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Happy National Coffee Day!

coffee_smile

Today is National Coffee Day and we’d like the time to take our hats off to our loyal coffee customers!  To mark this holiday {of course we think it should be a holiday :)} we’d like to look at some fun coffee trivia.

  • Nearly 85% of American adults drink it, according to the National Coffee Assn. Friday is the most popular day for coffee in the U.S., according to Foursquare.
  • The location-based social networking app found that 8 a.m. is the busiest time to get a caffeine buzz during the week. On the weekends, that time slips to 10 a.m. in the U.S. (globally it’s 3 p.m.).
  • The name cappuccino comes from the resemblance of the drink to the clothing of the Capuchin monks.
  • 40% of the world’s coffee is produced by Columbia and Brazil.
  • Coffee beans grow on a bush.

Try testing our your coffee knowledge with these two trivia questions.  The first two CoffeeRocket.com customers to answer each question right will receive a gift certificate for $5!

Trivia #1:  Kopi Luwak, the world’s most expensive coffee (up to $600 per pound) is:

  1. Processed during a full moon.
  2. Brewed only with solid gold pots.
  3. Made from coffee beans eaten and then excreted by a Sumatran wild cat.
  4. Grown at a higher altitude than any other bean.

Triva #2:  16th-Century Muslim rulers banned coffee because of:

  1. It’s stimulating effects.
  2. The gambiling that took place in coffee houses.
  3. The black market that sprang up in the coffee trade.
  4. Sufi mystics who wanted coffee limited to spiritual ceremonies.

We know there doesn’t need to be a National (or International) Coffee Day for you to enjoy your favorite cup of coffee.  Enjoy National Coffee Day today and happy trivia hunting! {NOTE: The same customer cannot win both questions, we will be picking 4 different customers to win today, two from each question to spread the wealth.}

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Don’t Just Throw Away Those Coffee Grounds!

Used Coffee GroundsMany of us, including myself, simply brew coffee in the morning and throw away the used grounds. Nowadays we are always looking for ways to recycle, reuse and reduce wastes to help the environment.  Why shouldn’t this apply to coffee grounds, too?  There are endless possibilities on how you can recycle/reuse your used coffee grounds including art, cleaning, and as an order remover.

Coffee as Art.  Coffee is a very artistic drink, both in and out of the cup. For the kids, you can used water soaked coffee grounds for dying Easter eggs or soaking paper to give it an old, pirate treasure map look. {NOTE: Depending on what grounds you use can change the final brown color.} Have some scratches in your furniture? Rubbing coffee grounds over them can cover it or perhaps you just want to stain the whole piece of furniture to give it a vintage look! {NOTE: Again, be mindful of the color of the coffee grounds you are using so it matches.}

Coffee in Cleaning and Removing Odors.  Put those coffee grounds to work on your dirty pots and pans…not only does it work as a great scrubbing tool, but it also cuts through tough grease.  {NOTE: Depending on what you are cleaning, using coffee grounds as a cleaning agent can sometimes stain.}  Use it as a hand scrub, tool cleaner or even as a facial scrub.  They also work extremely well if you are trying to remove a lingering odor. By placing a cup of dried, used grounds in the odor-troubled area you provide a tool that absorbs those nasty smells. Coffee grounds can even help you battle ants. If you sprinkle some along their path or where you want to keep them out of, it repels them and breaks their chain. {NOTE: Be aware that while it repels ants, it also attracts cockroaches…ugh!}

Other Coffee Ground Uses.  Oh no, we are not done yet. Do you use a fireplace and hate taking out the ashes because they fly through the air and make a complete mess of your living room? Coffee grounds help to dampen those ashes so they settle. Wait for the ashed to cool first, spread the coffee grounds and get cleaning with less mess.  While you’re heating up the inside of your home, try using coffee grounds outside, too, by using it as a de-icer.  During the warmer seasons mix your coffee grounds into the soil as it acts as a great fertilizer, can act as a repellant for pesty bugs and worms love it, too!  {NOTE: Due to high acidic content, make sure you fertilizer acid-loving plants such as tomatoes, carrots, roses, rhododendrons and azaleas.}

Don’t be discouraged if you use k-cups, just save them up so you have a bunch to use. Let us know what you reuse your coffee grounds for, we’d love to hear from you!  {BONUS: The first 5 CoffeeRocket.com customers who let us know how they reuse coffee grounds and have their comment approved will receive $5 in Rocket Reward Points (=500 points)!}

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Team Ground or Team Bean?

Coffee beans closeupMore than half of all people in the United States drink coffee and on average they drink one to two cups a day. Modern technology has drastically enhanced the way a cup of coffee can be prepared and brewed.  But one thing that remains constant is the age-old debate surrounding what makes the best cup of coffee: ground vs. whole bean. Many swear they can taste the difference and they may actually be right.  Let’s take a look at why you might be able to tell the difference.

Ground coffee is the most widely used form of coffee as it is fast, convenient, and evenly ground. You often see coffee grounds in brick-like vacuum sealed bags and also more recently in the growing popularity of K-Cups , Fresh Packs and Pods. But why are coffee grounds always in vacuum sealed or air tight packages (also known as bricks)? This is to prevent the scientific process of oxidation. The same process that causes iron to rust also causes ground coffee to quickly turn stale. Next time you open up your ground coffee make sure to seal it as best you can or if you are using K-Cups, you don’t need to worry as each cup is individually sealed for freshness.

Coffee Beans hands down are the freshest way to prepare your coffee. While it may take more time, it is well worth it if ground and brewed correctly. Some coffee shops offer the freshest coffee by grinding it just before brewing in order to eliminate any oxidation of the coffee. In many grocery stores you’ll find a grinder right in the coffee isle so you can purchase freshly ground coffee.

If you are going to try to grind your own coffee beans there are a few things to keep in mind to get the best flavor out of your beans. Evenly ground coffee beans are extremely important to extract the flavor. If the grounds are uneven, the smaller grounds could be too small to contribute any flavor while the large ones might not release the flavors. Secondly you need to take into consideration is what you are using to grind the coffee. If you have a blade grinder, be careful that all the grounds may not be even and the blade could creates some heat or friction that starts breaking down the coffee and releasing the flavors before the coffee has even been brewed.

I myself, stock both in my home and which one I use depends on the situation.  When I am short on time I whip up one of my favorite ground coffee flavors like hazelnut {YUM!}.  When I have more time on my hands to properly prepare a whole bean coffee, I am never disappointed by it. Do you think that you could tell the difference between a cup o’joe that was made from pre-packaged coffee grounds or from freshly ground beans? Are you #TeamGround or #TeamBean? :-)

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Coffee Does What?!

Coffee!

{SETTING THE SCENE:} Gone are the days where we have a set work schedule from 9-5pm where we leave work at work. Stage left enters {ADULT} where not a day goes by that isn’t packed from morning to bed time. {COFFEE ENTERS THE PICTURE} These magical beans help to get us up in the morning, sustain a strong work ethic throughout the day and give us that last boost of energy we need to finish the day.  But did you know…{Suspense-themed music playing in the background}…that coffee may have many positive health benefits? I was very surprised to learn that coffee might actually reduce the risk of certain cancers, diseases, and help make one smarter!

Besides the obvious boost of energy we associate with coffee, ever notice how productive you can be after your cup o’ joe? Studies show caffeine increases short term memory by helping you to absorb more information. {Maybe there was some rhyme and reason to my all-night cramming sessions in college!} I even found studies that showed how coffee can reduce the risk or help reduce the symptoms of certain diseases of the brain such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson.

While a cure for cancer has yet to be discovered, some studies have found certain qualities in certain food or drink that might reduce the risk.  And wouldn’t you know it coffee made the list…woot!  Some studies claim when you drink coffee everyday, you have a reduced risk for oral, prostate, and skin cancer…and you didn’t have to do anything out of your daily routine. 😉

It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t state the obvious:  I in no way claim to be a medical expert or suggest that you change your daily routine without consulting your doctor. Enjoy some {light} reading while you’re savoring your favorite cup of coffee by clicking on the links throughout this post to the various sources I gathered this information from.  Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide for yourself…for me, it brought a smile to my face to know that maybe, just maybe, one of my favorite indulgences might actually be good for me. :)

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Coffee in the Wilderness

There is no arguing, that moment when you take the first sip of your favorite coffee…heaven!  If you love your coffee and love the outdoors, you no longer have to go without!  There is a simple process to making your coffee while your “roughing it” without having to lug around a coffee machine with a lot of extension cords. The only thing extra you need to bring are your favorite coffee grounds. With three simple steps your campfire coffee will be complete in time for your daily hike.

Step 1: Boil Your Water. The key is to create a fire that is small but very hot. You want to let it burn, without adding much wood, so that you have hot coals instead of laying it on an actual flame. Gather the hottest of the coals and make an even bed so the water is heated evenly in the pot. Now you can add your water in the pot and bring it to a boil.campfire coffee {NOTE:  This also will be doubly useful if you are using water that has not been purified yet because once it has reached a boil, it is safe to drink.  Just let it cool down before you drink it!  :) }

Step 2: Add Coffee Grounds. Usually a few spoonfuls is enough for me but depending on how strong you like it depends on how much you will want to add. Let it boil for another minute or two and then take it off the coals to let the coffee grounds steep. {Steeping is the process of allowing the water to extract the essence of the coffee grounds. If you do not let the grounds steep, or soak, long enough then your coffee will taste watery.}  Be careful taking the coffee off the hot coals as to not burn yourself!

Step 3: Filter The Grounds.  There are a few ways you can do this. If you have a bandana or a thin piece of clothing, you can hold that over your cup to strain the grounds as the coffee flows through. The other way you can achieve this is if you add a little bit of cold water to the pot, it will cause the grounds to sink to the bottom. Now you can pour the top right into your cup! {NOTE: If using the cold water method, make sure it’s purified cold water and not just any stream water. Also, the finer the coffee grounds the harder it will be to filter.}

So now that you can make coffee in the wilderness, go out there and try it for yourself. Know of a different way to enjoy coffee in the wilderness without electricity?  Let me know and happy camping!