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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

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Christmas Morning Coffee Cake

4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 packages yeast
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup butter, cut into pieces
2 eggs
2/3 cup dried cranberries - plumped by soaking in 1 cup hot orange juice, then drained well before adding to mixture
1 egg, beaten, for glaze
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
4-5 tablespoons fresh orange juice

In a large bowl, combine 1-1/2 cups flour, sugar, undissolved yeast, orange zest and salt.
Heat milk, water and butter until warm (105-115 degrees).
Add to dry ingredients; beat two minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally.
Add eggs and 1/2 cup flour; beat two minutes at high speed. Stir in enough remaining flour to make stiff batter.
Gently fold in drained cranberries.
Grease top.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for two hours or up to two days.
Remove dough from refrigerator. Punch dough down.
Remove dough to lightly floured surface. Roll out to 14x7-inch rectangle.
Cut into 14 one-inch strips. Twist two strips together.
Form into coil and tuck ends underneath.
Repeat with remaining strips to make seven coils.
Place one coil in center of baking sheet.
Arrange remaining coils around center coil in circle with sides lightly touching. Cover, let rise in warm, draft free place until doubled in size (about 20 to 40 minutes).
Lightly beat one egg with one tablespoon of water and brush on cake.
Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until done.
Remove from sheet and cool on rack.
Make orange icing by combining powdered sugar and orange juice. Drizzle on coffee cake.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Love coffee, vanilla and dark chocolate? Thank an Indian

Posted on Sun, Nov. 20, 2005


I have tried to pass along to my young daughters the values and lessons I was given as a boy. Among them is the notion that thanksgiving is a daily event, not reserved to one day in late November. When we in the American Indian community gather for a feast or other public event, we often start with a prayer of thanksgiving, thanking the Creator for our health, for the beauty of the natural world and the bounty he has laid before us.

As my daughters and I stock up and prepare to celebrate the national holiday later this week (yes, we celebrate Thanksgiving with a capital "T," too), I like to point out to the girls the many foods that American Indian people gave to the world. Sure, coffee hardly seems like much of a gift to them (for now). But they certainly appreciate some of the other contributions of native people: chocolate and hot cocoa. Vanilla. Corn and potatoes. Turkey. Cornbread stuffing (OK, that last one was a stretch, but, man, could my mom whip up a mean stuffing).

The contributions of the indigenous people of the Western Hemisphere continue to tantalize our palates. Consider:

• Coffee and hot cocoa: Where would Starbucks and Caribou be without them?

• Chocolate and vanilla: America's two favorite flavors. When I read about the Aztec drink that combined cocoa and chile peppers, my taste buds start quivering.

And vanilla was so prized by some indigenous cultures that it was accepted as payment for taxes.

• Corn: One of the most important plants to indigenous people and one of the Three Sisters of the Iroquois, the other two being beans and squash. The Iroquois call the three tsiohekon, or "they sustain us."

In my own Cherokee tradition, we are taught that selu, or corn, was the mother of all the other plants.

• Potatoes: There is evidence that the native peoples of South America cultivated potatoes 7,000 years ago.

• Tomatoes: Imagine pizza without the "love apple."

• Wild rice: Still a staple of the diet and economies of Minnesota's Indian tribes and the official state grain.

• Chewing gum: Originally used as a dental hygiene product, ironically.

As my daughters and I discuss the indigenous foods of the Americas, our conversation often broadens to encompass other Indian innovations, such as:

• Lacrosse, a sport with a particular place in our hearts as the Minnesota Swarm prepares to play its second season at the Xcel Center.

• Parkas: Another invention of particular interest to Minnesotans. Thank the Inuit for this winter wear.

• Our federal system of government and universal women's suffrage. Ben Franklin cited The Great Law of the Iroquois as his inspiration for his earliest writings on a united colonial government.

The Iroquois government, the longest surviving democracy, is divided into three branches, just as our government is today.

But one big piece of the Iroquois Great Law that Franklin overlooked was its granting of political and social power to women — women were the heads of their households and selected the chiefs and other officials of each clan. It took the fledgling United States almost 200 years to give women the vote.

Sometimes, great lessons take time to sink in, I guess.

So as you carve the turkey and dish out the yams on Thursday, give thanks not just to the Creator, but to the indigenous people of this hemisphere who continue to share their bounty with the world.

Coulson is editorial page editor of the Pioneer Press. Contact him at 651-228-5544; 345 Cedar St., St. Paul, MN 55101; or by e-mail at

Forget Decaf - coffee full of caffeine is much healthier!


Medical Study News
Published: Sunday, 20-Nov-2005

Contrary to the hype the public has often been led to believe, a new study has revealed that decaffeinated coffee may be worse for the health than the caffeine rich kind.

Researchers apparently found, in the first randomised study of normal and decaffeinated coffees, that the decaffeinated variety raised the level of fats and "bad" cholesterol in the blood more than caffeinated blends.

In a study of 187 people by the Fuqua Heart Centre in Atlanta, Georgia, researchers saw an 18 per cent rise in blood fat and an 8 per cent rise in a protein linked with LDL cholesterol among decaffeinated coffee drinkers compared with the those who drank caffeinated coffee or none at all.

According to Dr Robert Superko, who led the study, decaffeinated coffee was less healthy because it is made from high-flavour beans that contain more oils because the decaffeination process can reduce flavour, therefore manufacturers are more inclined to choose a bean that has a more robust flavour.

The finding was presented at a meeting of the American Heart Association.

What ever your preferrence, Java Queen International provides the freshest coffee delivered directly to your door. Whether you want international roasts, low acid, decaf or one of our more than 110 flavored coffees, you will be more than happy with the price, product and service from Java Queen International.