A Good Coffee Mug Makes Your Day

We all have a fetish for our favorite coffee mug, and you are no exception to it. Your cup exudes warmth. If some one dares to use it, you are sad, angry or disappointed.

What are the ideal features of a good mug? Well each one of us has a different take on it. However there are tons in varied colors and styles to choose from. Continue reading

Food and Health Concerns Among People

In terms of nutrition food and health are great concern all over the world. The major concentration is on the threats exerted by kinds of foods, and how we can cut them by avoiding junk foods and modifying our daily diets. For example, many consumers avoid the white sugar as they perceive that it is harmful for health.

Many nutrition and health authorities offer guidance for people to avoid health problems associated with over or under-consumption of certain foods. However, it largely depends on the attitude of the people to their food intake and health. Continue reading

The Unusual Gourmet Coffee Gift

Top 10 Unusual coffee gifts: So you have your cousin, the heavy gourmet coffee drinker and you want to surprise them this year. But you want to keep it coffee related but not give them the usual coffee beans, or gourmet coffee gift basket or even the usual gourmet coffee accessories or coffee mugs. And they are still using last year’s coffee gift basket and the French press coffee maker only lasted a month before it wore out its differentness and became a hassle.

So what can you give the coffee drinker and keep it usual. Glad you asked?

1. Java logs – Especially for the environmentally conscious coffee-drinker. Java logs are man-made fireplace logs that are made up mostly of coffee grounds
2. Coffee flavored shampoo – for those who just can’t get enough of that coffee aroma and want to smell like coffee all day. Purposively good for the hair though I’m sure the oil is beneficial.
3. Java love lotion – rub on your partner and see if they are as hot as your morning coffee. This has to be taking the “I love coffee” concept too far. ( I’m not making this up)
4. The Barista Action Figure – You coffee superhero can wake you in the morning and save you in the afternoon and make your favorite espresso in the afternoon. ( I’m not making this up)
5. Java necklace – a necklace of roasted and urethane coffee beans and your favorite jewelry stones. What better way to declare your love of coffee to the world? Beaded necklaces and other jewelry made with beads and coffee beans. Choose your favorite roast and favorite stones. Does love get any better than this?
6. Just coffee art – fine canvas paintings completely painted with paint made from coffee oils. It’s hard to believe that these amazing paintings are done entirely in coffee. Why do they paint with coffee? Not sure but I am waiting on the body coffee paints…
7. A real live coffee tree – makes a great indoor plant though I wouldn’t count on any coffee beans. If you do happen to grow some please send to Mission Grounds Gourmet Coffee. An ideal gift for any coffee-lover who also has a green thumb. These plants will actually bloom and produce coffee cherries, given the right and perfect growing conditions (they do well indoors as a plant but not a coffee producer).
8. Kopi Luwak coffee beans – don’t try this at home. Surprise someone with a gift box of the rarest coffee there is. It’s also the strangest in my opinion. The Luwak coffee beans have actually been eaten by a small animal before being collected and roasted – poop washed off.
9. Chocolate covered coffee beans – the perfect combination of chocolate and coffee beans or your perfect dose of sugar and caffeine. Give this to your children and watch them bounce off your walls – for days. I can’t imagine eating more than two of these. Take before your next 100 meter dash sprint.
10. Javapops – sweet candy that taste like coffee and is packed with 60 mg of caffeine. The perfect follow-up to the chocolate covered coffee beans. When your kids are coming off their 2 day chocolate covered bean high – give them two of these to offset the down mood. Or use these with your spouse before you lather them up with the coffee bean shampoo.

Isn’t that coffee gift basket looking better and better? If you really want any of these gifts just Google the gift idea and buy online.

Boake Moore is an IT Sales engineer by trade and founded a non profit coffee company called Mission Grounds Gourmet Coffee – http://www.missiongrounds.com/ourphilosophy.php It donates all its profits and proceeds to helping orphans and impoverished children. We currently are building schools in rural China, orphanages in South America; supporting orphans in Russia and Africa. And helping homeless children in the United States.

 

Five Very Popular Coffee Drinks

Coffee is one of America’s favorite drinks and one of the more popular places to drink it is in the office. Keeping your staff supplied with coffee has become one of the more popular perks in offices. The country is crazy about their and some diehard fans of particular brand names, such as Starbucks for coffee, won’t even consider substituting a no name brand. Other people want a specific roast or blend, while still others may have objections to the way coffee is grown or purchased and want a special blend that’s socially or environmentally friendly.

If you provide coffee for your staff, about 65 percent of all workers will consume it, with the average intake approximately three cups a day. Alterra Coffee Roasters conducted a survey of office workers in 2011 and identified those statistics. They also noted that thirty-eight percent of the workers said they needed their coffee to make it through the day. Thirty percent of the workers felt it improved their productivity. It’s become an American office culture where workers now interact around the coffee pot. Whether drinking at the office, a coffee shop or just having a leisurely cup at home, there are some types of coffee that are far more popular than others are. Continue reading

How To Properly Serve Delicious Peanut Butter Bread

PRESENTING bread, it seems easy but it turns out there are wrong ways. This includes making peanut butter.
Well, for those of you who want to get the flavor and aroma of peanut butter, it’s good hatikan following tips, as reported Bonappetit:

Use whole wheat bread
To get the flavor and texture of peanut butter bread, use whole wheat bread. In addition to healthy, whole grain bread will make peanut butter feels soft when consumed.

Select the best peanut butter
Another factor is the peanut butter. In order to find a good taste, you should not hesitate to choose the best peanut butter, which according to taste.

Do not be stacked
One way is often done when serving bread, especially when traveling far. To get a good flavor and texture, not again accumulate bread. With stacked, the appearance of bread will be ugly.

Pair with fruit jam
If you want to give a different taste of peanut butter on the bread, you can play in it sense. Do not hesitate to do so. Could give strawberry jam, pineapple, or other fruit jam.

Limit the Number of Milk When Making Bread

When they wanted to buy bread, surely you will choose bread that big fluffy and smooth. You probably would not choose a flat bread because it looks certainly do not draw.

“Bread can be inflated because of the mixture of yeast (yeast) in the dough. Yeast reacts with the air to produce gas,” said Herman Ahmad, baker ASA Food, cooking demonstrations with current bakery Pane del Giorno in PT ASA Food, Sentul, Bogor.

Herman added that the common mistakes made when making bread dough is too much milk.

Many people think that the mixing of milk that much (even replace water with milk) will make more bread so soft and delicious. When in fact, too much milk it will cause the dough can not inflate perfectly. Ideally, the dough will expand 2-3 times its original size.

“The batter can not expand because yeast can not absorb lactose from milk. Consequently maximal yeast can not react with air and cause gas,” he added. In the right amount, yeast could tolerate the presence of lactose, and react to form a gas.

So how does the exact composition of the flour and milk?

Herman advised to use only a third of the milk of the amount of flour used. If using powdered milk, then for one kilogram of flour, milk used is 300 grams. Whereas if you use milk, you can mix water and milk 50:50 according to the size prescribed water.

“But it’s most convenient is to use powdered milk,” he said.

Bad Dog Food – Is Your Pet Dog Eating Deadly Food?

With all the new and controversial pet food recalls, it is no wonder that pet owners have preferred making homemade dog food for their pet animals in lieu of commercial and, quite possibly, bad dog food and cat food considered as contaminated. So what’s all the fuss about? What unlikely result can bad contaminated dog food do to your pet dog, and more importantly, what can you do keep it from happening? Just what are in these supposedly good dog food that has got pet owners in an uproar?

We humans are discouraged from consuming too much canned goods for various health reasons. The same holds true for dogs.

Moist dog food is packed in cans. You can just think of all the harmful ingredients injected into the dog food package, mostly to bring a good taste, enhance palatability, and even improve appearance.

What’s truly disconcerting is the fact that animal by-products, the main components of pet food, are already bombarded with chemicals long before they reach the processing plant. So even if the can’s label tells you otherwise, there’s really nothing like a ‘No Preservatives’ guarantee.

Dry dog food is even worse. And because canning in itself is already a preserving process, moist dog food contains less of the contaminated materials used to prolong shelf life compared with its dry counterpart.

Another problem is the ingredients themselves, usually meat, poultry, and grains. Any part which is not good for human consumption, such as innards, blood, and bones, make up the by-products that are ground and blended into what we know as commercial pet food. In reality, they are bad dog food.

The thing is, it is not always slaughtered animals that make their way into these meals, but oftentimes, unhealthy meat of farm animals are included also. And the drugs and bacteria, like Salmonella and Escherichia coli, thriving in these meats do not always die during product making, which incidentally, destroys much of the nutritional content as well.

Furthermore, when moldy grain is thrown in, as well as all the other synthetic and unnatural additives the numbers of which are too many to count with both hands, you then have a lethal canine cocktail. It doesn’t take a genuine nutritionist to know that this spells disaster for the end user, i.e., innocent little Fido.

Injurious outcome of bad dog food include vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. But that’s just for starters. The more dangerous toxins, like cf1 butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), and ethoxyquin, which are all permitted in small doses, can cause cancer, organ failure, and ultimately, death when ingested after sometime.

So what can you, the dog owner, do about all this? Voice your concerns. Call pet food manufacturers and demand for better quality products so you get your money’s worth. Better yet, try making your own homemade dog food. At least then, you can be sure about what your loving dog is actually eating. If you have any doubts on the food you’re feeding your dog, consult your veterinarian immediately.

Dieting and Fitness

A lot of people these days are getting a bit more health and fitness conscious. But it does not just stop there. These health and fitness nuts have one common goal and desire to sculpt their bodies into shapes fit to be flashed on magazine covers. Because of that, fitness centers like health gyms and spas have been flourishing all over since these establishments provide what these health and fitness buffs want and need.

The domination of weight loss merchandises, exercise machines, and other fitness and health paraphernalia is getting pretty much evident as it gains control over communication waves and has made its way into our households. And yet, as you would most probably already know, exercise alone will not give you the beautiful body you have been wishing for. Being body beautiful requires a specific degree of responsibility and discipline, not just with training and exercise, but also with your diet. To be completely immersed on the road to health and fitness, you will need to pair up exercise with the proper diet. And proper diet means knowing what food to eat.

Having a proper diet is just as vital as getting adequate exercise. Dieting or choosing the right food to eat offers a person the important nutrients that he needs in order to repair muscles that have been damaged or worn out, and helps such muscles to develop and be restored in a healthy manner. In short, one should never take dieting for granted. The popularity of keeping fit has given rise to the creation of several health programs and strategies for dieting from many health and diet experts. The high-fat diet and the high-carb diet are among those popularized diet strategies that have invaded our suddenly health conscious society. And so the big question now is which of the two diets is better and more effective? To answer this, let us first dissect the basic differences between the two diets.

A high-carb diet is that which requires a person to concentrate on ingesting only foods that are rich in carbohydrates. While presumably so, a high-fat diet is that which sanctions foods that are rich or high in fat. Now, we all know that carbohydrates are high in glycogen, and this element gives a person a rather high level of energy. Fats, on the other hand, are the richest calorie source.

But the most important thing to keep in mind is that no matter what diet you follow, the one that will work best for you is the one that is right. Remember that our bodies react differently to stimuli. So to have a fit, healthy, and sexy body, stick to the diet that satisfies you best.

Finding the “Best of the Best” in Coffee

Tips for Finding Perfect Premium Coffee…

There is coffee and THERE IS COFFEE! You likely know about the generic quality coffees you find at the supermarket, using the inferior Robusta beans. And, in contrast, there is the alternative: the coffee regularly termed Gourmet Coffee you buy direct from roasters around the country. Popular large volume roasters, like Starbucks as well as most of the the smaller roasters dispersed about town, essentially utilize this far better grade, high altitude, shade grown Arabica bean.

That being said, and broadly known by all nowadays, how can you siphon out the crème de la crème of gourmet coffee beans to purchase?

To begin with, let’s hone in specifically on taste. Nowadays, coffee has become a “drink of experts”…
evolved into an art of reflection! We’ve begun to savor our coffee…flavor identify and define the subtle hints and nuances, as well as the qualities that identify the bean’s continent of origin. You as a coffee drinker, can begin to explore and experience the undertones of your coffee’s region, but better yet, begin to revel in the independently specific flavors of the bean defined by the specific hill and farm where it’s grown.

Coffee Cupping: Defining Coffee by its “Underlying Flavors”

There are, nowadays, a limited number of coffee roasters that independently test their coffee beans for taste observations and aromas. These beans are graded and assessed just like fine wine. This activity is called Coffee Cupping or Coffee Tasting. Professionals known as Master Tasters are the assessors. The procedure involves deeply sniffing a cup of brewed coffee, then loudly slurping the coffee so it draws in air, spreads to the back of the tongue, and maximizes flavor.

These Master Tasters, much akin to wine tasters, then attempt to measure in detail, every aspect of the coffee’s taste. This assessment includes measurement of the body (the texture or mouth-feel, such as oiliness), acidity (a sharp and tangy feeling, like when biting into an orange), and balance (the innuendo and the harmony of flavors working together). Since coffee beans embody telltale flavors from their region or continent of their origin, cuppers may also attempt to predict where the coffee was grown.

There is an infinite range of vocabulary that is used to describe the tastes found in coffee. Descriptors range from the familiar (chocolaty, sweet, fruity, woody) to the conceptual (clean, vibrant, sturdy) to the wildly esoteric (summery, racy, gentlemanly).

Following are a few key characteristics as defined by Coffee Geek. (http://coffeegeek.com/guides/beginnercupping/tastenotes)

Key Characteristics

Acidity:

The brightness or sharpness of coffee: It is through the acidity that many of the most intriguing fruit and floral flavors are delivered, and is usually the most scrutinized characteristic of the coffee. Acidity can be intense or mild, round or edgy, elegant or wild, and everything in between. Usually the acidity is best evaluated once the coffee has cooled slightly to a warm/lukewarm temperature. Tasting a coffee from Sumatra next to one from Kenya is a good way to begin to understand acidity.

Body:

This is sometimes referred to as “mouthfeel”. The body is the sense of weight or heaviness that the coffee exerts in the mouth, and can be very difficult for beginning cuppers to identify. It is useful to think about the viscosity or thickness of the coffee, and concentrate on degree to which the coffee has a physical presence. Cupping a Sulawesi versus a Mexican coffee can illustrate the range of body quite clearly.

Sweetness:

One of the most important elements in coffee, sweetness often separates the great from the good. Even the most intensely acidic coffees are lush and refreshing when there is enough sweetness to provide balance and ease the finish. Think of lemonade…starting with just water and lemon juice, one can add sugar until the level of sweetness achieves harmony with the tart citric flavor. It is the same with coffee, the sweetness is critical to allowing the other tastes to flourish and be appreciated.

Finish:

While first impressions are powerful, it is often the last impression that has the most impact. With coffee the finish (or aftertaste) is of great importance to the overall quality of the tasting experience, as it will linger long after the coffee has been swallowed. Like a great story, a great cup of coffee needs a purposeful resolution. The ideal finish to me is one that is clean (free of distraction), sweet, and refreshing with enough endurance to carry the flavor for 10-15 seconds after swallowing. A champion finish will affirm with great clarity the principal flavor of the coffee, holding it aloft with grace and confidence like a singer carries the final note of a song and then trailing off into a serene silence.

Coffee Buying Caveat

Buying coffee simply by name instead of by taste from your favorite roaster (in other words buying the same Columbian Supreme from the same “Joe’s Cuppa Joe Roaster”) definitely has its pitfall! According to Coffee Review, “Next year’s Clever-Name-Coffee Company’s house blend may be radically different from this year’s blend, despite bearing the same name and label. The particularly skillful coffee buyer or roaster who helped create the coffee you and I liked so much may have gotten hired elsewhere. Rain may have spoiled the crop of a key coffee in the blend. The exporter or importer of that key coffee may have gone out of business or gotten careless. And even if everyone (plus the weather) did exactly the same thing they (and it) did the year before, the retailer this time around may have spoiled everything by letting the coffee go stale before you got to it. Or you may have messed things up this year by keeping the coffee around too long, brewing it carelessly, or allowing a friend to pour hazelnut syrup into it.”

Your savvy coffee-buying alternative is to look for roasters who buy their beans in Micro-Lots- smaller (sometimes tiny) lots of subtly distinctive specialty coffees. According to Coffee Review, “These coffee buyers buy small quantities of coffee from a single crop and single place, often a single hillside, and are sold not on the basis of consistency or brand, but as an opportunity to experience the flavor associated with a unique moment in time and space and the dedication of a single farmer or group of farmers.”

Coffee Review: Coffee Ratings

And finally, look out for the very small community coffee roasters that will submit their coffees to be 3rd-party evaluated by Coffee Review and other competitions for independent analysis and rating. Coffee Review regularly conducts blind, expert cuppings of coffees and then reports the findings in the form of 100-point reviews to coffee buyers. These valuable Overall Ratings can provide you with a summary assessment of the reviewed coffees. They are based on a scale of 50 to 100.

Bottom line for a certain premium purchase: To find the coffee that will ascertain most flavor satisfaction, seek out beans that been independently reviewed and rated. This approach will, without a doubt offer you the advantage of being able to choose the flavor profile suits you best in a bean. What’s more, it gains you certainty in quality due to its superior rating. The higher the rating, the better the flavor. True premium coffees start from the upper 80’s. By finding a roaster that consistently rates within the 90’s will ultimately buy you the best java for your buck!

Growing Coffee – Explaining All About The Rearing Of Coffee

Growing Coffee- Explaining All About the Rearing Of Coffee Coffee is a favorite drink of millions of people around the globe. Many of us wake up to the invigorating taste of espresso at morning. Indeed, this is a great way to start the day. The ardent coffee lovers simply can’t miss their coffee drink at various times of the day- during breaks in between work. A cup of piping hot coffee not only awakens us but also helps keep us energetic throughout the day.

Coffee drinks of all types, be it plain coffee or espresso or latte or cappuccino or some other specialty coffee beverage, are prepared from the beans of the coffee plant. The coffee plants, the seeds (beans) of which yield coffee, are grown on a large scale in various parts of the world. Over seventy countries from Indonesia to Brazil cultivate coffee. Usually, the regions of the world that lie between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer are the suitable coffee growing areas. The coffee growing belt includes the region around the Equator- Central America, Northern South America, Africa, India, Indonesia, the Middle East and the Hawaii.

Cultivation of varieties of the coffee plant The coffee plant is a small and evergreen tree. Cultivation of coffee takes place in plantations. This involves a labor intensive process that depends more on farming. That is why the cultivation of coffee is more suited for the developing nations lying in and around the equatorial regions.

Important commercially grown varieties of coffee are the Arabica and the Robusta. The Arabica coffee beans approximately make up seventy percent of the total coffee produced while the Robusta coffee beans make up the rest. The Arabica is usually looked upon as the best coffee. However, there can be a range (from excellent to poor) with regards to the quality of the Arabica coffees. That is the reason why Robusta beans may be preferred over Arabica beans in some cases. Finally, of course, it is expert opinion that is needed to decide what would be the right beans that would go into your coffee makers and espresso machines to produce the perfect espresso, latte and cappuccino coffee beverages.

Some coffee growing facts

  • The equatorial climate best suits coffee cultivation. Temperature range of 15-24 degrees Celsius without severe fluctuations is ideal for coffee.
  • It is the well drained, well aerated and deep soils that are the right field soils for coffee growing. The coffee plants need a large supply of oxygen for their root systems. This is why aerated soils are especially suitable for coffee growing purpose.
  • Rainfall required is in the range of 1500mm to 2000 mm annually. If the annual rainfall of the coffee growing region lies below this then the deficit has to be taken care of by providing for irrigation means.
  • The superior coffee varieties are better cultivated at higher altitudes (over 3000 ft) where there is an abundance of mist and cloud. With oxygen content in the air at the higher altitudes being less the coffee plants take longer to mature thus helping in development of better flavor in the beans (seeds) lying within its fruits (cherries or berries). The diffuse light produced by mists and moderate winds blowing at the altitudes prove to be advantageous in promoting the desirable developments in the coffee.
  • The Robusta or Coffee Canephora that produces the majority of coffee grown at lower altitudes is also considered to be more resistant to diseases of the coffee crop. However, it is the Coffee Arabica growing at higher elevations that are valued for preparing a befitting gourmet coffee drink.

The coffee growing process It might be difficult to imagine that the espresso, latte, cappuccino or other special coffee drink that may be dispensed piping hot from coffee makers [http://www.finest-coffee-makers.com] or espresso machines have been sourced from the coffee plant that has gone throwing a number of stages of the coffee growing process. Indeed, the process of coffee growing involves an intensive farming process.

Propagation of the coffee plant is by using of seeds or cuttings. These are planted in special nursery beds. When the seedlings become between 8 and 12 months old they are transplanted to fields. Here, in the fields, the cuttings or seedlings are planted in wet, fertilized holes.

The coffee trees require constant special care especially the younger ones. The exact right amount of shaded sunlight (or diffuse light) needs to be ensured as also regular watering and fertilizing. Protection from pests and weeds also need to be provided.

Upon planting the coffee tree takes around five years to mature and produce the first crop. The trees with broad, dark green leaves bear flowers that resemble the jasmine. These coffee flowers blossom over a six to eight week period and the blossom to harvest period may extend to some nine months or so depending on a number of environmental and other factors. Ripening of the red coffee fruits (or cherries or berries, as they are also called) takes place within 6 to 8 months after the tree begins to bear fruit. Regular harvesting needs to be carried out since the coffee fruits become over ripe after some 10 to 14 days. Hand plucking is usually resorted to as it is convenient and best suited for plucking in the mountainous regions as opposed to mechanical harvesters.

Though it might seem astonishing yet it is true that a single tree upon cropping can produce sufficient beans only for about two pounds or a kilogram of coffee. This has been estimated to be produced making use of around 2000 coffee beans. These beans are hand picked by manual laborers. The harvesting of the coffee beans may also require quite a bit of skill as the picker needs to learn up to opt for only the best beans and discard the bad beans while picking. Attention needs to be provided to every individual bean in the bean by bean picking harvesting process.

Immediately after harvesting the processing of the selected coffee seeds or beans needs to be commenced. This is to ensure that the pulp does not get deteriorated. The coffee beans processing process involving drying and roasting finally makes ready the coffee that is to be freshly ground to be entered into your home coffee makers [http://www.finest-coffee-makers.com/index.html] or espresso maker. Thus is finally delivered for you the cupfuls of perfectly flavored, delectable espresso, latte, cappuccino or other favorite coffee drinks.