Friday, March 26, 2010

Coffee - Tastes From Around The World

Coffee - Tastes From Around The World

Author: Wesley Johnson

The world loves coffee, but people show it in different ways. When a person walks into a coffee store in the US, the options may initially seem overwhelming. However, if all coffee styles from many nations around the world were also available in those same stores, there would not be enough room on the walls to list them. To learn more about different coffee cultures from America to Ethiopia, keep reading.

Coffee Americano or American Blend

American coffee typically is one of two different styles - a Cafe Americano and a basic, medium-roast Arabica blend.

A cafe Americano refers to a shot of espresso mixed with a cup or mug full of hot water and a splash of cream or sugar to taste. Meanwhile, the classic American blend of coffee is typically an Arabica bean medium roasted. The medium roast increases the sweetness of the taste, cuts down on the harshness of a dark roast and boasts a minimal acidic level.

European Coffee

The term "European coffee" generally refers to any dark roast, or a French roast in particular. The beans are roasted until they're black and the coffee is often more bittersweet than the more common American roast.

Normally, a European roast refers to an espresso roast where the beans are roasted specifically for an espresso, which are then used in cafe au lait, espresso shots, frappucinos and other coffee drinks. This is a very strong coffee, reflected in the taste.

Turkish Coffee

Turkish coffee refers to which is prepared by boiling the very finely ground, powdery coffee in a pot with boiling water. The coffee is then served in a cup and the grounds, or dregs, settle to the bottom. Ideally, the coffee is started with cold water and boiled over a long heat to achieve a perfect foam.

This type of coffee is routinely served in Turkey, the Middle East, North Africa and the Caucasus region.

Ethiopian Coffee

Ethiopians often consider their land to be the birthplace of coffee, and has an intricate coffee ceremony that is very much a part of its culture.

Typically, the coffee is brewed by roasting raw or green beans over hot coals or a fire. Then, each guest may waft the roasting smoke toward themselves to sample the aroma. Next, the roasted beans are ground using a mortar and pestle.

The grounds are subsequently boiled in a special pot called a jebena. Once the coffee boils up into the neck of the pot, it's then poured into another container to cool off and then put back into the jebena. Finally, a filter is placed over the spout of the jebena and the coffee is poured and served.

Traditionally, the coffee is served all at once. The host will pour the coffee into all the cups on a tray and without stopping. Once brewed, the grounds are later used three more times.

Coffee is such a popular drink around the world. Many cultures have their own unique versions that people love for the aroma, flavor, caffeine effect, and social atmosphere it helps to provide.

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About the Author

For additional informative details on coffee and enticing flavors that explode your taste buds, please visit, a popular site with insights on coffee options, such as flavored decaf coffee, gourmet coffee gift baskets, almond flavored coffee, and many more!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Coffee, for more than just drinking

Coffee Markets Spread Betting – 10 Key Facts

Author: Daniel Jones

If you are looking to spread bet on coffee then there are a few facts that you should note.

1)The two main types of coffee that are traded are Robusta and Arabica

a.Robusta is generally traded on the London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange (LIFFE)
b.Arabica is generally traded on the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE)

2)Arabica Facts

a.Arabica is also known as Coffea Arabica or Coffee “C” when referring to coffee futures
b.When Arabica coffee cherries ripen they fall to the ground and spoil
c.Arabica accounted for around 60% of world coffee production. Brazil and Colombia produce the majority of the world’s Arabica supply

3)Robusta Facts

a.Robusta is also known as Coffea canephora and Conillon
b.It is considered to be of a lower grade than Arabica. It has twice the caffeine and produces an inferior taste
c.The Robusta plant is easier to take care of and has lower production costs. When its coffee cherries ripen they remain on the plant
d.The Robusta plant is less susceptible to disease than Arabica
e.The Robusta plant can grow in areas where Arabica cannot
f.Robusta accounts for approximately 40% of global coffee production. Vietnam and Indonesia produce 50% of the world’s Robusta

4)According to the International Coffee Organisation (ICO), last year saw coffee production down 7% to 118,000 million bags

5)Coffee is measured in 60kg bags

6)As Anthony Grech of IG Index recently reported “It is also important to note that the production of both coffee types, as with any agricultural commodity, is primarily dependent on weather conditions, harvesting practices and disease. Therefore monitoring these variables, particularly in the major coffee producing countries, will provide an understanding of coffee supply and its intrinsic value, when compared with demand”

7)Key players in the market are Procter and Gamble, Kraft, Nestle and Sara Lee. Together this ‘Big Four’ buys most of the world’s raw coffee. Therefore monitoring the buying habits of these companies would help provide a better understanding of coffee demand. From a micro perspective, marketing and profit margins and also play an important role in driving demand

8)You can spread bet on both Arabica Coffee “C” and Robusta with spread betting companies like WorldSpreads and IG

9)Note that coffee is traded in US dollars. That means one of the biggest factors affecting the price is the exchange rate, just like Crude Oil and Gold. Because coffee is traded in US Dollars then, all things being equal, Coffee will tend to follows the dollar exchange rates. If the Dollar goes down against the Euro, the price of Coffee should go up and vice versa.

10)Finally, it is worth noting that demand for coffee is considered to be price inelastic. This means that when coffee prices increase, individuals do not proportionally reduce their coffee consumption, and when coffee prices decline, consumer demand for coffee does not proportionally rise to any great extent

Before you start trading coffee note that spread betting carries a high level of risk to your funds. You can lose more than you initially invest. It may not suit all investors. Only speculate with funds that you can afford to lose. Ensure you understand the risks and seek independent financial advice if and when necessary.

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About the Author

Based in the heart of London’s financial district, Daniel Jones is a professional commentator for some of the leading financial spread betting and spread trading websites.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Coffee History

History of the Coffee Bean

History of the Coffee Bean

Author: Grant Eckert

Whether you call it java, mud or a shot in the arm, an estimated 2 billion cups are consumed every day around the world - making coffee the most popular drink in the world. Coffee today is produced in over 50 countries and is the second most valuable export after oil. And to many of us - it's simply what we need to get us started in the morning.

Coffee is older than most people think - archaeological evidence suggests that humans were enjoying the taste of the coffee berry around a hundred thousand years ago. One legend has it that a goat herder in Ethiopia observed his goats eating coffee berries and he decided to taste them himself - noting the stimulating effect. Shepherds consumed the coffee by grounding the beans and mixing them with animal fat.

By around 600 AD, the coffee bean had made its way to what is now the country of Yemen, where it has been cultivated ever since. From 1000 AD, Arabian traders grew and cultivated the coffee bean on plantations - they called their new concoction qahwa meaning "that which prevents sleep". Arabia controlled the coffee trade for many centuries as they introduced a law that prohibited the exporting of beans that could germinate.

Despite this restriction, the coffee bean somehow found its way throughout the Middle East - to Persia (now Iran), Egypt and parts of Northern Africa. Coffee beans also found their way to the Mysore area of India - where descendants of those original plants flourished until the early 20th century. In many cases, the beans were literally smuggled out of Arabia.

At first, coffee was not enjoyed for its taste, but more as a supplement or source of nutrition. When the coffee bean found its way to Turkey, the Turks began to drink it for its flavor - frequently adding such things as cinnamon or anise. The Turks were also the first to roast the beans over fires and boil the crushed beans in water. And what is generally considered to be the world's first coffee shop was opened in Istanbul - known as Constantinople at the time - in the 15th century.

The Dutch were the first to transport and cultivate coffee beans on a commercial basis. With coffee beans smuggled out of Arabia, they established plantations in Ceylon and one of their colonies - Java. Today, Indonesia is the world's third largest producer of coffee.

The coffee bean was introduced to Europe during the 17th century. At one point, the beverage was more popular than tea in England and was used as an antidote to the widespread alcoholism of the time. Coffee houses sprang up in such places as Vienna, Paris and London, frequented by the wealthy and fashionable. The Austrians are credited with the practice of adding milk and sugar to coffee.

In France, Louis XIV built greenhouses to protect his precious coffee beans from frost. And in the New World, coffee was also a popular drink - the newly formed American colonies declared coffee to be the national drink. Not everybody approved; the Catholics declared coffee should be banned - despite the Pope confessing to being an avid coffee drinker.

Today, there are actually more than 60 varieties of coffee in the world, although the beans used for coffee are one of two types - Robusta and Arabica. Around 75% of coffee beans produced are Arabica and are cultivated in Brazil and Central America. Robusta beans produce a stronger blend of coffee and are cultivated in parts of Asia and Africa as well as Brazil.

Chances are high that your coffee beans come from Brazil, the world's largest producer of coffee. Brazil produces almost 30% of the world's coffee and also has some of the most advanced processing techniques in the world. In 2006, the gross value of coffee production in Brazil was almost 5 billion dollars and the industry employs several million workers.

Coffee isn't usually associated with Asia, but several Asian countries have started to cultivate the coffee bean. In recent years, Vietnam has become a large producer and some of the African coffee producing countries still produce excellent coffee - in particular Kenya and Tanzania

Some countries have also started to cultivate specialized coffee beans - Kenya produces a fruity coffee and Indonesia produces the Kopi Luwak - a coffee bean that has been passed through the digestive system of a civet. And Ethiopia - where the coffee bean was perhaps first discovered - is home to a bean that produces a coffee flavored with chocolate, ginger and orange.

So whether you prefer your coffee beans with milk, with sugar, strong or with no caffeine - take a moment and enjoy a cup of the world's most popular drink.

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About the Author

About Author:

Grant Eckert is a freelance writer who writes about topics pertaining to the food and beverage industry such as Coffee | Coffee Beans

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Manual Coffee Grinders Let You Enjoy Freshly Hand Crafted Coffee

This is a great article on manual coffee grinders. I like this article because, it focuses on one of the most important aspects of coffee; the experience. A manual coffee mill is particularly beneficial for those interested in how to make the perfect cup of Turkish coffee, since the grind is such a crucial part of making Turkish coffee.

Manual Coffee Grinders Let You Enjoy Freshly Hand Crafted Coffee

Author: Coffee Daydreams

Do you grind your own coffee beans? Maybe next time you would want to try a manual coffee mill to enjoy hand crafted ground coffee.

Even if you like your current electric grinder here are some reasons to try out a a manual coffee grinder? Probably for the same reason that some people enjoy working with old fashioned hand tools instead of the latest high tech electric version. It is great to feel like an old fashioned craftsman.

If the idea of actually feeling the beans being ground appeals to you, read on. If you prefer to buy ground coffee, you will still find this enjoyable to think about how coffee used to be made.

This of this as a way to transport yourself back to a simpler time, when the only way to grind coffee was with a manual coffee mill. What should you look for in a manual coffee grinder today?

How to buy a manual coffee grinder

First, be sure to buy a new grinder. Don't mistake a decorative grinder for one that will do the job for you reliably and consistently. Many coffee grinders are just decorations. They were never meant to be used to grind coffee, and they may even be contaminated with who knows what if they are vintage grinders.

Second, avoid inexpensive grinders. A manual coffee is a precision instrument, with a hardened steel grinding mechanism designed to crush and grind coffee beans consistently and reliably. You should look for a coffee grinder with a five or ten year warranty. You can plan to spend between $50 to $75 for a mill that will last years, if not a lifetime.

Grinding your coffee by hand

With your quality mill, you will quickly grind coffee for about six cups of brew in just a couple of minutes. You will vary the grind based on how you plan to brew your coffee: coarse for a French press, fine for espresso, and in between for a drip brewer. The finer the grind, the longer it will take you but it this is easy and fulfilling work as you feel the beans being crushed and releasing the fresh coffee fragrance to enjoy.

A special mill for Turkish coffee

If you make Turkish coffee on your stove top, you need extremely finely ground beans, almost powdered.

Regular hand coffee mills won't grind beans finely enough. You will need a special Turkish coffee mill. You can expect to pay a bit more for a quality manual mill for Turkish coffee, probably around $75 to $100.

Should you buy a manual coffee grinder?

If you are deciding between an electric coffee grinder and a manual coffee mill, which should you buy? That depends on you. I would buy the electric one first, but make sure it is a quality mill that uses the burr style instead of blade style grinder. Also, buy one that grinds at a lower speed to avoid building up static electricity that makes the coffee stick everywhere. We have more ideas for choosing the right electric grinder on our site at Coffee Daydreams Best Coffee Grinders

Then I would buy a manual grinder. Use it for the days when you feel like enjoying simpler pleasures in life. When you want to add to the coffee experience and the hands-on feel of taking whole beans and applying some of yourself to the coffee making process.

When you relax and enjoy the results of your hand ground coffee beans, you will experience a bit of the ongoing adventure through the years, enjoying different coffees and trying different techniques, always learning, always growing in your coffee skills and appreciation.

For more about coffee and how to choose the best coffee makers, you can visit

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About the Author

Dennis Toman is a coffee enthusiast and the author of Coffee Daydreams, a site dedicated to helping people enjoy the coffee of their dreams. You can visit for more about gourmet coffee, and how to choose the best coffee makers.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Abosolute 10 Greatest Tips for Purchasing a Home Espresso Machine

The Abosolute 10 Greatest Tips for Purchasing a Home Espresso Machine

Author: MarkusYannies

Choosing the right home espresso machine can be a difficult task but with some basic knowledge and wisdom of how a coffee and espresso maker works, how much they cost, and specific features you get for the money, selecting the right option is easy. One point is clear. If you are spending money at a coffee shop at least 3-4 times per week the payoff on a home espresso machine is well worth the investment:

Let’s do the math:

1. Average cost for a coffee specialty drink such as an espresso or cappuccino: $3.50
2. Number of trips to the Coffee Shop per year: 52 weeks * 4 visits per week = 208 yearly visits
3. Yearly Cost: $3.50 espresso drink cost * 208 yearly visits = $728 Annually

For $728, one can purchase a full-featured super automatic espresso machine. Ok, now that you see that an home espresso machines is good investment, let talk about some tips on how to buy one:

1. Decide what type of espresso drinks you like. Do you like a cappuccino or mocha or just a straight shot of espresso? How about a regular cup of coffee? The choices for home espresso machines will vary greatly. Most super automatic espresso coffee machines can brew you a strong cup of coffee just like you find at the coffee houses as well as the espresso drinks. Perhaps you would like to choose between regular coffee and decaf in which case a bypass doser on the home espresso machine is a good option. Choose between a super automatic, semi automatic, or automatic home espresso machines. The most popular type of espresso machine is a super automatic espresso machines.

2. Cost. While many people like to have all of the bells and whistles, buying a quality espresso machine is much like buying a car. Do you need heated seats if you live in Arizona? Same principle. Decide on what type of drinks you like, find a machine with those features and set a budget. The most common question we get is how much do I have to spend for a quality machine? If you are spending $750 - $1,000 on a fine brand super automatic such as Saeco or Gaggia, you will be purchasing a quality home espresso machine with standard features suitable for most people. If you want the highest quality espresso drinks, a semi automatic espresso machine such as a Rancilio or Pasquini are priced in the $700 to $1,500 range. Semi-automatic espresso machines are a bit more work but results are outstanding. All excellent choices.

3. Popular Espresso Features. Milk based drinks – If you love the lattes, mochas, and cappuccino’s make sure you buy a machine with two boilers or dual heating elements. Using a single boiler is ok for standard espresso drinks but a dual boiler will produce the fastest steam. This is typically a feature that separates the cheap $100 - $200 espresso machines from the quality home espresso machines.

Adjustable water volume and coffee dose - Some machines will only have the ability to adjust the water so the more water you have the weaker the cup. Having both an adjustable doser and water volume gives you the most control. Excellent features to have especially if want a standard cup of coffee.

Digital or Analog (dials) – There is much debate on which is better to have. This comes down to a personal choice. With digital machines, your options are greater and you can really get dialed in on the coffee / water ratio. You also get statistics on your home espresso machine and most digital espresso machines will tell you when to clean it. Another key feature digital machines typically have is the ability to regulate when the machine is on or off.

View Quality home espresso machines

Other important features:

Look for a large water reservoir typically over 40 ounces.

Cup height adjustment – make sure your cup will fit. Most espresso cups are 4 – 6 inches.

Water filter – espresso machines with a water filter will produce better coffee and keep you machine in better condition. Water filters are highly recommended.

Bean hopper size – Get a machine with a minimum or 8 ounces. You do not want to be filling the bean hopper every day.

Cup Warmer – Coffee maintains its best flavor when poured into a heated cup.

Grinder Settings – Make sure the espresso machines have at least 3 grinder settings. This is essential for dialing in the right grind.

Heat up time – you do not want to be waiting over 5 minutes for an espresso machine to heat up. A good machine will be ready for a second cup of espresso is just under 1-2 minutes after the initial heat-up.

4. Size and Construction – Make sure you have adequate counter space for the home espresso machine. These espresso machines are generally larger than a typical coffee pot so make sure you measure. Also, having a movable base will allow you to pull the machine out to fill it with water and beans. Almost all of the super automatic home espresso machines body’s are made of heavy duty plastic or stainless steel. The inside boilers are either stainless steel or aluminum. Often people make the mistake of thinking the plastic is not as durable but in reality, it is. It is what is on the inside that counts. A stainless steel boiler will offer years of service if properly maintained. The espresso machines of today feature sleek, modern designs. If you are purchasing a semi-automatic espresso machine, consider stainless steel because of all of the interaction with the machine. If you choose a super automatic, a plastic design with stainless steel or aluminum boilers is sufficient.

5. Proper Cleaning and maintenance – The number one problem with home espresso machines is scale build-up. If you own a quality machine, regular descaling and back flushing is not recommended, it’s required. What I mean is that if you want to maintain your warranty, you must complete these maintenance items. It takes about 15 minutes each month but will keep your machine operating for years. Don’t let your machine sit idle for a long time with water loaded as the minerals in the water can cause issues in the boilers and metal components.

6. Water and Coffee – Buying quality coffee and using filtered water will provide the ultimate coffee experience. Many espresso machines have built in water filters such as the Aqua Prima Water Filter. If you use tap water and cheap brand name coffee don’t waste your money on a quality espresso machine. Fine coffee and filtered water contribute significantly to the quality of the brew. Use a coffee such as Lavazza or Gaggia especially made for a higher end coffee espresso machine.

7. Choosing where to buy a home espresso machine – You can buy these machines from many of the major stores but the issue is support and buying guidance. You simply cannot call the “red dot” store or “overstock” stores and expect to find someone that is knowledgeable about quality espresso coffee machines. Try calling one of the major chains for support and they will refer you to the manufacturer. The truth is that your retailer should be able to answer most questions and get you technical support if you need it. You are not going to get the level of support from a big chain store or large e-tailer.

Today’s home espresso machines are sophisticated machines. Buy the machine from a reputable online retailer who specializes in espresso machines or coffee makers. Retail stores that specialize in espresso and coffee machines have knowledgeable staff that can assist you with questions, problems, tips, and service. And guess what, the prices in the espresso coffee machine specialty stores are typically less because of the volume of machines they sell.

Choose a store that has a Better Business Bureau accreditation so you can be sure you are buying from a reputable dealer. Beware of stores that do not specialize in coffee and espresso machines. Where is the best place to find the best cup of coffee or espresso? It is your own kitchen of course. Happy shopping.

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About the Author

Markus Yannies recommends the gaggia platinum swing and quality
saeco espresso machines

View a Quality coffee and espresso maker

Thursday, March 11, 2010

More on Coffee Pods

I tought this article on espresso pods was the perfect follow up to the last article on tips for making a quick cup of coffee.

Make Brewing Easy With Espresso Coffee Pods

Author: Masni Rizal Mansor

For anyone who enjoys coffee and espresso drinks, having to go to your local café every time you want to enjoy a quality drink can be cumbersome and expensive. Equally as cumbersome is the process of making espresso drinks at home. The time it takes you to measure out the espresso, press them into your machine, make your drink and then clean up can be quite cumbersome.

Fortunately for café fiends, there is a middle road between your nearest barista and brewing your own espresso. Espresso coffee pods are a quick way for you to brew quality espresso/coffee drinks without a lot of work or clean up. And they certainly won't break your bank like purchasing a latte every morning on your way to work.

What Is An Espresso Coffee Pod?

Espresso coffee pods are like pre-packaged coffee filters. The espresso or coffee is sandwiched between the filter paper, forming a pod about two inches in diameter. You use them in the same way that you would brew coffee in a traditional home coffee pot, only without the hassle of having to measure out grounds. You just pop the espresso or coffee pod into a compatible machine, and your work is done. Clean up is just as easy, since the only thing you have to do is throw away the espresso/coffee pod and rinse out your machine.


If you already own an espresso machine, you're in luck. Espresso coffee pods are designed to work with your existing equipment, so there's no need to have to purchase anything new. Basically espresso coffee pods are just making the process a lot faster and easier for you. If you don't currently own an espresso machine, and were deterred from making an investment in one because of the work involved, you can now consider owning your own machine and using espresso coffee pods.

With the growing popularity of espresso coffee pods, you should be able to find most of your favorite espressos and coffees available in pod form. Everyone from Nestle to Starbucks has started packaging coffee in this way. Espresso coffee pods save you time, without skimping on quality. You can still brew quality espresso or coffee, and you can enjoy that fact that is has already been packaged for you to brew right away. What are you waiting for? Start enjoying great espresso without all the hard work!

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

5 Ways to Quickly Make a Halfway Decent cup of Coffee

Its never That early
This cartoon continues my campaign against instant coffee. I understand instant coffee has a loyal fan base, but I just cannot get on board, and I will not apologize for it. I am not saying I get up every morning and make a gourmet cup of coffee from scratch. There are times when coffee is drank out of necessity rather than for the experience, but there are better ways to make a quick cup of coffee without stirring in the flavor crystals.
Hmmm… that may actually make a good blog post.

5 Ways to Quickly Make a Halfway Decent Cup of Coffee

1. Prepare everything the night before. You may or may not lay your clothes out at night before you go to bed, but it is amazing how a few seconds of preparation the night before can save minutes in the morning. Apply this same principal to your coffee; by taking out the filter from the morning before (don’t act like it isn’t still in the coffee brewer). Pre grind your coffee and place it in a filter in your coffee brewer, Fill the brewer’s reservoir with water, place your mug with a spoon in it next to the coffee brewer.

2. Go through a coffee shop drive through. The key is ordering something simple. If you order some crazy double mocha, caramel, cappuccino, with whip cream and butterfly shaped chocolate drizzle on top it may take a little longer than a single origin dark roast.

3. Use coffee pods. I have never been a huge fan of pods, mainly because they infringe on the coffee experience. However, we are going for speed without sacrificing too much quality here, and coffee pods are probably the quickest alternative to instant coffee. They offer a wide variety of roasts and flavors, and honestly there are several brands that do not taste half bad. Certainly, better than the "left over coffee grounds taste" of instant coffee.

4. Invest in an auto drip brewer with a timer. I would recommend getting a single serve brewer so you can place your travel mug right under the brewer. If you are going to use coffee pods this would be a good time to get a machine that accepts them. Look for a coffee brewer that has an alarm type timer, so you can set the coffee brewer to start a few minutes before you will be ready for your cup of coffee in the morning. This way you just walk and grab your freshly made cup of coffee and you are out the door.

5. Don't do these things to save time making coffee. Do not use instant. Do not make a full pot of coffee and place your mug under the drip (It will taste nasty). Don’t microwave yesterday’s coffee (I’ve seen it done). Do not reuse yesterday’s grounds.

Some techniques, like pre -grinding coffee 8 hours in advance are not ideal for making great coffee, but the intention is to give you some ideas to make your coffee quicker while minimally sacrificing coffee quality.