Sunday, October 22, 2006

Coffee Culture

Coffee is one of the oldest drinks to connect itself to a social activity, the social activity of drinking together as a group is in fact it an almost uniquely human activity, drinking is essential to survival and at one point in human history the habit of drinking together has become one of the most acceptable forms of human interaction and socialization all over the world.

Coffee is one of the oldest drinks to connect itself to a social activity, the social activity of drinking together as a group is in fact it an almost uniquely human activity, drinking is essential to survival and at one point in human history the habit of drinking together has become one of the most acceptable forms of human interaction and socialization all over the world.

The drinking of coffee together probably dates back a few hundred years ago when Muslims had started using rituals in their coffee preparation.

Almost every adult on this planet has visited a coffee house at some point of his life, even those who do not like coffee or do not even drink coffee are aware of the coffee house being a place of socializing and meeting. It is interesting that it is coffee, one of the worlds most popular drink, one that is consumed in such large quantities in different parts of the world would become a center of gathering for people.

The main quality of coffee is in its caffeine, that makes the drinker more alert and enjoy a feeling of energy regeneration and awakens, but coffee is not only drunk for the propose of keeping awake, it is consumed at all times of the day and in many cases in direct relation to a social meeting of sorts.

The coffee house can be found in most cities in the world, it is one of the truly international habits of people, and you will also find that many nations and individuals value their local favorite coffee as a national treasure, from Africa and the deserts of Arabia to the samba dancing streets of Brazil you will find different views on drinking coffee. The cultural differences between nations in the regard to coffee is intriguing, some people will say that drinking coffee with milk is feminine, others gaze in wonder when they see a full cup of coffee drank in front of them, others are installed by the fact that coffee is produced from boiling water that came out of an electric kettle.

In Europe the coffee houses became much more than just a meeting place for drinking coffee, the coffee houses became establishments by themselves, in England many of the places that sold the coffee later contributed to coffee becoming a commodity that is traded until today in the stock markets around the world. In France the coffee houses joined the leisure philosophy and combined with the world renowned deserts and cakes and in Austria the coffee houses have become establishments of unquestionable seriousness and professionalism, serving the best coffee and food with full respects to privacy and solitude of the drinker.

Today the coffee house is a much more relaxed version of the ancient coffee house, the corporate world stops for a moment when drinking coffee to enjoy the company of other people, most of them strangers that happen to enjoy a cup of coffee on the end of a working day or on their way to some other place. No matter how you examine it, coffee is still binding people together in one way or the other.

About The Author: celia namart an avid traveler has collected her thoughts and ideas during her many travels around the world, back from a recent trip to Asia celia writes about natural health remedies and coffee houses at

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Civet coffee: The world's most expensive, exotic brew

By Jason Gutierrez
Agence France-Presse

Posted date: October 05, 2006

TO the coffee connoisseur, apparently, it is the ultimate brew -- right to the very last dropping.

Civet coffee, made from beans excreted by the weasel-like animal, is said to be the most valuable coffee in the world.

One ounce (25 grams) can sell for more than $150 dollars and despite the price coffee lovers cannot get enough.

For someone who never drank coffee until a few years ago, Filipino environmentalist Vie Reyes is at the forefront of the coffee culture boom, having cornered a niche market with her expensive beans.

The sugar palm civet (paradoxorus Phillipinensis), or alamid in the local language, forages in the mountains and forests around the vast Philippine archipelago.

The nocturnal creature's staple diet is sugar palm fruit and coffee cherries, which they devour in large quantities.

But the animal only digests the pulp of the coffee cherry, so the bean ferments in the digestive system. Once it is excreted, it is collected by Reyes's trusted gatherers for washing, drying and roasting.

Reyes, and her husband of 23 years, Basil, accidentally stumbled on to civet coffee while doing conservation work on sugar palm trees outside Manila in 2003.

"These nocturnal civets would actually eat the fruit and excrete them all over the ravine," said the energetic Reyes, 44, speaking at her home in Las Piñas City where she roasts and packs the exotic beans.

She and Basil did extensive research in rural communities and discovered that civet cat coffee was an old secret among the local folk.

"They were afraid that people wouldn't buy the coffee if they learned it came from inside the cat. The locals only collected the droppings for their own consumption," Reyes said.

Coffee Alamid, as Reyes has branded her brew, is a natural blend of liberica, exelsa, robusta and arabica beans that are found in abundance in the Philippines.

Before roasting, the beans have a sour acidic smell that may turn off the less adventurous, but after being dried and then roasted, they give off a sweet chocolatey aroma. When ground and brewed, they produce a coffee that is strong and earthy thanks to the natural fermentation method.

From initially just collecting the civet droppings from one site outside Manila, the couple now go on long cross-country trips scaling remote mountains and teaching villagers how to gather the precious waste during the coffee season from October to April.

From an initial harvest of only five kilograms (3.1 pounds) and an investment of P600 ($12 dollars) in 2003, their operation has steadily grown into a multi-million peso business that now sells its products abroad.

Billed as the "rarest coffee in the world" the commodity is sold by Japan Airlines as a gourmet product on its business class section for $600 for 100 grams and is exported under the Coffee Alamid trademark to China, Taiwan, Australia and the United States.

As a real mark of its gourmet qualifications, it is even sold in one coffee shop in Vienna.

"I didn't know anything about coffee. We didn't drink the beverage, not even instant coffee," Reyes says almost apologetically.

"This whole thing started out as an advocacy for the environment that now puts more than food on our table," said the a mother of five who has a degree in economics from the prestigious University of the Philippines.

But taking Coffee Alamid to the mainstream was not easy, as it was initially greeted as a novelty item for tourists looking for something unique to take home.

The product was displayed at trade fairs but drew a tepid response while efforts to sell it as an authentic Filipino product failed to generate interest from big coffee shops.

It was not until two years ago, when a small article about the product appeared on the front page of a major daily newspaper, that things started to heat up.

Walk-in clients brought friends and word spread.

Soon, foreigners started inquiring and offering them exclusive distributorship.

"We mortgaged our house, spent our savings and sold our cars to keep us going," said Basil. "It paid off and we are now devoting our lifetime and two generations of this family to coffee making."

©Copyright 2001-2006 INQ7 Interactive, Inc. An INQUIRER and GMA Network Company

Friday, October 20, 2006

Can Coffee be Healthy?

By Birgit Jurock

In North America 85% of the population drinks anywhere from 3 to 5 cups of coffee daily. No wonder that we are seeing growing health problems related to caffeine and acid intake. For example the alarming growth in cardiovascular disease related in part to the increased heart rate and heightened blood pressure caused by caffeine, or the raised anxiety levels caused by Caffeine, which stimulates the production of stress hormones, which causes also muscular tension, indigestion and a decreased immune response.

The highly acidic nature of regular coffee can alter the specific pH balance in our body. A variety of health problems like arthritis and gastrointestinal issues can be caused by over acidity of our system, unbalanced pH and contributed to the consumption of regular, not to say “not healthy” coffee and the negative consequences of caffeine.

But would it help just to switch to decaffeinated “Coffee” or do we have to quit drinking coffee altogether? A company in Malaysia, Gano Excel, has developed a method to combine organically grown Ganoderma Lucidum, also known as Reishi, with a naturally grown, low caffeine Brazilian coffee. This product has lower caffeine than decaffeinated coffee yet maintains the robust flavor and "boost" of fine coffee.

What gives this unique product it's healthful properties is the Ganoderma Lucidum, or Reishi. This mushroom, also known as the "King of Herbs, has been used for more than 4000 years in traditional Chinese medicine. Clinical studies have shown that it is an immunoenhancer, that it can help reduce stress while maintaining energy levels. Amazingly, this coffee actually helps balance the body's pH level... in fact, Gano Excel coffee, when mixed with water, has the same pH as human blood.

Now, with real naturally-low-in-caffeine coffee as the delivery medium, coffee drinkers are able to enjoy the benefits of this Reishi, with their morning, afternoon and evening cup of coffee and enjoy both great flavor and better health and the same energy boost they expect from regular, caffeinated coffee. Good bye jitters and sleepless nights, now you can get the “boost” the healthy way with great tasting Brazilian Arabica coffee blend and enriched with the “King of Herbs” called Ganoderma Lucidum.

Birgit Jurock lives in Roberts Creek on the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia. You can contact her by email at For more information about this amazing coffee visit Birgit Jurock's web site at

Article Source:

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Why Gourmet Coffee Is More Popular Than Ever Before

By Gregg Hall

Most coffee drinkers don't give much though to the coffee they drink. They drink whatever coffee is cheap and nearby. When shopping for coffee most people buy whatever is cheapest. The coffee most people drink is weak and tastes alarmingly like cardboard.

There are those out there who have finer taste in that lovely dark elixir made from what are, in fact, berries. These gourmet coffee lovers don't just drink their coffee to give them a jolt in the morning (or afternoon, or evening); these coffee connoisseurs drink coffee because they savor the rich flavor and subtle tones of this increasingly popular drink.

It used to be difficult to for people who enjoyed good coffee to find the quality they were searching for. Some popular coffee shop chains have changed all that. Now, all but the most backwoods of towns, has at least one coffee shop, whether a chain or local business, which serves up high quality brew. This kind of coffee often costs more than convenience store brown water sold as coffee, but to the coffee drink with class, the extra money spent is well worth it.

In addition to coffee shops, which offer already brewed gourmet coffee and bags of gourmet coffee to bring home, more and more grocery stores and supermarkets are carrying it as well. You can get gourmet coffee already ground or you can buy whole beans and grind them at home. You can also get whole beans and grind them with the in-store grinder which accompanies almost all decent gourmet coffee displays. Don't be afraid of the machine. It won't chop your fingers off. They're easy to use. You just select the coarseness of the grind, dump your coffee in the machine, load a bag below, and push the button. In seconds you have fresh-ground coffee. If you want to grind gourmet coffee at home, there are a variety of home coffee grinders on the market. Most are pretty cheap and will last a long time. The grind of the coffee is important and needs to selected based on what method you'll be using to brew your coffee. Standard drip coffeemakers work best with a medium grind. If you're making espresso, which is very strong-tasting condensed coffee, you use a fine grind. If you're going to use a french press, you'll want a fairly coarse grind.

You can also get good coffee from specialty shops which are springing up even in the smallest of markets. The proprietors of these establishments are always happy to give helpful advice and they love to share their knowledge with others. These kinds of shops are probably the best place to go to learn about coffee. They're run by people who truly love what they're doing and who have a ton of information about gourmet coffee. If you have any questions about what kind of coffee to get or which roast is best or what grind you should use, the people at gourmet coffee shops will provide all the advice you need.

The darkness of the roast is probably more important to the taste than the grind. If you don't know if you prefer light, medium, or dark roast, experiment! Try all sorts of coffee. Try coffee from different places around the world. Even if roasted and ground the same, coffee from Colombia will taste different than coffee from Sumatra. Half the fun of gourmet coffee is trying new types. Some you won't like, but you'll find most gourmet coffee, no matter where it's from, is infinitely superior to the shoddy stuff found in most kitchens and doughnut shops.

Gregg Hall is an author living in Navarre Florida. Find more about this as well as gourmet giftbaskets at

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Gregg Hall - EzineArticles Expert Author

Sunday, October 08, 2006

10 Timeless Tips to a Perfect Cup of Coffee

By Jon Butt

Few quests in human history have so captivated men and women from around the world than the search for the perfect cup of coffee. Yes, believe it or not, coffee connoisseurs have dedicated entire lifetimes in the pursuit of finding that one cup of the most heavenly coffee ever made. If you're like most people, however, you're just looking for an easy way to make a great-tasting cup of coffee to help get you started in the morning. The following 10 Timeless Tips to a Perfect Cup of Coffee should help you on you your mini-quest.

1. You Get What You Pay For

When it comes to coffee makers, quality counts. If you buy the cheapest coffee maker on the market, chances are you'll end up with an equally "discounted" flavor in your cup. To assure yourself of great tasting coffee day after day, check out the Bunn, Cuisinart, Mr. Coffee, Krups, and Senseo brands. Alternatively, check out a French press. For that personal cup of coffee, you can never go wrong with a French press!

2. Clean as a Whistle

You wouldn't cook your favorite entrée in a dirty pan, would you? So, why are so many people surprised by how bad their homemade coffee tastes when they use the same coffee pot every day out without ever cleaning it? Try baking soda and water for great cleanse after every pot you make.

3. It's All in the Bean

If you aren't grinding your own coffee, where have you bean? The best tasting coffees come from freshly ground, top quality beans. You can savor the flavor of gourmet barista-style coffees right in your own home by simply grinding up small batches of your own brew. To top off the perfect cup, you'll want to use Arabica beans-simply the best in the world! Store your beans and ground coffee in an airtight container in a cool, dark place at a temperature between 50º and 70º F.

4. Roasted and Toasted-Making the "Most-est" Flavor

Once you've decided upon the highest quality beans, you'll want to consider how you like your beans roasted. Roasting releases the flavor of the bean and helps determine whether your coffee is mellow, rich, or smooth. Experiment with a variety of roasts and choose which one you like best!

5. Grind It Up

Despite the fact that many store-bought coffees say "For All Coffeemakers," selecting the right grind for your coffee maker is key to crafting that perfect cup. A general guideline for grinds includes:

· Automatic drip: medium grind
· Plunger or French press: coarse grind
· Percolator: coarser grind
· Espresso maker: fine grind

6. What's in Your Water?

When it comes to coffee, fresh is the name of the game and, believe it or not, fresh water will make a world of difference in every cup. Think about it: Since your coffee is 99% water, you'll want to make sure you choose the best tasting water you can find. Bottled, distilled, or purified water seems to do the trick for H2O-conscious countless coffee connoisseurs.

7. Measure It

To assure yourself of perfection every time, you'll want to make sure you spoon out the correct amount of coffee grinds. Of course, your personal taste preference should be the ultimate judge, but a general rule of thumb is 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground coffee for every six ounces of water.

8. Bling, Bling in Your Coffee?

While we're not talking diamonds or platinum, using gold (or stainless steel) mesh filters in your coffee maker will go a long way toward keeping your cup of coffee tasting great. Many paper filters release bleaches, chlorine, and dyes that can leave you with a bitter cup of coffee. If you must use paper, go with unbleached filters for the best results.

9. Brew It Up Right

A key to great tasting coffee every time is making sure your water is "off the boil"-a fancy term that simply means "not quite to boiling." To achieve this water temperature, bring your water to a boil and then let it cool down for few moments (195-205° F) and you'll assure yourself of a perfect cup every time.

10. Drink It Down in Style

Drink your freshly brewed, gourmet coffee in a glass or porcelain mug. Unless you like the bitter taste, avoid reheating your coffee in either the microwave or on the stove.

If you keep brewing with these ten timeless tips in mind, you're sure to find your cup runneth over with great tasting coffee every time!

Jon Butt is the host of The Coffee Guide, an innovative website dedicated to all things coffee. From beans to gourmet, espresso machines to coffee makers, espresso cups to just great tasting coffee

Article Source:

Friday, September 15, 2006

Coffee History: Origins, Brewing, Cupping and Buying.

According to legend an Arabian goatherd named Kaldi found his goats dancing joyously around a dark green leafed shrub with bright red cherries in the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. Kaldi soon determined that it was the bright red cherries on the shrub that were causing the peculiar euphoria and after trying the cherries himself, he learned of their powerful effect. The stimulating effect was then exploited by monks at a local monastery to stay awake during extended hours of prayer and distributed to other monasteries around the world. Coffee was born.

Despite the appeal of such a legend, recent botanical evidence indicates that Coffea arabica originated on the plateaus of central Ethiopia and some how must have been brought to Yemen where it was cultivated since the 6th century. Upon introduction of the first coffee houses in Cairo and Mecca coffee became a passion rather than just a stimulant.

© 2001-2006. Coffee Research Institute. All Rights Reserved.

Coffee News: Brew better coffee by following basic cleaning tips

"Home brew coffee machines typically last three to five years, according to research conducted by Gevalia Kaffe, a purveyor of gourmet coffees. During that time, proper care and cleaning are critical to a good cup of coffee.

Gevalia advises cleaning your pot and machine once a month - or more - depending on how often you use it. Doing so will allow the coffee maker to drip better and operate more efficiently by removing oily residue and mineral buildup. The proof will be in the first sip of the morning.

Gevalia suggests a vinegar and water solution as a cost-effective cleaning method."

Full article here.

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