Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for the ‘Coffee’

Science tells us how to hold a coffee mug so you don’t spill coffee on yourself

August 30, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Coffee, Science 3 Comments →

Like this.

Presumably after spilling his own coffee one too many times, physicist Jiwon Han decided to see if there was a better way to drink his java. Han took it upon himself to test new methods to find a more efficient and stable way to hold a coffee mug, Nick Rose writes for Munchies. He recently published his findings in the open access journal Achievements in the Life Sciences.

“Rarely do we manage to carry coffee around without spilling it once,” Han writes in the study. “In fact, due to the very commonness of the phenomenon, we tend to dismiss questioning it beyond simply exclaiming: ‘Jenkins! You have too much coffee in your cup!’”

As it turns out, it’s not just klutziness that makes it hard to walk around holding a full cup of coffee without spilling everywhere—it’s partly due to the traditional shape of the mug. For starters, Han found that a coffee cup was less likely to spill the taller the mug was compared to the amount of liquid it held. Even so, that’s not exactly an ideal scenario for your standard coffee addict first thing in the morning.

Read it at Smithsonian.

Next research topic: How to drink from a coffee mug without spilling coffee on yourself.

The ex-most beautiful cafe in the world: Caffe Florian in Venice

May 11, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Coffee, Food, Places, Traveling 1 Comment →


Venice is atrociously overpriced, crowded and touristy and we still love it. It has extracted our pound of flesh (which we have gained back plus plus). The second we board the vaporetto from Tronchetto (the car park) we feel weirdly happy, knowing full well that we will be gouged, swarmed and our senses assaulted with kitsch. Incidentally, the answer to the question that gets asked a lot is: No, we don’t smell anything.


Caffe Florian on the Piazza San Marco is the city’s most famous cafe, and it turns 300 in 2020, making it the oldest cafe in the world. Every would-be ruler of the planet has stopped by, from Napoleon to Hitler. The cafe probably overcharged them, too.


Nine euros (Php 414) for a cup of coffee! 13 for a croissant with ham in it. And if the orchestra is playing outside, 6 euros for the music.


The waiters are more elegant than the diners and you feel like you have to mind your manners or be judged.


But what an exterior (and the interiors aren’t plain, either). After coffee, you are compelled to conquer something.

The definition of breakfast

December 01, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Coffee 1 Comment →

petit dejeuner

In our universe, the most important meal of the day is brunch. Essentially it’s breakfast for people who wake up late. Usually when we come back from a different time zone we start waking up very early, but that hasn’t happened on this trip. So we’ve given up setting alarms and getting out of bed at a “decent” hour (since it’s hopeless trying to sleep early). We just say we’re on Paris time and neglect to mention that it was weeks ago. (It’s only pretentious if you adore Paris. If you enjoy kvetching about it, it’s acceptable.)

In Paris, breakfast is “le petit dejeuner”, and “petit” it is exactly. You get a croissant, half a baguette, butter and jam, an orange juice and a cafe creme. All the carbs are necessary for walking to and from the Metro. Where’s the protein? The butter IS the protein.

anglo saxon

If you need meat for breakfast, you can have le Anglo-Saxon, the French notion of what the Brits (“les rosbif”, to which the other side replies, “cheese-eating surrender monkeys”) eat. Three eggs, bacon, sausages, potatoes, a tomato, coffee, orange juice, a bowl of yogurt, and (not in picture) a fried brioche.

At home we have two cups of coffee for breakfast, then go out to brunch.


We are partial to the Casero or Cosmopolitan blends of TonG Coffee, which is available at Legazpi Market on Sundays. The package says “DO NOT store in the refrigerator”, which goes against our childhood training. We asked some coffee nuts, who say you’re not supposed to refrigerate your beans if you’re going to consume them in a month. Refrigeration is for those 1 kg cans of coffee sold in the US.

Jackie’s cook the fabulous Andresa recommended The Northern Coffee Bean Store in QC, which sells beans from the Cordillera. She sent us a combination of 250g Kalinga, 250g Benguet, and 250g Sagada Dark. We could probably finish reading Proust on that.

Monday morning shakes: Is there a looming coffee shortage?

October 13, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Coffee 4 Comments →

coffee drought
Photo from Businessweek.

We’ve read several reports about the coffee shortage caused by the drought in Brazil, the world’s largest producer of coffee.

News that Brazil’s coffee production in 2015 may hit a 50-year low has already pushed coffee prices to a 3-year high. This year the price of arabica beans has risen 70 percent.

Let’s assume this shortage isn’t some foul plot by speculators to manipulate coffee prices. The drought will affect coffee production in years to come, and climate change is only going to make the situation worse.

Isn’t the Philippines a coffee producer? How much coffee do we produce? Some years ago we heard that our coffee production couldn’t even meet the local demand, and the Philippines had to import coffee from Vietnam. (Vietnamese coffee growers plant robusta beans. Kapeng barako is liberica.) Has local coffee production increased?

In the late 19th century, blight destroyed coffee crops all over the world, making the Philippines, particularly Lipa, Batangas, the only source of coffee on the planet. Lipa got spectacularly rich.

The thought that our four or five cups of coffee a day may be endangered is enough to give us the shakes.

Thanks for the coffee!

January 14, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Coffee 3 Comments →

coffee things

Reader Alenette in Miami sent us some organically-grown Colombian coffee, espresso (1 cup = 10 cups of cafe Americano) and a cafetera. Thank you! If this is the caffeine you live on, you will surely ace your exams.

* * * * *

The World Domination T-shirts have finally arrived and will soon be available on our online store! We’ll take pictures today and post them tonight.

Do Not Drink Crappuccino: The sad true story of civet coffee (kopi luwak)

September 17, 2013 By: jessicazafra Category: Coffee 6 Comments →

Indonesians Farm Civet Cats To Produce World's Most Valuable Coffee
Shot was taken on a civet farm just outside Surabaya, Indonesia
Caged civets on Indonesian coffee plantations. Photos from the Guardian.

Coffee companies around the world still market kopi luwak along the lines of that original quirky story involving a wild animal’s digestive habits, many claiming that only 500 kilogrammes are collected a year, a scarcity that justifies its huge retail pricetag (usually between $200-400 a kilo, sometimes more). In fact, although it’s impossible to get precise figures, I estimate that the global production – farmers in India, Vietnam, China and the Philippines have all jumped on the bandwagon, too – is at least 50 tonnes, possibly much more. One single Indonesian farm claims to produce 7,000kg a year from 240 caged civets.

So kopi luwak is now rarely wild: it’s industrialised. Sounds disgusting? It is. The naturally shy and solitary nocturnal creatures suffer greatly from the stress of being caged in proximity to other luwaks, and the unnatural emphasis on coffee cherries in their diet causes other health problems too; they fight among themselves, gnaw off their own legs, start passing blood in their scats, and frequently die.

Wild luwaks – the trapping of which is supposed to be strictly controlled in Indonesia – are caught by poachers, caged and force-fed coffee cherries in order to crap out the beans for the pleasure of the thousands who have been conned into buying this “incredibly rare” and very expensive “luxury” coffee.

Read Civet coffee: Why it’s time to cut the crap, in the Guardian. Thanks to Jackie for this depressing alert. What’s next: celebrity crap coffee?