Las Vegas Sun

February 19, 2018

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Caffeine: Is it an addiction or is it true love?


Mothership Coffee Roasters keeps things traditional with whole-milk lattes and farm-to-table pastries.

Did you know?

Beans start out green and spongy, with a grassy taste. Roasting them brings out their coffee flavor and aroma. Depending on how long the beans are roasted, their taste and smell can differ dramatically.

Admit it: We live in an amped up, jittery-without-our-morning-brew, caffeine-loving society.

And it’s not just coffee. We glug big, icy sodas; sip teas, hot and cold; amp up with energy drinks, and munch on caffeinated snacks.

For most of us, the buzz is the goal. Caffeine rushes our system with feel-good chemicals, waking us up and sharpening our minds (if only for a short time). Sometimes, however, caffeine is an unintended byproduct of the foods we love — frosting, ice cream, yogurt and candy.

About 90 percent of Americans regularly consume caffeine — an average of 300 milligrams a day, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

That’s not necessarily bad. Caffeine, in moderation, has been shown to have many health benefits. Socially and economically, it’s a slam dunk. An ever-growing number of coffee houses and roasting operations are creating jobs and tax revenue for our region, and many a relationship has been started or solidified over a cup of joe.

Coffee 101

Coffee beans come from woody perennial evergreen in the plant genus coffea. Experts estimate up to 100 species of coffee plants exist. In the commercial coffee industry, there are two key coffee species: Arabica and Robusta.

• Coffea arabica: Arabica coffee descends from the original coffee trees discovered in Ethiopia. These trees produce a fine, mild, aromatic coffee that comprises 70 percent of the world’s coffee production. Arabica coffees are more expensive because they grow best in steep, high-altitude terrain, where cultivation is difficult.

• Coffea canephora (Robusta): Robusta is most commonly grown in Africa, Southeast Asia and Brazil. It primarily is used for blends and instant coffees. Robusta trees are heartier and more resistant to disease and parasites than Arabica trees, making Robusta coffee easier and cheaper to cultivate.

The average coffee tree produces 10 pounds of coffee cherry per year or 2 pounds of green beans.

Robusta coffee has about 50 to 60 percent more caffeine than Arabica coffee.

Caffeine is a bitter-tasting nitrogenous compound used by the coffee tree as a defense mechanism. Caffeine is toxic to many insects and fungi, and can inhibit the germination of nearby seeds.

The beans, leaves and fruit of more than 60 plants contain varying amounts of caffeine.

• Light roasts: Tan, light roasts are used most often for milder coffee varieties. They have the highest acidity and brightest flavor of the four roasts. Also called: Light City, Half City, Cinnamon, New England

• Medium roasts: Medium brown roasts are fuller in flavor than light roasts, with balanced acidity. Medium roasts are generally preferred in the United States. Also called: City, American, Breakfast

• Medium dark roasts: Rich and dark in color, medium dark roasts have a spicy taste and slightly bittersweet aftertaste as the flavors and aromas of the roasting process become noticeable. Also called: Full City, After Dinner

• Dark roasts: Dark roasts are low in acidity and have a pronounced bitterness. Characterized by tar and charcoal flavors, dark roasts can taste smoky or burnt. They often are used for espresso blends and historically have been popular in Europe. Also called: High, Continental, New Orleans, European, Espresso, Viennese, Italian, French

Regional flavors

Top producers

Brazil produces the most coffee of any country in the world (51.5 million 60-kilogram bags annually)

Second is Vietnam (28.5 million 60-kilogram bags)

Third is Colombia (14 million 60-kilogram bags)

Fourth is Indonesia (10.8 million 60-kilogram bags)

Coffee is grown in more than 50 countries worldwide. The weather, altitude and soil chemistry in each can produce very different flavors.

• Brazil — Nutty, sweet, medium-bodied, low acidity

• Colombia — Sweet, aromatic, smooth, well-balanced, floral undertones

• Costa Rica — Sweet, medium-bodied, sharp acidity, well-balanced

• Ethiopia — Fruity, bold, complex, full-bodied, full-flavored

• Guatemala — Smoky, spicy, hints of chocolate

• Hawaii — Aromatic, medium-bodied, mildly fruity

• Indonesia — Earthy, woody, smooth, full-bodied, mildly acidic

• Ivory Coast — Strongly aromatic, light-bodied, mild acidity; often used in espresso blends

• Kenya — Sharp, fragrant, fruity, acidic, full-bodied

• Mexico — Nutty, bittersweet chocolate undertones, sharp acidity, depth of flavor; often used for dark roasts and blends

• Puerto Rico — Fruity aroma, balanced body, balanced acidity

• Vietnam — Light acidity, mild body, good balance; often used for blending

• Yemen — Deep flavor, rich taste

Physical effects of caffeine

Possible side effects of too much caffeine

• Migraine headache

• Insomnia

• Nervousness

• Irritability

• Restlessness

• Frequent urination or urinary incontinence

• Stomach upset

• Fast heartbeat

• Muscle tremors

Caffeine is a stimulant and mild diuretic.

How you react to it can depend on your size, age and health. Some people are more sensitive to caffeine’s effects, and the less caffeine you regularly consume, the more prone you are to a bad reaction.

Long-term consumption of large amounts of caffeine (1,000 mg or more daily) may be linked to heartburn, sleep deprivation, problems conceiving and changes in bowel habits. Caffeine also can raise blood pressure, increase blood sugar levels and lead to bone loss.

The effects of caffeine on the body may begin as early as 15 minutes after ingesting and last up to six hours.

Mixing caffeine is a no-no with many medications. Caffeine can heighten the side effects of stimulants, such as pseudoephedrine, found in many cold and allergy medications, and cause weakness, nausea or irregular heartbeat. Caffeine mixed with ephedrine, found in some congestion medications, can lead to increased blood pressure or serious heart problems. Similarly, some antibiotics, such as ciprofloxacin, as well as echinacea, can cause the body to hold caffeine longer, potentially causing insomnia, headaches or the jitters.

Caffeine for good health: Studies have shown that moderate consumption of coffee and caffeine can help prevent diseases such as stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer, particularly uterine cancer, oral cancers, colon cancer and prostate cancer. Coffee also has been shown to lower a person’s risk of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and dementia. A 2013 study by the Harvard School of Public Health found that drinking several cups of coffee daily can lower risk of suicide by almost 50 percent, likely by enhancing the production of certain neurotransmitters in the brain including serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline.

Keep in mind

Caffeine is a drug, and like any drug, it can become addictive. Cutting caffeine intake cold-turkey can cause headaches, sleepiness, irritability, constipation and lack of concentration.

Body morphing: Caffeine can have benefits for both weight loss and weight lifting. It’s been shown to slightly boost metabolism and increase fat burning; that’s why it’s an ingredient in many weight loss pills. However, the gains are only temporary because the body eventually becomes tolerant to the drug. Weight lifters also sometimes use a small amount of caffeine to enhance their workouts. It can increase mental focus, boost energy and endurance, and improve coordination by increasing central nervous system activity.

Caffeine isn’t limited to sodas and coffee: Manufacturers have produced caffeinated beer, marshmallows, cereal, beef jerky, lollipops, soap and pantyhose. Australian company Hey Beautiful claims its line of Skin Kiss Caffeine stockings and shapewear reduce cellulite thanks to embedded microcapsules of caffeine.

Coffee culture

Did you know?

The total economic impact of the coffee industry in the U.S. is more than $225 billion annually. Out-of-home coffee consumption reached a high of 46 percent in 2017.

Coffee has always been a social phenomenon. As far back as the 15th century, coffeehouses have been a meeting place for intellectuals, artists, musicians and writers to share ideas. But coffee consumption dipped in the 1970s and 1980s as the standard cup of coffee fell out of favor with young people. It wasn’t until the early 1990s that today’s coffee culture began to take hold. Producers’ efforts to branch out with specialty drinks, differentiate regional varieties and market to younger consumers worked. Today, teens and millennials are among the fastest-growing populations of coffee drinkers.

And the Las Vegas Valley has undergone a coffee renaissance in recent years, with many independent coffeehouses popping up around town. Here are some to visit:

• Avery’s Coffee: Village Square, 9440 W. Sahara Ave., Suite 145, 702-476-2063. Must try: Moroccan mint tea, Creamsicle Masala Chai

• Bad Owl Coffee: 10575 S. Eastern Ave., Suite 160, Henderson; 702-483-3331. Must try: Nitrogen-infused cold brew coffee, V60 pour over

• Cafe Darak: 8665 W. Flamingo Road, Suite 105, Las Vegas; 702-370-4657. Must try: Honeydew tea, lavender latte

• Desert Wind Coffee Roasters: 7772 W. Sahara Ave.; 702-998-4222. Must try: Eun’s Addiction (white chocolate mocha), Cannon Proof (espresso and coconut oil), Walter White (espresso and half and half)

• Grouchy John’s: 8520 S. Maryland Parkway; 702-778-7553. 6350 W. Charleston Blvd.; 702-485-6520. Must try: Grouchy John Frappe (white chocolate, amaretto), Curious George (honey, banana, espresso, steamed milk)

• Holley’s Cuppa: 9265 S. Cimarron Road, Suite 115; 702-778-7750. Must try: Mexican Spice Latte, iced white chocolate mocha

• Leoné Café:Tivoli Village, 400 S. Rampart Blvd., Suite 10165; 702-684-5853. Must try: Espresso, Nutella cappuccino

• The Madhouse Coffee Gourmet Bakery and Sandwiches: 8470 W. Desert Inn Road, Suite H-1; 702-360-4232. Must try: Hand brew coffee, Japanese matcha-blended green tea

• Makers & Finders Coffee: 1120 S. Main St., Suite 110; 702-586-8255. Must try: Cafe con leche, coconut tumeric latte, iced matcha americano

• Mothership Coffee Roasters: Green Valley Plaza, 2708 N. Green Valley Parkway, Henderson; 702-456-1869. Must try: Maple cardamom latte, cold brew

• Perk Up Coffee Shop: 11370 Southern Highlands Parkway, Suite 100; 702-473-5700. Must try: Date Night (chocolate and strawberry latte), Moroccan (chocolate, hazelnut and cinnamon)

• Pour Coffeehouse: 6811 S. Eastern Ave., Unit D, 702-527-5544. Must try: Affogato (vanilla gelato and espresso or green tea), French press

• PublicUs: 1126 Fremont St.; 702-331-5500. Must try: Macadamia Nut Paste latte, iced lemon lime green tea, iced London Fog

• Sambalatte: Boca Park, 750 S. Rampart Blvd., Suite 9; 702-272-2333. Molasky Center, 100 N. City Parkway; 702-888-1663. 6555 S. Jones Blvd., Suite 100, 702-434-2337. Must try: Rainbow latte, Nutella latte

• Serenade Coffee Shop and Desserts: 7920 S. Rainbow Blvd., Suite 100, 702-466-0616. Must try: Iced mango macchiato, pistachio latte

• Sunrise Coffee: 3130 E. Sunset Road, Suite A; 702-433-3304. Must try: Creme brulee latte, Hakunamatata tea, mint mocha frappe

• Tiabi Coffee & Waffle Bar: 3961 S. Maryland Parkway; 702-222-1722. Must try: Tiff’s Waffle Macchiato (cinnamon vanilla macchiato with whipped cream and churro waffle), Snickers iced coffee

• Tipsy Coffee House: 6496 Medical Center St., Suite 102; 702-754-1239. Must try: Cookie butter latte (cookie butter and vanilla), Kimbo’s Nutter Butter (homemade peanut butter and salted caramel)

• Vesta Coffee Roasters: 1114 S. Casino Center Blvd., Suite 1; 702-685-1777. Must try: Aztec hot chocolate, Gibraltar

Caffeine unwrapped

How much can you have a day?

Up to 400 milligrams of caffeine a day is considered safe for most healthy adults, according to the Mayo Clinic.

That’s about four cups of brewed coffee, eight cans of soda or two energy drinks. Doctors recommend that children, adolescents, pregnant women and breastfeeding women limit caffeine consumption.

How many milligrams of caffeine are in your favorite beverages and snacks? Have a look.


• Starbucks, blonde roast Venti, 20 oz.: 475

• Dunkin’ Donuts with Turbo Shot Large, 20 oz.: 398

• Starbucks, Pike Place Roast Grande, 16 oz.: 310

• Panera, light roast Regular, 16 oz.: 300

• 7-Eleven, regular exclusive blend Medium, 16 oz.: 280

• McDonald’s, prem. roast brewed coffee Large, 18 oz.: 266

• Dunkin’ Donuts cappuccino Large, 20 oz.: 233

• Starbucks, Caffè Americano Grande, 16 oz.: 225

• Dunkin’ Donuts Medium, 14 oz.: 210

• Starbucks iced coffee Grande, 16 oz.: 190

• Panera, frozen mocha Medium, 16 oz.: 188

• Starbucks, caffè mocha Grande, 16 oz.: 175

• Starbucks, iced black coffee, bottle, 11 oz.: 160

• Starbucks, cappuccino Grande, 16 oz.: 150

• Starbucks, espresso Doppio, 2 oz.: 150

• Starbucks Doubleshot Energy Coffee, can, 15 oz.: 145

• Starbucks Coffee, frapp., bottle, 14 oz.: 130

• Maxwell House, light ground 2 tbsp., makes 12 oz.: 50-100

• McDonald’s, Frappe Caramel Medium, 16 oz.: 85

• Starbucks, frappuccino Grande, 16 oz.: 95

• McDonald’s, espresso shot, 1.5 oz.: 64

• Folgers Ground, house blend 2 tbsp., makes 12 oz.: 60-80

• Green Mountain Keurig K-Cup, breakfast blend 1 pod, makes 8 oz.: 75

• International Delight, iced coffee or iced coffee light 8 oz.: 55-65

• Dunkin’ Donuts, Panera or Starbucks decaf coffee, 16 oz.: 10-25

• Coffee liqueur, 53 proof, 1 oz.: 9

• Maxwell House, decaf ground coffee, 2 tbsp., makes 12 oz.: 2-10


• Starbucks, Chai Latte, iced or regular Grande, 16 oz.: 95

• Honest Tea, organic lemon tea 17 oz. : 90

• Starbucks, green tea latte, iced or regular Grande, 16 oz.: 80

• KeVita Master Brew Kombucha 15 oz.: 80

• Black tea, brewed, 8 oz.: 47

• Tazo, organic iced black tea, bottle, 14 oz.: 45

• Snapple, lemon tea, 16 oz.: 37

• Arizona Iced Tea, black, 16 oz.: 30

• Green tea, brewed, 8 oz.: 29

• Lipton Lemon Iced Tea, 20 oz.: 25

• Arizona Iced Tea, green, 16 oz.: 15

• Lipton, decaffeinated tea, black, brewed, 8 oz.: 5

Soft drinks

• Pepsi Zero Sugar, 20 oz.: 115

• Mountain Dew, diet or regular, 20 oz.: 91

• Diet Coke, 20 oz.: 76

• Surge, 16 oz.: 69

• Dr Pepper or Sunkist, diet or regular, 20 oz.: 68

• Pepsi, 20 oz.: 63

• Coca-Cola, Coke Zero or Diet Pepsi, 20 oz.: 56-57

• Barq’s Root Beer, regular, 20 oz.: 38

• Fountain Coca-Cola, 16 oz.: 9-10

• 7-Up, Fanta, Fresca, ginger ale or Sprite, 12 oz.: 0

• Root beer, most brands, diet or regular, 12 oz.: 0

Chocolate candy and drinks

• Crackheads, espresso bean candies, 1 package, 28 pieces: 200

• Awake Caffeinated Chocolate Bar, 1.55 oz.: 101

• M&M’s, milk chocolate candies, 1 cup: 29

• Starbucks, hot chocolate Grande, 16 oz.: 25

• Chocolate pudding, 3.5 oz.: 1

• Hershey’s milk chocolate (one bar or nine kisses), 1.6 oz.: 9

• Mr. Goodbar, 1 bar, 1.75 oz.: 9

• Hershey’s cocoa, 1 tbsp.: 8

• Silk Soymilk, 8 oz.: 4

• Tootsie Roll, 6 pieces: 3

• Hershey’s chocolate lowfat milk, 12 oz.: 2

• Chocolate frosting, ready-to-eat, 2 tbsp.: 1

Energy drinks

• Bang Energy, 16 oz.: 357

• 5-hour Energy, 2 oz.: 200

• Redline Energy 1/2 bottle, 4 oz.: 163

• Monster, Rockstar, Full Throttle, NOS or Venom, 16 oz.: 160

• AMP Energy Boost Original, 16 oz.: 142

• Avitae Caffeine + Water, 17 oz.: 45-125

• Mountain Dew Kick Start, 16 oz.: 90-92

• Red Bull, 8 oz.: 80

• V8 V-Fusion + Energy, 8 oz.: 80

• Bai Antioxidant Infusion, 16 oz.: 70

• Crystal Light Energy 1 packet, makes 16 oz.: 60

• MiO Energy, all flavors 1/2 tsp., makes 8 oz.: 60

• Ocean Spray Cran-Energy, 8 oz.: 55

• Glacéau Vitaminwater Energy, 20 oz.:50

• Starbucks Refreshers, can, 12 oz.: 50

Over-the-counter medications

• Zantrex-3 weight-loss supplement, 2 capsules NoDoz or Vivarin, 1 caplet or tablet

• Excedrin Migraine, 2 tablets

• Midol Complete, 2 caplets

• Bayer Back & Body, 2 caplets

• Anacin, 2 tablets

Caffeinated snacks

• STEEM Caffeinated Peanut Butter 2 tbsp., 36 g: 150

Awake Energy Chocolate 1 bar, 1.55 oz.: 101

• Foosh Energy Mints, 1 mint, 1.8 g: 100

• Jelly Belly Extreme Sport Beans 1 package, 1 oz.: 50

• Run Gum, 1 piece: 50

• Awake Energy Granola 1 bar, 34g: 50

• GU Energy Chews, raspberry, 4 chews: 40

• GU Energy Gel, 1 packet: 40

• Blue Diamond Café Mocha Almonds, 1 oz.: 24

Ice cream and yogurt

• Dannon, coffee yogurt 1 container, 6 oz.: 30

• Häagen-Dazs, coffee ice cream4 oz.: 29

• Stonyfield Gotta Have Java nonfat frozen yogurt 4 oz.: 28

• Dreyer’s or Edy’s Slow Churned, coffee ice cream 4 oz.: 15

• Breyers, coffee ice cream 4 oz.: 1

• Häagen-Dazs, chocolate ice cream 4 oz.: less than 1

• Dannon Oikos Café Latte greek yogurt 1 container, 5 oz.: less than 1