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10 Facts about coffee you need to know in coffee week

UK Coffee week - Ochratoxin in coffee

May 4th – 10th is UK coffee week. This is a nationwide fundraising initiative in the UK where coffee operators, trade professionals and customers raise funds to give back to the communities which grow our coffee.

Today you can find good coffee in every major city. Many of us are partial to a cup in the morning. However, how much do you actually know about coffee? Here are 10 things you should know.

  1. All coffee in the world grows in the bean belt (the areas between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn). Hawaii is the only state in the US that grows coffee.
  2. 70 % of the world consumes Arabica coffee, which is mild and aromatic. The remaining 30 % drinks Robusta, which is more bitter tasting but has 50 % more caffeine than Arabica.
  3. Coffee grows on trees. They can grow up to 10 meters tall, but are cultivated to be around 3 meters tall for easy picking.
  4. The bean is actually a seed inside of a bright red berry. Coffee berries are picked, dried and stripped down until all that’s left is a green bean.
  5. Coffee beans are roasted at around 250 ºC and after a few minutes will ‘pop’ and double in size. A few minutes after that, the bean will ‘pop’ once more. The second pop means the bean is done.
  6. Coffee is the second most traded commodity on earth (oil is the first).
  7. When you are in Vienna don’t just order “a coffee, please” unless you want to out yourself as a tourist right away. Viennese coffeehouses typically offer more than 35 variations, including some exotic names like “Einspänner”, “Mazzagran”, “Marilloman” or “Verlängerter”
  8. Caffeine and how it works – In your brain there’s something called adenosine and it only wants to hang out with certain receptors. When these two get together, you get drowsy. When caffeine shows up, it attaches to the receptors so that adenosine cannot. Your pituitary gland sees this and thinks there’s an emergency, so it tells the adrenal glands to produce adrenaline. In addition, caffeine bumps up your dopamine levels. The result is a caffeine high!
  9. Most coffee drinkers have never heard of ochratoxin A which is a natural toxin produced by certain species of mold that can be found on the coffee beans. This toxin is highly toxic affecting the kidneys and is possibly carcinogenic.
  10. R-Biopharm can offer a number of test kits for the analysis of ochratoxin A in coffee ranging from a simple screening test for qualitative results (OCHRACARD) to immunoaffinity columns (OCHRAPREP®) for quantitative analysis prior to analysis by HPLC or LC-MS/MS.

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