Archive for the ‘coffee trivia’ Category

Thomas Jefferson, Third President…First Barista

February 7, 2013

President Thomas Jefferson was a thinker, a writer, an architect, an astronomer, and… a coffee snob.  He favored beans imported from the East and West Indies, and detested the “green” beans that were popular in America at the time.  Jefferson was also a roaster and stocked his Monticello cellar with unroasted beans.  And like any true coffeesnobologist, he roasted small quantities of beans and served coffee made with freshly ground beans.  As a coffee connoisseur, coffee was served in an elegant silver coffee urn of his own design.

Looking to the future, he predicted, and rightly so, that “The coffee bean, is [to] become the favorite beverage of the civilized world.”

Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham

Dear President Jefferson, you knew your beans!  The average American worker spends around $1,000 annually on coffee.  It is estimated that Americans consume about 45 pounds of coffee each year.


CFF: Coffee Cake…fruit or vegetable?

June 2, 2011

It’s about as difficult to trace the origins of coffee cake as it is to eat a piece without leaving a trail of crumbs.

Coffee cake genealogy began as honey cakes which evolved to galettes, to sweet yeast rolls and crumb cakes and streusel and Danish coffee cakes infused with the moisture ensuring beverage itself – coffee. Over time coffee cake became an American institution with variations as diverse as our family trees.  And as coffee cakes go, blueberries, cinnamon, and nuts are popular ingredients among many cultures, but to Midwesterners, rhubarb rules.

Rhubarb (What is it exactly: a weed, a vegetable, a fruit?) has wealth of minerals and vitamins, and when combined with sugar becomes a perfect balance of flavor that bounces off your taste buds. The perfect accompaniments are conversation (thick with weather, jokes, and the opposite sex…thin with politics and religion), forks, and straight, not sweetened, hot coffee.

This Sunday, near to the very middle of the U.S, Vermillion (South Dakota) celebrates Rhubarb Day. Sure they’ll have an Apron Display and a Biggest Leaf Contest and port-a-potties for the crowds. The festival is one of many that take place around the country every spring and summer, depending on when the local Chamber of Commerce departments say the rhubarb is in season.

Now, just in case your back yard stalks are bright pink and ready to break off, we have a coffee cake recipe for you direct from Walhalla, ND in Mary Kram-Danielson’s “From My House to Your House Through the Rhubarb Patch” cookbook.   (Sorry no photographs on this one.)


1 pkg. yeast

1/4 c. lukewarm water

1/2 c. milk

2 Tbsp. shortening

1 egg

1 tsp. salt

21/2 c. flour

melted butter


1/4 sugar


3 c. rhubarb

1/4 water

sugar to taste (about 1 c.)

– Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water. Scald milk; add 1/4 cup sugar, salt and shortening to milk. Cool to warm. Add flour to make thick batter; mix wel. Add yeast and egg; beat well. Add more flour to make soft dough. Knead well. Put in a greased bowl; cover and let rise to double. Punch down; let rest 10 minutes.

– Pat 3/4 dough into a round baking dish. Brush with melted butter; sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Spread rhubarb filling over dough. Roll out remaining dough 1/4 ” thick. Cut into strips 1″ wide; put on filling to make lattice. Rise 45 minutes. Bake 35 minutes at 350.



P.S. I do not live on a farm and there is no way in Hell I’m taking the time to make this. If anyone out there does, let us know how it turns out. Meanwhile, I’m going down to the bakery to pick up a rhubarb coffee cake from them and will sip on a tasty cup of French Roast while I wait to hear back.;

Coffee Fact Friday: Coffee Makes the World (Trade) Go Around

May 19, 2011

 (photo from the film Black Gold: Wake Up and Smell the Coffee)

The third week in May is World Trade Week.  In New York United States “stakeholders” are meeting to discuss, evaluate, and forecast domestic and foreign trade. One concern is increasing exports, but coffeesnobology is betting that that discussion takes place over a cup of imported coffee.

Coffee commodities are second only to petroleum and have been an international trade commodity since the 1800s. .  The U.S. leads the top ten importing countries, which include (in descending order) Germany, Japan, France, Italy, Spain, Canada, the U.K., Poland and the Netherlands, the latter of which began the fair trade movement in 1988.

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Coffee Facts Friday: Is There a Waffle in the House?

March 24, 2011

Never fails. Where there’s a feast, there’s food. And for the Feast of Annunciation in Sweden and Europe, the food of choice is Vaffeldagen, or as they say in the states, waffles. And if were talking waffles, we aint speak’n no foreign language here, we’re talking Waffle House.

Since 1955, they have served an estimated total of 442,451,500…and counting.  And what goes better with a waffle than a cup of coffee.

Waffle House Coffee Fact: Coffee is the fruit of an evergreen shrub native to northern Africa. Each plant yields only enough coffee for one to two pounds of roasted coffee per year. It takes more than three million pounds of coffee beans to produce a year’s worth of Waffle House® Classic Blend Coffee. Waffle House serves 95 MILLION cups of coffee per year (Waffle House, 2005)…. And that’s only in 25 states!

Editor’s note: March 25th is INTERNATIONAL Waffle Day. If you want to go all waffle-patriotic (blueberries, strawberries and whipped cream), you’ve got to wait to celebrate until August 24th,  NATIONAL Waffle Day.

Coffee Snobology’s Coffee Etymology

March 6, 2011

What’s in a name? History, culture, quirky trivia – you name it! That’s what inspired Jerry Hill to establish Fun Facts About Names Day (Monday on the first full week of March). His idea was a day dedicated to “celebrate names by learning more about them.” Here at Coffee Snobology we like to celebrate, so we wondered:  How did coffee get its name?

Let’s start in the present and trip backwards…

Coffee in English derived from the Italian caffe` and the French cafe`. The French and Italian names evolved out of the Germanic kaffee, the origin of which is attributed to the Arabic word, qahwa. This word’s etymology referred to a psychoactive beverage, also inclusive of wine. (Mind bottling, isn’t it?) From here coffee may have derived from the Turkish kahve, and finally we settle in the legendary dancing goat Kingdom of Kaffa, Ethiopia. Although somewhere in this later timeline more stories of name origin trace their roots near the Arabian shipping port of  Mocca.  And along the way, in the land between the then of little historical notation and the now of diluted documentation, came more names, such as the Ukrainian kaba and the Polish kawa.  

Well, however “coffea of the madder family” got its name, you can be sure its offspring, latte and macchiato don’t fall far from the tree.

NOTE: For Coffee Snobology’s take on the origins of the coffee snob, refer to the 7/25/2010 post in the Book Excerpts category: Evolution of the Coffee Snob.

w/ (A Canadian men’s magazine);; And of course, Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia, Volume 6. MCMLXXI, MCMLXXV, MCMLXXIX.


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!

Latte Literature

January 16, 2011

A coffee reference always attracts coffeesnobology’s attention, so our cappuccino cup runneth over when Jonathan Franzen wrote about shade-grown coffee in Freedom, a multi-layered family saga.  Readers learn that shade-grown coffee is better both in taste and for the environment.  Fact or fiction? We have all heard the phrase “truth is stranger than fiction.” A Google search turned up over 100,000 results confirming Franzen’s statements. (The truth…I didn’t read all 100,000) Go ahead, sip a cup of shade-grown coffee, and be entertained by Franzen who introduces us to the Berglunds and their struggles, sometimes comical, sometimes tragic, but always compelling.
Jessica, Walter and Patty Berglund’s adult daughter, admits “It rankles her that Walter, with his South American connection, was able to steer Joey (her brother) into shade-grown coffee at exactly the moment when fortunes could be made in it…  And there is no getting around the fact that shade-grown coffee is better for the environment, better especially for birds, and that Joey deserves credit for trumpeting this fact and marketing it astutely.”

Freedom, 533 and 534
Here are a few facts worthy of Coffeesnobology
•    Shaded coffee plantations are one of the best preservers of bio-diversity
•    Environmentally friendly coffee is a marketing niche for farmers
•    Shade-grown coffee is more sustainable than ‘sun coffee’
•    Shaded plantations preserve soil structure, preventing erosions
•    Shade-grown coffee plantations enable animals and birds to spread and prosper
“Beans, Birds and Bio-Diversity”

Anniversary of First US Perculator Patent: An Evolving Concept

December 25, 2010

 Wiki-drip – It is a misnomer that James H. Nason of Franklin, MA invented the percolator on December 26, 1865.  Nay say the whistle-blowing facts. An examination of patent history and documentation courtesy of under “The Evolution of Coffee Apparatus” shows that the coffee pot’s transformation into the percolator is the brain storm of many a coffee snob.  Nason, however,  is credited with obtaining the first U.S. patent on a percolator – one with “fluid joints.” Which just goes to show us that the Brain Children of the Mother of Invention do not always spring from the womb of originality.   

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Patent Drawings of Early French Coffee Makers 
Patent Drawings of Early French Coffee Makers
Left, drip pot of 1806—Next two, Durant’s inner-tube pot, 1827—Next (fourth), Gandais’ first practicable percolator, 1827—Right, Grandin & Crepeaux’ percolator, 1832

EARLY FOREIGN AND AMERICAN COFFEE-MAKING DEVICES1—English adaptation of French boiler. 2—English coffee biggin. 3—Improved Rumford percolator. 4—Jones’s exterior-tube percolator. 5—Parker’s steam-fountain coffee maker. 6—Platow’s filterer. 7—Brain’s Vacuum, or pneumatic filter. 8—Beart’s percolator. 9—American coffee biggin. 10—cloth-bag drip pot. 11—Vienna coffee pot. 12—Le Brun’s cafetière. 13—Reversible Potsdam cafetière. 14, 15—Gen. Hutchinson’s percolator and urn. 16—Etruscan biggin

National Espresso Day

November 23, 2010

Today is the day to enjoy an Espresso at your favorite coffeehouse.In 1901 Luigi Bezzera, a coffee-savvy Italian, invented the first espresso machine, and the world over enjoys this heavenly drink.  Frothy. Smooth. Aromatic.

National Espresso Day, November 23, 2010

Coffee Facts Friday

November 11, 2010

Accountant’s Day was Wednesday November 10th, but, hey, who’s counting!

Luca Pacioli, a true Bean Counter, is called “The Father of Accounting” because he outlined a sensible method used by Venice merchants during the Italian Renaissance period.

Furthermore, he stipulated that a person should not go to sleep at night until the debits equaled the credit.  No surprise that he also operated a coffee shop.

Aaah, those Italians, late nights and espressos.