Friday, September 01, 2006

Think More, Do Less, E ven at Coffee Shop

With school and college vacations around the corner, those exam blues and tensions must have been forgotten in anticipation of the good days of fun and frolic soon to come. So, don’t you think it is the right time to evaluate what type of an exam person you are? You could be:
The Bindaas Dude
Exams may come and exams may go, but there is only one cool dude and that is you. “What’s the big fuss about exams? They are not the end of the world”, is your answer to people’s queries about your lack of preparation for the exams. You have much more important things to do with your precious time than sit and study. You rely on your peers to help you out by copying and cheating whenever you can. C’mon man put in some of your own effort and see the difference.

Think More, Do Less
You make lavish plans about your study schedule with neatly and colourfully done up time-tables, complete with the subjects and time when you will do them. However at the appointed time, you will be found hanging out with pals at a coffee shop and discussing which movie to go for once the exams are over.

Combined Study
Here, friends form a study group and take their mega collection of likelies at a friend’s place to study. They ask each other questions and make it a fun session to study and learn. However, sometimes the topics get diversified and the focus shifts from studies to other areas.

Miss Overconfident
You think you know your syllabus so well that in your overconfidence, you tend to make silly mistakes specially in the Maths, Accounts and Costing papers. You then later on get angry with yourself for making mistakes.

Last Minute Worker
Most of the students fall in this category. A month before the exams, you will be found scampering around for the entire year’s notes and books. You study what you hope will come in the exam and rely on your fluke to pass.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Sleeping Tips: “Natural sleep is healthier than drug-aided sleep,”

Many people suffering from insomnia automatically reach for sleep medications, but those drugs are rarely a good first choice, says a sleep expert at National Jewish Medical and Research Center. “Natural sleep is healthier than drug-aided sleep,” said Dr Robert Ballard, director of the Sleep Center at National Jewish. He offers some advice on good sleep habits: Prepare yourself for sleep. The calmer and more relaxed you are before you go to bed, the better you’ll sleep. Try to wind down with a relaxing activity before bedtime. Turn down the lights and avoid loud music and television. Reading, yoga and meditation often prove to be beneficial toward sleep habits.

Stick to a regular schedule by going to bed at about the same time every night. Your body will get used to that schedule and will be better prepared to sleep at bedtime and awaken in the morning. Create a sleep sanctuary. Dark, cozy environs are where people experience their deepest sleep. If you’ve spent more than 15 minutes tossing and turning while trying to get to sleep, you should get up. Insomnia often results from anxiety about not getting enough sleep.

Exercise is one of the best things you can do to help you sleep. But you have to exercise at the right time of day. Exercise late in the day can actually contribute to sleeplessness. Morning is the best time to exercise. Don’t eat large meals before bed and don’t consume caffeine in the afternoon. Both tobacco and alcohol can impair sleep.

Drink coffee without arthritis worry

Drinking multiple cups of coffee every day does not appear to increase risk of r h e u m at o i d arthritis (RA), new research suggests. These findings appear on the heels of numerous other reports suggesting that the opposite was, in fact, the case. After reviewing information collected from more than 80,000 women over an almost 20 year period, US researchers found that the risk of arthritis appeared unrelated to the amount of decaffeinated coffee, coffee, tea and total caffeine women consumed. However, a p rev i o u s Finnish study found that people who drank at least four cups of coffee daily were more than twice as likely to develop arthritis, while another report showed that drinking multiple cups of tea each day could reduce that risk.
The author of the current report, Elizabeth W. Karlson, said that her study followed more people for more time than previous reports, and there is “very little biologic reason” why coffee or tea might influence the risk of RA. “These findings should help settle the debate,” she said. RA is a chronic inflammatory condition in which the body’s own immune system attacks the tissue lining the joints. The cause of RA is not well understood, but research suggests that age, smoking, obesity and genetic factors may play a role in the development of the disease.
During the current study, reported in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism, Karlson and her team reviewed dietary information collected every four years between 1980 and 1998 from 83,124 women. Over the course of the study, 480 women developed RA. Although women’s choice of beverage appeared to have no influence on their risk of RA, their smoking habits did. Specifically, the researchers found that heavy smokers were more likely to develop RA than non-smokers, a finding that other researchers have discovered, as well. Karlson, who is based at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said that coffee drinkers may be more likely to be long-term smokers than non-coffee drinkers, and this tendency may help explain why previous reports

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Coffee has been found growing on tress !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Naturally caffeine-free coffee has been found growing on trees, reports New Scientist. It has raised hopes of a cheap alternative to artificially decaffeinated coffees available on store shelves. Brazilian researchers grew 3,000 Ethiopian coffee plants in an effort to find low-caffeine coffee nuts. They found a plant containing 15 times less caffeine than commonly-used varieties. The discovery was reported in Nature magazine. The caffeine-free coffee plants belong to a popular species, Coffea arabica, and yield superior quality beans.

This is said to be the first time that a decaf variety of Coffea arabica has been found. It is thought to lack the gene for an enzyme that is required to make caffeine. Though caffeine is known and sometimes appreciated as a stimulant, it raises blood pressure, and disrupts sleep. There is a worldwide trend of healthconsciousness, so demand for decaf coffee is considerable. Over 10% of coffee consumed worldwide is said to be decaf.

But current processes for removing the caffeine from the coffee are expensive, and they may also damage the flavour. To keep the taste and remove the caffeine, carbon filters have to be used, but that’s even costlier. That’s why the caffeine-free plants may seem an attractive business proposition. People wondering about the taste of the coffee manufactured from these plants will have to wait: the plants aren’t grown yet. They also grow around 30 per cent slower than ordinary plants. That’s why researchers want to cross-breed them with ordinary varieties to produce a fastergrowing, yet caffeine-free variety.
This cross breeding will set back commercial exploitation of the ‘decaf bushes’ by a decade or more, giving other contenders a chance. A genetically-modified coffee plant is just a few years away from maturing.
Genetically modified plants may be completely caffeine-free, whereas the naturally bred Brazilian varieties have small amounts of caffeine. But people opposed to GM crops might prefer to wait for their cuppa.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Get Beautiful Face with Coffee and Chocolates

Remember the last time your girlfriend was angry and you had to give her a box of chocolates to cool her down? Well, the next time she shops for the chocolates herself or even asks you to get her some, it may not be to pamper her taste buds but her skin! Indeed chocolates and coffee are both on their way to becoming the most preferred skin care solutions for women in general and brides in particular.

An extension of the ever-changing list of beauty tips that are available to women from beauty experts, the cafe orly treatment or the chocolate wrap treatment are all set to make their debut in Kolkata.

“The thing about chocolate is that it has a feel-good factor, the reason why people eat chocolates whenever they feel down,” said a Delhi-based beautician who is introducing chocolate facials and body massage for the first time in the city. Apparently, while on the one hand the smell of chocolates is an aphrodisiac and just right for the bride on the day of her marriage, chocolate is also rich in anti-oxidants that keeps the skin fresh.

While chocolate takes the cake, coffee can also act as an excellent scrub. The coffee scrub not only helps to tighten the body, but also lightens the skin with the cocoa in it checking pigmentation. It seems it’s time coffee and chocolate travelled from just the taste buds to every cell of the body.


For the coffee aficionado, understanding all the subtleties that make a great cup can be as captivating as knowledge of good wines is to the wine lover. Fortunately for all of us, however, achieving the perfect cup is easy once you’re familiar with a few basic coffee-making concepts.
Know Your Beans: When you walk into a specialty coffee shop, a coffeehouse that sells coffee beans — or even a grocery store with a wide variety of whole-bean coffees — you’ll probably spot an enticing display of coffee beans. Knowing a little bit about the origins of coffee beans and how they’re harvested, roasted and named can help you choose the bean that’s right for your cup. With all the different monikers on the beans you buy at the store, you may think they are from different species of coffee plants. However, most of the beans you can purchase today come from only two species of coffee plants: coffea robusta and coffea arabica. The kind most often found in cans is generally made from coffea robusta, as are most instant coffees. Specialty coffees — those served at coffeehouses — are generally made from coffea arabica.
What’s in a Name? : The names of the beans normally do not refer to the kind of coffee plant they come from. Quite simply, a name may designate where the bean was grown (Ethiopia, Colombia, Kenya, Yemen). Coffees can be designated as “single-origin” coffees —that is, originating from one country only — or “blends,” a combination of beans from a variety of geographical areas. Brewing Techniques: Each brewing method has advantages and disadvantages. No matter which roast and method you select, keep these points in mind: Measure ground coffee for consistent results. If you like a bold cup of coffee, try two tablespoons ground coffee for each six-ounce cup. Because coffee strength is a matter of personal preference, experiment until you find the perfect measure for your taste. Start with fresh, cold water to make coffee. If your coffee tastes bitter or unusual, the water could be the cause. Highly chlorinated water, water treated by a softener, and hard water can affect your coffees flavour. A solution is to use bottled water.
Types of coffee: Brewed coffee — usually produced through a drip filter— is perhaps the most common way to fill the American coffee cup. However, these specialty coffees are popular, too. Espresso: Italian in origin, espresso is cherished for its hearty flavour and thin layer of silky froth (or crema) on top. Because of its intense flavour, espresso is served in demitasse cups, often with sugar. It is brewed by forcing hot water under pressure through finely ground coffee in an espresso machine. Caffe Latte: It combines one part brewed espresso to about three parts steamed milk, with a little froth (or foam) on top. Caffe latte is served in a latte bowl or a tall glass mug. Cappuccino: Equal parts brewed espresso, steamed milk and froth make a cup of cappuccino. It has a more intense coffee flavour than latte and is usually served with sugar.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Hot Coffee mugs

Let's begin with the basics. It's a word you often hear - ceramics. You have some vague idea of what it means and associate it immediately with pottery, with coffee mugs, with tiles and with home accessories. Experts tell us, however, that the definition of ceramics isn't as easy as it used to be. 25 years ago, you were talking about 'objects made from fired clay', and this definition took in bricks, cement, terracotta, stoneware, porcelain, and similar materials, mainly oxides derived from mineral sources. The more modern definition is slightly more complicated. Ceramics are supposed to be 'crystalline compounds of metallic and non-metallic elements', characterised by high brittleness, rigidity, and hardness; high melting points (1900-3900 degrees C); high strength under compression; and resistance to chemical attack. Put simply, they are typically produced by the application of heat upon processed clays and other natural raw materials to form a rigid product.
Let's forget the technicalities, however, and go back to where the word actually comes from. The word ceramic can be traced back to the Greek term keramos, meaning 'a potter' or 'pottery'. Keramos, in turn, is related to an older Sanskrit root meaning 'to burn'. Thus, the early Greeks used the term to mean 'burned stuff' or 'burned earth' when referring to products obtained through the action of fire upon earthy materials.
Archeologists have uncovered human-made ceramics that date back to at least 24,000 BC. These ceramics were found in Czechoslovakia and were in the form of animal and human figurines. They were made of animal fat and bone mixed with bone ash and a fine claylike material, and fired at temperatures between 500-800 degrees C in domed and horseshoe shaped kilns partially dug into the ground. While it is not clear what these ceramics were used for, they were probably decorative; the first use of functional pottery vessels is thought to be in 9,000 BC, when they were used to store grain and other foods.
Today, ceramics are everywhere - in your coffee cups and home accessories; in your wall tiles and your floorings; in your home insulation and your aircraft… the electronics industry would not exist without ceramics, for they have a wide range of electrical properties including insulating, semi-conducting, superconducting, piezoelectric and magnetic. Ceramics are also critical to products such as cell phones, computers, television, and other consumer electronic products. Surgeons are using bio-ceramic materials for repair and replacement of human hips, knees, and other body parts, and dentists are using ceramics for tooth replacement implants. There are many more uses of ceramics, and new ones are still being discovered.

Enjoy, it is spring all the time on these peaks


Buy green coffee beans. Preheat your oven to 500F. Spread the beans evenly on a flat baking sheet. Place this on the middle rack of the preheated oven. Watch the beans roast. NEVER leave your roasting coffee beans unattended. In about 8-10 minutes there will be a crackling noise and smoke with an unmistakable coffee fragrance. About two-three minutes after the crackling, your coffee beans should be the rich dark shade they taste best at. Using an oven mitt, carefully remove the sheet from the oven and pour the beans into a metal colander. Stir the beans with a wooden spoon to help them cool quickly. Do this over a sink or outdoors, as there is chaff that comes off the beans during roasting. Also, any appliance used to pop popcorn can be used to roast coffee beans. Today, with the Indian market opening up to global trends, there are a number of home coffee roasters available as well.

Never grind more coffee than you will use immediately, as the coffee loses its unique flavour within a week of grinding. Once the beans are ground, the flavourful oils are exposed to the damaging air. As these oils dissipate, so will the flavour of your coffee. Once ground, coffee will begin to lose its flavour almost immediately. Different methods of brewing will require different grind consistencies. When using a French press, the coffee will need to be ground extremely coarse, whereas espresso requires an extremely fine grind.

Never store your coffee in the refrigerator. Coffee should be stored in a clean, dry, airtight container, in a cool, dark place.

There are six popular ways of brewing coffee (excluding espresso): Turkish brewing, concentrate brewing, percolating, vacuum brewing, drip brewing, and French press brewing. We don’t recommend a percolator as it boils the coffee and often leads to over-extraction of coffee. As the French press is the preferred method for most modern-day aficionados, we’ll focus on only this method. When using a French press, place coarsely ground coffee in the glass carafe, pour water at the desired temperature over the grounds and place the top on. When brewing is complete, press down the plunger (a mesh filter on a stick), pressing the grounds to the bottom and leaving the coffee liquor on top to be poured off. A brew time of between three and six minutes is common for French pressing. This prolonged, direct contact of the grounds with the water allows for a more complete, more controllable, and even extraction. The most common mistake is to use too little coffee. The rule of thumb is to take two tablespoons per three-fourth cups of water. Start there and experiment to find what is best for your beans, your grind, your brewer, your water, etc. After all, if you don’t like it, it isn’t a good cup of coffee.

With easy access to global coffees, it’s not surprising that Indians are increasingly aware of the subtle differences in flavour between the likes of a Jamaican Blue Mountain and an Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. You can slowly build your knowledge and collection of coffee beans from across the world, ordering them off the Internet or buying from a reliable supplier. As you buy and experiment, you can start making your own blends and treating yourself and your friends to artistry in a cup