• Have your cake … and drink it, too!

    by Johnny Hoell | Jan 14, 2016
    A party is best shared and so is a pot of coffee, which is why we like to bring Mardi Gras on the road with our Mardi Gras King Cake coffee. Community© Mardi Gras King Cake coffee hits shelves in late December to kick off the carnivale season.

    SlicedCakeBlogImageOf course, what would Mardi Gras King Cake coffee be without a little King Cake as well. Mardi Gras season and King Cakes go hand in hand with literally hundreds of thousands of King Cakes being consumed at parties and office lunch rooms every year.

    The coming of the wise men bearing gifts to the Christ Child is celebrated twelve days after Christmas. This is referred to as the Feast of the Epiphany, or Little Christmas on the Twelfth Night.  King Cake continues the celebration of the Feast of the Epiphany with a special cake to honor the Three Kings. This tradition originated in Europe where a bean or a coin would be hidden inside of the cake for good fortune to the finder. In Latin America a small figure, representing the Christ Child was placed inside for the same purpose.

    Today, the tradition continues with people all over the world. The tiny baby in the King Cake is generally plastic now and many times provided with the cake so the party host, and not the baker, can insert the “baby.” In offices, schools and homes the King Cake is a weekly tradition from January 6th until the beginning of Lent, Ash Wednesday, with whoever gets the baby usually buying the next cake. And, of course, whoever gets the baby in the cake on Mardi Gras day has to bring the first King Cake next year on January 6th.

    Originally, King Cakes were a simple ring of braided dough with a small amount of decoration. The top of the ring or oval cake is then covered with delicious sugar toppings in the traditional Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold. Some bakeries have been creative with stuffing and topping their cakes with different flavors of cream cheese and fruit fillings. We’ve also gotten creative too and added Community© Mardi Gras King Cake coffee to our offerings.

    With the King Cake being the centerpiece at many Mardi Gras parties throughout the season, it only makes sense to pair it with the “king” of all flavored coffees, Community© Mardi Gras King Cake coffee.

    Share the Mardi Gras spirit while having your cake and drinking it, too!
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  • Mardi Gras: The Greatest Free Show on Earth

    by Johnny Hoell | Jan 07, 2016
    GreatestShow_King_CroppedThe carnivale season officially begins each year on January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany, 'King's Day', with traditional balls occurring in the weeks that lead up to the big event. Spectacular parades with beautiful and creative floats begin parading approximately two weekends prior to Mardi Gras Day. And don’t forget the private carnivale clubs, called krewes, which take on royalty status and throw beads, doubloons and toys to parade goers, while visitors quickly learn to say "Throw Me Something, Mister!"

    However, the traditions of today migrated from medieval Europe and evolved in south Louisiana over generations beginning as early as 1699 when French-Canadian explorer Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville arrived at a plot of ground 60 miles south of New Orleans, naming it "Pointe du Mardi Gras" since it was the eve of the holiday.

    Jean Baptiste ultimately established New Orleans in 1718 and quickly instituted traditions from Rome and Venice including parading to signal the coming Lenten meat fast, which occurred on Fat Tuesday. By the 1730s, Mardi Gras was celebrated openly in New Orleans, but not with the parades we know today. In the early 1740s, Louisiana's governor, the Marquis de Vaudreuil, established elegant society balls, the model for the New Orleans Mardi Gras balls of today.

    mardigras_400x413By the late 1830s, New Orleans held street processions of maskers with carriages and horseback riders to celebrate Mardi Gras. Dazzling gaslight torches, or "flambeaux," lit the way for the krewe's members. In 1856, six young Mobile natives formed the Mistick Krewe of Comus, invoking John Milton's hero Comus to represent their organization. Comus brought dazzling floats (known as tableaux cars) and masked balls. In 1870, Mardi Gras' second "Krewe," the Twelfth Night Revelers, was formed, with the first account of Mardi Gras "throws."

    Newspapers began to announce Mardi Gras events in advance. Beginning in 1886, full color images were printed, doing justice to the fabulously ornate floats and costumes of world-renown designers whose works were brought to life by talented Parisian paper-mache' artist Georges Soulie', who for forty years was responsible for creating all of carnivale's floats and processional outfits.

    A King of Carnivale, Rex, was invented in1872 by a group of businessmen to preside over the first daytime parade. Honoring visiting Russian Grand Duke Alexis Romanoff, they introduced his family colors of purple, green and gold as carnivale's official colors. Purple stands for justice, gold for power, and green for faith.

    In 1873, floats began to be constructed entirely in New Orleans instead of France. In 1875, Governor Warmoth signed the "Mardi Gras Act," making Fat Tuesday a legal holiday in Louisiana, which it still is.

    Like Comus and the Twelfth Night Revelers, most Mardi Gras krewes today developed from private social clubs with restrictive membership policies. All of these parade organizations are completely funded by their members. Therefore, many New Orleanians call Mardi Gras the "Greatest Free Show on Earth"!
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  • Boost Your Resolution Planning

    by Johnny Hoell | Dec 24, 2015

    When you pour your first cup of coffee, it will come as no surprise that caffeine boosts attention and focus, but it’s especially good for simple cognitive tasks. Anywhere from 40 mg to 250 mg of caffeine increases alertness. That’s less than you think – simply one cup can provide the boost you need to power through some of your more routine tasks.

    You can take full advantage of that little extra momentum to clean out your inbox, sort mail, make necessary callbacks, any of those little tasks that many of us put off and allow to pile up.

    It’s a great time to enjoy your java while writing down your resolutions. If your New Year's resolutions from last year have gone unresolved, you're not alone. But here are some quick tips to help you get a little further along this year.

    • "Put some thought into it," says Richard O'Connor, author of Happy at Last: The Thinking Person's Guide to Finding Joy. Avoid knee-jerk New Year's resolutions, he says. "I encourage people not to make cheap resolutions, but to save it for something meaningful."
    • Limit your list to a number you can handle. "It's probably best to make two or three resolutions that you intend to keep," says O'Connor. That way, you're focusing your efforts on the goals you truly want.
    • Don’t wait until the last minute. If your resolution is a big one, it is good to think about it in advance. Start to change your way of thinking gradually, so as you tackle it in the New Year it isn’t as much of a shock.
    • Make a plan. Everyone needs a path to get to where they want to be. Create a goal with a series of measureable, specific steps to check your progress along the way and ensure you achieve your resolution.
    • Use the buddy system. Make friends and family aware of your goals. They will hold you accountable while still motivating you to actually reach your goals.
    • Avoid repeating past failures. If you make the same goal every year, and have yet to reach it, it’s probably time to try something new. By making the exact same resolution every year, your drive and self-confidence will already be low. If you are really set on making the same resolution that failed in the past, evaluate why it might not have succeeded before and adjust it based on your results!
    • Write down the goal and visualize it regularly. Writing and visualizing are effective tools for fulfilling a goal because they fix it firmly in the subconscious, says Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

    In general, remember that life can be unpredictable. Resolutions are much easier to make than to keep, so forgive yourself if you can’t maintain your plan perfectly. Just keep adjusting and moving forward toward your goal.

    Happy 2016!


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  • Serve Up Simple Holiday Comforts

    by Johnny Hoell | Dec 18, 2015
    Everyone deserves a warm welcome during the holidays — especially your loved ones. But instead of working all day in the kitchen while the kids are home, fill up your fridge with mouthwatering snacks. Then you can do what you do best: get comfy and focus on your family.

    From savory shrimp cocktail with a make-ahead sauce, decadent bacon wrapped potatoes, to a hearty spinach dip, there’s something for even the pickiest eater in your family.

    Plus, many of these recipes can be made in 30 minutes or less. So what are you waiting for? Get cookin’.


    CARAMEL POPCORN
    Serves: 8
    Difficulty: 1
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 10 minutes
     

    Ingredients:
    3 quarts plain popped corn
    1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
    1/2 c. corn syrup
    1/2 c. butter
    1/2 tsp. vanilla
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/2 tsp. baking soda  

    Directions:

    In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, vanilla, and salt. Stir constantly until the mixture starts to boil, and continue to boil and stir for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add baking soda, and stir. Pour over popped corn in a large bowl.  

    Note: Can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


    SNAPPY SHRIMP COCKTAIL
    Serves: 8
    Difficulty: 2
    Prep Time: 20 minutes
    Cook Time: 1 hour


    Ingredients:
    2 tbsps. olive oil
    1 small shallot, finely chopped
    1 tbsp. mustard seeds
    1 tsp. ground ginger
    1 clove garlic
    Dash of salt and pepper
    1/3 c. tomato paste
    1/4 tsp. of Worcestershire sauce
    1 tsp. sugar
    2 tbsps. finely chopped fresh cilantro
    1 1/2 pounds cooked, peeled and deveined shrimp

    Directions:
    Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot, mustard seeds, ginger, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallot is soft, about 3 -5 minutes.

    Next, add the tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce to the saucepan and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add the sugar and 1/2 cup water and stir to combine. Transfer to a small bowl and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour. Fold in cilantro and serve with the shrimp.

    Note: Cocktail sauce can be made up to a week ahead. Shrimp can be cooked a day ahead and served cold.


    BACON WRAPPED TATERS
    Serves: 8
    Difficulty: 3
    Prep Time: 20 minutes
    Cook Time: 30 minutes


    Ingredients:
    1 1/2 pounds new potatoes (about 15), halved
    15 slices bacon, halved crosswise
    3/4 c. mayonnaise
    1/4 c. buttermilk
    2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh dill
    1 tsp. caraway seeds
    Salt and pepper

    Directions:
    Steam the potatoes in a steamer basket in a large saucepan until tender, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool. Heat oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Wrap each potato with a piece of bacon and place, seam-side down, on the baking sheet. Bake until the bacon is crisp, 18–20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, buttermilk, dill, caraway seeds and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Serve with potatoes.

    Note: Bacon-wrapped potatoes can be made a day ahead and reheated before serving. Also, consider serving on bamboo skewers.


    SPINACH AND CARAMELIZED ONION DIP
    Serves: 8
    Difficulty: 3
    Prep Time: 20 minutes
    Cook Time: 30 minutes


    Ingredients:
    3 tbsp. olive oil
    2 medium onions, chopped
    Salt and pepper
    1 16-oz container sour cream
    1 10-oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and      squeezed of excess liquid
    1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
    Broccoli and cauliflower florets, endive spears and radishes, for serving

    Directions:
    Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring often, until golden brown, 12 – 15 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and let cool. Add the sour cream, spinach, vinegar, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to the onions and mix to combine. Serve with the veggies.

    Note: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.


    WHITE CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRIES
    Serves: 6
    Difficulty: 2
    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Ingredients:
    1 bag of white chocolate chips
    1 container of strawberries
    1 c. chopped and toasted cashews

    Directions:
    Melt white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl or a double boiler. Dip strawberries in chocolate and coat with chopped, toasted cashews. Place on a wax paper covered tray. Refrigerate until set.

    Note: Place chocolate dipped strawberries atop wax paper in a plastic container. Layer the wax paper between strawberries before shutting lid. Freeze strawberries for up to a week and served when chilled.


    For even more recipes, tips and cold-weather comforts, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram.
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  • Give The Gift of Comfort This Season

    by Johnny Hoell | Dec 10, 2015
    Busy marking gifts off your holiday shopping list? Join the club. ‘Tis the season of giving — and all the buying, wrapping and shopping that comes along with it.

    We all know that it’s easy to get caught up in the idea of giving your loved ones the perfect gift during the holidays. So much that sometimes, we forget about the gift of giving back.

    Never fear. There’s plenty of holiday spirit to go around.

    Here are a few ideas of how you and your family can join together to give to others in need — all the while making cherished memories.

    GIVE YOUR TIME
    Feed A Needy Family
    Put food on the table — and smiles on the faces of a hungry family near you. When you volunteer with Family-to-family.org, you get matched with a household in need.

    Help The Homeless
    The very idea of the holidays conjures up images of comfy homes, yummy food and happy family gatherings. But for the homeless, the holidays can bring on a sense of isolation. Fortunately, the National Coalition for the Homeless offers a number of ways for volunteers to combat homelessness by serving food at shelters, building homes, or offering job training. Give the gift of comfort this season.

    Deliver A Hot Meal
    Share a meal with a lonely person in need this holiday season when you sign up with Meals on Wheels’ food-delivery program.

    Volunteer For Vets
    There are plenty of ways to show your gratitude towards the veterans who put their lives on the line for our safety. Simply visit the Department of Veteran Affairs for more information on how to make their holiday season just a little more comfortable.

    Befriend A Senior
    More than 50 percent of senior citizens in nursing homes never get visitors, according to the Senior Source. Bring a sense of family to someone who doesn’t have one by volunteering in a center near you.

    Make a Furry Friend
    Volunteer with furry, loyal creatures who are waiting to find the purr-fect home. Find an animal shelter that needs your help here.


    GIVE OTHERS GIFTS
    The Salvation Army
    Each holiday season, the Salvation Army amps up its fundraising efforts to help support the elderly, the homeless and other underserved populations. Join the cause today.

    American Red Cross
    “Give something that means something” when you get involved with the American Red Cross. Choose from many different charitable opportunities, which include vaccinating a child and buying phone cards for troops. Then, feel good for doing good.

    Toys for Tots
    Marine Toys for Tots Foundation collects gifts for children whose families are economically disadvantaged. No drop-off center? No problem. You can also start your own. Find out how to get involved here.

    MyTwoFrontTeeth.org
    Stumped by what to give this year? MyTwoFrontTeeth.org helps you figure out what to donate by posting requests from charities, preschools and day care centers. Find out more here.

    Angel Tree
    Angel Tree helps people in prison give their children gifts during the holiday season, to help ensure these separated families maintain a strong connection — despite the distance. To get involved, click here.


    For even more Community® coffee recipes, tips and cold-weather comforts, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram.
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  • The Perfect Gift For Everyone on Your List

    by Johnny Hoell | Dec 02, 2015
    Don’t let the pressure of finding that picture-perfect gift stress you out. Take a few deep breaths and find your happy place. Then, take a peek at our 2015 Holiday Gift Round Up. There’s guaranteed to be something special for everyone on your list.

    For the foodie:
    Have a cheese lover in the family? Know someone who can’t get enough curds and whey? Get them the Deluxe DIY Cheese Kit — and let them make their own mozzarella, ricotta, goat cheeses and more from the comfort of their kitchen.

    For the sports lover:
    Every season, he dons war paint. His jerseys are pressed and ready for the playoffs. He’s a super fan. And he’s ready for the perfect gift. No, not the Heisman Trophy. Give him a personalized Sports Nation poster — complete with his name, witty message and favorite sports team logo.

    For the chocoholic:
    For the chocolate lover who truly has it all — or at the very least wants it all — comes Mast Brothers’ Chocolate.  Finely wrapped, deliciously seasoned and uniquely flavored, any or all of the Mast Brothers products will be sure to please.

    For the human pretzel:
    Frequently seen standing on her head or showing off her latest crow pose, the human pretzel has everything a girl could need: flexibility, poise and the ability to withstand the effects of the Earth’s gravitational pull. She’s got everything, except a custom-monogrammed yoga mat. Personalize the carrying bag and mat by choosing from a dizzying array of colors and embroidery styles here.

    For the cat lady:
    The fancy cat dishtowel, complete with stylish pink bow and coy stare, will keep any cat lady company while she’s doing the dishes. Let’s just say its catnip for the cat lovers.

    For the fashionista:
    She’s got style. She’s got grace. She’s obviously got great taste. So why not indulge her fashion sense with a stunning day planner? With black and white stripes and a 17-month agenda, this little planner is every fashionista dream come true. Keeping tabs on life has never looked so good.

    For the hands-on musician:
    Crafty guitar players will love this! Get the musician in your life the Original Pick Punch. Use this tool to transform virtually anything into a guitar pick — from old credit cards, plastic takeout containers, vintage records to pressed wood, so the musician in your life can stop loosing picks, and start making them.

    For the beard aficionado:
    Any lumberjack will tell you winter wrecks havoc on your whiskers. Help out the bearded fellow in your life with Simply Great Shave Oil and give him the gift of a smooth, soft beard.

    For the not-a-morning person:
    We all know one: the I-can’t-wake-up-without-my-morning-brew guy. The I-don’t-open-my-eyes-before-my-third-cup gal. Give them all an eye-opening gift — our Coffee of the Month Program. Say good morning to 12 months of yum!

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  • Rollins Place Elementary: Innovative Solutions to Educating our Children

    by Johnny Hoell | Nov 23, 2015
    Educators can be especially creative when it comes to stretching dollars to facilitate broadening the minds of future generations. Children learn in so many different ways and Rollins Place Elementary, located in Zachary, La., is a great example of creating an environment of continuous, innovative learning.

    What do chickens, music and robots have to do with education? Well, at Rollins Place, everything. The school is focused on expanding children’s minds through every day activities in and outside of the classroom. With the help of funds earned from the Community Cash for Schools® program, Rollins Place was able to incorporate cutting edge and innovative educational tools into its teaching curriculums.

    First, Rollins students are learning the biology and business of chickens. Their physical education classes have been assigned to help care for five chickens, manage the coop and collect the eggs. Additionally, students will learn the ropes to setting up a business by selling the eggs to parents and community members. The classroom course work is transferred to the onsite chicken coop that they call the Wrangler Ranch all in an effort to support learning.

    C4sRollinsPlace_400x413Also, studies have shown that music programs in schools support math and language development and art is known to have critical developmental benefits in children, including improved motor skills, decision making and cultural awareness. The addition of learning tools to these programs helps promote and encourage student creativity.
    In addition to the focus on music and the arts, Rollins Place students are constructing functioning robots. Students learn team building by working together to follow a diagram to build a robot and program it to kick a soccer ball. The hands-on activity challenges students to think in new ways and problem-solve issues as they construct their robot and ensure it functions properly. The project further instills confidence and a sense of accomplishment in each student as they collaborate and complete an assignment with their classmates.

    Rollins Place was one of hundreds of schools that participated in the Community Cash for Schools® program. With the $6,000 that the Zachary elementary schools earned, Rollins Place built the chicken coop, and purchased musical instruments, art supplies and Lego robot kits.

    Community Coffee Company supports schools by paying 10 cents for every proof of purchase turned in to teachers. Coffee products, tea products, creamer, sugar and coffee filters contain eligible Proofs of Purchase. Schools can choose to allocate the money toward new textbooks, computers or events. For more information on the Community Cash for Schools® program, visit CommunityCoffee.com/CashforSchools or call 1-800-884-5282.

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  • Curl Up With These Cold Weather Coffee Classics

    by Johnny Hoell | Nov 18, 2015
    By now you’ve probably felt it — that wonderful chill in the air. Sweater weather is here and the holidays are not too far behind.

    It’s officially the season of comfort.

    Between hunting for the perfect pumpkin, crunching through saffron-colored leaves or simply baking with your friends and family at home, we all know that fall is the perfect excuse to make every moment just a little warmer.

    Because baby, it’s cold outside: so why not get cozy with a tasty coffee drink?

    We transformed four classic coffee recipes into cheerful holiday drinks the whole family will love, and we know you will, too. Get ready to say yum.

    The Minty Mocha Latte
    Serving: 1
    Difficulty: 1
    Cook Time: 5 minutes


    Ingredients:
    1/4 cup brewed Community® Signature Blend Dark Roast
    1/4 cup milk
    1 tbsp. dark chocolate syrup
    1 drop peppermint extract
    Optional toppings: whipped cream, candy cane.

    Directions:
    Brew your Community® coffee as you like it. Meanwhile, heat milk in microwave or stovetop until hot. Mix chocolate syrup and peppermint extract into coffee. Foam milk with milk frother or just pour hot milk into cup. For extra decadence, consider adding a dollop of whipped cream to the top. Garnish with a candy cane stick for a tasty coffee stirrer. Serve warm and enjoy.


    The Pumpkin Patch Brew
    Servings: 8
    Difficulty: 1
    Cook Time: 10 minutes


    Ingredients:
    1 tsp. ground cinnamon
    1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
    1/4 tsp. nutmeg
    1/4 tsp. ground cloves
    1/4 tsp. ground all spice
    1 cup freshly ground Community® coffee

    Directions: In a large bowl, combine all spices with freshly ground Community® coffee. Next, place spiced grounds in a coffee filter. Add water to your coffee maker and brew the cup to your liking. Serve black or with a dash of milk.


    The White Out Latte
    Servings: 4
    Difficulty: 3
    Cook Time: 35 minutes


    Ingredients:
    3 cup milk
    1 cup crushed whole Community® coffee beans
    1 1/2 stick cinnamon sticks
    4 whole green cardamom pods
    1/4 cup wild honey
    Optional garnish: cinnamon sticks

    Directions:
    Place the milk and crushed coffee beans in a saucepan. Heat the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, about 7 minutes. Immediately remove from heat and let the beans steep in the milk for 15 minutes.

    Strain the coffee mixture and transfer to a jar of a blender. Discard the crushed coffee beans. Add cinnamon sticks, cardamom and honey to the steeped milk and blend on high speed until the spices are coarsely ground, about 30 seconds.

    Strain the liquid back into the saucepan and discard the ground spices. Rewarm the spiced coffee over medium-high heat until the liquid is hot and steaming. Pour into warmed coffee mugs, garnish with cinnamon sticks and serve hot.


    The Sugar & Spiced Christmas Coffee

    Servings: 8
    Difficulty: 2
    Cook Time: 15 minutes


    Ingredients:
    3/4 cup chilled whipping cream
    4 1/2 tsp. powdered sugar
    1 cup freshly ground Community® coffee
    5 tsp. ground cardamom
    3 tsp. sugar
    2 tsp. ground cinnamon
    1 tsp. ground nutmeg
    7 cup water

    Directions:
    Using an electric mixer, beat whipping cream in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Then, add powdered sugar and continue beating. Place ground coffee, cardamom, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a coffee filter. Using spoon, mix gently. Add water to your coffee maker and brew to your liking. Next, divide coffee among 8 cups. Garnish each with a dollop of whipped cream and serve piping hot.


    Thirsty yet? Better get brewing.
    Community Coffee Company

    For even more recipes, tips and cold-weather comforts, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram.

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  • Don’t Just Sip … Eat Your Coffee!

    by Johnny Hoell | Nov 13, 2015
    Coffee is “in.” And not just because it’s a favorite way to begin the day or due to the recent press noting coffee’s wide array of researched health benefits. Nope, it’s all about the way it functions in a recipe to flavor, tenderize, add complexity and enhance other ingredients.

    Really? Yep! Just Google coffee as an ingredient in recipes and check out the results. Sure, there is a plethora of coffee drink recipes, but Epicurious, Food Network, Reader’s Digest, Martha Stewart Living and more have lists of favorite recipes – from main dishes to desserts – with coffee as an ingredient. Looking back to 2006, Redbook called out coffee as the “secret” ingredient in its barbeque sauce.  Chef Ina Garten told Food and Wine in 2007 this recipe note about one of the most fabulous chocolate cakes she had ever made: “… the bit of coffee in the cake and frosting keeps the sweetness in check.”

    Why Cook and Bake with Coffee?
    Well, it doesn’t add sodium, sugar or fat. And depending on the amount added, the recipe doesn’t have to contain much noticeable coffee flavor. But here are important, wonderful roles performed by coffee in a recipe:

    Savory Situations
    • Coffee’s acidity helps to tenderize, so it’s useful for marinating tougher cuts of meat.
    • The smoky, roasted, earthy notes in coffee complement and heighten the flavors of barbeque and savory sauces or glazes, salad dressings, hearty stews and soups.
    • As a rub, ground coffee can be combined with other herbs and spices and then rubbed on cuts of beef, pork, lamb or chicken to add depth to the spice mixture and to enhance the meat flavor.
    Sweeter Side
    • Chocolate and coffee are a classic, timeless pairing – and for good reason. Coffee intensifies and enhances the flavor of chocolate. It will up the chocolate impact in pudding, sauces, cake, cookies, brownies, truffles, mousse, frosting …
    • Coffee adds depth to spices and dried fruit. Try it in cakes, bars, quick breads – even bread pudding – flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, raisins, currants, etc.
    • For desserts that shout coffee flavor, consider traditional tiramisu or coffee ice cream or custard.

    Tips for Using Coffee as an Ingredient
    Coffee often is called for in various forms in recipes, including strong brewed coffee; brewed espresso, espresso powder or instant espresso; finely-ground or ground coffee; instant coffee granules. If you don’t have exactly what is stated in the ingredient list, no worries. Just keep these tips in mind:

    • The amount and strength of coffee added to a recipe will determine the level of coffee flavor. For mocha or true coffee flavor, add more coffee; for heightening other flavors, add less.
    • If a recipe calls for a liquid form of coffee, interchangeably use brewed coffee, strong brewed coffee or espresso.
    • For adding dry forms of coffee, espresso powder, instant espresso, finely-ground coffee or instant coffee granules may be used interchangeably.
    • If you don’t have a coffee grinder but want more finely-ground coffee, place ground coffee (along with other dry ingredients, such as flour or sugar, from the recipe) in a food processor to achieve a smaller coffee particle size.
    • Remember, it’s okay to experiment and add more or less coffee flavor than a recipe states. If you are changing liquid coffee amounts, however, be sure to adjust the other recipe liquids to total the same overall amount.
    This brownie recipe is an uber-yummy place to start using coffee as an ingredient. Even if you’re not into baking from scratch, try replacing the water in a boxed chocolate brownie or cake mix with brewed coffee!

    Grandma W’s Extra Chocolaty Frosted Mocha Brownies
    Since childhood growing up on the farm, my family has lovingly made thousands of brownies from a time-tested recipe handed down from my Grandmother. But being a chocolate lover, I always craved more chocolate flavor. This version of the original recipe delivers intense, moist, dense chocolate along with a hint of coffee. And Grandma would approve of a little added nutrition from whole grain flour, too!

    Brownies:
    ½ cup butter, melted
    1 cup granulated sugar
    1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    3 tablespoons strong brewed Community® coffee, cooled
    ¼ teaspoon salt
    2 large eggs, lightly beaten
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    ¾ cup white whole wheat or all-purpose flour

    Mocha Ganache Frosting:
    2/3 cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
    ¼ cup strong brewed Community® coffee

    Preheat oven to 300°. In medium microwave-safe bowl, melt butter in microwave. In separate medium bowl, whisk together sugar and cocoa. Add sugar mixture, coffee and salt to butter; stir until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla to the butter-sugar mixture; mix in completely. Stir in flour just until combined.

    Pour into an 8” X 8” baking pan lined with parchment paper or sprayed with vegetable cooking spray. Bake in middle of oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out moist, with crumbs attached. Don’t overbake. Cool completely in pan.

    Frosting:
    In medium bowl, place chocolate chips. In microwave-safe measuring cup or bowl, heat coffee to a simmer in microwave. Pour coffee over chocolate and stir until completely smooth. Let cool about 1 hour. Beat with mixer for 1-2 minutes or until fluffy. Spread over cooled brownies and let frosting set. Cut into 16 squares.

    Notes:
    • Coffee in both the brownie and frosting heightens chocolate flavor.
    • The frosting has a mocha flavor and could be left off … but it really makes the brownie!
    • White whole wheat flour has all the nutrition of whole wheat with a less assertive flavor and a texture similar to all purpose flour.

    Beth Witherspoon, MPH, RDN, has a passion for communicating culinary and nutrition information. She is a registered dietitian/nutritionist who consults with Community Coffee Company to help communicate the flavor and health benefits of coffee.


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  • Dietary Guidelines Committee Gives Coffee Thumbs Up

    by Johnny Hoell | Nov 12, 2015
    Earlier this year, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) – a group of experts in the fields of human nutrition, public health and medicine – released their report recommending changes and updates to the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans. These guidelines (for Americans ages two and older) are updated every five years and advise consumers on good food and exercise choices to promote health, prevent disease and encourage food safety. Also, they are the foundation for national nutrition policy and the basis for federally-funded nutrition education programs and assistance programs, including SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children), and the school lunch and breakfast programs. Even labels on consumer food products are influenced by these guidelines.

    What the Report Says on Coffee
    • General Health – there’s strong evidence that moderate daily coffee consumption (3-5, 8-oz. cups or up to 400 mg caffeine) in healthy individuals is not related to increased long-term health risks
    • Type 2 Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, Cancer of Liver & Endometrium – consistent evidence indicates reduced risk of these in healthy adults drinking moderate amounts of coffee
    • Parkinson’s Disease – research indicates that coffee in moderate amounts may be protective against its development
    • Pregnancy – in general, a limit of two (8-oz.) cups of coffee – about 200 mg caffeine – daily; be sure to check with your doctor
    • Overall – drinking moderate amounts of coffee can be part of a healthy diet, along with regular physical activity, not smoking, and consuming a nutritionally-balanced diet
    • Keep in Mind – adding cream, sugar, whipped topping, etc., to coffee will increase calories; most of the research studies looked at black coffee

    What About High Caffeine Intake?
    Although there’s not a great deal of research yet, high levels of caffeine (more than 400mg daily for adults) are not recommended by authorities and are considered excessive. Coffee, tea and soft drinks are the main dietary sources of caffeine for adults and children, but the committee specifically took a look at high-caffeine energy beverages and products. Why? Likely because their availability and marketing are on the rise, they’re not regulated by the FDA, and adverse effects have been seen. Here’s the scoop:

    • Energy drinks contain a wide-ranging level of caffeine as their active ingredient, along with other ingredients such as vitamins, herbal supplements, sugar and taurine (an amino acid).
    • Some evidence links consumption of high-caffeine energy drinks with cardiovascular events and toxic caffeine levels.
    • It’s not recommended to combine alcohol and high-caffeine energy drinks by mixing them together or by consuming them at the same time. High caffeine levels may mask the intoxicating effects of alcohol and could increase the chance of alcohol-related injuries.
    • Though consumption of energy drinks for teens is quickly rising, limited amounts or no consumption of high-caffeine drinks or products for children and adolescents is advised. Safety is the issue. And more research is needed to understand differences in reaction to caffeine and the potential interactions between caffeine and the other ingredients found in “energy” beverages and food.

    The actual revised Dietary Guidelines for Americans – based on the committee’s report – are scheduled to come out sometime in the fall, before the end of 2015. And though the committee took 20 months to review the current dietary guidelines, receive public feedback and make recommendations, it remains to be seen exactly what the new ones will state. So stay tuned.

    Regardless of the new guidelines’ wording, however, coffee lovers can feel good about the evidence linking it to health. It’s true that we may not understand the exact mechanisms of why moderate consumption of coffee in healthy adults has well-researched positives. But I plan to go with what the science seems to say – keep on sippin’ coffee!

    To read the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s complete report, click here.

    Beth Witherspoon, MPH, RDN, has a passion for communicating culinary and nutrition information. She is a registered dietitian/nutritionist who consults with Community Coffee Company to help communicate the flavor and health benefits of coffee.


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  • Park Elementary benefits from Cash for Schools program

    by Wayne Losavio | Oct 27, 2015
    Park Elementary School is a Title I, inner-city school in Baton Rouge, LA that recently conducted a needs assessment focused on uncovering opportunities for improvement in their children’s academic environment. Through this process, the school’s administration and educators discovered that many of their students had not been outside the 5 block radius of the Park campus.
      
    C4S_Blog3In an effort to expand the minds of their students and provide them access to new concepts and educational strategies, the staff selected arts as the tool to reach and expand the horizons of their students. With the help of theCommunity Cash for Schools® program, Park Elementary earned over $6,000 to be used toward their chosen initiatives and projects. 

    With the money Park earned, the school was able to fund field trips to the LSU Museum of Art once a month. Second graders are able to learn from the current and past artists, view the latest featured art exhibits and create their own art based on what they learned at the museum. It is a hands-on learning experience in a setting that the children may not have access to otherwise.

    Park administration also utilized the fund to create a program called Manners of the Heart. This program teaches students across all grade levels proper manners and good character traits. When proper manners and good character traits are demonstrated a student receives a bracelet that says, "Park Cubs have manners!" 

    This innovative programs are helping to evolve the learning environment at Park Elementary. The school is now an A+ School for Arts Integration and Project Based Learning. With project based learning, each grade level has a theme, which is extended throughout the curriculum allowing each student to take part in real world projects and learning activities. The themes include the world, media, arts, environment, economy and health.

    Park Elementary was just one of 833 schools that participated in the Community Cash for Schools® program. Schools have earned more than $6.4 million in funding since the program began 27 years ago. Last year alone, 91 schools who participated in the Community Cash for Schools® program earned over $1,000.


    C4S_Blog1In addition to the programmatic changes Park Elementary staff and administration was able to make with support from the Community Cash for Schools® funds, they were also able to purchase various school supplies and equipment needed for the start of the new school year. No one knows what your school needs more than your school. That is why the money earned is used at the discretion of the schools. If you know a school that could utilize more funding, please encourage them to sign-up at CommunityCoffee.com/CashforSchools. It’s a great way to ensure our future generations has the resources they need to succeed.



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  • Matt Saurage's First Coffee Memory

    by Johnny Hoell | Aug 27, 2015
    MattMemory_400x413Do you remember the first time you sipped on a delicious, flavorful cup of coffee or sat down to share a pot of coffee with friends and family? For those who truly have a love for coffee, it becomes an important part of their lives. We spoke with Matt Saurage, fourth-generation owner of Community Coffee Company, to find out how growing up around and drinking coffee has made an impact on his life and helped continue his dedication for his family’s business.

    What is your first memory with coffee?

    I don't know if it is my first, but the most memorable and clear memory I have is drinking coffee with my grandfather. I'd go to work with my dad during the holidays, and my grandfather would be there. He and I would sit and talk about all kinds of things over a cup of coffee milk.

    How has growing up drinking and being around coffee influenced your passion for it and the work you do for Community Coffee Company today?

    It may sound cliche - but life's too short for bad coffee. Over my lifetime I've experienced the best of coffee; it drives me forward to bring it to others.

    What is your favorite blend and why should Community® coffee lovers try it if they haven’t already?

    Each and every morning I brew Signature Blend Dark Roast. I drink my coffee black, and love the aroma and distinctive finish of this classic blend.

    Do you still like to drink coffee milk or is there another way you prefer your coffee now?

    I drink my coffee black, unless after a meal I am serving Coffee and Chicory. Then I'll add milk and sugar for "cafe au lait" (which is great with dessert). It's an escape to New Orleans, even if just for a moment.

    If you could choose anyone, alive or passed, to have coffee with who would it be and why?

    Without hesitation, it would be Sir Richard Branson - he's best known for founding Virgin Records and is a daring entrepreneur. He lives life to the fullest, trying to accomplish the unachievable. I'd like to hear his vision of tomorrow.

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  • Caffeinated Workouts … the Truth in the Buzz

    by Johnny Hoell | Aug 13, 2015
    Some days a workout – whatever it involves, whatever your fitness level – seems to feel better than others, right? Many factors before exercise clearly affect this feeling, including sleep, what and when food was consumed, hydration status and your workout history. Trained athletes, who exercise more than most, definitely know this. And they are always looking for an edge, especially in competition.

    Caffeine has been studied extensively in athletes for its ergogenic – or performance enhancing – properties, and there is evidence to support its benefits for both physical and mental performance. It naturally occurs in coffee, tea, cocoa beans and kola/cola nuts (a flavoring in food and beverages).

    How it Works & Potential Benefits
    Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, heart and muscles. However, the exact mechanisms for how it enhances athletic performance are still being studied. Based on laboratory research with trained athletes, caffeine may affect performance in the following ways.
    • It may improve performance during prolonged endurance exercise as well as short-term (about 5 min.) high-intensity exercise.
    • Caffeine consumption may reduce pain and perception of fatigue by affecting receptors in the brain, encouraging training at higher intensities.
    • It may decrease perceived exertion (during resistance training), leading to extended strength training sessions.
    • Caffeine may also increase concentration and alertness, helping to sustain intensity in training.
    When and How Much
    Most studies indicate that about 1 hour before exercise is the best time to consume caffeine for enhancing performance. The effects likely last approximately 4 hours.

    Also based on research, 2-6 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight (1kg = 2.2lbs) is recommended for performance improvement. That’s about 1 to 4 (8-oz.) cups of regular brewed coffee (at roughly 100 mg caffeine per cup) for someone weighing 150 pounds.

    By the way, more isn’t necessarily better. Some studies have shown that lower amounts of the recommended caffeine range may be just as effective as higher amounts, so start with the low end of the range.

    Important Tips
    So how does the research – mostly performed on trained athletes in lab-based settings using caffeine tablets/powder – apply to the general population involved in a wide array of workout activities? Well, there are no guarantees, but these tips may be helpful:
    • Try sipping 1-2 (8 oz.) cups of regular brewed coffee 1 hour before your usual exercise. The generally-recommended level to supplement for performance is 2-3 mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight, which translates to 100 mg caffeine for a 50 kg/110 pound individual (for 2mg caffeine/kg body weight).
    • The amount of caffeine in coffee can vary depending on how it’s made. Eight ounces of regular home-brewed drip coffee should have about 100 mg of caffeine. Other sources of caffeine include energy bars and drinks, gels and medications. However, be sure to know the level of caffeine you’re consuming, and make sure the source doesn’t contain other unwanted stimulants.
    • Keep in mind that individuals metabolize caffeine at different rates, so pay attention to how you are feeling during your workout. You should not feel “shaky” or “overstimulated” by the amount of caffeine you consume. This will not help your workout performance. Be sure to check with your doctor or a registered dietitian nutritionist if you have a reason to avoid caffeine.
    • Remember, caffeine does not replace the energy from food needed to properly fuel your body. Also, overall hydration plays a role in performance. Most health authorities recommend 9 to 13 cups (more for men) of fluid daily, including fluid from food, water and other beverages.
    • About 3 to 5 cups of coffee in a day is considered moderate coffee consumption and has been studied for potential links to decreased: mortality from all causes, risk of developing type II diabetes, risk factors for heart attack and stroke, dementia, liver and other cancers.

    Bottom Line
    There is not a body of research specifically studying the effect of caffeine on the workouts of “weekend warriors” or individuals who do not consider themselves well-trained athletes. However, a modest amount of caffeinated coffee consumed about an hour before exercise not only might be enjoyable but could help you feel more alert and encourage you to work a bit harder than usual … without necessarily feeling more tired than normal. That said, count me in!

    Sources

    The following studies are for supporting caffeine and better workouts:
    Duncan, M.J. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, October 2012.
    Hodgson A, Randell R, Jeukendrup A. The metabolic and performance effects of caffeine compared to coffee during endurance exercise. Plos One [Internet]. 2013 [cited 2014 June 5]. 2013;8(4):e59561. Available from: MEDLINE, Ipswich, MA.
    Rosenbloom CA, Coleman EJ. Sports Nutrition: A Practice Manual for Professionals. 5th ed. Chicago, IL: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2012. Print.

    Popkin B.M. et al. (2006) A new proposed guidance system for beverage consumption in the United States. Am. J. Clin. Nutr, 83:529-542.
    Silva A.M. et al. (2013) Total body water and its compartments are not affected by ingesting a moderate dose of caffeine in healthy young adult males. Appl. Physiol. Nutr. Metab, 38:6.
    Kolasa K.M. et al. (2009). Hydration and health promotion. Nutr Today, 44:190-203.
    Ganio M.S. et al. (2007). Evidence-based approach to lingering hydration questions. Clin Sports Med 26, 12-16.
    Goldstein E.R. et al. (2010) Caffeine enhances upper body strength in resistance trained athletes. J. Int Soc Sports Nut, 7:5.
    Armstrong L.E. (2002). Caffeine, body fluid-electrolyte balance, and exercise performance. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism 12, 205-222.
    Killer S. C. et al (2014) No Evidence of Dehydration with Moderate Daily Coffee Intake: A Counterbalanced Cross-Over Study in a Free-Living Population. PLoS ONE, 9(1): e84154.
    Ganio M.S. et al (2009). Effect of caffeine on sport-specific endurance performance: a systematic review. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Volume 23; 315-324.


    Beth Witherspoon, MPH, RDN, has a passion for communicating culinary and nutrition information. She is a registered dietitian/nutritionist who consults with Community Coffee Company to help communicate the flavor and health benefits of coffee.


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  • How to Brew Sun Tea

    by Johnny Hoell | Aug 06, 2015
    Summer has arrived! For a light and refreshing alternative to your typical iced tea, try this easy recipe to brew sun tea using your favorite Community® Porch Breeze® tea.

    Serving: 8 (8-ounce) servings
    Difficulty: 1
    Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
    Cook Time: 3-5 hours

    Directions:

    SunTea_400x413Sun Brewed Tea:
    • 2-quart pitcher or a glass jar
    • 12 Community® individual size tea bags or 2-3 Community® Porch Breeze® signature iced tea bags in decaf or regular
    • 8 cups of water, room temperature
    • A piece of cloth large enough to cover the opening of the pitcher or jar
    • A rubber band
    • An area with good exposure to the sun (ex: windowsill or deck)
    • 2-3 cups of ice
    • 1-2 lemons, sliced (optional)
    Simple Sugar (optional)
    • Saucepan
    • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
    • 1 1/2 cups water
    • Bottle or container

    Sun Brewed Tea:

    Before you begin, make sure the pitcher or jar you’re using for the tea is sterilized and clean. If possible, run it through a dishwasher.

    Next, pour room temperature water into the container along with the Community® tea bags.

    To keep out unwanted particles in your tea, cover the container by placing the piece of cloth on top and securing it with the rubber band. If you use something else besides cloth, it’s important not to cover it too tightly or pressure will build up within the container.

    Place the container in an area with good exposure to the sun where the tea can steep for about three hours.

    After this time, you’ll notice the tea will be fairly dark. If you want to make it stronger, leave the container out for an additional one to two hours maximum.

    Once your tea’s strength is to your liking, remove the tea bags.

    Use simple syrup (see directions below) or slices of lemon to sweeten the tea.

    Serve your sun-brewed tea over ice and voilà! You have successfully made Community coffee sun brewed tea.

    Simple Syrup:

    If you would like to sweeten your tea with something other than lemon, try making simple syrup while your tea steeps.

    On low heat, combine equal parts granulated sugar and water in a large saucepan.

    Stir the mixture constantly until the sugar has dissolved.

    After the mixture has cooled, pour the syrup into a bottle and place in the refrigerator until needed.

    If you’re looking to add a little more zest to your sun tea, use one of the combinations below:

    Watermelon and basil:

    Slice watermelon into small triangles or chunks.

    Once you have removed your tea bags from the tea, mix in the watermelon, fresh basil leaves (to taste), and the simple syrup (if using).

    Serve over ice and garnish with a fresh basil leaf.

    Mint and sliced limes or oranges:

    While the tea is steeping in the sun, mix in mint leaves (to taste).

    When the tea has steeped enough, remove tea bags and mint leaves.

    Mix in the simple syrup or a 1/4 cup of honey.

    Slice one lime or orange in half. Take one of the halves and squeeze its juice into the tea. Slice the remaining fruit and mix well.

    Garnish each glass with a sprig of mint and serve over ice.

    Strawberries or raspberries:

    In a food processor or blender, blend between 1 - 1 1/2 cups of fresh or frozen strawberries or raspberries until smooth. Strain the mixture if you wish to remove the berry seeds from the iced tea.

    Stir the berry mixture into the sun brewed tea and garnish each glass with a fresh berry or mint leaf and serve over ice.

    Sources:

    http://www.foodnetwork.com/how-to/photos/how-to-make-sun-tea-a-step-by-step-guide.html
    http://honestcooking.com/mint-green-tea-recipe/
    http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/watermelon-basil-iced-tea
    http://pairmag.com/tea/refresh-iced-tea-pairings/
    http://www.bhg.com/recipes/drinks/tea/sun-tea/

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  • JAVA ‘n’ Health: Fact vs. Fiction

    by Johnny Hoell | Jul 23, 2015
    Looking forward to your daily coffee routine? You are far from alone! But do you feel a slight twinge of guilt that it may not be the healthiest habit for your body? Then read on and get the research-supported facts about drinking this world-wide favorite beverage ... in moderation, of course.

    Drinking coffee helps with alertness and attention … TRUE.
    According to research, it doesn’t take much caffeine – about the amount in 1 cup of regular coffee – to help increase concentration and alertness. Caffeine’s stimulating effects are observed between 15-45 minutes after drinking caffeinated coffee and last about 4 hours. Keep in mind, however, that more isn’t necessarily better. Too much caffeine can have the opposite effect, and individuals metabolize caffeine at different rates. Also, youth and caffeine consumption should be monitored.    

    Coffee may improve my workout … TRUE.
    It’s the all-natural caffeine in coffee which has been shown to improve physical performance, especially in aerobic or endurance exercise. Moderate amounts of caffeine were studied and found effective. Experts think that it works this way: caffeine increases adrenaline, which stimulates energy production and increases blood flow to the heart and muscles. Also, caffeine may moderate central fatigue and influence perceived exertion, pain and level of intensity.

    Coffee causes dehydration … FALSE.
    Caffeinated – or not – moderate coffee consumption (about 3 to 5, 8-oz. cups per day) contributes to daily fluid needs and does not cause dehydration. Though caffeinated coffee may have a short-term diuretic effect on individuals, the Institute of Medicine stated in 2004 that caffeinated beverages contribute to daily fluid intake similar to what is contributed by non-caffeinated beverages. And according to research, this is the case during exercise and in hot climates, too. Remember, most health authorities recommend 9 to 13 cups (the higher amount for men) of fluid daily, including fluid from food (especially fruits and vegetables), water and other beverages.

    One of the major sources of antioxidants in the American diet is coffee … TRUE.
    Really? Yes, because of the amount of coffee Americans consume. Antioxidants are generally thought to be associated with health benefits. However, more research is needed on how the antioxidants in coffee work.

    Here’s what we do know from extensive research about coffee and disease protection. Moderate coffee consumption (3 to 5 cups daily) may be linked to decreased mortality from all causes, reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and decreased risk of Parkinson’s disease, dementia, liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. Also, drinking moderate amounts of coffee may counter risk factors for heart attack and stroke and does not appear to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease in healthy people. Stay tuned for future research on the exact mechanisms of how coffee works to protect against disease.    

    Coffee is an addictive substance … FALSE.

    Drinking coffee often is habitual for lovers of the taste, aroma and even caffeine’s energizing effect. However, studies suggest that moderate coffee drinkers do not develop a physical dependence, and if desired, caffeine may be gradually reduced without adverse effects, such as headache and drowsiness. If nighttime wakefulness is a concern, be sure to avoid consuming caffeine too close to bedtime and switch to non-caffeinated beverages in the early afternoon and evening. Or if you are extra sensitive to caffeine, decaf coffee is a good alternative for enjoying coffee’s taste and aroma.

    Women should avoid coffee during pregnancy … FALSE.
    In a healthy pregnancy, most experts agree that about 200 mg of caffeine – the amount in roughly 2 (8-oz.) cups of coffee – is safe for consumption. Remember that tea, soft drinks, energy drinks, chocolate and other foods and beverages with caffeine count toward the recommended total daily caffeine amount, too. And a healthy, balanced diet is vital.

    Sources

    Alertness and Attention
    Fredholm BB et al (1999). Actions of caffeine in the brain with special reference to factors that contribute to widespread use. Pharmacol Rev; 51:83-133.

    Addiction
    Nehlig A et al (2000). Dose-response study of caffeine effects on cerebral functional activity with a specific focus on dependence. Brain Res; 858:71-77.
    Acquas E et al (2002). Differential effects of caffeine on dopamine and acetylcholine transmission in brain areas of drug-naive and caffeine-pretreated rats. Neuropsychopharmacology; 27:182-193.
    De Luca MA et al (2007). Caffeine and accumbens shell dopamine. J Neurochem; 103:157-163.
    Nehlig A (2004). Are we dependent on coffee and caffeine: an update. In Nehlig A, ed. Coffee, Tea, Chocolate and the Brain. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 133-146.]

    Popkin B.M. et al. (2006) A new proposed guidance system for beverage consumption in the United States. Am. J. Clin. Nutr, 83:529-542.
    Silva A.M. et al. (2013) Total body water and its compartments are not affected by ingesting a moderate dose of caffeine in healthy young adult males. Appl. Physiol. Nutr. Metab, 38:6.
    Kolasa K.M. et al. (2009). Hydration and health promotion. Nutr Today, 44:190-203.
    Ganio M.S. et al. (2007). Evidence-based approach to lingering hydration questions. Clin Sports Med 26, 12-16.
    Goldstein E.R. et al. (2010) Caffeine enhances upper body strength in resistance trained athletes. J. Int Soc Sports Nut, 7:5.
    Armstrong L.E. (2002). Caffeine, body fluid-electrolyte balance, and exercise performance. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism 12, 205-222.
    Killer S. C. et al (2014) No Evidence of Dehydration with Moderate Daily Coffee Intake: A Counterbalanced Cross-Over Study in a Free-Living Population. PLoS ONE, 9(1): e84154.
    Ganio M.S. et al (2009). Effect of caffeine on sport-specific endurance performance: a systematic review. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Volume 23; 315-324.


    Beth Witherspoon, MPH, RDN, has a passion for communicating culinary and nutrition information. She is a registered dietitian/nutritionist who consults with Community Coffee Company to help communicate the flavor and health benefits of coffee.
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  • Good Ol’ Summertime Hydration Includes Drinking Coffee

    by Johnny Hoell | Jul 15, 2015

    Temperatures climb. Humidity increases. And so does outdoor activity for many of us. So, paying attention to drinking enough fluids and staying well hydrated is important. After all, our body is about 60 percent water, and fluid is the key for maintaining normal physical and cognitive function. Even mild dehydration may cause fatigue, headache, mood change, tension and decreased memory.

    Now, here comes the good news. Coffee counts! Yes, moderate coffee consumption – including caffeinated coffee – contributes to daily fluid intake needs. And what is considered “moderate” when drinking this world-wide favorite beverage? According to most authorities, it’s 3 to 5 (8-oz.) cups in a day.

    What the Experts Say

    After repeatedly hearing advice to avoid caffeinated beverages because they cause dehydration, it may be hard to believe that there’s widespread consensus stating the opposite.

    • In 2004, the Institute of Medicine said that all beverages – including caffeinated beverages – are hydrating.
    • The International Life Sciences Institute issued a consensus statement in 2006 recommending consuming a variety of caffeinated and non-caffeinated beverages to meet the body’s fluid requirements.
    • And the U. S. Beverage Guidance Panel reviewed the scientific evidence on coffee and hydration and concluded in 2006 that consuming up to 500 mg of caffeine in a day (about 5 regular cups of coffee) does not cause dehydration.
    • More recent studies continue to support these statements.

    So What About Caffeine, Exercise & Heat?
    It’s the same story!

    • According to research, the amount of caffeine found in about 3 regular cups of coffee (300 mg) has no significant effect on overall fluid balance during exercise. It induces a mild, short-term diuretic effect, similar to that of water.
    • Also, there is no evidence that caffeine is detrimental in hot climates during exercise when fluid losses are the greatest.

    Daily Fluid Requirements
    Your fluid needs are quite individual and widely vary based on activity level, climate and health. Here are a few points to keep in mind:

    • Think about drinking enough fluid so that you are rarely thirsty.
    • Choose no calorie or low calorie beverages most of the time, remembering to hydrate at and between meals, and before, during and after exercise.
    • 8, 8-oz. glasses of fluid a day is a good place to start. This totals less than most health authorities’ recommendations (about 9 to 13 cups, higher amounts for men). But it isn’t too far off when water from food in a healthy, balanced diet is included.
    • Calorie-free, inexpensive water always is a great fluid choice! For variety, remember that coffee, tea, milk, juice, are mostly water, too. Black coffee is 95% water and only has about 10 calories in an 8-ounce cup.
    • Food contributes about 20% of the fluid in your diet. Many fruits and vegetables, such as melons, citrus, berries, squash, spinach and cabbage, are high in water.
    • Additional fluid is required with exercise, in certain environments (heat, humidity, higher altitudes), pregnancy and breastfeeding, and some illnesses. It is possible, though rare, to consume too many fluids, which can cause sickness and potentially be life-threatening. Consult a doctor or registered dietitian nutritionist for individual recommendations.

    Tasty Summer Hydration
    Summertime is ideal for sipping cold, refreshing iced coffee – at home. Yes, you can simply brew coffee your usual way and let it cool before pouring over ice, yielding a bold, bright and refreshing drink.

    But many prefer cold-brew coffee for making iced coffee because of its smooth, more subtle flavor. To make cold-brew coffee, here are the super-simple steps.

    Easy Cold-Brew Coffee at Home​

    1. Combine ground coffee and cool water in large container (about 1 cup coffee for every quart of water; I used 5 cups or 12 oz. ground coffee and 5 quarts water)
    2. Cover and let sit at room temperature about 24 hours (less if desired)
    3. Filter through cheesecloth-lined strainer or coffee filter… then refrigerate this liquid gold
    4. Serve over coffee ice cubes (I freeze leftover coffee in ice cube trays so the iced coffee doesn’t become diluted) or ice
    5. Stir in as desired: milk, almond or soy milk, cream, flavored creamer, condensed milk, simple syrup (heat and combine equal parts water and sugar; keep in refrigerator) or a pinch of Kosher salt

    Note: Store cold-brew coffee in refrigerator, up to a week.

    Sources

    Popkin B.M. et al. (2006) A new proposed guidance system for beverage consumption in the United States. Am. J. Clin. Nutr, 83:529-542.
    Silva A.M. et al. (2013) Total body water and its compartments are not affected by ingesting a moderate dose of caffeine in healthy young adult males. Appl. Physiol. Nutr. Metab, 38:6.
    Kolasa K.M. et al. (2009). Hydration and health promotion. Nutr Today, 44:190-203.
    Ganio M.S. et al. (2007). Evidence-based approach to lingering hydration questions. Clin Sports Med 26, 12-16.
    Goldstein E.R. et al. (2010) Caffeine enhances upper body strength in resistance trained athletes. J. Int Soc Sports Nut, 7:5.
    Armstrong L.E. (2002). Caffeine, body fluid-electrolyte balance, and exercise performance. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism 12, 205-222.
    Killer S. C. et al (2014) No Evidence of Dehydration with Moderate Daily Coffee Intake: A Counterbalanced Cross-Over Study in a Free-Living Population. PLoS ONE, 9(1): e84154.
    Ganio M.S. et al (2009). Effect of caffeine on sport-specific endurance performance: a systematic review. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Volume 23; 315-324.


    Beth Witherspoon, MPH, RDN, has a passion for communicating culinary and nutrition information. She is a registered dietitian/nutritionist who consults with Community Coffee Company to help communicate the flavor and health benefits of coffee.

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  • Perfect Pairings

    by Johnny Hoell | May 29, 2015
    The perfect pairing can make the best cup of coffee even better. We went to a handful of our employees and asked them about their favorite food and beverage pairings so we could learn more about the unique collection of tastes represented here at Community Coffee Company. Check out some of the delectable recommendations below.

    Liz (Quality Compliance & Regulatory Specialist) doesn’t always pair her morning cup of coffee with food – she adds sugar and half and half and calls it “breakfast” – but if she does pair coffee and cuisine, it’s when she enjoys a rich, chocolaty dessert after a nice dinner.  As for recommendations: “If you haven’t had our Private Reserve® Evangeline Blend™…you’re missing out,” she says.

    One of Robert’s (General Manager Coffee Service Division) favorite food pairings is a filet mignon steak with a bold, dark Cabernet Sauvignon wine. The full-bodied, peppery boldness of the wine combined with the tenderness of a medium- rare steak “just go great together,” he says. For dessert? “I love coffee and sweets. Chocolates are excellent with our Signature Blend Dark Roast.”

    Jeff (General Manager CSD, North Region) grew up in southeast Missouri, where his family had a garden with fresh fruits and vegetables. During the summer months, cantaloupe was a favorite breakfast treat. It might sound strange, but Jeff insists that his mother’s gravy over fresh cantaloupe is the perfect combination of salty and sweet, hot and cold. Now, Jeff has another pairing tradition with his wife: On Valentine’s Day, the two indulge in Community® Signature Blend Dark Roast coffee with cheesecake from a local bakery in Little Rock, Arkansas. Since becoming an ambassador in the early 90’s, Community® coffee has been present at all of Jeff’s family events. “Once, while camping, I was talking around a campfire about things that I like with Community® coffee,” Jeff says, “and my dad mentioned his favorite pairing: Café Special® with a 12-ounce ceramic mug.”
     
    Nevin (TSM, Jacksonville) enjoys classic and full flavor combinations, like fresh smoked salmon with roasted rosemary potatoes and grilled asparagus.  It’s hard for him to pick just one favorite coffee-food pairing. He often recommends combinations to his family and friends, and they are all well received. First on the list, is a Community® coffee Dark Roast with a fresh a glazed donut. The combination creates “a flavor to savor.” For something less sweet, try Community® coffee’s smooth, rich, medium-dark roast 100% Colombia Altura® with corned beef hash and hollandaise sauce. “The boldness of the dark roast coffee, along with the brightness of the Colombian coffee, blends smoothly with the acidity of the hollandaise sauce and the brininess in the corned beef.”

    Gwen (Total Rewards Specialist) is another Community Coffee Company employee with a sweet tooth. “I could skip the other courses and go straight to dessert and coffee,” she says. Her favorite pairing? “Crème brûlée and a good ole’ Breakfast Blend with a little sweetener.” She also loves the Brazil Santos Bourbon blend with sweet treats. “I’m usually not a medium-dark roast drinker, but this one is just so smooth.”

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  • Iced Coffee Ideas to Sweeten Your Summer

    by Johnny Hoell | May 15, 2015
    Iced coffee seems refreshingly simple: the smooth taste of coffee with a cool twist. Just pour over ice and serve, right? As it turns out, countless possibilities and combinations exist when it comes to iced coffee. We did our homework to compile the best tips and tricks for brewing iced coffee at home. From the simple to the extravagant, we bring you iced coffee like you’ve never tasted.

    Basic Barista: A low maintenance option.

    Servings: 4
    Difficulty: 1
    Prep Time: 5 minutes

    Ingredients:
    4 cups brewed Community® House Blend coffee
    8 ounces water
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/4 cup sugar
    Ice cubes
    1 cup milk, cream or half and half
    4 teaspoons chocolate syrup

    Directions:
    Refrigerate the brewed coffee until cool (about 30 minutes). Bring water to a boil and then stir in the vanilla extract and sugar until dissolved. Fill 4 glasses ¾ full with ice and divide the chilled coffee evenly between the glasses. Stir in desired amount of sugar mixture, milk and chocolate syrup.


    Breakfast Blast: A little extra kick for a morning treat.

    Servings: 1  
    Difficulty: 1
    Prep Time:  10 minutes

    Ingredients:
    8 ounces strongly-brewed Community® Breakfast Blend coffee
    8 teaspoons condensed milk
    4 teaspoons pomegranate juice
    Ice cubes
    Whipped cream for garnish
    Ground cinnamon for garnish

    Directions:
    Add coffee, condensed milk and pomegranate juice to a shaker and mix well. Pour into a tall glass filled ¾ full with ice cubes. Garnish with whipped cream and ground cinnamon. Serve immediately.


    Fancy French Vanilla: Enjoy a moment of decadent indulgence.

    Serving: 1 person
    Difficulty: 1
    Prep Time: 5 Minutes

    Ingredients:
    8 ounces strongly-brewed Community® Signature Blend Dark Roast coffee
    Ice cubes
    3 tablespoons French Vanilla coffee creamer OR plain creamer and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Whipped cream garnish
    Optional 1/2 split vanilla bean garnish
     
    Directions:
    Fill glass tumbler ¾ full with ice cubes. Pour in strongly-brewed coffee until glass is almost full. Add French Vanilla Creamer or cream and vanilla mixture. Top with whipped cream and garnish glass with a split vanilla bean as a stirrer.

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  • The Coffee Artists™

    by Johnny Hoell | Mar 30, 2015

    Andy and Angel Sauer are husband and wife as well as the artists behind Coffee Art®. For over a decade, they have mastered the art of painting with coffee and traveled the globe to share their creations with people around the world.

    We had the chance to speak with them recently about everything from how they met to their most inspirational moments of artistry. Keep reading to hear their full story, and don’t forget to check out www.coffeeart.com to see more of their pieces and learn how you can purchase them for your own home.

    It was a series of coincidences that brought the two artists together; and while they met freshman year at their local university, seated next to each other in an Intro to Music class, it wasn’t until after college when Andy saw Angel’s name in a magazine and sought her out, that they began to date. Andy asked Angel out to the local coffeehouse, which became a favorite spot, and as they returned time and again they began to notice the artwork on the walls, prompting them to speak with the owner who scheduled them an exhibit. They had both painted with a number of mediums, and looking for something new to try, found influence in their local surroundings. Painting with coffee turned out to be a huge success as every painting from their first exhibit was sold, and from that day Coffee Art® was born.

    It took some work to master the medium, and after trying various techniques such as drawing with the actual coffee beans, Andy and Angel turned to using coffee as a watercolor, refining their process and technique to give them a mix of darker and lighter hues. While they are continually refining and evolving their technique, it is this use of light and dark tones that makes their art so compelling.

    In addition to painting, their Coffee Art® has encouraged their love of travel, bringing them to countries across the world to exhibit their art. As Andy explained, “Since coffee is a universal beverage, our artwork has connected us with people across the world.  We have painted everywhere from a small café in Reykjavik, Iceland to huge coffee conventions in Athens, Greece and Milan, Italy. It doesn’t matter where the setting is, we have a wonderful time painting and connecting with people.” However, no matter where their art takes them or the subject they are planning, their process begins and inspiration starts flowing over a cup of coffee.

    We recently heard from one of our own consumers, Ashley, who received a painting of her one-year-old daughter that her uncle painted for her using Community® Signature Blend Dark Roast instant coffee. Her uncle, Troy, has been a Community® coffee consumer all his life, and began painting with coffee in August 2010.

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    We love seeing your creations using our coffee and encourage any readers out there to give it a try and send us your Community® coffee artwork.


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  • How to Create the Perfect Brunch Buffet

    by Johnny Hoell | Mar 18, 2015

    Have you ever hosted a group of guests overnight and wondered what you could possibly feed them all the next morning? We know that preparing a meal for a large group of people with different food preferences or dietary restrictions can be tough. Even if you don’t have a lot of guests to cook breakfast for, preparing a brunch buffet is a fun, easy solution and perfect for everyone.

    Since most people enjoy their daily dose of caffeine in the morning, set up an assortment of coffee options to let your guests create their perfect cup. Every coffee lover has their own roast preference, so be sure to serve a range to your guests. We suggest brewing Community® Breakfast Blend, a medium-roast, for those who enjoy a smooth finish, our Signature Blend Dark Roast to offer to guests who crave a rich, bold flavor in the morning and our Café Special® Decaffeinated blend for those looking for a hot cup of coffee without the extra energy. Don’t forget to set out an array of milk and sugar (including sugar substitutes) for those who enjoy their coffee on the creamier and sweeter side.

    The key to a perfect breakfast buffet is serving a variety of food options. An easy option is to prepare a big batch of scrambled eggs. Provide different mix-ins for your guests to create their own favorite combination. Mix-ins could include sautéed veggies like onions, peppers, spinach, and tomatoes, and cheese, bacon, sausage, and sauces. In addition to the mix-ins, offering English muffins and bagels will allow your guests to take advantage of the assortment and create a one-of-a-kind breakfast sandwich.

    Another great breakfast staple to make for your guests is pancakes! To save time, prepare the pancake batter the night before. In the morning, arrange an array of toppings to help make each towering plate of fluffy goodness unique. Include fresh berries, sliced bananas, a can of whipped cream, shaved coconut, chocolate or caramel sauce, chocolate chips and sprinkles and maybe even some cinnamon and powdered sugar. And of course, don’t forget the butter and a bottle of real maple syrup for the classic flapjack combo.

    The beauty of a brunch buffet is that it offers your guests options without requiring you to hide yourself away in the kitchen for hours. You can even get a jump-start on most of your fixings the night before to help save time. Your guests will love the thoughtfulness and originality in your brunch buffet spread from the variety of pancake toppings to the multiple roasts of coffee. As long as you provide a mixture of food and coffee options, your brunch buffet is sure to be a hit!


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