18 Sep

The Caffeine Craze: Starbucks Leading the Way

starbucks, best coffee

There is no doubt that coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world. This is especially true in America, where well over half of the adult population consumes at least one cup a day. To capitalize on this immense market potential, and on the busy lives of many Americans, countless stores have opened that offer a quick and convenient coffee service. None of these has had more success than Starbucks. The question many are asking is, “why have they seen so much success?”

Five Reasons that Starbucks is So Popular

There are hundreds, perhaps even thousands of coffee shops in the United States. Why do so many people prefer to frequent Starbucks rather than these other competitors?

Something for Everyone

Starbucks features an extremely diverse menu. They have various forms of caffeinated beverages, from traditional coffees to lattes, and even their trademark blended Frappuccinos. Not only do they offer coffees, but they also feature different forms of tea as well. For the vegan and health conscious population, they provide soy milk in place creamer. To extend these menu options even further, they offer several types of sandwiches and pastries so customers can enjoy food with their beverages. It is easy to see why many different people would frequent this establishment.

The Atmosphere

Many coffee enthusiasts prefer locations that provide comfortable areas in which they can hang out and talk to friends, or even complete work. Starbucks is well aware of this desire, and they do a wonderful job catering to it. By offering comfortable seating, even including couches and lounging chairs. Not only do they provide this comfortable environment, but they offer free Wi-Fi as well so that students can do schoolwork, casual users can browse the internet, and employees of various companies can perform any work they need to accomplish. It is this functional and cozy atmosphere that drives many people to this establishment day in and day out.

Convenient and Consistent

With the frantic nature of the typical American routine, finding some sort of consistency is absolutely critical to avoid becoming lost in chaos. Starbucks is able to provide this in their customers’ lives by committing to providing the same quality product each and every time someone orders. Not only are they committed to consistency, but they are also dedicated to convenience. Offering very quick service, even on complicated orders, they ensure that their customers can drop in on lunch breaks from work, in between classes, or during any time-sensitive moment in life. Their drive-thru offers yet another mode of convenience for consumers to utilize.

Commitment to the People

Customers prefer establishments that treat them as if they matter. Starbucks has absolutely nailed this concept, and it shows in their continued success and domination of the coffee shop industry. Although it may seem insignificant to many, the concept of asking for each customer’s first name is the type of business strategy that makes them feel valued.

The Coffee

While atmosphere, convenience, and friendliness are important, no coffee chain would succeed without a quality product. Starbucks offers delicious coffee with countless add-ons such as caramel syrup, French vanilla flavoring, and many others. The quality and delicious taste of their coffee keeps their customers coming back for more.

11 Sep

Caffeine and Memory: Can It Help You Remember?

caffeine. memory booster, coffee

Coffee has been enjoyed as a morning staple by countless people for decades. Recently, studies have shown that coffee can have enormous health benefits, most of which are attributed to the caffeine that it contains. These include increased energy and alertness, weight loss, and prevention of various diseases. However, perhaps one of the most interesting benefits is enhanced memory capabilities.

How Does Caffeine Work?

Caffeine, the main chemical in coffee, acts a stimulant, which are substances that produce enhanced chemical or physical functions for a period of time. In the case of the world’s most commonly used stimulant, these effects are produced as a result of caffeine’s similarity to a neurotransmitter known as adenosine. Because they are so structurally similar, it is able to bind to adenosine receptors in the brain and prevent the actual neurotransmitter from doing so. Since adenosine’s function is to make humans tired, blocking this binding prevents this action from occurring. The levels of other neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and epinephrine, are increased as a result. This leads to heightened mental and physical function, or the stimulating effect that most coffee drinkers are familiar with.

Increased Memory Capabilities

Aside from feeling more awake and alert, the stimulant in coffee has several other miraculous effects. One of the more useful of these effects is enhanced memory capability. Studies have proven that people who consume caffeine are able to retain information and form memories much better than those who don’t. While the exact mechanisms of this enhanced memory are unknown, it is clear that the effect on the brain somehow leads to improve memory.

How to Utilize the Memory Boosting Powers

Obviously, having a better memory is a very beneficial tool for many reasons. Aside from being able to remember life experiences in more detail, there are various other applications. When ingested in moderate amounts, this chemical can help students and adults alike perform better in their everyday tasks, such as school, work, or even social events.

Students Need to Study

Many students, whether in high school, college, or professional school consume coffee purely as a means of remaining awake to study or complete assignments. With the new research proving improved memory, this ritual may finally have another purpose. Not only will the students be able to stay awake longer, but they may maintain the information much better after consuming caffeinated beverages.

Adults Need to Remember Too

While no longer in school, many adults find themselves in situations where it is crucial to remember procedures for work, appointments they must attend, and many others in which memory plays a vital role. By consuming caffeinated beverages daily, these memorization functions would become easier and more effective.

Other Sources of Caffeine

While coffee is the most commonly consumed drink to obtain the sought after effects of caffeine, there are various other sources of the chemical. Some of these are healthy sources, while others are not as healthy.

  • Soda
  • Energy drinks
  • Several types of tea
  • Dark chocolate
  • Various pain medications
  • Caffeine Pills
04 Sep

Why Science Says You Should Drink Coffee

coffee, health benefits of coffee

Coffee has been around for many centuries, yet it wasn’t until recently that doctors began to recognize the benefits of the delicious beverage. After countless research studies and surveys, scientists have connected this miraculous beverage to benefits ranging from weight loss to disease fighting.

Five Amazing Health Benefits of Coffee

In recent years, scientists have performed countless research studies on the effects of coffee consumption in humans. Their results have made enthusiasts everywhere extremely excited.

Improved Energy Levels

It is no secret that drinking coffee can improve energy. This effect has been noted by consumers of the delicious drink for decades. The reason for this effect is caffeine, a stimulant that is contained in coffee and many other beverages. Interestingly enough, caffeine is the most common psychoactive substance consumed in the world. Caffeine boosts energy levels by blocking the neurotransmitter adenosine in the brain. This leads to increased levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, which increases neuron activity, and ultimately, energy levels. Other brain functions are beneficially affected as well, such as memory, mood, and alertness.

Fantastic Fat Burning

Caffeine is one of very few few natural substances that is scientifically proven to aid in the process of burning fat. Related to its effect on neuron activity, caffeine has the ability to substantially improve metabolic rate. Even more amazing than the increase in metabolic rate is the fact that it has been shown to specifically increase fat burning by large amounts. This is perhaps the main reason that caffeine is included in nearly every fat burning supplement on the market.

Fighting Diabetes

Type II diabetes is the form of diabetes most often developed in those who are overweight and sedentary. It has become one of the top health problems in America. Scientists have been frantically searching for ways to fight this devastating illness. Surprisingly, coffee appears to drastically reduce the risk of developing type II diabetes. One wide-scale study has shown that coffee drinkers, on average, have a much lower risk of developing type II diabetes.

Decreased Risk of Neurodegenerative Diseases

There are several neurodegenerative diseases that commonly affect elderly people. The most common of these, Alzheimer’s disease, most commonly affects those over the age of 65 and has no known cure. Obviously, eating healthy and exercising are two great ways to help reduce the risk of developing this horrible condition. Drinking coffee, however, has been implicated in greatly reduce this risk. Similarly to Alzheimer’s, another neurodegenerative disease known as Parkinson’s disease is also much less prevalent in these people.

Destroying Depression

Mental disorders such as depression have a huge impact on society. It is very common the United States, and is one of the most common mental disorders affecting citizens today. Interestingly, heavy coffee drinkers have drastically decreased risks of depression compared to non-coffee drinkers. Because depression has been strongly linked to suicide, it is no surprise that these people also have a much lower risk of committing suicide or self-harm.

28 Aug

Your Brain on Coffee

caffeine, coffee, brain, productivity, health, energy

Coffee has been the go-to beverage for individuals looking to feel more awake or alert for many years. However, many people have not considered the effects that the chemical in this delicious beverage, caffeine, has on the brain.

How Caffeine Affects the Brain

Caffeine is a stimulant that effects people’s brains. It is structurally similar to adenosine, one of the chemicals involved in making humans tired. When people ingest this chemical, it absorbed into the bloodstream and then travels to the brain. It then binds to adenosine receptors, which blocks the binding of the neurotransmitter. This slows down neuron firing, which helps to prevent users from becoming tired. This is the stimulating effect that many users are familiar with. Not only does this chemical block adenosine binding, but it increases levels of other neurotransmitters like dopamine, epinephrine, and others. These other chemicals are responsible for heightened brain activity, including increased memory function and mental alertness.

Heavy Caffeine Use

When people drink copious amounts of caffeine, they often find that they must drink more and more of it each day to maintain the alertness and awake feeling it offers. This has a physiological cause. The more caffeine that a person consumes, the more adenosine receptors that his or her brain produces. This causes increased production of the neurotransmitter, which leads to heavy coffee drinkers becoming more tired than usual when they do not drink any. It also means that these people must consume more coffee as time goes on in order to maintain the effects they are so used to experiencing.

Creating a Healthier Brain

Heavy coffee consumption has been linked to a reduced risk of developing a considerable number of diseases. These include type II diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and several types of cancers. While the exact connection is unknown, many scientists believe that caffeine can alter the environment of the brain, which can have dramatic effects on these diseases rates. For instance, adults who consume moderate to large amounts of caffeine show much lower instances of Alzheimer’s compared to those who had little to not coffee consumption.

More Health Benefits

Not only does coffee use help to fight the onset of Alzheimer’s, but it has various other health benefits as well. These include:

  • Decreased risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Dementia
  • Increased energy levels and brain function
  • Improved metabolic rate and higher rates of fat burning
  • The ability to fight type II diabetes
  • Dramatically reduced rates of depression and suicide
  • Cancer fighting properties

Should You Drink Coffee?

Many people enjoy the wonderful taste of this caffeinated beverage, but the question whether or not it is healthy. By analyzing the potential beneficial effects of coffee, it’s easy to see that it is indeed healthy to consume. From the increased energy levels to the cancer fighting properties, the caffeine in coffee has amazing effects. By changing the environment in a person’s brain, this single chemical is able to block adenosine binding, which ultimately leads to its many miraculous qualities.

21 Aug

Fuel your mind: Caffeine at the office

Fuel your mind: Caffeine at the office

We work in a world of technology, with that in mind, sitting at a computer for 8-12 hours a day can be exhausting. We have to stay on our toes, work with confidential information, numbers, programing and more. As a computer programmer I have to be available at all hours of the day. Often times the computer guru will be working the late shift, fixing computers, downloading new software, repairing servers, and fixing emails. There is no rest for the weary. So what can you do to ensure productivity when you’re on the job?

Scientists have asked this same question and have conducted several different experiments. But one thing always comes to the surface. Caffeine can play a large role in the office. When you need to be alert, productive, and not get headaches from staring at the computer screen a single dose of caffeine (supplement of 200mg) can make the difference. Now if you are in the habit of stopping at your local Starbucks on the way to work, or if work from home, as most computer programmers do these days, adding the right amount of caffeine at the RIGHT TIME can make or break your day.

Now it’s important to know that, obviously, drinking coffee isn’t going to make you a super computer specialist or make you the speed demon of computer programming. It really is about the dedication and level of expertise. What the caffeine will offer, really is a level of energy and physical “Oomph” which also contributes from the mental sensation or feeling that ‘caffeine… Now I can concentrate.’ Yes, there are ingredients in caffeine that do offer us that slight boost we need, but it does not make or break our level of professionalism or performance.  One test showed scientists that after one week of observing computer programmers on coffee and one set of computer programmers who drank coffee, and the survey showed that there as a 19% increase in productivity among the coffee drinkers.

You can drink caffeine at a certain point of the day, and get the full effect that it has to offer. Stop and think about what you do as a graphic designer or Internet marketing guru, when you wake up, and say you work from home. You go turn the computer on, walk to the kitchen and reach for your K-cup, tea or soda, right? As your body adjusts to being awake, your mind starts clearing, and you sit down to see what your day/night looks like. The caffeine will help you wake up, think a little more clearly and just overall offer your body the fuel you need to get started. But did you know, that eating breakfast is a large contributor to your productivity as well? Drinking a cup of coffee or tea, and eating breakfast first thing in the morning is important.

Now, the question that still remains is can caffeine offer higher productivity levels in the workplace. Yes, overall you can accomplish more work, be more alert, and do it correctly. This all boils down to being prepared for the day. Waking up early, going to the gym and getting your heart pumping and offer the same results (obviously). Caffeine is the ‘fake’ cardio workout that you’re depriving yourself of. Now for those of you who are computer programmers, graphic designers,  and just, overall work on the computer, you sit for most of the day. Getting up and walking around, can help get the blood pumping as well, but as far as your alertness, and overall… level of productivity, caffeine can help if you are someone that needs that post.

Now what about those who have been advised to cut caffeine from your diet? There are other options to help stay focused and motivated without putting your health at risk. As we mentioned earlier, getting up, walking around when you have time, stopping and stretching in between projects, listening to upbeat music in the background and other things that will spark your senses.  It is important to be productive at work, but caffeine is not going to be a prime option for everyone. This is something that you may want to run past your doctor if you have heart flutters, nervousness or nausea after consuming caffeine.