Tag Archives: coffee

National Coffee Day: So Here’s Some Health Benefits Coffee Gives You

Sept. 28th was National Coffee Day in the United States which meant it was the perfect day to get that cup-of-joe. However, there are health benefits that should give you more reasons to pick up that cup more often.

Coffee can be more than a drink; photo from http://metronomecoffee.com/
Coffee can be more than a drink; photo from http://metronomecoffee.com/

Besides waking you up… Coffee actually makes you smarter because of a stimulant called caffeine which most people associate with energy but actually blocks a neurotransmitter in your brain. When this happens, the other neurotransmitters like dopamine increase to make up for the lost one. This in return improves your memory, mood, awareness, energy levels, general functions and your reaction times.

Got to lose some weight… Drink some coffee. Once again the important ingredient here…is caffeine. Studies have shown that caffeine can boost your metabolism but will decrease it over time if you drink coffee constantly. Also, not everyone’s metabolism will be boosted, so base it on your dietary needs.

Happiness in a Cup-Of-Joe… Coffee can help you fight depression. A 2011 study by Harvard University found women who drank 4 or more cups of coffee a day are 20% less likely to have depression, and the drink also reduces the risk of suicide. Once again, not everyone will feel this effect and if you are battling depression, you should contact the counseling services here at Radford University.

You might live longer… By drinking coffee daily, you have a lower risk of death over an 18-24 year period. Coffee will lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, strokes, and brain diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. All those diseases lowered by drinking a cup-of-joe – you might want to sign up, but wait a minute.

Photo from nationaldaycalendar.com/
Photo from nationaldaycalendar.com/

Coffee has been proven to do miracles for your body, but not everyone will experience the same things the subjects did. Exercising, eating a healthy diet, and drinking a cup of coffee will help you live for a long time.



Campus Starbucks Swap

Radford University has recently finished completing its new Humanities building, nicknamed CHuBS (College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences). It is a well-designed building with lots of great amenities and houses the recently moved Starbucks, which used to be located in the Bonnie. This is an interesting switch, with many pros and cons.

“The on-campus Starbucks can now accommodate its rather large clientele in a much better fashion than it used to.” Photo from:cdn.caffeineinformer.com

On one hand, Starbucks’ current location was obviously designed for it. It is a much larger space that allows people to have more freedom and breathing room than they did in the previous location. The on-campus Starbucks can now accommodate its rather large clientele in a much better fashion than it used to. It has better seating arrangements and furniture as well. The tables are much larger, with more seats (obviously), and there are even two fairly large areas with couches and love seats, great for lounging and relaxing. Even the counter and work area is much larger and better equipped, which makes the lives of the hardworking employees less difficult, allowing them to handle the large number of customers they help on a daily basis more easily. The storage area is also bigger and better, allowing Starbucks to sell food now as well, instead of just coffee and small pastries.

But there are a few down sides to the new location as well. Primarily, it is out of the way, tucked into a corner of campus and nowhere near many of the buildings that hold classes. While admittedly it is located inside a building that holds many classes itself, CHuBS is still only one of the many colleges that Radford University has. The next closest building that holds classes is Reed/Curie Hall, and the McConnell library is between those two. It isn’t convenient or really feasible for students to grab a drink or a quick meal between classes from Starbucks because of this distance. Even if they have an hour break between classes or if they leave early to go to Starbucks before class, it is still a significant detour to go there.

The Radford Coffee Company

Radford Coffee Company is a new restaurant where all proceeds go toward a foundation that gives money to students in communities in Nicaragua. All of the employees work on a volunteer basis and only earn pay from tips. So, while you are spending money on your coffee and breakfast, you know that you are also contributing to a great cause and helping educate students in Nicaragua.

Graphic from Radford Coffee Company.
Buy your coffee for a good cause. Graphic from Radford Coffee Company.

The restaurant also has a different environment compared to  Starbucks because it’s more open and has an assortment of seating like couches and chairs and stools. The staff is very friendly and helpful as well. The overall experience at Radford Coffee Company is enjoyable and makes you want to go back because of the staff, the cause, the environment, and the food.

Specializing in coffee, the restaurant also offers healthy breakfast sandwiches, salads and sandwiches for lunch, and smoothies and protein shakes. Sometimes they’ll put out specials on certain days like banana bread or coffee cake.  The prices aren’t steep either so if you’re worried about spending money and eating healthy, this is a great place to get your healthy meal while not spending too much.

I would always rather support a local business over a chain business because I think it’s good for the economy and for the locals in the area. I also like that the company is supporting a great cause and all of their proceeds are going toward this.

If you’re looking for a great staff, awesome food, and a soothing environment, Radford Coffee Company is a great place to check out.

Coffee linked to lower death rates

A recent study says that drinking coffee, whether decaf or regular, could reduce the risk of death.

Drinking coffee is good for you? Image from Molly Mattox.

Researchers began with information from surveys of adults in the United States that asked the amount of coffee they consumed, along with different drinks and food, then they looked at their death rates and illness over the following 20 years.

Ming Ding, a doctoral student in the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, was the lead author of the study. The study included numerous participants, more than 50,000 men and 200,000 women.

In the beginning, researchers did not see a clear relationship between drinking coffee and death rates. Individuals who drank anywhere from a cup of coffee or less and three cups a day had 5% to 9% lower risk of dying than individuals who didn’t drink coffee. Individuals who drank more than three cups a day had no benefits.

However, when the researchers looked at coffee intake only between people who said they never smoked, they found that individuals who drank between a cup of coffee or less and three cups a day had 6% to 8% lower risk of dying than individuals who are non-coffee drinkers. Individuals who drank three to five cups or more than five cups had 15% and 12% lower death rates.

It may be true that individuals who drink a considerable measure of coffee drink less soda and therefore have healthier diets overall; soda has been linked to higher rates of death and heart disease.

A percentage of the health benefits connected with drinking coffee are most likely a direct result of the ingredients in coffee, Ding said. Coffee contains chemicals such as lignans and chlorogenic acid that can help control blood sugar and decrease inflammation, both of which can help reduce the risk of heart disease.

With regards to this probability, Ding and her fellow researchers discovered that individuals who drink coffee were about 10 percent less likely to have heart disease as their cause of death. Individuals were also between 9 percent and 37 percent less likely to die of neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and dementia.

Additionally, the team found that individuals who drank at least a cup of coffee a day had between 20 percent and 36 percent lower rates of suicide. In contrast, individuals who drank less than a cup had 36 percent higher rates.

In spite of the fact that past research has proposed that drinking coffee can protect against cancers such as prostate and liver, the current study did not find lower rates of cancer deaths among java drinkers.

According to Ding, there might not have been a large enough number of deaths due to certain cancers, liver cancer, for example, to be able to see a difference between individuals who drink coffee and individuals who do not.

The study’s findings were published in the journal Circulation.


Amber’s black high-heeled boots clacked on the linoleum floor of the hallway. She took long strides, but walked slowly in an attempt to take longer than needed to reach the coffee cart. She knew that the second her presence was noticed there, she would be hounded by questions from the older ladies. How was college? What major are you again? Are you and that Anderson boy still together? Has your mother seen you yet?

It was purely exhausting, but necessary to endure.

Photo courtesy of https://dustdreamsnbeyond.wordpress.com.
Photo courtesy of https://dustdreamsnbeyond.wordpress.com.

Amber checked her watch. 10:54 am. The service started in six minutes. Thank God. That meant the older ladies would all be trailing into the sanctuary by now, leaving a clearing near the magnificent 20 cup silver percolator Amber’s mother had donated to the church, along with bags upon bags of Starbucks Pike Place Roast.

Pouring the steaming black liquid into a travel mug emblazoned with her university’s initials, Amber steeled herself for the torment she would tolerate over the next hour and a half.

Amber breathed in, and let the breath out slowly, pushing open the enormous doors into the sanctuary. Every head turned her way; all conversation stopped.

Giving a faint smile, Amber took a bulletin from an outstretched hand and staggered over to the pew where her mother was sitting. Sweat trickled down her back, despite the fact that the church had duct-taped over the knob on the thermostat years ago, resulting in an eternal 68 degree atmosphere.

Amber strained to keep her breathing at a normal speed. Her head began to ache behind her ears, the way it did when she used to go running on the path behind the high school during the winter.

She opened the hymnal to a random page, and moved her lips to the rhythm of the song being played, but did not sing. Her eyes blurred as she stared at the page, the characters changing shape as tears moved over her eyes, not yet falling.

She couldn’t cry, not here, not in front of everybody. That would incite the same level of gossip as being absent from church on a Sunday when everyone knew she was visiting home.

Closing her eyes, she willed away the tears. She squared her shoulders, hearing the music, but not listening.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Open your eyes.

Amber opened her eyes.

The climb

Red leaves fluttered downward, carried by the wind toward the asphalt of Cherry Street. The newly risen sun barely peeked over the mountains surrounding Appleton, its rays not yet strong enough to break up the morning fog that hung like heavy curtains over the ground.

Mrs. Anderson opened her heavy front door slowly, its hinges creaking with effort. Frigid air streamed through the crack between the door and the jamb, making her bones ache from its icy touch. Quickly, she wrapped her flannel robe tightly around her sagging breasts, refusing entrance to the cold gust.

She clutched her cup of coffee with both hands like a talisman as she made the long descent down her driveway toward her mailbox. One step at a time, she told herself. Cold as it was, it wouldn’t do to fall a quarter of the way to the mailbox. None of her lively yuppie neighbors would be awake at this hour, leaving her utterly without help if she should fall.

coffee cup in old hands
Photo By: Danielle Johnson. Photo of: Kristinia Contreras

Pausing for a moment, Mrs. Anderson took a sip from her mug. The currently lukewarm coffee slid down her throat, offering no reprieve from the temperature. She disappointedly poured the last sip, chock full of coffee grounds, onto the grass that bordered her driveway. The break over, she secured her empty mug within a deep pocket of her robe. She continued on her trek, side stepping down the last section of pavement.

The ground beneath her was finally flat. Mrs. Anderson breathed a sigh of white, steamy relief at arriving safely at her mailbox. Her cheeks wrinkled with her smile as she opened the mailbox to retrieve her news.

She opened the newspaper to listen to the headlines before summoning the effort to climb back to the warmth of her living room.

“ARREST MADE IN RAMPTON JEWELRY THIEVERY,” one newscaster screamed from the paper. “A break was made in the case last week when Detect-,” the newscaster was cut off when Mrs. Anderson flipped to the Lifestyle section, uninterested.

“The Top 5 Pie Recipes You Need This Fall,” the perky voice of a female reporter drew Mrs. Anderson’s interest.

Seeing the picture of the spiced pumpkin pie featured, Mrs. Anderson’s wrinkled smiled returned, her eyes growing wet. The recipe was one of her mother’s, from the early 2000s. She felt the heat emanating from the wooden fireplace of her childhood, so different from the false, gentle warmth brought by her current fireplace screen.

Deeply ensconced in another time, Mrs. Anderson didn’t care one bit that her feet were growing numb, toe after toe.

Highlanders Anonymous: Go to sleep!

What do I do when everything is too much and I probably have to quit something?

First of all, don’t panic! We all get overwhelmed sometimes. Quitting may end up being the best option for you — but to cool off, how about to looking at all your options? Make a pros and cons list. What would be good about you quitting versus staying in your present situation? Only you can answer those questions. Answer them as honestly as possible and you’ll find out what works best for you. You might also want to consider what outside factors are pushing you to quit.

I’m really behind on my papers! I can’t seem to get organized. What do I do?

I’d say that you have a case of procrastination only gets worse with time. Try using an assignment book and plan out times when you can work on your papers. Make sure to keep those times open so that you don’t keep getting behind. There are many other tools to help you get organized. You always have the option of using your phone to set alerts and keep your calendar organized. There are also many free resources online that can help you with scheduling, as well as good old-fashioned spreadsheets. Remember that schedules aren’t always easy to enforce and it takes time to get used to them, so don’t veer off course by ignoring your schedule right at the start.

“It is hard to have a regular sleeping schedule while trying to find balance with all the craziness.”

My friends think I drink too much coffee and I’m trying to cut down, but I can’t even stay awake without it. How can I get more energy?

 To get more energy, you need more sleep! It’s hard to have a regular sleeping schedule while trying to find balance with all the craziness. There are few things that are going to keep you from falling apart this semester. A human body can go through some crazy things and still survive –but without sleep, you’re doomed. You won’t be able to focus as well in class or give your all on homework if you aren’t well rested. Don’t forget that a well-balanced diet will go a long way in keeping you energized.

 How do I make friends? I’m new in this town and school.

 The best strategy for being involved with others is becoming more involved in school life. There are many clubs, sports, and other organizations you can join to meet new people and have fun. Don’t forget that volunteering or getting a job will also introduce you to others. If you happened to miss the most recent club fair, don’t fret. You can still contact clubs and go to meetings through your RU Involved app on the school website.


Coffee Craze

As we all know, an essential part of the college experience is going to class. But what’s the use in going to class if you’re asleep the whole time? Fear not, caffeine will be there to save the day once again. Some students prefer energy drinks, tea, or maybe get a good night’s sleep. Let’s be real here, that last one just isn’t going to happen for everyone, unless you have all of your priorities sorted out. So let’s talk coffee.

“Fear not, caffeine will be there to save the day once again.”

Where can one grab a piping hot coffee on campus? The most highly advertised place would definitely be Starbucks, which is located in the Bonnie. That’s also part of the problem, though. It’s a coffee shop chain that is highly advertised. That means you could be waiting 10 to 20 minutes at a peak hour inside the building. Oftentimes, this spans from the register and leads outside. This is not going to be fun during winter. Did I also mention that it is probably the most expensive place too?

If you’re still on campus, you might meander your way on over to Dalton Dining Hall and buy your cup of Joe at ABP. It’s the cheaper option, but it’s nothing to write home about. If you just walk one minute down the hall and have some coffee with you student meal plan at Dalton, you probably won’t be excited about that beverage either. Although it’s better than nothing, the coffee isn’t amazing and the supplies, creamer and sweeteners are often dwindling. You could go ahead and venture off of campus. There’s a coffee place called Brewin’ Around, too. It’s kind of a hike to get there, but it has good reviews.

Now, I know that it’s not always the most glamorous option, but you can always brew a fresh pot of coffee right at home. That way, you are in control of the sweetening supplies and creamers, and don’t have to worry about a crazy line to wait through when you’ve only got 10 minutes to get to class. If you are to get up just a tad earlier, you can satisfy your caffeine craving, as well as save your bank account from total annihilation.

Caffeine and your body

Anyone who has tried to grab a soy caramel macchiato with extra whip between classes knows that Radford University students like their morning, afternoon and even nighttime cups of coffee. The line for Starbucks at 9:15 a.m. on a Tuesday morning can take upward of 15 minutes and involve a lot of grouching. Some find it easier to just stock up on Monster cans from the bookstore. However, these practices have serious health risks. Continue reading Caffeine and your body

How to survive an 8 a.m. (without more sleep)

The obvious solution to the drudgery of an 8 a.m. class is going to sleep earlier — but let’s be real here. Most college students are lucky if they go to sleep by midnight. Dividing your time between a job, a social life and schoolwork leaves very little time for more “optional” things like sleeping and eating healthy. While more sleep is definitely recommended, most college students will admit that it’s also highly unlikely. With that in mind, here are some tips to get a good grade in that early morning class. Continue reading How to survive an 8 a.m. (without more sleep)

We’re all junkies: Caffeine addictions gone wrong

Marijuana is still considered illegal in a majority of the US, but Americans don’t need to let that little fact keep them from their pleasure-seeking adventures. There’s one drug out there that is completely legal, easily obtainable and we’re told so often it’s part of our normal daily grind that it’s like society is telling us to become junkies. It’s in soda, it’s in tea, it’s in coffee and if that isn’t enough to perk you up for three nights straight, cut the middleman and buy an over-the-counter box of pills. The drug is caffeine. Continue reading We’re all junkies: Caffeine addictions gone wrong

The health benefits of green tea

How many of us like to begin our day with a cup of coffee in the morning, but are growing tired of its bland taste? If you’re looking for something packed with better health benefits and a bit more zesty flavor, green tea may be for you. While some may cringe at its bitter, almost sour effect, we should consider the health benefits of green tea before counting it out. Continue reading The health benefits of green tea

RU fit?

College students are more known for their love of video games and consumption of Ramen noodles than for workouts and salads. The stereotype of a “college kid” is that of a young adult so consumed with either academics or partying that he or she has no time to even think about living healthfully.

While it’s true that one’s schedule can easily fill up with classes, club meetings and homework, it’s unfortunate when students disregard their physical and mental well-being in order to keep up with the hectic pace of college life. Continue reading RU fit?

Lucie Monroe’s is a local favorite coffee shop

Almost everything about the coffee shop Lucie Monroe’s is organic, fair trade and local. The walls are filled with local art and jewelry for sale, as well as pictures of customers’ and employees’ pets. Different brews of coffee and tea are available along with a variety of drinking cups. The café is spacious and stocked with warm, inviting decor. There are many places where a customer can go to be secluded, including a library-themed spot of the main café.

Wall in Lucie Monroe's. Photo by Alix John.

The owners, Dawn and Gary Donson, have based their entire business on coffee roasted in Virginia and pastries baked on site. Dawn said it’s important for them to support local businesses and hard-working, blue-collar coffee roasters to give them the business they deserve. Located on Roanoke Street in Christiansburg, it is directly off of Route 460 East near Due South and Dude’s Drive-In. It’s in a developing strip mall right next to the Weigh Station, which is owned by the Donsons’ cousins.

Lucie Monroe’s sells coffees from Lexington Coffee Roasting Co., Red Rooster Coffee and Honduras Coffee. All of these companies are based in Virginia and are committed to fair, ethical and organic coffee.

“The more natural, the more organic, the more local … that’s kind of how we make coffee,” Dawn said.

Dawn said her family has always loved coffee — its taste, its smell and its sense of community. As a life skills teacher for students with special needs in Indiana, Dawn made her first foray into the coffee business. They set up a small coffee stand in the high school for the students before and after school. It was a hit, so much so, that the school’s administration had to set aside extra time for the kids to get their much-loved coffee.

Then their journey landed them in Christiansburg with a brand new coffee shop. They named it Lucie Monroe’s after Dawn and Gary’s 6-year-old boxer. That’s right; Lucie Monroe’s is named after a dog. She herself is named after two Hollywood icons — Lucille Ball and Marilyn Monroe. The store is filled with pictures, paintings and memorabilia of the shop’s namesake. She even comes to visit.

While Lucie Monroe’s was never meant to serve flavored espresso drinks, the employees are having fun with it. They work with a dual espresso machine, which allows the barista to control the shots and quality of milk. Dawn said, one of the employees, a former Starbucks barista, said it was nice to actually have pride in a drink he made. Along with the many flavor choices, customers can decide on much more. Lucie Monroe’s offers hemp and coconut milk, both more sustainable than cow milk.

Mmm, Lucie Monroe's coffee. Photo by Alix John.

Red Rooster Coffee, based in Floyd, developed an all organic coffee blend, specifically for the shop. Donson said Lexington Roasters has been great to work with; their reputation and excellent cupping scores haven’t hurt. Based in Lexington, Va., this coffee company prides itself in its sustainability and quality. They even produced an organic espresso blend for Lucie Monroe’s. Honduras Coffee owns its own coffee farm in Honduras and boasts “Farmer Direct”– from seed to cup.

All of these companies roast their own coffee beans. The roasting process takes specific skill — too much heat results in burnt beans but too little lacks the coffee essence. The International Coffee Organization gives a descriptive summary of what it takes to roast coffees. First, the beans are heated to around 400 F for 8-12 minutes, depending on the type of roast. Then a chemical reaction occurs in which the entire cellular structure of the coffee bean is altered. At last, the heating process emits coffee oil, or caffeol.

The Donsons have now started to work with coffee farmers in Guatemala and Nicaragua. This dream would have never come true if Dawn had not heard the song “Coffee Shop” while browsing a local record store.

“We love when people are getting excited about a plain cup of coffee,” she said.

Climate change and coffee

Attention coffee lovers: climate change is dramatically affecting the world’s coffee supply. For those of you who may not know, coffee beans come from five regions of the world — East and Central Africa, Indonesia, India and Latin America. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, the effects of climate change, such as higher temperatures, long droughts and uncharacteristic rain patterns, are dramatically reducing these areas’ abilities to produce coffee.

There is also a huge problem with coffee berry borers, a pesky beetle that infests the coffee plants. Usually, the regions in which coffee grows are inhabitable by the insect, but with changing temperatures they’re flourishing. Another issue is coffee rust, a deadly fungus wreaking havoc on coffee plantations.

Coffee berry borer beetle on a coffee bean. Photo from Creative Commons.

What does that mean for the devout coffee addicts? Prices rising 25%. With the supply suffering in the three biggest coffee producers — Costa Rica, Ethiopia and India — prices must rise to deal with the losses. But as college students, we can’t afford that. We can barely afford Ramen.

I’ll be honest — I’m a true coffee snob and buy the more-expensive-than-normal organic brands anyway, but for regular coffee consumers, this price hike hurts. I allot my pricey coffee in my monthly budget by going without other things because it’s something I care about. Many people don’t have that luxury.

The effect of climate change on the coffee supply doesn’t just hurt the consumer, it devastates the farmers’ livelihood. Even with the supply being completely normal, they live in poverty. Many retailers don’t even pay the farmers a living wage. That’s why the Fair Trade movement has surged. The problems for the farmers are so great in normal conditions, I’m concerned for their future if the crops dwindle.

There are a few solutions to this problem.

As a consumer, we have the power of the purse. We need to do our research and only purchase from companies who practice sustainable farming and provide the farmers with a better life because with no farmers comes no coffee. Global Exchange has a great list of Fair Trade coffees to choose from.

Do you drink fair trade coffee? Photo from Creative Comons.

Another is to actually get involved in the political aspect of climate change. The Union of Concerned Scientists suggests writing to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to address the severity of climate change. It’s on everybody’s mind, but on few politicians’ political agendas. Another great way to participate is to vote. Check up on the environmental impacts a candidate’s political actions have made and show up on Election Day.

Greening up your life is a very small but significant step to help fight climate change. Start recycling and driving less, turn off the lights when they’re not needed and get outside to maximize the sun’s potential, be a smart consumer and only buy what you need (preferably made from eco-friendly materials).

From one coffee lover to another — we can’t let a preventable situation deplete the world’s coffee supply.