Instead of the usual Espresso, Cappuccino, Café Latte, Macchiato, Mocha, Affogato, Flat White and Americano found at most western-style hipster coffee joints, here in South East Asia, our favourite coffee is often drank with ice, with condensed milk, with syrup or just by itself.
In Vietnam, the preferred coffee brew is called “cà phê sữa đá” made with a small metal Vietnamese drip filter (phin cà phê) where the dark and strong coffee is mixed with sweetened condensed milk.
Similarly, you can saviour delicious iced coffee (or “gah-fay dteuk-gork” in Khmer), in various Cambodian coffee shops. Incidentally the Lao word for coffee is “cafe”, and with milk it’s “cafe nom”.
In Malaysia, a typical breakfast consist of a cup of “kopi” or “kopi-o”, coffee brewed from locally roasted coffee beans (with margerine), half-boiled eggs and toast with butter and kaya (a type of jam spread made from coconut milk, eggs and sugar). And of course not forgetting the world famous Kopi Luwak (civet coffee) from Indonesia, which is one of the most expensive coffee in world.
So what are the benefits associated with coffee (and caffeine) ?
- When we consume coffee, the caffeine contained in the coffee works on the central nervous system that produces and energising effect that wards off lethargy and increases your attention span and within an hour of consumption, caffeine in moderation increases alertness and capacity for mental and physical labour
- Besides giving you that pep in your step, coffee has some health benefits as well. Drinking coffee could help reduce risks cardiovascular disease, Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, Parkinson’s disease, and liver cirrhosis
- Researchers from Istituto di Richerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri (Institute for Pharmalogical Research, Milan) found that coffee consumption could lower the risk of liver cancer by around 40 percent
- According to researchers at the University of Scranton, coffee is where most of us coffee drinkers get most of our antioxidants from compared to other dietary sources
- Caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee offer almost the same levels of antioxidants!
- Coffee grounds make excellent fertiliser to increase the acidity of the soil, which is superb for plants such as hydrangeas, roses and azaleas
However, do try to drink coffee in moderation, preferably to four cups (or 400mg) a day, as too much coffee/caffeine :
- can increase the risk of high blood pressure, high blood sugar, decreased bone density
- causes withdrawal effects such as headaches, irritability and nausea