Archive for the ‘Observances – 2010’ Category

If Pets Had Thumbs Day…

March 2, 2011

…they could hold their coffee and drink it, too.



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.



For coffee tales visit

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!

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.)

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?

Wordless Wednesday: Sneeze Day

February 1, 2011
Cover coughs cover sneezes print | Zazzle.

Happy Birthday Franklin D. Roosevelt

January 29, 2011

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, our only president to be elected to office four times, was born on a cold night in January 30, 1882.

Throughout his life, FDR brought devoted friends and family together to celebrate his birthday.  Furthermore, happy birthday celebrations served as occasions to raise money to fight against polio.  The National Committee for Birthday Balls was created to raise money for the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation by holding dances in every town throughout the nation.

Coffeesnobology discovered Franklin Roosevelt’s Chocolate Birthday Cake, and you guessed it—the recipe calls for coffee.
1-cup butter
1 ½ cup sugar
3 eggs, well beaten
1-cup cold coffee
2 cups flour
½ cup cocoa
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. Baking soda
1 Tablespoon vinegar
Cream butter; add sugar, a little at a time.  Beat eggs and add to sugar/butter mixture.  Sift flour with salt, soda and cocoa together (3 times).  Add mixture to batter alternating with coffee.  Add vinegar and vanilla, mix well.
Bake in 9-inch pan for 25 to 30 minutes at 350.

This Coffeesnobology writer has been too busy enjoying this beautiful day and drinking coffee at my favorite coffeehoouse to bake FDR’s cake–but check in tomorrow for an update.

Coffee Facts Friday

January 27, 2011

Let’s hear a java- shout for Fun at Work Day.  Yippee!  Lucky us, it is also National Kazoo Day.  On Friday, January 28, do the grind and play your kazoo.
Fun At Work Day Activities
Grind. Brew. Indulge.  Forget about the giant urn of coffee sitting there for hours on end and treat your colleagues to freshly ground, freshly brewed real good coffee kazoo you deserve only the best.

Espresso yourself and play Kazoo Trivia
Hum a few work-related tunes on your kazoo
Workin’ 9 to 5
What a way to make a livin’

She’s a working girl, she is single and free
She’s a mother & wife and she’s proud to be
A working girl

Kazoo Facts
In the 1840s, Alabama Vest of Macon, Georgia, first invented the Kazoo based on an African instrument.  Thaddeus von Clegg, a German clock master, made the kazoo based on Alabama’s specifications.
*Kazoos are easy to play
*Hum a tune into a kazoo, and you are an expert
*Play a solo or join a workplace group
*Kazoos are inexpensive
*Kazoos represent the musical richness of American culture
*Kazoos can form many musical tones
*Paul Newman and Barbara Stewart started the first Kazoo Day in 1976


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)

Chocolate Espresso Mousse Pie

January 22, 2011

“Pie and coffee have a lot of symbolism in people’s lives. Coffee symbolizes musing and discussion – chit chat between friends…Pie is the sweet thing that ends a meal. It adds a sense of peacefulness and closure…” ~ Dorian Scott Cole

The only thing better that I can think of deviates from the Americana tradition that comes from mother and apples. (Before reading on, note here that I am a Midwestern anomaly: I was born without a sweet-tooth and generally prefer savory to sugary. When my husband asks me to pick him up some cookies at the grocery store I stare, nose wrinkled at the bakery selections unable to make a selection. Eventually someone bumps my cart and I move to another aisle, coming home with a prepackaged bag of ginger snaps.)   

No, when I think of dessert it is in the forum of an after dinner trilogy: dark chocolate, espresso, and red wine. Not everyday fare and not pie. But, in honor of National Pie Day –  and a party I’m invited to – I decided to combine the concept of pie and coffee with chocolate mousse.

 My initial searches for a recipe did not give me what I was looking for. I narrowed my focus to chocolate mousse and found a good baseline  by Tyler Florence  (Recipe is at and my adaptations are listed below this post) that uses egg whites and a little less cream than some of the others.  The crusts I found mostly consisted of the crushed chocolate cookies type. (Go for it, but you know I’m not going that route.)  If I’d had time I might have made a tart crust with cocoa in it, another good alternative. As it happened, the day escaped me and I used a pre-made roll out crust. 

The end result is not for children. Serve up a small piece and nobody get’s seconds. It is a grown-up dessert, one had I made on New Years Eve would have helped me greet 2011 instead of my pillow.  Finally, this pie pairs beautifully with a Ripassa style wine or dry Italian…but that’s just me.  A Syrah or Scotch works, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Recipe Notes:

  • Use 4 oz bittersweet and 2 oz semi-sweet (Those who taste buds have been dipped in the Candyland well can use all semi-sweet).
  • Add one and a half shots of brewed espresso to the melted chocolate and butter.
  • Temper the eggs.
  • Prick pie crust with a fork lightly, put parchment paper over, add dried beans or stones and bake for 15 min. Remove parchment and stones for remaining cooking time: golden in color.
  • Spread mousse into cooled crust.
  • Top with fresh whipped cream (There’s a time and place for Cool Whip, but this isn’t it). I used powdered sugar rather than granular for both the egg whites and the whipped cream.
  • Crush milk and dark chocolate covered espresso beans and sprinkle on top.
  • Make sure the pie is very chilled before serving

 Last word…

For a wonderful history of pie go to to read the Hearth to Hearth article by Alice Ross, Pie Crusts: From Meat to Fruit (search in “articles” if link goes to main page). And for a celebration of pies and more history