I freely admit – I’m a coffee-aholic. I greatly enjoy my morning cup of happiness! But I’m interested to know, what’s your favorite morning beverage? For anything you’re consuming daily, you want to be sure it’s healthy, right? Did you know that drinking coffee may improve your health against diabetes and dementia and reduce your risk of colon cancer? There is reputable scientific evidence backing this up (these link to the NIH & Journal of Clinical Oncology – no quack science here). What about heart health? A recent scientific study from Stanford researchers, published in the Journal of Nature Medicine, shows that caffeine may counter age-related inflammation & cardiovascular disease. My mother, who passed away at 95 a month ago, was a passionate coffee drinker throughout her life and had no evidence of inflammation or cardiovascular disease. Another study showed that epidemiologic and clinical studies demonstrated a significant inverse association between coffee consumption and prevalence of metabolic syndrome, as well as a reduced risk for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, so coffee drinking is actually encouraged for people at risk for these diseases!
When I became a liveaboard cruiser, I had to leave my favorite plug-in Nespresso coffee-espresso maker with electric frother behind – boo hoo! – and start to make my coffee in a stove-top percolator. Most cruisers use a moka-style percolator, and most are made of aluminum. I’d read about the possible health hazards of cooking in aluminum, including Alzheimer’s Disease. Even if it’s a remote health risk, if you do something every day and can easily avoid the potential hazard by switching from aluminum to stainless steel, why not do it? So I found this stainless steel percolator that I now use, the Venus Espresso Coffee Maker, Stainless Steel, 6 cup, and I love it.
For my tastes, coffee and hot, steaming, foamy milk are inseparable. Having said that, I also gave up my electric frother when I sailed away from land. Would my sailing adventures be foam-less? Amazon to the rescue again: HIC Stainless Steel Milk Frother, 14-Ounce Size. Stainless steel, able to heat on the stove-top, and manually froths to perfection by moving the plunger top up and down!
Now that I’ve outed my coffee fetish and you realize I’m over-the-top about my morning coffee, I might as well go all-in and take this conversation to its logical conclusion: ingredients.
If I’m in the USA, I buy certified organic fair trade coffee beans and grind them myself. I use refillable eco-pods that let me make coffee with any ground coffee I want, and definitely help the environment. Here in Europe, excellent quality coffee is available in the grocery store and the standards for pesticides are higher so I think the coffee in Europe is healthier too.
Since the almond or soy milk I prefer in my lattes is unsweetened, I like to add a bit of sweetener. I had been using Starbucks sugar-free caramel syrup. Delicious, but it’s sweetened with splenda, which is sucralose. I decided to switch to stevia in hopes it’s healthier than a chemical sweetener. Stevia comes from a plant that I used to grow in my garden. Does that make it safer? The jury’s still out. Here is the kind of stevia I prefer to use.
Last but not least, to top off my latte, I add a dash of cinnamon. Cinnamon is yummy and it’s also very good for heart health. I’ve had to learn the name for cinnamon in every country we sail to. cannella, kaneel, tarcin, κανέλα, canela, cannelle. Can you guess the languages? I hope this helps you enjoy your own cup of Joe – and stay healthier too.