• Coffee 101: The Format

    by Amy Cimo | Oct 15, 2018

    Whole bean and instant and ground, oh my! Coffee can be consumed in a variety of different formats, all of which can affect the flavor, strength and texture of your cup.

    Now that we know all about coffee roasts, let’s take a look at another important part of your coffee experience: the format.

    Whole bean coffee contains the dried, roasted beans found in the red cherries of coffee plants, and requires grinding before brewing. Though grinding your own beans may take more time, it gives you greater control in the coffee-making process, and allows you to experiment with different grind sizes, brew methods, water to coffee ratios and more to create your perfect cup.

    Short on time? Tired of experimenting? Ground coffee is coffee that has already been ground for you. Pre-ground coffee typically has a fine grind size and can be used in an array of brewing methods, from auto-drip coffee makers to the French press.

    Single-serve coffee is pre-ground, pre-measured coffee packaged in soft pods or hard capsules. These capsules are used in single serve brewers—the second most common brewing method in the U.S. last year—and help make a smooth, hot cup of coffee.

    Just add water! Instant coffee is coffee that has been brewed and then dehydrated, leaving behind a fine, crystal-like coffee powder. Making instant coffee is easy: measure the granules, add hot water, stir and enjoy!

    Espresso capsules are small pods that are packed with finely ground coffee and used in home espresso brewers, like the Nespresso® OriginalLine. Espresso is made by shooting boiling water under high pressure through the finely ground coffee. The result is a strong, full-flavored shot of coffee. 

    Cold Brew is generally coarse-ground coffee that is soaked in room temperature water for 12 or more hours, then filtered to remove the grounds before serving. Cold brew offers a strong and smooth coffee concentrate with a considerable caffeine buzz. Check out our Cold Brew pouches for an easy way to make a pitcher of tasty cold brew.

  • Make Mornings Easier with This Coffee-Infused Smoothie Recipe

    by Amy Cimo | Oct 08, 2018

    Mornings can be hectic, especially with back-to-school season upon us. If you feel like you’re constantly racing against the clock in the AM, a few time-saving tricks can help bring your mornings from rushed to refreshing—and set the tone for a successful, positive day.

    1. Start the Night Before
    Since the blue light of phones, laptops and electronics can affect our sleep, many recommend avoiding screen time 30-60 minutes before heading to bed. Use this time to prepare for the next day. Whether you pack the kids’ lunch, set the table for breakfast or simply pick out your outfit, these small actions can help save precious morning minutes and set the stage for a more productive morning.

    2. Establish Set Locations for Belongings
    It never fails. You’re already running late, reach into your bag for your keys and…can’t find them. Enter the 10-minute frantic search. Establishing a set location for items you use daily like shoes, keys, bag, backpacks and coats can streamline the process of getting ready and free up extra time each morning.

    3. Stretch

    It seems simple, but taking the time for a quick stretch in the morning gives your mind and body a chance to warm up. Stretching can help increase blood flow, combat feelings of tiredness, and create some quiet, built-in “me” time—making you energized, efficient, and ready to take on the day.

    4. Make Breakfast Quick & Nutritious
    To save time making breakfast, focus on foods that are nutritious, filling and easy to make, like overnight oats, Greek yogurt with granola, toast topped with peanut butter and fruit, or smoothies. Instead of chugging your morning coffee while running out the door, try this fast and tasty smoothie recipe that’s perfect for those on-the-go!  


    • 1 frozen banana
    • 1 tbsp. peanut butter (or nut butter of your choice)
    • ½ tsp. cacao powder
    • ½ cup Community® Cold Brew or chilled Community® coffee
    • 1 cup almond milk (or milk of your choice)

    Place all of the ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into a glass and enjoy! 

  • How to Overcome Writer’s Block

    by Amy Cimo | Oct 01, 2018

    Whether you’re a new writer or a seasoned pro, there will be times when you sit down at your computer and ... nothing happens. You can’t think of anything to write. You can’t think of the next sentence, the next phrase or even the next word.

    You may start to doubt whether you’re really even a writer.

    But with a few tricks to jumpstart your mind, you can get past it. Here are a few of our favorite tips for breaking through writer’s block, straight from the experts.

    Gather Your Thoughts

    Your English teachers were right: Creating an outline to plan what you want to write about helps you develop your ideas.

     “Before I write anything, I outline the piece, thinking about key points I want to cover,” says Andrea Emerson, a writing coach who leads a Facebook community for fellow writers. “Then I go back through each section and fill in key ideas, proof points or quotes I want to include.” Even if the outline has incomplete sentences or is just a collection of bullet points, it will help you get started, she says. “I once heard someone compare it to mise en place, what professional chefs do when working on a recipe: They have all necessary tools and ingredients lined up, and within easy reach,” Emerson says. “There's no running back to the fridge or pantry; all items are organized in front of them, ready to be mixed together.”

    Embrace the ‘Zero Draft’

    Another trick is to just start writing... “Even gibberish or a shopping list — just write whatever comes to mind and don't worry about it,” says Gundi Gabrielle, who blogs her world travels as SassyZenGirl. “Then you’ll gradually get back into the flow again.” 

    Camaron Brooks, a former TV reporter and author ot “Studio Baby: Adventures of a TV Reporter Turned Stay-at-Home Mom,” says that her writer’s block is actually about perfectionism and a fear of failing, which just have to be powered through “Clichés can be fleshed out, grammar can be edited. But you must write something.”

    Adam Cole, a jazz musician and the author of several novels and nonfiction books, agrees: “I give myself permission to write as little as I want each day, so long as I write something, any movement forward is a win, from a sentence to a chapter.” 

    Step Away for a Break

    Sometimes you just need to step away from the project to clear your mind.

    Devoney Looser is an English professor at Arizona State University and the author of “The Making of Jane Austen.” When Looser can’t write, she says it’s a sign that she needs to refocus and relax. But her method of doing this will depend on how much time she has. “If I have an hour, then I go to the nearby church roller rink that lets me pop in for a few minutes and whiz around the otherwise empty skate floor,” she says. “I leave completely recharged and writing-ready.”

    However, if you only have a few minutes to spare, grab a cup of coffee or a cold brew and find a brief diversion to clear your mind. If she only has 10 minutes to spare, Looser says she likes to read two pages from her favorite Austen book: “Pride and Prejudice.” “There’s always something there to make me laugh, something that moves me, even in a part I know really well,” says Looser, who also taught at Louisiana State University for a time.

    Karen Ullo, managing editor of Dappled Things Journal, and author of several books, composes music to get back into her creative groove, but knows writers who paint, garden or even knit socks. “Just make something - let your brain reestablish the habit of creativity, and then return to writing,” says Ullo, who lives in Baton Rouge, La. “The cure for blocked creativity is often creativity itself.”

  • Cool Off with the Hottest Drink, a Zesty Combo of Lemonade and Coffee

    by Amy Cimo | Sep 25, 2018

    One of the big reasons cold brew has taken the coffee world by storm in recent years is the iced drink’s versatility. The rich, bold iced beverage plays well with so many flavors, including coconut, herbs and even fancy fizzy waters.

    But perhaps the hottest twist is a lemon one. It may sound a little odd at first, but trust us, the flavor combination makes for a surprisingly refreshing treat, perfect for those long, hot days. It’s a little sour, a little sweet and entirely invigorating.

    Most coffee-ade recipes call for fresh-squeezed lemon juice combined with a dash of simple syrup, but commercial lemonade will do in a pinch. The trick here is to complement, not overwhelm, the coffee flavor in the cold brew. When the ratios are spot on, the lemon and simple syrup add a touch of citrus and sweetness that are a superb counterplay to the rich flavors of most cold brews.

    These three recipes all start with regular cold brew, which generally is made from coarse-ground coffee that’s soaked in room-temperature (or below) water for 12 or more hours, then filtered to remove the grounds before serving. For an even faster route to a pitcher of tasty cold brew, try our ultra-convenient cold-brew pouches. These 100 percent select Arabica beans are expertly blended and ground to help you create a flawless cold-brew beverage at home without any mess or filtering.

    So brew up an ice-filled glass of one of these three refreshing coffee-ades, find your favorite porch or patio, and take a moment to savor the summer sunshine before it’s all gone.

    Basil Coffee-Ade

    This is the original coffee-ade recipe, with a touch of basil for a note of added complexity. 


    • 2 ounces of fresh-squeezed lemon juice
    • 3 tablespoons simple syrup
    • 5 ounces of water
    • 5 ounces cold-brew coffee
    • Fresh-smashed basil to taste


    Combine lemon juice and simple syrup, then dilute the solution with water. Add the cold brew and basil, then shake or stir until fully mixed.

    Sparkling Mint Coffee-Ade

    This light and bubbly version of lemonade coffee borrows from the popular sparkling cold-brew trend. 


    • 2 ounces of lemon juice
    • 3 tablespoons simple syrup
    • 5 ounces of club soda or seltzer
    • 5 ounces cold-brew coffee


    Mix the simple syrup into the lemon juice. Add the club soda or seltzer. Stir in cold brew.

    Light Coffee-Ade

    This low-calorie version of the basil coffee-ade recipe is perfect for coffee lovers looking to control their sugar intake. Add fresh mint or basil to kick it up a notch. 


    • 2 ounces of lemon juice
    • 1 teaspoon Stevia
    • 5 ounces of water
    • 5 ounces cold-brew coffee
    • Optional fresh-smashed mint or basil


    Add simple syrup to the lemon juice, then mix water into the solution. Combine the mixture with the cold brew, add herbs, then shake or stir.

  • The Difference Between Cold-Brew and Iced Coffee

    by Amy Cimo | Sep 17, 2018

    The popularity and variety of iced-coffee drinks have jumped in recent years, but all those extra options can be confusing for consumers looking for a refreshing summer beverage at their favorite coffee shop.

    Two of the most common sources of confusion are the terms “cold brew” and “iced coffee,” which almost always refer to two different styles of coffee beverages. While both can be bold and refreshing coffee-based drinks, they vary substantially in how they are made and the way they taste. Here are three ways iced coffee and cold brew are different.

    How It’s Made

    Most iced coffees are brewed hot and then cooled down to serve, either by brewing coffee directly over ice or lowering the temperature more gradually. Ice is generally introduced into the final cup to lower the temperature even further. Sweeteners and other flavors are commonly added to round out the drink before serving, but the base flavor of most iced coffee is more akin to traditional hot coffee brewed from grounds.

    Simply pouring hot coffee over ice “is probably the original version of iced coffee,” says Kevin Sinnott, author of “The Art and Craft of Coffee” and creator/host of CoffeeCon. “That method ensures we’re getting basically the traditional extraction of the coffee flavors.” Some iced-coffee enthusiasts start with a more concentrated brew that allows the coffee flavor to hold up to ice or other dilution, Sinnott says.

    Cold brew, on the other hand, is made in an entirely different way. It’s generally coarse-ground coffee that is soaked in room temperature water for 12 or more hours, then filtered to remove the grounds before serving. This method creates a strong and smooth coffee concentrate with a considerable caffeine buzz that is often diluted with water or milk.

    It’s surprisingly easy to make cold-brew coffee at home, with a number of popular tools and methods available, although the simple setup of a Mason jar and water generally works just fine. For an even faster route to a pitcher of tasty cold brew, try our ultra-convenient cold-brew pouches. Made with 100 percent select Arabica beans and roasted to perfection, these are expertly blended and ground to help you create a flawless cold-brew beverage at home without any mess or filtering.

    How It Tastes

    Sinnott says most iced coffee maintains more of the acid and bitter notes that make traditional hot coffee appealing to so many consumers. Cold brew, however, offers a different flavor profile, and can bring out fruity, floral or chocolate flavors.

    “Even minute differences in temperatures make a significant difference,” he says. “This changes the balance quite a bit — for better or for worse — but I think everyone would agree it makes a different beverage.

    “You’re going to have some significant reduction in acidity,” he adds. “Sometimes that’s OK — it smooths out a lot of coffees. I certainly find a softer flavor in cold brew than coffee, and sometimes the body actually appears to increase. It’s a sense of substance that I think is really enjoyable.”

    How Caffeinated It Is

    With cold brew the coffee grounds steep in water for hours, resulting in a highly concentrated beverage that typically offers higher caffeine levels than most traditional iced coffees.

    “Caffeine is a slowly extracting substance,” Sinnott says. “It’s actually one of the last things to come forth in the extraction process; therefore, longer extraction processes have increased caffeine. If you take something and brew it over a period of several days with some of these very slow-extracting cold methods, that’s quite a bit of added punch.”

    These unique traits have combined to make cold brew one of the fastest-growing beverages in the coffee industry. Last fall at CoffeeCon Chicago, Sinnott says roasters told him they were seeing for the first time that iced coffee drinks, particularly cold brew, were remaining popular long after summer passed.

    “We’re getting into the colder weather and people are still ordering cold brew,” he says. “I thought that was fascinating. It means it’s here to stay because people aren’t just looking at it as a seasonal drink anymore.”

  • The Importance of Outdoor Time At Sts. Leo-Seton Catholic School

    by Amy Cimo | Sep 11, 2018

    Any educator or parent will gladly preach the importance of core subjects such as math, science, or English, but Amos Batiste, Vice Principal of Sts. Leo-Seton Catholic School, also realizes the necessity of outdoor time. He stresses the point that children should have ample safe yet fun playground equipment available to them. Each day, students at Sts. Leo-Seton Catholic School stay active by running, jumping, and sliding through their school's playground.

    Over the past ten years the younger population as a whole has become much less active, and are shown to play outside only half as often as their parents might have. A substantial percentage of children haven’t even been to a park or rural area in over a year. Practices previously mentioned are seeping into the older population as well. On average, children aged 10 to 16 spend less than 15 minutes a day participating in some type of vigorous outdoor activity, and these numbers are only continuing to drop.

    With each new improvement to the Sts. Leo-Seton playground, the school is combating these unfortunate statistics. Teachers at the school even say that after the installment of the new playground, the children come back to the classroom alert and ready to learn. The faculty believes when students are given an enjoyable, constructive way to let out their energy during the day they’ll be less fidgety in the classroom. Parents and teachers alike are thrilled with the positive results brought about from playground improvements.

    For the past few years, Sts. Leo-Seton has participated in the Community® Cash for Schools program and used the money to keep their playground in prime condition. This year the school was surprised to find that out of over 800 schools, they had earned the title of our top earner. Members of the faculty informed us that the school had plenty of support from the surrounding community.

     Although they didn’t have the intentions of becoming our top earner for 2018, the children were absolutely thrilled when the school was able to set a fresh layer of mulch over the entire playground. Faculty and staff always try their best to keep a sharp eye on every child during recess, but not every scrape or bruise can be prevented. The new mulch the school installed works to cushion the fall a child may face during an exciting round of tag.

  • The History of Coffee & Chicory

    by Amy Cimo | Sep 06, 2018

    If you’ve ever had a cup of coffee in New Orleans, chances are you’ve enjoyed a longstanding NOLA tradition: chicory coffee.

    Chicory is a blue-flowered plant in the dandelion family, and its roots have been cultivated and used for food and medicine as far back as ancient Egypt.

    Though when people first began mixing coffee with chicory is unclear, the use of chicory in coffee became particularly popular in 19th century France after Napoleon initiated the “Continental Blockade.” This trade blockade caused a major coffee shortage in Napoleonic France, so to make their limited supplies of coffee stretch, the French began roasting, grinding and mixing chicory root with coffee.

    Though chicory root lacks caffeine, it was widely available at the time and shares a similar flavor to coffee when roasted, making it a logical additive. Some even used chicory as a substitute for coffee altogether.

    After the embargo was lifted in 1814, the use of chicory as a coffee additive continued to grow throughout France and its areas of influence, like the French-founded city of New Orleans. By 1860, France was exporting 16 million pounds of chicory.

    However, it wasn’t until the American Civil War that coffee and chicory became truly popular stateside. When Union naval blockades cut off the port of New Orleans, one of the largest importers of coffee in the United States at the time, desperate Louisianans began mixing chicory with coffee to stretch out their supply. Even after coffee became readily available again, the practice stuck, giving way to one of our favorite coffee traditions.

    For a taste of this tradition, check out our bold and flavorful Coffee & Chicory blend. Try it café au lait style with steamed milk for an even more traditional flavor!

  • Coffee 101: The Roast

    by Amy Cimo | Aug 27, 2018

    Whether you prefer a bold, black coffee or a light and caramel-y cup, we all have our favorite coffee roasts. Ever wonder what makes one roast darker than the other? And what is the roasting process, anyway?

    Aside from the type of bean used, one of the most important factors in the flavor and intensity of your coffee is the roast—or the degree to which your coffee beans are roasted. Before they’re roasted, coffee beans bear little resemblance to the aromatic brown beans we know and love. Referred to as “green coffee beans” or “green coffee,” these raw, unroasted beans are light in color, soft, smell grassy and have little to no taste.

    Green coffee is usually roasted in large roasting machines, which maintain a temperature of about 500-550 degrees Fahrenheit. The machines keep the beans constantly moving to avoid burning them. Coffee beans begin to turn color when they reach an internal temperature of about 400 degrees. As the coffee beans absorb heat during the process, their color becomes darker, shifting from white to tan to darker shades of brown. The longer the beans are exposed to the heat, the darker they become.

    Expert roasters are used to determine when the coffee beans have finished roasting. It takes years of training to become an expert roaster, as the difference between perfectly roasted coffee beans and a ruined batch can be a matter of seconds. Our Lead Roaster, certified by the Specialty Coffee Association of America's Roasters Guild and seasoned by decades of experience, has mastered the secrets of time and temperature and is an integral part in making our coffee bold and rich, bright and surprising, or smooth and subtle.

    Roasts are usually described by the color of the finished, roasted coffee beans and fall into one of four color categories—light, medium, medium-dark or dark. Lighter roasts will exhibit more of the beans’ "origin character"—flavors created by their variety, the location where they were grown, and when they were grown. As coffee roasts get darker, they tend to take on more flavors from the roasting process. For more about the taste of each color category, check out our blog post here.

    Though we were founded almost a century ago with our Signature Dark Roast, we have a wide variety of roasts to fit almost any preference.

    If you like lighter roasts and snappy acidity, try our Breakfast Blend. For a bit more body and balanced flavor, try our 5 Star Hotel Blend™ or Amber Sunrise Blend™.

    If medium-dark roasts are your favorite, give our House Blend, Café Special® or 100% Colombia Altura® coffee a try. And if you prefer your coffee black as night, check out our Private Reserve® Louisiana Blend® and Evangeline Blend™ coffees.

    Or, why not try them all? Now that you know all about roasts, you might as well put your knowledge to good use. And who knows? Maybe you’ll discover a cup of coffee that you enjoy a little bit more than the last.

  • Planning for the Perfect Road Trip

    by Amy Cimo | Aug 21, 2018

    It’s summer, and that means hitting the road on a quest for fun. Before you go, you’ll need to assemble the essentials — including Community® cold brew coffee.

    A great road trip is about the journey, not the destination. So, what else should you pack to make this time memorable? We talked to some hardcore road-trippers to ask what they bring to turn a long car ride into a party on wheels.

    Settle on the Right Soundtrack

    Many seasoned road-trippers put music at the top of their lists. But how can you avoid squabbles over which tunes to crank up?

    “For me, every road trip is really all about creating the right iTunes playlist,” says Greg Weaver, whose family has taken numerous road trips from their Shelbyville, Ind., home to places such as Charleston, S.C., Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod. “Everyone in the car contributes an equal number of songs. You put it on shuffle, and no songs can be skipped. So, of course, my son always finds a way to torture me with ‘Islands in the Stream’ by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton.”

    All that time in the car is also a good time to catch up on your “reading.” “We tried to get books related to where we were going, and when we couldn’t find any on audio, I’d record me reading them so we could listen while I drove,” says Karla Coreil, an experienced road tripper who lives in Baton Rouge. 

    But Coreil discourages relying on visual entertainment to occupy passengers. “Extremely limited screen time was the rule in my car: I wanted my kid to actually see the country as we drove through it.”

    Eat — and Drink — Local

    Half the fun of a road trip is seeking out the best in regionally produced food and drink, says Matthew Socey, a radio host in Indianapolis who used to manage a coffee-shop manager. “When we're staying in a town or road-tripping, [we] always try to find local independent coffee shops,” he says. “I like collecting coffee and spirits from wherever we are road-tripping.”

    His family’s longest road trip was this past summer when they traveled to New Orleans -- “Nothing but fine food and music for four days” — with stops at Mississippi blues milestones along the way.

    Beth Michalski Dequeant of Baton Rouge says her family doesn’t pack food for meals when they hit the road. “Researching interesting food stops and eating local specialties is part of our vacation. We have a trip planned later this year and we already started watching foodie videos for some of our stops.”

    Don’t limit yourself to Yelp when seeking out great eats in an unfamiliar town. When you find a place you like, ask the chef where they eat on off-hours. Not only will you nab a recommendation for later, but the next place is likely to treat you well when they find out you were referred by a colleague, says Geoff Rogers from Portland, Ore.

    Get Lost and Love It

    The perfect road trip strikes a balance between planning and flexibility.

    “Explore the route before you go so you don’t miss anything you really want to see, but be flexible enough to stop for amazing surprises,” Coreil says. “We did a road trip to Yellowstone a few years back, and I researched every site in the national park system along the way -- including the parks, historic sites, river systems. We stopped at nearly everyone we could, staying in several. But then there were things like the giant jack-a-lope and a drive-thru grizzly bear park that we happened upon ... and that became highlights of our trip.”

    Terri Singleton has driven from her home in Baton Rouge to California and up the coast to Washington State and across the ferry through the San Juan islands and back down the middle of the country (5,200 miles over 4 weeks, for those keeping count). She says she plans to drive no more than six hours each day — and preferably no more than four. “I Google Map it to find the back roads that only add an hour or so of drive time. You find cool unexpected places and it’s easier to stop in time to catch them if you are not barreling down the interstate at 75 mph. And we are talkers so we visit with folks wherever we are and get great tips from them of sights to catch.”

  • Behind the Research to Save Coffee From Severe Weather Conditions

    by Amy Cimo | Aug 06, 2018

    Innovative breeding programs and a new international wave of scientific research are helping ensure coffee farmers will be able to adapt to challenging climate conditions and meet a rising global demand for coffee in the coming years.

    The cutting-edge science push is spearheaded by World Coffee Research (WCR), a nonprofit organization founded by the international coffee industry to ensure high-quality coffee and environmental health for future generations.

    At Community Coffee Company, we have forged strong relationships with growers across the globe in coffee-producing communities in Mexico, Colombia, Rwanda and more. As part of our company’s commitment to global responsibility, we are a gold sponsor of World Coffee Research and a strong supporter of the organization’s efforts to ensure farmers will be able to thrive in the face of a changing climate. Here’s how the organization is helping.

    An International Challenge

    Nearly half of current coffee production comes from countries predicted to lose more than 60 percent of their suitable coffee areas by 2050, but climate change is already affecting coffee production as growing regions around the world become hotter and drier.

    For example, In 2012, a massive outbreak of coffee leaf rust — a devastating fungal disease that damages and ultimately destroys the coffee tree — severely affected the industry in Central America, putting an estimated 1.7 million people out of work in the region. Researchers believe the overall rise of temperatures and the associated weather patterns created a more favorable environment for the disease, leading to the widespread outbreak.

    The scope of the problem is vast. The latest scientific research estimates that by 2050, 79 percent of currently suitable coffee areas will face hottest-month maximums of 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit), with more than half of coffee land facing hottest-month maximums above 32 degrees Celsius. This represents a considerable challenge, given that Arabica coffee’s, the coffee beans found in premium coffees, optimal average annual temperature range is a cool 18 to 21 degrees Celsius.

    Breeding Programs

    The creation of new coffee varieties more resilient to climate change is critical for the future of coffee. By leveraging the latest breakthroughs in coffee genetics and working in collaboration with breeding programs in multiple countries, WCR is helping develop the next generation of coffee varieties to meet emerging climate challenges. 

    The organization has set its sights on climate-smart breeding that produces plants that can cope with temperatures as high as 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit). Last year, WCR joined a major coffee-breeding effort funded by the European Union to address the challenges posed by climate change through coffee breeding, and it has set up its own breeding programs around the world.

    It’s also focusing on agroforestry — growing coffee under shade — by researching and developing varieties that can thrive without full sun.

    Worldwide Research Centers

    Like the coffee industry itself, WCR’s efforts have been truly international. In its first five years, the organization has built an unprecedented international network of research trials. WCR has established two breeding hubs in Central America and East Africa, while creating a plan for the global conservation of wild coffee species for future breeding.

    It has also launched a global network of on-farm trials to study multiple varieties and their profitability, and it has produced a technical manual for agronomists for holistic management of coffee rust.

    These efforts are helping to close a research gap in the world of coffee, which for decades lagged behind the scientific progress achieved by other agricultural industries. At Community Coffee, we believe this vital research and development holds the key to preserving coffee for future generations.

  • Community Coffee Helps Colombian Coffee Growers Remain Competitive

    by Amy Cimo | Jul 30, 2018

    Some of the best coffees in Colombia are grown in the southern part of Norte de Santander, which includes the fertile municipalities of Toledo, Labateca and Chitagá. Their fields provide the optimum environment for superior coffee.

    Consumers enjoy the rich taste of coffee from this region, and growing high-quality coffee beans provides employment for many farmers and is often a family tradition. 

    However, growing coffee beans is only part of the process. Coffee must also be dried, and when the moisture content is too high, the quality suffers.

    Solar Dryer Project

    Community Coffee Company has sponsored many projects to help the farmers in Toledo, Labateca and Chitagá. In 2017, Community Coffee funded a project to build 95 solar dryers — however, a total of 223 solar dryers have been built in the past two years. 

    Why is a solar dryer important? It heats the air with solar energy to maintain a consistent temperature. Also, as opposed to an open-air drying process, solar dryers don’t allow insects or dust to come into contact with the coffee beans.

    “Traditionally coffee growers would use patio dryers, so the coffee was exposed to weather and animals walking across the beans,” says Mark Howell, general manager of Community Coffee’s Green Coffee and Tea Department. “However, the solar dryers are raised off the ground, have a canopy and include plastic and mesh, so coffee dries better. The plastic creates heat, and the entire process is cleaner.” Howell says these factors help to improve quality and taste.  

    The solar dryer program included community involvement. For example, to determine who would participate, leaders of the Municipal Coffee Committee in Toledo, Labateca and Chitagá established four criteria: They looked for farmers who were listed in the nonprofit National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia, who needed a solar dryer, who had a farm size of at least 7 acres that included a portion dedicated to new or renewed coffee, and who had not been beneficiaries of previous infrastructure projects.

    In addition, the coffee growers had to agree to supply their own labor and some material (such as farm bamboo), and they had to sign a letter of intent.

    Toledo’s municipal government supplied the plastic material for the 69 dryers it received. As a result of Toledo providing additional resources themselves, Community Coffee’s funds could go further. The original goal of supplying 95 solar dryers was increased to 128 units. In addition to the 69 solar dryers given to Toledo, Labateca received 49 dryers, and Chitagá received 10.

    This isn’t the first time that community involvement helped Community Coffee exceed its goal. In 2016, the original plan was for 60 solar dryers, and 95 total units were built.

    Effects on the Community

    The combination of a consistent temperature and proper ventilation allows coffee beans to be dried more efficiently and effectively, and farmers can produce higher-quality beans. “By having the improved drying process, resulting in better-quality coffee, farmers are able to improve their income with higher prices,” Howell says.  

    “We’ve done 223 of these. We’re increasing the farm infrastructure, and each year we’re adding more improvements,” Howell says. “I’ve been in the coffee industry around 25 years, and this is one of the better programs that I’ve seen.”

    Since coffee is a critical agricultural product in Colombia, improvements in the farming process — particularly to the coffee drying process — improve not only farm profitability but also help entire communities.

  • How Science Is Protecting the Future of Coffee

    by Amy Cimo | Jul 23, 2018

    A considerable amount of dedication and hard work goes on behind the scenes long before coffee ever reaches the shelves of your local supermarket or favorite neighborhood shop. Coffee is an international crop that requires mostly small farmers around the world to navigate a huge range of ever-growing challenges — including changing climate patterns.

    To help overcome those challenges and ensure that farmers thrive and consumers continue to have access to the coffee they love, the global coffee industry joined forces in 2012 to form World Coffee Research, a nonprofit organization working to ensure the future of coffee.

    World Coffee Research operates in 27 countries to further its mission to grow, protect and enhance supplies of quality coffee while improving the livelihoods of the families who produce it. Community Coffee Company has been a strong supporter of the organization since its inception. Matt Saurage, Community Coffee chairman, is a founding board member of the group.

    Here is a look at some of the initiatives the global organization is undertaking to improve coffee yields, coffee quality, climate resilience and the livelihoods of farmers who make the coffee we love possible.

    Climate Change Initiatives

    Research shows that a changing climate poses the greatest threat to the future of coffee. Changing weather patterns, increased temperatures and higher rates of disease and insects could create a potentially disastrous decline in the supply of coffee in the coming decades. Today, nearly half of current coffee production comes from countries predicted to lose more than 60 percent of their suitable coffee areas by 2050.

    WCR is leading the charge in research to help farmers prepare for these climate challenges by investing in advances in agricultural science, such as breeding programs and the establishment of research centers in coffee-producing regions around the world.

    International Research Centers

    In its first five years, WCR has built an unprecedented international network of research trials to dramatically increase the amount of valuable data collected on coffee varieties and farming techniques. The organization’s network is testing variety performance and agricultural approaches for climate resilience and tracking the movement of coffee disease and pests that can damage crops, while also building new research capacity with its partners in coffee-producing countries.

    WCR has field trials in place in 21 countries, many of which have have already paid off. Last year, for example, a trial yielded the discovery that several hybrid varieties are tolerant to frost. The varieties were created in Central America, which typically does not experience frost, so this tolerance was previously unknown. The finding could open up new opportunities for production in certain climates.

    Better Plants for Farmers

    In its first five years, WCR has developed 60 new coffee varieties, two global breeding hubs, as well as an international network of research trials to test the performance of these new varieties.

    But breeding is only part of the organization’s mission. The most resilient and high-performing varieties in the world are useless if they are not available to the farmers who need them — and currently most of the world’s farmers do not have access to improved varieties.

    WCR is spearheading programs aimed at expanding information about and access to high-quality varieties around the world, through partnerships with both the public and private sectors.

    Among the initiatives is a catalog of major coffee varieties that connects to a database of certified nurseries that can provide healthy, genetically pure plants for each variety. The organization is also creating an international seed exchange of some of the top-performing varieties in the world to allow farmers in different countries to test new varieties.

    It’s all part of the coffee industry’s growing effort to ensure the future of coffee in the face of a changing climate and other emerging challenges.

  • 5 Things to Do for National Anti-Boredom Month

    by Amy Cimo | Jul 16, 2018

    July is National Anti-Boredom Month. How did the seventh month of the year earn this dubious honor? In 1984, writer and PR professional Alan Caruba founded the Boring Institute as a joke while watching that year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. He put out a press release describing the parade as boring, and even claimed the parade broadcast was merely a videotape replayed every year. Caruba, who passed away in 2015, created a variety of “boring” lists, including Most Boring Celebrities, and Most Boring Films.

    But how did July make his list? June marks the beginning of summer break for many kids, so it has an excitement about it. By August, everyone’s gearing up for a new school year. But July is smack dab in the middle of the long, hot season. And after the Fourth of July, there’s not much on the horizon.

    But Caruba went from joking about boredom to advocating ways to overcome it. That’s why July is National Anti-Boredom Month. We agree that focusing on creating fun is a much better use of time and energy than complaining that there’s nothing to do. So, here are five fun things to try this month.

    Be a Tourist in Your Own Town

    There’s something unique about every city or town in the country. Check out some of your local museums, historical buildings and state parks. Go sightseeing on a Segway or bicycle tour. Or, hit up some of your city’s food-tasting events: This is a great — and inexpensive — way to experience all the great food your city offers, and you may find a new favorite restaurant or a recipe to try at home.

    Study a Foreign Language

    The U.S. is home to more than 350 languages. Did you know that many people learn English by watching American TV shows? Try watching foreign-language shows, then pausing the program to repeat what was said. See if you can keep up with the plot without using translation subtitles.

    Develop a New Skill

    Whether you live in a house or an apartment, you can learn how to plant flowers or vegetables. Look for community gardens in your area. Instead of spending money on artwork, sketch or paint your own. Take a self-defense class. Learn to play chess. You’ll never be bored when you’re learning something new.

    Volunteer Your Time

    One way to avoid boredom is to focus your attention on someone else. Volunteer to cut your neighbor’s lawn or run errands for an elderly neighbor. Read at a nursing home, or gather supplies for a local homeless shelter. Put your special skills to work and teach others how to paint, garden, play a sport or cook.

    Celebrate With Tea or Coffee

    You can also whip up a batch of delicious Community® Porch Breeze™ tea to share with your neighbors. Invite everyone over to sit on your porch and refresh after gardening or yard work.

    Or, experiment by making your own latte: Brew two cups of coffee and pour 2/3 of a cup of milk into a jar with a lid. Shake the jar for about a minute, then remove the lid and microwave the jar for 30 seconds. Finally, pour your coffee into a mug, then spoon the frothed milk over it.

  • Serving Our Military

    by Amy Cimo | Jul 09, 2018

    Community Coffee Company has been committed to honoring the men and women who serve our nation through our Military Match program and partnership with the USO of North Carolina. These two programs help us give back to those who sacrifice so much for our country.

    24130360_10155955299179764_8389249549086809539_oOver the past 14 years, Community Coffee has passionately supported the military through its Military Match program. The program, founded in 2004, puts an inventive twist on care packages. When a customer orders four bags or boxes of Community® coffee from our Military Match program, we automatically double the order to any overseas or stateside military base address.

    Recently, a platoon leader deployed in the Middle East reached out to us to express his appreciation after receiving one of the many coffee packages that are sent out to our troops. Homesickness affects even the strongest military members, so the local Louisiana flavors remind the troops that it won’t be long until they’ll be back spending time with their family and friends.

    Although military members may be challenged physically and mentally during their24131163_10159650855290608_319121628856785395_n service times, one of the most taxing aspects of deployment is being away from home. During times of deployment it can be difficult for troops to feel connected to their community, but the USO of North Carolina combats these challenges every day by connecting America’s service members to family, home, and country throughout their service to the nation.

    For the past three years, the USO of North Carolina and Community Coffee have partnered to help fund critical programs and services and to provide coffee for each of the USO of NC’s 10 locations. This past February the USO of North Carolina expanded their support for service members by opening up its 11th location.

    Each service location helps and guides military men and women from the time they enter the military through their transition to civilian life. The newest Raleigh Military Entrance Processing Station will now allow the USO of NC to provide an even wider range of support to service members. The new location shows our nation’s service members and their families that there are programs available to support them as they enlist in the military and are first inducted into America’s Armed Forces, a time that many of them first begin to feel what it is to be away from home.

    15626346_10157969817670608_552875231071732490_oEach of the now 11 USO of North Carolina locations are fully stocked with Community® coffee, to remind each visiting service member or military family member that a grateful nation is
    supporting them.

    To learn more about how Community Coffee gives back to the communities it serves, check out its Annual Giving Report online.

  • Celebrate the 4th of July With These Yummy Recipes

    by Amy Cimo | Jul 02, 2018

    We, as Americans, have always loved our tea. Granted, our ancestors dumped 342 chests full of British tea into the Boston Harbor -- but they had a good reason for doing that, and they were smart enough to have a backup plan to smuggle in tea from the Dutch, because, we really do love our tea! 

    Thankfully, we’re now having tea parties under more peaceful circumstances. And what better way to celebrate the yearly anniversary of America’s independence (and its stand against taxing tea) than by sipping a nice, cold glass of Community® Porch Breeze™ tea? It’s the perfect complement to any Fourth of July meal, and a great way to honor those brave men and women who fought against tea tyranny.

    And if you’re searching for some new Independence Day recipes, here are a few ideas.

    Coffee Rubbed Pork Ribeye with Java Q Sauce

    This recipe is by Stuart Reb Donald, executive chef at Bella Sera Gardens in Loxley, Alabama, and co-host of "Sip and Chew with Mike and Stu" on 106.5 FM in Mobile. “This recipe is perfect for the grill or the stove,” Donald says. “The pork ribeye [a boneless rib chop] is a decadent but inexpensive cut that you should be able to get at your local butcher.” 


    • 4 pork ribeye chops (1 1/2 inches thick) 

    For the rub:

    • 1 cup Community­® Signature Blend Dark Roast coffee or espresso
    • 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
    • 1/3 cup brown sugar
    • 1 Tbsp. kosher salt
    • 1 tsp. pepper
    • 1 tsp. garlic powder

    For the Java Q Sauce:

    • 2 cups strong coffee
    • 1 cup ketchup
    • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
    • 1/3 cup molasses
    • 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
    • 1 Tbsp. onion powder
    • 1 Tbsp. cumin
    • 1 Tbsp. black pepper
    • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
    • Salt to taste 


    Whisk together all ingredients for the rub.

    For the sauce, combine all ingredients in a pot and simmer for 20 minutes or until desired thickness is achieved.

    Completely coat each ribeye in rub and cook on a medium-high grill or in an oiled pan, 6-8 minutes per side. Target internal temperature is 150-155 degrees for medium. Serve the sauce on the side or drizzle it on the ribs.

    Brisket Sliders with Carrot Cilantro Slaw

    If you’d rather celebrate the Fourth with sandwiches, check out this recipe from Aurora Satler, New York City-based author of “The Ultimate New Mom’s Cookbook.”

    “These sliders make for an insanely tasty meal,” Satler says. “The carrot slaw adds great fiber and is a fun switch from traditional coleslaw as a topping.” 


    • 2 lbs. cooked brisket
    • 4 potato rolls/brioche buns for serving
    • Carrot cilantro slaw (recipe below)

    For the slaw:

    • 1/2 teaspoon honey
    • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
    • 1/4 tsp. cumin
    • 1 clove fresh garlic, minced
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 2 cups grated carrot
    • 1 cup cilantro leaves
    • 1/3 cup sliced scallions (about 2 scallions)


    In a medium stock pot, rewarm the brisket on medium-low until it’s warmed through.

    In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, olive oil, cumin, garlic and salt as a dressing for the slaw. In a medium bowl, mix grated carrot, cilantro and scallions, then add the dressing to taste.

    Divide the reheated brisket on the four buns. Add the slaw on top, or serve it on the side. Serves four.

    Red, White & Blueberry Cake

    4th of July
    This recipe from Claudia Sidoti, head chef at HelloFresh, is as impressive as it is patriotic. “Whether you’re the host who wants to impress their guests or a guest that wants to wow the host, this beautiful, colorful and fruity-fresh cake is the perfect treat that looks as good as it tastes,” Sidoti says. “Fresh, bright and juicy berries make this dessert truly stand out.”


    • 2 cups blueberries
    • 2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
    • 2 tsp. baking powder
    • Pinch of salt
    • 2/3 cup coconut milk
    • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1 cup unsalted butter
    • 1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
    • 6 large egg whites
    • 2 cups raspberries
    • 24 oz. white frosting (flavor of choice!)
    • Raspberries and blueberries for decorating


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom of a baking pan (13 by 9 inches) and line with greased parchment paper. Dust very lightly with flour.

    Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the coconut milk and vanilla. In another large bowl, beat butter and 1 1/2 cups of the sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Slowly add the flour and milk mixtures, switching back and forth, mixing after each addition.

    Rinse out the bowl used for the milk mixture and add the egg whites. Beat with an electric mixer until foamy, then gradually add in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, continuing to beat until stiff peaks form. Slowly fold the mixture into the batter until thoroughly combined. Spread into the pan and bake for 45 minutes.

    While the cake bakes, mash two cups of raspberries with a cup of the frosting. After the cake has cooled, split it in half lengthwise using a serrated knife. Spread the filling on the bottom half, and then put the top back on, pressing firmly to secure. Completely frost the cake on the top and all sides. Use your berries to make the stars and stripes of the American flag, alternating with extra frosting for the white part.

  • Does That Cup of Coffee Make You a Better Co-Worker?

    by Amy Cimo | Jun 25, 2018

    It’s no secret that many people function better when they’ve had a cup of coffee, making it one of the most popular workplace beverage choices. However, new research reveals that drinking coffee with your colleagues can also improve group performance, by making you more agreeable and responsive.

    “If you look at where coffee’s being consumed, a significant amount happens in group settings,” says Rao Unnava, dean of the management school and a co-author of the study.

    Here’s what the researchers found.

    You’ll Be More Agreeable

    According to the study, drinking caffeinated coffee in small groups before a group discussion makes you more likely to participate and have a positive view of the discussion and of your peers.

    Coffee with Co-workers: Role of Caffeine on Evaluations of the Self and Others in Group Settings” by researchers at the University of California, Davis, was recently published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. It was the first time the scientific journal has included a research study from management school professors.

    In the study, college students were placed into groups that drank 12-ounce cups of coffee before having a discussion on the Occupy Wall Street movement, and groups that were given coffee after the discussion had concluded.

    Those who were in groups that drank coffee beforehand had a more positive view of their discussion. However, the researchers didn’t know whether the caffeine made the difference or the mere fact of being in a group consuming a beverage was responsible for the positivity, so a second experiment was conducted.

    In the follow-up tests — with a totally different group of students — the reading and discussion instructions were the same. However, all students were given a cup of either caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee. The students who consumed caffeinated coffee were more likely to have enjoyed their group discussion, and were more likely to agree to participate in future group discussions compared with those who drank decaf coffee.

    You’ll Be More Alert

    Caffeine can also make you more attentive in group meetings, which is important when you need to process information and provide input. According to the study, the students who drank caffeinated coffee were more alert than their decaf counterparts, and provided better input.

    “We find caffeine to increase alertness, as reported by individuals performing the group task, and this alertness leads to many interesting outcomes,” says Vasu Unnava, an adjunct assistant professor at the school and one of the co-authors. “First, while there is no difference in the total number of comments made in the caffeinated versus decaffeinated groups, the number of topic-relevant thoughts made in the caffeinated group were significantly higher than those made in the decaffeinated group.”

    To the researchers, caffeine seemed to increase the participants’ focus on the task. “Caffeinated students also had a more positive opinion of their own participation, and of the participation of others in the group,” she says. “Finally, they also expressed a higher intention to work with the same group again on another group task, as compared to decaffeinated group participants.”

    Vasu Unnava says earlier research had established a link between caffeine and alertness in individuals, but that how increased alertness affects an individual’s performance in a group task had not been studied before. “Presumably, the increased focus seems to improve one’s assessment of one’s own participation and the assessment of people around them,” she says.

    It’s Not Necessarily the Caffeine

    However, Vasu Unnava says there are some things the study could not prove. “First, the design of the studies does not permit us to conclude whether there is an improvement in the performance of those who consumed caffeine or whether there is a decrement in the performance of those who consumed decaffeinated coffee.” In other words, is the caffeinated group necessarily “better” or is the decaf group worse?

    Also, this was a topic in which everyone generally had the same opinion. However, if the topic is controversial and opinions vary, she doesn’t know whether the caffeinated group would still be as positive. “In addition, does the positive effect generalize to higher quantities of caffeine consumption?” It’s not clear whether drinking a small cup of caffeinated coffee would produce the same results.

  • 6 Refreshing Ways to Celebrate National Iced Tea Month

    by Amy Cimo | Jun 18, 2018

    Both the English and Americans have been enjoying their tea cold at least since the early nineteenth century, but it wasn’t until the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis that iced tea really took off.  It was a particularly hot summer, and sweltering Fair-goers shunned hot drinks in favor of cold drinks, including iced tea. 

    We haven’t stopped drinking it since. The beverage has been further refined and commercialized, with a wide range of varieties to enjoy at home and away. June is National Iced Tea Month, and we decided to come up with a list of fun ways to celebrate its power to quench our summer thirst.

    Rent a Kayak, Bicycle or Motorcycle

    Switch up your ride for a day. Skip the bumper-to-bumper traffic and rent a kayak or canoe to paddle on the lake for a few hours. Want to really work your core? Grab a stand-up paddleboard.

    If you prefer to stay on land, rent a car with a convertible top and let the wind blow through your hair. Or hop on a bicycle or motorcycle and cruise around on two wheels.

    Strike a Pose

    Does your idea of a good time involve a little more … air conditioning? Then duck into a photo booth and make your silliest faces. Throwing a party? You can rent a photo booth of your own, including props that you and your family and friends can use to create even sillier photos.

    Camp Out in Your Backyard

    Who says you have to leave the neighborhood to have an adventure? Why not pitch a tent in your own backyard and stay out there overnight? You won’t have to worry about (very) wild animals, and the beauty of camping just feet from your back door is that you can always order pizza if the grill doesn’t quite work out. Spend the night gazing up at the stars or telling scary stories during your night “out.”

    Pull Into a Drive-in Movie

    Did you know there are only 336 operational drive-in movie theaters left in the United States? Don’t miss your chance to enjoy the unique experience of watching a movie from the privacy of your own car — or you can choose to sit outside on lawn blankets or a fold-up chair.

    Take a Local Road Trip

    You know those roads you pass every day and say “I wonder where that leads?” Why not find out? Take your own scenic route and you may discover a new shortcut, or find a neat shop that you never knew existed. And you don’t even necessarily have to leave the state.

    Pick Your Own Lunch

    Lots of family farms in the U.S. will let you stop by and pick your own fruits and vegetables and teach you how to can or freeze them. You can’t get any fresher than that. Depending on the time of year, you could come home with some blueberries, strawberries, apples, lemons, oranges, peaches, pecans, corn, peppers, cucumbers or tomatoes.

    Enjoy a Glass of Porch Breeze Tea

    Is your idea of a good time a bit more laid back? Then perhaps the best way to celebrate Iced Tea Month is by kicking back on your porch with a tall, cold glass of Community® Porch Breeze® tea.

  • 12 Father’s Day Gifts for Every Type of Dad

    by Amy Cimo | Jun 11, 2018

    With Father’s Day rapidly approaching, now is the time to consider how you can show your appreciation for the dad in your life who has given so much to your family.

    No two dads are alike, so we’ve curated this eclectic gift guide to cover all your bases. From handy tech gadgets to clever kitchen tools to top-notch coffee and accessories, this list has something to help show any father what he means to you this June 17.

    For the Coffee Enthusiast — Community® Special Blends Sampler 


    Give the gift of refined Southern taste with this assortment of delicious Community® specialty coffees that are sure to please even the most discerning coffee-drinking dad. Our exclusive Private Reserve® coffees make up a collection of specialty-grade blends and single-origin coffees representing generations of coffee expertise. Each unique coffee signifies a story in our company's rich heritage or the special relationships we’ve developed with coffee growers across the globe.

    This package contains one 12-oz. bag each of our Evangeline Blend™, Louisiana Blend®, Founder's Blend and Espresso Blend.

    GET IT

    For the Grill Enthusiast - Father's Day Coffee BBQ Gift Set

    Fathers Day Gift Set
    Grill and chill with Dad this Father's Day! Give this limited-time offering Coffee BBQ Gift Set. The coffee-infused BBQ rub will enhance any dish, and Dad will love the Community® branded grill tool set. Plus, everything comes packed in a re-usable burlap sack. Limited quantities are available, so get yours now!

    GET IT

    For the New Dad — Stroller Cell Phone Holder 

    stroller cell phone holder

    The Duet Stroller Speaker securely holds a phone and will allow dad to play music, make phone calls or easily see texts on the go while strolling with baby. It easily attaches to any stroller and connects to all Bluetooth-enabled devices.

    GET IT

    For the Active Dad — Running-Shoe Lights 

    running shoes

    These clever shoe lights help keep runners safe and visible during nighttime workouts. Whether your father is trail running at night or jogging in an urban environment, he’ll be able to clearly see the path in front of him up to 30 feet. Back-facing red tail lights alert motorists to his

    GET IT

    For the Office Dad — Community® 16 oz. President's Tumbler Mug 

    community-coffee-presidents-travel-mugThis stainless steel travel tumbler is a classy addition to any boardroom-warrior’s office space. Made of stainless steel inside and out, vacuum insulated and double-walled for optimum heat retention, this mug keeps hot liquids hot for up to six hours and cold liquids cold for up to 12 hours. The drink lid allows one-handed operation, while the colored thumb tab shows when the lid is open or closed.

    GET IT

    For the Bookworm — Coffee Book 

    coffee book

    “The World Atlas of Coffee” by James Hoffmann is a comprehensive guide to great coffee and a perfect gift for the dad who is always learning about the world. First, all of the major home-brewing methods are outlined, with detailed guides and step-by-step photos. Next, the Atlas covers the history, key growing regions and taste profiles of the countries producing the best coffees in the world.

    GET IT

    For the Tailgater — Igloo Trailmate Cooler

    igloo cooler

    Tailgating in the South is serious business that requires equally serious equipment. For those long walks to the stadium or festival grounds (or just a stroll to the beach), we recommend this wheeled, all-terrain cooler from Igloo. The Trailmate Journey has a 70-quart capacity and can keep 112 12-oz. beverage cans cold with its insulated body and lid. It’s the perfect tool to help dad take his tailgate game to the next level.

    GET IT

    For the Home Chef — Burger and Slider Press

    burger press

    Help dad be a grillmaster with this burger and slider press. Whether you use beef, turkey, chicken or salmon, this handy press lets you make burgers and sliders at home. The uniform size means your burgers will be evenly cooked.

    GET IT

    For the Cold-Brew Fan — Cold-Brew Gourmet Coffee Toddy Maker 

    Cold-Brew-Gourmet-Coffee-Toddy-MakerBrewing coffee with cold water keeps the heavy oils and acid released by heat inside the grounds and preserves its rich flavor. Cold-brew your own gourmet coffee concentrate at home with this easy-to-use Toddy® Coffee Maker. Store the coffee concentrate in your refrigerator and you can quickly prepare a cup of hot, fresh coffee by adding boiling water. Or, pour the cold coffee concentrate over ice for smooth, rich iced coffee. This dishwasher-safe brewer includes two filters.

    GET IT

    For the Absent-Minded Dad — Tile Sport 


    If your father is the type who is always searching for his keys at the most inopportune time, the Tile app could be a great gift option. This clever little Bluetooth gadget attaches to important items like keys or wallets and helps you find them with your phone when they are lost — or, it can help you track down your misplaced phone. If the Tile is within the 100-foot Bluetooth range, it will play a loud tune until you find it. 

    GET IT

    For the Handyman — 4-in-1 Tool/Tape Holder 

    tool holderThis leather tool holder from Occidental is an excellent addition to any weekend warrior’s toolbox. It includes holders for tape, lumber crayon or a screwdriver and pencil. It also includes a shield for sharp tools such as a chisel or work knife. Its extra-heavy-duty steel clip accommodates up to a 2-inch belt. It’s a thoughtful gift — and a gentle reminder for dad to finish that project he’s been putting off.

    GET IT

  • Elevate Your Cold-Brew Coffee with These 3 Tricks

    by Amy Cimo | Jun 04, 2018

    Cold-brew coffee is hotter than ever. This bold concentrate is made by soaking coarse-ground coffee in room-temperature or cooler water for 12 or more hours, which results in a smooth-tasting beverage that solves the problem of watered-down iced coffee and provides a smooth satisfying taste. Those qualities have made it one of the fastest-growing coffee beverages in recent years.

    Cold brew offers a different flavor profile than traditional coffee. Hot-water brewing can extract the more bitter and acidic flavors of coffee, but cold brew can bring out fruity, floral or chocolate flavors. With cold brew the coffee grounds steep in water for hours, resulting in a highly concentrated beverage.

    It’s surprisingly easy to make cold-brew coffee at home. While there are a number of popular tools and methods to make cold brew, Renae Clark, who runs the Cold Brew Queen website and has written a book on her favorite beverage, takes a low-tech route.

    “My favorite is the simplest: a Mason jar and water,” Clark says. “I let freshly ground (coarse setting) coffee steep in water in the fridge for 12-24 hours. Then I strain it through a paper coffee filter in a cone. As a rule of thumb, the finer the grind, the less time you should steep your coffee for.”

    For an even faster route to a pitcher of tasty cold brew, try our ultra-convenient cold brew pouches. Made with 100% select Arabica beans and roasted to perfection, these are expertly blended and ground to help you create a flawless cold brew beverage at home without any mess or filtering. Brew a pitcher and enjoy it all week.

    However it’s made, Clark loves cold brew for its versatility. “Almost anything that you can do with hot coffee, you can do with cold brew,” she says. “And you can enhance the flavors in so many ways — the obvious are flavored creamers and syrups, but you can steep spices, chicory, toasted coconut or cocoa nibs right in with the beans. One final idea is to store your coffee beans with spices in a jar. You can try 1-2 split vanilla beans, a couple of sticks of cinnamon or 8-10 cardamom pods. The coffee beans will absorb the aromas of the spices and subtly flavor your cold brew.”

    But if you don’t want to stop there with your experimentation, here are a few simple recipes to kick up your cold brew.

    Make It Fizzy

    Cold-brew coffee and sparkling water is a match made in summer heaven. This one may require a little experimentation to nail down the proper water-to-coffee ratio, depending on the strength of your cold brew and your preference. But the testing is worth it — and tasty.

    We’re fond of this recipe that combines cold-brewed coffee, tonic water and cherries for a refreshing beverage perfect for a Louisiana summer afternoon. This excellent version uses a 50-50 ratio of sparkling water and cold-brew coffee, sweetened by honey.

    Add Some Chicory

    Chicory and hot coffee is a longtime Louisiana tradition, and one that works great with cold brew as well. Clark’s recipe calls for the chicory to be infused with the coffee during brewing. “Adding chicory adds an earthy flavor,” Clark says. “It’s best to start with a little and work your way up until you find the right balance of flavor for you.”

    • 1 to 2 tsp. ground chicory
    • 1/2 cup coffee, coarsely ground
    • 2 cups water

    Place all ingredients in your immersion container for 12-24 hours. Strain out the coffee and chicory. Dilute to taste.

    Try a Splash of Coconut

    Whether it’s added during the brewing process and allowed to steep with the coffee, or mixed into the final product with a sweetener, coconut goes very well with the rich, bold flavor of cold brew.

    One of our favorite cold-brew additions is a toasted coconut syrup, a simple concoction typically made with only three ingredients: water, coconut and sugar. The hint of coconut will transform your cold brew into a satisfying sweet treat.

    A more subtle coconut infusion combines the mild sweetness of dates with coconut milk, blended together to create a nondairy creamer. This tasty syrup, which keeps for up to a week in the fridge, offers a dairy-free way to turn down the boldness of cold brew. See the full recipe here.

    For yet another method, Clark suggests toasting a half cup of coconut flakes over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until they turn golden, then adding them to your brewing vessel for the 12- to 24-hour period. Strain out the coffee and coconut and dilute with water to taste.

  • How the Kindness of Strangers Helped a Baton Rouge Woman Assist Her Family After Hurricane Katrina

    by Amy Cimo | May 29, 2018

    Gillian Addison was living in Boston and working on her Ph.D when Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, including a hard-hit section of the New Orleans suburb of Metairie where her parents and several other family members were living.

    Gillian, who now lives in Baton Rouge with her husband, watched helplessly from afar as strong winds and floodwaters inundated the area where she once lived, and the place her parents and two siblings and their families still called home. The most she could do was to serve as a communications hub as family members evacuated and set out in different directions — her mother to Atlanta and her father to Baton Rouge a day later.

    “Nobody in my family could reach each other, but they could all reach me,” she says. “I was sort of like Grand Central to help my parents communicate with each other.”

    As her family’s evacuations turned into unexpectedly extended stays away from home, Gillian realized she needed to head south to deliver much-needed supplies — a tall order as a graduate student on a tight budget. That’s when her community stepped in, including families of students she tutored, who chipped in by donating supplies for her family. “A community of people who don’t know each other got me down here to help my family and got me back,” she says. “Basically I came up with everything my family needed — from food to clothing to computers to medicine.”

    Gathering the supplies was only half the challenge. She toted four military-sized duffle bags full of supplies, weighing about 100 pounds each, to the airport. “I had way more luggage than you’re supposed to have, but they were of course making accomodations,” she says.

    When she arrived in Atlanta, it was clear that transporting the bags from the airport would be a real challenge. But once again the kindness of others helped her through the difficult situation.

    An Australian man named Zephyr, a former lawyer turned self-help author who was traveling while on sabbatical, helped her transport the massive bags and waited with her until her family arrived to pick her up two hours later.  “In the two hours we were hanging out together, we created this really cool bond that was amazing,” she says. “My family was pretty freaked out that I was trusting this guy to help me with stuff. But I am a good judge of people.”

    The encounter was the beginning of a professional connection as well, with Gillian’s story being featured as a chapter in Zephyr’s next book. She also assisted in the editing of the manuscript before it was published. She says that although she’s a natural extrovert, the airport experience has helped her be even more open to encounters and connections while traveling.

    “It affected me in the way that I am willing to be open to meeting new people in strange places where people are typically isolated and sheltered and keep to themselves,” she says. “I don’t think I’ve always been that way, but the one time I did say I trust you with all of this stuff I’m bringing to my family it worked out great.”


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