It is 2:00 PM in the afternoon and nutritionist Eve Persak is into her sixth appointment of the day. The 37-year-old American oversees the food and wellness offerings at all COMO hotels and resorts.
Like most, Persak enjoys her coffee. She never shuns from caffeine. "I love coffee, I really do. Finding a nice coffee shop is something I enjoy when I'm travelling." Persak adds. "But upon visiting cafes, I can't help but wonder, 'How can we do this better?'" The nutritionist in her immediately spots the shortcomings. "Sweetened milks, whipped creams, syrups, granulated sugars, processed flavouring, toppings like sprinkles and chips," she recites.
Coffee is perceived and branded as a "busy" beverage. On a busy morning, consumers seldom invest much thought into what they are drinking. "If a huge percentage of the population count on coffee on a daily basis, why not use it as a medium for a conduit for health improvement? As in, 'Sure, have your coffee. But let's give your caffeine boost a boost of nutrition.'"
To Persak, coffee can be "therapeutic" on its own. "The anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties in the coffee bean are well-documented in scientific literature." The catch, however, is the treatment of these coffee beans. For it to be beneficial, it has to be high-quality, well-roasted and freshly ground. "It is more about how it's done than what it is," Persak exclaims.
Persak took fresh coffee further and designed four different brews "blended with nutraceuticals and superfoods". They are all targeted at different health, wellness and lifestyle needs. For one, a spicy espresso shot she calls the "Fire Fighter", made of turmeric, fresh chilli and flaxseed oil. The ingredients boast "anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving properties. It's useful for anyone concerned about inflammation – allergies, asthma, eczema, arthritis, heart and brain health. The Fire Fighter is my favourite," Persak quips.
The second was a tangy coffee she calls the "Body Guard" – brewed with ginger, Manuka honey and organic virgin coconut oil. "It's ideal for someone with weakened immunity or for prevention." The Body Guard should ideally be consumed consistently.
The "Alarm Clock" was perhaps the most complex of all four. It includes a patented oil called the Medium Chain Triglyceride oil, organic clarified cow's milk butter called Ghee, powdered extract from the raw Peruvian Maca root, and raw coconut cream. "The elements of this beverage offers a concentrated bump to energy levels and offer benefits to brain health – memory, cognitive functions, alertness," Persak explains.
The final coffee concoction named "Sweet Relief" contains powdered cacao, cinnamon, date sugar, and raw cashew milk. "This beverage was intended to be the perfect antidote to a stressful day and a nagging sweet tooth."
Persak has her pulse on the common nutritional issues of city-dwellers. Apart from designing the menus of hotels and resorts, she does private nutrition counselling for "individuals, couples and families." From her observation, "Stress seems to be the number one public enemy. Sadly, when we are in a hurry, nutrition is one of the first things to fall to the wayside. It literally fuels our mind, our body and our day. And the faster you move, the better your nutrition simply must be." There is little consumers can do to change their lifestyles and consumption habits. What Persak suggests, however, is replacement – to substitute unnutritious foods with better versions. In this case, takeaway coffee for a better coffee.
All four therapeutic brews are available at COMO Cuisine.
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