espresso selection

Choosing the Right Espresso Cups

True espresso drinkers will be more likely to obsess over the cup their espresso is in! You maybe surprised to know that in other countries besides the US espresso cups are actually thought to be more of an art than anything else. For example, in Italy and parts of Europe espresso cups are hand made. If you are enthusiastic about drinking espresso then choosing the right kind of espresso cups is probably an important component of how you drink the beverage. Perhaps you aren’t an avid espresso drinking but interested in purchasing cups for someone you know who is. Here are a few tips that go along with choosing the right espresso cups, though, that pretty much everyone should be aware about:

The Quality of Espresso Cups
The first and foremost issue that you’ll want to be concerned with is the quality of the espresso cups that you buy. There are definitely all different types of espresso cups that can be bought, including sturdy plastic, glass, among other materials, but the best quality material that is frequently chosen for espresso beverage cups is porcelain. Not only have porcelain cups been a tradition throughout many countries down through the ages, but making the cups has been an art in and of itself!

The size of the porcelain espresso cup also makes a big difference as well. Traditionally, however, porcelain cups that are used for espresso usually come in 2- to 3-ounce glasses. This is not to say that you’ll be filling the entire espresso cup with the espresso beverage, but many people like to add toppings such as whipped cream and chocolate shavings as well! Pouring about 1-ounce of espresso mixture and leaving the rest of the room available for toppings is what most people do when they have their typical espresso shot!

The Style of Espresso Cups
As mentioned, many espresso porcelain cups have a personal touch added to them and many people place a good deal of importance on the design on espresso cups. There are all sorts of neat designs that one can choose for their espresso cup, but the digital age has truly revolutionized the way images are put on glasses and other materials throughout the world. For this reason there may be high-tech and colorful espresso glasses around the world thanks to some of these great pieces of technology! Nevertheless, though, espresso cups are traditionally bought with having a good design in mind.

All things considered, the materials of the espresso cup as well as the design are two issues that espresso drinkers consider important and should be considered when choosing espresso cups. Drinking espresso has had a long tradition throughout many countries in the world and part of that tradition rests on just how it is consumed!

coffee-diet

Coffee Diet: Sip Your Way Slim

Lose Weight and Have Your Cup of Joe Too

The Coffee Diet is a newfangled proposal which says you can lose more weight if you combine drinking coffee with a healthy diet plan. While you will find some people who say that coffee hinders your weight loss efforts, many people believe that it is an asset. Image credit: livestrong.com

Coffee is a stimulant. As such, it will get your body moving. The coffee diet claims that the stimulants speed up your metabolism causing your body to burn fat faster. If you eat a healthy diet in conjunction with drinking a moderate to large amount of coffee, you will be able to lose weight. This works even when you are getting no physical exercise. Of course, you must drink fully caffeinated coffee to take advantages of the properties on the coffee diet.

Coffee has no calories, no carbohydrates and no fat (as long as you don’t add cream or sugar). In other words, it is a “free food” on your diet. Coffee tastes good. When you are cutting out so many other good things while dieting, it is nice to have a comfort food that you can drink guilt free.

For instance, if you go to Starbucks and get a grande Pike’s Peak Roast, you get 5 calories. A White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino Blended Coffee in that same size is a whopping 410 calories! That’s definitely not on the coffee diet!
If you do take cream or sugar in your coffee, try substitutes, though some may say those are not good for your overall health. Also, stay away from flavored creamers. Lite creamers have 10 calories a serving, regular have 20 to 25. Cinnamon Vanilla Creamer may be the worst offender at 60 calories a serving.

Another thing in favor of the coffee diet is that coffee is a natural appetite suppressant. A large glass of hot coffee in the morning may work to keep your appetite in check all day. If you get the munchies in the afternoon, try going to the coffee pot instead of the vending machine.

Coffee can give you more energy before a workout which may allow you to burn more calories on the treadmill. One study looked at people who drank regular coffee versus those who drank decaf 60 minutes before exercising. The regular coffee subjects were able to perform an average of 90 minutes of cycling while the decaf group could only do an average of 76 minutes.

Additionally, coffee lowers the risk of Type 2 Diabetes. In a long term large study of more than 120,000 people, those who drank the most coffee tended to have the least risk of diabetes. Total caffeine intake from coffee and other sources was associated with a statistically significantly lower risk for diabetes in both men and women. That means that decaf is not as good for you as the regular coffee in terms of warding off diabetes.

If you are already a java drinker and are serious about losing weight, check out the coffee diet.

coffee-best-tasting

6 Tips on Making the Best Tasting Coffee

March is National Caffeine month! Forget Starbucks for a great tasting cup of coffee. You can be a great coffee maker if you follow the tips below.

When your coffee interest extends beyond a region and you are more aware of the quality of beans, you may then seek for information to help choose the brews that give you the greatest sense enjoyment. Here are six ways to immerse yourself in the nuances of finding the best coffee beans and methods of preparing them.

1. Make sure that no air gets into your storage container for coffee. The beans will become stale if a lot of air gets in contact with them. Don’t use plastic or other types of bags that are not air-tight, even if the coffee was originally stored in it. They allow air to escape after roasting while cooling.

2. Clean your coffee pot every time you use it so that any residual flavors do not tarnish the taste of it. There are oils that will stick to the coffee pot over time. Many people do not notice the difference, but true coffee lovers will be able to tell right away.

3. Be cautious of the water that you use when brewing your coffee. Coffee made with terrible tasting water is not going to taste right itself. It is suggested that you use water with minerals. If it does not have minerals, the coffee might taste bitter.

4. Only store coffee in the refrigerator if the container you are using is airtight. Otherwise, you may discover that garlic or other incompatible odors have tainted your coffee. Improper storage can add moisture to your coffee.

5. Buy smaller portions of coffee. Only buy what you will consume in a couple of weeks. It will cost more money than buying a large can and storing it for a while. What you save in money by buying a larger can, you end up sacrificing in taste.

6. Avoid storing your coffee in the freezer. The extreme temperatures of the freezer will destroy the oils in the coffee. Instead, drink what you have or buy smaller amounts of coffee. If you do not buy too much coffee, you will not need to worry about storing it for an extended period of time.

Enjoying a great cup of coffee is no longer a simple “push the button” process on a drip machine in the morning. This international beverage has made its way into the elite corners of specialty cafes and fine dining establishments across the globe. You can easily be a coffee connosieur in no time with the information you have learned. Dive in and start enjoying your coffee, your way.

The Roasterie: Air Roasted Coffee

Roasterie-Kansas-City
The Roasterie is an Air roaster. There are only about 5 percent of roasters that are air roasters in the country. The closed loop system uses less energy and yields a sweeter and brighter flavor. When the beans are packaged, all the oxygen is pulled out out the bag which lowers the oxidation process, resulting in a longer shelf life.

The Roasterie is dedicated to direct trade to ensure the farmers get a fair wage for their work and product. By doing this,farmers get much higher prices for their coffees than they would with other trade systems.

THe-Roasterie-coffee

Saturdays are available for tours and demonstration on making the perfect cup of the coffee the Cupping Room. What is Cupping? It is exploring the aroma, flavor, mouth feel and overall quality of a coffee. If you can’t make it there for a cupping, they supply many of the Kansas c City area restaurants with coffee.

Cupping is a fairly regimented and structured process, practiced identically by professional cuppers across the entire coffee industry. It’s akin to a sommelier discerning the components of a fine wine; however, cupping depends upon many controlled variables built into the process.

Green Coffee Facts:

  • 120 Arabica Tree Varietals
  • It takes trees 3-5 years to produce coffee
  • Trees are able to produce coffee for approximately 20 years
  • Trees produce about 2 lbs of coffee for year and Americans drink about 4 lbs per year
Roasterie-Latte-art

L: Simeon Bricker of The Roasterie demonstrates making the perfect cup of coffe, R: Latte Art

Did you know that latte art is a talent that has it’s own competition? Working his way up from Barista to Buyer and Master Roaster, Simeon Bricker,  aka, Professor Bean, also competes in latte art competitions. In 2014 Simeon became the first ever United States Latte Art Champion. Drop by The Roasterie and see what kind of latte art Simeon will make for you.

Espresso Pie

Uses for Leftover Espresso: Don’t Throw it Out

If you have ever had espresso then chances are that you know how costly the beverage can be. Even though many people claim that they are addicted to the beverage, some people do without it or save it for a treat because of how expensive it is. Here are some great ideas for the leftover espresso beverage rather than throwing it away.

1. Save it for tomorrow
Now, saving your 5-day old espresso is not recommended because the flavor will be drained from the beverage by then. However, if you know that you probably will be thirsty for or craving an espresso in a day then the best thing to do would be to save the espresso. Putting it in the refrigerator for the time that it’s not being consumed is just fine because it definitely won’t hurt the beverage at all. When you are ready to have a sip of that nice, tasty espresso drink all that needs to be done is to heat up the drink. But don’t heat it in the microwave. Espresso must be reheated through a steamer in order to have the best flavor possible!

2. Add Flavor to Your Baked Goods
Even though this is probably one of the most uncommon techniques, many people actually choose to bake the leftover espresso that they have. Many people might think that adding leftover espresso to their baked good is a turnoff, but here’s one suggestion where the espresso could be put to good use: brownies and cakes! The featured image shows espresso pie. Brownie mixes that have a touch of espresso mixture added to them will taste excellent, and cakes will as well. Of course the espresso mixture may be better off in a thicker batter like the brownies just because it may hold the espresso better, but experimenting with espresso in your baked goods also is a good idea!

3. Chill Your Drinks
Another way to use leftover espresso is in the drinks that you’ll have later. One suggestion that many people use is to make ice cubes! Espresso-flavored ice cubes can be a great addition to iced tea, milk, or even a cup of black coffee! Just because espresso is typically consumed as a warm beverage doesn’t mean that you’re limited to what you can do with it!

All of these things are just some of the ways in which espresso can be used as leftovers! However, realizing that espresso is good in many different ways should shed light on other possible espresso additions as well!

History of Espresso Machine

espresso-maker-machine

Image source: Ebay

Did you know espresso has not always been made from a machine? Some people think that way because that’s how they’ve always seen it made. However, long before there were espresso machines to do our work for us. It wasn’t until the mid 1940’s that people and coffee shops all over began using espresso machines to make the beverage, at least in the United States that is.

Of course, espresso machines were popular in many European countries before the popularity of these machines came to the United States. In fact, the first espresso machine in Europe become known some 100 years before they were actually introduced in America. Louis Bernard Babaut invented the first espresso machine. But it took decades before the espresso machine was as easy to use and functional as the ones we know today. It handled about 1,000 shots of espresso an hour.

If you’re interested in the automatic espresso machine, this concept was later introduced in the first half of the 1900s. An individual known as Illeta actually used compressed air to make the whole espresso-making process faster, which it was able to accomplish successfully. There you have it: everything you have ever wanted to know about how espresso machines came into production!

Check out the full line of coffee accessories from Culinary Outfitters!

What is French Roast Coffee?

French roast coffee beans are the longest roasted beans of all coffee beans. They are also known as double roasted coffee. One level down from this roast is the “full roast”. This is also known as the Italian espresso roast. French roast coffee has a very strong flavor. Those who understand what French roasting does to the beans will appreciate the uniqueness of the process. There are multiple benefits that come from French roasting the coffee beans. These benefits include the flavor and smell.

The Flavor
French roast is the darkest roast available for coffee beans, and most describe the flavor as smoky. It may also be defined as sweet by some, depending on the roast. In this roasting process, the coffee beans are allowed to roast for three to four minutes past the “full roast” stage. French roast is known for having the most robust flavor. Those who like a strong flavor will enjoy a French roast coffee.

The Look and Smell
French roast beans have a unique smell because of the roasting process. The smoky flavor is apparent in the aroma of the beans. This is due to the actual smoking of the beans when they are French roasted. The beans also take on a unique look. While full roast beans are dark, French roast beans the darkest, a pure black look that separates them from the lighter hues of the other varieties. The French roast also gives the beans a unique, shiny look. The beans look like they have been coated with oil even though they haven’t.

Try out different roasts to see which roast is most appealing to you. Each coffee brand will taste slightly different in their French roast variety. The flavor and smell of French roast coffee is different than all other types of coffee. The other varieties of roasting can bring some of the benefits of French roast beans without the extreme flavor change.

truth about fair trade coffee

The Fairness of Fair Trade Coffee

Do you regularly purchase Fair Trade coffee? Do you feel good about yourself knowing that your purchase helps a poor farmer in a third world country. Well…think again. Fair Trade coffee may not be as fair as we have been led to believe.

We’ve been told that the purpose of it is to ensure that coffee bean farmers receive a fair wage for their work, unlike what many of the large coffee producers pay. New research indicates that fair-trade coffee does very little to assist coffee bean farmers. To better understand the Fair Trade we need let’s examine the process, which is administered by the Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO) and the US certification group: Fair Trade USA.

Coffee Growers belong to a cooperative. This cooperative assures them a minimum price per pound for the beans. Plus, there is a premium of $0.20 per pound that is sent back for investment in the local community. To become part of the cooperative, farmers must pay to become certified, agree to use certain pesticides and fertilizers, and pay “fair wages” to their workers.

As with many programs, it began with the best of intentions but has veered off track. Here are some of the flaws within the Fair Trade Coffee system and how it actually hurts coffee farmers.

1. The system has cost flaws. For example, in Guatemala, the benefits of participating in the fair-trade system are negated by the price the growers have to pay for certification. A University of California study estimates that fair-trade certification costs approximately $0.03 per pound, which doesn’t seem like much. But in some years it exceeds any price benefit brought by the higher fair-trade price, and this doesn’t even take into account the special fertilizers that must be used. So, the long-term benefit from fair trade is next to nothing.

2. Fair Trade snubs the poorest countries. The poorest coffee-growing countries are all located in Africa: Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania. But these countries only represent less than 10 percent of Fair trade exports. Instead they focus on countries like Brazil, Columbia and Mexico. These farmers cannot even afford to be part of the cooperative to begin with. For Fair Trade to truly make a difference, they should be working more with these African countries.

3. Lack of oversight on community re-investment. Although fair trade pays a premium over the world coffee price to growers for “social and economic investments at the community and organizational level,” there’s no one making sure the funds are allocated properly. The assumption would be that this money is used to build schools and infrastructure that helps raise the quality of life for residents. But research proves that it is used instead to build coffee cooperatives’ buildings and other eyebrow raising expenses.

So, what can be done? Cut out the middle man. Instead of using Fair Trade Cooperatives use Direct Trade. Direct Trade is a better alternative all around. How it works: a coffee buyer contracts directly with a grower and offers them a good price for their product with no “fair trade” labeling as a requirement. The only problem is the burden is then put on the coffee seller / producer. They must convince consumers the “value” of their coffee. And the “Fair Trade” mentality is so far reaching, it will be challenging to convince why Direct Trade is better. Armed with this knowledge, consumers like you, now know to look for coffee companies that use Direct Trade.

Coffee and Health: Reasons to Drink Three or More Cups a Day

Every couple of months a new study comes out that completely contradicts the previous one with relation to our health and well being. If we followed all of these we’d be a constant state of change. So, what’s a level headed person to do? My opinion is to keep things in moderation and try and eat the way my grandparents ate. This means enjoy my coffee and eggs in the morning. And try and eat less processed foods. I drink about 2-3 cups of coffee per day and am glad that the latest study is supporting this for many health reasons.

Coffee definitely gives a much needed boost of energy to start my day. It helps me think clearer and is just a relaxing way to begin my day. But there are other health benefits (at least that’s what the scientists are saying) to drinking coffee.

Antioxidants
Arabica coffee beans contain antioxidant compounds. By drinking 3 cups of coffee a day you can lower your markers for oxidative DNA damage in just one month. The good news this is a benefit whether you drink regular or decaf coffee.

Mood Improvement
People who drink four cups or more of coffee daily are about 10 percent less likely to be depressed than non-coffee drinkers according to a National Institutes of Health stud. Researchers think caffeine is a minor antidepressant which impacts neurotransmitters such as dopamine.

Performance
Not only does coffee seem to aid in cognitive abilities, but in physical activities as well. In a recent study, cyclists were given different drinks: coffee, decaf coffee and a placebo drink. They were then asked to perform a cycling test. The caffeinated group was faster the non-caffeinated group.

Long Term Health Benefits

Better Brain Function
Coffee can reduce the progression of Alzheimer’s. Participants over age 65 that had shown early signs of Alzheimer’s drank about 3 cups of coffee per day, they did not show any more progression of the disease after being tracked for 2 plus years. However, those who did not drink coffee showed signs that the disease was progressing.

Curb Diabetes
A meta-analysis in the European Journal of Nutrition stated that for every two cups of regular or decaf coffee you consume per day, your risk for type 2 diabetes decreases by 10 to 12 percent.

Protect Your Liver
You can protect your live by just drinking two cups of coffee per day. This is especially important for daily alcohol drinkers.

Is Coffee More Popular than Sex?

sex more popular than coffee

Photo Credit: news.com.au

According to a recent survey conducted by Le Méridien hotels, some would prefer coffee over sex for. The survey found that coffee surpasses sex as the ideal wake-up call according to more than half (53%) of the global respondents. Further, 78% of respondents would rather give up alcohol, social media or sex with their spouse for a year rather than forfeit coffee. It didn’t say if they would give up sex with their lover in favor of coffee ;-)

Spilling the Beans:
• A majority of respondents (51%) feel they could go longer without sex than coffee.
• Of all the effects felt from lack of coffee, approximately one-fourth (28%) feel
less creative, 22% cannot get out of bed, and 16% say that they are not able to talk
to other people without it.
• 73% of respondents would give up television and internet in a hotel for the perfect cup of coffee.
• The majority of respondents (63%) would give up alcohol over coffee

These are pretty astonishing results as most would expect nookie to be more popular than java. Le Meridien hasn’t wasted any time on putting the results of this survey to good use for their hotels. They’ve added a Master Barista onsite at each one of their properties. Every hotel will have it’s own dedicated coffee space in their lobby.