Spilling the Coffee Beans

Luck of the Irish Coffee

Irish coffee: it’s not hard to make, it’s almost as easy as brewing a pot of coffee. Today, you are working with, yes: the predictable yet trusty single cup brewer (like a Keurig). Here’s where your inner mixologist emerges:

Irish Coffee

  • • 1/3 cup coffee (unflavored, darker roast), prepared
  • • 1 tsp. brown sugar
  • • 1 shot (1.5 fl. oz.) Irish Whiskey
  • • 1 large dollop of frothed half and half, fresh whipped cream, or refrigerated Cool Whip

Measure the brown sugar into a glass coffee mug. Pour prepared coffee into mug and stir to dissolve sugar. While stirring, pour in the whiskey shot. After the beverage has stilled, using an extra large spoon, carefully place thick cream over the coffee. Drink the beverage through the cream for a delicious, caffeinated and slightly boozy morning.

Coffee Guinness Float

  • • 1 scoop vanilla ice cream
  • • 1/2 cup brewed, chilled coffee
  • • 1 1/2 cup Guinness draught

You know you’ll love this one simply from reading the name, but I guarantee this is even more delicious than you’d think. It does involve a little planning ahead: first, brew unflavored, bold coffee and chill (covered) in the fridge for at least two hours. Using either a traditional Guinness pint glass or a regular pint glass (holds 2 cups or 16 oz.), take a scoop of high quality vanilla ice cream (we like Breyers® Natural Vanilla) and scoop it out into the bottom of the pint glass. Next, pour in a half cup of cold coffee over the ice cream. Finally, top off with Guinness draught. Ideally, you would use an actual nitrogen keg from a bar — but unless you own or manage a restaurant, this isn’t going to happen; no worries, though: just use a can or bottle of Guinness draught (READ: DO NOT confuse with Guinness Extra Stout). To properly pour (and this is very important when you tend with Guinness), open bottle or can and quickly turn completely upside-down over the pint glass. A “widget rocket”, an ingenious device by Guinness, will enhance the nitrogen solution to impart a smooth taste and also will allow the beer to develop a creamy head. When it’s full, stop pouring even if there is beer left in the container (we don’t imagine this will be a problem).

Irish Car Bomb

  • • Guiness Draught
  • • Baileys (Irish Cream)
  • • Irish Whiskey

If you haven’t heard of this, you didn’t go to college. Or maybe you did, but studied too much. Either way, here’s how to pull off this classic late night beverage. Reading over ingredient list, you may notice that the exact measurements aren’t important. What’s important is chugging this beverage as quickly as you can, or it will curdle (gross). Impressively (and this may surprise you), Guinness is one of the easiest beers to chug because there is no carbonation (only nitrogen) and although dark in color and rich in taste, it is low in calories. Do not be afraid: Pour a half pint of Guinness. Next, fill a shot glass halfway first with the Irish Cream and float (i.e. pour very slowly) whiskey on top of the cream. Now, in one fell swoop, drop the shot glass in the pint glass and drink as fast as you can!

Our cocktail runner-up is, unsurprisingly, the White Russian (featuring Kahlua: coffee-flavored rum). Also imperative to mention is just a few of the world’s rich variety of coffee-flavored liqueurs: Patron “XO Cafe” or Patron “XO Cafe” Dark Cocoa Coffee Liqueur (both coffee flavored high end tequila); Van Gogh Espresso Vodka, and Baileys. We didn’t even list any delicious coffee-flavored porters, stouts, and other microbrews. Any other boozy coffee beverages that you love that didn’t make our list? Leave your tips and tricks in our comments!

By: Alex Riesdorff (G+)

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These Are a Few of my Favorite TEAS!

Matcha tea powder and pu-erh I’m gettin’
Bright copper kettles to warm tea from Britain
PG Tips flowing while flower tea springs…
These teas are a few of my favorite things!

I love tea so much I just made a rhyme. And if you’ve had the life-changing experience like I have of sipping some of the most delicious tea in the Western world, you might feel so inclined to pop out a rhyme or two yourself!

Here at Coffee Wholesale USA, we sell top notch tea brands like Tazo (which you may have spotted at Starbucks), Mighty Leaf, Tropical Tea, and Pickwick — amongst others. I have travelled far and wide in search of tea that will blow your mind. Some are creative and delicious. And stronger varieties of green tea, contain L-Theanine: a feel-good compound that increases the effectiveness of GABA receptors in the brain. Low GABA levels are associated with panic disorder and other anxiety-related disorders. The result of these green tea varieties is a relaxed state of alertness; I feel happy and almost like I’m floating… similar to the visceral feeling I get laying in meditation after a grueling 90 minute hot yoga class. All-natural ecstasy. If you’ve never consumed a cup of tea that has left you feeling a little bit like this, you have been drinking the wrong kind of tea. That being said, it’s definitely not all about the unexpected body high. It’s about the taste. The aroma. The simple and beautiful aesthetics you can find in some artisanal varieties of the world’s oldest brewed beverage. At Coffee Wholesale, we are looking to bring to you the best of the best in tea and coffee.

I’ve worked hard to compile a master list of my favorite teas in the whole world. I have a background as a barista and tea blender/quality control manager. If you are an every morning English breakfast-er with dry toast, you might turn your nose up at this rather unconventional list of teas. Hopefully my list won’t incite the second Boston Tea Party.

1. Matcha: Have you ever heard of the Japanese tea ceremony or ‘chanoyu’? Read through the traditionally lengthy ritual and you may be thinking, “why is this tea so important?” Matcha is one of the most expensive teas available — a very finely ground tea leaf ranging in price from medium grade to high grade. And the taste is phenomenal. Chefs and baristas use low to medium grade matcha (and just a pinch is necessary) to create green tea smoothies, green tea lattes, green tea cookies — pretty much anything that defines itself as “green tea (fill in the blank)”, you are getting the color and flavor from matcha.

2. Rooibos is a beautiful and unique tea because, when mixed and hand picked correctly, has a fruity yet earthy taste — with a subtle hint of floral. Rooibos is made from the South African red bush plant. The color of Scarlet Citrus Rooibos is a stunning red with tiny pieces of orange peel, hibiscus, lemon myrtle, lemon verbena, rosemary and other dried fruits, as well as hints of vanilla. Coffee Wholesale sells Tazo Scarlet Citris Rooibos in individually-wrapped bags which is 100% natural and caffeine free. Did we mention no artificial colors or preservatives? MEM Tea also produces powdered rooibos varieties for rooibos lattes and milkshakes!

3. Bloomin’ Tea. This is also known as flower tea and as a complete sucker for packaging, I am head over heels in love with this variety. MEM Tea Importers sells three varieties of Flower Tea and Teavana carries a few varieties as well. Basically, you buy the tea in a ball. Then, you invest in a glass teapot, plop in the tea ball, followed by very hot water (not boiling), and watch the magic literally unfurl before your eyes!

4. Mighty Leaf’s Vanilla Bean: Black tea with vanilla reminds me of tea time at the Ritz Carlton. It takes milk and honey amazingly well and is a smooth and luxurious brew… Find it HERE on Coffee Wholesale and prepare to be amazed at the Madagascar vanilla and the 100% biodegradable handmade silken pyramid tea bags! Pro tip: eat with crumpets, scones, and tiny cucumber sandwiches without crusts.

5. Organic Pu-Erh. Another mind blower: have you ever tried fermented tea? This one is a must-try. Aged for years, this dark, red amber tea hails from the Yunnan province in China. The aroma is pungent, with hints of aged cheese, mushroom, and cocoa. It is a good idea to rinse the tea before brewing.

Runners Up:

Genmai Cha: A green tea blended with puffed rice and actual popcorn, imparting a toasty and wheaty flavor.

Thai Iced Tea: The must-have beverage to accompany any thai feast. Now, recreate the magic in your own abode.

PG Tips: Britain’s favorite and most-beloved breakfast tea just hit the states in recent years. If you want a truly authentic taste of British tea, you must get your hands on PG Tips.

By: Alex Riesdorff (G+)

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All Day Gourmet / Classic American Roast

At Coffee Wholesale USA, we pride ourselves on offering the most delicious coffee available at amazingly low wholesale prices. We call our house brand coffee All Day Gourmet, because we offer America’s favorite coffee blends — always full-bodied and freshly roasted with low acidity (which means it’s not bitter!). Plus, our ground coffee is 100% pure coffee — no filler here!

We manufacture and offer two delicious varieties: the Classic American Roast or the Bolder Brew. Both are available in large, 2 lb. bags of whole bean or individually-wrapped 1.25 oz. packages (or 1.75 oz if you like it a little stronger), measured perfectly for a standard 12 cup drip brewer.

If you are looking for the dark roasted, nutty and full-bodied taste of Starbucks, I would recommend the Bolder Brew, a stronger and more cost-effective version of your favorite luxury cup of Joe. We make sure that our pillow packs are vacuum sealed. Without air mingling with your coffee grounds, your coffee will stay fresh up to a year!

At the Coffee Wholesale headquarters here in Richmond, VA, we decided to turn a sleepy Tuesday afternoon into a Coffee Wholesale taste test! I was inspired by our discreet packaging; my boyfriend tried some American Roast (black), and although he isn’t a coffee drinker (especially not a black coffee drinker), he was astonished at how such great things could come in small packaging. We use our brand coffee every morning — filling the coffee pot in our breakroom… but very few of us employees actually drink our coffee black. So I gathered my cube-mates (and even a couple execs!) to gather opinions and reviews on Coffee Wholesale’s Classic American Roast. We drank it black and I provided some sweet snacks to accompany this delicious brew. Here goes:

  • Louise: Nice aroma, and surprisingly not bitter at all. I was expecting bitter, but it is quite robust. Very drinkable and doesn’t need creamer. I put creamer in most coffee to neutralize the bitterness and this just doesn’t need it.
  • Brian: It’s a little bit tart, but it’s smooth and a price performer (meaning, you are getting a good quality product at a very low cost). This is a close second to a premium coffee such as illy.
  • Wes: Nice aroma. I can tell it’s a medium roast — not too strong and not watery. It’s a drinkable coffee you could drink all day.
  • Taryn: The packaging is unassuming, so I never expected much and never tried it black. I’m glad I did. This coffee doesn’t need all the sugar and creamer I have been loading it up with. I think I’ll drink it black from now on. It’s not bitter at all. It has little to zero aftertaste.

 

It is also important to note that all of our coffee is priced wholesale, and the more you buy the lower the price drops (per ounce, for example.) We also offer All Day Gourmet in a variety of flavors and types. Don’t miss out on our Hazelnut, French Vanilla, Breakfast Blend, and we even offer Kona (100% pure) and Jamaican Blue Mountain! Have you ever tried our coffee? If so, do you use it at home or commercially? Which type is your favorite?

After our testing, today has become a little less sleepy…

By: Alex Riesdorff (G+)

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DIY Flavored Creamers

We love flavored creamers (like International Delight or Coffee Mate) because they are amazingly easy. In this modern, fast-paced world in where Keurig brewers trump standard drip brewers in sales and popularity — because they cut down coffee prep time to a matter of seconds — taking the time to garnish your cup of joe with milk, sugar, and flavorings just seems too time consuming. After all, there are steps — like, more than one: first you have to pour sugar in your cup of joe, stir, take the cream or milk out of the fridge and adding it to your coffee, stirring again, and adding flavoring if you are into that sort of thing.

Store bought creamers are delicious, but packed with sketchy ingredients and high in calories and cost. I like to save money by cooking my lunches for the week on Sunday afternoons. After realizing that I can make my own coffee creamer, too, and that this stuff is actually much more delicious than the store-bought oil-based creamers, this recipe has hit my weekly prep list. You can spice it up by adding whatever flavors you like — making you an instant coffee creamer artist! In case you lack inspiration, I have experimented with a few recipes myself and have formulated my favorites, as follows.

Here is the basic recipe, I call it “sweet cream”:

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¾ cup half and half or whole milk (the fattier the base dairy used, the creamer the end product will be)
  • 1 – 14oz. can sweetened condensed milk

Combine ingredients in saucepan over medium heat. Whisk ingredients together continuously until combined. Turn burner to low/simmer when steam begins to rise off of the milk. Continue to stir until cream appears to have thickened, then turn off the burner and add your flavorings.

Vanilla: Follow above recipe but add a quarter to one-half teaspoon of vanilla bean paste to the saucepan after turning off the heat. Stir to combine well. You can substitute for pure vanilla extract if you must, but vanilla bean paste imparts a very genuine flavor with real vanilla bean specks you can see!

Brownie Bite: After turning off the heat, add 1 tablespoon cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon of chocolate syrup. Stir to mix well. You can use milk chocolate cocoa powder or dark chocolate cocoa powder for a more bitter, intense flavor.

Vermont Maple/Cinnamon: Decrease your use of sweetened condensed milk from one 14 oz. can to one half of one 14 oz. can (7 oz.). Add two tablespoons of real maple syrup before heating the mixture. After cream is reduced and taken off heat, add 2-3 dashes of cinnamon and whisk well.

Coconut Caramel: Decrease your use of sweetened condensed milk from 14 oz. to 12 oz. After heating sweet cream, add 1 tablespoon of Coconut Cream Concentrate and 1 tablespoon of caramel syrup (the kind you use on ice cream). Stir to mix well.

Oatmeal Cookie: Okay, I saved the best for last. I really love oatmeal, and the use of instant oatmeal in this recipe will actually help to thicken the cream. Here’s one you won’t find in grocery stores. After reducing the heat from medium to low, add one half packet of raisin date walnut instant oatmeal. Stir to mix well and remove from heat. Strain the liquid, separating any solids from the cream, using a fine strainer or cheesecloth. Be patient and make sure the liquid is strained well before consuming.

By: Alex Riesdorff (G+)

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The Chemical Compound of Caffeine

Are you coo-coo for caffeine? If you’ve found yourself on this site, chances are the answer to this question is a resounding “YES”, because one of the top-known caffeine facts are that this drug naturally occurs in large quantities in coffee and black teas. Other common foodstuffs that contain caffeine include chocolate, some berries, mate tea, sodas, and energy drinks. “Supplements” and medication such as diet pills, cough suppressants, and no-doze also carry this powerful stimulant. It is for this exact property of stimulation that caffeine is the most commonly used drug in the world. In fact, 83% of Americans indulge in coffee alone — and this figure does not include other caffeine-based beverages and foodstuffs.

Without getting into advanced scientific jargon, I’d like to explain to you what caffeine, the chemical compound, is exactly. Caffeine is: C8H10N4O2 — and you don’t have to be Walter White to know that this means it’s made from hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen (in the order of most to least prevalent). These are also the most prevalent elements in the human body and more profoundly, everything on this planet. Woah. Okay back to caffeine. Not only is it made of these four common elements, it contains some undeniable properties:

  • Acts as a stimulant — an addictive one at that — to humans and other animals who consume it
  • It’s an effective pesticide to insects that feed on coffee bean plants (as well as yerba mate and cocoa plants)
  • Stimulates the nervous system, heart rate, and respiration
  • Acts as a diuretic
  • Can have psychotropic (mood alternating) properties

As such, we love drinking coffee and tea in the morning, because it gives us that nice little jolt of energy that lasts just about as long as it takes us to go through our morning routine, drive to the office, and settle in before we need another cup. Or two. Or three. This is because caffeine is short-acting — it only lasts an hour or two before it is completely dispelled from the brain. Caffeine is addictive, because when it is coursing through our body, it is stimulates the nerve cells to release adrenaline — increasing the heart rate and releasing the body’s natural “feel good” chemical dopamine (a neurotransmitter). Once these “feel good” sensations are gone, our body’s pleasure center begins begging for more. A tolerance will slowly build, and your body will need more and more caffeine to reach the stimulation you are used to.

Don’t start to panic — caffeine is a relatively safe drug. Levels that would be considered “toxic” begin to emerge at around 13-19 grams. A typical caffeinated beverage contains 100mg of caffeine, so you would need to consume 130-190 cups of joe to reach a lethal level, and the folks at Coffee Wholesale are pretty sure that’s physically impossible.

By: Alex Riesdorff (G+)

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The Short and Sweet Life of Dumb Starbucks


In Los Angeles this past Friday (February 7, 2014), a brand new coffee shop opened up in a the neighborhood of Los Feliz to hour-long queues of people dying to get their hands on free mediocre coffee, pastries, and espresso drinks. The cafe was called Dumb Starbucks and appeared, in almost every way, to look exactly like another generic Starbucks franchise, but with the addition of “Dumb” in the names and titles of their products. I use the past tense in the last sentence because the life of this live parody of America’s favorite coffee shop has already come to a close — at least temporarily — as the health department shut Dumb Starbucks down as of yesterday afternoon for operating without a permit.

Why “Dumb”?

The elaborate prank, which came out to the public as a media stunt by Canadian comedian Nathan Fielder for his Comedy Central show “Nathan for You”, claimed that by using the word “dumb” in front of a copyrighted trade name, it was made clear that the fake business was an imitation, protected by the parody law. Fielder never applied or received a valid permit from the health department, they rationalized, because they didn’t charge customers for the coffee, and therefore should be categorized as an art gallery as opposed to a for-profit restaurant. Clearly, the health department disagreed on the latter argument and beat Starbucks Coffee Company to the task of ceasing and desisting Dumb Starbucks.

Don’t Mess With Starbucks

Starbucks, over the past couple decades, has become famous for shutting down (or attempting to shut down) small-time coffee shops and roasters for coming even close to referencing their name in products, titles and labelling. Family owned New Hampshire-based Black Bear Micro Roastery was sued by Starbucks in 2001 for copyright infringement over the use of the word “Charbucks” in the names of their products. Two months ago, in December 2013, Starbucks famously sent a cease and desist letter to Exit 6 Brewpub to change the name of their “Frappicino” brew, on the grounds that this word too closely resembles a registered trademark of Starbucks Coffee Company. Clearly, Starbucks was planning on at least threatening legal action towards Dumb Starbucks; their last official statement declaring the two are in no way affiliated. Lawyers specializing in intellectual property speculated that the argument that Dumb Starbucks could effectively exist on grounds that it was protected by a parody law was completely unfounded. An email from Starbucks to the media this past weekend stated, “”We are evaluating next steps and while we appreciate the humor, they cannot use our name, which is a protected trademark.” The health department surprised everyone by beating Starbucks to the task of shutting Dumb Starbucks down.

By: Alex Riesdorff (G+)

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Coffee Condiments

Drinking coffee in the morning is a routine that, for many of us, will never change. I know that personally, I take my coffee the same way every day, with the exact same amount of raw sugar and 1% milk, but in the spirit of the new year, I am trying to branch out and try new things, and the first step is my morning coffee. Besides cream and sugar, there are plenty of other tasty treats that can be added to coffee, and some are even health-conscious. I’ve spent the last few weeks delving into the world of unknown coffee condiments and listed a few of my favorites for you brave coffee lovers out there to try!

Cinnamon: I have often seen cinnamon jars placed near the cream and sugar in coffee shops, so it seemed like a natural place to start. You can use ground cinnamon, or cinnamon sticks crushed into a fine powder. In my first attempt, I poured a cup of coffee and added the cinnamon on top, which created a clumpy, grainy texture. Then I discovered this pro tip: mix your crushed cinnamon in with the coffee beans in your filter, that way you get the same spicy flavor, without the texture issues!

Maple Syrup: This viscous liquid is best associated with pancakes, but can also make a delicious addition to your cup of joe. As the dangers of sugar become more and more apparent, many of us are looking for alternative ways to sweeten our food. Instead of turning to a chemical concoction that is walking around, pretending to be sugar, I tried maple syrup that was harvested locally. The thickness of the syrup proved to be a little challenging, but after a few vigorous stirs, I had created a fairly homogenous solution that was sweet enough to deter me from adding milk.

Cocoa/Chocolate: Coffee and chocolate, my two great loves, finally together at last. Some mornings, I mix a small amount of cocoa powder in with my coffee beans so that the flavors are brewed together flawlessly. More often than not, however, I simply drop a piece of dark chocolate into my mug when it is still very hot and watch it dissolve, after all, dark chocolate in moderation can even be good for you!

Almond Milk: As much as I do enjoy the occasional black coffee, and can appreciate it for its robust flavor, I greatly prefer coffee that has been lightened with some sort of creamer. In an effort to cut down on my daily dose of saturated fat, I have switched from cow’s milk to almond milk. If you haven’t tried almond milk, I highly recommend it. Though the nutty flavor might deter you from drinking an entire glass, many people find that it is delicious when combined with cereal or coffee. There are even vanilla and chocolate flavored almond milk options. Here are a few nutritional facts I learned from comparing the nutritional labels on almond milk to regular 2% cow’s milk. Almond milk contains 30-40 calories per serving, while cow’s milk contains around 150 calories per serving. Almond milk contains no saturated fat, which means it will not raise your cholesterol, while one serving of cow’s milk contains 5 grams of saturated fat. Because it is made from nuts, almond milk still contains helpful protein, as well as magnesium and vitamin E, making it an excellent substitute for milk, even if its only at breakfast time.

If you’re feeling adventurous, take a leap and try one of our condiment suggestions, or create your own and let us know how it tastes!

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Coffee Around the World

If you’ve ever traveled outside the United States and tried to order your favorite double-shot, soy milk, extra whip frappucino, you may have been disappointed. Coffee preparation techniques vary around the world and, therefore, so does the coffee drinking experience. If you are visiting a foreign country, especially one where you do not speak the language, having a rough idea of the local coffee terminology can be helpful, and you may end up trying something new that makes a lasting impression.

France: Picture yourself in Paris in the afternoon, tired from a long day of sightseeing. You sit down at a picturesque outdoor cafe, preparing to enjoy an afternoon pick-me-up, but alas! You do not see caramel macchiato listed on the menu! In France, it is rare to find a flavored coffee such as hazelnut, or ironically, French vanilla. It can even be rare to find a typical blended coffee, which is what most Americans are used to drinking. This just means that it is time to step out of your comfort zone and enjoy coffee like a Frenchman. If you try ordering a café, you will receive a shot of rich, dark espresso served in a demitasse cup, which is very tiny and usually made of porcelain. This drink is meant to be sipped and savored slowly. If the bold flavor proves to be too much for you, try a café au lait, or espresso with milk, which will lighten the taste.

Brazil: Now imagine that you are in Brazil, the world’s largest producer of coffee. It is summertime, and you decide to go get breakfast at a local cafe. Though it is morning, the temperatures are already sweltering, so you figure you will have an iced coffee with breakfast right? Probably not. Brazilians, like the French, prefer their coffee concentrated and scalding hot. Try pairing your coffee selection with an iced water to cool you down. In Brazil, the cafezinho is the drink of choice. Similar to the café in France, it is served in a small cup, and though the coffee is very strong, it is not always made with espresso. If you want something more familiar, try a média. This drink is made with espresso and steamed milk, similar to a latte, and probably friendlier for your American palette.

Austria: When I visited Austria, I was overwhelmed by the grandeur of the coffee shops. Unlike in America where coffee shops are overrun with hipsters on their computers and the sound of folk music permeates the air, the coffee shops in Austria are old, historic, and full of splendor. Café Central is one of the oldest and most famous cafes in Vienna and I had the privilege of spending many afternoons among the rich and opulent furniture, greeted by waiters in tuxedos, and serenaded by a professional pianist playing Mozart, Brahms, and Schubert on a grand piano in the middle of the chandelier-lit hallway. Melange is the usual coffee of choice for Austrians, and contains steamed coffee topped with frothy milk, making it a bold, but not overwhelming choice. Another option (my personal favorite) is an Einspänner made with strong, black coffee, complete with a dollop of whipped cream. It makes a perfect dessert coffee.

Ethiopia: Coffee in Ethiopia has important cultural significance. In homes as well as restaurants all across Ethiopia, the coffee ceremony that is performed while brewing allows you to witness each step of the traditional preparation process. It begins with a woman roasting the coffee beans over an open fire until they pop, like popcorn. Next, they are crushed with a pestle and mortar and boiled with water. The coffee, called Bunna, is served black, in demitasse cups, in 3 different servings, abol, huletegna and bereka, and each serving being weaker than the previous.

Travelling is all about experiencing new things. If you go abroad and find yourself facing new coffee options, fear not! Trying something new is exciting, you may just develop a taste for the unusual.

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Coffee in Pop Culture

If you spend 60 seconds on Pinterest, you are almost guaranteed to see some sort of clever meme about coffee and the role it plays in our lives. If you watch television, you can probably recite 3 catchy coffee slogans. Magazines on newsstands are filled with pictures of celebrities grabbing a cup of joe. What is it about this delicious beverage that causes its presence to be so dominant in pop culture? Maybe it is the universality of the morning brewing ritual or the way caffeine makes us feel, or how sharing a cup of coffee can bring people closer together. We’ve rounded up a list of our favorite coffee lovers who helped make our beloved drink the icon it is today.

Johann Sebastian Bach:

J.S. Bach, father of harmony, master of counterpoint, and yes, lover of coffee. During his tenure in Leipzig, Germany, Bach not only wrote many (MANY) liturgical works, but also served as the director of a musical society called Collegium Musicum, which performed many secular works at the very posh Zimmermannsche Kaffeehaus (Zimmerman’s Coffeehouse). One of the most amusing pieces is known as the Coffee Cantata (Schweight stille, paludert nicht, Be still, stop chattering). It tells the story of a young girl, Lieschen, who is addicted to coffee, and after many attempts to break her of the habit, her father, Schlendrian (whose name literally means ‘stick in the mud’) is forced to give her an ultimatum: she must give up coffee before she can marry. This realization makes Lieschen change her tune (literally and figuratively) and scheming ensues. In the end, both father and daughter come to the conclusion that drinking coffee is only natural, and the people of Leipzig rejoiced.

Teddy Roosevelt:

26th President of the United States, founder of the Bull Moose party, Rough Rider, and coffee addict/slogan master. Coffee did not become a popular drink in the U.S. until the late 18th century following the Boston Tea Party, but quickly became a national staple. Perhaps Roosevelt’s travels out west carrying a big stick required high doses of caffeine, because the president was rumored to drink a gallon of coffee a day! The Trust Buster was also a marketing mastermind, having been credited with coining the Maxwell House slogan “Good to the last drop,” which he exclaimed while drinking coffee at Andrew Jackson’s home in Tennessee.

Frank Sinatra:

200 years after Bach brought the comedic Coffee Cantata to Germany, Frank Sinatra brought it to us! His 1946 hit “The Coffee Song” is a novelty song about Brazil, which produces about a third of the world’s coffee. The song is an exaggeration of coffee consumption in the South American country, or at least we hope so;

And when their ham and eggs need savor
Coffee ketchup gives ‘em flavor
Coffee pickles way outsell the dill
Why, they put coffee in the coffee in Brazil

This particular piece was so popular that it was re-recorded in 1961 for Sinatra’s album Ring-A-Ding-Ding and has been featured on the Muppets.

Friends:

As the modern day Kaffeehaus, Central Perk serves as the location for much of the drama in the beloved television series, Friends. The very first episode begins with the characters congregating in their local coffee shop, above which, 4 of the friends live. Central Perk plays an important role in their lives, with both Joey and Rachel finding employment there under the watchful eye of Gunther, and many first dates, break ups, and make ups occurring in the shop where there is miraculously always enough seating. The series finale ends with the friends turning in their apartment keys and deciding to go to Central Perk one last time. The meeting place has become such a cultural icon that there is even a replica in Bejing!

Coffee is way more than a tasty beverage, it has become a part of our culture. Do you have a favorite coffee loving icon?

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Caffeine and Our Memory

There are many reasons that countless numbers of Americans indulge in delicious cup of coffee or tea each morning. It tastes delicious, helps to wake us up, and is part of our routine. We don’t need another reason to love our morning cup of joe, but we have one anyway- new research shows that 200 milligrams of caffeine (approximately the amount found in a large cup) may actually improve our complex memory.

In a recent study by Johns Hopkins University, researchers found that caffeine can provide a memory boost. 160 participants were asked to look at a series of pictures, followed by ingesting either a placebo tablet, or one containing 200 milligrams of caffeine. The next day, the research participants were asked to look at another series of pictures that varied slightly from the images they were shown the day before. The participants who ingested the caffeine were more likely to be able to identify the differences between both sets of pictures which “reflects a deep level of memory discrimination” according to the study’s lead author, Michael Yassa. The study also included manipulation of the dosage of caffeine, which varied from 100-300 milligrams. The 100 milligram caffeine dose did little to improve the memory of the participants, and the 300 milligram dose did little more to improve the memory than the 200 milligram dose.

So, if you have a big test or presentation coming up, sipping a cup of coffee or two may actually give you an advantage. However, it is important to remember that caffeine is a stimulant, which means that too much of it can cause unwanted side effects, such as jitters and headaches, so make sure you are paying attention to your intake!

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