Take Coffee To The Next Level

With all of this cold weather, I find myself drinking more coffee than usual to help stay warm. These added cups of coffee not only have me running on low supply but curious to try something new and different. With all of my free time (ha!  :-) ) I hopped on the internet and found a few promising leads.

coffee cupping

First, I came across cupping events. Coffee “cupping” is a process that helps the taster to evaluate the coffee. This procedure involves sniffing, loudly slurping, and sometimes spitting out the coffee to enhance the senses. Some of the characteristics described in this process are body, sweetness, acidity, flavor, and aftertaste {Check out our Coffee 101 Series for these definitions}. Some people are so well acquainted with coffee and flavors that they are able to distinguish the origins of the beans.

This then led me to a group called the Specialty Coffee Association of America. They hold events such as a specialty coffee symposium and expo in Seattle, Washington and a barista/brewers competition in Los Angeles, California.

coffee symposium Along with these events they hold classes for those looking to enhance their coffee skills. Hmmm….wonder if a coffee class can earn some course credits?

Are you tired of being in the same old coffee routine? See if there is a local cupping event near you or a coffee symposium you could attend.  Try something new and be sure to tell us about it!


Smartphones and Coffee (Don’t Spill!)

Coffee and SmartphoneAs I sit down in the morning for some breakfast and coffee, I often pull out my smartphone and browse its endless capabilities. Who hasn’t gotten sucked into an app and totally lost track of time? {Umm…Facebook or Twitter…need I say more?} I began thinking what things my phone could do with coffee. Obviously I don’t mean stir my coffee with it, but instead what kind of apps are available to accompany my coffee experience.

Newspapers have become less and less common among people now that online versions have become available. CNN, NBC, FOX, New York Times, and even NPR are some of the many news sources available for free download on your phone. I enjoy reading the Wall Street Journal as I have a subscription for it, but now that I learned there was an app I am hooked! It is so easy to read and keep constantly up to date. Some networks like FOX and CNN have also paired with local TV providers so your can link your accounts and watch news videos all from your device.

There is an app for EVERYTHING, right, so why stop at just news? Coffee is such a staple that there must be coffee apps out there so I did a search on my smartphone…the amount of apps available were endless! Here are some of my favorites:

  • Instant Barista – It provides recipes for coffees, espressos, and even teas. It showed me different techniques and ingredients that I otherwise would have looked over. It kind of gives you the feeling of having all the secrets of a coffee shop. One of my favorite parts about the app is the latte art section. While mine don’t turn out so much like the picture, it is still fun to try.
  • Intelligentsia Coffee – This app was much more intense but promises to deliver the absolute best cup of coffee if you follow their EXACT directions. This app was no joke as it lays out everything you need and even gives you a timer to create the perfect brew. This is fun to read during the week but definitely needs some time to complete so it actually takes action over the weekend.
  • Coffee Guru – My friend in New York uses this quite often as it has led them to their favorite coffee shop. This app has a large listing of indie coffee shops that promote direct and fair trade for the farmers they get their beans from. It gives you a map of nearby shops, a place to save your favorites, and even provides a flavor wheel to help describe your coffee, but you don’t need that after our Coffee 101 lessons!

It is amazing how technology has opened a world of instant information and immediate gratification. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy checking Twitter or playing a little Candy Crush but there is so much more out there. :)

Did you try one of the apps I mentioned or have you used a different app?  Let me know, I am always game for trying something new!