Archive for February, 2011

Fairytale Day Sipped and Savored

February 26, 2011

  The Brothers Grimm were my literary siblings growing up. Their tales saturated my skin, each one becoming embedded in my memory until they became part of my genetics. To me a brain is synonymous with a scarecrow, and “Rats, trapped like mice,” is part of my vernacular.  

How dry the day if we could not interpret the mondane with the magical?  

Therefore, in honor of the art, we have dedicated this day to coffee inspired enchantment. But first we need a setting that befits the telling: enter the Common Ground Cafe (featured in, “Once Upon a Cup of Coffee” at

Common Ground Cafe


 Got Coffee? Good. Now…

A long time ago, in the land of Kaffa, there lived a young girl by the name of Ekundayo.  Ekundayo lived in a hut with her Sayt Ayat, FireHeywot and her uncle, Tilahun. When the rains began she sat on her stool, gazing out the window at the forested mountains in the clouds, unable to eat, unable to move.

      “Why do you not eat your stew?” asked her Sayt Ayat. “Is it too spicy?”

       To which Ekundayo replied, “Thank you grandmother, it is fine.”

      “Have you the fever, do you not feel well?”

      To which she replied, “I feel fine.”

      “Why do you sit there?” her Sayt Ayat asked. “Can you not walk?”

      To which she replied, “My limbs are fine.”

     Still the rain fell and still Ekundayo had not moved.  So one night, while the winds tore at the thatch, FireHeywot and Tilahun whispered.

     “Let us summon the healer from the village,” suggested FireHeywot.

     “No,” said Tilahun, hunching forward and looking over his shoulder at Ekundayo, whose head was resting on the sill. “The child’s spirit has been taken.  We will bring her to the monastery where they will rid her of the evil.”

 Over on the stool, Ekundayo let her breath rise in and flow out to mimic the rhythm of someone sleeping. She tried to imagine where they would take her. She wanted to run away, she wanted to shout at her uncle, “I am hollow; there is nothing inside me.” But even in fear, she could not move. She did not speak. Instead she squeezed her eyes shut tighter and saw herself on the mountain amid the clouds. She walked through the forest without getting wet. She picked giant purple lobelia and held them to her nose. She watched a funny looking bird with white cheeks fly to her and away and to her again. It called to her and she followed. The bird flew to a bush where it plucked out a sprig with clusters of red berries, then brought them to her.  She ate the fruit. Her feet became drums upon the earth and she began to dance. She danced all the way down the hillside back to the hut. She danced with her Sayt Ayat and her uncle in the yard among the goats and the chickens.

The next morning when Ekundayo woke the skies were clear. In the palm of her right hand she held a twig with green leaves and red cherries. And in her left, a feather.



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Coffee Fact Friday: Catch the Birkie Fever

February 24, 2011

In March 2000, Women and Men who Cross Country Ski and Drink Coffee (WAMXC COFFEE) recognized that training for cross country skiing must begin in early spring, long before the first snowfall.  Their training motto includes LSD  (Long, Slow Distance) and quality coffee.  To perfect their sidestep or herringbone, WAMXC COFFEE recognizes that “terrain and proximity are critical as is availability of good specialty coffee.”   These avid skiers and coffee enthusiasts favor independent coffee shops along their training routes.  And they caught the Birkie Fever.
What is Birkie Fever?  It is the craving for snow in July, so they can begin training for the American Birkebeiner, held for the past 38 years the last weekend in February. Cross Country skiers have packed their skinny skis, checked wax reports and are ready to traverse Wisconsin slopes in the legendary ski marathon.
Before racers click on their skis, they Doubled Poled to the Worldloppet Breakfast to fuel up on steaming mugs of coffee and pancakes and then their off, doing the kick and glide.
The Birkie, a four-day event, is the longest and one of the largest cross-country ski races in North America.  Northwood’s promoter, the late Tony Wise started this premier event in 1973 to acknowledge Norwegian history and tradition.  The American Birkebeiner honors the perseverance and courage of “two warrior soldiers, called Birkebeiners, who skied the infant Prince Haakem to safety during Norway’s 1206 Civil War.

Wordless Wednesday: What’s Not to Love

February 22, 2011

U.S. President Coffee Trivia Quiz

February 21, 2011

Challenge your co-workers, friends and family…

Question 1: Which president coined the phrase, “Good to the Last Drop,” that later became a company slogan?

Question 2: During the Civil War, what young Commissary Sargent was met with cheers when he braved enemy fire to bring hot coffee to the fighting soldiers?

Question 3: “If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee.”  Who said this?

All three answers are on the coffeesnobology twitter page. Come follow us!

All American Treat

February 19, 2011

Coffeesnobology cannot tell a lie.  We love cherries, pie and coffee.
To celebrate Cherry Pie Day we offer you a Coffeesnobology Somewhat Original recipe.
Cherry Ice Cream Pie
•    3 cups vanilla ice cream, softened
•    1-1/4 cups chopped fresh or frozen cherries
•    1- 9-inch chocolate-cookie piecrust
Gently combine ice cream and I cup of chopped cherries in a large bowl.  Spoon the ice cream into the crust and garnish with ¼ cup cherries.  Freeze until firm.

adapted from ice cream pie.html

The Cherry Ice Cream Pie is a breeze to make.  Drizzle on Mocha Espresso Fudge Sauce and you elevate this sweet treat to the upper crust of desserts.





Mocha Espresso Fudge Sauce
•    2 Tablespoons instant espresso powder
•    ½ cup of strong coffee
•    1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
•    1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
•    Pinch of kosher salt
•    6-8 Tablespoons unsalted butter
•    1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
First, brew extra coffee to enjoy, but save ½ cup.  In a saucepan, dissolve espresso powder in ½ cup of strong coffee.  Add sugar, cocoa powder, salt and butter.  Over medium-high heat, boil for two minutes.  Use a whisk to stir the sauce. Pour sauce through a strainer into a bowl.  Add vanilla.  Drizzle warm sauce over pie.  Enjoy this rich sauce on a variety of desserts. Coffee recipes:  Cooking Sweet and Savory Dishes with Coffee.

Don’t be surprised if guests ask for  a bigger piece of the pie!

Besides delicious, cherries are nutritious.  Cherries are full of anti-oxidants that soak up free radicals.  Free radicals are actually unstable molecules that damage healthy cells, resulting in diseases and yikes…speeds up the aging process.

The coffee bean is also called a cherry.  The coffee cherry is actually the seed of the fruit.  A coffee cherry is rich in anti-oxidants.  While we sip our coffee, anti-oxidants are hard at work preventing damage to our healthy cells.

No cherry trees were chopped down in writing this post.

Coffee Facts Friday: Cup ‘O Batteries

February 17, 2011
   When I think of batteries I think of bunnies, and cars, and the house I lived in off the grid in Colorado. I never equated coffee with batteries until today, National Battery Day.  (Happy Birthday Count Volta!) Today I learned that there is a car charger that doubles as a to-go cup imitator (
A power inverter styled after a coffee cup
Brilliant, unless in a moment of near-sighted, pre-caffeine non-alertness one tries to take a sip from it, the subsequent shock causing the driver to careen the car into the left hand turn lane, and into the path of a hyper-jolted trucker who’d been on the Nebraska interstate since 4a.m. sipping his joe.
…hopefully there is a coffee bar in Heaven, with maybe Raphael in an ethereal loin cloth as the barista…
 Back down on earth, there is another coffee battery idea via a visionary.  
 At the 2010 Venice Design Week Mischer Traxler found a way to recycle spent Nespresso capsules (the likes of which currently spend their retirement in landfills). He made batteries out of old coffee grounds, Nespresso’s aluminum capsules (anode), strips of copper (cathode), and salt water (electrolyte). His award-winning concept included 700 used espresso pods to make 17 batteries, each powering a small clock.  
(Image: Mischar Traxler)
Genius, except as Lloyd Alter of questions: what is the scientific value of the coffee here, is this “phony environmentalism?” Possibly. Is the clock practical? Maybe if it were an alarm clock. No matter, it’s just an idea. The point is caffeinated creativity. And oddly enough, creativity is best served when one takes time to “recharge their batteries,”  – a practice often accompanied by travel, nature, and a cup of coffee. Now, for a little down time…where’s that Raphael with my cappuccino?
(Footnote to Nespresso users: A Dutch company, CoffeeDuck, makes a compatible, refillable stainless steel capsule that are available practically everywhere online.)

Wordless Wednesday: Not a Grouch/Grouch

February 16, 2011

All Is Fair (Trade) In Love and Coffee

February 13, 2011
Coffee, Rob Webb, and adoption – a love triangle.
This Valentine’s Day we decided to forgo posting the obvious: Ode To Espresso. We figure the social-sphere will be overflowing with for-the-love-of coffee ballads and blogs and chocolate/coffee recipes, so we aimed our cupid’s arrow at a Fair Trade specialty coffee, Just Love Coffee Roasters.
Just Love is the heart-child of Rob Webb.  
His passion is the result  of an “adoption journey” to Ethiopia (yes, the birthplace of coffee).Rob’s desire to help others intertwined with his desire to create his own roast coffees…a match made in philanthropic heaven.  Just Love sets up a no hassle web page for families who can use a percentage (nearly half!) of the coffee sold to raise funds for their adoption process expenses – from pre-adoption, to post-adoption, and to special needs adoption.  In addition, a portion of Just Love proceeds are dedicated to aiding the Kids Care Orphanage in Ethiopia, which is where he adopted two daughters. 
Fair Trade coffee. Adoption advocacy. What’s not to love?

Coffee Facts Friday

February 11, 2011

National Inventor’s Day is celebrated on Thomas Alva Edison’s birthday, February 11.  Coffeesnobology knows why.

We are a can-do people.  Recognizing this quality, President Washington urged the First Congress to “enact a patent statute” as a means to promote science, innovations and inventions.  Much later, in 1983, President Reagan honored George Washington’s decision and Edison’s prolific work by proclaiming National Inventor’s Day to be celebrated on Thomas Edison’s birthday anniversary.  President Reagan encouraged Americans to “observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.”

All morning long I mused how to celebrate in an appropriate way.  Nothing came to mind.  Surely as a patriotic American who loves coffee, the preferred beverage of our founding fathers, I should be able to find an appropriate way to celebrate National Inventor’s Day.  Hoping fresh coffee would stimulate ideas, I poured shade-grown beans into my conical burr grinder, and while it whirled away, I slipped a paper filter in my coffee maker and brewed a steaming mug of fresh coffee.
After the second mug of coffee, questions began to percolate.  Who invented the Conical Burr Grinder?  Who created the coffee filter and my coffee maker?
Then it came to me:  Coffeesnobology would observe National Inventor’s Day with a brief history, very brief.

850.  As the story is told, goat herder Kaldi was curious why his goats were so frisky after munching on red berries.  The goats seem to dance on the hillside.  So Kaldi chewed the red berries and soon felt energized; in fact he did a Java jig.  At first coffee beans were considered energy foods and chewed—not brewed
1600s. Drinking coffee was common throughout Arabia, North Africa and Turkey.
1822.  The espresso machine appeared in France
1865.  James H. Nason holds a patent for the coffee percolator.
1908.  A drip coffee maker is invented.  And Melitta Bentz invents the first paper coffee filter.
1931.  The Jura Company is founded in Switzerland
1994.  Capresso Coffee Equipment Company is founded
Today, Jura-Capresso Company manufactures Conical Burr Coffee Grinders.

Coffeesnobology believes the comforting and stimulating aroma of fresh coffee results in amazing inventions.  If not, we may still be grinding coffee beans by pounding the beans against a rock. Drink up.  Invent.

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Wordless Wednesday

February 8, 2011