Archive for April, 2011

URLove It Link: Ahhhhhhhh, Coffee

April 30, 2011

National Sense of Smell Day is always the last Saturday in April.  Really? Well, it does makes aromatic sense to coffee enthusiasts.  Understand how our sense of smell works has many followers.  Our sense of smell enhances our alertness and improves our mood, two facts coffee lovers have always known.  Cupping Coffee at home is a popular way to discover flavors and nuances of coffee.

At our April URLove It Link, www.coffeegeek.com/guides/beginnercupping/why provides stimulating thoughts on cupping.

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Coffee Fact Friday: Ice Out!

April 29, 2011

Each spring people gather on the banks of frozen lakes watching the black crumbly ice shift from the north shore to the south shore making predictions of when their lakes are free of ice.  When the final ice sheet melts, it is time to celebrate. 

True, ice-covered lakes do have admirers.  After an exhilarating snowmobile ride across a frozen lake, it is comforting to hold a steaming mug of coffee, inhaling the sweet aroma of freshly brewed coffee, warming your hands and very soul.
But it is April 29.  Time to trade a stocking cap for a sun visor, time to sit on the dock dangling your toes in the lake and sip a Frosty Frappuccino.  Gather friends and family to celebrate Ice Out Day with Caramel Mocha Almond Popcorn Clusters.
If you think Ice Fishing means looking for more ice cubes for your Frozen Coffee Cooler and Ice Out Day means you need to purchase a bag of ice–then celebrate Save the Frog Day or William and Kate’s Royal wedding on April 29 by hosting a healthy brew.

Coffee Fact Friday:  Caffeine has potential health benefits.  Numerous research studies documenting coffee habits reveal that compared to noncoffee drinkers, coffee drinkers are less likely to have Type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and dementia.  Now that’s good news for all coffee lovers.  Coffee is full of antioxidants and minerals such as magnesium and chromium.  But……caffeine may not be the only factor.  Perhaps, exercise, better diets and being a loyal reader of coffeesnobology may prove to be advantageous.  That’s our position.

Caramel Mocha Almond Popcorn Clusters
•    10 cups freshly popped popcorn
•    2 cups whole almonds
•    1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
•    ½ cup butter
•    ¼ cup corn syrup
•    2 teaspoons vanilla
•    1 teaspoon almond extract
•    ¼ cup strong coffee
•    ½ teaspoon baking soda
Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Spray 15 x 10 baking sheet with non-stick spray.  Mix popcorn and almonds in large bowl.
Combine brown sugar, butter, coffee and corn syrup in a saucepan
Over low heat, stir mixture until sugar dissolves.  Increase heat to high and boil 5 min.  Remove from heat; stir in vanilla, almond extract and baking soda.  Pour over popcorn and almonds, immediately stirring gently to coat.  Pour mixture onto prepared baking sheet, spread evenly.  Bake for 1 hour in preheated oven.  Cool completely.  Break into pieces and store in airtight container.


www.javaqueen.com/coffee-recipes/category/snacks-treats/

www.webmd.com/food-recipes/featurescoffee-new-health-food

Wordless Wednesday

April 26, 2011

Secretaries Multi Task Poster Print (Mini)(Image by www.cafepress.co.uk )

CFF: A Tree Grows in Ecuador

April 21, 2011

Actually, thousands of trees are now growing in the Ecuadorian Mindo Cloudforest because of a coffee-inspired green idea.  Tiny Footprint Coffee:  Carbon Negative Coffee is the brilliant collaboration of the Mindo-Cloudforest Foundation, Roastery 7 and ad agency Pocket Hercules.

Savvy coffee drinkers know we must reduce our carbon footprint.  Every pound of Tiny Footprint Coffee we coffee lovers purchase equals 54 pounds of “carbon-guzzling” trees planted as part of the reforestation project that “offsets the carbon impact of harvesting, roasting, and distribution.”

Sip and save our planet earth by enjoying delicious coffee.  And that’s a good way to celebrate Earth Day.  The 41st anniversary’s theme is a Billion Acts of Green. 
Purchasing Tiny Footprint Coffee is a leap forward.
•    Minnesota roasted, carbon-negative coffee
•    Protect vulnerable and endemic bird species
•    Restoring habitats through reforestation
•    Trees planted by locally paid help and volunteers
•    Shade-grown Arabica Beans
•    Grown on small family farms
•    Non-profit environmental conservation
•    Building Sustainability
•    Reducing carbon footprint
Check outwww.tinyfootprintcoffee.com to learn where you can purchase a rich full-bodied coffee.  Even Sasquatch loves Tiny Footprint Coffee.

Wordless Wednesday

April 19, 2011

CFF: Is Your Cup of Coffee Tax Deductible?

April 14, 2011

Looking for that last-minute deduction? Are you self-employed? Well, those caramel macchiatos you and your client enjoyed when you met at the coffee shop to discuss your business activities are. (eg.  fall sock order, kitchen remodel, AKC champion poodle’s breeding prospects). Actually 50% of the cost is the amount you can deduct.

According to the IRS 50%  (or an amount that is reasonable under the circumstances) of the cost of meals, entertainment, and, yes, coffee is tax-deductible. But if you claim you spent $1200 on java, they won’t just take your word for it. Along with your receipts, you’ll need records on:

  • date
  • place
  • persons present (not counting baristas)
  • duration of meeting
  • type of entertainment (drinking coffee)
  • business or benefit received

Good record keeping is the key! If you’re a procrastinator or not good with spreadsheets or don’t use a computer program to keep track of your expenses, go old school. Put your receipts from each meeting in an envelope and jot down the pertinent info on the outside, along with the dollar total amount. At the end of the year just add them up and give your accountant the total. Then tuck those envelopes away for a raining day should an auditor show up on your doorstep. Of course, you could meet them at your local cafe and get a deduction to boot (…Might want to check with the experts on that one). 

Are you wondering how long to hang onto your mountain of tax records? The IRS recommends anywhere from 3 to 7 years, depending on the category of deduction.  Categories such as owe additional tax, employment tax records, loss from worthless securities…I don’t want to talk about that one…and unreported income, all have different timelines. But be aware that tax laws are in flux.  Best practice, check with the IRS &/or your tax accountant.

www.irs.gov/taxtopics; Eric J. Adams, creativepro.com; Susan Ward, about.com; www.homepartyreview.com

Wordless Wednesday: Bali Beans

April 12, 2011

Latte Literature: The Geography of Bliss

April 9, 2011

Cabin fever got you down?

Then get out of your head and find your happy place while traveling the world in a book that the author describes as “One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World.”

Eric Weiner, a long time foreign correspondent for NPR, packed his suitcase and reversed his agenda from reporting on strife to discovering bliss.  But where to look? Moldova (where exactly is that)? What defines happiness –  passivity, weather, winning Powerball?

His search did not bring him to tropical locales advertised by “all-inclusive” vacation resorts, ones that sell visions of snorkeling, scratch golf, and bikini-clad baristas for one flat rate. (I can hear you asking, “why not,” – well, remember Jack Nicholson’s character in “Something’s Got to Give).  No. Eric’s quest brought him to places like Iceland, where “coffee is a staple, as necessary as oxygen,” to Bhutan, where much to this coffee snob’s dismay, “the government is corrupt, the roads slow, and the coffee instant,” to an ashram in India where no caffeine is allowed. Still, in spite of the familiar cup of joe in foreign environs, this book is not about the search for coffee bliss. Coffee is a sub-theme, a cultural reflection of the places the author visited in his search to usurp grumpiness.

If you take this literary exploration, will you discover bliss? There’s no guarantee. But what I assure you in the author is an engaging, funny, insightful travel companion. Just be sure to bring a to-go cup of your favorite brew.

Coffee Facts Friday: Bravo Barista

April 7, 2011

Does your heart race when you hear the hum of coffee grinders at your local coffeehouse? Do you admire the latte art served by your friendly barista?  Do you impress friends with your coffee lingo and awareness of coffee regions?  If you find yourself sipping your daily dosage of caffeine and admiring how the barista knows the ratio of espresso to steamed milk, then a career as a barista is your cup of cappuccino.  And this is the week to Explore Your Career Options. www.brownielocks.com/April

In Italy, barista is a proud title bestowed only after significant apprenticeship is achieved.  In the United States the Barista Guild of America, founded in 2003, is dedicated to promoting professionalism among baristas.

The Barista Guild of America (BGA) defines barista as a coffee professional who has the experience and training to deliver coffee and espresso-based beverages to customers that demonstrate craftsmanship and quality, creating a culinary experience for the customer. www.baristaguildofamerica.net/

www.barista-school.com/

 

WW: Going for the Gold

April 5, 2011

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/first-modern-olympic-games

http://www.theskichannel.com/news/skinews/20101122/Get-your-caffeine-on-at-Olympic-medalist-Shannon-Bahrkes-new-coffee-shop