Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Gourmet Coffees

The specialty coffees shown here have come from Old Bisbee Roasters in Arizona. There are numerous "fair trade" coffees whose flavor and aroma are exquisitely delicious.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Burr Mill Coffee Grinder

Here is the Mr. Coffee Burr Mill coffee grinder. It replaces my Cuisinart which gave me about 6 years of dependable service.

There are two types of coffee grinders: burr and blade. The burr mill gives a uniform grind of the beans which provides more aroma and flavor than beans ground by the blade method.

The $40 price tag seemed reasonable (about ten dollars less than getting a Cuisinart locally). Internet purchase of the Mr. Coffee brand is around $35; however, once shipping and handling get added it does not make sense to go that route. I picked mine up at Target and was back home rather quickly to brew my morning cuppa.

While the grinder is an important part of the equation, due diligence must be given to bean selection. Arabica beans make the best tasting coffees (according to experts). Beyond that it is a matter of taste. I like Sumatran as well as a Uzuri African blend. I sometimes experiment with other beans.

Do you grind the beans for your coffee brewing?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Legal Limit

"This week, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended all 50 states decrease the blood alcohol content threshold for drunken driving from 0.08% to 0.05%." (Reference) NTSB's vision is to reduce the number of alcohol-related injurious and fatal automobile accidents.

A CNN Opinion writer notes, "Five drinks [within one hour] raises your [blood alcohol] level to .10%." We can calculate that an average size person would reach a blood alcohol level of 0.05% by imbibing two and one-half drinks.

Question: statistically what has been the blood alcohol range among drunk drivers who have caused an injury or fatality in an alcohol-related car crash.

"In the early 1980s, when grass-roots safety groups brought attention to drunk driving, many states required a 0.15 BAC rate to demonstrated intoxication. But over the next 24 years, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and other groups pushed states to adopt the 0.08 BAC standard, the last state falling in line in 2004.

"The number of alcohol-related highway fatalities, meanwhile, dropped from 20,000 in 1980 to 9,878 in 2011, the NTSB said." A greater than 50% drop in fatalities is magnificent. None-the-less, the law of diminishing returns is at work here. Moving from 0.08 to 0.05 should not bring as drastic a drop.

Most important is the issue of increasing the use of checkpoints on our roadways to facilitate finding drunk drivers. Taking more drivers off the road when their blood alcohol is above the current legal limit will be highly effective. I would like to see comparative statistics with just a 50% increase in checkpoints use.

An opposing viewpoint.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Tillamook — Native Americans and Cheese

The North Oregon Coast was originally home to the Tillamook Indians. Today, this area represents the production of Tillamook cheese, a popular brand in our Southern California markets. Often I will get the store brand of a particular cheese for its economical price. However, Pepper Jack Cheese (a union of Monterey Jack and peppers) is at issue here.

A block of Stater Bros. Swiss Cheese seems quite fine to my taste buds at its low cost per ounce. Yet, the store brand of Pepper Jack has a meager pepper count. In some slices I found nary a pepper. Not so with the Tillamook brand. Among several slices the pepper pieces (sweet peppers and spicy jalapeƱos) were everywhere in each slice. This cheese is well worth the cost.

I have always enjoyed an occasional grilled cheese sandwich. Pepper Jack has become the substitute for Velveeta nowadays, and it, too, is delicious with tomato soup.

Monday, May 06, 2013

The Cradle of Coffee Production


Peaberry Coffee From Ethiopia

Limited Edition
"Peaberry beans are a rarity in any given coffee crop — around 5% of every crop are peaberry beans. And what's a peaberry? Inside a coffee cherry, two beans normally form; when only one bean develops, it's called a peaberry, and these beans are prized for their remarkable concentration of flavor. We make it our business to find different, flavorful peaberries from all over the world. You should know that when you see one on our shelves, it's a limited, special one-time buy, and in most cases, we bought out the whole crop!
"Right now we're featuring Ethiopian Peaberry, grown in that country's Oromai growing region, between 3600 and 6200 feet above sea level. This region, in central-west Ethiopia, lies about 250 miles from the nation’s capital, Addis Ababa. Ethiopia is said to be the birthplace of the Arabica bean, and these beans reveal everything that makes Arabicas so sought-after. The medium-dark roast brings out all of the coffee's best attributes — balanced body, citrus and floral aromatics, spiced-berry flavors and wine-toned acidity. From first sip to last, ourEthiopian Peaberry delivers a memorable experience.
"We're selling Trader Joe's Peaberry Coffee from Ethiopia for $6.99 for each 13 ounce can of whole beans, an exceptional value you'll find only at Trader Joe's, and only while it lasts."
My calculation indicates the the "per pound" cost is $8.60. If this coffee proves to be tasty it is a bargain when compared to Old Bisbee's $15.00 per pound price.

Coffee Growers

Specialty Coffee Growers
Coffees are mountain grown, and the best come from high altitudes. Arabica beans are superior to robusto. One of the best marketers of specialty coffees is Old Bisbee Roasters.

Old Bisbee Roasters offers only Arabica beans, and what gets purchased is roasted at time of order. Two 1-pound packages are shipped free via USPS Priority Mail while still warm from roasting. (Two pounds is the minimum order for free shipping.)

There are always several coffees from different growing regions offered by Old Bisbee Roasters. Selecting the whole bean coffees, rather than ground, provides the best tasting brews.

Burr grinders offer the most uniform grind of the beans, and are a bit pricier than other types. Grinding beans for the coffee you are making produces freshest, tastiest results.

Prior to enjoying specialty coffees it was always necessary to add sugar with my creamer to get an acceptable taste. I was advised to try my first specialty coffee with creamer only, no sugar. OMG, it was delicious. Now I never add sugar to my coffee.

I no longer can order coffee at a restaurant. The flavor is a large disappointment after being spoiled by the excellent taste of specialty coffees.

If you love that morning cup of coffee you simply must take a look at Old Bisbee Roasters. In late afternoons another couple of cups rounds out my day for ultimate coffee enjoyment.