Posts tagged “coffee”

Steven Levy: "The Invention of the Perfect Cup of Coffee"

Photo by Jason Henry

A short and fun interview between Steven Levy and Alan Adler, inventor of the Aerobie and the Aeropress.

Levy:

So I recently ventured to the small suite towards the back of a tiny industrial complex near 101 in Palo Alto, the home of the Aerobie company and its unsung master maker, Alan Adler. At 75, he is still at it, the canonical independent inventor, digging in file drawers for blueprints, shuffling to a storage space to locate an early version of his long-flying disk, lining up AeroPress prototypes like the iconic illustration of Darwin’s vision of the evolution of man. Across the room is his granddaughter, who does his PR. If the Maker Movement needs someone to put on its postage stamp, Adler would be perfect.

Levy & Adler:

You didn’t go to college?

No, but but I taught college. I taught at Stanford for many years. I taught a course in sensors and also mentored mechanical engineering students and I still lecture there.

I certainly had the ability [as a student] but I didn’t always have the discipline to do all the work. I recall one incident in plane geometry class where I submitted a very unusual proof and the teacher asked me to do the proof on the blackboard for the rest of the class, which I did. And she looked sort of stunned. I realized afterward that she thought that my father must have done that proof, which he couldn’t do actually. My grades were about average. I was eager to get out and earn a living and be on my own.

Drink Coffee*, Reduce Heart Failure

The health benefits of coffee [joe, java, brown sludge, nectar of the gods, liquid happiness] have been widely unproven in the peer-reviewed scientific testing. Studies have flip-flopped on the impact of coffee consumption on various health endpoints more than Mitt on… everything.

A recent systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association (AHA), found that moderate coffee consumption — of around 2 US cups per day (between 295 - 590 mL) — was health protective and decreased the risk of heart failure by 11%. This flies in the face of the current statement on coffee by AHA, based on a single study, which states that coffee may increase the risk of heart failure. The previous study failed to control for potential characteristics of the evaluated population that may also contribute to heart failure.

The systematic review looked across the medical literature beginning in 1966 and found 5 valid studies that followed a cohort of people over time. These studies, when combined, included 6522 heart failure events among 140,220 participants. Four of the studies were conducted in Sweden; one was conducted in Finland. The relationship between coffee consumption and heart failure did not vary by sex, history of myocardial infarction, or diabetes.

There are some shortcomings to the study, of course. The 5 studies included in the analysis relied on self-reported coffee consumption. The type of coffee consumed — that is, the strength of the coffee, whether it was caffeinated or blasphemous decaffeinated, and the brewing method — were not noted in the original studies.

All that said, the review convincingly argues that moderate coffee intake is healthful and heart-protective.

I’m off to sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world with mug o’joe in hand.

* in moderation

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