Coffee Culture In 2016

Like most cultures, coffee culture is no different really. A group of people brought together by a common interest. What better place than a coffee shop. There is always a buzz, and hive of activity. It attracts in some ways, so many like minded people, and in other ways such a variety. From businessmen, to housewives, students to teachers. Hundreds of years ago, they were popular meeting places for artists. A few years ago, Wine Masters were popping up everywhere, and now the latest trend seems to be becoming a Barrister. We were fortunate enough to be able to interview Winston, one of the top up and coming Barristers in the Country.

These days no matter where I am, or what I am doing, coffee seems to be screaming out at me! Coffee culture, coffee culture! Most people have coffee making machines, and there are shops dedicated to selling only coffee. We are so spoilt for choice, that it is difficult to know which coffee to drink, when, where and why? I am attending a Barristers course early next month, and will be back with loads more information on what all the different coffee beans are, and how to choose between them.

Meanwhile, not sure about you, but I am getting extremely confused between the different ways to drink coffee. Gone are the days when we only had the choice between an espresso and a cappuccino. And worse still, when I grew up, we either had instant or percolated coffee. Now we have a whole range of ways to drink our coffee:

– Latte: A coffee mixed with a frothed milk foam.
– Americana: Made by adding hot water to a mug with a tot of espresso coffee in it.
– Iced Coffee: Chilled coffee with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.
– Cappuccino: A cup of coffee covered in a layer of frothed milk foam.
– Skinny Cappuccino. The same as a cappuccino, but made with fat free milk.
– Flat white: A cup of coffee with milk.
– Espresso: Extremely strong, and dense, with “crema” (coffee foam on the top). Hence, café crema being an alternative name for an Italian espresso.
– Macchiato: A cup of frothed milk, filled up with an espresso coffee.
– Moccachino: A café latte with chocolate added to it.
– Frappe. A coffee with ice, served black or white.

And to make coffee even more enticing, many Countries around the world have their own special coffees, such as:

Caffe Au Lait: France
Egg Coffee: Vietnam
Turkish Coffee: Turkey
Café Bombon: Spain
Café Cubana: Cuba
Wiener: Vienna
Palazzo: USA
Caffe De Ola: Mexico

To top it off we have alcoholic coffee drinks, like an Irish coffee, Bavarian coffee, Café royal, Kalua coffee, and even coffee liquors.

I have to say that my favourite is still a cappuccino. It has to be made with the best quality coffee beans, and brimming over the top of the mug with foam. If you can convince me otherwise, please share with me the way you love your coffee.

Winston’s Interview..

How did you get involved with espresso coffee. How did it all start?

Without romanticizing too much, there was a complaint in my local newspaper about the bad coffee served in my town. That was about 5 years ago. After reading that I started tasting different coffees trying to figure out what a good cup of coffee really was. This eventually led me to Origin Coffee Roasting where I did a barista course while studying in 2013. I worked part time at a roaster in Somerset West and a market in Woodstock until I completed my studies in June 2014. I started working full time at Origin in August 2014.

What makes you continue to work as a barista? Is the job repetitious?

No it’s not repetitious. It may seem that way because, on the opposite end of the bar, it looks like we’re just pouring coffee every day but that’s far from it. We’re using different coffees every day so there’s a lot of tasting involved, the weather is always changing which means the coffee pours differently throughout the day so we have to work accordingly, we meet different people every day, face different challenges on a daily basis etc. So far from repetitious. And that’s exactly why I continue to work as a barista.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I find my inspiration by looking at all the people involved in the coffee cycle. From the farmer, to the green coffee buyer, the roaster, barista and finally the consumer. To know that I play a role in this process gives me the inspiration to try my hardest to serve the best cup of coffee possible. To justice to those who have played their part before me.

What is the new “in” in the current coffee industry?

To be honest I think that quality has become the new “in” in the coffee industry. More and more café are trying to produce better coffee, which makes things very competitive in terms of quality. This drives the industry in a positive direction. More cafés are also beginning to use alternative or filter brew methods like the aeropress and v60 pourover to make filter coffee. This is best enjoyed black without sugar to ensure that the nuisances and characteristics of the coffee can be picked up.

What kind of coffee do you like/not like to make

I like making all kinds of coffee. There is espresso based coffees like your typical Americano and latte and there is filter brew like the French press or aeropress. I can’t say I dislike making certain types of coffees but I do sometimes cringe when customers want an unusual order that takes away the emphasis of the coffee. For example a large milk based with a single shot and soya milk will completely overshadow the flavor of the coffee. But at the end of the day coffee is subjective and we cannot tell the customers what it is they like or dislike, we can only give advice and hopefully guide them.

What is the most time consuming coffee to make?

I’d say the filter methods we use in our café is the most time consuming. The French press takes about 5 minutes to complete. Whereas espresso based takes roughly 2 minutes.

What can you tell me about Coffee Culture?

Coffee Culture. Where do I start? Well right now in the coffee industry (worldwide) we’re experiencing what we call “Third wave.” “First wave” would be defined as the way our parents might’ve had their coffee. Instant coffee or a dark roasted Italian blend in the household filter machine. There was no real coffee or café culture. Then, with the arrival of Starbucks and other commercial coffee chains, the “Second wave” of coffee individuals evolved. People became more aware of what they were drinking and the trend of takeaway espresso based drinks like lattes and cappuccinos started.

Right now we’re experiencing “Third wave” where people in the coffee have become more conscious of the quality of the coffee they buy. Some companies going as far as establishing direct trade with farmers so they contribute to improving farming methods, exporting etc.

Green coffee beans are roasted with precision and a lot of care is taken in preparing both espresso based and filter drinks. Along with this, consumers are also conscious of the quality of coffee in cafes. Consumers know what they want when buying coffee, more so than before. And they are also a lot more educated. Because of this you find more cafes opening and more consumers visiting cafes thus a growing café culture. Bigger than before.

Tell me about the competitions you have won and what lies ahead for you.

Most recently I’ve won the South African National Aeropress title. The aeropress is basically a filtering device used to make coffee. And I won the national competition so I’ll be competing in the World Aeropress championships in Dublin, Ireland in June. I also came 2nd in the Western Cape Barista competition and 8th in the National Barista competition. In the future I’d like to enter more competitions with the goal of winning and competing at the World Barista Competition.

Your dream?

My dream is to put Africa on the map for coffee. As a continent we produce some of the best tasting coffees in the world but, other than in South Africa, we don’t necessarily serve this as it should be served. Most of the high quality coffee produced in Africa is exported and lower grade commercial coffees are left. I’d like to change this. Coffee was founded in Africa so I feel that we have a responsibility to be serving the best tasting African coffees in our cafes.

Coffee Update

Once considered to be harmful, coffee research has exploded in recent years. New studies show improvements in a number of different areas of health and even suggest how much to consume for maximum benefit.

COFFEE PROTECTS YOUR HEART

This is contrary to older thought, but Life Extension(1) discusses studies that show positive effects to your heart, blood vessels, and brain. To protect your heart, coffee works on the cells that form a lining in your heart and blood vessels–the endothelium. Coffee relaxes the vessels and has an anti-inflammatory effect. There is a 11% reduction of heart disease with 1.5 cups a day and a 15% reduction with 3.5 cups a day.

COFFEE REDUCES FAT AND DIABETES

I always question how adding to your consumption can reduce fat, but there are now many studies behind this. A compound in coffee, chlorogenic acid, has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that lowers your blood sugar and abdominal fat. This activates the immune system helping to prevent cancer as well. Your diabetic risk is reduced by 8, 15, 21, 25, 29, and 33% for consumption of 1 to 6 cups a day.

COFFEE PREVENTS SOME CANCERS

Liver and kidney cancers are the most improved even if you already have hepatitis. Many Americans eat a fatty diet and like their alcohol which damages the liver. Coffee’s anti-oxidant enzymes deactivate cancer enzymes. It helps destroy renal cancer cells in your kidneys. Drinking 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, or 8 cups a day results in liver cancer reduction of 34, 56, 62, and 68%.

COFFEE PROTECTS YOUR BRAIN

Age related cognitive decline leading to dementia is a concern for all of us. Caffeinated coffee elevates plasma levels which improves memory and may promote new brain cells. Two of the most common disorders of aging, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, can be reduced. Consuming 3 cups a day reduces your chance of Parkinson’s by 28%.

IN CONCLUSION

Life Extension(1) notes coffee drinkers are at a lower risk of dying from all causes with caffeinated coffee having a slightly stronger effect. I’ve been a fan of green tea health benefits, but with this new research, it looks like coffee in the morning and green tea the rest of the day.

Keep in mind that how you drink coffee matters too. A simple cup of brewed coffee has no fat and 5 calories. However, a large frappuccino has up to 580 calories which is equivalent to a meal. Some coffee drinks have up to 20 grams of fat. I understand that these are dessert drinks, but you don’t want to increase your fat intake accidentally. Using a little non-fat milk and the natural sweetener stevia is all you need to improve the taste. I personally recommend organic coffee to really enjoy the richness of flavor.

Finding Strong Coffee Beans

Are you on the search for strong coffee beans? I hear you. It is not fun, going to the grocery store, browsing the aisles looking for something more to put in your cup of coffee.

If you’re like many individuals, you aren’t satisfied with the regular big brand coffee. You want something with a little more punch. Something to really get your day going, right? Well let’s get you started in the right direction, shall we?

First, you need to determine your definition of strong. Is it caffeine you want to be strong? Or the flavor? They are two very different things and you should decide which is more important to make your decision on your quest for good strong coffee.

If it’s bold flavor you’re after, it helps if the coffee bean is a darker color. This is one reason a French roast is popular. This way, the beans are roasted a bit longer, giving them a much more rich and powerful flavor profile. However, you have to tread carefully here, as the longer you roast the coffee beans, the less caffeine remains as it gets lost to the heat.

On the other side of the spectrum, is a lighter cup of coffee. This is commonly referred to as a “breakfast blend” for its higher amount of caffeine. This can really get you going in the morning! Hence the name. This type of roast will generally have a much stronger effect on your body, but will taste a bit weaker.

These are things to keep in mind when you mention you like strong coffee.

Now once you have your taste preference for which type of strong you like, then you can move on to how to actually prepare your coffee at home. It’s really quite simple.

When you get down to it, the only two ingredients when brewing your coffee at home is water and coffee grounds. So it really is as simple as adjusting your coffee to water ratio. To make a stronger cup, increase the amount of coffee grounds in your brew without changing the amount of water used.

Most brews utilize a ratio that rest somewhere between 1:18 and 1:16 (1 part coffee to 16-18 parts water). The find out your perfect strength, start at 1:16 and slowly increase the amount of coffee grounds until you reach your coffee nirvana.

Don’t overdo it though. If you use too much coffee, really anything higher than 1:16, you’re going to get more of a sour taste because solubles weren’t fully dissolved in the water.

So there you have it! First find what’s more important to you, flavor or strength. Then experiment until you find the perfect balance to create your own “perfect cup of strong coffee.”

Get your hands on some seriously strong coffee at Lumberjack Coffee.

They roast their beans the day before it ships to you, ensuring you get only super fresh roasted coffee delivered to your doorstep.

They take great pride in their products, and have some really unique flavors like Maple Bacon Smoked. Rest assured, if you’re up for the best gourmet cup of joe you’ve had in a while, order from Lumberjack.

Espresso Benefits to Your Health

There are probably hundreds of millions of people all over the world that wake up to a freshly brewed serving of a pot of coffee or espresso. If you are one of these people then you’re probably going to be happy to find out that espresso is actually very good for your health.

Coffee actually has some of the same benefits as well naturally, but we’ll get to why some coffee drinkers are not reaping the full benefits of the coffee beverage that they love.

The Benefits of Drinking Espresso

Scientists and researchers have done studies to indicate just how beneficial a cup of espresso or coffee in the morning can be. From the prevention of Parkinson’s disease to lowering your chances of getting diabetes and colon cancer, there are plenty of benefits from that caffeinated beverage in the morning.

In addition, though, espresso and coffee drinkers are able to enjoy better overall mental performances as well as better immune system. But you may be wondering where all these benefits come from. After all, you’ve probably heard over and over that consuming too much coffee each day can actually be damaging to your heart.

The Source of the Benefits

However, there is one part of the coffee that is the best for your health as is described above and that is the fresh flavor that is derived from the coffee beans. The reason that the fresh flavor is the culprit of most of the health benefits is because the freshly brewed coffee beans contain very rich antioxidants that are great for your health.

One of the reasons that espresso is even better for you than regular coffee is a result of the steam being pushed through the ground coffee beans. This occurs so quickly that much of the flavor and antioxidants are in that single cup of espresso.

On the other hand, regular black coffee drinkers may gain some of the benefits from the antioxidants, although the most beneficial cup of coffee to your health that you will ever have is the first cup! After the first cup of the regular coffee is squeezed out then the benefits of the coffee diminish because there are less antioxidants in the second, third, or fourth cups!

Research Has Shown the Benefits

Even though many people may disbelieve that espresso is good for your health, many researchers have shown that drinking at least one serving of espresso a day can be beneficial to your health.

However, having an espresso is good on one hand, but doctoring it up with all sorts of sweeteners, creams, and cinnamon is something that will simply lessen the effects of the good benefits of espresso.

This is not to say that you can’t have a sweetened espresso and maybe having more than one serving of espresso each day wouldn’t be so bad after all. In this way one will be able to have all the good benefits of a regular espresso along with the good tasting stuff in one serving as well!

How to Serve Up Killer Coffee

Coffee – it’s the blood pumping through our communal veins in the modern world. Few of us can comprehend a day started without it, and an ever-increasing proportion of the population has elevated coffee consumption to an art form, such that not knowing your Guatemalan from your Gorokan beans, your macchiato from your piccolo has become the worst kind of social faux pas. But never fear – it turns out it is possible to make good coffee at home, and even impress your friends with your barista skills. Here are my hot tips (see what I did there?!).

1. Buy good, fresh beans

Don’t skimp on the beans, because good coffee begins with good beans. Do some experimenting and find an origin, roast and producer that you like (and don’t forget to make sure it’s ethically sourced, because exploitation of the people who grow it and pick it is sure to leave a terrible taste in your mouth). And then, make sure you keep it fresh – coffee shouldn’t be kept for more than two weeks and it should be stored in an airtight container.

2. Grind the beans yourself

Part of keeping the coffee fresh is doing the grinding yourself, just before you brew your cup. Invest in a good grinder and you’ll thank yourself for countless mornings to come. The aim is to get a fine, even consistency.

3. Get the water right

Coffee aficionados insist that chlorinated water taints the taste of coffee, so you might like to consider a filter. Apart from that, it’s all about the temperature. The optimal water temperature for coffee brewing is 91°C (196°F) and 96°C – cooler than that and it will underextract and taste like dirty dishwater, hotter and it will burn the coffee and taste bitter as sin.

4. Cleanliness is next to Godliness

Speaking of sin – the cardinal one of coffee making is poor equipment hygiene. I’m not even going to start on all the various types of coffee machines and methods available to confound the would-be home coffee maker, but no matter which you choose, keeping your equipment clean will keep your coffee quality. Give your storage containers and grinder a good wash every couple of weeks to avoid an oily build up, and run vinegar through your coffee maker every month to get rid of any tainting residues. Just don’t forget to rinse it well afterwards. That’s pretty important.

5. Serve it in style

There’s a reason that good coffee shops don’t sling you a coffee in polystyrene. Now that you’ve gone to all that trouble to make spectacular coffee, you owe it to your brew present it in a worthy fashion.

Stop Spilling Coffee

Do you know anybody who has never spilled a mug full of coffee on his or her clothes or technological gadgets? I am sure this is a situation that has happened to almost everybody and, sometimes, more than once! You, or the person you know, have probably had favorite clothes ruined and expensive gadgets destroyed. The more you drink coffee, the more likely you are to spilling a coffee mug, no matter how careful you are. There will be a moment when you are completely distracted multitasking and the coffee mug will be sitting right in the place between your laptop and those very important documents – a recipe for disaster!

Suffer no more! There is a product already in the market that can save you from those embarrassing moments. It is costless compared to how much you would spend for having coffee spilled over you laptop, phone, or tablet. It is costless compared to how much time you would lose trying to get rid of coffee stains. It is costless compared to all the trouble you would have for having lost those important documents. The product I have been taking everywhere I go since I bought it, it is, of course, a coffee mug!

However, this is a special type of mug. For starters, it is called the Mighty Mug and its slogan says “The mug that won’t fall over”. It is a thermal, cylindrical mug that comes in all different types of sizes and colors. The mug’s magic is related to its suction cup located on the bottom of the mug. The suction cup adheres to smooth surfaces and will only release itself from the surface if you grab it from the mug’s upper part. Once it is stuck to the surface of your office table, it will resist to the most violent arm and hand hits without causing a mess. In addition, if you are not into coffee or want a more sportive looking product, the mug’s manufacturer offers similar products for other types of drinks. This is a product that can also appeal to college students. Waking up early for classes can leave any person a little more clumsy than usual. Using this type of mug might save your from spilling coffee over your class assignments and might avoid that your receive a bad grade. There is, however, one drawback. The mug does not maintain the coffee hot for a long period. One average, you can expect to have a hot beverage between one, one and a half hour.

Your coworker’s birthday is coming up? The Secret Santa party has already been drawn? Think no more! This can be the ultimate, most surprising gift you can give anyone. I can guarantee that everyone will try to hit this mug at least once to prove its power and will be amazed to see that it works! Last but not least, the mug is also dishwasher safe. Therefore, you can use it as much as you want during the day and put it into your washing machine if you do not feel like doing the dishes.