Monday, March 29, 2010

Coffee and cream

At Imperial Tea Court 2Image by MetaGrrrl via Flickr

During the recent years, we have been taken over by an experience a lot different from the others, an experience of pure and unadulterated goodness, one that makes a rollercoaster ride like a slow turtle on mud. An experience so magical, so unique and so electrifying that a lot of people are standing in line just to be served the experience-the ultimate coffee experience that is.
We have seen them sprout and mushroom almost everywhere that we can find. Cafes and coffee shops have been steadily increasing in number not only in the urban areas but in the suburban and rural areas as well.
This is brought about by the large demand of the current generation for a place to do their business, meet people, hang-out with friends and spend moments with special people.
Because of the abundance of choices and the seemingly endless choices of products, people are becoming more and more discerning of their choice of venue and product. As they say only the best will survive, and the truth is only those who could provide the best coffee experience last long enough to say how they manage to do it.
Out on a coffee experience
The seemingly endless competition of big and small coffee shop and cafs all boil down to one thing, how you make the coffee. Being the primary product of a coffee shop it is an imperative that the coffee we are served meets the high standards of the consumers.
Not only is the taste being judged, the presentation, the excitement and the experience that it gives and creates in the customer serves as the basis for how much the product will impact the society.
Classic combinations like coffee and sugar and coffee and cream of course will never be out of the picture but since people are looking for an adventure with every cup, it wouldn’t be bad to experiment on different brews that would create a sense of anticipation in the part of the consumer.
Trying out different flavors like hazelnut, nutmeg, cinnamon, chocolate, milk, honey, and other flavors that could boost the smell of the already aromatic smell of pure coffee can make a person’s day.
Blending coffee with different bases could create a different texture that could promise a different experience every time the customer sips his cup. Blending coffee with different ingredients like ice, jelly and colas could give your boring old coffee a different kick.
Since you have become so brave and creative as far as experimenting with your coffee is concerned, why not try outrageous and totally out of this world blends that would surely be the talk of the town.
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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Coffee as your health drink

Stomach colon rectum diagram.Image via Wikipedia

For some time now, the debate continues on the health benefits of coffee. There are a variety of studies which found out that indulging on certain amounts of coffee causes high blood pressures, heart ailments and even ulcers.
On the other hand, there have been an almost equal number of researches that proved the health benefits of drinking coffee. Let’s look more closely on the second one.
Recent medical findings have shown that regular consumption of coffee reduces the risk of Parkinson’s, diabetes, and even lowers the risk of having colon cancer.
It seems that the high caffeine content of coffee is the one responsible for all these. The development of Parkinson’s for one has been found out to be indirectly correlated to the intake of caffeine. The more you take in caffeine, the less the risk you develop the disease. The same goes with type 2 diabetes as well.
As more studies are being conducted, the more they are moving towards making their studies conclusive. It has been found that taking two cups of coffee a day can reduce the risk of developing colon cancer by as low as 25 percent.
An 80% drop in the risk of having liver cirrhosis was observed in people who drink at least 2 cups of coffee on a daily basis.
The antioxidants found in the coffee appear to be the ones responsible for reducing the chances of developing such diseases. It seems that the antioxidants control the growth of the cells of these diseases.
Also, antioxidants are great sources of chlorogenic acid which have been found to be able to reduce glucose concentrations in one’s body.
However, one important factor in all these studies is the quantity of coffee consumption. They have found a number of benefits from drinking a cup or two per day. Some of the benefits disappear once the individual drinks more than two cups of coffee in a day. The more cup of coffee you drink, the less benefits you will receive.
Aside from the antioxidant contents, coffee’s caffeine has some great effects on our body. Recent research from the University of Bristol found out that the caffeine influences our cognition and mood.
According to the study, caffeine from coffee can increase alertness and performance thus increasing one’s productivity especially in the workplace.
Still, coffee does have some not so good effects. Caffeine contains a mild addictive stimulant, coffee itself can cause an increase heart rate as well as an increased blood pressure. But as always, the key is moderation.
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Friday, March 19, 2010

Coffee Companies Can Inspire Entrepreneurs to Do the Same

SEATTLE - JULY 01:  Makenzie Mumford and Brand...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Research shows that coffee is ranked as the third most popular drink in the world. The first of course is water, which is followed by soda. The demand has opened business opportunities for various companies and expansion is not only within the United States but also in other parts of the globe.
One of the most successful of these is Starbucks, which had its humble beginnings more than 20 years ago. The story begins with a few friends who decided to pool the financial resources together to open up a store that sold coffee products.
Things were do well until someone new came along and was sent to Italy for a convention. Given that Italians drink coffee in the streets and enjoy mingling with others, the idea came about of opening the same thing back in the United States.
Initially, the other members were not very keen with it. Donut shops were doing this already but these places only provided brewed coffee. There were no mocha frappucinos or caffe lattes.
Rather than shelving the idea, the group decided to give it a shot in one branch. The establishment was not called Starbucks yet. It was named after Italy’s largest publication called Il Giornale.
Five years later with the help of investors, business expanded like wildfire. There is a Starbucks cafs very near each other so if one is filled, the customer can always go to the next which is a block or two away.
Currently, there are more than 90,000 Starbucks cafes around the world. The recent acquisition of Seattle’s Best has made the company much bigger resulting to annual revenues of more than $7 billion.
Bookstores have even caught up with the idea of putting up a caf. This allows customers to relax and read a book while sipping a cup of coffee. A good example of this is Barnes and Nobles wherein every outlet has this right near the entrance.
But people don’t need a lot of capital to put up a coffee shop. The most important things to have are the machines, the people and a supplier that will provide the ingredients to come up with various concoctions. The only thing the entrepreneur has to now is find a place to rent where there is a lot of foot traffic, fix it up and then reap the benefits of the hard work that was put into making this business a reality.
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Monday, March 15, 2010

Coffee facts and trivia that you will enjoy

Cappuccino with latte art on Coffee Right in B...Image via Wikipedia

Coffee is actually a term that was once used for a wine that is made from the berries of a coffee tree. In fact, the black wine, as it is often referred to during that time, is used in religious rites by people of Mohammed. Of course, as time passed, coffee became a staple and not just wine for religious ceremonies.
Caffeine, although universally taken, is actually one of the substances prohibited by the International Olympic Committee. In fact, there are athletes that are banned from competing just because of caffeine.
They can not have more than 12 micrograms of caffeine in their urine. This is reached when you drink about five cups of coffee straight. Here we thought only steroids were being banned in the Olympic battle ground.
Do you know that the body can actually absorb as much as 300 milligrams of caffeine at one-time. This can be gotten from about 4 cups of coffee. Additional cups do not work because after this limit is reached, they do not provide any more stimulation. In fact, the body has an internal system that neutralizes caffeine every hour.
In the era of the cowboy, they make theirs by straining ground coffee in a clean sock and then dousing them in cold water. This is then heated over fire. Hmm. Coffee in socks! Yukk!
In Paris, the first coffeehouse was opened in 1689. Its name Caf Procope was taken from the owner Francois Procope. The caf caters to artsy people in the city.
Cappuccino is actually the result of several word derivations that are used in different ways. The most original derivation was from an order of friars, the Capuchin. Their name comes from the term used for the hood part of their habit, the cappuccino. Since the color of the cappuccino resembles the habit- coffee topped with cream or milk- it has since began to carry that name.
Countries used different ways to grade their coffee. For instance, in Costa Rica coffees are graded according to the bean. In Kenya, they use the standard A, B, C system which are already in place as grading system for most products in the market.
Different countries drink their coffee in different ways. The Moroccans for instance add peppercorns while those from the Middle East use cardamom and spices. Austrians love putting whipped creams into their coffee cup while the German and the Swiss like it with chocolate. Egyptians drink it black while the Italians put sugar no matter what. The turks even use coffee in their wedding feasts.
Turkish bridegrooms present coffee to their new wives. The custom even mentions that failing to do so can be a ground for divorce. There are coffee houses in Yugoslavia that are known as kafano. They will brew your own coffee while you wait. They use deyza, an open pot and use tiny cups called the demitasse.
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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Alternatives to your coffee cup

Brown cup of coffeeImage via Wikipedia

No matter how good your cup of coffee tastes in the morning, the afternoon between meals, and in the evening; it is best to curb the habit. After all, too much of anything is not good for you.
If you cannot put a stop to your daily stimulant, here are some tips that can help you make each cup a little healthier.
Have some variety
Coffee is not the only thing that you can drink. If possible, look for variety. Do not drink coffee all day. Substitute your cup of coffee with hot chocolate or maybe an orange juice or lemonade. Cola drinks are not an alternative as these also contain caffeine.
If you can, look for alternatives to caffeine such as juices and other great drinks. This way, you will not have only caffeine running through your veins, you will have vitamin C and sugar to keep you awake and alert for the duration of the day.
Eat not drink

Some people just drink coffee because they don’t want to eat anymore, either because they are dieting or because they just don’t have the time to eat anything anymore. This, however, is not a healthy.
If you are hungry, eat! Just stick to the healthy alternative if you don’t want to gain weight. One example is fruit; they can be a healthy alternative to coffee. Fruits can provide the vitality and energy that you need from your coffee and at the same time give you essential vitamins and minerals. Always put some biscuits inside your drawer. Coffee-flavored can probably be a good alternative to your coffee craving.
Another good alternative to coffee is the oatmeal. Like coffee, it is steaming hot, and it provides great energy for the rest of the day. What is more, oatmeal is a great antioxidant which keeps the body healthy and hearty. If you do not like a taste, then choose packs of oatmeal that have flavors like chocolate and vanilla.
What great way to stimulate the senses and to increase one’s energy than to engage in physical activity to start your day off? Your muscles will need to get used to the activity but eventually you will be able to feel the strength that physical activity gives you.
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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Using Coffee for Braising

A photo of a cup of coffee.Image via Wikipedia

Using Coffee for Braising

Are you aware that your favorite coffee blend could also be used in cooking other dishes? Chefs from all over the world are now developing new and revolutionary dishes that make use of this favorite morning and afternoon drink. Many chefs and restaurateurs are now braising, using coffee as an important ingredient in the liquid.
Food enthusiasts assert that coffee adds a significant amount of depth and layer to flavor. One of the most popular braised foods with coffee ingredients is mushroom sauce. Squab could also be braised using coffee. Some chefs add a small amount of non-sweetened cocoa powder to braise squab.
Do not be surprised to know that braising using coffee does not involve meat alone. Arctic char could also be rubbed with coffee grounds, black pepper, coriander, and cumin. It is then wrapped in hoja santa leaves before being braised in coffee ajus and beef. Veal stock and coffee could also be braised with foie grass.
When using coffee and coffee grounds in braising, pay particular attention to the amount or volume of coffee you use. The amount should depend on how strong you want the flavor to be. Be relaxed as there is just no fast and hard rule. Chefs recommend using strong coffee as a substitute for half of the stock, especially when braising heavily cut meat such as lamb and beef. The aromatic property of coffee could be integrated with the stock following simmering for a few hours.
Take note not to make the coffee flavor discernible. Remember that the goal you should have in using coffee for braising is not to make it taste in the meat. Rather, coffee should effectively blend in and boost layers of flavors. Combining stock and coffee can be easy for cooks who normally have pots of beef stock or veal simmering on a back burner.
You could use strongly brewed coffee instead of instant blends when braising. Some chefs also assert that instant espresso also works well. You could perform some experiments when braising so that you can determine how much more coffee would be useful when cooking. Be attentive and be creative when combining coffee with other active ingredients in cooking.
The idea is to make the flavor surface and last. You could also use coffee grounds and leftovers because it really would not matter. Open your eyes, your nose, and your taste buds to different new possibilities in braising by using coffee.
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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

What’s Hot with Decaf?

A photo of a cup of coffee.Image via Wikipedia

If you’re a coffee drinker you probably know what decaf which is short for decaffeinated coffee is. And because you’re a hard core coffee drinker, you (or some of you) will frown on a cup of decaf being offered to you. You might, in fact, get into a huge fuss and begin a tantrum to the surprise of your host. Two things might happen. One, your host will never ever serve you decaf coffee again or two, you will never ever be invited for a cup again. So if you want to still keep your circle of friends, I would suggest to you to lay low and to tone down the exaggeration with decaf.

Some of you might be asking what’s with decaf? Why do coffee drinkers make a big deal out of it? Well coffee contains caffeine. This is a natural supplement and is present in every kind of coffee. Some will have more while some will contain less. Caffeine is where coffee gets that all too famous stimulating power. On the average, depending on the kind of coffee, the caffeine content is from 0.8 percent and 2.5 percent. The caffeine also affects the taste of the coffee.

Decaffeinated coffee has the absence of caffeine in the coffee. The reason for this is that some people have adverse reactions to caffeine. So the market of decaf coffee is really those people who want to enjoy the taste of coffee minus the caffeine. Since caffeine is a natural occurring active ingredient, decaf has to be manufactured. Although decaf in essence is a non-caffeine containing coffee, in reality industry regulators can already classify coffee decaf when it contains a mere 0.1 percent caffeine.

Caffeine is extracted from the unroasted green beans. When your roast coffee beans, the flavor comes out so it would be best to remove the caffeine from green beans. Manufacturers use caffeine-selective solvents to get the coffee stimulant out of the beans. Solvents can be water or dichloromethane.

When manufacturers use water as solvent, the green coffee beans are rinsed with it for a long time. After some time, the caffeine dissolves. The water containing the dissolved caffeine then passes through an active carbon filter which absorbs the active stimulant. The beans are then air dried, roasted, ground and packed. Almost the same process is involved when using the dichloromethane process. The solvent just differs and an added step of steaming the beans to remove any remaining solvent is added.

Modern technology has made it possible to extract caffeine from the beans but retain the flavor and aroma of the coffee. This was one of the fears of coffee drinkers when being served with decaf, that the coffee will not taste like coffee at all. But with the current process, the same type of coffee should taste the same even if it is decaf.

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