Archive for the ‘International’ Category

Coffee Facts Friday: Flavorable Festivals

November 3, 2011

Grab you travel mug and GPS. Coffee festivals are percolating around the world.

Saturday, Nov 5, 2011.  Enjoy New Orleans savoring delicious java at the Coffee Festival.  A highlight of the festival, besides all that is wonderful about New Orleans, is the Cupping Flight.

Next stop:  Hawaii!   Sample the richness of world famous Kona coffee in a weeklong festival from November 4 to November 13, 2011.  Check out to learn how royalty played a role in bringing the world Kona coffee.

New Delhi, India, is the place to be.   Stroll down tree-lined boulevards to savor the graciousness of this global city and rich coffee.  The India International Coffee Festival begins January 18, 2012.

And there are more grounds for celebration at Coffee fest in New York from March 9-11.  The Big Apple takes pride in serving espressos.
End your coffee tour at the London Coffee Festival on April 27 to 29.  England may be best known for their teas, but a movement is brewing toward smaller, independent coffee shops where coffee is Art.


Irish Coffee Day

January 25, 2011

The Answer…Irish coffee
The Question…What drink, in a single mug, contains all of the four essential food groups:  alcohol, caffeine, sugar and fat?
Cheers to you on Irish Coffee Day!

Sympathetic to passengers who had to brave an often chilly and bumpy flight across the Atlantic Ocean, Joe Sheridan developed a drink to warm their hearts and spirits.  This special drink was first served, in 1942, to weary passengers at the Foynes Airport (Shannon International Airport).  As the story goes, thankful passengers asked, “Is this Brazilian coffee?”   “No,” answered Joe, “It is Irish coffee.”

Anytime, anywhere is the right time to enjoy an Irish coffee, but even more delicious is in an Irish pub.  We were met at the wharf by Ronan who greeted us with Tis a soft day, meaning—a light rain.  In Ronan’s trap we were off to explore the stark, beauty of Inishmore’s rugged coastline.  When the mist lifted, we settled down before a peat fire and enjoyed one of Ireland’s greatest gifts:  Irish coffee.  We enjoyed the cheerful Irish hospitality especially when our host Bridget asked if she could top off our coffee and then she did with another shot of Jameson!

Classic Irish coffee recipe
First, fill a glass mug with very hot water to pre-heat, then empty
Pour hot coffee into the glass ¾ full.  Drop in two sugar cubes.
Stir until sugar is dissolved
Add a full jigger of Irish whiskey
Top with whipped cream by pouring gently over a spoon.
Above is the classic recipe for a well-made Irish coffee…Or as my Irish husband quipped
1 part coffee
2 parts Jameson whisky
Coffee optional. (Alex Levine)

Coffee for Luciadagen

December 13, 2010

December 13 Holiday Festival: LUCIADAGEN

Before the introduction of the Gregorian calendar, Luciadagen, or St. Lucia’s Day was the mark of winter solstice. The belief is that she leads the way for the sun to lengthen the days.

Her legend began before she became the Queen of Light, when as a young woman she brought food and drink to Christians that hid in underground tunnels during the time of Diocletian. Her arms full, Lucia wore a wreath around her head in which she placed candles to light her way in the dark. In modern day, the feast begins in the morning when the eldest daughter dresses in Lucia’s image and carries a breakfast of coffee, gingerbread, and Lussekatter (buns) to her parents.

NOTE: The painting is by Carl Larsson, 1908. For more of Lucia’s tale go to the Festivals of Western Europe site, which includes a recipe for Lussekatter at or to and search for St Lucia’s Day December 13th.

Anti-Coffee Snob of the Month: (Currently Madquerading as a National Holiday)

October 11, 2010

October is a month when cinema and costume shops brim with versions of an anti-Christ, and pharmacies pedal antihistamines.  So with Kleenex, Claritin, and a cross to ward off the latest vampire flick, we bring you our Anti-Coffee Snob of the Month.

He is none other than that slave trader from Genoa himself; that voyager who aided in the transfer of diseases like small pox and typhus to The New World; that discoverer who brought coffee to the “Rich Coast” and never drank a drop. Yes, you guessed it. Our Anti-Snob of the Month is the celebrated Christopher Columbus.

Back then coffee was vogue only with those libertines in Venice (How else can a hardworking gondolier get up in the morning after shuttling party-goers to and fro while fighting off rats until the wee hours of the morning?) The admiral’s Ligurian culture frowned upon public or private consumption of coffee:  Alcohol good, caffeine bad.  So a while back “in fourteen hundred and ninety-two (through to 1502) when Columbus sailed the ocean blue,” he was blasted on sherry. No wonder he missed Asia by a long shot. High in sugar, high in alcohol content…Hangover! He should have known better. He’s from right next to the Piedmont region of Italy. Surely there was a nice Barolo he could have brought with him. (Wine Snobs we refer to your historical expertise here.) He still might have gotten lost, but he’d have had a better food/wine pairing with the chocolate he brought back to The Old World.

Maybe if Columbus had had a good strong cup of coffee during his explorations he would have docked at his intended destination.  But then where would we be? There might not have been The Columbian Exchange. No New World potatoes for Ireland’s famine? No tomatoes for spaghetti sauce? And conversely, what about no Old World horses for the Amerindians or wheat for America’s Bread Basket?  Can you imagine a Costa Rica without a coffee plantation?  Eureka!

Therefore, we recognize this inadvertently influential, non-consumer as our Anti-Coffee Snob of the Month.

Resources include:;;;;;; Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia, volumn 6; my third grade teacher

Coffee Facts Friday

October 8, 2010

In this land of the midnight sun, Norwegians are world leaders in consumption of coffee.  Lots and lots of java beans are imported, 41 tons actually.
No Starbucks abound in this land of soaring glaciers and spectacular Fjords, but coffee bars percolate in Oslo where coffee lovers gather to sip specialty drinks.
Espressos and Cappuccinos are trendy, but Norwegian Egg Coffee is still a staple.  Learn how to brew authentic Norwegian coffee at
Another cherished custom is the afternoon social kaffe.   Steaming pots of rich coffee and sumptuous cakes and buttery cookies are served to friends and family.  Jubel!
Leif Erikson Day is celebrated this Saturday October 9 throughout the United States.  Leif Erikson is the first recorded Nordic person to explore North America.  One has to wonder if this early explorer, nicknamed Leif the Lucky, was motivated to discover new lands or discover the best cup of coffee.

Co Fui No Mu?

September 30, 2010

It’s no surprise that besides the U.S. there’s a National Coffee Day in Brazil and Costa Rica and Ireland, but come on, Japan? Tea drinkers, hold onto your cups… Japan is the third largest importer of coffee in the world ( Germany and the U.S. are first in line), with the seventh largest retail market*.  

Coffee is not a new concept to the Japanese. The word for coffee, kohii, is old enough to have its own Chinese characters. Neither new is the idea of cafes.  The Japanese began their “modern day” coffee shop culture back in the 1880s. There is even a protocol for ordering coffee in cafes in which it seems elderly women rule. Present day Japanese consumers tend to prefer a stronger brew than that of Americans. Sarariman (salary based office workers) in particular benefit from bold doses of caffeine to get through their long workdays, overtime, and ambitious social schedules.  Travelers, consider yourselves forewarned. Even if you’re accustomed to black coffee in the U.S., you may want to sweeten your cup, be polite and adjust your order to: Kohii o onegai shasu…sato.  

*Euromonitor archive;; (#06 – ordering coffee)  

P.S . Is it still hot in your neighborhood? Check out the coffee jello recipe by Setsuko Yoshizuka at – the reviews say it’s refreshing!

Wordless Wednesday

September 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

July 20, 2010

The French Pastry Shop & Creperie, Santa Fe, NMThe French Pastry Shop & Creperie, Santa Fe, NM

Coffee Facts Friday

June 3, 2010

Coffee was a hot commodity in Ancient Arab countries.  A bride’s prenup allowed her to legally separate from her husband if he failed to produce coffee for her.

Coffee Facts Friday

April 2, 2010

Japan is now the third largest consumer of coffee.  They even know how to reduce wrinkles by bathing in coffee grounds that are fermented by pineapple pulp.
Hmmmm, reduce wrinkles with coffee grounds!  Excuse me while I forage my neighbor’s coffee grounds for a full-body soak.