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The Extraction is Staring Right Back at a Vacuum-Sealed Coffee Helmet

It’s totally ok to pair coffee and wine. And also why not dessert?

If your coffee tastes and wine tastes were two separate people, would they be buds? Renowned wine expert Joe Fattorini has shared with Newsweek how your tastes in wine and your tastes in coffee may be correlated. For example, if you’re more partial to an Americano than a more intense, potentially flavor-chaotic single shot of espresso, you may be more content sipping a nice, medium-bodied merlot. Fattorini explains:

Fattorini says the link between taste in coffee and wine stems from the number of taste buds we have, and from individual tolerance to bitter flavors. “Some of us have very few taste buds, about 2,000 of them,” says the wine connoisseur. “Some people have what we call hypersensitive taste buds—about 8,000 of them.”

Tolerant tasters, who have fewer taste buds, “need very loud drinks to excite them,” while hypersensitive tasters want “a quiet, gentle wine which, to them, feels balanced. They find big, powerful wines overwhelming because the volume is turned really high.”

Let’s be clear that coffee and wine don’t even have to be drunk separately. It’s totally ok to pair them, and here’s why.

Airline coffee is notoriously horrible, especially when it’s filled with “concerning” amounts of fecal matter (thanks, BBC!). That said, airlines throughout the world have attempted to elevate coffee over the past two decades to “amenity” status by incorporating brand names, rather than serving nameless, faceless, foul-tasting coffee in small white styrofoam cups. Low fares and convenience may still be the primary factors when consumers chose “who” to fly, but for those interested in what coffee they may be getting, the Daily Mail has shared an infographic showing the coffee suppliers for 44 major airlines throughout the world.

coffee helmet

Vanderbilt University photo

The creative reuse of coffee grounds has never been this weird. We’ve seen them converted into biofuel, plastic, pigment, and even booze, and now engineers at Vanderbilt University have packed coffee grounds into a sensor-studded, swim-cap-like silicon helmet that is filled with coffee grounds then vacuum sealed. As MedGadget reports, the innovation allows surgeons to more reliably track exact head movements during nose and throat surgeries. Also, it can reduce drilling into the skull!

In industrial coffee news, Kraft Heinz’s Maxwell House brand has introduced a new line called MAX Boost that includes single-serve pods with three different levels of caffeine. In a press release yesterday, the company described the options within the line as having 1.25x, 1.5x or 1.75x the amount of caffeine found in an “average cup of Arabica coffee.” Along with MAX Boost, the company also introduced MAX Indulge, in case you consumers want to do some XTREME chilling with decadent, dessert-like flavor additions such as Mocha, Mocha & Salted Caramel, and Mocha & S’mores.

max boost max indulge

As is the wont of large coffee players in today’s millennials-obsessed drinks market, the company naturally points to “younger consumers” as a driving force behind the more customizable MAX line. “Younger consumers love the taste of coffee, but are looking to other beverage categories for functional benefits to address their different needs throughout the day,” Luke Cole, Director of Marketing, Coffee, The Kraft Heinz Company, said in the press release. “MAX by Maxwell House meets the needs of consumers who lead busy lifestyles – whether that’s a cup of MAX Boost to help you get through the afternoon, or a delicious tasting MAX Indulge to end your day.”

ozone layer nasa

Image and information by NASA: Ozone is a colorless gas mainly found in Earth’s stratosphere. It forms a protective layer that absorbs harmful ultraviolet light from the sun. In 1985, an extreme depletion of ozone over Antarctica was discovered—the so-called Antarctic ozone hole. It soon became clear that this drop in ozone was caused by man-made chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). To help solve the global depletion of ozone, the international community regulated CFC production and consumption by adopting the Montreal Protocol in 1987. Although this and subsequent actions have now effectively banned CFC production and put the ozone layer on a path to recovery, long-lived CFCs in the atmosphere continue to effect ozone levels to this day.

There’s bad news this week for one of the two chemical compounds most often used in direct decaffeination methods — let alone bad news for the planet. Along with ethyl acetate, dichloromethane has been a go-to solvent in the decaf industry for decades, as both are deemed safe by the US Food and Drug Administration. Yet a troubling new study shows that rising levels of dichloromethane may be responsible for the delay of the healing of the ozone layer by as much as 30 years. New Scientist has more:

Until recently, it was thought that dichloromethane was too short-lived for much of it to reach the stratosphere. So it was not controlled under international treaties such as the Montreal Protocol, introduced after a hole opened up in the ozone layer over Antarctica in the early 1980s.

Coffee’s contributions of dichloromethane to the stratosphere may pale in comparison to other industries, as it is a commonly used industrial solvent, propellor for aerosol sprays and paint thinner. Yet the research here quite plainly begs for regulation of the substance.

Elsewhere in coffee: Your friendly neighborhood post-millennial cold-brew-loving Spider-Man freaked out a bunch of regular people just trying to get their Frapps in New York; Industrial coffee equipment manufacturer and the Italian company Petroncini have reached a deal that gives MPE customers access to an industrial coffee bag cutter; a company called Ettitude is raising cash to make bedding out of coffee; The Independent Coffee Guide has released its guide to the cafés of Ireland; and we finally now know exactly how many cups of coffee each character on “Friends” drank over the course of the show’s 10-season run.



1 Comment


the bit about the ozone layer “not healing” so quickly is amusing…. we have no reliable data about the long term form of that anomaly. As far as can be determined by those that bother about such things, that “hole” as been where it is now for a long time, long before we ever started releasing the chemicals accused of “damaging” it.
Remember the huge kerfuffle about the refrigerant gases and the “ozone holes”? That meme was brought to us by E. I. duPont de Nemours, our friendly neighbourhood chemical company that had invented Freon, and benefitted hugely from the invention. What drove them to put forth their false claims is that their patents were running out, thus their royalties would soon evaporate, causing a far larger dsturbance to their planet than all the ozone holes combined. So, they set to work creating a monster out of their “friend” Freon, developed some new variants on the same basic molecule, and got the old stuff banned so everyone had to buy the new stuff. Under THEIR patent, of course.
No solid link was ever established between the ozone masses and freon…… and with the “offending” R 12 and R 22 being almost completely gone for twenty years, the holes have not changed….. supporting the premise that they never were affected by the “foul” Freon gasses.

Personally, I disfavour the chemical decaffeination processes in part because of sloppy handling being all too common during processing, putting the technicians and other workers at risk. Water process is so good these days why mess with the other? But to label them “bad guys” based on du Pont’s myths is counterproductive, as well.

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