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How To Be A Healthy Coffee Addict

Coffee; Health, MattLambert.me

At the age of 12 (maybe it was earlier, but who knows) when I took that first drink, I was hooked. Not in a addicted kind of way. It was a more,, “I enjoy this.” I enjoyed everything about the coffee drinking experience. I enjoyed the coffee shop, the community, and the beverage. This was over 20 years ago and coffee was not as popular as it is now.

With coffee’s popularity on a consistent rise globally, it is attracting more attention for other reasons. The debate rages about the health affects of coffee. Is it good or bad? Maybe it’s the wrong question. Maybe we should be asking how to drink coffee rather than if we should. Or why is it good or bad?

Here are my suggestions for coffee consumption while maintaining your health. These are changes, I have been implementing over the last year. Some are more of a struggle than I realized, however, all have made positive impacts on my health over time.

Buy local, fresh coffee.

Start here and your coffee consumption habits will begin to improve themselves. Local, specialty roasters make it their mission to produce a cup of coffee that highlights the natural flavors of the coffee being served making it easier to follow some of the steps below.

Start your day with water.

Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.

Coffee wakes up the brain. Water wakes up the whole body. Your body naturally becomes dehydrated over the night. Consuming water first gets the system back to where it needs to be. Increases blood flow, Awakens the whole system in a way that the first cup of coffee will only help.

This was actually one of the hardest changes for me.

Drink your first cup around 9 or 10.

Because the chemical cortisol is being released into the brain and creating its own stimulus, coffee when consumed too  early can overstimulate the brain creating stress. Cortisol generally levels out after a few hours of being awake, and when these levels are lower, coffee can help smooth out your mood without the jitters.

I can do this sometimes, but I also do not have a regular pattern for getting up. With two younger kids, my day starts at 5:30 some days and 7:30 on others.

Skip the sugar.

Can we just agree the sugar is bad for our bodies. It’s fattening. It creates an increased sense of hunger. People use way too much of it in their coffee. If you’re coffee needs that much sugar, see my first point and buy something that is a little more expensive, but will be better for your health.

Minimize the milk.

Some people say get rid of the milk. I suggest minimizing. Why? I love milk! Milk in coffee can help balance it out, reduce effects of caffeine, and sweeten the cup again reducing the need for added sugars. Milk can also be fattening so be mindful when consuming it. Try to drink coffee black.

Drink plenty of water after.

Rehydrate your body. Keep the system functioning smoothly. Many times being properly hydrated will help the sustained energy levels and blood flow that the brain needs to be alert. Replenish the body after your morning cup has dehydrated you a bit.

Coffice: Skopje Coworking Space

Walking down a busy Patizanski Obredi Blvd in downtown Skopje, I was a little lost looking for Coffice, Skopje’s only primary coworking space (that I know about). After planning a recent trip, I decided to so a quick search to see what the Skopje coworking scene was like for the city. I had found a couple more on the outside of the city and focused on business incubation and accelerating rather than coworking. After sending a quick Facebook message, I knew I needed to stop into Coffice.

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Coffice is located across the street from the Ramstore Mall (on the side with the Istanbul Cafe). Go across the street toward the back of the parking lot and find a whitish awning, and you have arrived. The space owner and manager, Dani, opened in June 0f 2015 creating an energizing and interactive space for freelancers and creatives. According to Dani the majority of those working there are freelancers receiving jobs from abroad, a current trend that is growing the freelancing market across the Balkans.

Entering into Coffice on the ground level, the space is created for relaxing and taking a break. The walls are white and decorated with unique, black art and games such as the “world’s most difficult Sudoku.” A couple of couches, lockers, and some basic end tables decorate the lower the space. Upstairs is where business is done. Again, the space is simply designed and layer out. Wood top tables, chairs, and bar top are all available for working. Internet speeds of 60mbps and coffee help keep the tenants working throughout the day.

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The one thing that really stood out is the interaction taking place. As I topped the stairs, I heard the sounds of keys being pressed along with the noises of people talking, laughing, and discussing their work. Coffice had an amazing energy for being a smaller coworking space. It resembled many larger spaces that I have visited with its vitality.

Coffice is a pioneer space for the city. Dani admits that this can be a difficult process, and she is in a wait and see what happens stage. Skopje coworking is relatively new and developing for the betterment of the local economy and freelancing industry, Hopefully, as Coffice grows and others take shape, coworking will impact Skopje as it has countless other cities across the world.

 

China’s Coffee Industry: My experience with Yunnan coffee from Urban Dwellers

China; Yunnan; Coffee

In 2004, I traveled to China for the first time. Two weeks in the summer started a love affair with a country that did not always receive the best publicity at that time. However, the first time opened a new world to me. One where I truly entered a new culture, its practices, and way of life. It also opened up the world of China’s tea. However, as a strong coffee drinker, I always wondered where China’s coffee was hiding.

I searched to no avail. As a tea producing nation, it made sense that coffee was also accessible, however, there was nothing to be found. It still might be the case when searching for the local coffee shop. I don’t really know as I haven’t been back to China since 2009. One thing is certain though, China’s coffee is breaking through on the world scene. In 2015, The Guardian produced an article laying out the “booming coffee culture” in China, and other articles dating back to 2012 and 2013 highlight the growing of coffee within Yunnan, one of China’s chief tea producing regions especially known for Pu’er tea.

This past week, I received a package of coffee from Urban Dwellers Coffee. Their goal is to work with local farmers in producing AMAZING coffee! Honestly, my past kept me skeptical about the quality of coffee the that I had received. Excited to brew it up yet hesitant with expectations, I pulled my Aeropress from the cabinet and opened the package.

 

The aromas were nutty and mild at first, but a second sniff brought fruity, citrusy notes, almost peach like. I knew it was going to be an excellent cup. With water boiled and the Aeropress fully prepped, I began the scientific precision for the perfect cup. What surprised me the most was the real diversity yet balanced flavor of the cup. I was not overwhelmed with citrus, and smoothness of the chocolatey flavors really made this coffee enjoyable. I was quickly reminded about the depth of the Pu’er teas I had enjoyed in China almost a decade ago.

Urban Dwellers found an excellent partner in the Yunnan region, and provided a perfectly roasted coffee. I will definitely be on the lookout for more coffees coming from China. I look forward to the growth of the industry in this country I love. Thank you Urban Dwellers, and a big thanks to their partners, Sina Green, who works directly with the farmers harvesting the coffee crop.

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Coffee Tour: Dallas, Texas

Coffee; Dallas; Matt Lambert

The Dallas coffeeshop has transformed in my absence. I remember the over-saturation of Starbucks and having to order from Austin or other favorites. Now, that is no longer the case. Dallas has become a flourishing center for the perfect coffee extraction. Artisan roasters are filling the city. Coffeeshops that focus on the experience and community which gathers within its walls are thriving. Shops built for conversations, work, or a bit of solace now exist throughout the metroplex making DFW a coffee destination.

Union Coffee

Coffee. Community. Cause. These three words spell out the mantra and driving force of the shop. A local, Dallas coffeeshop started for the sole purpose of building a community hub, Union serves up Eiland Coffee  roasted in neighboring part of the DFW Metroplex. They create the perfect balance of coffee shop and work space for those who do not have an office, but have not made the jump to a coworking space.

Ascension; Dallas; Matt Lambert

 

Ascension (Oak Lawn)

Wine bar meets coffee shop is the feel of Ascension located in the Oak Lawn neighborhood of Dallas.  The owner, Russell, decided to start something which he felt was missing in Dallas, “a great cup of coffee in a warm, conversation filled environment.” This is the soul of Ascension, and they accomplish it by first and foremost caring about the development of each aspect of the business: the farmers, the coffee, the roasting, the workers serving it, and the community.  Ascension is an excellent locale for working in the morning and hosting the afternoon to evening meetings over a drink.

 

Davis Street Espresso (Oak Cliff)

Davis Street Espresso is the home of Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters, and probably my favorite cup of coffee. Davis Street is being revitalized with new shops and businesses. The community is turning around and becoming a place where people want to be. The coffee house feels more like a pub to me from the all wood setting to the continual conversations that place there. Sitting for a few minutes, one will hear friendly chatter, politics,  and philosophical discourse about the need for personal and communal transformation. No matter what the subject matter might be, it is a place where both neighbors and outsiders want to sit and be. If you do not get the chance to visit Davis Street then go to OCCR’s website and order some coffee.

Houndstooth (Knox/Henderson)

What I love about Houndstooth is the passion to be a part of their customers identity and the identity of the local neighborhood. Their mission is “to be an integral pattern in the fabric of the Texas coffee community.”It is easy to feel this when interacting with the baristas. They are personable, interactive, and pour with intention. The desire is to provide a coffee experience like no other. They specialize in the finest coffee, tea, beer, and wines. They also serve up taste filled pastries for the perfect, late morning snack.

 

RE:defined (Grapevine)

Sitting here as I write. 🙂 A decent work environment. Cozy. Relaxed. The coffee being served is from Avoca out of Fort Worth, and it is represented extremely well. Sometimes they off other specialty coffees which is a nice way to mix it up, but sticking with the Avoca is not a bad choice either. You can enjoy a bottomless cup of their French Pressed coffee for under $4 which is a huge benefit. Also take a peak at the secret menu for some extra surprised like the Hamilton.

 

Edison (Flower Mound)

Another North Dallas favorite that I do not get to frequent. Edison looks to create a better environment for their customers by trying to get to know each of them. The staff believe in the possibility of better, and desire to provide the best farm-to-cup experience in the most ethical way possible. The team of rosters, bristles and creatives understand the full coffee experience and provide it. Not to mention, they were the first shop to provide me with a proper flat white when I first arrived Dallas. I cannot overstate how much I love this Dallas coffeeshop, and their perfect blends of coffee and frothed milk.

Honorable Mentions:

Honorable mentions is not a slight. These are cafes and shops that need to be tried and enjoyed, however, others just stuck with me for some reason. Maybe it was a more personable barista experience, a coffee note hit me just right, or some other reason. The following shops are excellent Dallas coffeeshops and would be a part of any coffee tour that I would put together.

Zenzero (Coppell)

Excellent food and coffee. While the space was tight, I loved my experience here. Easy, spicy chorizo breakfast tacos paired nicely with a bold, dark cup of coffee from Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters. They look to create a full experience, and believe they are nailing it. I hear they are expanding, and I look forward to another visit.

Liberation (C0ppell)

Sering Eiland Coffee like Union mentioned above, the Chemex was spot on. The only downside was my interactions here. Those working were knowledgeable enough, but seemed uncomfortable when I was asking questions. I will definitely go back, especially with so many friends living in the area. One other positive were the weekend hours, open later on Sundays in an area where stores traditionally close down earlier.

(All photos used via Facebook pages of each coffeeshop.)