CAFFEINE

Have you ever used a word to many times?

Maybe wrote or typed it over & over, resulting in you having to look it up for the 10th time just to ensure the fact that you really do remember how to spell a word you learned in kindergarten.



That is how I am feeling today.

And hey, maybe it is because of the side effects of this delicious latte I am drinking.

My mind running a mile a minute, my fingers unable to keep up.



LETS GET TO IT.

CAFFEINE.

GIFT OF THE GODS.

WHAT ARE YOU?!


(photo taken - Passenger's Cafe in Ohio City, Cleveland)




Hot cup ah' joe,

steeping black tea?

with a splash of cream, honey, sugar, however you like it.

Odds are, you do like it.

83% of adults in the US alone.

AND GET THIS.

We are waaaaaay down on the list of how much we as Americans are drinking it.

NUMBER 22.

We don't drink nearly as much as the Scandinavian countries, or the Mediterranean.

Or anywhere in South America.

Canada, Costa Rica, France.

They all know what is up when it comes to your daily dose.


But what is caffeine?

What plants offer the delicious, mild central nervous system stimulant, and

why do we LOVE IT SO MUCH.


Caffeine is sneaky.

It wants us to want it.

So much, that its structure is very similar to something our own bodies create.

Our brains produce adenosine, as well as adenosine receptors.

When adenosine finds its way home to their receptors, or neural activity slows down.

We become sleepy.

BUT AH-HA.

The structure of caffeine is so similar, it acts as an impostor,

which then blocks the actions of adenosine!

We begin to feel alert, our blood pressure raises a tad, and maybe your headache goes away.

Also the reason why it can be so hard to sleep sometimes after a cup of coffee.





WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?



Caffeine is an alkaloid that is found naturally in over 60 plant species.

We commonly associate caffeine (are you catching my repetitive drift, yet) with the beloved cocoa beans, tea leaves and cofffeeeeee.

You may have also read on an energy drink can, naturally sourced from guarana berries, yerba-mate, or guayasa.


Lets continue to break it down even further.



CAMELLIA SINESIS

aka. the tea bush.

indigenous to India and China.

we use the leaves.


(a map showing where in the world camellia sinesis is produced)


All teas are harvested from the same bush, its how we process them, as well as the weather conditions they endured that gives them such different attributes and uniqueness.

Black, Green, Oolong, White, down to matcha and kombucha.


The process of oxidation, is how we get our black tea.

(when you leave a fresh sliced apple on the table for a little bit, and the juicy, green flesh begins to turn brown and mushy, is an example of oxidation, also the break down of pectin)

The leaves, too, begin to turn from fresh green, to a dark brown color.

It has then been exposed to oxygen-rich, moist air.


Black tea is a fully oxidized tea, whereas green is not.


Maybe you've heard of Matcha.

The process for creating the fine, bright matcha includes its own special process.

Grown in shade, slightly dried, de-stemmed and ground into a fine powder.

Rich in anti-oxidants due to ingesting the whole leaf, and not just steeped then removed from water, you get all the goods. Including cholorophyll which alone carries a high list of benefits!



(pictured here are our loose leaf tea bags which hold organic matcha,

lemongrass and dandelion flowers.)




Along with caffeine in our tea, we also benefit from the amino acid L-theanine, which helps us relax and concentrate better.

So maybe that evening cup after a long day, doesn't sound like a bad idea after all....


SO yeah, tea is great.

Maybe, though, not whats in your cup.


---It was hard to avoid the pun, by the way---


For me, coffee is my go to.

The serotonin boosting liquid makes my mouth water.

The best part?

Not only is coffee ingestion-

(though, studies use the word chronic consumption, I probably fall into that level somewhere)

shown to increase the receptors of serotonin, it also increases the sensitivity of these receptors.

So my brain purposely makes me happier when I drink coffee.

I fully believe it.



(a latte I poured with a curved rosetta)



I will one of these days dedicate a post specifically to the coffee bean.

Stay tuned!



With all of this being said, I am in no way shape or form a doctor/scientist,

I am just a nerd for food, flavors, and how out bodies react to what we eat.