Archive for the ‘coffee’ Category

Which Grow Light Is Best For My Indoor Tea or Coffee Garden

Saturday, February 11th, 2017

So, if you’ve read my last post, you might now be thinking of starting your own coffee garden. Or, similarly, you might want a tea garden. Also you’ve likely deduced that you can’t grow this outside, because of the climate in your area.

If that is not the case, you are lucky. You live in an area with a good climate for growing tea or coffee, so you can grow outdoors. This will naturally present a bunch of additional problems that you wouldn’t have when growing indoors, but you also avoid a lot of problems, like the need for artificial lighting and for watering.

Places where you might be able to grow outdoors in the US include the South and, of course, Hawaii. Hawaii actually already has a pretty good tea growing reputation. There’s a fairly good oolong tea being grown on the slopes of Hawaii. This shouldn’t be surprising, since the climate in Hawaii is fairly similar to the climate in the mountains of southern China, where the world’s most famous oolong teas come from. Similarly, Taiwan has that same kind of climate. It is the other area with famous oolong teas.

Anyway, if you are one of the ones having to grow indoors, then the rest of this post is for you. You will want to get some artificial lighting. And we will discuss which ones are the best for this.

Since tea does not need to flower and the same is true of coffee, you can stick to fluorescent lighting. It is cheaper and it generally gives you enough output to foster plant growth, but not enough to really get plants flowering well. Again, since tea and coffee plants don’t need to bloom, fluorescent lights are great. If you have a large garden, however, then you need a lot of fluorescent lights, which will cost a lot in terms of power costs and bulb changes. They also generate quite a bit of heat.

HID lighting is another option, but this generates even more heat and uses even more power. Overall it is more efficient than fluorescent lighting, though, so it makes more sense for a larger garden.

HID lighting is further split up into high-pressure sodium and metal halide lighting. High-pressure sodium lighting has a lot of red spectrum light and is great for flowering and blooming. For tea and coffee you do not need this, so you can go ahead and forget about these bulbs. There is no point in buying them.

Metal halide lighting has a spectrum similar to fluorescent and to the daylight sun. It has more blue light and is perfect for vegging plants. A good metal halide system would work wonderful for a larger tea or coffee garden.

If you can afford it, you might want to go with LED grow lights. They are much more expensive to purchase, but they use far less power and emit far less heat. For this reason they are much cheaper to operate.

Again, for a small garden it wouldn’t make as much sense. You could get one LED grow light fixture, but you might as well just get a fluorescent light. But if your garden is larger, you can save a lot of money. I would recommend one of the more cost-effective, but not one of the cheaper brands.

There are some cheaper ones that just won’t work well. While they do veg decently, if anything goes wrong you’ll have trouble getting it replaced. I would definitely recommend going with a more reputable company. You do not need to get the most powerful and most expensive ones, however.

A brand like platinum LED would be perfect for this. Their line of advanced platinum LED lights are cheaper than other similar lights, but they are are still high quality and would work excellently for this function.

advanced platinum led grow light

These are the lights I would consider getting. They have six different wattages and something in the middle might be best, but it really depends on the size of your indoor garden. You can find a lot more info on the advanced platinum line of lights here.

So whatever light you go for, it will cost you some money. But if you do a good job with your tea you can sell that tea for money and make your expenses back. And even if you just drink all the tea yourself, you should still be able to make it back, since you won’t have to buy any more tea. But ideally, your tea will be very high quality and you can sell it for a pretty good price. Good luck with the growing!

Powerful LED Grow Lights Can Grow Coffee Indoors

Saturday, September 3rd, 2016

Recently, while enjoying a hot cup of coffee, I read an article about some of the problems faced by coffee plantations. They’re running out of space to grow the coffee bean, which means they won’t be able to supply the world’s coffee needs. The demand for coffee worldwide is so great that we need to find a new way to grow this plant.

The solution suggested in the article was indoor gardening. A lot of plants are currently being grown indoors. Methods like hydroponics and aquaponics work great, but planting them in soil would work as well. The main thing you lack indoors is sun and rain. You can obviously make up for the rain by watering your plants more. As for the sun, that’s where plant grow lights come in.

1000 watt LED grow light in indoor garden

A 1000 watt LED plant light. Photo by Sunshine 117 – http://www.buynicer.com/news/How+to+Use+LED+Grow+Lights%3F_nwid500015.html, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22682319

There are a lot of different types of grow lights but the ones that will see used most in the future are LED grow lights. They are much more expensive, but there also much more efficient, especially the powerful 1000 watt LED lights for growing. Due to their higher efficiency, they use far less electricity to produce the same par output. This means you get more light that is usable for your plans for photosynthesis for the same amount of wattage inputted than you would with traditional horticultural lighting.

Electricity bills are lower and also, indoor LED lights meant for growing plants create a lot less heat than other lights. This means you don’t have to cool your grow space as much and save are able to save even more money on electricity as well as expensive equipment.

There are two main types of LED grow lights. One of them uses multiple colored LEDs to create the perfect spectrum for growing plants. Most of these LEDs will be red and blue, with some ultraviolet and some infrared and some all white LEDs mixed in. This creates exactly the light plants need and is the most efficient way of lighting your indoor garden. Good examples of multi-colored LEDs are the Black Dog PhytoMAX line of lights, the California Lightworks SolarStorm 880 and the Kind LED K5 XL1000.

The other type of LED lighting uses full-spectrum white LEDs, like the NextLight Mega panel. These produce a light very similar to natural sunlight. This is a great spectrum for growing plants, because as we all know, the sun does a great job of this. However, unlike with the sun, here you have to pay to power the light. And you’re paying for a lot of light in the green and yellow spectrum. With the sun it doesn’t matter that you have a lot of this light, but when you’re paying for green and yellow wavelengths, your money is going to waste. Plants don’t use this color of light as much as red and blue, so you’re simply wasting money.

That said, full-spectrum white LED grow lights do have one advantage. Your plans look the same under this lighting as they do under the sun. With other types of indoor LED lights, the plants in the taking on a pinkish hue, which makes it difficult to see any damage or infestations. With white light, it is easier to care for your coffee or tea plant.

Now I know this is all fantasy and we will probably not see coffee growing under horticultural LED lighting any time soon. I do know that tea has been grown under them, but not in a profitable way. I do think as we are more and more pressed for space on our little planet, will have to move more of our food production indoors. This means that LED plant lights will become more and more popular and you will start to see them everywhere and people will know what they are. An article like this will no longer be necessary.

If you need grow lights, you can find them on Home Depot’s website.

An Unhealthy Coffee Habit Can Be Made Healthy

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

At my new job, I work with a guy who drinks many cups of coffee every day. He’s one of those guys who keeps talking about how he wants to do stuff, but then never does it. For example, he’s a chain smoker and ever since I’ve known him, which is over a year now, he’s been talking about how he is quitting smoking. He has not quit smoking. He has not even managed to cut back for longer than a week at a time. He will never quit smoking. He is a pathetic man. What I’m getting at is: we don’t want to be pathetic like him.

Another example: he keeps talking about how he wants to lose weight. He’s one of those short, stocky, bald men who are extremely insecure. He doesn’t eat breakfast or lunch most days, in an attempt to lose weight. The problem is, as soon as he gets home from work he makes himself a gigantic pasta dish full of meat and then follows it up with all kinds of junk food.

He eats potato chips, he eats candy, he drinks the unhealthiest soft drinks you can imagine. And then, of course, he keeps wondering why he can’t lose weight, even though he doesn’t eat breakfast and lunch. At the same time, he watches me eat a ton of food several times a day. What he doesn’t seem to realize is: that’s all I eat. And most of my food is vegetables. If I have a snack, its fruits or nuts. They taste better than his junk food and they are better for me. And I’m skinny and he is fat.

Back to the coffee. This is another habit that makes him completely unhealthy. But he does not even realize this one. I keep telling it to him, but he doesn’t get it. It’s true, coffee can be healthy. He has even started supplementing his coffee habit with two or 3 cups of green tea every day, which he has seen me do. He even manages to not put any sugar in it, so this is actually a healthy addition to his lifestyle.

Longjing tea from China

The Longjing green tea my coworker has begun drinking

The problem is all the coffee. At work, he buys the instant stuff with cream and sugar in it. It is preprocessed so you can imagine just how much sugar is actually in that stuff. It is far from healthy. It is definitely not the coffee scientists have recently begun claiming is healthy.

On top of this unhealthy pre-processed coffee he drinks at work, he goes to Starbucks at least once every day. While there, he orders one of those gigantic coffees full of all kinds of syrups and other unhealthy substances. He drinks more calories with that one drink then I have for a whole meal. And then he wonders why skipping meals doesn’t work. Naturally he also frequents fast food outlets and pizza joints. But at least he realizes those are less than healthy.

coffee with milk and sugar

An unhealthy coffee with too much sugar

He simply doesn’t get that all the coffee he drinks is a large reason for his weight problem. He doesn’t get that putting sugar into coffee makes it unhealthy. And he is not alone. So many people don’t get this. So many people claim to be healthy, actually think they are healthy, but they consume so much sugar without even realizing it. Then they wonder why they can’t lose weight.

Drink coffee if you want to. It is not unhealthy. Just don’t put anything in it. If you’re putting all kinds of milk and sugar in your coffee, do you really like coffee? I don’t think so, so why drink it. If you like the taste of coffee, you shouldn’t have to put anything in it. At the very least just put milk in it. Leave out the sugar. If you’re drinking tea, this is doubly true. In this case, you don’t even want the milk. Put nothing in it. It tastes great naturally. And it’s good for you. You will be much healthier for it.

Video on the Tea vs. Coffee Debate

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

Here’s an interesting video I found on Youtube that compares the health benefits of tea and the benefits of coffee. Will it put to rest the tea vs. coffee debate? I doubt it. But it’s informative and worth a watch.

The Health Benefits of Drinking Coffee

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

Coffee has always had a bit of an unhealthy reputation and when you ask most people which is healthier, coffee or tea, they will quickly say tea. This reputation is undeserved, as drinking coffee actually has quite a few health benefits (here’s an article on WebMD on coffee’s health benefits). The key, as with so many things, is to drink coffee in moderation. So let’s look at some of the benefits a cup or two of joe per day can bring.

coffee in a cup

A cup of hot java

One study has shown that java can help prevent skin cancer by absorbing harmful rays and promoting cell repair. Similarly, it has been shown to help prevent endometrial cancer, by lowering insulin and estrogen levels.

A UCLA study showed that women who drank 4 cups of coffee per day were 56% less likely to develop type II diabetes. The caffeine in coffee has been shown to reduce the incidence of Parkinson’s disease in men. A Dutch study showed that drinking 2 to 4 cups per day can lower the risk of heart disease by 20%. Finally, java contains a substance that inhibits the production of stomach acid, which can help combat indigestion.

Apart from these major disease fighting properties, there also a few lesser benefits of coffee. One is the reduction of cellulite. The research is mostly preliminary but apparently applying coffee topically increases micro-circulation which may help smooth cellulite.

Another study showed that drinking 3 cups of coffee can reduce the risk of depression in women by around 15%; that figure climbed to 20% with 4 cups of coffee. Java can also help reduce stress: a cup can make women more effective partners. Unfortunately, it has the opposite effect on men. Finally, drinking coffee during the middle portion of your life can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s or other dementias in old age.

As you can see, drinking Java has a number of health benefits and I’m guessing many of them might come as quite a surprise to most people. On top of these benefits, a recent study has also shown that combining coffee with tea actually increases the individual benefits of both. Basically, this is the principle of putting two things together and ending up with a result that is greater than the sum of its parts. I suppose you could say coffee and tea make the perfect marriage: individually they are each good for us; combined, they’re better for us than simply adding up the individual benefits would suggest.

So the next time somebody tries to tell you to cut back on your coffee, you can now educate them. Let them know just how wrong they are about coffee being unhealthy and let them know what it is that makes coffee healthy and what it does for us. Of course, I’m assuming you drink 1 to 4 cups of coffee per day. If you are one of those people that drinks it by the gallon, then it’s not quite so good for you. Furthermore, if you’re one of those people who puts a few drops of coffee into a large cup of cream and soaks the whole thing up in a tub of sugar, then your java habit is also not especially healthy.

For more on the health benefits of coffee see:

  1. Huffington Post: 9 Amazing Benefits of Coffee
  2. New York Times: This Is Your Brain on Coffee
  3. Harvard Health: Coffee’s Health Benefits