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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

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The Coffee Connoisseur's Secrets

Friday, September 23, 2005

Coffee Becoming More Than A Quick Fix For College Students

Coffee becoming more than a quick fix for university students
By Amy Wray //
Published: Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Article Tools: Page 1 of 1

It is estimated that 90 percent of Americans get a daily fix of caffeinated coffee. However, according to some students, it's more than just a quick fix.

Julie Hollon, a chemistry major, admitted to drinking white mochas several times a week "because I either get a craving for it, or in the mornings, it gives me a little pep-up," she said.

Researchers at John Hopkins University discovered that drinking just two and a half cups of coffee a day could lead to an addiction. The caffeine is a mood lifter, increases alertness and increases endurance levels, both physically and mentally. However, this feeling only lasts for a short period of time.

"It keeps me up to study when I need to stay awake," said Hollon. "I guess it kind of gives me that comfort feeling when I'm stressed; it's a relaxing drink and it gives me some energy."

If deprived of coffee, one may experience4 withdrawal symptoms such as headache and fatigue.

According to, "caffeine intake or consumption is associated with elevated mood levels, and decreased intake or the absence of caffeine leads to alteration of moods, so that they keep shifting from positive to negative in a short period of time."

WSU students needing their coffee fix can be found frequenting The Wright Cup in the Student Union or in the brand new Cafe Wright in the group study room in the library.

Ginny Campbell, an employee at The Wright Cup, said that the most popular beverage is the latte. Campbell admitted that she's not a big coffee drinker herself because "it's too strong for me."

Likewise, those who consume too much caffeine develop a tolerance, usually within days. Caffeine no longer keeps them awake and alert according to

Those who are not accustomed to high dosages of caffeine may experience anxiety, lightheadedness, jitteriness, irritability, unsteady hands or diarrhea.

Students who drink a lot of coffee can join The Wright Cup Mug Club for $9.99.

This includes a mug and a 10 percent discount on small beverage refills.

So whether you like it black, iced or with sugar and cream, keep in mind coffee's addictive qualities.

And for students looking for a higher caffeine content to help them cram for exams, the newest coffee SHOCK COFFEE has a much greater caffeine content than your regular coffees.
For Gourmet Coffees, Teas and Chocolates; Gifts Delivered. Have Whole Coffee Beans Or Ground Delivered To Your Door

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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Taupo Becomes Coffee Paradise

22 September 2005

Taupo will become the unofficial coffee capital of New Zealand for three days when more than 6000 coffee lovers turn up for a festival celebrating the bean, beginning tomorrow.

Coffee roasters, baristas and enthusiasts will all follow the aroma of freshly ground beans to Taupo's Great Lake Centre to immerse themselves in a coffee-scented paradise.

A judging panel, headed by leading international coffee judge and former executive director of the World Barista Championships from Australia Instaurator will taste more than 100 coffees entered by the coffee roasting companies.

This year Instaurator is joined by two other overseas judges who will complement a number of New Zealand roasters who will also be judges.

A highlight of this year's festival will be the national finals of the New Zealand Barista Awards. The winner will be sent to the 2006 world championships to be held in Bern, Switzerland.

The festival will also include seminars on everything from how to prepare the perfect espresso at home, to latte art for baristas presented by master roaster Justin Metcalf, recently placed third in the world latte art championships.

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Oregon Based Coffee Sellers Perking Along

By Joe Mosley
The Register-Guard
Published: Thursday, September 22, 2005

Here's a little-known fact about an increasingly well-known local coffee outlet: they call it Dutch Bros. (pronounced Broze, not Brothers).

And here's a fact that may yet be unknown north of Seattle and south of San Francisco: a wave of Dutch Love (as the Dutch Bros. call their business culture) is rolling your way.

The Grants Pass-based and Eugene-inspired coffee-to-go juggernaut is wrapping up phase two of its five-phase expansion plan this year, working to fill in gaps in its franchise network between Seattle and San Francisco. Phase three is set to begin in 2006, with a goal of stretching the Dutch empire from border to border - Canadian to Mexican - and into the Rockies to the east.

Dutch Bros. currently has just over 70 outlets, a combination of company-owned and franchise operations. Locally, two franchisees operate a total of nine drive-through, walk-up locations - five in Eugene and four in Springfield.

"We want to keep going," says Dave Morris, the company's marketing director. "I lived in New York City for awhile, and my idea is to surround New York City and spread some Dutch Love around there."

But that would be jumping ahead to phase five of the Dutch Bros. grand scheme - a nationwide and even international network of franchise outlets.

Phase two is buzzing along, with almost weekly openings of coffee kiosks in Oregon, Washington and northern California. This weekend, for instance, outlets in Eureka and Redding will get the Dutch Bros. grand-opening treatment: two days each of free coffee drinks for all customers.

"Our grand openings are stacked all day long with cars," Morris says. "It definitely creates a big buzz."

Meanwhile, phase three of the expansion plan has quietly begun with the recruitment of potential franchisees in adjacent Western states and negotiations with a San Francisco shopping center developer to include build-to-suit kiosks in his future projects along California's Interstate 80 corridor.

The San Francisco deal, which could allow franchisees to get into the business for less than $100,000, may bring another 50 locations into the fold over the next 18 months, Morris says.

"But we're still growing at a pace that feels comfortable to us, and maintains the core values and concepts," Morris says.

That would include a decidedly upbeat and purposefully noncorporate approach to business. The Dutch Bros. Web site ( lays down the law by stating "we're all about being positive and lovin' life," and spells out a company creed that stresses optimism, cheerfulness and prosperity.

"My favorite saying is that the cup is just the medium for spreading Dutch Love," Morris says.

He has known the company's founders, Travis and Dane Boersma, since childhood in Grants Pass. The Boersma family owned a dairy farm at the time, and Morris says the coffee enterprise has simply adopted an approach to life that was second-nature to the brothers and their family.

"It's the Boersma family put into a company," Morris says. "I couldn't ever get out of (the Boersma family home) without having hot apple pie and a big meal, or something."

But in the early 1990s, state environmental regulations were going to require the Boersmas to reduce their dairy herd by half and take expensive measures to protect a creek running through its pastures.

Instead, the Boersmas' father transformed the family farm into Dutcher Creek Golf Course.

Travis and Dane Boersma were intrigued by the growing Northwest espresso craze and after some research came to Eugene to discuss the business with Paul Leighton, owner of the Cape Horn Coffees Ltd., coffee brokerage. He set them up with 100 pounds of coffee beans, a two-handled espresso machine and a full-day lesson in barista arts.

Then the brothers assembled their first pushcart, arranged a lease from a downtown Grants Pass property owner and went into the coffee business. The pushcarts multiplied, then became drive-through stands.

Phase one of their growth included development of a franchise agreement that kept the company's personality intact, and expansion into Medford, Roseburg, Coos Bay, Eugene and other locations in Oregon and northern California.

Leighton still supplies the Dutch Bros. coffee beans, which are roasted at the company's facility in Grants Pass. While the Boersma brothers are far from his biggest customers, Leighton says they've set themselves apart in other ways.

"If I were to rank my customers in terms of success, I think they're the most phenomenal success story in the country right now," Leighton says. "And that success breeds more success."

He has already worked out a buying plan with the company through 2007 that makes a steady supply of coffee beans "the simplest part of their operation."

Morris says that as Dutch Bros. prepares for phase three of its expansion and looks ahead to phase four (the Midwest), it has become vital to plot the future with suppliers and distributors to ensure that the flow of everything from dry goods to dairy will keep pace with the company's growth.

"We have goals to keep going, as long as things work well," Morris says.

"The sky's the limit, and spreading Dutch Love is what we're doing."

Joe Mosley can be reached at 338-2384 or jmosley@

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Monday, September 19, 2005

Proper Brewing of Coffee

Wonder how to make the best pot of coffee? According to the Specialty Coffee Association of America following these general rules will afford you the Perfect Cup of Coffee.

Proper brewing enhances the taste of coffee by allowing you to extract the proper amount of flavor from the bean.

There are six essential elements of good brewing:

1. Correct Coffee-to-Water Ratio:
Because coffee is a strong flavoring agent, it takes relatively little to produce a robust brew. The generally accepted ratio is 1.0 - 1.5% coffee to 98.5 - 99% water.

2. A Coffee Grind That Matches the Brewing Time:
To prevent under- or over-extracting the flavor from the beans, you must match the right particle size (grind) with the right brewing time. In general, longer brewing times should be paired with larger particles and shorter brewing times with smaller particles.

3. Properly Operating Brewing Equipment:
Because your brewing equipment controls the coffee's contact with the water, it is important that it be precisely calibrated and well maintained. In particular, you should pay attention to the length of the brewing process, the temperature of the water and the amount of mixing (turbulence).

4. Optimum Brewing Method:
To achieve the flavor you desire, you must first choose the right brewing method. There are six basic methods of brewing: Steeping, Decoction, Percolation, Drip Filtration, Vacuum Filtration and Pressurized Infusion.

5. High-Quality Water:
In general, water that contains 50 - 100 parts per million of dissolved minerals will produce the best-tasting coffee.

6. An Appropriate Filtering Medium:
A well-made filter is essential to clarify the beverage and separate the extract from the coffee grounds.

Boutique Espressos

by Kenneth Davids

In the 60s we used to talk about instant karma, meaning one minute you're criticizing someone's taste in bellbottoms and the next you're walking into the adjoining room and finding someone else knocking your flower-print shirt. My current episode of foot-in-the-mouth karma took a month, not quite instant, but definitely a quick turnaround from a karmic perspective.

Last issue I noted a trend for medium-sized, regionally dominant roasters to produce higher rated coffees than either very small roasting companies or very large ones. Along the way I cited a whole paragraphful of likely reasons for the presumed better performance of these medium-sized companies, including better access to green coffees and better roasting technologies than small companies, and more manageable roast volumes than the giant companies. This Time Smaller is Better

I had better come up with some different reasons, because this month's collection of espresso blends from very small boutique roasters - some very, very small - suggest something else entirely. It suggests that smaller really is better, and that these little companies with their (I presume) hands-on approach to roasting and 20-bag lots of green coffee produce espresso blends as good or better than competing blends produced by any roasting company in the country, small, medium or gigantic. These blends were thoughtfully designed, tactfully roasted, and as subtly individualistic as their often quirky bag copy and websites. It revives one's faith in the original democratic vision of specialty coffee: a roasting machine in the back of the store, an individualistic roaster/owner in front, and all of it built around a love for coffee rather than a marketing plan.

An Average of 88

I tasted fifteen espresso blends from thirteen small to tiny boutique roasting companies. As informal controls, I threw in one blend from a well-known mega-national company and one from a medium-sized, regionally dominant company of the kind I touted last issue, in this case Neighbors Coffee of Oklahoma City.

The Neighbors espresso emerged quite well at 89, the espresso from the well-known mega-national company did about as well as it usually does, in the mid-80s, but the boutique espressos as a group did extremely well. The fifteen I tasted averaged a rather extraordinary 88. There was not a gagger or loser in the bunch, and five out of fifteen ended with ratings of 90 or higher.

The Espresso Blending Paradox

As coffee insiders know, sophisticated espresso blends may be the ultimate test of coffee blending and roasting expertise. The espresso brewing method extracts flavor components from coffee so efficiently that any imbalance or sharpness in the blend is enormously amplified, particularly when the coffee is taken as a straight shot. On the other hand, any weak-kneed lack of body and power will leave the blend overwhelmed and under flavored in milk drinks. Thus the American espresso roaster-blender must walk a narrow creative line, simultaneously muting sharpness and acidity while maximizing sweetness and milk-mastering body and complexity.

Espresso blends also make daunting demands on coffee reviewers because their strengths and defects are so dramatic yet so subtle. I found myself using the same limited complement of words - chocolate, crisp, balanced, lean - to attempt to get at sensory events that may all fit the same basic category of experience, yet differ greatly in their capacity to deliver complex, pleasurable versions of that experience.

Blend Strategies

All of the blends reviewed here appear to rely on skillful selection of green coffees to achieve the sweetness and restraint coupled with quiet power that a successful American-style espresso blend demands. Some appear to intensify body and mute sharpness by making discreet use of coffees that are unorthodox by American specialty standards: high-quality wet-processed robustas, for example, which are naturally big in body and neutral in acidity, or Indian monsooned coffees, which rely on exposure to monsoon winds after processing to increase body and reduce acidity. Other blends seem to rely on more conventional choices: round, low-acid dry-processed Brazilian coffees; rich, gently musty traditionally processed Sumatras; the sweeter, fuller style of Latin American wet-processed coffees; deeply fruity dry-processed Ethiopia Harrars.

Ironically, only the Neighbors espresso, the sole entry from a larger roasting company, was roasted extremely dark. The other blends ranged from medium-roasted to dark. But no matter how dark some were roasted, none exhibited the overbearingly bitter, sharp character that once was typical of American espresso blends, a regrettable effect gotten by roasting high-grown, acidy coffees too dark too fast.

Barista-Driven Revival?

And so, allow me to take my foot out of my mouth and return, for one issue at least, to praising the efforts of these small roasters who seem to have revived the original tradition of American specialty coffee.

This latest revival of fine small-batch roasting may be fueled by a related new development in American specialty coffee history, the emergence of the barista culture. A barista, of course, is a fancy name for someone who operates an espresso machine and assembles espresso drinks. While larger companies like Starbucks may be on the way to replacing the skills of the barista with automatic machines, other independent, smaller cafes and chains have fueled a worldwide movement to dignify and professionalize the job of barista by instituting barista competitions, informal barista "jams," and by the recent establishment of the Barista Guild, now under the auspices of the Specialty Coffee Association of America. These barista competitions not only encourage skill in producing espresso and espresso drinks and an elegance and economy of gesture, but also - and more to the point here - an appreciation of fine and distinctive espresso blends. Those interested in the contemporary barista movement will find information on the Barista Guild at

Most of the baristas driving this movement are relatively young in years and counterculture in attitude and affiliation. The combination of irreverence and passion that animates the bags and websites of many of the roasting companies highlighted in this month's review certainly derives from this new, espresso-and-youth centered coffee culture. And I suspect that the elegance and sophistication of the blends reviewed here may rise from their creators' direct, hands-on engagement with espresso, starting with the experience of pulling a perfect espresso shot and working from there back into the subtleties of roasting, blending and green coffee sourcing.

A Grassroots Movement

The grassroots nature of the new sophisticated wing of the American espresso movement is best demonstrated by the fact that virtually all of the coffees that I review so favorably here were nominated by readers. Furthermore, they were roasted by small companies scattered in smallish towns all over the country.

I wrote those last few paragraphs fired up by two lovely shots pressed from the Doma Coffee Ruby's Organic Espresso. And also fired up by the evidence that the roots of specialty coffee may not be as strangled by formula-driven commerce as they recently appeared to be.

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