'll tell you what I know about fizzy water:

                  A friend who has spent much time in Italy says water with gas is an absolute no-no for dieting Italians. However, when I mentioned that tidbit to a friend i consider to be an authority on dieting, she said that it is, in fact, NOT taboo. Yes, in the very short term, it may make you FEEL bloated, but actually those miracle bubbles will keep you from eating that extra bite of mashed potatoes, coffee iced cream, or whichever of your dieting foes might send you over the edge.

                  Obviously, soda is a bad idea. The empty calories you ingest from Coke, Dr Pepper, even juices, to me, are not worth the slight satisfaction my sweet tooth receives.