Category Archives: Food and Drink

Put Your Face On It

Don’t care to learn the finer points of steaming milk with microfoam or pouring the latte art favorites of hearts and leaves? Now you don’t have to! Just hack together an 80’s era Kodak inkjet printer and a flatbed scanner, load it up with caramelized sugar and you’re in! At least, that’s what these guys think — hope, actually — and they’ve built a prototype to sell to your neighborhood Sbux.

Just think of all the fun variations you could have with this. Sure, you don’t need a logo on your latte, but if you’re feeling a little bit vain, how about a cameo-style portrait of yourself? Get hardcore with your inner crazy cat lover by imprinting your feline companion’s visage on your latte. Or, if you’re hoping to smooth out some family ties, put your mother-in-law’s smiling face on there as a ‘tribute’. Really, the options just might be endless.

Recipe: Mayan Spice Sundae


Add a little kick to your holiday desserts! We created this sundae because we love the Mayan treat of orange slices coated in cayenne pepper that is found all over the Yucatan peninsula — and if you love a little spice with your sugar, we think you’ll definitely dig this!

Ingredients


Directions

Mix the orange, chocolate and cayenne together in a small bowl. Pull a double shot of espresso directly into it and then incorporate all three until well blended. Spoon a little bit of the sauce into the bottom of two serving bowls, put a scoop of ice cream into each of the serving bowls and then drizzle with the sauce. Garnish with orange slices or, if you’re looking for something muy caliente, more cayenne.

Holiday Fund Drive: Lavazza Tierra! & Coffee Kids

Tierra_coffee
We love working with you and we love coffee, so it’s important to us that what we love doing helps others do what they love as well. Sustainability in the coffee industry will keep us all in delicious cups of coffee for years to come, and while we’ve written before about our support of the non-profit organization Coffee Kids, as well as about Lavazza’s Tierra! coffee, we decided to put our money where our mouth is this holiday season and launch a fund drive!

Now through 1/15/09, we’re donating 5% of all sales of Lavazza’s Tierra! coffee to Coffee Kids! Featuring smoky molasses aromas and flavor undertones of floral and bittersweet chocolate, Tierra! is a tasty gift for anyone you love that loves coffee — and, yes, that includes you!

Space Joe

If the inability to enjoy a hot cup of coffee in space has kept you from pursuing your cosmonaut dreams, last week’s invention of the zero-G coffee cup by NASA astronaut Dave Pettit is sure to make you tingle.

Pettit is known for funky space inventions, but when he arrived at the International Space Station, he had one goal in mind: Find a way to enjoy his beloved joe from a cup, rather than a bag & straw. Liquids in space can be a messy proposition, and hot coffee introduces an element of risk as well, but that wasn’t going to stop Pettit from devising a method of enjoying his java from a cup.

Using a piece of his mission book, he formed a vessel with a tear-drop shape that is closed at one end. The surface tension within the cup keeps the coffee inside instead of floating about the station. He suggested that his invention could apply to more than just coffee — future space colonists could utilize this kind of cup for celebratory toasts.

So now that the coffee cup question has been answered and you’re back on track to becoming an astronaut, you’d better hit the books — time to learn Russian.

Health Watch: Caffeine & Alertness

You drink it to wake up, to focus more, to get you through the day — heck, even to sober up. But has the effect of caffeine on your central nervous system been overstated? A group of researchers from the National University of Ireland in Galway think so. In fact, they think that the only benefit you see from your caffeine consumption is to further your caffeine consumption.

Through their study, they were unable to find a measurable difference in alertness and cognitive ability in participants, and found that the only difference was the abatement of caffeine withdrawal symptoms regular caffeine consumers felt in the morning after their body had metabolized caffeine overnight.

For at least a month, they gave a participants either a placebo or a caffeine pill equal to one cup of coffee to take three times a day. They then tested their ability to concentrate, resulting in no discernible difference between the control group and the caffeine consumers. They also tested the control group’s reaction to caffeine after having not had the drug in their system for quite some time and were also unable to track a noticeable difference in their level of concentration between their placebo state and caffeinated state.

So if it’s not really waking us up, helping us focus and getting us through our day….why are we drinking it? Well, despite the position that drinking it may essentially be a self-fulfilling prophecy, we’ll keep drinking it for the taste! Yeah, that’s right — for the taste.

Recipe: Espresso Biscuits — Eggless

Here’s a great recipe for anyone who has an egg allergy — or if you’re in the mood for cookies but don’t have any eggs on hand!


Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon finely ground espresso beans
  • 1/2 lb unsalted butter,at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F with two racks spaced evenly apart. Line two
    baking sheets with parchment paper. Sift together the flour, cocoa and
    ground espresso; set aside.
  2. In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle
    attachment,combine the butter, confectioners sugar and vanilla; beat on
    medium speed until creamy, 3-4 minutes. Reduce speed to low, and
    gradually beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture, scraping down
    the sides of the bowl twice.
  3. Roll a heaping tablespoon of dough between the palms of your hands
    to form a ball. Place on prepared baking sheet; repeat with remaining
    dough, spacing cookies 2 inches apart. Place the tines of a fork into
    dough and gently flatten the ball into biscuit shape. Bake biscuits
    until just firm to the touch, 12 to 15 minutes, rotating half way
    through. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

These are great to serve along with coffee or espresso when you’re entertaining.

(Recipe originally developed by Martha Stewart)

Recipe: Chocolate Espresso Pots du Creme

Whilst poking around for a good Thanksgiving treat, we found a delicious recipe for Chocolate Espresso Pots du Creme at Harvest Eating. You can check out their video on how to make the recipe here.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces Bittersweet chocolate
  • 6 Egg yolks
  • 3/4 Cups Espresso or dark coffee
  • 1 Cups Organic heavy cream
  • 1/3 Cups Organic heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar

Directions

  1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 300F.
  2. Put chocolate in a heat proof bowl. Bring cream, milk, espresso
    powder (to taste), and a pinch of salt just to a boil in a small heavy
    saucepan, stirring until espresso powder is dissolved, then pour over
    chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
  3. Whisk together yolks, sugar, and a pinch of salt in another bowl,
    then add warm chocolate mixture in a slow stream, whisking constantly.
    Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a 1-quart
  4. Line bottom of a baking pan (large enough to hold ramekins) with a folded
    kitchen towel and arrange ramekins on towel. Poke several holes in a
    large sheet of foil with a skewer. Divide chocolate mixture among
    ramekins, then bake in a hot water bath,(bain marie) pan covered
    tightly with foil, until pots du creme are set around edges but still
    slightly wobbly in centers, 30 to 35 minutes.
  5. Transfer ramekins to a rack to cool completely, uncovered, about 1 hour.
    (Custards will set as they cool.) Chill, covered, until cold, at least
    3 hours.

Enjoy!

Living in a Caffeine Free World

If you read our post on Monday about the caffeine levels of different types of brew, you’ll recall that decaf coffee is not completely caffeine-free — it does have a slight content level, but considerably less than other types of coffee. If you’re sensitive to caffeine and are strictly a decaf drinker, you might be interested in these caffeine test strips.

According to the manufacturer’s website, up to 30% of the coffee you drink out in the world is not actually decaf, and their handy new strips will help you tell the difference well before you feel the heart pumping! We haven’t tried them yet — but if you do, please let us know what you think!

Recipe: Chocolate Caramel Delight

You could easily skip the pies this Thanksgiving holiday by serving your friends and family this delicious coffee confection. The Chocolate Caramel Delight would be a lovely post-turkey sipper that will satisfy your sweet tooth and help you digest all that stuffing!

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Combine sauces and espresso in 12-oz. mug.
  2. Stir until well combined. Pour steamed milk into mug; stir to combine.
  3. Top with froth from steamed milk.
  4. Sprinkle with Ghirardelli Cocoa or drizzle with Ghirardelli Sweet
    Ground Chocolate & Cocoa Flavored Sauce and/or Creamy Caramel
    Flavored Sauce.
  5. Sprinkle with toasted, chopped walnuts

Caffeination Time — Come On! (It’s Time for Caffeination)

OK, so it might not necessarily be as age-old as the chicken vs. the egg debate (wait, didn’t they solve that?), but the argument over which has more caffeine — drip coffee or a shot of espresso — is often kicked around the ol’ coffee shop. Obviously, like any good debate, the answer varies almost as widely as the number of preparations for caffeine-carrying plants around the world.

The first thing to keep in mind in this discussion is the plant: Are we talking Robusta or Arabica? Arabica has less caffeine than Robusta, so the bean blend is important to know before you guesstimate your caffeine intake. Secondly, what’s the roast look like? A super dark roast eliminates a large portion of the caffeine content, sending those molecules up in smoke. Lastly, take a look at how much you’re consuming, because quantity matters: If you’re drinking 4 oz. of espresso vs. 7 oz. cup of drip, your intake will be a lot different  than these standards:

  • Percolated (7 oz): 140mg
  • Drip (7 oz): 115 – 175mg
  • Espresso (1.5 – 2 oz): 100mg
  • Brewed (7 oz): 80 – 135mg
  • Instant (7 oz): 65 – 100mg
  • Decaf, brewed (6 oz): 5mg
  • Decaf, instant (6 oz): 3mg

In general, the longer the coffee grounds are in contact with water, the more caffeine will be extracted into your brew. Caffeine is largely responsible for coffee’s bitter taste, which was one of the motivations behind the development of espresso: The relatively short brew time results in a significantly less concentration of caffeine, allowing you to taste other flavors in the coffee.

(Caffeine concentration amounts and molecular image courtesy of Erowid)