Posts tagged ‘coffee’

Seattle’s Best Coffee is Owned By Starbucks

By Chad Upton | Editor

If you’re not wired into the coffee industry, that Seattle’s Best at the mall may look like a suitable competitor to the Starbucks outlets that flank the mall corridor.

Actually, that’s kind of what they want you to think. If you’re anti-Starbucks, you might feel right at home with Seattle’s Best. It’s still high quality coffee, but it’s cheaper than Starbucks and doesn’t have the same cache, which is exactly what some people are looking for.

Even if you knew they were owned by Starbucks, you might not realize that Seattle’s Best is a few years older than Starbucks. Both companies began in Seattle, Starbucks officially started March 30, 1971 and Seattle’s Best began sometime in 1968.

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Sources: Wikipedia (Seattle’s Best, Starbucks)

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

May 18, 2011 at 2:00 am 2 comments

Some People are Genetically Predisposed to Dislike Broccoli

By Chad Upton | Editor

Broccoli and brussels sprouts are popular vegetables for kids to feed the dog under the table.

My brother and I had a really smart dog growing up, which must be why he didn’t like broccoli either. Although, he always liked to do what we did, so I don’t know if he actually disliked it or if he just liked to make the same face when he ate broccoli too. You know the face, when you squeeze your eyes shut and use your tongue to scrap any residual taste off the roof of your mouth.

Getting kids to eat their vegetables can be a tough task, but there are plenty of adults who don’t like vegetables either. So why do some people like vegetables such as broccoli and other people passionately dislike them?

There are many reasons why people dislike vegetables. My brother and I always said it was the texture, not the taste. But, it was the taste and it’s scientifically proven.

There is an organic compound called phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) that tastes very bitter. Well, it’s very bitter to some people, it’s tasteless to others.  About 70% of people have genetic traits that make them sensitive to the bitter taste of PTC, the rest of the population does not taste it.

While PTC itself is not found in food, there are a number of similar compounds which are. Many vegetables from the cabbage family (broccoli, cauliflower, horseradish, wasabi, mustard, brussels sprouts) contain these compounds.

Additionally, people who do not smoke and do not drink coffee or tea, taste PTC more than those who do consume coffee, tea and cigarettes. One big group of the population who doesn’t consume coffee, tea and cigarettes is children.

So, when you see kids who passionately dislike some vegetables, they may actually taste something that you do not.

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Photo: Jules: Stonesoup (cc)

Sources: Indiana Public Media, Science Daily, Wikipedia (Broccoli, Brassica, Brassicaceae, Cruciferous, Kale, Phenylthiocarbamide)

October 1, 2010 at 4:00 am 17 comments

Tea Contains Less Caffeine Than Coffee

By Chad Upton

This is one of those things that a lot of people know and a lot people get wrong.

Most coffee has 60-100 milligrams of caffeine per cup. Here’s a list of the most popular coffees and their caffeine content:

Coffee (16oz) Caffeine (mg)
Starbucks 330
Caffè Americano (Espresso) 225
Tim Hortons 160
McDonald’s 145
Store Brand (Drip) 145
Dunkin Donuts 143
Store Brand (Brewed) 108
Decaf 2-5

As you can see, Starbucks coffee is the strongest with 330 mg of caffeine in a 16oz serving. It is followed by Starbucks Caffè Americano, which has three shots of espresso in it and more than 100 mg less caffeine in the same size serving. Most of the other brands have about 110-160 mg in a 16oz serving..

So, how does that compare to tea? Let’s have a look:

Tea (16oz) Caffeine (mg)
Starbucks Tazo Chai 94
Black 90
Green 40
White 30
Starbucks Tazo Red 0

As we can see, Tea generally has much less caffeine than coffee.

Of course, there are always exceptions. There are some coffees that have less caffeine than most teas, particularly decaf coffee. That might be an unfair comparison since decaf is a man-made product. Although, it might not be that way forever. Caffeine free coffee beans have been discovered, although they’re too bitter for most people’s taste buds.

There are also some black teas that have up to 140 mg of caffeine per 16 oz, which is more than the same size coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts (or Dunkin’ Coffee as they call it in Spain).

Dunkin Donuts - Barcelona, Spain

There are many other caffeinated beverages that are popular, how do those stack up?

Product Serving (oz) Caffeine (mg)
Jolt Energy 24 280
Red Bull 8 80
Mountain Dew 12 55
Mountain Dew Code Red 12 54
Diet Coke 12 45
Coca-Cola Classic 12 35
Sprite 12 0
7-Up 12 0

Caffeine is found in many other foods, such as chocolate. It is also found in guarana beans, which are very similar to coffee beans according to Brett’s Energy Drinks. So, be careful of those guarana filled energy drinks, caffeine is a hell of a drug.

Thanks to Kristen for suggesting this one and Ian for adding front lines insight.

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Sources: Mayo Clinic, Brett’s Energy Drinks, Energy Fiend,

July 13, 2010 at 5:00 am 16 comments

Caffeine Free Coffee Beans Discovered

In case you haven’t noticed from my video about properly pouring coffee, my various Starbucks secrets or my post about why coffee is called java, I love coffee.

I got hooked on it when a local chain started serving high fructose cappuccinos. They’re mostly sugar, but they’re also a gateway to the serious stuff: coffea arabica, the most common species of coffee bean.

As I got older, I started to notice the effects of all the caffeine. I would get headaches if I didn’t drink enough of the stuff, but I couldn’t stop drinking it entirely… I loved the taste and it was a habitual part of my day, so I switched to decaffeinated coffee. I’m not alone, decaf coffee is growing in popularity, making up 10% of the global coffee market. (more…)

March 9, 2010 at 12:43 am 5 comments

Starbucks Drink ID Codes

By Chad Upton | Editor

If you’re a Starbucks customer, you’ve probably noticed the column of check boxes down the side of your cup. The boxes are labeled: Decaf, Shots, Syrup, Milk, Custom and Drink.

It’s pretty obvious these boxes are used to record your drink order. Sometimes I look at the writing in these boxes and try to match the secret codes with the options I requested. Most are pretty self explanatory, but some of the codes are not.

In fact, I didn’t even know what the entire “custom” box was for.

Today I found out. You see, I got a special delivery today. It started last week during my regular search for secrets, I had an idea. I wanted to know how easily I could get a Starbucks employee training manual. About ten minutes later I had purchased one from the used book section of Amazon. There was only one copy available.

I got it, and I’m going to share its secrets with you. (more…)

February 5, 2010 at 1:43 am 94 comments

How to Order at Starbucks

I like Starbucks.

I don’t love it the way some people do, but I can see why they make daily trips or spend their afternoons there. The big smiles and attention to detail make you feel special, like you’re the only one who orders a drink that way. It’s like being part of an exclusive club that has its own language and club houses all over the world.

Actually, I’m sitting in a Starbucks while I write this. This is the first time I have written from Starbucks, or any cafe for that matter. I thought it was important for accuracy and inspiration — wait, my London Fog is ready.

OK, I’m back.

Jamie, the barista, says “hi” (barista is Italian for “bartender”).

A London Fog is basically a latte, with an earl grey tea bag and a shot of vanilla syrup. Not every Starbucks makes this drink well, but they’re really good about taking drinks back if you don’t like them, so don’t be afraid to try something new or let them know they made a mistake.

If you’re looking for “London Fog” on the menu, it has been renamed to reduce confusion. You’ll find it labeled as “Earl Grey” under “Tea Lattes.” (more…)

January 27, 2010 at 2:26 am 33 comments

Why is Coffee Called Java?

I love coffee.

I started drinking it in college, like most people, for the caffeine boost. Over time, I got really attached to the flavor. I went through a coffee obsession phase, trying coffee from different parts of the world with different tastes and different roasting techniques.

I’m not a coffee connoisseur, but there really are coffee connoisseurs out there. Premium coffee retailers and distributors have tasting rooms where they constantly inspect and taste coffee.

They sip it, swirl it around in their mouth and then spit it out. It must meet their strict approval to make it to the stores. If you think I’m exaggerating, click here to get a taste on the Starbucks blog. They even talk about coffee that is aged 3 to 5 years before being roasted.

Aging coffee probably reminds you of something else, wine. It turns out the coffee industry is a lot like the wine industry. Experts taste coffee the way connoisseurs taste and rate wine. They also share a similar vocabulary for describing flavor notes, hints of: caramel, chocolate, nuts…etc. Wine is classified by it’s region and grape (species). Coffee is also classified by region and species.

Historians believe that coffee plants were first cultivated in Ethiopia, around the year 850. In the next 50 years, coffee seeds were taken to the Arab world. The Arabians saw a future in coffee trade and guarded the seeds closely, but a few seeds were smuggled to the Dutch. Early in the 17th century, seeds made their way to Indonesia, being planted in Sumatra, Bali and the island of Java.

Java is one of the earliest coffee plantations and still an exporter of coffee today. Calling coffee, “java” is similar to referring to wine by it’s region, such as “I’ll have a glass of Champagne.”

On a related note, check out another coffee related secret: How to Properly Pour a Cup of Coffee.

Written By: Chad Upton

BrokenSecrets.com [Available on Kindle]

Sources: Coffee, Java Coffee, Indonesian Coffee, Coffee Bean, Champagne

January 20, 2010 at 1:47 am 8 comments

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