Category Archives: Coffee, Tea, Drinks

Coffee Is Good, But How Do You Drink It?

Coffee

Many voices will tell you coffee is great for your health, your social life, and your faith, but nutritionists have a reputation of wanting to take all of that joy away from you.

“I don’t typically like to demonize one food and deem it horrible, because you can have a good relationship with [coffee],” Sarah Greenfield, an L.A.-based trainer and nutritionist, told Observer.com. “But if you’re using a stimulant to get energy and wake yourself up, you have to look back on your lifestyle and habits.”

Clearly a killjoy.

Coffee does have healthy benefits, like most foods that are not Hot Pockets and Pop Tarts, but we should watch out for too much caffeine. Drinking coffee along with cokes and energy drinks because we’re cramming too many responsibilities into one day or week could lead to such negative consequences as death. So don’t do that, but if you like coffee, feel free to enjoy it in moderation and gratitude. And if you’re drinking at a run-down Waffle House or Denny’s, please Instagram the moment.

British Pubs On the Decline

Pubs and snooker clubs are being pushed out of many British towns in favor of coffeeshops and various fast food joints, showing changing social patterns the country’s young people.

Professor Ken Roberts told the BBC “older people tend to spend their money on holidays, top restaurants or big events like theatre weekends to London, whereas younger people were more likely to go out in the evenings and also have cheap meals out.”

Some suggest pubs need to improve their daytime offerings in order to draw new customers. Perhaps they could offer a new coffee from Jack Daniel’s that’s been infused with whiskey. It’s non-alcoholic, but it doesn’t taste like it. I’m not going anywhere near a drink like that, but British university students may love it.

A Basket Full of Links

Can novels spread awareness of mental health issues? Author C.K. Meena said, “Fiction has no purpose, if you want to spread awareness, use non-fiction.” But author Amandeep Sandhu countered with the idea that nothing we write is truly non-fiction, because we focus on or exaggerate some facts and ignore others.

Eighty-one Anglo-Saxon coffins made from the hollowed-out oak oak trees have been discovered at a site called Great Ryburgh in Norfolk, England. “‘This find is a dramatic example of how new evidence is helping to refine our knowledge of this fascinating period when Christianity and the Church were still developing on the ground,’ said Tim Pestell, curator at Norwich Castle Museum in Norfolk, where the finds from the dig will be kept.” Here are some photos.

“Exactly a century after Saki’s death on 14th November 1916, it seems remarkable that his work has survived so well. In a line-up of the wits of 20th-century English literature, Saki is usually tucked somewhere between PG Wodehouse and Evelyn Waugh.” (via Prufrock News)

Appalachian culture is often misunderstood and misrepresented, a problem the people behind Foxfire magazine hope to correct. Mountain people are “very resourceful, self-reliant, hardworking, intelligent and with an amazing sense of humor.”

A new coffee vendor in Redlands, California, And Coffee, operates a “a remodeled utility truck” next to city hall and runs on donations.

What We Eat Vs. Food Culture

Nicholas Hune-Brown describes how foodie trends don’t reflect most of what Americans actually eat.

The gap between the food we cook and the food we talk about has never been larger. Culturally, it’s the same gap that exists between The Americans—the brainy FX spy show that seems to have nearly as many internet recappers as viewers—and shows like the immensely popular and rarely discussed NCIS. Breathless blog posts about the latest food trends can feel like certain corners of music criticism, pre-poptimism, when writers would obsess over the latest postrock band that was using really interesting time signatures while ignoring the vast majority of music people listened to on the radio. The food at Allrecipes is the massively popular, not-worth-talking-about mainstream.

This is another example of how the culture of media people or the culture of the places where most news writers work chafes with middle and small town America. I don’t think it has to be an uncomfortable chaffing, but writers should be aware of it. Food writers may love to write about what’s new and different and extol new theories of nutrition and flavor, but eating has many ties to traditions, personal comforts, family, and even ceremony. We don’t cook for critics; we cook to bless the people at our table (sometimes that just ourselves). And around the holidays, our family traditions (or a specific rejection of them) are like a fuming stew pot, filling the air with expectations. If food writers don’t share our traditions and comforts, if they have deliberately rejected them for personal or professional reasons, then they’re going to push us away from their table to some degree. We may still appreciate what they have to say, but when it comes to actually eating, well, we may ignore them more often than not. (via ArtsJournal)

Alton Brown: Memphis Is #1 Town

The Eater Upsell podcast talked to Alton Brown this month about his books, his road show, his Food Network shows, and his food philosophy. There are many highlights, but one that stands out to me is his big shout-out to Memphis, Tennessee.

Outside of Memphis proper is this doughnut place called Gibson’s, which makes not just the best doughnut in the United States but, as far as I’m concerned, if all the other doughnuts went away and I still had Gibson’s, I’d be okay. They’ve also got the best chicken, and maybe the best hamburger in the United States.

He also gives credit to Starbucks for being the “game changer” in American food culture. Now, many of us are willing to spend $4 on coffee and look forward to fancy third-wave brews.

What’s funny, though, is I think that we’re more sophisticated as eaters than cooks. You know, I know people that can detect the difference between whether we’ve made the bouillabaisse with, you know, Turkish saffron or Iranian saffron, but couldn’t cook the seafood in the bouillabaisse if you held a gun to their head, you know, so — we’ve become far more sophisticated as consumers. Whether we have as cooks or not, I don’t know.

Revelator Coffee Wants to be The South’s Coffee

There is good quality [coffee] in the South. There are no regional brands that identify with all the cities that are seeing so much revitalization right now,” Emma Chevalier, Revelator Coffee’s Creative Director, tells Eater.com. So Revelator’s owners Chevalier,  Elizabeth Pogue, and Josh Owen, have opened stores in Birmingham, New Orleans, Atlanta, Chattanooga, and Nashville and are working on more. Their Chattanooga store is discussed in the current issue of Barista Magazine, which describes the store are a contrasting offering to the “homey familiarity” of other Southern coffee options.

Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine – Startup Revelator Coffee Reveals Aggressive Plans for Southern Growth

Writers Drawn to Drink

The intersection of writers with Prohibition was at its most intense in New York City — the mecca for all talented young men and women in the 1920s. Seven thousand arrests for alcohol possession in New York City between 1921 and 1923 (when enforcement was more or less openly abandoned) resulted in only seventeen convictions.

For some writers, Manhattan, with its habitual speakeasies and after-hours clubs as well as its famous flouting of the law even in restaurants, became synonymous with drinking too much. Eugene O’Neill and F. Scott Fitzgerald were two writers who were only able to stop drinking, or at least moderate their drinking, after they left what one minister called “Satan’s Seat.”

Apparently Prohibition was too much a temptation for many writers, some of whom became well known. Of course, Chekhov said, “A man who doesn’t drink is not, in my opinion, fully a man,” so maybe O’Neill, Fitzgerald, and others were his disciples in this way.

Is Third-Wave Coffee Selling Out?

Peet’s Coffee & Tea recently bought out Stumptown Coffee Roasters and became a majority shareholder in Intelligentsia a few weeks after that. Does that mean delicious third-wave coffee companies are selling out?

“Many in the core community of specialty coffee cite Peet’s as something of a Moses figure, guiding coffee appreciation out of the Egypt that is burnt-rubber tasting commodity-grade coffee,” Jimmy Sherfey explains on Eater.com. Peet’s was a pioneer in developing a market for rich, flavorful coffee. The company has even trained many of its now competitors

 puts an ugly spin on the recent decisions. “Peet’s move is similar to that of the titan Saturn in Roman mythology, who devoured his own children so they would not overthrow him. In Peet’s case, it’s the grandchildren who are trouble.”

But company execs tell Sherfey they are “looking to fill the fast-growing demand for their coffee, which both Stumptown and Intelligentsia cite as reasons for the mergers. ‘Frankly, we were just running out of space,’ says [Matt] Lounsbury. [Doug] Zell cites “restrictions on resources’ at Intelligentsia leading up to the acquisition. ‘We could only grow at a certain rate given our internal economics.'”

Now, the new, large roasting family hopes they can create opportunities for producers to deliver great coffee at great prices that will sustain and renew their farming communities.

Stories You Won’t Want to Miss

Here are some articles on a variety of current topics.

  1. 50 Books J. I. Packer Thinks You Should Read
  2. Refuting 5 False Theories About Jesus, including theories he was just a pagan myth or violent revolutionary
  3. 9 Truths About a Multi-Generational Church, such as the young should follow and the old should humbly lead
  4. Like bitter foods, like coffee, beer or dark chocolate? You might be a psychopath.
  5. Porn can’t be sold ethically. “The truth is that when a feminist performs the role of sex object in order to transgress and/or reclaim heteronormative constructs of femininity, her audience is excluded from the alleged meaning of her work. Men don’t go to peep shows so that they can self-critically reflect on women’s sexuality and the politics of desire. To ignore this is not an act of radical female autonomy, it’s an act of dangerous and narcissistic irresponsibility.”
  6. Porn and the Gospel, a talk by Joseph Solomon

Piñon Coffee, the Taste of Albuquerque

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta 2014

When Folgers declined to sponsor Albuquerque’s 2015 Balloon Fiesta, a family-owned roaster stepped up. Albuquerque’s own Piñon Coffee brought an estimated 200,000 cups of coffee to the hot-air balloon event that started last weekend and continues through the week. It is the fiesta’s first local company to be coffee sponsor.

“A lot of handcrafting goes into every part of our coffee from the coffee all the way up to the bags to the fill the bags to the roll down of bags,” Piñon Coffee President Allen Bassett told KRGE News 13.

Bassett has been working on several strategies for building his brand and competing with national companies. He has recommended local coffee shops collaborating in order to hold their own against national franchisees.

(Photo of The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta 2014 by Duncan Rawlinson)

Are K-Cups Old Hat Now?

Day 161: The Chai Latte K-Cup.Quarterly earnings for Keurig Green Mountain are “disastrously bad,” according to this week’s reports, and with consumer complaints about the price of a Keurig 2.0 and its rejection of off-brand coffee pods, analysts are wondering if the single-serve coffee craze is over.

If you haven’t heard, the latest Keurig coffee machine, released last summer, was designed with a scanner in order to detect whether you were using Keurig-brand coffee pods or off-brand pods. If you were trying to save money by using cheaper, off-brand pods, the machine would say, “Oops! This pod was made in North Korea and will probably kill you, or worse, insult your palate. Throw it out, fool! Use only Keurig Brand coffee pods with coffee as fresh as if Moses, standing on Mt. Sinai, ground it himself.” Not only did the new machine of coffee magic reject off-brand pods, it also rejected K-cups that didn’t have the special Incan runes on the label.

Coffee drinkers found this design feature unhelpful and began to complain. Some joined a resistant movement to take back their freedom of brewing.

But these may not be the only reasons for the company’s earnings report slump. In a partnership with Coca-Cola, Keurig will soon release a single serve soda-pop machine that will cost way more than even a single can from an amusement park vending machine (if that’s possible). I’ve heard New York City has already taken steps to ban it. In a world that is decreasingly buying cokes (that’s what we call them in the South), who will want a custom coke machine in their man cave when they can have a fridge-full of craft beer for less.

Or water, which is what I’d ask for.

The Most Expensive Coffee Anywhere

I found a new-to-me coffee retailer this morning while casually browsing for coffee-related sites and was surprised to notice a price category for $350.00 – $400.00. What do they offer in that price range? Ten pound bags of Jamaican Blue Mountain? No, this site, named Coffee for Less, offers one pound bags of whole Kopi Luwak beans for $350.00.

You may not think you’re the type to drop over three Franklins on a bag of coffee beans, but wait ’til you hear the reason for the price. Kopi Luwak beans are personally processed by luwaks, small mammals in Southeast Asia, who eat coffee berries off the plant and pass them neatly into a farmer’s poop-scooper, giving them a can-u-believe-it, yowza-yowza flavor!

I mean, who wouldn’t want to eat something preciously prepared by this cute, little guy? Don’t look at me like that. You know you would.

Naturally, knowing you like I do, you may have already gone out for another variety of poop coffee blend from Thailand called Black Ivory Coffee. These beans have been especially excreted by elephants, which produces a reportedly smoother flavor than the Luwak variety. There is a difference, and it may be in the animals’ diets. Luwaks are omnivores; elephants are herbivores. Theoretically, your Kopi Luwak could brush up against some squirrel carcass on its way to your Best Part of Waking Up, whereas your Black Ivory beans may be fondled by foliage. Plus, every cup of Black Ivory comes out looking like this:

Waiter, there's an elephant in my coffee...

That’s straight from the elephant’s mouth, as they say. Who wouldn’t pay $$$$ for that?