Selected Digest – September 2019

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September 2019: The Best of the beverage industry.

On the agenda this month, coffee, tea, and water ... the three most-consumed drinks on the planet. When it comes to water, over and above the countless pollution scandals concerning it, one might sincerely wonder if the “mother of all our drinks” will, in the decades to come, still be drinkable in its natural state?

Coffee and Pregnancy: Not a Good Combination

Coffee, once basely denigrated by doctors, is now back in their pharmaceutical good graces: as long as its not mixed with tobacco or alcohol, it seems to promote good cardiovascular health, have numerous antioxidant properties, and also improve brain function. So it is that, almost every month, we see a generous helping of articles extolling the merits of the miracle drink, brought into being on a dull day on the high Ethiopian plateaus. Yet, in the treatment information, where all the great gurus of medicine now agree to prescribe coffee in dozens of daily cups, unfortunately, there still exist, in bold type, a sorry list of warnings, occasioning a thousand torments in the thrice-cursed souls concerned – a group that includes pregnant women.

Recent studies have shown that merrily knocking back coffee may harm liver development in foetuses. We do not know if this warning is also valid for tea ... To the (unbearable) pangs of labour, must be added abstention from some of the good things of life during the long period of pregnancy, and when we make these comparative observations, the concept of equality becomes a poor joke.

Very Sweet Coffee Key to a Long Life

Boris Pahor is over 100 years old. He is an Italian with minority Slovenian roots, a writer, and a survivor of the Nazi labour camps. The author of Pilgrim Among the Shadows has shared the secret of his long life and good health, which is that he drinks several cups of very sweet milky coffee every day. The centenarian writer says that above all, he listens to his body ... which is pretty much what everyone who is vying to outlive Methuselah says.

Matcha Everywhere You Look

The Japanese are drinking less and less “ordinary” tea; they have stated a clear preference for “matcha” a green tea that used to be the preserve of the Nippon aristocracy. There is a real infatuation with this “matcha,” whose bright colours make it a culinary choice to brighten up ice creams, desserts, and other dishes that seem to go perfectly with the bittersweet notes of this very special and multifaceted variety. Although this new whim that’s causing a storm in a teacup seems to be encouraging some unhappy growers to plant Matcha, others are of the opinion that it’s just the last hurrah of the dying Japanese tea industry.

Green Tea: Best of Medicines

A thousand other virtues are imparted to it, but this is a big one: it may help with antibiotic resistance. In other words, a few draughts of green tea every day may promote the effectiveness of antibiotics, which have taken a punishing in recent years from the microscopic fight-back of bacteria which have sworn to exterminate us, weaving our destruction into the darkest nooks and crannies of our own cells.

Better a Simple Smile than a Smiling Simpleton

Up to the last few decades and during the whole of the second half of the 20th century, Europeans looked on in wonder at the good oral health and, above all, perfectly straight teeth of their North American cousins. Democratization together with strict training in the use of toothpaste and toothbrush has enabled many to rediscover a full-toothed smile. However, Americans still have healthier gums than the rest of the planet, with their jaws all too often full of broken teeth, thanks to an almost military secret: the systematic addition of fluoride to American tap water. Nonetheless, it can be seen that this practice, although providing teeth better than nature can offer, has a tendency to turn out future idiots.

While President Trump was very probably elected thanks to hidden digital machinations, we must not play down the effects of the long and constant fluoridation of brains over all these decades ... It is sad to note that these days it seems infinitely preferable just to look less moronic, thanks to the miracles of mass photogenicity, and that the time is long gone when a smile that might have looked natural and radically out of conformity with aesthetic rules was not necessarily a sign of stupidity

(non-retouched photos of John Bonham, Freddie Mercury, Amy Winehouse, Paul McCartney and Donald Trump’s most beautiful smile).

Put a Little Alcohol in Your Water

A trend we’re starting to hear a lot about: sparkling water with alcohol. That might seem a little peculiar, but there, our millennials want to get drunk the clean-living way. Drinking beer is verging on the redneck, wine is for depressed women, and whisky is the favoured drink of alcoholics, but knocking back Hard Seltzer, or alcoholic sparkling water, allowing them to stay clean-cut while getting half-cut, is bang on trend, so much so that it’s causing shortages ...

If drinking water is no longer a gauge of sobriety, we must be ready to take that hit from the planet-killing meteorite.

Its Best to Make Like a Camel When You Take to the Air

Whatever the airline, in economy class, the coffee is dreadful and the tea an abomination. Added to that, there are strange goings-on in the aisle that would turn the most affable of optimists into a hypochondriac ...

Whether aboard a charter or in your seat in economy class, you can always choose to drink water ... but you should be wary of that too. Aboard a plane, it’s better to adopt an attitude that’s as close as possible to that of a camel in the middle of the desert.

The Warm Water Amoeba

Who has ever dreamed of diving wildly into the clear water of a natural creek without first preparing themselves by splashing small amounts of icy water over their bodies? The “ideal” bathing temperature may often be dreamed of by fans of lakes, ponds, and other natural bodies of water, but you need to know that the “right temperature” for these freshwater pools should make you shiver. Water that is “naturally warm” is potentially dangerous and, if you swim in it, the consequences could be serious: often deadly amoebae abound in such places.

A little girl of 10 unfortunately succumbed to one of these “brain-eaters.” Beyond this painful family tragedy, there is perhaps reason to wonder whether global warming will end up contaminating all bodies of freshwater in the coming decades ...

The New World Now

In a previous article, we took a somewhat fantastical look at future heatwaves in a France being severely punished by particularly vicious climate change. It was a very bombastic vision of a not-too-distant future. It took place in 2050 or 2060, a mere thirty or so years hence, at a time when some of us will probably have left this earth in a recyclable cardboard coffin or, even better, have been composted into human fertilizer to feed whatever is left of the trees and plants. We imagined too a planet made barren by warm winds coming from who knows where, people forced to drink nasty, brackish water from underground reservoirs, polluted by years of intensive farming and waste that had been buried to make things tidy outdoors. It was a sarcastic take for the sake of amusement, and also reassurance that the change was perhaps not going to take place immediately ...

A few days ago, a guy from France’s CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research) spoke on the radio, between two cheesy pop music programmes. He didn’t have the monotonous, reserved tone of scientists of his type, but his voice undulated, oscillated between fanatical anger and desperate emotion. He told of the end of a world, his world, our world ... something unprecedented that had just happened and that would be repeated in the years to come ... Now it is certain: we can no longer speak of the climate changing, because the climate has already changed.


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