Wednesday, September 13, 2017

S.W.O.T. analysis for coffee. Part 3: Threats

The threats are mostly the vaguest section in any S.W.O.T. analysis. Some threats are also the weakness of that product. Some of them are unexpected or happen only once or twice in a lifetime. I think the most undesirable threats in the market economy is the alternatives.
Alternatives make end users compare items, have preferences and different choices. I am going to focus on mostly the choices we have besides coffee in this post. Because each time you are not drinking coffee you are choosing the competition.

Exercises such as jumping jacks, burpees, and walking
I bet some of you thought tea will be the first threat on my list but no. During the weekdays we drink coffee to wake up, gain alertness, increased heartbeat and focus. Well, 30 seconds of jumping jacks or equivalent exercises do the same thing without altering your neurons with caffeine or stressing your stomach. Plus, it is free.

Just type benefits of coffee on your Google search bar. I bet four out of five of the articles you will see will mention coffee has the most antioxidants in the western diet etc. Apple has no caffeine. Maybe the antioxidants it has not equivalent to coffee but it fuels you with carbohydrates and sugar. Since you need to digest apple, it provides more stable energy instead of jolting your nervous system.

Energy drinks
Energy drinks are a different can of worms. They have been around only ten or fifteen years. Nobody knows the long-term effects and heaps of the case studies are building about ''Energy Drink Abuse'' Yet these type of beverages are more palatable, able to mix well with other drinks, very popular among younger people and have stronger brand names than a boutique coffee shop at your corner. They are always served cold, well packed and easy to store in a backpack. Hence, the end user has the choice to bring an energy drink to his / her next adventure.

Coconut Water
Coconut water made this list because it was considered the healthy alternative to the sports drinks in the first half of the 2010s. However, soon it was revealed to be hydrated you need to drink a lot of it. Still, it is a good source of potassium and it is easily digested than coffee.

Technically we should only drink water and nothing else. Of course, we don't. In a first glance, water aids our physical performance, brain power, and mood, improve digestion, decreases the risk of kidney stone formation and last but not least improves your skin quality. In addition to that, with simple additions on it double or triple of these benefits such as adding lemon juice or organic apple vinegar.

I kept the strongest alternative for the last.  First, let's look what is coffee and tea.
Coffee comes from the seeds (Coffee Beans) of the tree families such as Arabica Coffee and Robusta Coffee.
Tea is an aromatic beverage is prepared by infusion hot water with alternate leaves, flowers, berries and dried fruits. Which is pretty much any plant on the earth.
Tea offers whatever the coffee does. Plus it gives more alternative in both smell and color.

I would like to say tea also gives more alternative in taste too but I know there are a billion people who would oppose to that. That's why I add this extra paragraph.
Please Google ''Coffee Flavor Wheel'' and ''Tea Flavor Wheel''. You will often see very similar charts.
The difference is, for a person who doesn't do coffee cupping religiously five times a week, it is easier to taste tea flavors because there is a plant that offers especially that flavor, whereas one really has to try hard and cringe to able taste those similar notes in the coffee.
Which I personally believe why the commercial coffee industry is so strong than specialty coffee because unless you are paying full attention to coffee you have been served, all coffee almost taste the same.

This concludes the threats part of the Coffee S.W.O.T. analysis.

Are you too lazy to Google coffee and tea flavor wheels? Then click on links below.

Coffee Flavor Wheel:
Tea Flavor Wheel:

Would you like to read about Strengths and Weaknesses of coffee? You can reach them here:

S.W.O.T. analysis for coffee. Part 1: Strengths:
S.W.O.T. analysis for coffee. Part 2: Weaknesses:

While you are doing that I am going to make some earl grey tea and dunk some biscuits in it.
I know I wasn't around in August but I will close the gap in September!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

S.W.O.T. analysis for coffee. Part 2: Weaknesses

It is hard to write discouraging things about something you really like. Because of that, the weaknesses part will be the most challenging segment of this series for me. With all said, let's begin with the information pollution about coffee.

Do you remember the frustration about eating eggs many years a go? During the 80's scientists insisted even eating one egg can increase the chance of heart attack because of the cholesterol in it. Later, they found out there are two types of cholesterol. Hence, it was ok to eat the whites of the egg but not the yellow part. Nowadays, eggs are fine and nobody even sure what cholesterol is anymore. Furthermore, scientists say, it doesn't even matter what you eat. It all depends on your DNA.

Same kind of confusion is happening to coffee right now because different branches of science and government come up with their own research but nobody takes the time to compare the results.

According to U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the amount of caffeine one should take is 400mg a day, which equals to four cups of coffee. Now, the 400mg of caffeine limit is important. If you breach that, you open the gates of your body to a migraine, insomnia, nervousness, irritability, restlessness, stomach upset, faster heartbeat, muscle tremors and frequent urination (...lots of it).
2015, U.S. Dietary Guidelines suggested to drink up to five cups of coffee per day or 400mg of caffeine is ok. While you try to make up your mind about how many cups of coffee equal to 400mg of caffeine; U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health revealed drinking one to six or more cups of coffee reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes around %22 percent.

Until this point, you might think ''Meh... I f I stick to three cups of coffee per day I am golden''
Let me ask you this: Have you ever heard about DSM-5? DSM is an acronym for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It is a manual published by American Psychiatric Association. 5 stands for the fifth edition which became available in 2013. The DSM-5 clearly indicates caffeine addiction is not as a mental disorder. Yet, it refers caffeine addiction as Caffeine Use Disorder (CUD) and recognizes CUD as ''Condition for further study''. According to DSM-5 consuming more than 200mg of caffeine can cause caffeine intoxication. Which is less than two cups of coffee.

The information pollution can be evaded. Until the day we find out scientifically how much coffee is beneficial or not harmful to our body.
Of course, that is not easy to do either because of the other weakness of coffee: Caffeine is highly addictive.
Answer this question: When you stop drinking coffee any length of time, do you experience anxiety or stress? If your answer is ''Yes'' you most likely suffer from caffeine addiction.
Sure, nobody drinks a gallon of coffee or a dozen can of Redbull, wakes up in a different city and can't remember what happened yesterday.
Yet, not able to function without caffeine is a real problem. There are at least two caffeine addict anonymous sites on the internet. One of them has a 12 step program to quit caffeine
 and offers weekly phone meetings to break your caffeine addiction.

I always think coffee is one of the villains from the Terrible Trio. ...It is a group of super villains from DC universe.
When you have coffee, you will most likely end up with  two other highly addictive consumables: Sugar and cigarettes. Coffee's bitter taste is not for everyone. Even people who like black coffee without any additives pour sugar into their Java every now and then. We always hear the phrase ''I am addicted to coffee'' In fact, most coffee drinkers addicted to coffee and sugar without even realizing it.

If you are a smoker you know that coffee and cigarettes go well together. Especially if you have a nice conversation with a friend, or after a blg dinner. I can't talk much about coffee and cigarettes because I am not a smoker but what I see from outside, people seem to enjoy this trio a lot.
Jim Jarmusch directed a great film called ''Coffee and Cigarettes'' It is all about how important these items to fuel the small conversations we have in daily life.
Still,  an awesome movie doesn't change the fact that combination of coffee, sugar and cigarettes' dangerous effects on your heart, lungs, and liver on the long run.

This concludes the second part of the S.W.O.T. analysis for coffee. If you interested to read more about relations between your diet and your DNA,  Caffeine Use Disorder or would like to get help from Caffeine Addicts Anonymous click to links below.

Would you like to read the first part of this S.W.O.T. analysis? Then click here:
Would you like to know why I started this blog? Then feel free to read my very first post here:
While you are doing that I am going to make more coffee and watch ''Coffee and Cigarettes''. After that, I am going to start to write the third part of this series.

The Role of Genetics in Diet and Health:

Caffeine Use Disorder:

Caffeine Addicts Anonymous:

Friday, July 28, 2017

S.W.O.T. analysis for coffee. Part 1: Strengths

If you ask me if I am a dog person or a cat person, I would answer Both!
If you ask me if I am a morning person or an evening person, I would answer Both!
If you ask me if I am a coffee person or a tea person, I would answer Both!
If you ask me if I am right handed or left handed, I would answer Both! Then, I would probably pause for a second and say ''I mean I am ambidextrous''
If you ask me if I like to watch television or listen to the radio, I would definitely answer Radio!

I always compare having a cup of coffee with listening to the radio. I prefer radio over television because it is an entertainment tool that sets me free. I can listen to a talk show while I am walking down the street, do the dishes or play backgammon with someone. Watching a documentary about marine life or binging on Netflix on television, on the other hand, only good for sitting down on my couch and chill.

There are very few things in life can both be a companion and give us the freedom we required. Coffee is one of them. I think coffee is fused into our daily life so well because we can enjoy it while doing other things. İn fact, at this very moment I am listening to a pot cast, working on the first part of this S.W.O.T. analysis and sipping Colombian coffee at the same time.

Another strength of coffee is, as much as we can enjoy it alone, it can be the source of social gatherings. Coffee is the ultimate conversation starter. The reason is obvious but very effective: Most coffee drinks are served hot. You cannot just chug your coffee.  When you sitting on a table next to a stranger and waiting for your coffee to get cooler, eventually you or that person next to you would say something and the conversation takes off.
It seems not significant but since the emergence of first coffeehouses in Europe during 17th and 18th century, most of the philosophical discussions and political debates begun exactly like that.

Today, every city in the world has thousands of cafes and coffee houses just to bring people together from all walks of life to exchange ideas, talking about daily events or gossip about other people.
At the end, not every one like to meet for kayaking, playing video games or fishing every day but almost everyone up for grabs a cup of coffee anytime.

Last but not least, coffee has some health benefits. Coffee drinkers have a lower risk to develop type 2 diabetes. Addition to that, Scientists are agreed on people who drink three to four cups of coffee a day have reduced the risk of mortality against all diseases except cancer. However, they cannot point why coffee drinkers live longer exactly. Besides of that, it is proven that drinking coffee helps prevent tooth decay; Only if consumed without any additives. Which means no milk, no half, and half no sugar.

This concludes the first part of the S.W.O.T. analysis for coffee. I hope you saw my Eleanor Roosevelt reference in the fifth paragraph. If you interested to read more about the relation between coffee and type 2 diabetes or how coffee can help fight with caries, click on the links at the bottom.
Would you like to read the second part of this S.W.O.T. analysis? Then click here:
Would you like to know why I started this blog? Then feel free to read my very first post here:
While you are doing that I am going to make more coffee and start to write the part two: Weaknesses of coffee.

Coffee consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes:

Anti-carious effect of coffee in humans:

Friday, July 14, 2017


I first heard about this chemical compound's name in a biochemistry class in 1991.
I remember it not because I was a brilliant student but the funny name of this substance. It is a cytotoxic (toxic to living cells) which occurs when you heat treated any sugar based food. Basically, Hydroxymethylfurfural is a very fancy name for some kind of ash.

Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) is a well-known substance in beekeeper community. Sugars such as lactose, galactose, and mannose are the toxic three musketeers for the honey bee colonies. HMF is not a sugar but considered as the D'artagnan of this trio because it appears where ever some sugar get heated. It is also the quality symbol for the honey we eat. If the levels of HMF exceeds 0.08 mg/g scientists suggest you should use that honey as glue instead of putting on your bread.

Any food which can be caramelized produces HMF. Including dried fruits, baked goods, coffee, honey etc. Most food naturally develops Hydroxymethylfurfural in during their shelf life. What makes HMF concerning is, it requires low temperatures to occur and it is highly soluble in water. For example, brewing tea levels differ between 170 F / 77 C to 212 F / 100 C.  If you use honey to sweeten your tea, the temperature of it is enough to increase HMF levels significantly. In fact, experts suggest never heat up honey more than 104 F / 60 C and preserve it below
71.6 F / 22 C to slow down the Hydroxymethylfurfural development.

HMF also found in cigarette butts. So you maybe smoking free for the last couple of years or proudly never smoked before but if you drink more than six cups of coffee a day (especially a dark roast) or enjoy biting burned corners of your croissant you invite great amounts of this toxin into your digestion system.

As humans, we consume 5 to 8 mg of HMF on a daily basis. Some studies show we receive HMF mostly from coffee and baked foods. The good news is, Hydroxymethylfurfural metabolize in kidneys and immediately excreted with the urine.

In conclusion, HMF is considered not a highly toxic compound but nobody has an opinion about its long term effects. Scientists have been experimenting to prove that Hydroxymethylfurfural is carcinogenic but so far nothing has been found. However, most agreed on the potential is there.

In early 2000's  a science team of five people revealed Hydroxymethylfurfural's genotoxic potential. You can reach the full article from here:


Sunday, July 9, 2017


I don't think about food in my daily life. It is just a ready, wrapped, consumable thing for me that I have to stuff in my mouth in order to not die...
That exactly what it was for me for last fifteen years. Before than that, I wasn't thinking about food either because my mom use to cook for us and all I had to do was sit on a chair, pull the plate in front of me and eat whatever on it. When you pursue a life like that, you won't really pay attention what food do to your body and your mind.

Years later, I moved to my own apartment and things changed for me. I was eating cardboard quality food. It was making me moody and my energy level became significantly low. Because of that, I gained habits that require less energy and provide instant excitement. I am talking about video games and watching Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu constantly.

Please don't get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with playing video games and binging on Daredevil. I enjoy doing both of them and I don't think it is waste of time. Yet, I enjoy being outside, write short essays, do something athletic etc. All of these things are time-consuming and to balance these activities I had to sacrifice the time for preparing and eating food. Hence, last fifteen years my meals were not much harm to my body but had no benefits either.

When you read healthy life style blogs or watch documentaries about healthy food, narrators tell you what changed their life drastically. It is mostly a health issue ends up in ICU or an accident which ends in ICU. Then they decide to start a healthy life style.

Well, that didn't happen to me. Instead, one day my roommate moved out and took his PS4 and forty two inch television with him. All of a sudden I had extra four to six hours to do something else. It led me to choose to put more time and effort on how to feed myself.

First time in our evolution, our bodies are not able to keep up with our minds. We give shorter lunch breaks and eat faster to catch up our daily tasks but we digest in the same amount of time like our ancestors did. We can trigger a panic attack just because we forgot breath slower. In fact, companies like Apple, now install applications to remind us to breathe as default in their products. And it is very sad.

All the sages, wise men and women and the enlighten ones suggest us to enjoy simple things in our lives when they appear. What we eat and drink is one of them. Most of us have the luxury to have a meal three times a day.

Hence, this blog begins. Not to ignore simple pleasures.