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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, October 28, 2005

Served Warm, Tea, Cider, Coffee, Broth Nourish Body, Soul

Oct 28, 2005, 06:00 am

-- Connie Midey --

The seasons are changing, and our craving for hot drinks rises as the temperature drops. From the cup of coffee that starts the morning with a bang to the decaf kiwi-pear green tea at bedtime that invites reflections on the day's pleasures, hot drinks nourish body and soul.

"The benefits of hot drinks may be mostly psychological," says Kelli Morgan, registered dietitian at Paradise Valley Hospital. "Any time you can take a cup of coffee or tea and go have five minutes to yourself, it's a stress reliever. It's a good ritual to have, and it doesn't matter if you have a hot drink or a cold drink."

But hot drinks warm you on cold days. They relax your throat when it's sore, she says, and relieve congestion.

Hot drinks can add nutrients to your diet, too, and they easily can be made even more nutritious, Morgan says. Here's what she and other nutrition experts suggest -- and if you want to create a peaceful escape, we threw in our own ideas for what could accompany your hot drink.


Health benefits: Green and white teas are high in the powerful antioxidant EGCG, or epigallocatechin gallate. Antioxidants, which also are plentiful in fruits and vegetables, remove free radicals from the body, which, "theoretically, reduces cancer risk," Morgan says.

Nutrition boosters: Add fresh lemon for vitamin C or warmed non-fat milk for calcium. Stir in a few puréed berries.

Watch out for: Chai tea can be high in sugar and calories. Instead, add warmed non-fat milk and any combination of cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, coriander or ginger to plain green tea. Ginger, for example, can relieve nausea, reduce inflammation and boost the immune system. Skip or limit the sweetener.

Enjoy with: A passage from Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass." The sixth chant of "Song of Myself" (Page 29 in the Penguin Classics first edition) is a good place to start.

Apple cider

Health benefits: Apples are good sources of fiber and antioxidants, and the tannins in apple juice are believed to help keep your gums healthy. Cider spices such as cloves (with anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties) and nutmeg (a possible cholesterol-reducer) contribute slightly.

Nutrition boosters: Heat pure, no-sugar-added apple juice with apple-cider spices from the baking aisle of the grocery store. Stir with a cinnamon stick. Cinnamon's good for insulin control and for flavoring and sweetening a drink without adding calories, Morgan says.

Watch out for: Apple cider often is high in sugar. A 16-ounce drink with caramel and whipped cream contains 410 calories. Stick with a 12-ounce plain apple cider for 180 calories. Or use a sugar-free apple-cider mix from the supermarket.

Enjoy with: The CD "Echoes of Nature: The Natural Sounds of the Wilderness," Part 2 (Delta, $18.98). We've never heard Part 1, but any nature-sounds CD likely is capable of whisking you away from it all.


Health benefits: Coffee provides antioxidants known as polyphenols, and some studies have suggested that the drink lowers the risk of Type2 diabetes and liver cancer. But "there's really nothing healthful in coffee perse," Morgan says.

Nutrition booster: Make it a latte or cappuccino (add one shot of espresso to a cup of hot non-fat milk) for one dairy serving. Add cinnamon to help control insulin and reduce inflammation.

Watch out for: Too much coffee can make you jittery and raise blood pressure temporarily. Try decaf or half-caf. Add milk for the calming effect of the calcium.

Enjoy with: A piece of dark chocolate, which contains properties found to decrease the risk of heart disease and protect against cancer. It's also delicious, perhaps a more convincing argument.

Hot chocolate

Health benefits: Calcium in the milk is soothing and helps build strong bones, and cocoa beans are a good source of antioxidants.

Nutrition booster: Make it with non-fat milk, which has the same amount of calcium as whole milk, and cocoa powder, which is extra-rich in antioxidants and low in sugar. Or use a sugar-free hot-chocolate mix. Add a peppermint stick for a festive look but little health benefit, although peppermint leaves aid digestion.

Watch out for: A 16-ounce hot chocolate made with whole milk and whipped cream is 450 calories. Substitute Reddi-whip or low-cal Cool Whip, just 20 calories per dollop. Skip the chocolate sauce drizzled over the top or use low-sugar chocolate syrup.

Enjoy with: A crossword puzzle and fresh-cut flowers on the table beside you -- to distract you from the cocoa-soaked peppermint stick you're trying to resist).

Vegetable broth

Health benefits: Antioxidant-rich vegetables deposit their nutrients in the broth, leaving health-builders such as potassium, magnesium, calcium and vitamins A, B-6 and C. There's no cholesterol, and broth is easy to digest.

Nutrition booster: Make your own. Plop chopped celery, onion, carrots, zucchini, leeks, broccoli or any other vegetables from your crisper into a pot of water, and simmer. If the vegetable pieces are too large to swallow safely, strain the broth before serving.

Watch out for: Prepared broths can be high in sodium. Look for the kind labeled low-salt. If you use a meat-broth base for a change of pace, cool it in the refrigerator and skim off the fat before adding finely chopped vegetables.

Enjoy with: The current issue of Mother Earth News magazine. Yes, it still exists.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Fresh Coffee Secrets; Get Those Beans Out of the Freezer!

Following this article, read more in our Coffee Bean Storage & Freshness article. You'll learn how to buy fresh beans and keep them that way… plus discover the no-fail fresh coffee test!

Contrary to popular belief, the freezer is not the best place to store coffee beans. While it's true that heat and light can cause coffee to become stale more quickly, freshly roasted coffee has two more powerful enemies – oxygen and moisture.

Although your fridge or freezer may protect coffee beans from heat and light, each time you remove the beans from the cold, or open the freezer door, a small amount of condensation forms on the beans. This excess moisture will cause the beans to become stale in a very short time. In addition, you are likely to notice the beans will absorb the smell of nearby foods.

So, if you can't use your trusty freezer, how should you store your coffee? Here are a few storage tips to keep your beans fresh for longer:

1. Nitrogen-Flushed Bags (with one-way valves)

By far the best coffee storage method available is a nitrogen-flushed bag. Thanks to today's advanced technology, these bags keep the beans dry and oxygen-free (at least until the bag is opened). Nitrogen is an inert gas, so it will not react with your coffee beans in any way. It is used to displace all the oxygen from the bag before it is sealed. The best nitrogen-flushed bags are fitted with a one-way valve. The valve allows the coffee gasses from the roasted beans to escape from the bag without letting oxygen in.

2. Air-tight Container

If your supplier does not provide nitrogen/valve bags, the next best alternative is to store your coffee in an air-tight container. Whether you use a container or bag does not matter. Always squeeze excess air from the container before storage.

3. Dry, cool & dark place

No matter which storage method you use, always keep your coffee in a cool, dark place… no not the freezer! The place you choose should be dry. A dark cupboard is ideal. Light-proof containers are also recommended, as long as they have an air-tight seal.

Remember, the enemies of coffee freshness are oxygen, moisture, heat and light. Choose a storage method that avoids these enemies and your coffee will stay fresh a little longer. If you would like to learn more about coffee storage and freshness, visit You'll find a guide to buying fresh coffee, plus brewing and buying tips to help you make great coffee at home.

By Shona Lynch

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Monday, October 24, 2005

Kahlua(R) Launches Branded Entertainment Initiative

Kahlua(R) Launches Branded Entertainment Initiative, Partnering with Conde Nast Traveler and Oxygen Network for New Television Series, Bring Home the Exotic
Original Coffee Liqueur Brand Brings "Everyday Exotic" Campaign to Life With Five-Part Television Series Scheduled to Premiere on October 29th

Kahlua®, the original, authentic coffee liqueur, today announced the launch of its first-ever branded entertainment television campaign: Kahlua and Conde Nast Traveler present Bring Home the Exotic. In an effort to reach their consumer through numerous communication mediums, Kahlua and Conde Nast Traveler partnered to produce the television show, which delves into the realm of exotic travel and home entertaining experiences. The five-part series is scheduled to premiere on the Oxygen Network on Saturday, October 29th at 2:00 PM PST/EST, with original episodes set to air on subsequent Saturdays.

Bring Home the Exotic will afford viewers the opportunity to experience travel and home entertaining in an entirely new way. The audience will travel with a Conde Nast Traveler editor and a couple to exotic locations around the world, where they will explore the terrain, be treated to local foods and beverages, stay in unique accommodations, meet compelling real-life characters and experience new cultures. Upon returning home, our travelers will host a themed party during which they will recreate their exotic travel experiences for their families and friends.

"This television show, featuring Kahlua, creates a platform to promote and communicate our ongoing brand strategy, and engage our target adult audience in a meaningful way that is relevant to their lifestyles," said Chris Monaco, Director of Entertainment Marketing for Kahlua. "Through this unique entertainment partnership, we've brought the Kahlua brand to life using a vehicle that will engage consumers in a real-life setting, and show them how a simple Kahlua cocktail can be the catalyst for making every day exotic."

The nexus of Bring Home the Exotic and the complimentary partnership between Kahlua and Conde Nast Traveler developed as a result of Kahlua's "in home entertaining" marketing strategy. The program is fully integrated with on and off-premise efforts including a stand-alone insert in Conde Nast Traveler, thus reaching Kahlua's coveted demographic, 30+ year-old women across the country.

"At Conde Nast Traveler we are always interested in partnering with our advertisers to develop integrated marketing programs," said Lisa Hughes, Vice President and Publisher of Conde Nast Traveler. "Kahlua's brand communication strategy of Bring Home the Exotic has a natural connection to travel. Conde Nast Traveler is the most trusted authority in travel, and we are proud to bring our expertise and brand credibility to this television and print initiative."

About Kahlua and Conde Nast Traveler Present Bring Home the Exotic Television Series:

A marketing partnership between Kahlua, Conde Nast Traveler, and the Oxygen Network, Kahlua and Conde Nast Traveler present Bring Home the Exotic is the ultimate travel and home entertaining series that takes viewers to exotic locations around the world. From the tropical shores of Hawaii to the jungles of Costa Rica, each half hour introduces viewers to all the unique sights, sounds, textures and flavors of a featured locale. In each episode Conde Nast Traveler Senior Editor and host, Dana Dickey, along with Mark Connolly, Conde Nast Traveler Style Director, and a lucky couple go on the trip of a lifetime to a unique tropical destination. Along the way, viewers are treated to exotic local foods and beverages, unique accommodations (decor), compelling real life characters, and enriching cultural experiences (e.g. music, art and dance). Upon returning home, Dana and the couple host a party for family and friends. The hometown gathering is designed to bring the exotic into the everyday. The party incorporates all of the great travel experiences into its theme.

About Kahlua®

Kahlua coffee liqueur is a brand currently manufactured by Allied Domecq Spirits, North America. In July 2005, Pernod Ricard USA effectively completed the acquisition of Allied Domecq Spirits, North America securing the ownership of the brand along with a number of others across several categories.

Kahlua, the original, authentic coffee liqueur, is enjoyed all over the world, often as the first and last drink of the evening. Kahlua's instantly recognizable taste comes from 100 percent Arabica coffee beans, grown high in the mountains in Vera Cruz, Mexico. Kahlua is formulated to be mixed and is used in many high-demand cocktails, such as Kahlua and Milk or Cream, Kahlua Black Russian (Kahlua and Stoli® vodka) and Kahlua White Russian (Kahlua, Stoli vodka and milk). Kahlua 26.5% alc./vol. Imported and marketed by Allied Domecq Spirits, North America, Westport, CT. Allied Domecq Spirits, North America, reminds you to enjoy your exotic moments responsibly. For more information, visit

About Conde Nast Traveler

Conde Nast Traveler's philosophy of "Truth in Travel", where writers pay their own way, travel unannounced, and are independent from the travel industry, is unique in the publishing industry. The result is that Conde Nast Traveler reports on travel the way consumers experience it: freely, fairly, honestly. The editorial leader in the field, Conde Nast Traveler has won 6 National Magazine Awards, the highest honor in magazine publishing. Conde Nast Traveler, the 2005 Zagat Survey Best Travel Magazine and a 2004 Advertising Age "A-List" magazine, has a rate base of 750,000 and is published by Conde Nast Publications, Inc.

About Oxygen Media

Oxygen, the only cable network owned and operated by women, is currently available in 55 million homes. The network was launched in 2000 to fill a void in the television landscape -- creating a network targeted to younger women. Oxygen is rewriting the rulebook for women's television, with the most original programming of all the women's networks including Mo'Nique's Fat Chance, Talk Sex with Sue Johanson and Oprah After the Show. Geraldine Laybourne, the network's founder, Chairman and CEO, has led the company to be a strong advocate for women. Through programs like The Mentor's Walk, Oxygen's national program for bringing along the next generation, and "Who Cares About Girls," Oxygen's new documentary series -- Oxygen is creating The New Girls Network.

About Pernod Ricard USA

In July 2005, Pernod Ricard USA effectively completed the acquisition of Allied Domecq Spirits, North America securing the ownership of the Kahlua coffee liqueur brand along with a number of others across several categories.

Pernod Ricard USA is an American producer and distributor of fine spirits and wine. The company produces Wild Turkey® Bourbon, Seagram's Extra Dry Gin® and imports other premium brands such as Chivas Regal® Scotch whisky, The Glenlivet® Single Malt Scotch whisky, Jameson® Irish Whiskey, Martell(TM) Cognac, Jacob's Creek® and Wyndham Estate® wines. The company's broad portfolio of brands also includes Kahlua®, Malibu®, Beefeater®, Mumm®, Perrier-Jouet(TM), and U.S. distribution rights for Stolichnaya® vodka.

For Thousands Of Free Cocktail Recipes And The Supplies To Make Them, Go To Now.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Stronger, blacker, richer coffee – the new drug of choice

The Daily Reflector

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The strong-coffee trend has created a lot of caffeine addicts and turned coffee shops into something resembling methadone clinics. Especially at 6 a.m.

Ordinarily, I still have at least 90 minutes of sleeping left to do at 6 a.m., but on a recent rare morning I was up at 5:30 to attend a meeting in Chapel Hill. I stopped at Starbucks on the way out of town for coffee and a Danish.

I observed a man – obviously a regular customer – step sleepily to the counter.

"How are we doing this morning?" asked the almost annoyingly chipper clerk.

In a deep, just-rolled-out-of-bed voice – and with perfect fog-horn pitch – the man answered, "Still strugglin'."

"We're here to help," the clerk reassured him after drawing his drug of choice from the tap.

It's a scene repeated all over the nation. Our craving for coffee is stronger than ever. Why?

I believe it has something to do with the success of the anti-smoking movement. Anyone who has been a smoker knows that nothing goes better with cigarettes than coffee. The mixture of caffeine and nicotine does something wonderful for the mind.

Also, strong black coffee can effectively mask the nasty aftertaste from cigarette smoke. The bad breath stays, but the aftertaste leaves.

We need caffeine in greater abundance now to make up for the loss of nicotine. That has to be why we're drinking darker, stronger coffee than we were before the anti-smoking movement took hold.

One might argue that my theory is flawed since many coffee addicts were never smokers. Wrong.

Before the anti-smoking movement, everyone breathed second-hand smoke in nearly all public places. Nonsmoking coffee drinkers were getting the same double-whammy dose of caffeine and nicotine without even trying.

Even children are starting to drink coffee. That fact prompted a study reported this week by The New York Times.

Those short people waiting in line at Starbucks, according to the study, would be short even without the coffee addiction. Decades of research on the physiological effects of coffee consumption, according to the article, offers no evidence that coffee will stunt human growth.

This is good news for my sister Sue Ellen. She frequents the Starbucks drive-through in her town so often they sometimes offer her freebies – beverages prepared wrongly or by mistake.

Recently, her 4-year-old daughter Emma Caroline was the recipient of one of these. It was a vanilla creme Frappuccino, which, to a kid, is a vanilla milkshake. If caffeine could stunt a child's growth, Sue Ellen said, Emma Caroline might never grow another inch after that drink.

"She drank that thing while I shopped in Target," my sister said. "She was literally doing jumping-jacks when we got to the checkout."

If you think you might be a coffee addict but are not sure, the people at Coffee Wholesale USA have kindly taken time out of their busy schedule of laughing all the way to the bank to list a few symptoms:

You'd be willing to spend time in a Turkish prison.

Your eyes stay open when you sneeze.

You have to watch videos in fast-forward.

You just completed another sweater and you don't know how to knit.

Juan Valdez named his donkey after you.

You grind your coffee beans in your mouth.

The good news from all of this: Your kids are less likely than ever before to start smoking.

The bad news: Your kids are more likely than ever before to grow very tall and keep you up nights dribbling a basketball.

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