Love that Espresso Shine

Hair looking a little dull? Looking to gloss up your tresses without spending an arm and a leg on drugstore treatments or salon visits? There are tons of natural home haircare tips, and using espresso to add shine to your mane is one of our favorites.

Simply pull a couple shots of espresso, apply it to your hair and then leave it on for 20 minutes. Rinse it out and you’ll have increased your hair’s shine considerably. Espresso contains quite a bit of oil and these molecules can be transferred to your hair to boost its glow.

Hot Blog on Blog Action: Coffee Like Wine

We spend a fair amount of time poking around the ‘net to find interesting information to share with you, gentle reader, and came upon the blog Coffee Like Wine that discusses artisan coffee and wine experiences had by its San Francisco-based writer.

Providing feedback on everything from different bay city cafes to cupping events to the flavors of single origin beans, this blog has a ton of great subjective information from an avid connoisseur. Check it out!

Colombian Coffee, Take 2

For many of us, the image of Juan Valdez is synonymous with coffee beans: The seemingly humble, weather-wizened old man donning a sombrero and a coffee-filled satchel who arrives each morning in your kitchen to fill up your Mr. Coffee. But Colombia’s posterchild has aged, slipping from his place as the 2nd largest producer in the world and suffering the ails of economic hiccups and hardships.

Out-produced by Vietnam about 8 years ago, a steady decrease in new farmers and an aging agricultural tradition, the Colombian government has decided to refocus and spur growth in their largest agricultural export. Economic influences unfortunately took down a number of plantations, and many families with an agricultural history closed down their farms because of an inability to support themselves on the meager revenues their exploits produced. Some went into new careers, such as working in a bakery, while others opted to plant a much more sought-after crop: Coca, the basis for cocaine. Over the past couple of years, however, the Colombian government has begun to invest capital in a renovation of sorts, setting up younger farmers on plantations with younger coffee plants in the hope of revitalizing their participation in the international coffee community.

They have a couple of challenges, however, that might keep them from ever playing ball at the 2nd tier again: They grow arabica, while Vietnam grows the much heartier robusta, and their sloped terrain makes it impossible for them to use machines in their harvest like the Brazilians. But with a reputation for rich bodied coffee and a growing international appreciation for the quality of handmade goods, Colombian coffee may well be on its way back to posterchild status.

New! Baratza PortaHolder

Grab a few extra seconds in the morning with the Baratza PortaHolder attachment, made for Baratza Maestro, Maestro Plus or Virtuoso grinders.

Insert the PortaHolder into the grounds bin slot and you’ll be able to rest your portafilter there, set the grind time and step away while your espresso is freshly ground. We love this new modification to the Baratza grinders and think you will, too.

Caffeinated Green Thumbs

Perk up your garden by adding coffee into the mix! Used coffee grounds are a great source of organic, slow-release nitrogen that can be incorporated into many everyday gardening tasks to improve results.

We poked around to find some ways in which you could incorporate your used coffee grounds or coffee beans into everyday gardening practices and found these awesome ideas:

  • Before it rains or you water your garden, sprinkle used grounds around your plants to slowly release nitrogen into the soil
  • You can add used grounds in filters or tea bags to your compost pile to increase your nitrogen balance; they have a carbon-to-nitrogen ration of 20:1, similar to grass clippings
  • For a gentle fertilizer, dilute 1/2 pound can of wet grounds in a five gallon bucket of water, then let it sit outdoors to achieve ambient temperature
  • Mix together used grounds & eggshells and then encircle the base of the plant to form a natural pest barrier
  • Caffeine is an effective slug deterrent: Concentrations as low as .01% in the soil reduces slug feeding on leaves, but won’t kill them; if you’re in a genocidal mood, however, a 1% solution will take out 60% of slugs and a 2% solution will eradicate 95% of all types of slugs. Keep in mind, however, that the 2% solution did damage some tender foliage, so while the idea of ridding your garden permanently of these slimy little guys might be appealing, it could have adverse effects on your plants
  • If you have a vermiculture setup, your used coffee grounds will be lovingly consumed by your tribe of worms
  • Use over-roasted beans as a mulch for your garden pathways to create an eye-catching and lovely scented walkway
  • Used grounds are an excellent mulch for tomato plants — the increase in nitrogen make your tomatoes happy and also help suppress late blight

Recipe: Espresso Marinated Flank Steak

This recipe for Espresso Marinated Flank Steak with Plantain Chutney, developed by Juan Montalvo, looks scrumptious and we can’t wait to try it!

Flank Steak
2 pounds flank steak
1 cup espresso
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. black peppercorn, crushed

Whisk espresso, vinegar, olive oil, honey, Worcestershire sauce, garlic
and peppercorn in bowl. Place flank steak in a resealable plastic bag
and pour marinade into bag. Remove all the air from bag and
refrigerate for minimum 1 hour.

Remove steak from marinade. Place steak on medium high heat grill
and cook for 4-5 minutes per side. Transfer steak to cutting board and
let rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting. Slice thinly across the grain.

Plantain Chutney
3 ripe plantains (they should be yellow with black spots on the outside)
1 medium onion, diced
1 Jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 tbsp. honey
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp. olive oil

Spray baking dish with cooking spray. Peel plantain and place on
baking dish. Bake in a preheated 375F oven until well browned. Once
cooked, place plantain aside to cool. Cut plantain lengthwise and dice.

Pour olive oil into a medium heat sauce pan. Add onions and cook
until translucent. Add plantain, jalapeno, chicken stock, and honey,
salt and pepper to taste, cook for 5-10 minutes to warm all ingredients
together. Pour over the top of the sliced flank steak.

Makes 6 Servings