meta http-equiv="Content-Language" content="en-us">

Coffee Connoisseur's Secrets

Coffee is far more than simply the brew that wakes people up in the morning. Coffee shops dot the city streets around the world with specialty coffee drinks drawing lines of customers. We will share the nuances of coffee from how to select the roast that suits your palate, to secret recipes of your favorite specialty drinks. We even have some marvelous recipes using coffee as a flavoring or spice to add a very special touch. If you love coffee, you will love these secrets. affiliate

Java Queen International Has Coffee Roasted Expressly For You And Everything You Need To Make Your Own Specialty Drinks At Home! Save Time And Money Buying Directly From The Roaster!

The Coffee Connoisseur's Secrets

Saturday, September 10, 2005

New Orleans Coffee Not Damaged By Hurricane Katrina


NEW YORK -- The 700,000 bags of coffee stored in New Orleans warehouses operated by Port Cargo Service Inc. weren't damaged by Hurricane Katrina, the company said Thursday.

The privately held New Orleans company operates 28 warehouses in that city, including coffee facilities licensed by the New York Board of Trade.

"We had some roof damage in three warehouses, but moved the nearby coffee to dry areas in those buildings," said Kevin Kelly, president of Port Cargo. "We have no odors, no unusual humidity or toxicology problems, and suffered no losses in our seven coffee warehouses."

Streets surroundings those buildings are dry, he added.

"We had no rising water in our warehouse areas, and don't expect food inspectors to look at our buildings," Kelly said. "There's no need for it."

On Thursday, Arabica coffee futures edged off nine-month lows touched earlier in the session on the Nybot after industry members and bargain hunters bought, brokers said.

Most-active December coffee rose 1.2 cent to 95.95 cents a pound. Spot September coffee also gained 1.2 cent to 92.70 cents a pound.

Traders heard mixed reports about the size of coffee losses in New Orleans warehouses after Katrina, with one local storage firm seeing some damage and another company finding few problems in its silos.

On Thursday, traders said the giant New Orleans coffee industry could be a big loser well after the hurricane, and observed that the port in recent years slipped from the largest U.S. coffee terminal to second after New York. Ports in Houston, Florida, New York and New Jersey are picking up business being diverted from New Orleans. New Orleans-based roasting plants are shifting activities elsewhere.

The port of New Orleans will start reopening this weekend, and officials are working with labor unions to get workers back at the terminal.

A Procter & Gamble Co. team is still inspecting New Orleans facilities and inventories and it's unclear what effect the hurricane and flooding had, Treasurer John Goodwin told analysts at a conference in Boston.

Cincinnati based P&G has four coffee storage and production facilities and over 500 employees in the New Orleans area.

Luzianne Coffee, one of the top two brands of java sold in Louisiana, has temporarily concentrated its roasting activities in Knoxville, Tenn., after its New Orleans headquarters and main roasting plant were shut by Katrina.

Previously, most of Luzianne's beans arrived at the port of New Orleans but the company is having imports rerouted.

Luzianne has yet to hear about the condition of its coffee stored in its New Orleans warehouses. The company has no current plans to pass on higher fuel and trucking costs associated with Katrina to its customers.

For Your Perfect Cup Of Coffee Click Here Now

Friday, September 09, 2005


There is simply nothing much better than a Perfect Cup Of Coffee and a chewie brownie. This brownie is sure to please chocolate and coffee lovers.

Preparation 20 min.
Baking 33 min.

Brownie Ingredients:

1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
2 teaspoons hot water
1 cup real semi-sweet chocolate chips (We recommend NESTLE® TOLL HOUSE® Morsels)
1/2 cup LAND O LAKES® Butter*
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Frosting Ingredients:

1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
2 to 3 tablespoons milk
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup LAND O LAKES® Butter, softened*
Drizzle Ingredients:

1/3 cup real semi-sweet chocolate chips (We recommend NESTLE® TOLL HOUSE® Morsels)
1/2 teaspoon shortening


Heat oven to 350°F. Combine 1 tablespoon espresso powder and hot water in small bowl; stir to dissolve. Set aside.

Melt 1 cup chocolate chips and 1/2 cup butter in 3-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth (4 to 7 minutes). Remove from heat; stir in espresso mixture, sugar and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add flour, baking powder and salt; stir until well mixed.

Spread mixture into greased 8-inch square baking pan. Bake for 33 to 38 minutes or until brownies just begin to pull away from sides of pan. (DO NOT OVERBAKE.) Cool completely.

Combine 1 teaspoon espresso powder and 2 tablespoons milk in small bowl; stir to dissolve. Add powdered sugar and 1/4 cup butter. Beat at low speed, scraping bowl often and adding enough milk for desired spreading consistency. Frost cooled brownies.

Melt 1/3 cup chocolate chips and shortening in 1-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth (2 to 4 minutes).

Drizzle chocolate over frosting; swirl with toothpick or knife for marbled effect.

*Substitute LAND O LAKES® Soft Baking Butter with Canola Oil.
Ingredient Substitution Index

Yield: 25 brownies

Nutrition Facts (1 brownie)


Calories: 180
Fat: 9 g
Cholesterol: 34 mg
Sodium: 95 mg
Carbohydrates: 28 g
Dietary Fiber: 1 g
Protein: 2 g

Serve This Treat With A Pefect Cup Of Coffee And Listen To The Delight And Praise!

10011B Copyright © 1998 Land O'Lakes, Inc.


Bring the luck of the Irish into your home with this Irish coffee flavored pie.

Preparation 30 min.
Baking 7 min.

Crust Ingredients:

1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup LAND O LAKES® Butter, softened*
2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
Filling Ingredients:

3 1/4 cups miniature marshmallows
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
2 tablespoons bourbon or whiskey, if desired
1 1/2 cups LAND O LAKES® Heavy Whipping Cream, whipped
Garnish Ingredients:

LAND O LAKES® Heavy Whipping Cream, whipped, sweetened, if desired


Heat oven to 350°F. Combine all crust ingredients in medium bowl. Press onto bottom and up sides of 9-inch pie pan. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely.

Combine marshmallows, milk, sugar and coffee granules in 2-quart saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until marshmallows are melted (10 to 12 minutes). Pour into large bowl; cool completely.

Stir bourbon into cooled marshmallow mixture; gently stir in whipped cream. Pour into cooled crust. Refrigerate until set (4 hours or overnight). Garnish with sweetened whipped cream, if desired. Serve with a Perfect Cup of Coffee From Java Queen International

*Substitute LAND O LAKES® Soft Baking Butter with Canola Oil right from the refrigerator.
Ingredient Substitution Index

Yield: 8 servings

Nutrition Facts (1 serving)


Calories: 360
Fat: 26 g
Cholesterol: 90 mg
Sodium: 130 mg
Carbohydrates: 32 g
Dietary Fiber: 0 g
Protein: 3 g


0865 Copyright © 1995 Land O'Lakes, Inc.

For Your Perfect Cup Of Coffee Go Here!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

What Is Coffee?

From Coffee Basics"
© 1997 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Pages 1-14
Kevin Knox & Julie Sheldon Huffaker

To develop a knowledgeable relationship with coffee - and particularly to learn to distinguish and appreciate its flavors-one must first understand what coffee is. The coffee bean is actually the seed, or pit, of the round, red cherry fruit of a tropical evergreen shrub. The coffee shrub grows up to 15 feet in height, and its branches grow thick with broad, waxy green leaves. In addition to the claret red clusters of coffee cherries, each coffee branch offers an abundance of luxuriant, jasmine-scented flowers.

A normal cherry contains two seeds, or beans, that grow nestled against each other. When one of these beans doesn't develop properly, the remaining bean takes over the extra space at the heart of the cherry and becomes unusually rounded. These anomalies are known as "peaberries." Because of their unique appearance, they are occasionally sorted out from the other beans and sold separately.

Today, most of us consume our coffee by the cup: processed to free the seeds from the cherry, roasted to enhance the flavors locked inside, ground finely, and brewed with fresh, hot water. Earlier devotees, however, fermented the tangy coffee fruit for liquor; there is also evidence to show they boiled the leaves for tea. Ethiopian nomads even rolled beans with animal fat to fashion a sort of traveler's quick-energy bar.

Since its discovery in Arabia around the ninth century, coffee has become one of the world's most popular agricultural products. In volume of trade, coffee is second only to oil on the world market. It is also one of the most labor-intensive food products, undergoing more than 17 processing steps on the way to the mugs of its followers.

The annual yield of a coffee tree is approximately one pound of roasted coffee or-brewed properly-about 40 cupfuls. It's a good thing this harvest is worth the wait, because coffee farmers have to do just that; on average, five years must pass before a young tree bears its first full harvest.

Arabica and Robusta

There are two major species of coffee that are grown for commercial use, Coffea robusta and Coffea arabica. Robusta grows at lower elevations, has a higher yield per plant, and is more disease resistant than its arabica relative. Robusta beans are noteworthy for their harsh, dirty flavor and abundant caffeine-twice as much caffeine, in fact, as is found in arabica beans. Relatively low costs of production make robustas favorite with North American canned, or "institutional," coffee roasters.

The arabica species, which grows best at higher elevations, is the source of all of the world's great coffees. While there is more poor-tasting arabica than robusta in the world, this is simply a result of the fact that monumentally more arabica is grown. About 75 percent of the world's total production is arabica; at most, 10 percent of that is actually of "specialty" quality.

"Specialty" Quality Coffee

Specialty coffee distinguishes itself first and foremost by the quality of the raw material. The term "specialty coffee" also connotes a greater level of attention paid to the processing and roasting than is characteristically associated with coffee that comes in a can. Henceforth, when we talk about growing conditions and coffee in general, the specialty-grade arabicas are the beans we're talking about.

To narrow the pot still further, of the 10 percent of arabicas that can legitimately be called specialty coffee, only 1 or 2 percent qualifies as superlative representatives of their growing regions, or grand crus ("great growths"). Such beans provide the pinnacle flavors and aromas we coffee lovers are looking for, and when we talk about taste in the cup, these are the coffees to which we refer. The stunning reward of a balance of factors including plant pedigree, altitude, microclimate, and cultivation, these magnificent coffees are the ones we encourage you to seek out and sample.

Here's a quick semantic distinction you may find useful: People often refer to single-origin coffees, the pure, unblended coffees that come from a single country or region, as "varietals." Used this way, the term is more colloquial and convenient than botanically correct. Remember the hierarchy from high school biology- kingdom, phylum, class, and so on? "Species" falls at the end of the line, and "variety" is a subunit of species.

The use of the word varietal, therefore, is a bit misleading. When people say "varietal," they're not talking about a distinct "variety" within species arabica; what they really mean is a single-origin coffee. To avoid confusion, whenever we refer to unblended beans we will call them single-origin coffees.

Hybrids vs. Heirlooms

As is the case with many domesticated agricultural products today, the issue of growing heirloom varieties versus modern hybrids is a great concern in the specialty coffee industry. Older versions of the arabica plant are preferred by many specialty coffee buyers for their superior and distinctive taste qualities. Older heirloom types, such as bourbon and typica, are still widely planted in East Africa, Yemen, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Significant pockets can be found in other countries as well.

At the same time, modern hybrids such as caturra, catimor, and the hardy variedad Colombiana have become increasingly popular with growers. In general, hybrids produce more beans per plant and are less susceptible to disease than the heirloom types. Unfortunately, hybrids are also generally considered by tasters in the industry to be more bland in the cup.

Specialty coffee buyers concerned about flavor and the future existence of fine coffee encourage growers to continue cultivating heirloom plants. They are also willing to pay the higher prices that support growers in doing so.

The coffee tree requires a frost-free climate, moderate rainfall, and plenty of sunshine. The regions where coffee grows, known as "origin regions," are grouped loosely under three geographical nameplates: the Americas, Africa and Arabia, and Indonesia. Within these regions, coffee grows in almost 80 different countries. It can grow at altitudes ranging from sea level to 6,000 feet, in all sorts of different soils and microclimates.

The environment required for growing fine specialty coffee, however, is found only in select mountainous regions in the tropics-between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer, to be exact. These aristocrats demand high altitudes, usually between 4,000 and 6,000 feet, to produce their stunning and concentrated flavors. They need an annual rainfall of about 80 inches, with distinct rainy and dry seasons. The soil in which fine coffees grow must be extremely fertile, and is often volcanic. Regular mist and cloud cover are also necessary for protection from overexposure to sunlight at these latitudes.

For such high-quality coffee to thrive, year-round daytime temperatures must average 60-700F, which by tropical standards is quite cool. The result is a longer, slower growth cycle, yielding beans that are denser and far more intense in flavor than their lower-grown neighbors. In some growing regions, most notably Guatemala and Costa Rica, beans are graded by elevation. The highest-grown of these are called "strictly hard bean" (SHB). In origin countries, you might also hear high-grown coffees described as being stronger" (in taste, mind you-not caffeine content).

Because they are harder and more dense, high-grown beans can be roasted darker and still retain their integrity. Here's an example: At a darker roast, a premium Guatemalan Antigua offers plush, Belgian-chocolate body and considerable flavor complexity. At the same roast, beans grown at lower elevations are left with little other than the roasty, smokey flavors of the roasting process itself.

The beans grown downslope are still good coffee, but compared in the cup to those of higher elevations they are simple, mild, and uncomplicated. To borrow a wine taster's term, they are vin ordinaire, "ordinary wine," and nothing to write home about. Again, for true complexity and dimensionality of flavor, green-coffee buyers look to the lofty mountains, bright sunshine, fertile soil, and warm but not hot climes-the land, as the people of Guatemala call their highlands, of "eternal spring."

In addition to meeting these narrowly defined growing criteria, fine coffee requires special handling during its harvest. Coffee cherries ripen at differing rates-even on the same tree and branch, and in the same cluster. To ensure optimal flavor, cherries must be picked at their respective peaks. Each cherry is picked individually, by hand. Coffee pickers return many times to the same tree over the course of a harvest, and pick through each day's efforts with care in order to spot and discard any underripe fruit.

Wet and Dry Processing

After the ripe cherries have been plucked from their trees, the next task is to get at the seeds, or coffee beans, inside. To separate the beans from their cherries, a total of four layers must be removed: the tough, shiny outer skin; the sticky, mucilaginous pulp of the fruit; a stiff parchment casing; and the thin, delicate "silverskin" that clings to each bean.

There are two methods used to isolate the beans: the washed process and the dry process. The method used depends largely on the availability of fresh water and is one of the most important determinants of coffee flavor.

The washed, or wet, method involves mechanically removing the pulp from the beans. After depulping, top-quality wet-processed coffees are transferred to large fermentation tanks, usually through a sluice of some kind.

In the fermentation tanks, a carefully monitored and controlled enzymatic reaction allows the sticky fruit to swell and loosen from the beans inside. Many first-time plantation visitors are surprised to discover that these tanks of coffee smell remarkably like new-made wine. Fermentation may last from 12 to 36 hours, depending on atmospheric conditions and the nature of the coffee itself. Carefully executed, fermentation yields the crisp, fruity acidity and aromatic high notes that define the world's great washed coffees.

The path from ripe to rotten is short. If this stage is not arrested at the exact moment fermentation is complete, an entire batch of coffee can be ruined. The dreaded taste defect known as "ferment" will occur and lend its unmistakably offensive taste to the beans. When ferment is present, even a neophyte taster knows something has gone horribly wrong; its taste could be described, quite frankly, as latrine-like. The control of fermentation is invariably the job of the most experienced workers on a coffee plantation.

When fermentation is complete, the beans are washed free from the loosened fruit. The coffee beans, with parchment layer intact, are left to dry on large patios. To ensure even drying, the beans must be raked and thereby turned several times each day.

Washed coffees are brighter and offer cleaner, more consistent flavors than those processed by the dry method. Not surprisingly, the wet method predominates in Latin America, the very region whose coffees we associate with these characteristics. In more industrialized coffee-growing countries like Costa Rica, traditional wet processing is being replaced with a variation called aqua-pulping. With this method, the coffee is just depulped, rinsed, and dried. Sadly, such coffee can't express the high notes and varietal charm characteristic of traditionally washed beans.

In comparison to the wet method, the dry or natural method seems quite simple. Coffee cherries are spread to dry in open sunlight, usually on patios or tarps, for several weeks. The shriveled husks of dried fruit are then winnowed away, leaving only the interior parchment and beans.

Dry-processed coffees are generally heavier bodied and more variable in flavor than wet-processed beans. You will find-and learn to taste-that most Indonesian coffees are dry-processed, as are some of the more traditional coffees of Africa and Arabia.

Milling and Sorting

After being processed via the wet or dry method, coffee beans are milled to remove their stiff parchment and light, translucent silverskin. They are then sorted by size and density At every step of the way, in fact, the milling and sorting processes work to bring like beans together, and this is critically important to good roasting. Defects, which may include broken or underripe beans and small stones, twigs, or other foreign material, are also removed during milling and sorting.

Separated from defects and shed of their trappings, coffee beans are known to the trade as "green coffee." In truth, unadulterated "green" beans range in color from opalescent blue to a matte gray-green. Compared to roasted coffee, which has a shelf life that is measured in days, green coffee is fairly stable, with a shelf life of up to one year.

From There to Here

How long does it take coffee to get from "picking point," or harvest, to the roaster? For properly selected coffee, it takes a while. The stretch of time between the moment coffee is harvested and the day it is received by the roaster is typically a minimum of two to three months. The prime picking point in Central America, for example, is January through March; the better Central American coffees harvested in March will begin reaching U.S. roasters in June and July.

Savvy green-coffee buyers avoid first shipments from any origin. These tend to comprise early pickings-less flavorful coffee that's been rushed to market. While top-quality Costa Rican coffees may be shipped as early as February, the best usually go out in April or May. These start arriving in U.S. ports by mid-summer.

Why does it take so long for green coffee to reach us? As you know, once harvested, the coffee will be wet-processed or dry-processed. It will be milled and sorted, then carefully dried to within 10 to 12 percent moisture, rendering it chemically stable. The sum of these processes can take up to 14 days. At the finest farms, the coffee will then sit in what is called reposo, or "rest," for 30 to 60 days. Much like the cask conditioning of beer and wine, the function of reposo is to allow coffee to settle down, to reach equilibrium with regard to its temperature and humidity. This step greatly extends its useful shelf life in green form, which again, is of substantial benefit to the roaster.

Following these days of rest, the coffee is transported by sea to its destination country. Travel from Central America to the United States may occupy the better part of a month. For coffees that start out further away, such as in Kenya or Papua New Guinea, the trip may take up to twice as long, or two full months.

For The Best, Fresh Gourmet Coffee You Want Java Queen International

Labels: , ,

A New Take On Coffee Cake

A wonderful low-fat coffee cake recipe? Not gummy, tough or flavorless? Yes, Virginia, it does exist.

By Linda Greer - Eating Light, Woman's Day Specials

Remember those mornings when your mom had the mom next door over for coffee, cake and gossip? When life moved at a more leisurely pace and having a piece of cake didn't mean you had to spend hours atoning in the gym? Well, making time to get to know the neighbors is up to you, but this recipe for Cranberry Streusel Coffee Cake will serve as an effective ice-breaker with even the most dedicated dieters.

The original coffee cake was an admittedly delicious combination of tender, buttery cake, tart bursts of whole cranberries and crunchy cinnamon streusel. However, your waistline certainly paid the price for all that enjoyment. A single serving weighted in at a hefty 501 calories with a whopping 24 grams of fat per serving. Practically all the flavor came from fat - two and a half sticks of butter, 3 eggs and a full cup of sour cream!

Some commonsense substitutions and a bit of kitchen wizardry were all it took to reform this bad boy. Calories were slashed by nearly half and - perhaps even more important - there are now only 4 grams of fat per serving with absolutely no sacrifice in flavor with this delicious coffee cake.

An array of healthful ingredients are at work replacing the fat. Apple-juice concentrate and just a bit of canola oil moisten the streusel and bind it together, completely forgoing the need for butter.

Puréed canned pears are used to take advantage of their natural fat-mimicking abilities. As a result, texture, always a dicey proposition in low-fat baking, is not compromised.

One whole egg and an egg white provide the amount of protein the cake needs to form a nice crumb and add just enough richness.

The tanginess and moisture traditionally provided by the sour cream, not to mention the richness, come through just as strongly with nonfat sour cream. The same amount of nonfat yogurt also works well.

Thanks to the natural sweetness and moisture provided by the apple-juice concentrate and the pear purée, this cake batter can get away with a half cup less of refined sugar. But a dessert with this many cranberries does need the counterbalance of the sugary streusel. And don't forget: You are getting loads of vitamin C and antioxidants from those cranberries, helping to maintain a healthy urinary tract and possibly helping to prevent gum disease.

But perhaps the most clever trick is browning the tiny amount of butter remaining in the recipe before incorporating it into the cake batter, maximizing that unmistakable flavor and even adding a slightly nutty undertone. The butter, in combination with the mere tablespoon of canola oil, a healthful monounsaturated fat, means that only 12 percent of the cake's calories come from fat.

Equally delicious at breakfast, brunch or as an afternoon pick-me-up, this recipe can be enjoyed as giant muffins or as two 8-inch by 4-inch loaves. Enjoy one now and freeze one for later. For a fancier occasion, bake in a 12-cup Bundt pan and dust with confectioners' sugar. Adjust your baking times to the size of your pans accordingly and check for doneness frequently. Finally, use this recipe all year round. Try it with blueberries or raspberries in the summer and chopped apple or pear in the fall.

Here you go... enjoy this cake with your favorite gourmet coffee from Java Queen International


1 can (16 ounces) pears, drained and puréed
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg white
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup nonfat sour cream
3 cups frozen cranberries

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons frozen apple-juice concentrate, thawed

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch by 13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. In saucepan, over medium heat, cook pear purée, stirring, until reduced to 1/2 cup. Cool.

In small saucepan, over medium heat, cook butter, swirling, about 1 minute, until lightly browned. In large bowl, whisk pear purée, butter, sugar, egg, egg white, vanilla and 1 tablespoon of the oil until smooth.

Sift cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add alternately with sour cream to pear mixture. Spread half of batter in pan; top with cranberries and rest of batter.

In medium bowl, stir together all-purpose flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Blend in apple-juice concentrate and remaining oil until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter.

Bake 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from middle.

Per serving: About 284 calories, 5 g proteins, 59 g carbohydrates, 4 g fat, 13% calories from fat, 21 mg cholesterol, 225 mg sodium, 2 g fiber.

Have A Cup Of Freshly Roasted Gourmet Coffee To Start Your Day Perfectly!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Hurricane Katrina Helps Coffee Farmers

Hurricane Katrina will affect our economy far beyond what the damage of the hurricane has inflicted. The obvious and most reported effect will be on the oil supplies in our nation. Being a coffee lover as well as coffee marketer impact on the price of coffee as indicated by the article broadcast by the Associated Press caught my eye immediately.

"BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) - Hurricane Katrina may have destroyed about 1.5 million sacks of coffee stored at warehouses in New Orleans, raising the global price of coffee and benefiting coffee growers across the world, officials said Friday.

'There were about 750,000 sacks of coffee in New Orleans certified by the New York Board of Trade and private importers had a similar amount,' said Gabriel Silva, head of Colombia's National Coffee Federation."

Apparently the markets have effectively claimed the coffee destroyed and the price of coffee on the global markets has risen by 12 cents in the five days after Katrina made landfall in New Orleans. For those not as familiar with the coffee market, New Orleans is the top coffee port and major warehousing and roasting center.

The coffee lost in New Orleans represents about 8 percent of annual coffee consumption in the United States, according to a study by the Colombian Coffee Federation.
Silva said the lower global coffee production combined with the flooding after Hurricane Katrina means that Colombia's coffee exports this year will likely bring in between $1.6 billion and $1.7 billion compared with $1.056 billion in 2004.

Colombia is one of the world's main coffee exporters so the law of supply and demand will work in their favor in the near future.

Go Here For More Information On The Coffee Crisis

Java Queen International; Coffee Freshly Roasted Expressly For You!

How To Store Coffee

There are popular misconceptions on the way roasted coffee should be stored and maintained. The enemies of roasted coffee are moisture, air, light, and heat. Storing your coffee away from them will keep it fresher longer. Therefore, an airtight container stored in a cool, dry, dark place is the best environment for your coffee.

Freezing Coffee - Not as Good as an Iced Mocha

Some people store their coffee in the freezer thinking it is going to keep the coffee fresh. Here are a couple of reasons why storing coffee in your freezer is a bad idea:

Coffee is porous. This is a good thing for fans of flavored coffee as the beans absorb the coffee flavoring syrups and oils that are used to make flavored coffee. However, if given the chance, coffee can also absorb other things like the flavor of seafood or the moisture that your freezer produces. This moisture will in turn deteriorate the coffee and even make it taste like, well... like a freezer.

When coffee is roasted, the beans release their oils and essences to give the coffee its distinct flavor. You'll notice these oils are more prominent on dark-roasted coffee and espresso. When you break down these oils by freezing, you are removing the flavor.

Think about it.... if coffee tasted better and fresher from the freezer, then you would buy it in the frozen food section, your local coffee shop might look more like an ice cream parlor, and our power bills would be through roof trying to maintain a meat-locker the size of a warehouse.

When to Freeze Coffee

How long does coffee stay fresh? A good rule to use is two weeks. Now, if you happen to have found a great price on bulk coffee, and you don't plan on using it within two weeks, the freezer can be an acceptable one-time shot. What this means is that once you take it out of the freezer, it should never go back in. The constant changes in temperature will wreak havoc on your coffee. The frozen moisture on your coffee will melt and be absorbed into the bean. When you put it back into the freezer, you are repeating the process.

The goal in freezing coffee is to keep it away from moisture. If you have a five pound bag of coffee to store, divide it up into weekly portions. Wrap those portions up using sealable freezer bags and plastic wrap. I've even read you should go so far as to suck out the excess air from the freezer bag using a straw!

Remove the weekly portion when you need it, and store it in an air-tight container in a dry place like your pantry. Do not put it back into the freezer!

When to Refrigerate Coffee

Never, unless you are conducting a science experiment on how long it takes to ruin perfectly good coffee. The fridge is one of the absolute worst places to put coffee.

Buy Whole Beans And Keep Them Whole As Long As You Can.

Would you cut a cake into pieces the day before you plan to serve it? Would you buy it pre-sliced? Of course not! The pieces would quickly become stale and the frosting would start to dry out. The same goes for coffee. Grinding the coffee breaks up the beans and their oils, exposes the beans to air, and makes the coffee go stale a lot faster, no matter how you store it. This holds especially true for flavored coffees!

For the best tasting coffee, buy your beans whole and store them in a sealed container in a dark place. Grind right before serving.

Vacuum-sealed Coffee

Vacuum-sealed coffee does not equal fresh coffee. When coffee is roasted, it releases carbon dioxide and continues to release it for days afterward. Fresh-roasted coffee can be packaged in valve-sealed bags to allow the gasses to escape and will taste best about 48 hours after roasting. To be vacuum sealed, the coffee has to first release all its CO² or it will burst the bag. The vacuum bag will indeed help preserve coffee longer while it ships and maybe sits on a store shelf, but before it shipped it had to sit around for a while before it was "sealed for freshness." Vacuum sealing is best for pre-ground coffee, which we already know is not going to taste as good as fresh-ground coffee.

A Quick Review For Serving The Best Coffee:

Buy whole beans directly from a coffee roaster if possible.
Look for valve-sealed bags, not vacuum-sealed.
Store your coffee beans in a sealed container in a dark place.
Grind your beans just before brewing.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Alarm Not Such A Bad Thing...

So, starts another day... the whirring of the coffee grinder makes an almost welcomed alarm clock. I lay in bed this morning basking in the aroma of my fabulous French Roast Coffee while my automatic coffee maker prepared my morning engergizer.
If only I could sit out in the garden and drink several cups rather than go to work.
Alas, that won't happen today, so as I finish my first cup, I bid "good day" to you all.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Coffee and Armagnac Parfait

Coffee And Armagnac Parfait; A Delightful Treat!

This icy dessert combines the pleasure of strong coffee with a shot of good brandy. A base of heavy cream provides a smooth texture, lasting body and stability. For an authentic presentation, serve it in traditional fluted parfait glasses. Cognac or another brandy may be substituted for the Armagnac, if you wish

2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
4 egg yolks
2 cups heavy cream
2 1/2 tablespoons chilled espresso (depending upon how you like your drink)
1/3 cup Armagnac
Unsweetened cocoa or roasted coffee beans, optional

In a saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Stir until the sugar is dissolved; bring to a boil over high heat.

Meanwhile, place the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl. As soon as the sugar-water syrup boils, remove from the heat and slowly pour the mixture into the egg yolks while whisking vigorously.

Place the bowl over (not touching) barely simmering water in a pan. Continue to whisk vigorously until the mixture is frothy and stiff, 3-4 minutes.

Remove the bowl from over the water and, using an electric mixer set on high speed or the whisk, continue to beat until the mixture cools down completely, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Place the cream in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer fitted with clean beaters, beat until soft peaks form. Add the coffee extract, Armagnac and cooled yolk mixture and, using a rubber spatula, fold together gently.

Espresso Coffee Extract
• 1/2 c. milk
• 1/4 c. finely ground espresso coffee

For the coffee extract:
Bring the milk to a boil, add the espresso, and stir. Remove from heat. Cover, and let it steep for 2-3 minutes. Strain through paper towels.

Divide the mixture evenly among 4-6 individual parfait glasses. Cover and freeze for at least 5 hours or, preferably, overnight.

Serve each parfait garnished with a dusting of cocoa or a few coffee beans, if desired.

The best organic coffees from Java Queen International's "Your Morning Coffee" FREE COFFEE WITH PURCHASE

Why Buy Specialty Coffee?

The most immediately noticeable difference between commercial and specialty coffees is packaging: Commercial coffee comes in little bottles of instant, or already ground and packed in a tin. Specialty coffee comes as whole beans, in either one-pound bags or in bulk, and needs to be ground before it's brewed. You can purchase freshly roasted coffee ground specifically to meet the needs of your particular brewing machine.

Commercial coffee is usually roasted and packed in large plants, under nationally advertised brand names; specialty coffee is usually roasted in small stores or factories, using traditional methods and technology, and is often sold where it's roasted.

Specialty coffees offer considerably more choice than commercial coffees; you can buy coffee by the place the bean originated ("Kenya," "Colombian"); by roast ("French roast," "Italian roast "); or by blend designed for the time of day, price or flavor. Commercial coffees offer only a very limited selection of blend and roast, and little possibility whatsoever of buying straight, unblended coffees. Specialty coffees offer more opportunity for the consumer to participate in the creation of his pleasure; commercial coffees are a fait accompli in a tin or bag.

The final, most important difference between commercial and specialty coffees is the way they taste and smell. The best commercial blended coffees are good. The worst are atrocious. But bought fresh and brewed correctly, specialty coffees are more than good; they are superb, and superb in a variety of ways. If you want to know how specialty coffees get to be better than commercial coffees, read on.

Species of Coffee

Coffee buyers divide the world's coffee production into three main categories: "high-grown mild," "Brazilian," and "Robusta."

High-grown mild coffees demand the highest prices on the world market. The coffee tree will not tolerate frost, but will not flourish when temperatures are extremely high either. This means coffee grows best in certain well-watered, mountainous regions of the tropics. High-grown mild coffees, no matter where they come from, are grown at altitudes over 2,000 feet above sea level, usually between 4,000 and 6,000 feet. They are also produced from berries that are picked only when ripe, and prepared with care. The responsible specialty coffee roaster uses only the finest high-grown mild coffees.

The use of the term "Brazilian" to describe the next most preferred group of coffees is misleading, since Brazil also produces excellent mild coffees. The trade term "Brazilian," however, refers to lower-grade coffees which are grown at low altitudes on vast plantations and mass harvested. These coffees at best have a middle-of-the-road, neutral flavor, with a flat aroma. Most decent commercial blends contain large proportions of "Brazilian," with smaller additions of high-grown milds.

Both "high-grown mild" and "Brazilian" coffees are produced from plants which belong to the botanical species Coffea Arabica. The Arabica is the original coffee plant; it still grows wild in Ethiopia, and was first cultivated in Yemen at the southern tip of the Arabian peninsula. Coffea Arabica was then carried around the world by coffee-hooked devotees, much as European wine grapes spread to form the basis of the world's wine industry. All specialty coffees come from Coffea arabica stock, which still makes up the majority of the world's production.

Many other species of coffee tree grow wild in Africa, however, and one, the Coffea Robusta, has grown to major importance in world markets. The main advantages of the robusta are its resistance to disease, and the fact that it will grow successfully at lower altitudes than Coffea Arabica. The bean, however, does not have the fragrance or flavor of the best arabica or even a decent Brazilian, and demands the lowest prices in the world market. Robusta is used as a component in the cheapest American commercial coffees, especially instant coffees.

Processing Coffee

The coffee bean, like all beans, is a seed; it grows at the heart of a small berry, about the size of the end of your little finger. Before the coffee can be shipped and roasted the bean must be separated from the berry. Nature has been particularly lavish in its protection of the coffee bean, and removing the three sets of skin and one layer of pulp from around the bean is a complex process. If done properly, the coffee looks better, tastes better and demands a higher price.

The worst preparation would be as follows: The coffee berries are stripped - leaves, unripe berries, and all - onto the ground. This mixture is then scooped up, sifted, dried in big piles, and some time later the hardened berry is stripped off the bean. Some beans will be small and deformed, shriveled, or discolored. In poorly prepared coffee all the beans, good and bad, plus a few twigs, a little dirt, and some stones, are shipped together. The various flavor taints associated with cheap coffee - earthiness, mustiness, harshness, and so on - derive from careless picking and drying.

The best preparation would run like this: The beans are selectively picked as they ripen. The outer skin is immediately scraped loose, exposing the pulp. The beans are then soaked, and the sweet pulp fermented off the bean. More soaking, or more properly washing, follows, before the bean is dried and the last layers of skin, now dry and crumbly, are stripped off the bean. In some cases, the beans are further tumbled and "polished" to improve heir appearance.

Grading Coffees

Coffee is graded according to these three criteria: the quality of the bean (altitude and species), quality of preparation, and size of the bean. A fourth criterion is simply how good the coffee tastes and smells, what coffee people call "cup quality."

Again: The specialty coffee seller buys only the best grades of coffee, which means high-grown mild beans, excellent preparation, with high cup quality. When you buy from a responsible specialty coffee seller you should be buying top quality, no matter what country of origin or roast you choose.


Sunday, September 04, 2005

The History of Coffee

The history of the coffee bean does not want for drama. Since its first documented use—and probably long before—stories involving coffee have been rife with intrigue, passion, revolution, and idiosyncratic charm.

Of Goats and Holy Men

Legend has it that the stimulant properties of coffee were discovered sometime before the ninth century by an Abyssinian goatherd named Kaldi. Bored and mischievous, the young man's goats began snacking on coffee cherries while he napped nearby. Waking to find his charges pirouetting off rocks and the surrounding canyon walls, Kaldi collected a handful of the bright red fruit and hastened home to his village imam. As an experiment, the religious leader boiled the cherries in water and then drank the concoction himself. He became alert and lively, so much so that maintaining wakefulness during evening prayers was uncharacteristically effortless. These stimulating properties made coffee an instant hit among the ranks of the faithful, and its use rapidly became routine.

As coffee gained in popularity, the sixteenth-century Mohammeddans found reason to complain. Ironically, they considered coffee to be a threat to religious sobriety, especially upon witnessing that followers were more likely to frequent streetside cafés than they were to visit the mosques. Consumption was discouraged, and rumors linking the beverage with impotence, among other "ills," spread wildly. Still, there was no scarcity of coffee drinkers.

In fact, the Arabians guarded their beans with extreme jealousy. All coffee beans designated for export were boiled, destroying their ability to germinate and be domesticated outside the region. Although there is unofficial record that one religious pilgrim smuggled a seedling back to India in the early 1600s and planted it behind his hut in the Mysore area (where a great deal of good coffee has grown since), the commercial production of coffee remained under Arab control through the latter part of the century.

The Baptism of the Bean

Not long after Venetian traders first presented coffee to Europe in 1615, Pope Clement VIII was warned it might prove threatening to the holy aims of the Church. A legislature of priests accused the beverage of being a tool for the devil, designed to lure good worshippers into losing their souls. Curious, the pope requested that his attendants bring a cup of the stuff to him. He found its aroma pleasing and, upon tasting it, became so enamored with the brew that he decided to get the better of the devil by baptizing it, thereby making coffee a "truly Christian beverage."

The ardently entrepreneurial Dutch orchestrated the first successful planting outside Arabia-on the island of Java-in 1699. An initial trial shipment was sent back to Amsterdam in 1706 and included one seedling, which was planted in the botanical gardens. This tiny plant later played the role of parent seedling to the majority of the coffee grown in the western world.

When coffee so gained in popularity in Germany that it replaced other breakfast beverages, the eighteenth-century ruler Frederick the Great issued a desperate manifesto. "It is disgusting to notice the increase in the quantity of coffee used by my subjects," he declared, complaining with particular bitterness that the revenues for coffee went to foreign hands while profit from beer came to the crown. "My people," he protested, "must drink beer." Johann Sebastian Bach's famous one-act operetta, the Coffee Cantata, was a thinly veiled operatic criticism of the extraordinary lengths the royalty and upper classes took to keep common folk from enjoying the beverage.

The fashionable populations of Vienna and London willingly blessed the beverage as well, although it was a Turkish ambassador's introduction of coffee to Paris that sparked a veritable explosion of coffee culture. It was rumored that Louis XV spent $15,000 per year on coffee for his daughters. Even the most avid coffee drinkers are astonished to hear that Voltaire supposedly consumed 50 cups a day. Balzac, another devotee among the French literati, applied its exciting properties thusly: He went to bed at six in the evening, slept until midnight, then rose for 12 solid hours of writing, during which time his sole sustenance was coffee.

Coffee Crosses the Atlantic

After numerous disappointing attempts, a coffee seedling measuring about five feet tall was successfully transplanted from the botanical gardens in Amsterdam to the gardens in Paris. Soon after, a young naval officer, Gabriel Mathieu de Clieu, triumphed as a coffee pioneer by bringing one of the plant's offspring to the Americas.

According to his own account, De Clieu shared his shipboard water ration with the plant, fended off jealous shipmates, and survived both storm and calm to finally triumph in planting the little tree when he docked at Martinique. Within 50 years, there were more than 18 million coffee trees growing on the island; these were the progenitors of most of the coffee plants growing in Central and South America today.

Consumption of coffee in the United States began as early as 1668. The first documented license to sell coffee was obtained by Dorothy Jones of the Massachusetts Colony in 1670. It was the famous British tax on tea, however, that elevated the role of coffee forever. The British East India Tea Company harbored plans to develop a profitable market in the colonies. But the Boston Tea Party, plotted by revolutionaries in Boston's lively Green Dragon coffee house, made drinking coffee a popular form of protest against the iron fist of the monarchy. From that point forward, the more refined beverage of the British crown never regained a substantial foothold.

Today, the United States consumes more coffee than any other nation in the world. Although per capita intake peaked in the 1960s, our national average is again on the rise. Numbers indicate that the fuel behind this, and a parallel increase in Canada, is the emerging specialty coffee segment of the market. Clearly, an emphasis on better coffee is attracting consumers back to it.

The Culture Of Coffee In The US

by: Remko de Knikker

It wasn't until I moved to the US that I started drinking coffee regularly and became what they call in the Netherlands a 'koffieleut', which translates literally into ‘coffee socialite.’ Although the average European drinks more coffee per year than the average American, the cultural importance and its effects on the average European seems to me smaller than that on the average American. After all, coffee is a cultural obsession in the United States.

Chains with thousands of branches like Dunkin' Donuts or Starbucks dominate US daily street life. Especially in the morning (90% of coffee consumed in the US is in the morning), millions of white foamy cups with boldly imprinted pink and orange logos bob across the streets in morning rush hour and on the train. Coffee drive-ins are a saving grace for the rushing army of helmeted and tattooed construction workers. During lunch break, men and women in savvy business suits duck into coffee shops.
Students chill out from early afternoon till late evening on comfy couches at coffee lounges around campus. Police officers clutch coffee cups while guarding road construction sites on the highway. In short, coffee drinkers in the United States can be found just about anywhere you go.

This mass-psychotic ritual causes Americans to associate Europe above all with cars that oddly do not contain cup holders (to an American this is like selling a car without tires), or with the unbelievably petite cups of coffee European restaurants serve, so small that my father-in-law had to always order two cups of coffee. It is my strongest conviction that the easily agitated and obsessed nature of the ‘New Englander’ can be blamed on the monster-size cups of coffee they consume. Not without reason is the word 'coffee' derived from the Arab 'qahwa' meaning ‘that which prevents sleep.’ Arabs have cooked coffee beans in boiling water since as far back as the 9th century and drank the stimulating extract as an alternative to the Muslims’ forbidden alcohol.

These days coffee is second only to oil as the most valuable (legally) traded good in the world with a total trade value of $70 billion. Interestingly, only $6 billion reaches coffee producing countries. The remaining $64 billion is generated as surplus value in the consumption countries. Small farmers grow 70% of world coffee production. They mainly grow two kinds of coffee beans: Arabica and Robusta. About 20 million people in the world are directly dependent on coffee production for their subsistence.

Table 1: production in 2002/3
country % 70% Arabica 30% Robusta
Brasil 42.03% Arab/Rob
Colombia 8.88% Arabica
Vietnam 8.35% Robusta
Indonesia 4.89% Rob/Arab
India 3.74% Arab/Rob
Mexico 3.54% Arabica
Guatemala 3.1% Arab/Rob
Uganda 2.53% Rob/Arab
Ethiopia 2.44% Arabica
Peru 2.24% Arabica

Table 2: consumption in 2001/2 world consumption % kg per capita (2001)
USA 30.82% Finland 11.01
Germany 15.07% Sweden 8.55
Japan 11.47% Denmark 9.71
France 8.89% Norway 9.46
Italy 8.59% Austria 7.79
Spain 4.90% Germany 6.90
Great-Brittain 3.63% Switzerland 6.80
Netherlands 2.69% the Netherlands 6.48

Although the consumption of coffee per capita in the world is decreasing (in the US alone it decreased from 0.711 liter in 1960 to 0.237 liter presently), world consumption is still increasing due to the population explosion. Considering that coffee consists of either 1% (Arabica), 2% (Robusta) or 4.5%-5.1% (instant coffee) caffeine, the average American consumes at least 200 to 300mg (the recommended maximum daily amount) of caffeine a day through the consumption of coffee alone.

The place I frequent to down a cup of coffee is the Starbucks in Stamford, Connecticut. The entrance can be found on the corner of Broad Street and Summer Street, to the left to the main public library with its plain pediment and slim Ionic columns. The location right next to the library harmonizes with Starbuck’s marketing plan. At the entrance of the coffee shop a life-size glass window curves around to the left, providing superb voyeuristic views of pedestrians on the sidewalk. As you enter, you step directly into the living room area with stacked bookshelves against the back wall. Velvet armchairs face each other with small coffee tables in the middle, creating intimate seating areas. The velvet chairs near the window are the prime seats, which people unfortunate to score a wooden chair prey upon. At the back of the long rectangular room is the coffee bar and a small Starbuck’s gift shop. There is a dark wooden table with electrical outlets suited for spreading out laptops and spreadsheets, dividing the living room area from the coffee bar.

Since I have been cranky for weeks I hesitate to order a regular black coffee. It is very easy to get cloyed with a favorite food or drink in the US because of the super-sized portions served. The smallest cup of coffee is a size 'tall' (12oz.=0.35l.), after which one can choose between a 'grande' (16oz.=0.5l.) and a 'venti' (20oz.=0.6l.). Half a liter of coffee seems a bit over the top, and it sounds absolutely absurd to my European mind. I finally end up choosing a 'solo' espresso.

Sitting in one of the booth-like seats against the back wall, unable to obtain a prime seat, I feign to read my book while eavesdropping on conversations around to me. Three middle-aged men sit in three ash gray velvet chairs and converse loudly. A vivid dialogue develops, exchanged with half roaring, half shrieking, laughter. They mock a colleague in his absence and then clench their brows in concern while discussing the teeth of one of the men’s daughter. Two African-American women sit at a small table opposite the reading-table in the murky light, one of them with a yellow headscarf with black African motifs. Close to the entrance, in the seating area next to the animated conversation, a vagabond is playing solitaire. One by one he places the creased cards with rounded backs over one another, as if he attempts to stick them together. He rendered a couple of dollars in exchange for a small coffee to feel, in the warmth of the front room, nostalgia for a cozy living room and relives a sense of intimacy of having your own house.

It's a bright, sunny, early autumn day, a typical New England Indian summer. Sunbeams radiate through the coloring, flickering foliage, and throw a puzzle-shaped shadow into Starbuck’s window. Autumn’s hand turns her colorful kaleidoscopic lens. The green ash tree near the sidewalk resembles, with its polychrome colors, somewhat a bronze statue: its stem sulphur bronze, its foliage intermittently copper green and ferric-nitrate golden. On the other side of the cross walk the top of a young red oak turns fiery red. These are the budding impressions of the autumn foliage for which Connecticut is 'world famous' in the US.

In the world of marketing and entrepreneurship, Starbucks is a success story. It is one of those stories of ‘excellence’ taught as a case study at business school. Founded in 1971, it really began its incredible growth under Howard Schultz in 1985, and presently has 6,294 coffee shops. But what does its success really consists of? A large cup of coffee at Starbucks is much more expensive than at Dunkin' Donuts: $2.69 compared to $3.40 for a Starbucks' ‘venti’. But while Dunkin' Donuts offers only a limited assortment of flavors like mocha, hazelnut, vanilla, caramel and cinnamon, you will find exotic quality beans at Starbucks like Bella Vista F.W. Tres Rios Costa Rica, Brazil Ipanema Bourbon Mellow, Colombia Nariño Supremo, Organic Shade Grown Mexico, Panama La Florentina, Arabian Mocha Java, Caffè Verona, Guatemala Antigua Elegant, New Guinea Peaberry, Zimbabwe, Aged Sumatra, Special Reserve Estate 2003 – Sumatra Lintong Lake Tawar, Italian Roast, Kenya, Ethiopia Harrar, Ethiopia Sidamo, Ethiopia Yergacheffe and French Roast. So Starbucks offers luxury coffees and high quality coffee dining, reminiscent almost of the chic coffee houses I visited in Vienna.

Every now and then, I grin shamefully and think back at my endless hesitation choosing between the only two types of coffee available in most Dutch stores: red brand and gold brand. Even up to this day I have no clue what the actual difference is between the two, apart from the color of the wrapping: red or gold. Not surprisingly, Starbucks appeals to the laptop genre of people: consultants, students, intellectuals, the middle class, and a Starbucks coffee is a white-collar coffee, while a Dunkin' Donuts coffee is a blue-collar coffee. In Dunkin' Donuts you will run into Joe the Plumber, Bob the barber, and Mac the truck driver. But what is it exactly, that attracts the white collared workers in the US to fall back into the purple velvet chairs?

I imagine their working days filled with repetitive actions and decisions within a playing field of precisely defined responsibilities. How many of the players in these fields get through the day with its routines for simply no other reason than being able to enjoy their daily 30 minutes-escape into the Starbucks intimacy where, for a brief moment in the day, you regain the illusion of human warmth and exotic associations of resisting the coldness of high finance? For 15 minutes you fall back into the deep, soft pillow of a velvet chair and randomly, and alas how important is that moment of utter randomness, pull a book from the shelves. While, in the background, soothing tones resound of country blues, with its recognition of deep human suffering, a blaze of folk with the primary connection with nature and tradition, or of merengue reviving the passionate memories of adventure and love, you gaze out the window and ponder about that simple, volatile reflection in the moment, strengthened by the physical effect of half a liter of watery coffee that starts to kick in and the satisfaction of chewing your muffin, bagel, cake, brownie, croissant or donut. It is, above all, that bodily ecstasy caused by a combination of caffeine, sugar and the salivating Pavlov effect. You remember the struggling musician behind the counter taking your order, the amateur poet as you pay her for the coffee and give a full dollar tip, feeling a transcendental bound in your flight from reality. You stare with a fastened throbbing of the first gulps of coffee at the advertisements and poems on the bulletin board, and dauntlessly you think: They are right, they are so right! and what do I care? Why should I care? Fuck my boss, fuck the system, fuck everybody!'

But then you look at your watch and notice you really have to run again. 'Well, too bad, gotta go!', or people will start gossiping for being so long away from your desk. And while you open the door, an autumn breeze blows in your face, the last tunes of the blues solo die out as the Hammond organ whispers: 'I throw my troubles out the door, I don't need them anymore'.

Coffee in the US is a subculture that massively floated to the surface of the consumer’s society. Starbucks is more than coffee, it's more than just another brand on the market, it is a social-political statement, a way of perceiving how you would like to live, in other words it is a culture. Starbucks is the alternative to Coca-Cola and so much more than just coffee: it's chocolate, ice-cream, frappuccino, travel mugs with exotic prints, cups and live music, CD's, discounts on exhibitions and even support for volunteer work.

About The Author
Remko de Knikker is a contributor to (personal website: Remko studied West European history in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He is currently employed as a bioinformatics programmer at Yale University. He wrote two short stories 'A Short Story about Andrzej and Roman' (© 2003) and 'Theombrotus or the Pharmacia' (© 2003), is the editor-in-chief for, and a columnist for He was a winner of the Bulkboek songtext contest (Stef Bos: Het verlangen vrij te zijn), and published two CDs: 'Blockbuster' (© 2003 Blockbuster) and ‘Handful of maggots’ (© 1999 Blockbuster).