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In this article I am going to talk about how to effectively utilize the beneficial stimulation we derive from our favorite drink: Coffee. It’s so sensually pleasant to drink when made properly. But many of us force ourselves to drink a low quality tar-like liquid instead. And the bad qualities of coffee can be amended easily with a few simple fixes:
Only use the freshest coffee beans
Newly harvested coffee beans that are freshly roasted can make some of the best cups of coffee. But coffee beans that have been left to ferment and rot will make horrible coffee. Likewise, coffee left on a supermarket shelfs pre-grounded for years will never make a good cup of coffee. So the rule of thumb is that the freshness of the coffee beans come before the equipment. No matter the quality of the equipment used to make the coffee, bad coffee beans make for a bad coffee drink.
Keep your equipment clean
This insures that there is no rotting residue that ends up in your next brew. Cleaning your equipment is especially important for manual hand grinders; I find that if I don’t use my manual ceramic hand grinder (I use this one) for a couple of days, I find the stench of rotting fish greeting my nostrils.
Buy a good coffee making machine
Personally, I dream of buying an espresso machine, like this one. That’s because espresso machines use a high pressure, short time-frame extraction method that ensures that only the good stuff comes out. But with something like a drip machine, the long duration of the brew extracts undesirable bitter elements that spoil the flavor and disturbs the stomach.
Avoid using old pre-ground coffee beans
Pre-ground coffee has more surface area than the full intact bean. The increased surface area allows Pre-ground coffee to be exposed to more air, and allows the coffee to oxidize & to go bad quicker. I find that any powdered food becomes a “laxative” when left exposed to air for about a month. Mind you that pre-ground coffee is still exposed to air when stored in the box or cylinder that the coffee is stored in. So if you must grind your coffee beans and store it for a long period of time, I would recommend vacuum sealing the power to extend the shelf life. Otherwise, the rule is to grind your beans right before you use them to make coffee.
Now, if you have roasted whole beans of coffee, they typically can last up to a month in terms of freshness. Longer than than, I would advice freezing whatever you don’t need in the freezer. Of course, packed in an air-tight vacuum bag to prevent moisture from condensing.
But the best way to make the tastiest cup of coffee is to brew from freshly roasted coffee beans.
The creamer could be the culprit
I didn’t notice at first, but my likelihood of a stomach cramp increased whenever I used Milk as a creamer. It could be that milk is hard to digest for me, or that the milk easily goes bad. But a solution to my sensitivity to milk is to cook it before adding it to my coffee. For the IBS prone or lactose intolerant, you should cook any milk you plan to consume.
On the flip side, I also found to have problems with artificial (non-dairy) creamers as well. I later found out that the long list of chemical ingredients were the most likely suspect. The common ingredient carrageenan is known irritate the stomach. Where carrageenan is an inflammatory seaweed that has a jello like property, which is used to give the artificial coffee creamer a thick feel to it.
The reason why the preparation of the coffee is important is because most of us drink it either for enjoyment, or to think better. To be more productive. To get work done. But in my experience, coffee does more harm than good if it hurts the gut.
The Wrong Grind Size May Disturb the GI Tract
Lastly, I have recently found out that how much coffee may irritate your Gastrointestinal Tract (or tummy) can be controlled by size of the grind. It’s safe to go with coarsely ground coffee beans. But too fine, and you can end up with stomach irritation if you use the wrong brewing method. I would recommend experimenting from coarse to fine, and the brewing method to find what works for you. Personally, going for a coarser grind worked better in terms of taste and stomach irritation for my pour overs.
Badly made Coffee Hurts the Gut, a Key Player for Cognitive Function
Personally, I have a sensitive stomach. So drinking coffee does not bode well for me. Sometimes I get the beneficial buzz I want. But other times, if the coffee isn’t brewed properly, or over-brewed, my digestive system takes a hit. Although some seek the laxative wonders of coffee, I find that it is more of an adverse reaction, exacerbating my symptoms of IBS.
And this is significant! I observed that when I have stomach issues or craps, my ability to focus and be productive is severely handicapped. And it makes sense. Our stomach is like a second brain for us, and constantly communicates with the brain. For example, when we become full from eating (leptin) our meal, our stomach tells our brain that we are satiated. Or on the inverse, when a person has IBS and therefore dysentery, the gut becomes distended and makes a person sleepy (loose focus).
And oddly, the most easy to digest form of coffee is one you wouldn’t expect. It’s espresso. Yea, like the Starbucks ones in the can. I find these caffeinated dynamite much easier on my tummy in the long run than drip coffee with the same amount of caffeine. That’s because of the short time frame of 25 seconds for extraction extracts much less tannins and bitter elements in the grounds than a drip press, which can have an extraction time of up to two minutes.
And for sticking around for this long, I present to you a poem that should resonate with familiarity for any coffee drinker:
I love coffee.
I really do.
The black brew that puts a pleasant buzz inside my head.
Motivating me to do my work with fun instead.
An explosive feeling I feel in my Stomach,
prompting me to visit John,
a fellow friend who is there in my times of need.
Without him I’d say,
I’d wind up with dead-weight behind me.
Oh Wonderous Coffee,
I can’t sleep with you or without you,
keeping me awake thinking,
when is the next I can see you,
Breath in your sharp aroma
And welcome your bitter Kiss good-bye.