• Plan for Health On-the-Go: Layered ‘n’ Pressed Picnic Sandwich Recipe

    by Amy Cimo | May 11, 2017

    Spring and summer are all about moving and enjoying the great outdoors! So as we celebrate and honor the men and women of our armed forces during National Military Appreciation Month this May, here are tips to help you feel your best while being active.

    Get a game plan

    What you put into your body – food fuel – makes a difference. It affects how you feel and function during the day. And while “clean eating” and “detox diets” are trendy, think healthy-ish and begin by trying to simply add more fruit, vegetables and whole grains to your diet. Here’s how to start:

    • Menu Making – first write down favorite recipes and foods you and your family love, considering when to insert more whole grains; sprinkle in a few new recipe ideas that aren’t overwhelmingly complicated – search online for “no cook meals recipes” and think about portable meals for eating outside, such as salad in a jar (all the rage) and layered, pressed picnic sandwiches … there just happens to be a recipe below!
    • Shop Ahead – the key to eating healthy-ish meals and snacks is taking the time to shop from a thoughtful list; start with your menus and add fresh fruit and whole grain snacks, lower-fat dairy favorites and in-season produce; keep frozen and canned fruits and vegetables on hand for when you don’t have time to shop or for when produce is not in season.

    Dining “Out”side

    If you plan meals and shop ahead, it’s easy to pack food for a road trip or simple picnic. Think about a bike ride or hike to where you’re dining; food seems to taste better when you’ve been active and truly have worked up an appetite. Consider keeping a cooler in your car all of the time, making it simple to keep food and beverages cold. Also, remember to keep properly hydrated, especially in warmer weather. Check out this article on Good Ol’ Summertime Hydration.

    A favorite grab-and-go meal for my family – and for serving guests – is this Layered ‘n’ Pressed Picnic Sandwich. I purchase all of the ingredients at either Costco or the grocery store, making my own olive tapenade, hummus and pesto (when I have fresh basil growing). Feel free to purchase these spreads – made with healthy olives, olive oil – for ease, however. And though I love to bake bread, I often purchase the part-whole-grain, chewy Italian loaf that sandwiches together the fabulous array of vegetables, cheese and meat. Plan to make this either in the morning for dinner or the day before serving so all of the flavors have time to meld together. Pack a fresh fruit salad or watermelon and a thermos of cold-brew coffee to go with it. Finally, if you’re thinking of substituting a sub sandwich that can be picked up on many major street corners around the country, don’t. This is a treat worth making!     

    Layered ‘n’ Pressed Picnic Sandwich

    1 large loaf (2 lb) multigrain Italian, ciabatta or other favorite sturdy, chewy bread

    ½ cup olive tapenade, made ahead or purchased

    3 whole roasted red bell peppers, seeded and quartered

    1 cup (4 oz) shredded smoked Gouda or crumbled goat or Boursin cheese

    1 cup marinated, sliced artichoke hearts

    2 ounces prosciutto or hard salami, thinly sliced

    6 ounces roasted turkey, chicken or favorite deli meat, thinly sliced

    1/3 cup red pepper or traditional hummus, made ahead or purchased

    1 1/2 packed cups baby kale or spinach

    ¼ cup pesto, made ahead or purchased

    Horizontally slice bread in half, creating a large top and bottom. Evenly spread tapenade on bread bottom; evenly top with red peppers, cheese, artichoke hearts, prosciutto, turkey, hummus and kale. Evenly spread pesto on bread top; place on top of kale.

    Tightly, completely wrap sandwich with layers of plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator; top with a baking sheet and then a heavy skillet, pot or canned goods. Let chill about 4 hours or overnight. Unwrap to slice and serve.

    Makes 1 large sandwich (about 8 servings)


    • Think of the layers and ingredient amounts listed in this recipe as a template. Liberally change them to suit your preferences.
    • Definitely use hearty, chewy bread to absorb the filling juices without falling apart. The loaf shape – round boules are great – and size do not matter; adjust the filling amount to fit the loaf size.
    • After slicing the bread, you may remove part of the middle crumb to create more space for filling ingredients. (I prefer to leave most of the bread intact, however.)
    • Roast your own or purchase roasted red bell peppers. 
    • For a vegetarian sandwich, replace chicken and prosciutto with grilled or roasted planks of zucchini, eggplant, yellow squash or other favorite vegetable.
    • This sandwich feeds a crowd. Or leftovers keep for several days; simply re-wrap and refrigerate … the flavors will continue to marry and the hearty bread will beautifully hold it all together.


    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.

  • When Disaster Strikes, Community Coffee Reaches Out With a Familiar Comfort

    by Amy Cimo | May 04, 2017

    Community Coffee Company has maintained a longstanding partnership with the American Red Cross, particularly when disaster strikes, by providing free cups of coffee to community members in need as well as the volunteers and professionals who lend them a helping hand.

    That support for the American Red Cross and other emergency response organizations across the southeast United States spans well over a decade. The company donated 1.6 million cups of coffee after Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Gustav, and after tornadoes struck Moore, Oklahoma, in 2013.

    The past year has been a tumultuous one in Louisiana, which saw four major natural disasters over a 12-month period continuing into 2017 — from historic flooding across the state to devastating tornadoes in New Orleans East and surrounding areas. During flooding in Southeast Louisiana, Community Coffee provided more than 300,000 free cups of coffee to evacuees and first-responders.

    “Our clients are huge consumers of coffee, and Community Coffee has been an amazing partner,” says Joshua Joachim, regional chief executive for the American Red Cross of Louisiana.

    A Small Touch of Normalcy

    To assist evacuees and other clients of the Red Cross of Louisiana, Community Coffee donates coffee to be served in Red Cross of Louisiana disaster shelters and via the organization's emergency-response vehicles, which distribute food and supplies in disaster areas. Coffee is always a high-demand item in shelters, Joachim says, and having a familiar local brand is a welcome sight for people who are coping with a disaster.

    “Clients come into our shelters when they are opened here in Louisiana, and they expect coffee,” he says. “The Community® brand is a local coffee that really comforts them. They know what it is. After you’ve been impacted by a disaster and you’ve lost everything, you sometimes look for some normalcy. That local brand being in our shelters is something that brings normalcy to someone who’s been affected by a disaster.”

    Fuel for Volunteers

    8-3-17_Salvation-Army_900x448Volunteers are an integral part of the Red Cross’ disaster-response efforts, as well as its day-to-day operations, with more than a million Americans volunteering their time and skills with the organization to serve their communities and provide essential services to those in need. Red Cross volunteers from all 50 states deployed to Louisiana to assist in recovery efforts during the flooding that impacted the Greater Baton Rouge region.

    Like evacuees and others served by the Red Cross, volunteers are often coffee lovers, Joachim says, and Community Coffee has stepped up to supply those who generously provide their time to help others. Community also furnishes Red Cross offices in Louisiana with coffee free of charge.

    “At the Red Cross, a cup of coffee is more than just a beverage,” Joachim says. “It’s an opportunity for our volunteers to take a break and sit back before going out and helping others in the response and recovery process. It’s a huge part of our volunteer culture at the American Red Cross.”

  • How to Make the Most of Louisiana’s Jam-Packed Spring Festival Season

    by Amy Cimo | Apr 27, 2017

    After Mardi Gras season is past and springtime is in bloom, the party’s just getting started in south Louisiana, with dozens of festivals that celebrate the music, food and culture of the region running throughout April and May.

    From the legendary New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival to the rapidly growing Baton Rouge Blues Festival to the eclectic and infectious musical energy of Lafayette’s Festival International in the heart of Cajun country, there’s something for everyone looking to experience a slice of Louisiana culture.

    Or, if all-day music festivals aren’t your cup of tea, head over to southwest Louisiana for the long-running Contraband Days Louisiana Pirate Festival. See Jean Lafitte force the mayor to walk the plank into Lake Charles or catch a parade of cannon-firing pirates at this family-friendly May festival.

    If you’re not sure where to begin when choosing a spring festival or two, New Orleans is always a good start. There are more than two dozen festivals between March and June in the Big Easy alone.

    “Spring in New Orleans is the peak of festival season,” says Kristian Sonnier, vice president of communications at the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau. “It’s a time when locals and visitors join together to celebrate the city’s spirit of hospitality through unique cuisine and live music at fun, outdoor venues that each showcase different elements of New Orleans’ culture.”

    Whatever festival route you take, a little preparation can transform your trip into an experience of a lifetime. Read on for tips on how to make the most of your Louisiana festival experience.

    Start with a Good Breakfast

    All-day festivals can be physically taxing, so make sure you’re equipped to meet that challenge by starting your day with a quality breakfast. Consider kicking things off with a great cup of Community Coffee to get you in the spirit of the day.

    Get Organized

    The sheer amount of music acts and other attractions at festivals can be overwhelming, so you have to plan ahead to make sure you don’t miss out on your favorites. Luckily, technology makes it easier than ever to organize your experience.

    The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, a.k.a. Jazz Fest, offers a mobile app with the complete music lineup and a list of food options, as well as the ability to create your own custom lineup. Lafayette’s Festival International de Louisiane, an international celebration of world music from primarily French-influenced cultures, also has an app with multiple features.

    “If you go and favorite what bands you want to see it actually puts a calendar event in your phone so you get your 15-minute reminder so you don’t miss any of the bands you want to see,” says April Courville, marketing director for Festival International.

    Be Ready to Eat

    Festivals are a magnet for food trucks and other vendors making some unique dishes every bit as memorable as the musicians on stage. Explore the Cuban food booth at Jazz Fest featuring tostones con mojo (fried green plantains with garlic sauce), sample a complete range of Creole and Cajun delicacies, or fill up on classic (and innovative) fried fair foods.

    Festival International features a Louisiana Craft Beer Garden, a growing list of international food vendors and more Louisiana dishes than any one person could tackle in a single festival. “You can trip or fall and land on someone serving Cajun food,” Courville says.

    Prepare for the Weather

    During an all-day outdoor event, even moderate heat can present a challenge to festival-goers. When the late-spring Louisiana is unleashed in May and June, it can be downright dangerous without a few precautions.

    Be sure to apply sunblock regularly and wear appropriate clothes that offer protection from the sun (large hats are popular at Jazz Fest, where shade can be in short supply). It’s also a good practice to drink plenty of water and pace yourself if you’re enjoying an adult beverage or two.

    But remember that spring in Louisiana can be unpredictable. A cool snap or rain showers are both real possibilities, especially in April, so consider carrying a poncho or umbrella, as well as shoes that work well in the mud.

    Look Outside the Festival Gates

    The spectacle of these festivals often extends beyond the boundaries of the events themselves. Be on the lookout for connected functions outside the festival gates, often at night. Check the city’s entertainment calendar or the festival’s web page for special happenings or unofficial shows prompted by the main event.

    For example, during Jazz Fest the city’s music venues are well-known for hosting amazing small nighttime shows of major artists booked for the festival. In Baton Rouge, Blues Fest holds a special kickoff event the night before the official weekend begins, with a performance by a festival artist that is more intimate than the full-scale event allows.

    “That’s what I love as a person who enjoys going to festivals,” says Chris Brooks, a Baton Rouge Blues Fest board member and director of business development at Launch Media. “Sure, the festival is great, but so are the things going on around it.”

  • Earth Day Project: Coffee Recycling

    by Amy Cimo | Apr 20, 2017

    Earth Day is April 22. Each year, this day reminds us to consider the environment and think about how we can help build a healthy, sustainable Earth for future generations. Since recycling is an easy way to do your part, we wanted to give you some fun ideas for putting your leftover coffee (as if that would ever happen) and used coffee grounds to good use!

    Feed Your Garden - According to the Coffee Research Institute, coffee grounds are a good source of many minerals. This makes a rich, natural fertilizer for most plants and crops. Sprinkling coffee grounds in your garden can also help keep away animals and insects that could harm the plants, such as ants and caterpillars.

    Dish Up Something New – There are many ways to incorporate brewed coffee into cooking. It’s great for adding a rich flavor in desserts. Instead of water or milk, try using coffee to thin out your oatmeal. Coffee grounds also add a new level of bold flavor to meats when added to a dry rub.

    Make coffee ice cubes! Freeze leftover coffee in an ice tray, then pop them out for a cool treat. You could also add the cubes to milk for an iced café au lait, or try blending them into a smoothie.

    Household Uses - Used coffee grounds have a wonderful deodorizing quality. Put dried coffee grounds in an open container and store them in the refrigerator or freezer to absorb any food odors. This also works in the bathroom or other areas of the home to get rid of unpleasant smells.

    Keep some handy around your kitchen and rub them on your hands to help eliminate food prep smells. Also, tie the grounds up in a small mesh cloth or filter and put them in your shoes to keep them smelling fresher.

    Be An Artist – Let your creativity shine! After sipping on your favorite blend, soak the grounds in water to create a brown dye. Use this for egg dying, painting, or even staining wood. You could also use this or leftover coffee to soak paper, giving it an artsy antique look.

  • Welcome Spring by Shaking Up Your Routine

    by Amy Cimo | Apr 13, 2017

    As the days get longer, it’s a good time to shake off the winter blahs in all aspects of your life, experts say. “The weather is warming up, mornings are getting light and summer vacations are on many of our minds,” says personal trainer Julia Buckley.

    Here’s how to get revved up.

    Clear Out the Clutter

    Open up the windows and doors and get ready to downsize: It’s time for a spring cleaning. Whether you’re tackling your junk drawer, bedroom or garage, three questions can help you decide what to do with every item you’re sorting through as you clean, says Maura Thomas, a speaker, trainer and founder of RegainYourTime.com.

    • Will I need it? “If the thought of not having it makes you upset, then you should probably keep it,” Thomas says.
    • Can I get it? You may have something that you will need at some point in the future, but in the meantime it’s just taking up space. Determine whether it would be cheap and easy to get again, Thomas says — if so, it can probably go.
    • Is it serving me? “If it’s not serving you, it’s clutter,” Thomas says. That may mean different things to different people, but if it’s not serving you, it should go.

    Move Your Exercise Routine Outside

    Warmer days and longer evenings will help lure you outside to exercise, but don’t expect to suddenly bust out a 10K if you’ve been doing half-hour jogging sessions on the treadmill all winter. “Taking exercise outside is much more appealing, but before you head out that door take a bit of time to plan your session,” Buckley says. “If you haven’t exercised much during winter, diving right into a long, intense workout or run could result in you getting injured or at least suffering with soreness so bad you can’t exercise again for days.” 

    Buckley recommends gradually building up to a long outside workout. Give your body a week or two to get used to running on concrete or uneven trails, and focus on getting stronger instead of hitting a personal best for time or distance. Also, don’t forget sunscreen, Buckley says: “Waterproof lotion is best; apply everywhere on your body that isn’t covered by your clothes.”

    Perk Up Your Menu

    Spring is a great time to overhaul your cuisine: Fresh fruits and vegetables are starting to come into season, and warmer days can inspire a switch from comfort foods to cooler, lighter fare. “Spring doesn't happen all of a sudden; it transitions from winter, so dishes can do the same,” says Keith-Thomas Ayoob, a nutritionist and associate clinical professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

    After spending the colder months roasting your vegetables, consider broiling in the spring so your oven isn’t on as much, Ayoob says. “Asparagus, red peppers, eggplant, portobello mushrooms and fennel are spring veggies that, brushed with some olive oil, do excellently broiled,” he says. He recommends preparing large amounts and adding them to salads, cold soups and stirfries.

    For breakfasts, “oatmeal is a great food but if you don't want a hot cereal, just don't cook your rolled oats,” Ayoob says. “Pour milk over them or mix with yogurt and treat as a cold cereal.” And instead of a baked snack or dessert indulgence like a muffin, cake or brownie, Ayoob recommends an ounce of dark chocolate. “Seventy percent or higher is actually good for the heart and loaded with antioxidants, as is coffee,” he says.

    Lighter coffee blends are the perfect complement for the fresher fare spring brings. Adding Community® Amber Sunrise™ Blend coffee to your morning routine or afternoon break will help you enjoy the new season!

  • Begin a New, Old-Fashioned Easter Tradition: Spiced Coffee Hot Cross Buns

    by Amy Cimo | Apr 06, 2017

    Remember “… one-a-penny, two-a-penny, hot cross buns!”? Well, the English nursery rhyme you may have learned as a child features these beautiful, subtly-spiced yeast rolls that are often served on Good Friday or Easter around the world. And though I grew up baking countless loaves of bread and rolls with my Mom from generations-old recipes in our farmhouse kitchen, these were not part of our all-German family repertoire. So, there’s no better time than right now to start a new tradition!

    This version of hot cross buns features traditional currants and typically-used spices, including cinnamon, allspice and cardamom. Add a pinch of nutmeg and ginger if you want, too. And while brewed coffee may not be a traditional recipe ingredient, it adds depth of flavor, enhancing the warm spice notes without imparting a concerted coffee flavor. Honey adds a mellow sweetness and acts as a humectant to help keep the buns moist. The cross is a simple powdered sugar icing with a touch of background coffee flavor.

    If you haven’t baked with yeast before, absolutely no worries. Look for the extra tips in the notes section just for you. And once you’ve tried yeast baking, you’ll be a regular. The aroma alone of yeast-leavened baked goods from the oven will hook you – long before the first bite.       

    Enjoy … and Happy Easter!


    Spiced Coffee Hot Cross Buns


    4 cups bread or all-purpose flour

    ¼ cup granulated sugar

    2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast (1 package)

    1 teaspoon salt

    1 teaspoon baking powder

    1 teaspoon cinnamon

    1/8 teaspoon allspice

    1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom

    ½ cup milk, slightly warm or room temperature

    ¼ cup brewed Community Coffee, slightly warm or room temperature

    ¼ cup honey

    ¼ cup butter, softened

    2 large eggs

    ½ cup currants or raisins

    Egg Wash:

    1 egg white

    1 teaspoon milk


    1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

    1 tablespoon milk

    1 teaspoon brewed Community Coffee, cooled

    In large mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Stir in milk, ¼ cup coffee, honey, butter and eggs. Knead 5-10 minutes with an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook – or by hand – until dough is smooth and elastic. Knead in currants. Scrape dough to one side of bowl, spray with vegetable cooking spray, and repeat on other side of bowl to keep dough from sticking. Cover and let rise about 1 hour or until puffy.

    Evenly divide dough into 12 pieces. Roll dough pieces between hands and round into smooth balls by gently stretching edges under and securing. Place in 9”x13” pan sprayed with vegetable cooking spray. Cover with towel or plastic wrap sprayed with vegetable cooking spray; let buns rise about 1 hour or until touching each other.

    Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°F.

    Egg Wash

    In small bowl, whisk together egg white and milk. Very gently brush over risen buns. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool completely.


    In large mixing bowl, beat together powdered sugar, milk and 1 teaspoon coffee until completely combined. Place in a resealable plastic bag, snip off a small amount of bag corner, and pipe a cross on top of each bun.

    Makes 12 buns


    • Baking with yeast tips:
      1. Kneading is required for yeast breads to develop gluten, the support structure for rising, stretching dough. If you don’t have a mixer with a dough hook to knead, do it by hand: Fold. Push. Turn. Repeat. Knead until dough is smooth, stretchy and not sticky. Sparingly use extra flour for dusting hands and kneading surface to prevent sticking.
      2. For easy clean-up of bowls, dough hook, etc., immediately wipe with a wet paper towel when finished using. This keeps leftover dough from hardening on surfaces. (Thanks, Mom, for teaching me this one!)
      3. If you don’t have time to finish all of the steps in a recipe, cover and chill dough at any point to slow down yeast’s activity. Long and slow (refrigerated) rise time actually produces more flavor!
      4. Shaped bread loaves and rolls may be covered and refrigerated overnight before baking, too. (Cover with plastic wrap sprayed with vegetable cooking spray.) Make sure to let them rise until about double in size before baking. 
    • Bread flour is higher in protein – what gluten is made of – than all-purpose flour. Either one will work fine for these buns.
    • Take the chill off of the liquid ingredients and soften butter with a few seconds in the microwave.
    • Why baking powder? This rich, heavy dough gets a little extra lift in the oven from added baking powder.
    • Dried fruit: raisins or other favorite dried fruit may be substituted for currants.
    • For evenly-sized buns, use a kitchen scale to equally divide dough (just over 3 oz. each).
    • Make, shape, cover and refrigerate buns the night before serving if you want. Just leave enough time to let them cool before frosting.
    • Egg wash: this simple extra step on top of the buns before baking gives them a special gloss after baking; gently apply wash to avoid causing the bun to deflate. Refrigerate the yolk and extra white/milk mixture for making scrambled eggs or omelets.
    • Check out these decadent brownies for another recipe featuring coffee as a flavor-enhancing ingredient!


    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.

  • Coffee Is Culture

    by Amy Cimo | Mar 31, 2017

    History and Adaptation

    Today, coffee is one of the world’s most highly traded commodities. According to the National Coffee Association, coffee is the most consumed beverage aside from water. For most people, coffee gets the day started and then continues to get us through the day. So how did the beverage grow into the cultural phenomenon it is today?

    Legend has it coffee was discovered centuries ago by Ethiopian farmer, Kaldi, who observed his goats eating the coffee cherries and exhibiting strange and exuberant behavior. All of a sudden, they were full of energy! After the stimulating effect was discovered, coffee cherries and their beans began being passed across the globe. The beverage spread, gaining popularity. Different regions around the world began growing and cultivating coffee. In the 1600s, coffee took over as the favored breakfast beverage, replacing wine and beer.

    In the 1700s, coffee and tea were equally favored in the U.S. However, this dynamic changed when the events of the Boston Tea Party made it unpatriotic to drink tea. Tea was boycotted, and coffee became the substitute of choice; an effect that has had a lasting impression to this day.

    As consumption patterns changed over the years, so did consumer expectations. By the 1970s, the term “specialty” coffee was coined, and an interest in knowing and distinguishing coffee-growing regions began to take hold. Coffees with a single-origin profile became popular, such as our Private Reserve® Brazil Santos Bourbon, which features the rare yellow Bourbon variety of Arabica beans which is known for its smooth, mellow flavor. Other coffees blended a variety of regions to create skillfully crafted flavors, like the Private Reserve® Founder’s Blend.

    Modern Day Consumption

    Today, coffee has become an important part of societal norms. The “coffee break” during working hours helps sustain energy throughout the day. At home, it’s a focal point for entertaining. It creates a social ambiance. There’s nothing like reminiscing with friends over a good cup of coffee. A day of entertaining family often winds down with the familiar smell of coffee brewing in the kitchen.

    Coffee drinkers love to socialize over their favorite drinks of choice, which expanded beyond simply brewed coffee, to also include specially-crafted espresso drinks. Coffee houses have been around for more than 500 years, but the explosion of coffee house locations since the 1990s is undeniable. Culture is inherently infused in coffee, and coffee houses help create the coffee culture experience.

    At the local coffee house, we meet friends or have date nights. We have meetings with colleagues or clients. We may even meet and engage in conversation with someone new. It’s a great place to socialize, connect and sometimes, just relax with a cup of coffee.

    Coffee is easily adapted in any cultural context. It brings together communities. That’s why Cap Saurage, founder of Community Coffee Company, named the brand out of appreciation for his community of friends and customers. He wanted to celebrate the community he served. Coffee connects us.

  • Combine Coffee and Oats to Jump-Start Your Day: Mocha Banana Pecan Overnight Oats Recipe

    by Amy Cimo | Mar 16, 2017

    Overnight oats have become a popular breakfast for on-the-go mornings, making the first meal of the day good-for-you and as easy as reaching in the refrigerator before heading out the door. Whether or not you have been part of this craze, consider what coffee and chocolate can add to make any day – or recipe – better …

    And that’s why this version of overnight oats uses brewed coffee and cocoa powder to infuse a definite mocha hit to oatmeal. Simply brew a little extra coffee, with or without caffeine, for this recipe whenever you make a pot, and plan to stir the ingredients together in a portable container anytime in the evening before you head to bed. Using Greek yogurt makes the oatmeal extra thick and creamy, but milk works just fine, too. And you pick the dairy fat level you prefer. If you want to use a sweetened yogurt or non-dairy milk with added sweetener, simply reduce the amount of added honey. Also, nonfat dry milk is included to boost calcium, vitamin D and protein levels (all good things), but it may be omitted if you’d like.

    Banana and pecans add natural sweetness and crunch. I like to top the oatmeal just before eating for maximum nut crunch and unchanged banana color, but feel free to add them along with the other ingredients for convenience. Finally, you can change it up to include your favorite fruit, nuts and other toppings. My good friend definitely would add a splash of heavy cream. And I say, go for it! This is one good-for-you breakfast that will make mornings taste ever-so-much better.

    Mocha Banana Pecan Overnight Oats

    1/2 cup rolled oats

    1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt or milk

    1/4 cup strong brewed Community® coffee

    2 tablespoons instant nonfat dry milk

    2 teaspoons honey

    1 teaspoon cocoa powder

    1/4 teaspoon vanilla

    1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

    1/2 banana, sliced

    1 tablespoon chopped, toasted pecans

    In small jar or bowl with tight-fitting lid, combine oats, yogurt, coffee, dry milk, honey, cocoa powder, vanilla and cinnamon. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

    Top with banana and pecans just before eating.

    Makes 1 serving


    • Plan to brew extra coffee whenever you make a pot to use for this recipe.
    • Yogurt or milk will work when making these oats; the oatmeal will be less thick and creamy when using milk.
    • Double the recipe for two people, dividing ingredients into separate portable containers. Or keep the second one for another morning; overnight oats will hold several days in the refrigerator.
    • These oats don’t have to be consumed cold; gently warm them in the microwave if you prefer.
    • Feel good about what flavors these oats: Cocoa is rich in antioxidant flavanols, and cassia cinnamon may help lower blood sugar in people with diabetes.
    • Go to Java ‘N’ Health: Fact Vs. Fiction to find out what research says about the health benefits of coffee.


    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.


    by Amy Cimo | Mar 10, 2017

    Before making its way to your morning cup of coffee, some of Community Coffee Company’s finest coffee beans begin their journey in Chiapas, Mexico. There, nestled in the foothills of the El Triunfo Ecological Biosphere Reserve, the coffee beans are grown, nurtured and harvested by fourth-generation coffee producers at Finca Monte Grande. For 12 years, the Finca Monte Grande Moises family and the Saurage family, of Community Coffee Company in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, have worked together to make great coffee.

    3-9_MoisesFamily_900x545Finca Monte Grande is situated in an ideal valley for growing flavorful high-elevation coffee beans. The lush tropical mountain ranges that surround Finca Monte Grande protect the coffee plants from Pacific Ocean and Gulf of Mexico breezes and help maintain a steady temperature that encourages rich, flavorful coffee beans. Coffee berries, nurtured to the peak of ripeness on the mountainsides of Finca Monte Grande, must be harvested with care and only by hand. Along with temperature, moisture and fertile soil, shade is a crucial element in great coffee.

    “Shade grown coffee is correlated to quality,” says fourth-generation Finca Monte Grande owner Alfredo Moises. “When the cherries are exposed to the sun too long, it stresses the plant and the sugar inside the cherries becomes lower-quality.”

    Families are involved at each stage of the process, which helps ensure the highest quality coffee beans, and instills a unique pride that goes into every cup of Community® coffee. Members of the Community Coffee Company team, including fourth-generation owner Matt Saurage, visit farms like Finca Monte Grande around the world searching for high-quality 100% Arabica coffee beans.

    “A lot of love and a lot of hands touch this coffee before it arrives in Baton Rouge,” says Matt Saurage.

    The Moises family and the Saurage family have both been making great coffee for about 100 years. Each generation carries on the passion for quality and great tasting coffee, and bring it from their family to people who love to drink rich, smooth coffee. From the growers to the harvesters to the roasters, passion, skill and the pride of generations go into each cup of Community® coffee.

  • Coffee Really Does Make Everything Better

    by Amy Cimo | Mar 02, 2017

    In 1919 our founder, H. Norman “Cap” Saurage, closed his local convenience store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to start Community Coffee Company. Through our company’s history, we have been focused on giving back to our local communities that started it all. Over the last century, we have been focused on ways to serve our community locally, nationally and internationally.

    Serving Our Children

    3-2-17_CoffeeMakesBetter_285x185In 1988, Community Coffee started the Community Cash for Schools® program. This program allows local k-12 grade schools to submit proofs of purchase labels from Community® coffee products in exchange for cash. Schools are allowed to spend this money however they see fit. Now in its 28th year, we have seen schools buy textbooks, purchase technologically and academically advanced programs and even build chicken coops.

    Serving Our Heroes

    There are 2.2 million men and women serving in our military. We understand the value of their work and the sacrifices their families make. So over a decade ago, we started the Military Match program. Our Military Match program allows friends and family members to buy four bags or boxes of coffee and we match that order with an additional 4 bags or boxes of coffee and send it to their loved one overseas. Since its inception, we have sent 5.1 million cups of Community® coffee to our service men and women.

    Serving Our Farmers

    Our newest endeavor is our partnership with Southwest® Airlines. This project has3-2-17_CoffeeMakesBetter_850x448 taken into the communities where we buy our coffee. For every cup of Community® coffee enjoyed on a Southwest® flight, Southwest® Airlines and Community Coffee fund educational programs to support the children, families and farmers in Mexico where Community’s high quality Arabica coffee is grown. In 2016, a team from Community Coffee and Southwest® traveled to the villages of Tierra y Libertad and Buena Vista in Chiapas, Mexico to see first-hand the benefits the educational programs will bring to these communities. The project provides grade-school education via satellite learning, as well as access to agricultural, technological and academic training for anyone interested. Residents can now access a university education remotely.

    Serving Responsibly

    The Gulf Coast, not only our home, but home to 81% of America’s wetlands. Every year, Louisiana loses 16 square miles of wetlands. In order to combat Louisiana’s chronic land loss, Community Coffee has partnered with America’s WETLAND Foundation and the Coastal Restoration Coalition of Louisiana (CRCL). Community Coffee participated in the first phase of America’s WETLAND Foundation’s Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) Shoreline Stabilization and Restoration Project near Larose in Lafourche Parish. The team helped fortify four miles of shoreline with recycled plastic matrix material, which forms a base for plants to grow along the shoreline. Recently, a group of Community Coffee team members embarked on a coastal restoration mission in Port Manchac to plant 1,000 trees to aid soil retention and promote land growth with CRCL. These trees will aid land retention around Lake Maurepas.

    Without our local community’s support almost a century ago, we wouldn’t be able to give back today. As our Company continues to grow, we intend to continue to support our children, our military, our farmers and our environment. 

  • We Have the Secret Ingredient: A Day in the Life of a Coffee Buying Expert

    by Amy Cimo | Feb 23, 2017

    More goes into a great tasting cup of coffee than most people realize, and it starts with buying the coffee beans. Mark Howell is Community Coffee Company’s General Manager of Green Coffee and Tea and our coffee buying expert. Mark’s typical day starts by looking at the market. Mark tells us how quickly you realize, working with the market, that it isn’t going to do what you want it to when you want it, which can be unsettling for some. This can be the most challenging and exhilarating part of the job.

    Mark also works closely with our Quality Assurance team to cup our coffee. Cupping is the process of observing the tastes and aromas of brewed coffee. This assures that all of our coffee meets the highest standards before we send it out for our customers to enjoy. He also works closely with the logistics team to ensure that the flow of coffee from origin to our plant is running smoothly.

    2-23-17_MarkHowell_752x500Before we can purchase the green coffee beans from our farmers, they have to grow it. Farmers spend between two and three years taking care of coffee plants before they are able to produce cherries. These cherries hold our green coffee beans (seeds) within them. Because not all the cherries on a coffee plant ripen at the same time, farmers make several passes on trees, picking them by hand in some areas and by machines in others. Once picked, the cherries go through a milling process to separate the top quality coffee beans from those the rest and then a pulping process to separate the coffee beans from the fruit. The coffee beans are then put through a dry mill process to further classify the beans by size, density and quality and prepared for transport.

    Once the green coffee beans arrive at our plant in Port Allen, Mark gets to work ensuring the taste of each cup of Community® coffee is the best it can be. Additionally, he is an integral part of our development team. This team develops unique blends that match the desired profile we are aiming for when creating a new product. Mark and the development team do this by looking at various raw (green) coffee’s they have access to, blending them, roasting them and, through multiple trials, coming up with the final blend that makes it to market. This entails cupping or tasting A LOT of coffee. Much like wine tasters, these team members have fine-tuned taste buds to ensure that the blends they create meet taste standards.

    At the end of the day, Mark’s favorite part of his job is interacting with the diverse group2-23-17_MarkHowell_800x422 of people in the coffee industry. From the farmers at origin, local merchants that facilitate trade and the international trade houses that enable international business function, the coffee industry covers a broad spectrum of people all with immense and unique knowledge and experience. Most of all, the people of the industry and their customers come from all walks of life but can come together over a cup of coffee. It is truly an amazing industry, says Mark. 
  • Coffee grounds: one man’s trash is another man’s treasure

    by Amy Cimo | Feb 16, 2017

    Coffee does wonders to wake us up in the morning and even gives us an afternoon pick me up, but did you know your used grounds are good for so much more than going into the trash? Used coffee grounds can be used for various gardening, cleaning and health and beauty purposes. Below we have listed some of our favorite ways to reuse our old coffee grounds.

    1. Fertilize your garden
      • Because of coffees high acidity, it benefits acid loving plants. Plants such as hydrangeas, azaleas, and roses all thrive in more acidic soil. You can find a more detailed list of acid loving plants here.
    2. Repel pests
      • To repel pets from your garden, simply sprinkle old coffee grounds around your plants. This will help protect your plants from harmful pests such as ants, snails and slugs.
    3. Garbage disposal cleaner
      • You can make neat little pods out of used coffee grounds to help eliminate odor from your garbage disposal and sharpen your blades. You can find the recipe here.
    4. Scouring pots
      • Because coffee is naturally abrasive and high in acidity it is a good household item for scouring dirty pots and pans. Simply use a few teaspoons with a rag or steel wool to effectively scour away.
    5. Face mask
      • Coffee is a great ingredient in face masks for many reasons. Because of its caffeine content, it revives your skin making it glow as well as brighten dark spots and even your complexion. This mask will leave your face clean, exfoliated, and glowing.
    6. Cellulite buster
      • Coffee is great on your face and even better for troublesome cellulite spots! Unlike most quick fixes that you find on the internet, coffee has proven that it is the most effective and natural remedy for cellulite. Studies have shown that using a coffee scrub on trouble spots for ten minutes twice a week will dramatically improve the look of cellulite in four weeks. Check out this simple but effective coffee scrub here.
    7. Flea bath for dogs
      • You can help repel fleas by adding a teaspoon of coffee grounds to your dog’s shampoo. 


  • Cool, smooth and strong, oh my! Cold brew coffee is taking the world by storm.

    by Amy Cimo | Feb 09, 2017

    This summer cold brew coffee has become the trend, and for many reasons.

    What is cold brew coffee?

    Cold brew coffee is course ground coffee that is soaked in water at room temperature water for 12 or more hours. With this method you get a strong and smooth coffee concentrate with a big caffeine buzz.

    What’s the difference between iced coffee and cold brewed coffee?

    A lot!

    The biggest difference is the strength of the coffee. Because the coffee grounds steep in water for hours, the result is a highly concentrated coffee beverage. This solved the watered down coffee problem we often face with iced coffee. Not only is the coffee strong, but so is the caffeine level. Because cold brew eliminated brewing with hot water, the coffee is able to retain more caffeine than traditional coffee.

    Another big thing that makes cold brew coffee different from traditional ice coffee or traditional brewed coffee is its flavor. Since cold brew is just that, brewed cold, you get a different flavor profile. Hot water can bring out the more bitter and acidic flavors of coffee. Cold brew consistently delivers a smooth tasting iced coffee beverage. Based on the region your coffee bean originated from, you may get more sweet, fruity, or floral aromas and flavors.

    Coffee flavors based on its region:

    Colombia: Sweet and nutty notes
    Brazil: Milk chocolate and cherry notes

    How to make it at home

    Try our Cold Brew Coffee Kit

    Most coffee shops charge a pretty penny for a cup of cold brew coffee, but there’s good news. You can easily make your own cold brew coffee from home for a fraction of the price! The easiest way is to use a French press to make your cold brew. This way, you don’t have to worry about straining the coffee grounds out of it because of the filter in the French press. You can find the recipe for making cold brew in a French press here.  

    cold brew blog toddyWant to make more than just a cup or two of cold brew at a time? We sure do! Toddy is the brand we can thank for revolutionizing cold brew coffee. The steps you take to brew cold brew coffee is practically the same with Toddy makers, you simply make more at a time. Toddy systems can hold nine cups of water and one pound of coffee. That’s a lot of cold brew! Want to know more about brewing with a Toddy system? Check out this helpful article here.

    If stored correctly in a sealed container, you can keep your homemade cold brew for up to two weeks. You can even portion out a cup of cold brew into mason jars and seal them and grab and go. All that’s left to do is sit back and enjoy!

  • Community Coffee Supports the Next Generation of Growers in Colombia

    by John Knotz | Feb 01, 2017

    Community Coffee Company has had a long partnership with the Colombian communities of Toledo and Labateca, where coffee beans for the company are grown.

    Over the past two years, Community Coffee Company has supported a program called Young Coffee Growers, Sowers of the Future which supplied 100 young people between the ages of 12 and 18 with job training as coffee growers to complement their formal education. The project provided the communities with 1,000 coffee plants on 18 new hectares of family farmland.

    2-2-17_colombia_500x440The students were given seeds and training on how to grow, fertilize, dry and care for a quality coffee bean harvest. The program is intended to help families pass on coffee-growing traditions to their children and provide the young growers with the support they need to earn a living. For some, it will provide a way to fund their continuing education.

    Tito Antonio Capacho says his son came to him and asked to use some of the family land to grow coffee. The family helped him sow and care for the plants, which he loved doing, and he put a lot of effort into the work, Capacho says. 

    In addition to coffee-growing techniques, the program provides workshops for the students to teach values like self-esteem, the importance of social and economic human development and how to consider the bigger picture of the international market of which they are a part. They’re also promoting gender equality by encouraging girls to get involved as coffee growers.

    Heynner Gustavo Estupiñan G., one of the young coffee growers, says he enjoyed the way the program allowed the students and families to work together with the community. It’s important for young people to get involved in projects in rural areas because there are so many people who need help, he says.

    2-2-17_colombia_340x511Families say the program has helped them modernize their farms and allowed them to become more productive while increasing the quality of the coffee they grow. The students were taught to appreciate their craft and take pride in the quality product they’re producing.

    The project teaches the young growers and their families how to see the business through the scope of producing high-quality coffee with the best prices on the international market, says Gabriel Gonzalez Sanchez, the coffee growers extension leader for the state of Norte de Santander.

    One young coffee grower, Tatiana Villamizar, says she hopes projects like this can continue so that new generations will be encouraged to get involved with the community’s coffee-growing traditions.

    2-2-17_colombia_500x340As an added honor to Community Coffee Company’s support for the area, in 2015, the Toledito Juvenile Rural Home was renamed for Henry Norman Saurage III, a previous owner of Community Coffee Company, in honor of his support for education in the area. The school houses students whose homes are too far for them to commute daily. The school has been supported and built up by funds from Community Coffee Company programs

  • Building Community: How a Simple Act of Kindness Can Bring People Together

    by John Knotz | Jan 24, 2017

    We’re a company that’s founded on bringing people together and giving back to the communities that give so much to us. With this in mind, we recently funded an art installation in Dallas, Texas called “Dear Neighbor.” Here’s what it’s all about:

    In the spirit of the holidays, we filled an empty space in Deep Ellum with vintage postcards and invited people to write a note to their neighbor – about gratitude, aspirations, or even something simple that they love about their community.

    In the first few weeks, thousands of people participated in our “Dear Neighbor” art installation. And what we found by reading each other’s messages is that sometimes all we need is a positive attitude and a sense of belonging to feel joy and peace.

    By taking photos of their notes and sharing on social media with the hashtag #MakeItCommunity, participants have lifted our spirits and given us another reason to be thankful for our community this holiday season.

  • How to Prepare to Run Cold-Weather Races

    by John Knotz | Jan 19, 2017

    Running in the cold brings its own special challenges — and rewards, runners say.

    “There is something so invigorating about being able to see your breath as you run, and the silence that usually accompanies colder temperatures,” says Natasha LaBeaud Anzures, an elite Canadian runner who has Olympic goals for the 10,000-meter and marathon distances. “It allows me to challenge different systems and I feel like I can really excel in colder temperatures.”

    There are plenty of opportunities to challenge yourself in the cold — as long as you’re ready for the elements. Here are some ways to prepare for racing in cold weather, so you can focus on your run.

    Fuel Your Body

    Hydration is important even in cold weather, says Sara Dimmick, owner of Physical Equilibrium fitness and training studio. She’s also a certified personal trainer and a USA Triathlon Coach. She says that a day or two before a race, she focuses on drinking extra water, Gatorade and coconut water. “You will also have time to eliminate it and won't have to drink as much the morning of the race if you have pre-hydrated the night before,” she says.

    Eat right the night before the race so you have enough energy. Load up on complex carbohydrates and lean proteins, without overdoing it on calories. Anzures says she likes brown rice pasta, scrambled eggs and a giant salad.

    Warm Up Right

    It takes longer to warm up in the cold, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time before your race, Anzures says. “Learning the best way that your muscles warm up is essential, so take the time to track the amount of running time, drills and strides needed to feel ready to go,” she says.

    Dimmick recommends dynamic movements that get the blood flowing and warm up your extremities. “Leg swings, bridges, controlled lunges, ankle and other joint circles, and other dynamic stretches are great for warming up, while static stretching is best for cooling down,” she says.

    Dress for Success

    Keep an eye on the forecast and use layers to regulate your temperature throughout the race. Cooler weather can boost your performance, runners say, so don’t sabotage yourself by dressing too warmly and overheating. However, you have to protect your extremities so your body doesn’t have to work as hard to keep them warm.

    “Hand and feet warmers make a huge difference,” says Stephanie Schappert, a professional runner for Hoka One One and the New Jersey New York Track Club. “I like to keep a pair in my racing shoes, so when I come back after my warmup jog and switch shoes they are warm.”

    Pour a Cup

    Whether it’s to warm up, fuel up or relax before the starting gun, coffee is a great way to prepare for a cold-weather race. “Coffee is a must,” Schappert says. “Pre-race involves a lot of sitting and relaxing, and my teammates and I look forward to finding a new local coffee shop to grab our caffeine fix. My race day go-to is two shots of espresso two hours before I compete.”

    Even if you don’t drink it, it can still be helpful: “Sometimes I will get a larger size than I know I will drink, just so I can hold something warm,” Schappert says.
  • How to Stay Warm — But Not Too Warm — During Winter Workouts

    by John Knotz | Jan 12, 2017

    As temperatures drop sharply in much of the country you may be tempted to bring your workouts inside for the winter. But doing so means losing out on the fresh air and sense of accomplishment you get from exercising outside. All you need is a little preparation to be ready for invigorating winter workouts.

    “Working out in the cold can be a really effective way to build a resilience that you can take with you into all areas of your life,” says Tyler Spraul, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and head trainer at Exercise.com. “Bonus points if it's early in the morning and you can use the cold air to wake up and be refreshed ahead of a long work day.”

    Here’s how to prepare so you get the most out of working out in the cold.

    Control Moisture, Insulate and Protect

    When you’re thinking about how to dress a cold day, it’s helpful to think of what you’d want to wear if it was 15 to 20 degrees warmer than the actual temperature, especially if your workouts are strenuous, Spraul says. Layering effectively will help prevent you from overheating and sweating too much, which then can end up chilling you.

    Using a modular layering system, you’ll be able to adapt to changing weather conditions and your varying levels of activity, says Susan Benton Russell, co-founder of Ridge Merino, which sells athletic clothing made of wool. First, start with your base layer, such as a good pair of long underwear. “This layer should be warm yet breathable and should transfer or ‘wick’ perspiration away from your skin to keep you dry,” she says. Avoid cotton, as it absorbs water and can make you feel clammy — or, worse, lead to hypothermia, Russell says. Not surprisingly, Russell is a fan of Merino wool for base layers; silk is another good option.

    Next, choose your middle layer, which is designed to insulate. This one will vary depending on your activity and weather conditions, Russell says. “This is typically a fleece which is a bit thicker or loftier than the base layer and, depending on conditions and your level of exertion, you may ultimately use this as your outer layer,” she says.

    Finally, the outer layer protects you from the elements while still allowing air to circulate, Russell says. “More breathable soft shells can be used in drier conditions, whereas a waterproof layer should be used for more extreme weather involving precipitation,” she says.

    Protect Your Head, Hands and Feet

    Now that your core is layered, don’t neglect your extremities, says Dr. Benjamin Domb, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine physician. Gloves, hats, mittens and thermal socks are a must as your hands, ears and feet are vulnerable to frostbite, even when you’re exercising, he says. “In addition, a large amount of body heat is lost through your head, so a lightweight hat will help your body retain the heat,” Domb says.

    Stay Hydrated

    You may not feel like you’re losing a lot of water through sweat, but staying hydrated is as important in cold weather as it is in hot, Domb says. It can be especially easy to lose track of how much you’re sweating if you’ve layered your clothing properly, so drink plenty of water before and during your workout. Recommended amounts vary by age, gender, weight and the intensity of your workout, but aim for at least 12 ounces before and after you exercise, adding more during your workout if it’s long or strenuous.

    Protect Your Face

    Sun and wind aren’t issues for your skin only in the summer. Sure, more of your skin is covered during winter workouts, but there’s still a risk to your face in cold weather. “Even if it’s cloudy, UV rays can cause skin damage,” Domb says. “Apply a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 before heading outside for a winter workout.”

    Keep an eye on the wind as well, Spraul says. “Thirty degrees Fahrenheit and calm is much different than 30 degrees Fahrenheit and 15 mph winds,” he says. Consider a scarf or facemask for comfort and to protect against windburn and frostbite.

    Cap It Off with Warm-Up Cup

    When your torso is warm — as when it’s properly layered — it’s easier for your body to keep your extremities warm as well. But if the cold is getting the better of you and you need to warm up quickly, a cup of coffee can do the trick — and also provide a post-workout boost to your muscles, according to the American Physiological Society.

    That means you’ve got one more reason to bring a Thermos of Community® coffee with you on a hike or to put the pot on when you get back home.

  • Meet the Winner of the H. Norman Saurage III Service Award: Janet Lathrop

    by John Knotz | Jan 05, 2017

    Dream Teachers, an organization dedicated to recognizing educational excellence in Louisiana, recognized Janet Lathrop for outstanding service this year with its first H. Norman Saurage III Service Award.

    Lathrop, a librarian teacher at West Feliciana Middle School in St. Francisville, Louisiana, received this year’s award for supporting and promoting reading through her school’s library.

    “I’ve always loved to read and it breaks my heart when I hear kids say they hate to read,” Lathrop says. “Public and school libraries are invaluable resources, and I don’t think people fully understand that. They have an old-fashioned view of libraries being just a quiet place to read, and they’re so much more. Modern libraries are vibrant places for learning.”

    SaurageAward2_350x197Lathrop, who’s been at West Feliciana Middle School since 1999, started Club Read, which has grown to more than 150 student members each year. Her club joined the Louisiana Teen-age Librarians Association, which is a student-run club of library clubs from around the state. Each year the LTLA holds a statewide conference in Alexandria, where all students can participate in activities, competitions and networking. 

    For the past two years, Lathrop has been student relations chairman for the LTLA.

    Lathrop was awarded a $5,000 prize for herself and another $5,000 for her organization to support her continued efforts. She said she plans to use the money to set up a scholarship fund to help students who can’t afford to travel for the LTLA conference.

    Lathrop says she works to keep students involved by finding fun activities for the library. “Even students who aren’t interested in reading love our library, and they’ll read because of that,” she says. “I show them it’s not nerdy to love reading.”

    Lathrop also runs an annual family book club called Students Unite to Read with Family. At the beginning of the school year, she says, she promotes a book or author for students and their families to read. In the fall, the library holds a family literacy night to share food, contests, activities and meet the author, either in person or via Skype. Last year SURF had its highest attendance, with more than 150 people.

    This is the inaugural year for the Service Award, which is named in honor of past chairman and 3rd generation owner of the company, H. Norman Saurage III, who was a longtime supporter of education. Lathrop was presented with the award at a gala following Dream Teachers’ 10th annual Cecil J. Picard Educator Excellence Symposium on July 15. Seven finalists, including Lathrop, were brought onstage and recognized for their contributions. Each was given a year’s worth of coffee for their teachers’ lounge, a gift Lathrop says was exciting in itself. 

    One of the best parts about winning the award was the opportunity to speak about the importance of libraries and the atmosphere of community and family they can offer, she says.

    “I want kids to feel welcome and find acceptance in the library. We have so many different kinds of kids in our club, and they all have a place here,” she says. “I love seeing how much kids can do when you give them the opportunity. I’ve learned to back off and let them lead, giving them the freedom and opportunity to be creative. I’ve been so proud to see shy, quiet kids become well-spoken leaders.”

  • Cheers to a Healthier 2017!

    by John Knotz | Dec 29, 2016

    Less carbs. More protein. No food after a certain time of day. Spin and body shred class. Avoid this … but not that. The list of diets and workouts promising to help with weight loss and improve health are endless! But do they work long-term?

    If you – like countless others – rang in the New Year with thoughts of shedding a few pounds or treating yourself healthier, here are a few practical ideas to help you accomplish just that …

    Sleep More
    What does sleep have to do with health and weight? Plenty! Most experts agree that adults need seven to eight hours nightly. Research has linked adequate sleep to fewer colds, fewer symptoms of depression and eating fewer calories the next day.

    A 2011 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition observed that sleep-deprived individuals consumed an average of 300 more calories in a day than when they had adequate amounts of sleep. What causes this? Well, it’s likely related to the hormone leptin, which tells your body when it’s full. Less is produced when you don’t get enough sleep. Instead, more ghrelin – your hunger hormone – is produced.

    Bottom Line – getting enough sleep is a powerful tool for weight control and health.

    Tune-in to Hunger
    When you’re well rested, be aware of hunger pangs. Don’t let yourself get ravenous before eating, or you’re likely to overeat. And take time to consider what really will satisfy your hunger. Choose what you really want at the time, sit down to eat it, and notice how you feel during and after eating. Food should be enjoyed!

    At the same time, you may not be truly hungry every time you feel like or decide to eat. Try to:

    • Avoid distracted, mindless eating
    • Think about how you really are feeling … Bored? Stressed? Tired?
    • Address how you are feeling with an appropriate response. The root cause of boredom, sleepiness and stress truly won’t be remedied by eating

    The book “Intuitive Eating” by dietitians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, is a no-diet approach to health and wellness. It outlines 10 principles to intuitive eating that may help you appropriately tune-in to hunger.

    Bottom Line – eating what you want – when you’re truly hungry – may be the best “diet”* ever.   

    Strategically Swap Foods
    As you become attuned to true hunger, it’s a good idea to keep in mind a few simple nutrition principles, too. If a food can both provide positive nutrition and satisfy, it may be better to select it over another food choice. Consider these eat-this-VS.-that ideas:

    • Breakfast
      • Peeled orange VS. large glass orange juice (saves calories, increases fiber, still get a day’s worth of vitamin C)
      • Whole wheat toast & egg VS. biscuit & sausage (less total and saturated fat & calories, more whole grain nutrition)  
    • Lunch
      • Homemade wrap – turkey, Cheddar, lettuce, red pepper strips, lower-fat cream cheese – & an apple VS. burger & fries (more fruit/vegetable & whole grain, less fat)
    • Snack (especially during carnival season!)
      • ½ slice King Cake & Mardi Gras King Cake coffee** VS. large slice of King Cake (saves calories & fat, adds antioxidants & fluids)
      • Mardi Gras King Cake or other flavored coffee & milk VS. flavored frappuccino (less sugar, calories, fat)
    • Dinner
    • Grilled salmon & rice VS. fried fish & fried potatoes (more healthy omega-3 fat, less overall fat, calories & sodium)

    Think about your repertoire of usual menu selections. And keep in mind that eating favorite foods is important so you don’t feel deprived. However, sometimes strategically trading out a favorite for a smart – yet yummy – nutrition choice can be satisfying, too. 

    Bottom Line – small food choices can have a huge nutrition impact over time.

    Move it!
    You don’t have to be a passionate “gym rat” to reap the benefits of exercise*. Think about what you enjoy doing – walking, biking, dancing, swimming – and get moving. Start slowly if you haven’t been exercising lately. And if you find yourself starting to dread the idea of moving, try something else.

    Why is it important? Well, there are extensive studies to support the benefits of exercise. It can:  help combat depression, boost energy, help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes, burn fat and help control weight, strengthen muscles and bones, help you sleep better, decrease risk of heart attack and certain cancers and add years to your life. Sign me up!   

    Bottom Line – regular exercise should make you feel better mentally and physically.

    And finally, one last bit of caution: modeling these behaviors for your family just may have unintended consequences … they may adopt a few better-for-you habits, too!

    *Consult with a physician or registered dietitian nutritionist before beginning any diet or fitness program to make sure it is appropriate for your needs.

    **Community® Mardi Gras King Cake coffee – available for a limited time – is a quality coffee blended with light vanilla and cinnamon flavoring, providing a subtly sweet flavor.


    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.

  • Resolved: Going Tech-Free to Strengthen Your Relationships in 2017

    by John Knotz | Dec 22, 2016

    The calendar is rolling toward 2017, so maybe you’ve been thinking some about New Year’s resolutions. We have one to suggest: Reconnect with your friends and family in real life instead of just through social media.

    “Relationships are built on understanding the other person and who they are, what they are and what they might need from you. All those things need to take place in the real world,” says Larry Rosen, a professor emeritus of psychology at California State University and co-author of “The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World.”

    If you’re ready to get back to clicking face-to-face instead of just clicking a “like” button, here’s how to put that resolution into action.

    Get More Specific About Your Needs

    Figure out who you want to reach out to and how often. Does your vision include planning a big bash to bring everyone together? Or dedicating more one-on-one time with your family members or close friends? 

    Simply telling yourself that you’re going to spend more quality time with loved ones isn’t going to get it done, says Kevin Gilliland, a clinical psychologist and executive director of Innovation360 in Dallas. “Pick a few people to focus on first — not your whole social circle,” he says. “Be realistic. If you’re trying to reconnect with a friend who lives across town and has three small children, aim for face-to-face time once a month or every other month.”

    Prepare yourself to follow through on your resolution by sharing your plans. Tell the people you hope to reconnect with as well as an “outsider” to your plan — someone close to you who will hold you accountable and keep you on track, Gilliland says.

    Make Concrete Plans

    How many times have you told someone “We need to get together soon,” but it never actually happens? We all have busy lives, which is why scheduling is so important. Schedule time for yourself to make plans.

    “Set reminders once a month to plan a get together with a particular friend,” says Rhonda Milrad, founder and chief relationship adviser at Relationup, an app that offers live relationship advice. That makes it much more likely that you’ll follow through on that coffee date.

    Once you’ve reach out to someone, make specific plans with them. Vague plans like “Let’s do something this weekend” can easily fade into another missed opportunity; it’s much harder for that to happen if you’ve bought tickets, made reservations or set a time and place, Milrad says.

    Do Something Physical

    Do you want to get in better shape? Combine two resolutions into one by planning physical activities with a loved one. Sharing your workout with someone can motivate you and make you feel better in general.

    “Serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine and endorphins are naturally occurring neurotransmitters in our bodies, and part of their purpose is to make us feel good,” Gilliland says. “Production of these naturally occurring stimulants is at its peak when we engage in physical activity.”

    Arrange a weekly gym date with a friend, go on a hike together, join a pickup basketball game or take the kids out to play Frisbee in the park. Even a walk through the neighborhood with a friend once a week is a great opportunity to get yourself up and moving while enjoying tech-free time with your favorite people.

    Try Something New

    If there’s a hobby or activity you’ve always wanted to try or did once and want to do again, organize it with someone special. Try bonding over an activity like a wine and painting class or indoor rock climbing, Milrad says.

    “You are enjoying each other’s company while having a memorable time,” she says. “The uniqueness of the experience coupled with the fun of being together creates a rich memory that gets stored in your brain differently than a more familiar and predictable event.”

    Doing something novel can spark a deeper level of connection, particularly for couples looking to spend some tech-free time together, Gilliland says. “Engaging in a new shared activity, whether it’s ballroom dancing, bowling or wine tasting, is a very effective way for husbands and wives to reignite their bond,” he says.

    Try Something Old

    There’s plenty of old-fashioned ways to get together that shouldn’t be overlooked, and you don’t need to wait for a special occasion. Invite people over for the game, throw a BBQ, or host a dinner party.

    If you’ve got kids and find yourself always busy, chances are you have a friend or relative in the same boat. Ask them to join you when you’re knocking out common errands like grocery shopping, or invite them along when you’re taking the kids to the museum or park.

    And, of course, you can always meet someone for coffee when you have an hour here or there to spend. However you choose to spend real-world time with your loved ones, the important thing to remember is that you’re building deeper relationships.