Showing posts with label Brazil. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Brazil. Show all posts

Jul 18, 2014


This is a climbing plant in the maple family, native to the Amazon basin and especially common in Brazil. Guarana features large leaves and clusters of flowers, and is best known for its fruit, which is about the size of a coffee bean. As a dietary supplement, guarana is an effective stimulant and its seeds contain about twice the concentration of caffeine found in coffee beans (about 2–4.5% caffeine in guarana seeds compared to 1–2% for coffee beans). As with other plants producing caffeine, the high concentration of caffeine is a defensive toxin that repels herbivores from the berry and its seeds.

If you look at the contents of any energy drink, chances are that guarana is listed as one of the main ingredients. European missionaries in 17th-century Brazil recorded the native people’s use of the berry, noting that it not only gave them energy, but allowed them to go for days without feeling hungry. It became a colonial trading commodity that was said to help protect the body from illness, but too much of it was known to cause insomnia.

The caffeine that is found in the guarana berry is thought to be different from the caffeine found in coffee. Guarana contains chemical components called tannins, which are thought to produce a longer-lasting effect than caffeine from other sources. For centuries, guarana berry seeds have been powdered or smoked in a long process that is done by hand. Drinking properly prepared guarana can be central to formal occasions and gatherings, where groups of people pass around a calabash bowl.

Fifteen More Coffee Facts

Coffee is the second largest traded commodity in the world (oil is the largest).

  1. There are two types of oils in coffee, good oils and bad oils. The good oils are good for your body and your health, the bad oils may give you ulcers and stomach problems. To avoid the bad oils in coffee use paper filters to minimize the effects.
  2. Mocha Java Coffee has no chocolate in the Mocha or Java bean. Mocha is the name of the port in Yemen, where all African coffee beans are traded and transported. Java is the name of an island in Indonesia where the Java bean originates. Both coffees are dark bean and provide a bold coffee, when you mix the two together you get Mocha Java coffee.
  3. Coffee starts out as a yellow berry, ripens into a red berry, and is then harvested by hand. Through water soaking process the red berry is de-shelled and leaves the green coffee bean. This bean then dries in the sun for 3-5 days before bagging.
  4. In Africa, coffee beans are soaked in water mixed with spices and served as candy to chew.
  5. Brazil is the largest coffee producer in the world and the US is the largest coffee consuming country in the world.
  6. There are 65 countries in the world that grow coffee and they are all located along the equator.
  7. Black coffee with no additives contains no calories.
  8. There are two types of coffee plants, Arabica and Robusta.
  9. Espresso Coffee has one third of the caffeine content of a cup of regular coffee.
  10. James Mason invented the coffee percolator on December 26, 1865.
  11. Instant coffee was invented in 1901 by a Japanese American chemist, Satori Kato. In 1906 English chemist, George Constant Washington claimed he invented instant coffee.
  12. Melitta Bentz a housewife from Dresden, Germany, invented the first coffee filter in 1908.
  13. It takes five years for a coffee tree to reach full maturity, coffee trees can live up to 100 years and the average yield from one tree equals about one pound of roasted coffee.
  14. A regular 6oz cup of coffee contains about 150 milligrams of caffeine.
  15. Robusta coffee beans have twice as much caffeine as Arabica beans, but are of less quality.

Mar 23, 2012

Cashew Facts

The thing we normally think of a a cashew nut is really a seed. Cashews grow on short evergreen trees and are originally from South America, but now more commonly found in India, the Philippines, and Africa as well.

The accessory fruit is the oval or pear or bell-shaped structure that develops from the receptacle of the cashew flower which ripens into a yellow and/or red and delicately soft body, called cashew apple. 

The nut is attached to the fruit and inside the nut is the seed, which we call a cashew nut. The seed has within itself a whole kernel and is covered by a membrane and a thick outer shell. The picture shows an upside down version of how the fruit and nut grow from the tree.

The bark of the tree is scraped and soaked overnight or boiled as an antidiarrheal and also yields a gum used in varnish. Seeds are ground into powders used for antivenom for snake bites, while the nut oil is used topically as an antifungal and for healing cracked heels.

The cashew apple is five to ten times richer in Vitamin C than an orange and may be consumed fresh, but its high tannin content yields a slightly bitter taste and dry mouth after-feel. The soft flesh packs a rather large quantity of nutritious sweet juice but with extreme astringency that puckers up the mouth.

Cashew fruit juice is popular in Brazil and the Philippines. The juice is also fermented into liquor in many countries.

Apr 29, 2011


Maybe the old saying about the rich getting richer is no longer true, at least in the US. Brazil, Russia, India, and China produced 108 of the 214 new billionaires in the recent Forbes list of richest people. These four nations are home to one-in-four members, up from one-in-ten five years ago. Before this year, only the US had ever produced more than 100 billionaires. China now has 115 and Russia 101. The US used to have one in two, now it has one in three billionaires and it is down 56 billionaires from 2008 peak. So sorry, I didn't see your name on the list either.