Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Brain Droppings Vol 6 - Coffee vs Espresso

You'll have to forgive my Brain Droppings post being a day late and all.  I honest-to-goodness thought today was Tuesday until this very moment.  Ah, vacation... Jealous?

Being away from convenient coffee shops AND my beloved espresso maker has got me thinking about my caffeine addiction...

When I was 18 and job hunting, I only applied places where I wouldn't be tempted by my wares.  I did not want to fall prey to the weight gain and pimple increase experienced by my pizza joint, donut shop or ice cream parlor employed friends.

So I only applied at butcher shops (being vegetarian and all) and cafes (because, *GASP* I didn't drink coffee).

Probably for the best, I landed a job as a barista. Alas, during my first vacation from my employment, I got these rather strange headaches that Google kindly informed me were 'caffeine withdrawal headaches.'

Huh? What gives?! Turns out caffeine can seep into your skin (hence, caffeinated soap).  Sneaky.

After a few headache-relieving lattes, I was hooked. Drat. While there IS a cafe in the closest town to where we're camping, it's not always open, nor is it convenient to make the trek every day.
So what's a girl to do? Coffee seems like the natural solution... easy to carry, store and make.  Unless, of course, you're me. 

For some reason, I never could make the switch to coffee.  My own dear mother accused me of bourgeoisie-iness but honest to goodness, I can't handle the stuff! Even a teensy, tiny sample cupful often leaves me doubled over in tummy pain.

Aside from the added expense of a latte vs. coffee, this preference hasn't proved too much of a problem.  Unless of course, it's a holiday and the cafes are closed (but I solved THAT in this post) or I'm removed from a convenient espresso source as I am now.

In my self defense, I did some research which brings us to the topic of today:
My theory as to why Rachael's stomach 
can handle espresso but not coffee
Espresso is made by quickly passing extremely hot water through finely ground beans, extracting antioxidants and deliciousness.  Coffee is brewed at a lower temperature over a much longer period of time, which seems to allow more stomach hating ingredients to join the party such as volatile oils and caffeine (yes, coffee has MORE caffeine than espresso despite it's weaker taste).  Lastly, according to some recent studies espresso contains stuff that actually decreases stomach acid!

But there's hope, turns out dark-roasted coffees also contain this stuff*, so there may be a chance for me yet.

How about you guys? Which do you prefer? Does anyone else have problems with coffee (or problems with espresso)?

For more info: [link] [link] [link]


  1. Oh my gosh, Rachael, I can't believe that you are posting about this particular topic today of all days. I'm currently cutting out caffeine COLD TURKEY and am clutching my ticket to headache-land in one hand (and 2 advil in the other)...

    We have similar pasts, by the way, I too worked as a barista when I didn't drink coffee -- but some time after that I picked up the nasty habit in the worst way and I've learned that I drink waaaay too much of the stuff.

    ...I blame my move to LA, and Dr. Phil -- in that order -- but that's a whole other blog post ;)

  2. Beth, that's awful! Do you have black tea on hand? Or a friendly neighbor? Those work for me in a pinch....

  3. (P.S. Why Dr. Phil? And you're too funny!)

  4. Eww coffee!! hahaha. I love the smell of coffee but I cannot stand its bitter taste. Never been a coffee person and I don't think I ever will be. One time I drank coffee to try and stay up to study, instead I got super crazy heart beats, and then I zonked out!

  5. I LOVE it all. Have since I was a kid. Used to drink coffee with my grandma as a "treat" and by the time I was 13, I was downing cappuccinos at my local Starbucks. I have never been into the frilly or sugary drinks. Right now, I drink decaf iced americanos. That way I don't over caffeinate baby. But at our house, we have an espresso machine, a percolator (type of coffee machine) and a few french presses. We are just a little into all things coffee!

  6. have you tried cold press coffee? i have a friend with krohns and (therefore) a supersensitive tummy and cold press goes down nice and smooth, every time! it takes a lot longer but it does make strong, DELICIOUS coffee.

    i have been so swamped with a million things lately i haven't had a chance to properly respond to you! today is the day.

  7. Caffeine can seep into your skin?! Really? Now that's a brain dropping!

    I knew the difference in caffeine between coffee and espresso, which has always surprised me. I like espresso better, but I've warmed up to coffee too! And I agree with Audrey - try cold press coffee.

  8. Lea - Yeah, that'd turn me off of coffee forever. I hear it has the opposite effect on ADHD people, too.

    Jessica - Aww, that's so special! My parents gave me beer as a treat. Fortunately it didn't lead to a lot of beer consumption later in life. I used to be into sugary drinks but I kept asking for a mocha with less and less chocolate until I realized I was a latte girl. Even the soymilk starbucks uses is too sugary for me so now I'm onto americanos.

    Audrey - How funny! This is just what my mom suggested! She used to make cold press coffee back in the day. I'm totally gonna try it when I move to grad school. And no worries at ALL with replying to my posts. I said it on your blog but I'll say it here... I'm just happy to get a response EVER.

    Charlotte - Yes'm! As I just now told Audrey, I'm gonna try cold press. My mom made me decaf coffee over the past few days and my stomach has been roughly okay. SooooOooOOOO... I dunno. Maybe it's only the increase in caffeine that's upset my tummy before? That wouldn't make sense cuz of how small the sample cups have been that have topsy-turveyed my system though.... Mystery


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