Cafe Sessions with Steve: September 2023

Greetings, dear coffee enthusiasts, and a warm welcome to our latest Café Session! As we stand on the doorstep of October, it's astonishing how swiftly the seasons have shifted. The lazy days of summer have gracefully given way to the crisp embrace of autumn evenings. Fortunately, this transition has been gentle, allowing us to relish the milder weather and begin to fully immerse ourselves in the magic of the season.

In the world of sports, while the Broncos may be grappling with challenges (to put it lightly), our spirits have been lifted by the remarkable performance of the CU Buffs, who have become the pride of Colorado and garnered nationwide attention under the stewardship of Coach Prime.

But October brings more than just sports; it brings cherished Colorado traditions, including Oktoberfest (happening this weekend – link to ticket HERE), and the breathtaking spectacle of leaf peeping. Right now is the prime time for this annual delight, as the foliage bursts into a riot of colors, painting the landscape with nature's vibrant palette. Looking for some scenic drives? Check out this list of 9 of the most scenic Fall Drives in Colorado. More of a hiker? I’ve got that covered too – here’s a list of the 9 best Colorado Autumn hiking spots!

And speaking of seasonal delights, it's officially Pumpkin Spice season. That's right, the air is practically intoxicated with the scents of cinnamon, nutmeg, and all things cozy. Now, I know some folks like to poke fun at the whole pumpkin spice craze, but whether you're a die-hard pumpkin spice latte enthusiast or just a casual observer, one thing's for sure—when that aroma wafts through the air, you can't help but admit that summers in the rearview mirror, and fall has taken the wheel!

So, get comfy with your favorite brew in hand, and let's dive headfirst into the questions you’ve asked me this month. And while we're at it, don't forget to check out our blog post, "Coffee and the Outdoors: Exploring the Connection Between Coffee and Adventure." It's a fascinating exploration of how our favorite brew and the call of the wild go hand in hand – perfect for a pre-leaf peeping read!

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Ahh decaf coffee, the nonalcoholic beer of the coffee world. Whether your doctor told you to lay off the caffeine or you are just taking a little break from it, there are plenty of drinks you can find in a coffee shop that do not have that caffeine stimulant so many of us depend on. First, let's see what the benefits of going decaf are, and please be aware that it is nearly impossible to remove all the caffeine from coffee so decaf coffee will still contain a little bit in a cup. While you are not getting the quick jolt of energy to start your day, you still take in the antioxidant properties of drinking coffee that help fight illness and prevent diseases in your body. Decaf coffee also contains niacin, or vitamin B-3, which helps cleanse the body, lower cholesterol, improve brain function, and fight arthritis.

Now what drinks are commonplace at a coffee shop that do not contain caffeine? Most cafés will still have a decaf espresso roast so you can order any coffee drink off the regular menu and likely be able to have it decaffeinated. If you like your mochas each morning, you would still be able to order a decaf mocha, granted there is caffeine in chocolate but that's a tale for another time. Personally, I serve a Golden Root Turmeric Latté that has no caffeine, is a great anti-inflammatory regimen, and super tasty. There are also varieties of Chai Lattés that make a decaf version, so ask the barista at the counter if they offer a decaffeinated chai. Otherwise there are always your herbal teas like a chamomile that can put you right to sleep.

By the way, as I was gearing up to tackle this question, I decided to consult the ever-wise oracle known as Google for a bit of insight into "decaf coffee drinks." To my amusement, one of the top results asked, "Is there a point to drinking decaf coffee?" It's a fair question, and it brought to mind a regular customer I used to serve. Her "Usual Order" was a decaf nonfat sugar-free vanilla latte, which she affectionately dubbed a "why bother."

But you know what? It seems there's more to the story than meets the eye. There are still plenty of reasons to embrace decaf and continue your coffee journey without the caffeine turbocharge. So, whether you're sipping decaf with a contented smile or raising an eyebrow in curiosity, let's relish the delightful perks of coffee without the punch.


What is a Coffee Nap you ask? It's like the secret weapon in the battle against the mid-afternoon slump. A mini siesta mixed with caffeine if you will, you sneak in when your morning energy starts to wane. The best part? There's some bona fide science to back up this seemingly odd pairing!

Let's break it down. Caffeine, the trusty sidekick in your coffee cup, plays a key role here. It's like the bouncer at the nightclub of your brain, and its target is a troublemaker called adenosine. Adenosine is a neurotransmitter your body produces increasing levels of as the day goes on until you are ready to go to sleep, and it's the culprit behind that "I need a nap" feeling.

Now, caffeine's superhero move is that it swoops in and blocks adenosine from doing its drowsy dance. The more adenosine levels rise, the sleepier you feel, but caffeine throws a curveball, keeping adenosine at bay and letting you stay alert and awake.

So, here's where the nap part comes into play. Taking a quick 20-minute power nap allows your brain to clear out some of the adenosine that's been building up, thus opening it up to receiving the stimulate of caffeine. It's like taking an eraser to a chalkboard filled with your body's notes. By clearing out some of the adenosine that's built up, it opens the door wide for caffeine's stimulating serenade.

But here's the kicker – you need to time it just right. Sip your coffee, and when that last drop has successfully navigated its way into your system, lay down for a quick slumber. When you wake, you’ll have made way for said caffeine and have all the energy you need to make it to the end of your day!

A word of caution: Keep those naps under 30 minutes. Anything longer, and you might find yourself tumbling down into the depths of deep sleep territory. Trust me, sleep inertia is no one's idea of a pleasant awakening – it's that grogginess that makes you ponder life's questionable choices.

So, prep that coffee cup, locate your coziest nap nook, and when that caffeine is primed and ready to make waves in your bloodstream, let yourself drift off for a short slumber. You'll awaken feeling like a million bucks – or at least a thousand. Here's to the enchanting magic of the coffee nap!

If you have a topic or question you’d like me to tackle next month, don’t hesitate to ask! Submit an anonymous question or problem here. No name or email required.