Category Archives: Food

Fresh Roasted Coffee Facts

Depending on the day, coffee is either the number one or two most consumed beverage in the world. It is enjoyed daily by hundreds of millions of people in virtually every country around the globe.

Many fresh roasted coffee lovers have no idea how their favorite morning cup of coffee is ‘made’. This article briefly explains the process of roasting gourmet coffee beans and how those wonderful flavors and aromas’ get into your morning cup!

It takes around fifteen to twenty minutes to roast gourmet coffee beans using a typical small commercial gas roaster. The usual rule-of-thumb is the quicker the roast, the better the coffee.

Short roasting retains the largest percentage of the gourmet coffee bean’s aromatic properties. Slow roasting gourmet coffee beans results in the beans baking and usually prevents them from developing fully. Also slow roasting normally won’t produce bright roasts and typically makes the beans hard instead of brittle even after the color standard has been attained.

Gourmet coffee beans have varying degrees of moisture when they are green or raw. The best fresh roasted coffee is created by first starting the roasting process with a slow fire until some of the moisture has been driven out of the bean. If too much heat is used at the beginning of the roasting process there is a high risk of “tipping” or charring the little germ at the end of the bean which is the most sensitive part of the bean.

Kissing The Cheeks” of a gourmet coffee bean is caused by loading too many beans in the roasting cylinder at one time and revolving the roasting cylinder too fast. This causes some of the beans to ride the cylinder walls for a complete revolution instead of falling off the sides into the cylinder as it revolves. As a result one face of the gourmet coffee bean gets burned or ‘kissed’.

There are no universal standards for coffee roasting. Because roasting is part ‘art’, a roaster will develop a personal blend and roast combination and establish that blend/roast combination as a sample ‘type’ to be used as the in-house standard the next time a batch of that blend/roast is roasted. Coffee drinker’s tastes run the entire gambit of roasting possibilities, from light roasted to extremely dark roasts.

Many roasters use the following roasting classifications:

  • Light
  • Cinnamon
  • Medium
  • High
  • City
  • Full City
  • French
  • Italian

A city roast is a dark roasted bean. A full city roast is a few degrees darker yet. A French roasted bean is cooked until the natural oil appears on the surface. And an Italian roasted bean is roasted until it is carbonized so it can be easily powdered.

In the United States, lighter roasted beans are favored on the west coast, the darkest roasts are enjoyed in the south and a medium-colored roast is the primary roast enjoyed on the east coast. Coffee drinkers in Boston especially enjoy cinnamon roasted coffee.

Coffee loses weight during the roasting process. The amount of weight lost varies according to the degree of roasting and the nature of the bean. Green beans, on average, loose sixteen (16%) percent of their weight during the roasting process. Typically one hundred pounds of coffee in the cherry produces twenty-five pounds in the parchment. One hundred pounds in parchment produces eighty-four pounds of cleaned coffee. And one hundred pounds of cleaned coffee produces eighty-four pounds of fresh roasted coffee.

During the roasting process the gourmet coffee bean undergoes both physical and chemical changes. After it has been in the roasting cylinder a short time the color of the bean turns a yellowish brown which gradually darkens the longer it is cooked. Likewise as the beans heat up they shrivel up until they reach the halfway point of the roasting process called the “developing” point. At this stage the beans start to swell back up and “pop open” increasing their physical size by fifty percent. When the developing point is reached the heat is turned up and the roasting is finished as quickly as possible.

“Dry” and “Wet” Roasts

A coffee roaster uses a utensil called a “trier” (it looks like an elongated spoon) to check the progress of the beans often during the roasting process. The trier is slipped into the cylinder taking a sample of the roasting beans and compared to a type sample. When the coffee has reached the desired level of roasting the heat is shut off to “check” or stop the cooking by reducing the temperature of the coffee and roasting cylinder as quickly as possible.

In the wet roast method the coffee is sprayed with water while the roasting cylinder is still revolving to cool the beans and stop the cooking.

In the dry roast method the beans are poured out of the roasting cylinder into a large colander type basket where they are stirred rapidly while air is blown through the beans to cool them down as quickly as possible to stop the cooking.

Excessive watering of coffee in and after the roasting process to reduce shrinkage is typically frowned upon. “Heading” the coffee or checking the roast before removing it from the roasting cylinder is considered a legitimate practice.

When water is used to quench the roast and stop the cooking most of the water turns to steam and does not get absorbed by the beans. However the beans do tend to swell slightly and brighten the coffee. Even though some water is used to check the roast it is still considered to be a “dry roast”.

It is doubtful that more than a handful of American coffee roasters use an absolutely “dry” roasting method – it is difficult to maintain consistent results from one batch to another and usually doesn’t provide the best possible product. The term “dry roasted” has been abused for years by coffee company marketing departments. Of course “dry roasted” coffee as described above will always make better coffee than beans that have been soaked with water but the word “dry” needs to be defined as to what exactly that means among roasters before the term can provide any real meaning or value to consumers.

The Convenience of One-Cup Coffee Makers

The one-cup coffee maker has many benefits. Perhaps you are the only coffee drinker in your house, and you are tired of pouring good coffee down the drain because you made too much. Maybe you enjoy gourmet coffee, but do not have the time or inclination to grind beans for a full pot. Or perhaps you want a convenient, mess-free way to enjoy a fresh cup of Joe at your desk.

If any of these are true, then a single serving brewer may just be for you.

Most of these individual coffee brewers have a built in filter. You just drop in a sealed cup or pod of your favorite coffee, hit a button, and in less than a minute, you have a fresh, steaming mug of java.

You can use your favorite cup with most of these, and some come with a thermal travel mug. There are compact machines that will even let you choose between coffee and tea.

If you do opt to go with a smaller version of the coffeepot, make sure you drink your coffee within 20 minutes, or it could turn bitter.

The one-cup coffee maker is perfect for your office at work, or for your desktop at home. You can have everything you need for a freshly-brewed cup sitting right in your desk drawer, never needing to interrupt yourself to get a quick coffee fix. The best part is that they are not messy, and cleanup is a snap. Any removable parts can be rinsed or thrown into the dishwasher.

Here are some favorites based on customer reviews.

o Melitta Single Cup – This sleek, modern-looking machine has earned the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. A metered tank allows you to brew up to five cups before having to refill, and it comes in three color choices. Use your own mug and have a hot cup of coffee in less than 60 seconds, or a cup of tea in about 35 seconds.

o Keurig – One of the most popular brands of single-serve coffee maker today, the Keurig offers an adjustable brew size – up to 11.25 ounces. The programmable functions and removable water reservoir add to the ease of use, and its quiet brew and auto shut-off functions add to its appeal. Beginning at around $99, this is one of the more expensive single-cup brewers.

o Senseo – Another of the nation’s favorites, Senseo’s compact design allows you to use your favorite mug, and removable parts can go right in the dishwasher. Brew either four-ounce or eight-ounce cups with an auto-shut off feature. Priced at around $70, this one-cup roaster is a great bargain.

o Black & Decker – The little Brew-n-Go percolates fresh coffee right into a handy travel mug. The auto shut-off feature will give you peace of mind. This little bargain model is another customer favorite.

o Bialetti – This java maker lets you make the perfect cup of espresso at home. Just put your water and coffee into the specially designed pot and heat up over your stove. Starting at around $47, this little coffee pot gives you the choice of brewing two cups or four.

o Bunn – The fast brew option on the My Café not only gets your coffee ready in a hurry, but allows you to brew between four and twelve ounce increments.

If you choose to use your one-cup coffee brewer to make tea instead, there are two ways you can enjoy a steaming cup. One is to put the teabag into the filter, where the coffee pod would normally go. Fill with water, hit the start button, and let it brew. In just a few seconds, you will have a steaming cup of tea.

The other method is to run hot water through the machine and place your teabag inside your cup. Heated water fills the cup, allowing the tea bag to steep like it usually would.

Either way, you will have an enjoyable hot treat.

The only potential disadvantage to the one-cup coffee maker is the lack of variety in coffee choices. If you prefer to experiment with various flavors and roasts, you may find yourself wanting more choices with the one-cup option. With these little coffee brewers, you are required to use the appropriate cup or pod designed for your machine.

On the other hand, many of the coffee pods available on the market are of the gourmet variety, allowing you to taste some exotics blends and roasts without spending a fortune. The convenience of the packets makes them so easy to use. Simply toss into the trash when you are finished, with no loose, messy grounds to concern yourself with.

The one-cup coffee brewer may also be a perfect addition to your kitchen for those times when you are in a hurry, but really need that pick-me-up you get from a fresh cup of coffee. You only need to delay yourself for one minute, and then you will be ready to fly out the door, coffee in hand.

The units are small enough they hardly take up any room, making them easy to stow in a cabinet, desk, or cubby. Add one to your list of “must haves” for your office, or put it on your birthday list. When you discover the convenience of the one-cup coffee maker, you will be glad you did.

Raw Food Diet Detox

A diet comprised of 100% uncooked food when used for the purpose of detoxification of the body is referred to as a raw food detox diet. Detoxification or detox refers to the process of elimination of toxins, produced either internally from metabolic wastes or coming from external sources such food and environment, that get accumulated in the body over a period of time, giving rise to a host of diseases.

A raw food detox diet primarily includes vegetarian or vegan foods, though sometimes meat and fish may be allowed too if one can manage to eat them raw. Such a diet promotes the elimination of harmful substances from the body through the body’s excretory organs like kidneys, bowel and skin.

How a raw food diet detox works?

The principle behind a raw food detox diet is the belief that food in its natural uncooked form has all the vital nutrients and enzymes intact, whereas cooking by conventional methods devitalizes the food due to breakdown of these substances. In a sense, raw food is a kind of living food, with a latent life force that under appropriate conditions facilitates germination and growth of a new plant from a seed.

Advocates of the raw food diet detox believe that when the body is fed with foods that are rich in life force, digestive enzymes, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, while at the same time being deprived of devitalized and toxin-laden foods, it gets into the self-detoxification and cleansing mode.

What goes wrong during cooking?

When food is heated to temperatures above 117 ºF (47 ºC) for more than a few minutes: (i) a substantial amount of vital digestive enzymes and nutrients get destroyed; (ii) proteins get denatured and coagulated, causing deficiency of many amino acids; (iii) fats when overheated result in the formation of carcinogenic substances.

When the food is cooked in water, the water-soluble minerals get lost due to leaching (even more intensely if one adds salt while cooking), unless one uses the leftover water for gravies or soups. In fact, scientific studies have shown that many of the vegetables lose their antioxidant benefits when boiled or microwaved.

It only gets worse when it comes to ready-to-eat commercially manufactured foods, which may even contain highly detrimental substances like acrylamides. It is for all these reasons that a raw food diet has emerged as the favorite detox diet.

Healthy Foods That Help You Lose Weight

One of the reasons why body fats store longer in the body is the failure of the system to eliminate those fat tissues because of unhealthy lifestyle. For instance, health experts said that acidic residue accumulates more fats in the body. Every weight loss program begins with a recommendation to eat healthy foods to lose body fat. So you will begin here to aid start losing weight. Healthy foods always make a difference, it will not only makes a person physically fit, but also provides the body with enough nutrients to fight chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.Read more

Quickstart Guide to Making Your Own Pet Food at Home

As a pet owner, no doubt you want to give your dog or cat the best care possible. And caring for your pet means feeding him the best diet you can. By making your own pet foods, you’ll be saving money, up to 80%. And to top it off, it’s easy; making pet food at home is probably a lot less time-consuming than you may have thought. With hundreds of websites offering free pet food recipes online, it’s now easier than ever to make your own pet food.

To prepare healthy and nutritious food for your pet you should study your pet’s natural habitat and food sources, and then prepare foods that most closely resemble their own natural or original diet.

Animals, because they are color blind, choose their foods by smell. Most dogs like gamey flavors best, as well as liver, fat, garlic, onions, horsemeat, lamb, beef, cheese and fish. Cats enjoy chicken, liver, fish, turkey, lamb, and yeast, and prefer fresh to aged flavors.

Cats are fussy eaters and it is not wise to continually feed them their favorite foods. Soon they will refuse to eat anything else; it is your job to see your cat has a balanced diet.

Animals do not need salt added to their diet as the natural salt in the food is enough for them.

Dogs may eat any vegetable they want, but cats should not have any starchy veggies, like peas and corn. Some dogs and cats even enjoy fruits!

It’s a good idea to always add a grain, such as Kibble, wheat germ, cooked oatmeal or whole wheat bread to meat dinners. For dogs use 75% carbohydrate foods (grains and vegetables) to 25% meat; for cats use half carbohydrate foods to half meat.

You will find, once you begin making your own pet foods, that it is really relatively simple and you will save some money as well. Remember that all pet foods should be served at room temperature; don’t serve food cold from the refrigerator nor hot from the stove.

Homemade pet food should take a ridiculously small amount of your time. As a general guide meats should be raw and vegetables must be finely chopped in a food processor or by a hand grater.

When it comes time for feeding, it is important that you let your dogs and cats eat as much as they want at the time of feeding. Once their body becomes nutritionally satiated, they will cut their food intake, sometimes by half the amount, and go on a maintenance diet. Incidentally, you should know that cats should be fed three times a day, while an adult dog needs only one meal a day.

In Search of the Best Coffee Makers

Coffee may be the most popular beverage in the world. Recent statistics indicate that over 50% of the American population are coffee drinkers and this number would more than likely hold true in many other countries as well. This more than any thing else helps to explain why there is such a wide range of coffee makers available for purchase today.

With such a diverse range of coffee machines, there is more choice for the coffee drinking public than ever before. Main stream popular styles include the Automatic and Manual Drip, Pod, Automatic Espresso, French Press, Percolator, Stovetop Espresso and the Vacuum. Each one of these styles has some unique characteristic that are sure to appeal to a certain segment of the coffee drinking public.

Automatic and Manual Drip Coffee Machines

The most popular style of coffee maker continues to be the automatic drip coffee maker. The basic design is very simple and efficient. Add fresh water to the built-in reservoir, insert a filter in to the handy filter holder, measure your favorite coffee grounds and pour into the filter and then press the start button. Within minutes your senses are excited by the smell of freshly brewed hot coffee! Most models also have a built-in timer and a pot warmer included so that you can set your coffee to brew and be ready at any hour of the day or night, and kept constantly warm as well.

Manual drip coffee brewers do take a bit more work since you need to boil the water using another heat source, but after that it is basically the same coffee making process of putting coffee grounds in the filter and pouring the hot water through the filter so that the coffee liquid is collected in the pot or container below. One great advantage of the manual drip coffee machine is that is can go most any where with you as it is not dependent upon having electricity to operate so it is great for camping and other outdoor activities.

Pod Coffee Machines

These are becoming very trendy and popular in recent years. Working similar to the automatic drip machines, they feature the ability to use pre-packaged containers or pods of specialty coffees to brew great tasting coffee. With many reputable coffee chains such as Starbucks now selling their most popular coffee blends in the pod format, consumers can get the same tasting cup of specialty coffee at home that they had to go out and purchase before at a much higher price.

Automatic Espresso Coffee Brewer

Espresso coffee makers have become much more affordable in recent years and because of this, they are gaining in popularity amongst serious coffee drinkers wanting something more than just a normal cup of coffee. There are currently three types of espresso coffee brewers to choose from, namely semi automatic, fully automatic, and super automatic. As a rule, the more automatic the espresso maker is, the less you need to do to brew your coffee, but unfortunately the more expensive it is to purchase. For example, where a semi-automatic model will tamp the coffee grounds, brew the coffee, fill your cup and eject the old grounds, an entirely automatic model will also grind the coffee for you as well, and the super automatic espresso coffee maker will do all of the above plus having additional features such as built-in water filters and self-cleaning.

Stovetop Espresso Coffee Maker

The stovetop espresso coffee brewers are basically a manual method for preparing espresso coffee when you do not have access to an automatic version or an electrical source of energy. This makes it an ideal coffee maker for taking outdoors on camping or fishing trips if you feel the need to make an espresso cup of coffee. First water is placed inside the underside boiler and then a cone filter is situated inside the boiler and filled with coffee grounds. Next the top is lightly tightened and the brewer is place over the heat source. After a few minutes, once the top of the boiler is filled with the freshly brewed coffee it is removed from the heat supply and the coffee is ready to be served. Here again, the absence of any warming feature means the coffee has to be served immediately.

French Press Coffee Maker

Also known as “press pots” or “plunger pots”, the French Press coffee makers are not as common as they once were. Preparing coffee is more work than it would be using any of the coffee makers already discussed as it is a manual coffee machine. The pot is actually a glass or porcelain tube consisted of a stainless, mesh plunger that acts like a filter. To make the coffee you must first measure the coffee grounds into the pot, then pour in almost boiling water. After allowing the coffee mixture to steep for a few minutes, the plunger is then pushed downwards and the liquid beverage is forced into the waiting cup or container. As there is no built-in heating plate or element beneath the coffee container, you must serve the coffee beverage immediately or place it into an insulated container to keep it hot for later.

Percolator Coffee Maker

At one time percolator coffee makers were the standard type of coffee brewers in most households, a role now held by the automatic drip machines. Although not as popular today, they still have their place when a coffee maker is required that can brew large volumes of coffee rather than the 10-14 cup limit or less in most other popular coffee machines sold these days. Modern percolators are available as stove top models and electric and can be programmed like other automatic coffee machines. The coffee making process is based on running water continuously over the coffee grounds, held within a metal filter, as the water is boiled. One drawback of this method is that the coffee often gets stronger and more bitter tasting the longer it goes through the brewing cycle.

Vacuum Coffee Maker

Perhaps the strangest looking type of coffee machine is the vacuum coffee maker. Looking like something from a science fiction movie, the apparatus is made up of two overlapping containers connect by a siphon tube. The filter is located in the bottom section of the upper container. To brew coffee, the user first adds coffee grounds to the upper container, then pours water into the lower container. Next the brewer is placed on top of a stove where the water is then boiled and the resulting steam is passed along through the siphon tube into the upper container. After about 3 minutes the container is removed from the heat source and the steam condenses back into liquid water which is forced through the filter and back into the lower unit. Your fresh pot of coffee is now sitting in the lower unit. An interesting way to brew a cup or pot of coffee!

Needless to say, coffee lovers can select from a wide variety of coffee makers. From cheap stove top coffee pots to high end super automatic coffee machines, there is a coffee machine for every inclination as well as for every budget. Fantastic news! Now here is the unpleasant news. With all the many coffee machines to choose from today, even knowing the style you favor is not enough. Within each of the coffee maker styles noted above there are numerous different brand names and models to choose from.

Emergency Food and Food Storage

Having food and water stored are key for survival when a disaster strikes. There are many types of foods that can be stored, but this article will focus primarily on foods for emergency situations. Creating a food storage can seem like an over whelming task, but when taken one step at a time this task can be accomplished with ease.

When disaster strikes and the power is off for a prolonged period of time the first food that should be eaten is in the refrigerator. I know this seems like an obvious answer but most people avoid opening the fridge because the items in the fridge will be exposed to air temperature. The reality is the food in the fridge will maintain its coolness because the food itself is cool, and the refrigerator will work like a cooler. The first time the refrigerator is opened a list should be made of the items in the fridge so the door isn’t open needlessly. Having a list will decrease the amount of time the door is open.

After the refrigerator food is eaten, next go to your freezer food. Freezer food is usually good for up to three days after the power is off. As long as there are ice crystals in the center of the food, it is still good to eat. After the perishable foods have been eaten during an emergency you will next want to consider consuming your food storage.

Let’s talk about how and what to store in your food storage. When creating a basic food storage all items can be broken down into the following seven categories:

  • Water
  • Canned or bottled goods
  • Paper products
  • Dried foods and grains
  • Snacks
  • Fats and oils
  • Sugars or sweeteners

Make sure you store appropriate amounts of items from each category. You can determine what the proper amount is by taking inventory of what you currently consume and use.

The first step when beginning to store food is to create a two week supply. When going to the grocery store start getting into the habit of shopping the ads and buying extras. You should store foods that are delicious and nutritious. Also, you should store foods that you are familiar with and that you currently eat. Consistently purchasing foods your family is familiar with will provide a sense of security when a disaster strikes.

Make sure while you are storing this food that you create an inventory system so you are naturally rotating your food. Placing new food items in the back of the storage area will force you to use the older items in front. Before storing these foods make certain you date and label each item. This will help in your rotating system. If items get disturbed or fall off the shelf you will know what order to put them back in and what foods you should eat first.

If possible, store all food in a dry, cool, and dark place. When storing crackers, cookies or boxed items store them in air tight containers to maintain freshness and keep moisture out. Try to store mainly non-perishable and staple items. These will sustain life and last longer in emergency situations.

After completing a 2 week food supply and creating an inventory system, move on to create a 3 month supply. This can be accomplished easier by first creating a master menu schedule. Without having a master menu schedule it would be very difficult to know what kind of supplies you really need. Over a period of time purchase the items for the menus on the master menu schedule and store and track them with the inventory system you created earlier.

After storing all of this food, secure a way to cook it in an emergency. Inexpensive charcoal grills, propane barbecues, and camp stoves are great sources of cooking in emergency. You can also use simple chafing dishes or fondue pots. Make sure you have stored matches. Without matches, cooking is next to impossible.

By following these simple suggestions you will feel prepared the next time an emergency situation arises. Have fun with your food storage, and try new things as you rotate your food.

Gourmet Foods For Every Occasion

Enjoying fine food is definitely one of the pleasures of life. There is so much fast food and bland tasting dishes today because of the lack of time to really prepare food right, that when you do get to enjoy gourmet fine food, it’s a special treat.

So what makes any food or drink qualify to be called “gourmet”?

Well, in general it means that a particular food or drink is considered above average in quality, and will appeal even to those who have the most discriminating tastes. It also usually means that a lot of time and effort has gone into it’s preparation too.

What comes to mind when you think of gourmet foods? Here is a list of many fine foods and beverages that can be found in the gourmet food category:

1. Coffees – Gourmet coffees include many exotic coffee blends from around the world and flavored coffees. Frequently you can get a nice mixture of various gourmet coffees that allow you to sample them before buying more of each kind.

2. Teas – There are several specialty teas from all over the world that qualify to be called gourmet tea.They can be either green, black, oolong or herbal teas. Again, you can often get sampler packs of these exotic teas to try them out first.

3. Chocolates – Whether milk, dark or white chocolate,gourmet chocolate assortments often come with fruit, nuts, and cream centers that are just incredibly delicious.

4. Caviar – If you really want to taste the good life, enjoy any of the various kinds of caviar, from the American Golden to the Russian Dark variety. Of course this is one type of gourmet food that can get really pricey fast, but there is a caviar for pretty much any budget if you look carefully enough.

5. Seafood – There are lots of seafoods that have been specially prepared as gourmet foods including smoked herring, oysters, shrimp and lobster rolls and bisques. There’s lots more in this category too and again you can often get samplers for taste testing in advance.

6. Fish – Some of the favorite gourmet fish foods are salmon, tuna, and halibut.

7. Meats – This is one of the largest gourmet categories and lately has become very popular. Entries in this field include ribs, roasts, steaks, and even some dried and cured meats.

8. Poultry – There are any number of gourmet foods prepared with chicken, but duck and turkey is also top favorites for special dishes.

So where can you use gourmet foods? Almost any special occasion is a good time to include gourmet foods, drinks, or desserts on the menu. Everything from intimate dinners for two to large social gatherings are all acceptable places to include the delicious taste of gourmet foods to help make that occasion truly special and unforgettable.

Clean and Conscious Dining With Halal Foods

The process of preparing halal foods can be said to be multidisciplinary. The foods should not only be from good sources but they should also taste good. For example, the true taste of chicken biriani cannot be compromised. The spices must be in the right proportions and prepared at the right temperature. Presentation is also important especially for gourmet food and specialty food. Zabihah halal food distributors do justice to the ingredients they work with bringing out the true flavor.

Considerations must be made whether to have fully cooked or precooked meals. This is important with regards to frozen food which must be reheated. Some dishes go especially well with specific sauces. For obvious reasons, they are packed separately but they should be served in one dish. Some of the halal food like chicken nuggets can be taken as snacks. Others are the variety of gourmet food and so are served as appetizing entrees.

Frozen food is convenient for individuals and also for parties. You don’t have to be worried that guests will reject the food at the event you are hosting. The halal food is enjoyed both by vegetarians and beef eaters. The logistics of preparing food en masse is beaten hands down by the availability of frozen food. Call it modern convenience; you can now be the perfect host without having a clue on culinary matters. The makers of frozen food have explored the intricacies of world cuisine. They have the knack of producing the family meal that can bring a sense of nostalgia to many people.

Apart from the gastronomic experience, halal food is a health plus and a credit to the reduction of green house gases. This comes about due to the fact that halal food originates from farms that run on sustainable energy. Taking the entire subject of conservation and social responsibility to another level, bio-digestors and other sustainable energy sources are used. The source farms are a haven for clean energy. The animals themselves can be considered clean because they are never given antibiotics. The animals are of a natural size since they don’t have growth enhancers such as hormones. The goal is to culture food sources which are less fattening or pegged with risk indicators to cancers and other health issues. For the same reason, the sauces have no preservatives as they come from fresh produce which is not processed.

It is worth mentioning that meat from halal food is from animals that were not abused neither did they face animal cruelty. It thus gives consumers a clean conscious when choosing halal food from the frozen food section. The livestock such as lamb, cow and chicken are well treated and their animal rights are respected. The farms that are certified for halal food are currently small farms. However with the endorsement of conscious consumers they are growing larger and larger. For the health freaks or for persons who are ill, specialty food is also available. Many have seen the benefits of specialty food when they are ill and have continued taking it after full recovery.

Coffee Facts – The Different Types of Coffee Beans

All over the world, people drink coffee from basically one of two types of coffee beans: Arabica beans (“Coffea Arabica”) and Robusta beans (“Coffea Robusta”)

Arabica beans are aromatic, flavorful coffee beans used for gourmet, specialty coffees. The term refers to Coffea Arabica, the taxonomic species named for the genus responsible for about 75% of the world’s commercial coffee crop. Coffea Arabica is a woody perennial evergreen that belongs to same family as Gardenias.

Robusta beans contain twice the caffeine as Arabicas. Robusta beans are somewhat bitter and lack the flavor and aroma of Arabica beans. Robusta beans are used to produce blends, instant and freeze dried coffees.

There are other types of coffee species but they are very rare or non-existent in the export market. As a result, the fact is that we all drink either Arabica or Robusta coffee. Sounds simple, right? Not quite.

There are many “varietals” within Arabica coffee trees which yield coffee beans with distinct flavors and characteristics. This is where the fun begins. To name a few,

ETHIOPIAN COFFEE: Ethiopian Harrar, Sidamo and Yirgacheffe. Each is named after their region of origin and they have very distinct flavor characteristics. For example, Ethiopian Harrar is known for its medium body, earthy flavor, almost no acidity and a very smooth mouth feel. This is a complex coffee with light spicy tones and a fruity flavor that some people compare to the taste of dry red wine. As the ‘birthplace of coffee,” Ethiopia has a unique place in the coffee world.

KENYAN COFFEE: Kenyan AA. This coffee comes from the area surrounding Mount Kenya, a region with fertile red volcanic soil. The coffee is known for its very acidic taste you taste right away in the mouth, and then followed by a medium body with an aftertaste of earthy flavor.

TANZANIAN COFFEE: Tanzanian Peaberry focuses on pea berry instead of traditional coffee beans. Coffee is the dried seed from the fruit of a flowering tree. Each fruit has two seeds facing each other. On the coffee tree, there is a percentage of the fruit that has a single seed or peaberry and the rest will have two flat beans for the usual two (2) seeds per fruit. The single bean peaberry occurs in less than 5% of any crop and is generally considered to produce a more concentrated flavor.

COLOMBIAN COFFEE: major cultivars of Arabica beans include Bourbon, Caturra, Maragogype and Typica. Colombian coffees also include the name of the growing regions such as Cauca, Nariño, Amazonas, Bucaramanga, etc. Colombia accounts for more than a tenth of the world’s entire coffee supply. Colombian Arabica coffee is perhaps the most well-known, partly due to its “living” and successful coffee advertising iconic symbols recognized worldwide, Juan Valdez and Conchita, the mule. The more generic Colombian coffees are rated as Excelso and Supremo. These terms simply refer to the size of the coffee beans, not necessarily to better coffee grades.

COSTA RICAN COFFEE: Costa Rican Tarrazu is a prized Arabica coffee. It is named after the San Marcos de Tarrazu valley, one of the four premium coffee growing districts surrounding the capital city of San Jose. The other varietals include Tres Rios, Heredia and Alajuela. Costa Rican coffees are balanced, clean, with bright acidity featuring citrus or berry-like flavors and hints of chocolate and spice in the finish.

BRAZILIAN COFFEE: Brazil Santos Bourbon comes from the hills of Sào Paulo state in the south-central portion of the country near the port of Santos. Historically, these Arabica coffee plants were brought to the island of Bourbon now known as the Island of Reunion. Brazil Santos Bourbon is a light bodied coffee, with low acidity, a pleasing aroma and a mild, smooth flavor.

INDONESIAN COFFEE: Java is the most famous Arabica varietal from the island of Java. The top grade of Java coffee is cultivated on former Dutch plantations and is called Java Estate. This is a clean, thick, full body coffee with less of the earthy characteristics that other Indonesia coffees feature, such as Sumatra or Sulawesi. The Java coffees provide a smooth complement to the Yemen Mocha which is very intense. The traditional Mocha Java blend is the combination of Java and Yemen Mocha.

SUMATRAN COFFEE: Sumatra Mandheling and Sumatra Lintong. Sumatra Lintong originates in the Lintong district of Sumatra near Lake Toba. This coffee has a medium, bodied coffee, low acid, sweet with a complex and earthy aroma. Sumatra Mandheling has a rich, heavy body, subdued acidity and unique complex flavor. This coffee actually does not originate in the Mandheling region but is named after the Mandailing people in the north of Sumatra.

HAWAIIAN COFFEE: closer to home, in Hawaii, the best known Arabica varietal is Hawaiian Kona coffee. This Arabica bean grows on the slopes of Mount Hualalai and Mauna Loa which makes it not only exclusive to Hawaii but also to the Kona District specifically.

JAMAICAN COFFEE: the Arabica varietal that grows predominantly in the Blue Mountain region of this island is called Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee. The Blue Mountains stretch between Kingston and Port Maria in Jamaica. This region enjoys a cool and misty climate. Due to its limited production quantity, Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is expensive.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA COFFEE: located just north of Australia, Papua New Guinea coffee cultivation was started in 1937 using imported seeds from Jamaica’s famous Blue Mountain region. As a result, Papua New Guinea has noticeable similarities to Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee. The rich volcanic soil and excellent climate produce a mild and mellow, full-bodied coffee with moderate acidity, broad flavor and very interesting aromatics.

Is this all? No, there are many more varietals, brands, and special flavors of Arabica coffee to try and discover.

For now, what about a cup of Ethiopian Harrar or Papua New Guinea coffee?