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Grinding Coffee For Coffee Lovers

Could there be anything better than a hot, fresh brewed cup of coffee?

As you open that can of pre-ground AnarchoCoffee, did you even know that coffee comes in different roasts? Did you know that you can roast your own coffee beans at home? If you think that the aroma of your fresh ground coffee beans can’t be beaten, get a home coffee roaster, you’ll be in Java Heaven.

Roasting the coffee beans is what imparts flavor. Similar to the making of fine wine or a hand-rolled cigar, some consider the roasting of coffee beans as an art. Those that describe coffee use some of the same vocabularies they use to describe wine. Depending on the roast level chosen the beans to take on different flavor characteristics. The lighter the coffee bean the less flavor it will have, the darker the coffee bean the stronger the flavor it will have.

There are generally four different categories of roast. A light roast (American), a medium roast (Breakfast), a dark roast (French), and darkest roast (Italian or espresso). Each type of roast imparts a different appearance to the coffee beans.

When a coffee bean is roasted to an American roast the beans will have a very light color to them and they will appear dry. A medium roasted bean or Breakfast roast will have a rich brown color and will be only in appearance. A French roasted coffee bean will have a very oily appearance with the beans appearing very dark brown. The darkest roasted beans or Espresso beans will appear black.

Coffee roasting can easily be done in your home. Depending on the roast that you desire you can roast coffee in five to fifteen minutes. Green beans are available online from a number of sellers, as are coffee roasters. Choose different types of green coffees to sample. Drum roasters are very popular for use in the home. It’s best to consider purchasing a roaster as it will give you the most consistent finish to your beans. Some try to roast beans in frying pans, some use hot air popcorn poppers. While each of these techniques will work, as mentioned above they don’t give a consistent finish to all the beans and you will most likely be disappointed in the result.

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7 Steps For World Class Gourmet Coffee

For a change, a good cup of coffee would be nice. It does take some time and some energy to find a great cup of gourmet coffee these days. If you do know of a perfect coffee shop, you are one of the lucky ones. But, did you know that you can basically make a nice cup of coffee on your own from home?

Here are 7 simple steps that you can take to produce the perfect cup of coffee every time.

Start with quality. One of the most critical aspects of coffee drinking is the grade of the coffee that you start off with. If you have a favorite flavor, then purchase whole beans in that flavor. If you can do this, it will allow you to get the most fresh coffee accessible.

Grind away. Purchase a quality coffee grinder. Some of the best grinders available today are easy to use and easy to clean up. By grinding your own coffee beans, youll be able to only grind what you need, meaning that you will have complete freshness in your coffee.

Store It Right And Tight. It is very fundamental to store your coffee tightly. Air oxidizes the coffee and can make it to get bitter quickly. Metal canisters can also enable a metal taste to get into the coffee, making it taste bad.

The top solution is for a plastic or ceramic air tight container for your coffee and coffee beans. Also, store it at room temperature because the moisture in the fridge or freezer can make it go bad faster.

Getting To The Coffee

The Maker. The coffee maker that you use is also critical. No matter what style that you go with, you can get a good cup of coffee out of it if you take the essential steps to keeping it fresh.

For example, you should ensure that the coffee maker is kept clean after each use. In fact, you’ll need to make sure that you detail clean it, with the assistance of vinegar, every so often as well. Your preferences will ultimately determine which style of coffee maker you will use. Make sure that it uses a permanent filter in it.

Even In The Water. Even the water that you use is central to the quality of the coffee you will get from it. It is essential that you use water that is free from chlorine and minerals.

Often, using bottled water rather than tap water will augment the quality of the coffee. Also, keep the water nice and hot. A good temperature for the water is about 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Supply The Right Amount. It is also central for you to use the right quantity of coffee beans and coffee grounds in the maker. Too many and you will have a very strong cup of coffee and too few will make it to be too weak. Follow the directions provided by the coffee producer for the best cup of coffee.

Lastly and probably the most vital aspect of getting a great cup of gourmet coffee is to make sure to enjoy your coffee when it is hot and fresh. Most restaurants are told to keep coffee for less than thirty minutes, but at home, the best coffee is the coffee that hasn’t sat for more than twenty minutes.

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Coffee is the New Antioxidant On The Block

Green Coffee Beans

Green coffee beans have supplied a new player in the antioxidant arena. An extract of green coffee beans has been found to have a stronger antioxidant effect than established antioxidants like green tea and grape seed extract. 

The active constituent in coffee that is responsible for its many health benefits is a compound called chlorogenic acid. It neutralizes free radicals, and addresses the problem of hydroxyl radicals, both of which can lead to cellular degeneration if left unchecked. Chlorogenic acid also helps regulate metabolism. Compared to green tea and grape seed extract, green coffee bean extract is twice as effective in absorbing oxygen free radicals. 

The advantages of coffee

One of the advantages of using the green coffee bean extract is that the negative effects of coffee are avoided. The chlorogenic acid is thought to boost metabolism by changing the way glucose is taken up by the body. And it does contain caffeic acids, which give a boost to energy levels regular coffee does. But unlike boiled coffee, green coffee bean extract contains no cafestol, which is a diterpene. Along with its diterpene relative kahweol, cafestol increases concentrations of the ‘bad’ cholesterol, LDL, to levels that over a lifetime might increase the risk of coronary heart disease by as much as 20% These diterpenes also had an effect on the levels of liver enzymes measured. When these are elevated it is an indicator of stress on the liver. However, the study that measured this found this was a transient effect, and also that the levels of liver enzymes were much lower than those with liver disease.

As a side note on the health effect of the diterpenes found in regular coffee, it was found that by simply drinking filter coffee, none of these effects on cholesterol levels or the liver took place. The coffee filter removed the offending diterpenes. And levels of these diterpenes in instant coffee are low.

Other benefits of coffee

Other benefits of green coffee bean extract include an increase in the effectiveness of pain killers, especially for migraine medications; a reduction in the risk of diabetes; and assisting the body burn a higher proportion of lipids (fats) compared to carbohydrates, which could help with muscle fatigue for athletes and bodybuilders.

Interestingly, on the subject of caffeine and liver disease, further studies have indicated it may in fact support liver health for some people. Those who were at high risk of developing liver disease due to drinking too much alcohol were found less likely to suffer liver damage if they drank more than two cups of coffee or tea a day. This was a population based study, not a clinical trial, and so is not conclusive on the subject. But it does offer some promising information. Those drinking in excess of two cups or more a day were half as likely to develop liver disease compared to those drinking less than one cup a day. Researchers do not know what caused this protective effect.

One of the criticisms of coffee in regards to health is that it leaches calcium from the bones. But this effect has been found to be overemphasized, at least in children. And adults who consume a diet with sufficient levels of calcium will be protected from the small amount of calcium that is lost due to coffee consumption. 

So the old axiom that caffeine can stunt a child’s growth is a myth. It was based on the fact that in older studies, caffeine was associated with low bone mass because those studies were done on elderly people who both drank a lot of coffee and had diets that were low in calcium. Recent studies in the US followed 80 teenagers over 6 years, and found no difference in the bone density of those with a high level of caffeine in their diet, compared to those teenagers who had little caffeine. Other studies determined that the amount of calcium lost from bones is small and can be balanced by having sufficient calcium in your diet.

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Tax Quotes And Jokes

Like death, paying taxes is inevitable. In the case of most Americans, tax season is just around the corner. If only paying taxes was so easy.

As you begin pulling out those receipts, the eraser and reading plain English tax instructions that Einstein couldn’t figure out, you’re going to need a good laugh. Here you go:

1. I am proud to be paying taxes in the United States. The only thing is – I could be just as proud for half the money.

2. People who complain about taxes can be divided into two classes: men and women.

3. Like mothers, taxes are often misunderstood but seldom forgotten.

4. The best measure of a man’s honesty isn’t his income tax return. It’s the zero adjust on his bathroom scale.

5. Next, to being shot at and missed, nothing is really quite as satisfying as an income tax refund.

6. A tax loophole is something that benefits the other guy. If it benefits you, it is tax reform.

7. Few of us ever test our powers of deduction, except when filling out an income tax form.

8. What’s the difference between a mosquito and an IRS agent? One is a bloodsucking parasite, the other is an insect.

9. It would be nice if we could all pay our taxes with a smile, but normally cash is required.

10. The government deficit is the difference between the amounts of money the government spends and the amount it has the nerve to collect.

11. Taxes: Of life’s two certainties, the only one for which you can get an automatic extension

12. What Mae West said about sex is true about taxes. All tax cuts are good tax cuts; even bad tax cuts are good tax cuts,

13. The federal income tax system is a disgrace to the human race. – Jimmy Carter

If nothing else, it is good to know that a former President of the United States feels the same way about taxes as you. If only someone would agree to a flat tax, millions of Americans could dispense with the aggravation and stress of filing taxes each year.

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5 Thought Provoking Questions from an Anarcho-Capitalist 

1. When several million want a given person or party in power, but can never elect them because only Democrats and Republicans will be elected by the other 90 million voters, can they believe that this is a representative government? Would a system that allowed them to send their own representatives to Congress be fairer? Is there a way to devise a system which allows any million voters that agree on a candidate to have representation? (There are a couple million libertarians, for example, who never get represented.)

2. It is considered immoral for me to steal from my neighbor Joe in order to send my kids to school, or to paint a picture, or to subsidize my tobacco crop, so how can it be right for me to do it using the government as my agent? Is it moral just because enough of us vote to take Joe’s money for something we want to do? Is this “mob rule” okay for any purpose, or only if it is a “good” purpose? If so, who decides what a “good” purpose is?

3. Hitler was elected to parliament, and the ancient Greek parliament, which was more representative than what we have today, voted to kill Socrates for teaching young men to think, so is Democracy the best we can do? If people vote to violate their own rights or those of others, is it okay, just because the majority wants it that way? (Another question: Why did we start calling our constitutional republic a democracy just because it votes for its leaders?)

4. Since a moral rule like, “don’t steal,” can lead to immorality, as in not stealing to feed your child when that’s the only option, is it possible we need a new way to define morality? Can morality be permanently codified in words, or should we use words only to point at what is beyond the definitions, and alter the definitions as often as we come to understand new things about the world and our role in it?

5. If the laws are recognizing more and more that animals shouldn’t be treated cruelly, do animals have “rights,” as children do? Children are dependent but with basic rights. If animals are the same, are their “owners” obligated to give them proper food and medical care, and should they be prosecuted if they fail to provide it? Should they be forced to care for pets for life, with no option to have them killed when they become inconvenient?

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4 Easy Tips For Making Iced Coffee Drinks At Home

A big chill is sweeping the coffee industry as iced coffee beverages gain popularity.

According to the National Coffee Association, the percentage of Americans who drink iced coffee beverages increased from 20 percent in 2003 to 29 percent in 2004. Following the popularity of cappuccinos and mocha lattes, consumers are discovering that coffee is just as tasty – and even more refreshing – when served cold.

Iced coffee can be as easy to prepare as iced tea. A variety of options, such as flavoring syrups, cold milk, chocolate, and spices, allow you to create personalized coffee concoctions that are just as delicious as those served in your favorite cafe.

Beverages such as iced vanilla mocha, iced rum coffee, and iced latte are easy to make at home. Here are some tips for refreshing iced coffee drinks.

  • Pour the flavoring syrup into the cup first. To complete the drink, pour in espresso or coffee, then the ice, and top it off with cold milk.
  • Don’t let your beverage become watered down. Cool your favorite coffee beverage with ice cubes made from fresh-brewed coffee instead of water.
  • Use a machine that produces a high-quality coffee or espresso. The Capresso CoffeeTeam Luxe, for example, grinds coffee beans right before brewing and allows you to control the strength of your coffee.
  • Be creative. Add a personalized touch to your iced coffee beverages with whipped cream, chocolate shavings, nutmeg or cinnamon.
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Social Security System Is Inefficient

Ah. Social Security… It’s a wonderful program that takes 12.4% of your income each year in order to secure you your future. Let’s analyze Social Security a bit, shall we?

The purpose of Social Security is to help the average American save money for retirement. Although the funds average annual yield is 5.3%, it’s backed by the United States Treasury, meaning it’s a guaranteed investment. 5.3% may seem acceptable when compared to the national average savings account yield of approximately 0.54%, but the truth is that many competitive money market accounts yield upwards of 5.4% without locking up your investment until retirement, or jeopardizing your retirement savings, as nearly every reputable bank is a member of FDIC and have long histories of customer satisfaction. When was the last time you went to your local bank and they didn’t allow you to withdraw your money?

Now let’s compare Social Security to a safe investment in the stock market. History has proven that the safest investment in the market is the S&P 500 index. This index tracks 500 of America’s most prestigious blue chip companies and is a sound investment, with minimal risk. The S&P 500 average annual return on investment is approximately 10.4% (This figure is based on a 78 Year average). The difference may not seem much, but it’s gargantuan on a long-term basis. See my calculations below:

Scenario: Let’s say you begin working at the age of 25, and earn $40,000 a year. The government takes 12.4% of your income every year on social security alone. This is the actual percentage that they withhold from your income. (Your employer will adjust your salary in order to cover his side of social security without spending additional money. The employer pays ~6.2% for your social security and you pay ~6.2% this will be explained below.) Let’s also assume you retire at age 65. That’s 40 years of contributing to social security. Let’s see how much you’ll get back in social security when you retire, and how much you would have gotten back if you invested the same 12.4% each year in the S&P 500 index instead.

Social Security: *$696,699.17

S&P 500: $2,702,720.36

*The social security total is actually higher then it should be, because I used today’s social security yield, instead of the 50-year average, which is LOWER the today’s yield

You may be confused about where the 12.4% was derived from. The way social security functions is that you, the employee pay 6.2% on each paycheck, and the employer pays 6.2% on the wages he pays you, the employee. You may think to yourself that, the 6.2% that the employer pays has no effect on your salary, but you are mistaken. Your salary is adjusted (decreased) to cover the employer’s end of social security. This doesn’t apply to all employees, but Milton Friedman, Nobel Peace winning economist, got several large employers to admit to using this practice. Let me provide you an example. Let’s say, as an employer, you want to spend a total of $100 on your employee for his services. But you know that an additional $6 will be added on top of the base $100 salary to cover the employer’s portion of social security. Instead of paying out a total of $106 (100$ to the employee and 6$ to the government, the employer will instead, pay the employee 95$ as a salary, and pay 5$ on top of it for the employer’s portion of social security. Now the employer spent his intended 100$ on the employee, instead of the $106 he would have paid if he set the employees base salary at $100. Now the employee must also pay a 6.2% tax on the $95 he earned through wages. If Social Security did not exist, the employee would have received the full $100 in wages, instead of $95 minus social security taxes.

Don’t assume that I don’t agree with the general philosophy of Social Security. The purpose of Social Security is to provide for the elderly once they retire so that they may sustain themselves. I am not against its purpose, but I am strongly against the way it’s forced down our throats. If the money is intended to be spent on your future, why can’t the government allow you to save it on your own? The only way for social security to function in an honest fashion is for it to be voluntary. If an individual wants to invest their money elsewhere, that individual should have the option to opt out of the Social Security system. The government simply cannot spend your money in a better fashion FOR you then you can for yourself. An individual should have the liberty to decide how he chooses to invest his own money, instead of the government forcefully taking it and investing it in their place.

The S&P 500 is not a guaranteed investment, but history has proven it to be the safest investment in the market and has a proven track record of 75+ years at an average annual return of 10.4%. Ultimately, an individual should have the choice of opting out of government-run social security. Countries like Chile, Mexico, Britain, and Australia have already transitioned from failing government-run social security type programs to healthier systems based on individual retirement accounts.

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Anarchy As An Organizing Principle

Anarchy As An Organizing Principle

The recent spate of accounting fraud scandals signals the end of an era. Disillusionment and disenchantment with American capitalism may yet lead to a tectonic ideological shift from laissez-faire and self-regulation to state intervention and regulation. This would be the reversal of a trend dating back to Thatcher in Britain and Reagan in the USA. It would also cast some fundamental – and way more ancient – tenets of free-markets in grave doubt.

Markets are perceived as self-organizing, self-assembling, exchanges of information, goods, and services. Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” is the sum of all the mechanisms whose interaction gives rise to the optimal allocation of economic resources. The market’s great advantages over central planning are precisely its randomness and its lack of self-awareness.

Market participants go about their egoistic business, trying to maximize their utility, oblivious of the interests and activities of all, bar those they interact with directly. Somehow, out of the chaos and clamor, a structure emerges of order and efficiency unmatched. Man is incapable of intentionally producing better outcomes. Thus, any intervention and interference are deemed to be detrimental to the proper functioning of the economy.

It is a minor step from this idealized worldview back to the Physiocrats, who preceded Adam Smith, and who propounded the doctrine of “laissez-faire, laissez-passer” – the hands-off battle cry. Theirs was a natural religion. The market, as an agglomeration of individuals, they thundered, was surely entitled to enjoy the rights and freedoms accorded to each and every person. John Stuart Mill weighed against the state’s involvement in the economy in his influential and exquisitely-timed “Principles of Political Economy”, published in 1848.

Undaunted by mounting evidence of market failures – for instance, to provide affordable and plentiful public goods – this flawed theory returned with a vengeance in the last two decades of the past century. Privatization, deregulation, and self-regulation became faddish buzzwords and part of a global consensus propagated by both commercial banks and multilateral lenders.

As applied to the professions – to accountants, stock brokers, lawyers, bankers, insurers, and so on – self-regulation was premised on the belief in long-term self-preservation. Rational economic players and moral agents are supposed to maximize their utility in the long-run by observing the rules and regulations of a level playing field.

This noble propensity seemed, alas, to have been tampered by avarice and narcissism and by the immature inability to postpone gratification. Self-regulation failed so spectacularly to conquer human nature that its demise gave rise to the most intrusive statal stratagems ever devised. In both the UK and the USA, the government is much more heavily and pervasively involved in the minutia of accountancy, stock dealing, and banking than it was only two years ago.

But the ethos and myth of “order out of chaos” – with its proponents in the exact sciences as well – ran deeper than that. The very culture of commerce was thoroughly permeated and transformed. It is not surprising that the Internet – a chaotic network with an anarchic modus operandi – flourished at these times.

The dotcom revolution was less about technology than about new ways of doing business – mixing umpteen irreconcilable ingredients, stirring well, and hoping for the best. No one, for instance, offered a linear revenue model of how to translate “eyeballs” – i.e., the number of visitors to a Web site – to money (“monetizing”). It was dogmatically held to be true that, miraculously, traffic – a chaotic phenomenon – will translate to profit – hitherto the outcome of painstaking labor.

Privatization itself was such a leap of faith. State-owned assets – including utilities and suppliers of public goods such as health and education – were transferred wholesale to the hands of profit maximizers. The implicit belief was that the price mechanism will provide the missing planning and regulation. In other words, higher prices were supposed to guarantee an uninterrupted service. Predictably, failure ensued – from electric utilities in California to railway operators in Britain.

The simultaneous crumbling of these urban legends – the liberating power of the Net, the self-regulating markets, the unbridled merits of privatization – inevitably gave rise to a backlash.

The state has acquired monstrous proportions in the decades since the Second World War. It is about to grow further and to digest the few sectors hitherto left untouched. To say the least, these are not good news. But we libertarians – proponents of both individual freedom and individual responsibility – have brought it on ourselves by thwarting the work of that invisible regulator – the market.