Intelligentsia tour video

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BoingBoing TV has fun video of a recent tour of Intelligentsia

How to optimize your caffeine buzz

Related entries in Coffee Education, Fun with coffee

Here is an interesting article about how to optimize your intake of caffeine. Some highlights:

small hourly doses of caffeine (.3mg per kg of body weight [approx 20 mg per hour; thanks digg!]) can support extended wakefulness

Caffeine may increase the speed with which you work, may decrease attentional lapses, and may even benefit recall - but is less likely to benefit more complex cognitive functions, and may even hurt others

The beneficial effects of caffeine may be most pronounced in conjunction with sugar.

How do you consume your caffeine throughout the day?

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Coffee Diagram

Related entries in Coffee Education, Recipes with Coffee

This coffee drink diagram/illustration makes sense of all the espresso based coffee options available, in very simple terms. From the Latte to the Cafe Breve. Ingredients, and their approximate amounts. They are not perfect, but a good reference guide.

Created by Lokesh Dhakar

Via swissmiss Tags: , , , ,

Top 10 Uses for Coffee Grounds

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Curbly lists the Top 10 Uses for Used Coffee Grounds:

  1. Cellulite reducer (weird)
  2. Dust inhibitor
  3. Flea dip
  4. Cat repellent
  5. Cleaning
  6. Furniture scratch cover-up (good one!)
  7. Dye
  8. Insect repellant
  9. Plant food
  10. Deodorizer

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‘I Love Coffee’ book

Related entries in Coffee Education, Recipes with Coffee

We were recently sent a coffee book by a publisher. Being coffee people, we were very excited to get it. The book is called I Love Coffee!: Over 100 Easy and Delicious Coffee Drinks by Susan Zimmer.

The book tells you about coffee, the many methods for brewing it, the global coffee trade, and of course, recipes. The first half of the book is educational, while the latter is recipe-oriented.

The educational section will tell you how to brew your perfect cup - via your chosen method - and how to prepare milk for the basic drinks. There you’ll learn about a basic Latte.

The recipe section is great for the visual-recipe-hunter, like me. Lots of fabulous pictures to inspire you. Some of them are over the top on sweetness - like the "Rolo" -Way Latte - others are more subtle in flavor. The recipe section focuses on specialty drinks, flavored with anything from mint to chocolate - both hot and cold.

I enjoyed reading through the book. It’s a quick read, everything laid out very simply, but quite interesting. We haven’t had the opportunity yet to make any of the recipes, but when we do, we’ll post a review and some pictures.

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20 Facts About Coffee

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Anything But Coffee has a list of "20 Things About Coffee" with some interesting facts.

Things I didn’t know…

  • It takes five years for a coffee tree to reach maturity.
  • The average yield from one tree is the equivalent of one roasted pound of coffee.
  • Germany is the world’s second largest consumer of coffee.
  • October 1st is the official Coffee Day in Japan

Read the full list here.

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Coffee as renewable fuel

Related entries in Coffee Education, Coffee news

More research is being done into using coffee grounds as a renewable fuel source.

From Times Online:

Dynamotive, a small Canadian company, has been thinking about bits of plant waste and come up with a solution: bio-oil. It has begun operations at West Lorne in Ontario, converting waste from a woodflooring company into a liquid fuel that runs a 2.5 megawatt power plant, supplying the town with electricity. Dynamotive is the brainchild of Andrew Kingston, a former oil company man whose vision for biofuels differs from those rushing to lay waste to millions of hectares of virgin forest to build palm oil plantations that can fuel our cars…

The biofuel industry is hitting the buffers over concerns about crop shortages and the use of food crops, such as rapeseed, for fuel.

The political momentum behind renewable energy has created a plethora of projects that are driving up the price of palm oil, a raw material for biodiesel…

“Where we have an advantage,” Mr Kingston said, “is we are not taking food crops.” He has set up a team to prospect for secure supplies of biomass. That includes crop waste, timber from demolition sites and a 5,000-hectare energy park in Ukraine, where Dynamotive and its partner, Rika Biofuels, is planting enough msycanthus — elephant grass — to replace the energy of 250,000 barrels of crude oil.

Dynamotive uses a patented technology, pyrolysis, that turns plant material into liquid in two seconds. According to Mr Kingston, the fuel is competitive at oil prices of $25 to $30 a barrel — half the crude price…

Anything based on cellulose will do, including coffee grounds, the object of talks with another large company. “It’s coming to a coffee shop near you,” Mr Kingston said.

I like the concept immensely, since it not only recycles but solves a major political and environmental issue.

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Decaf coffee is not caffeine free

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USA Today had an article out yesterday about the caffeine content in decaffeinated coffees. The facts are quite interesting. We all kind of know that decaffeinated coffee does have some caffeine in it - just how much?

The University of Florida published an article in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology about decaffeinated coffee. The researches bought 10 cups of 16oz drip decaf coffee from 9 chain and local coffee houses and tested them on caffeine content.

Research found that Folgers Coffee Crystals was the only decaf with 0 caffeine. Others ranged from 8.6 milligrams to 13.9 milligrams (regular coffee has approx 170 milligrams).

Starbucks in particular was tested. Espresso decaf had 3-15.8 milligrams, while brewed had 12-13.4 milligrams. Interesting variance. Perhaps based on the cleanliness of the machines?

This research was conducted for health reasons, as many people cannot have caffeine due to some medical conditions. Caffeine as low as 10 milligrams can cause effects in sensitive people.

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Caffeine Content

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How much caffeine is in your coffee? Does it depend on the coffee?

Nutrition Action Healthletter has a Caffeine Corner chart that gives the mg of caffeine in beverages. For example:

  • Caffe Americano, short (8 oz.) Starbucks 35mg
  • Coffee, tall (12 oz.) Starbucks 375mg
  • Coffee, non-gourmet (8 oz.) 135mg
  • Cola (16 oz.) 50mg
  • Tea, leaf or bag (8 oz.) 50mg

So, if you are looking for a caffeine jolt from Starbucks, avoid the espresso based drinks (latte, etc) and go for plain old coffee. And if you are going based on caffeine only, Starbucks packs more caffeinated punch than other coffee houses.

Via Boing Boing

Starbucks Nutritional drama

Related entries in Coffee Education, Starbucks

Is Starbucks the next McDonald’s… in more ways than one?

Not only is the coffee chain experiencing the same explosion of growth the burger giant saw, but perhaps we can also lay to it the same unhealthy nutritional standards as our greasy food giant:

"Regular consumers of Starbucks products could face Venti-sized health problems. If Starbucks cared about its customers’ health, it would at least list on the menu board the calorie content of its offerings."

Several of Starbucks’ popular beverages are loaded with calories, fat, and sugar. The popular GrandeLatte weighs in at 260 calories with almost half the calories coming from fat. The big-selling Grande White Mocha packs in 510 calories and 24 grams of fat. The summer line continues the trend with the award for least-healthy drink going to the heavily advertised Venti Banana Coconut Frappuccino. The massive drink weighs in at 730 calories compared to 560 calories for a Big Mac from McDonald’s.

More from the Starbucks Union

Coffee to reduce soil acidity

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Well, that was an educational wikipedia entry. I got my fact for the day from it, to be sure.

Today I learned that coffee is used to reduce soil acidity. Apparently farmers will dilute coffee four times its volume in water, a dilution which is very common to reduce soil acidity when growing tomatoes, chili peppers, blueberries and other plants prone to high acidity.

Spent coffee grounds are a good fertilizer in gardens because of their high nitrogen content. Starbucks, and some other coffee shops, have a specific policy of giving away their used coffee grounds to gardeners. While they tend to be only slightly acidic, they also tend to improve the acidity of garden soil through the same chemical processes which cause sawdust to do the same thing. Coffee grounds raise soil acidity more immediately if they are added fresh, instead of after brewing.

Can you define coffee?

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I’ve been playing around a lot in Wikipedia lately. Using it to give me inspiration to learn and share oddball facts.

Today I wondered: "is there a definition for coffee?"

I mean, I knew there would be, because it’s a word, but I was really curious about what it would say. Would it talk about the chemical properties of coffee? Starbucks?

Well, here is what Wikipedia has to say about coffee:

Coffee is a beverage, served hot or with ice, prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant. These seeds are almost always called coffee beans. Coffee is the second most commonly traded commodity in the world (measured by monetary volume), trailing only petroleum, and the most consumed beverage. In total, 6.7 million tonnes of coffee were produced annually in 1998-2000, forecast to rise to 7 million tonnes annually by 2010. [1] Coffee is a chief source of caffeine, a stimulant.

Expected: it’s a plant, business of coffee, consumption, caffeine.

Unexpected: putting "served hot or with ice" rather than "with milk or sugar". ;)

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Direct Trade Coffee

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Direct Trade Coffee - a step up from Fair Trade. And something Intelligentsia is taking quite seriously.

What is Direct Trade?

Working closely with the growers to offer a good price for good quality. This includes paying more than fair trade (25% more), with transparent pricing along the entire line, and giving the recognition due for an amazing coffee. Additionally, coffee must be produced by economically, socially and environmentally sustainable methods

Intelligentsia has formed a commitment to these things, and to visiting these farms and villages each harvest to ensure coffee is grown well, harvested well and celebrated.

To read more of the Intelligentsia Direct Trade, go here.

I am very happy to hear of these practices, since Intelligentsia coffee is high on my list of favorites.

Thanks to Brad of Wicked Cafe for the pointer and the coffee. Great as always. My first iced coffee of the season - if only the weather would catch up to my cravings!

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Carmen Estate coffee

Related entries in Coffee Education, Coffee Experiences, Coffee Reviews, Coffee around the world

We tried another Panama coffee, this time from the Carmen Estate and also from the Best of Panama auction lot. Our beans were roasted by Hines, and thankfully provided by Elysian Room.

Carmen Estate is located in the Paso Ancho region, above the Finca La Florentina. From Sweet Maria’s:

Carmen is on a very steep hillside with southern exposure, and due to the high altitude, the coffee has greater density, better acidity, a more piquant cup. So in a way, Florentina was getting some better cup quality with Carmen in the mix. But the farm was passed down to the new generation of the Franceschi family, namely Carlos Franceschi (Carmen was his grandmother) … and he realized that they had a better coffee on their family farm then something to blend with lower-grown coffees. He built an independant mill for the Estate down in the valley using the latest equipment, and began a program to care for the trees usign new techniques. This farm uses the de-muscilage process where the muscilage is stripped off the parchment layer using friction, rather than traditional fermentation…

This coffee won the #3 spot in the Best of Panama competition in 2003, 2004 and #2 in 2005. The entire farm is very high altitude; it starts at 1450, an altitude many farms don’t even reach, meters and goes up from there! We have a special arrangement to buy the coffee each year from the 1700+ meter altitudes, a very small amount of coffee. We sold out of that lot rapidly this year, but the entire crop is so good (a testament to Carlos’ innovations) we set aside this Estate lot from his later shipment to the US, based on sample approval once it got here.

I preferred the brightness of this coffee over the more floral taste of the other Panama we tried. That’s just a personal taste, as each has really bold flavours, but in different ways. I want to say this one was more sweet, although I know that was not the right word.

It was really a treat to drink it and to compare the differences, which were obvious right of the bat and in the finish, between the two Panama coffees.

Wicked Cafe

Related entries in Coffee Education, Coffee Experiences

We’re sitting in Wicked Cafe right now, enjoying a warm fall day with a nice cup of coffee and lunch. The sandwiches here are amazing. And the cafe has a nice atmosphere with lots of open windows, and even some great photography showcased right now from Kris Krug. We’ve been here a few times before, and have even had a nice chat with the owner, Brad.

A couple of days ago he let us know that he will be holding Intelligentsia tastings at the cafe. Brad is the new Intelligentsia rep in Vancouver, so I think that’s just great. I think he’s accomplished a lot in the coffee world in the last few years, approaching coffee with a passion and dedication, but also with a lot of fun.

So, if you want to taste a great roaster and to understand a little more about coffee, join us at Wicked Cafe on the last Tuesday of every month at 7:30. The tasting for this month has been pushed to October 4th, so come out and learn!

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