Anatomy of an Espresso

“It is inhumane, in my opinion, to force people who have a genuine medical need for coffee to wait in line behind people who apparently view it as some kind of recreational activity.”

Dave Barry

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It is an essential element in the arsenal of entrepreneurs, athletes, and high performers the world over. It is the inimitable standard of the intelligentsia, and one of the most adored drinks in the world.

For those of us who have an espresso as part of our daily ritual, as well as for those curious few left in the world who haven’t indulged, here are a few reasons why the humble espresso gets so much love:

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The Stimulant effect:

An extremely powerful performance enhancer, especially when it comes to linearizing thought, and creating focus. One or two shots will significantly augment athletic and mental performance, improve mood, enhance memory, and just make you more awesome in general.

For maximum effect, consume 30-60 minutes before your event; the effects will begin at 30 minutes, and peak at around 60 minutes, so time it wisely.

Fat loss:

The right combination of exercise and calorie control is the vital combination when it comes to successfully dropping the winter layers, and an espresso can give you a little extra edge in the process.

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Reduced hunger, increased energy, and an elevated metabolic rate are all side effects of your to create a tiny little perfect storm to help you with your physique goals.

The Antioxidant effect:

Fresh espresso is actually more abundant in antioxidants than green tea, dark chocolate and in some studies fruits, and vegetables, as well as giving a whole host of other health benefits:

First comes a decreased risk of degenerative disease, depression, certain cancers, and Type II diabetes; and second, you get an improved cardiovascular profile, and longer life expectancy.

Note: Oxidation is a pretty fast process (the crema will turn white), so drink your espresso quickly to get the full benefit.

Jet Lag:

A great, yet underutilized use for an espresso or two is to help you transition into a new time zone. Having a shot of espresso in your ‘new’ morning will shift your hypothalamic pituitary axis; effectively resetting your body clock to your new time zone.

Fasting:

For any of you who occasionally partake in fasting, a fantastic way of making the process slightly less painless is to have an espresso with a small amount (to your own taste) of raw, unsalted, organic butter. The fat helps digest the amino acids in the coffee, as well as slowing down the release of  caffeine into the bloodstream.

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Things to remember: 

  • The caffeine in an espresso is only a small part of the antioxidant/benefits system, and there are many other interacting bioactive compounds in your morning brew than just the caffeine, so caffeine pills, stimulant drinks, energy shots and so on won’t have the same benefits.
  • Coffee tends to have similar cultivation characteristics to wine; smaller batches, combined with the variations in soil, climate, and roasting method all alter the chemical makeup, and taste, so exact benefits will vary from batch to batch.
  • Go organic. Any pesticides sprayed on the crop will have the toxins come out under pressure, right into your cup.
  • Find your local independent coffee shop. Go in when it’s quiet. Talk to the barista, and learn a little about the beans that made your espresso, how they roast them; geek out a little, you might enjoy it.

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