• Don’t Just Sip … Eat Your Coffee!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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  • Dietary Guidelines Committee Gives Coffee Thumbs Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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  • Park Elementary benefits from Cash for Schools program

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

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

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

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

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


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



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  • Matt Saurage's First Coffee Memory

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

    What is your first memory with coffee?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Caffeinated Workouts … the Truth in the Buzz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Sources

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

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


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


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  • How to Brew Sun Tea

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

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

    Directions:

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

    Sun Brewed Tea:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Simple Syrup:

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

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

    Stir the mixture constantly until the sugar has dissolved.

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

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

    Watermelon and basil:

    Slice watermelon into small triangles or chunks.

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

    Serve over ice and garnish with a fresh basil leaf.

    Mint and sliced limes or oranges:

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

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

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

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

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

    Strawberries or raspberries:

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

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

    Sources:

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

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  • JAVA ‘n’ Health: Fact vs. Fiction

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Coffee is an addictive substance … FALSE.

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

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

    Sources

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

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

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


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

    by Johnny Hoell | Jul 15, 2015

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

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

    What the Experts Say

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Easy Cold-Brew Coffee at Home​

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

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

    Sources

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


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

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  • Perfect Pairings

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Iced Coffee Ideas to Sweeten Your Summer

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

    Basic Barista: A low maintenance option.

    Servings: 4
    Difficulty: 1
    Prep Time: 5 minutes

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

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


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

    Servings: 1  
    Difficulty: 1
    Prep Time:  10 minutes

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

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


    Fancy French Vanilla: Enjoy a moment of decadent indulgence.

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

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

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  • The Coffee Artists™

    by Johnny Hoell | Mar 30, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

    image1

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


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  • How to Create the Perfect Brunch Buffet

    by Johnny Hoell | Mar 18, 2015

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

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

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

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

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


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  • Campfire Coffee

    by Johnny Hoell | Feb 27, 2015

    One of morning’s greatest pleasures is waking up over a cup of coffee, but what about a cup of hot Community® coffee, enjoyed around a campfire with your friends or loved ones? Don’t let a weekend away from your favorite home brewer keep you from enjoying a perfect cup of coffee. All you need is a camping kettle, fresh water and your favorite ground Community® coffee blend, and this blissful morning moment can be yours.

    What you will need:
    Camping kettle with lid
    Fresh water
    Community® coffee grounds
    Mugs
    Grate or hook to hold kettle over campfire
    Oven mitt or ladle for pouring

    How to brew campfire coffee:

    1. Fill your kettle with desired amount of fresh water and add coffee grounds. We recommend 2 tablespoons of coffee for every 6 ounces of water. For stronger coffee, add more grounds. 
    2. Place the kettle over the campfire, and keep a close eye on the pot. When tiny bubbles begin to form, and coffee is just about to boil, remove kettle from the campfire.
    3. Once the kettle has been removed from heat, allow it to sit for approximately 5 minutes so the coffee has time to steep. While the coffee rests, grounds should settle completely to the bottom.
    4. Remove the lid and gently pour coffee from the pot into a mug. We recommend using an oven mitt or ladle for pouring, as the kettle will be hot.
    5. Place the lid back on the kettle and set the kettle near the fire, without getting too close, to keep the remaining coffee warm.

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  • Grommon’s Sacher-Torte

    by Johnny Hoell | Feb 26, 2015

    Recipe Source: The Chicken and the Egg: A Family Cookbook

    Servings: 10
    Difficulty: 3
    Prep Time: 1 hour
    Cook Time: 30 minutes

    Bake something sweet for your loved one this Valentine’s Day. This Sacher-Torte is the perfect rich and delicious indulgence, created using our popular Community® Dark Roast.

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    Ingredients

    For the cake:
    2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
    3 tablespoons vegetable oil
    ¼ teaspoon salt
    ½ cup hot Community® Signature Blend Dark Roast coffee
    1 cup sugar
    1 egg
    ¼ cup buttermilk
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    ½ cup apricot preserves
    1 teaspoon brandy extract

    For the chocolate frosting:
    5 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate
    4 teaspoons solid vegetable shortening

    In the top of a double boiler, stir chocolate, oil, salt and coffee over barely simmering water until blended. Pour mixture into the large bowl of an electric mixer and add sugar, egg, buttermilk, baking soda and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until well blended.

    Add flour and continue beating for 5 minutes, occasionally scraping sides down with a rubber spatula. Pour into a greased and floured 8-inch cake pan.

    Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until cake begins to pull from sides of pan. Set on rack to cool and then remove from pan. Cut cake in half horizontally to make two layers. Combine apricot preserves and brandy extract; spread evenly over bottom layer of cake. Set top layer in place and put cake on a rack.

    To make the chocolate frosting, in the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water, add semi-sweet baking chocolate and solid vegetable shortening until melted. Slowly pour chocolate frosting onto the center of the cake so it flows over the entire surface. With a spatula, guide icing down over sides of the cake to coat smoothly. Chill at least 30 minutes or until the icing is set.

    Using a wide spatula, loosen cake from rack and gently slide onto a serving plate. Return to room temperature to serve.


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  • Introducing House Blend-Community Coffee Company’s newest blend

    by Johnny Hoell | Feb 17, 2015

    This rich, smooth coffee has a medium body and brightness, appealing to all medium and medium/dark coffee drinkers. To learn more about this premium new blend, we went straight to the source and asked Mark Howell, General Manager of Green Coffee & Tea Procurement and creator of House Blend, for his thoughts.

    Is there a primary region (or regions) of the world beans come from that help dictate the flavor and quality of the coffee? How did you determine which origin of beans to use in House Blend?

    Different countries of origin, and even sub regions within a given country, have distinct flavor profiles that we use to build up the flavors of a blend. Some coffees will be used for their base tones, some for high notes; others will be used to add sweetness or a distinct flavor characteristic. For House Blend, it’s a combination of South and Central American coffees that we used to develop the rich, smooth flavor.

    Was there a unique process or technique that went into creating this blend that is different from other Community® coffees?

    The process isn’t unique to just House Blend, but any time we create a new blend we go through a series of steps to ensure that we develop a great tasting coffee. Our first step is to get a clear understanding of the flavor profile we’re looking for. Once that’s known, we start to choose the various coffees we think will work and put together some blends.

    In this instance, we began with 12 initial concept blends, but by focusing on great taste and quality sourcing we began to eliminate blends that didn’t stand up to our high standards. Through a series of blind cuppings with our team we selected our top three choices. The final three went through another round of cupping that included both executive management and the Saurage family. We collectively chose the final product.

    Where does House Blend fit into the spectrum of other Community coffees? For those who drink Community coffee regularly, which other blend is the most similar to House Blend, and why would you encourage those who drink it to give House Blend a try?

    House Blend falls in the middle of the range of flavors; it is closest in roast progression to Breakfast Blend and Café Special® and those drinkers should give it a try. However, I think that even those who like a darker roast may find that they want to change it up sometimes and House Blend would be a good option for them.

    Do you have any recommended food pairings or flavors that would go well with House Blend?

    It’s what we in the coffee trade call a “drinker’s cup” meaning that it’s well balanced, medium body, with brightness and a sweet finish. As a result of being well balanced, House Blend should pair well with any breakfast food or desserts.

    Lastly, what was your most enjoyable and fun experience creating this blend?

    Seeing it at the grocery store near my house. That was just awesome.

    House Blend is available in ground coffee and single-serve coffee pods.


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  • National Coffee Day

    by Wayne Losavio | Jan 12, 2015

    In honor of National Coffee Day, here is a brief history of the origin of coffee, as well as some fun facts to enhance your coffee knowledge.

    Legend has it; coffee was discovered in the Ethiopian highlands by Kaldi the goat herder. It is said that he discovered coffee when he noticed that after eating berries from a certain tree, his goats became so energetic that they wouldn’t sleep at night.

    Kaldi told the abbot of the local monastery what he was noticing, and the abbot then made a drink with the berries and realized it also kept him alert during his lengthy evening prayers. The abbot shared this news with the other monks at the monastery, and from there the word about the energizing effects of the berries began to spread.

    As word spread east and reached the Arabian Peninsula, the Arabic people began to cultivate and trade coffee. They also began the tradition of public coffee consumption at “coffee houses” in cities across the Near East. The popularity of the coffee houses boomed, and people began to frequent them for all kinds of social activities from engaging in conversations to listening to music, watching performances and keeping current on the day’s news. The coffee houses became such an important meeting place that they were often referred to as “Schools of the Wise.”

    From there, coffee spread across Europe and then to the United States, becoming the wildly popular drink that it is today.

    Marking the long and unique history of the drink is National Coffee Day on September 29.  The day was first celebrated in Japan in 1983, and is now celebrated globally as a way to promote fair trade coffee and raise awareness for the plight of the coffee farmers.

    In celebration of the day, here are some of our favorite fun facts about the most popular drink in the world:

    • A French doctor in the 1600’s prescribed café au lait to his patients, inspiring people to add milk to coffee.
    • New Yorkers drink approximately 7 times more coffee than any other city in the U.S.
    • Coffee beans are actually the pit of a berry, making them a fruit seed.
    • The first webcam was introduced at the University of Cambridge to let students and staff know when the coffee pot was full.
    • The coffee houses in England were referred to as “penny universities” because for the price of a penny someone could purchase a cup of coffee and engage in informative conversation.

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  • 5 Easy Lunch Recipes You Can Almost Make While Your Coffee Brews

    by Wayne Losavio | Nov 12, 2014

    We know it’s tough enough just getting out the door in the morning, let alone finding time to pack your lunch, so we’re here to help with 5 lunch recipes you can prepare in the minutes it takes your coffee to brew.

    Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad

    A little prep the night before goes a long way in making this easy, versatile, and delicious weekday lunch. See below for the recipe to one of our favorite fall pasta salads, or use any combination of vegetables you like, it’s hard to go wrong. 

    The night before, cook pasta and prepare vegetables, so in the morning all you have to do is combine your ingredients in a tupperware, mix in a favorite vinaigrette, and you are good to go!

    Keep it vegetarian or add in a protein of your choice to make it a heartier, more filling meal.

    See below for a detailed recipe of our favorite fall pasta salad.

    Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad

    Servings: 4 (this can be portioned out and brought for lunch multiple days)

    Difficulty: 2

    Prep Time: 10 minutes

    Cook Time: 45 Minutes

    Ingredients:

    1 ½ cups zucchini, coarsely chopped

    1 ½ cups yellow summer squash, coarsely chopped

    1 ½ cups eggplant, coarsely chopped

    1 cup asparagus spears, cut into thirds

    1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

    2 tablespoons olive oil

    ½ teaspoon salt

    ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

    10 ounces dried fusilli pasta

    Vinaigrette (enough to coat pasta)

    Instructions

    The night before:

    Preheat oven to 415 degrees Fahrenheit.

    In a roasting pan, combine zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, asparagus and cherry tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, toss until lightly coated. Roast 35 to 45 minutes, turning once with a spatula.

    Remove vegetable tray from the oven and let cool. Transfer vegetables to a Tupperware and store overnight in the refrigerator.

    At the same time as your vegetables are roasting, bring water to a boil on the stove and cook pasta according to package instructions. When it is done, drain, rinse and store in a container in the refrigerator overnight.

    In the morning:

    While your coffee is brewing, combine the pasta and vegetables into a single container, gently stirring in enough of the vinaigrette of your choice to coat the pasta, and your lunch is ready.

    Divide a portion into a smaller container to bring to work for lunch.

    English Muffin Pizzas

    Looking for a flashback to one of your favorite childhood meals? These easy English muffin pizzas are the perfect portable bites.

    Depending on the appliances in your office kitchen, you can either toast them at home for an instantly-ready lunch, or wrap prepared pizzas and toast at work just before you eat. Either way, pair with a piece of fruit for a fun and tasty weekday lunch!

    See below for a detailed recipe of English muffin pizzas.

    English Muffin Pizzas

    Servings: 1

    Difficulty: 1

    Prep Time: 5 minutes

    Cook Time: 7 Minutes

    Ingredients:

    2 English muffins, split in half

    ½ cup canned pizza sauce

    1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

    12 pepperoni slices

    Instructions

    Split 2 English muffins into 4 halves, toasting until crispy.

    Remove the English muffin halves from the toaster and place them on the counter cut side up. Spoon pizza sauce onto each half, spreading to cover the surface. Sprinkle cheese over the sauce and top with a few pepperoni slices on each half.

    Place the English muffin halves back in the toaster until the cheese is melted, or wrap halves to toast later at work.

    Mediterranean Pita Pocket

    Pita pockets might be the ultimate lunchtime ingredient. Fill them with salad, sandwich fixings, or any other filling you crave, and you have an easy, utensil-free meal!

    The night before, chop your vegetables so in the morning all you have to do is add a few last ingredients and assemble your sandwich. Wrap halves, and you are out the door in minutes.

    See below for a detailed recipe of Mediterranean Pita Pockets. 

    Mediterranean Pita Pocket

    Servings: 1

    Difficulty: 2

    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Ingredients:

    ¼ cup cherry tomatoes, halved

    ¼ cup black olives, pitted

    ¼ cup cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced

    1/8 cup red onion, chopped

    1 cup romaine lettuce, torn

    1/8 cup crumbled feta cheese

    Greek salad dressing

    1 8-inch pita

    Instructions

    The night before:

    In one container add cherry tomatoes, olives, cucumber and red onion. Store in the fridge overnight.

    In the morning:

    Add lettuce and crumbled feta to the vegetable mixture, stirring in Greek dressing to coat salad mixture. Cut the 8-inch pita in half, opening each half into a pocket, and then stuff the pita pocket halves with salad mixture. Wrap filled halves in foil and you are ready to go.

    Taco Salad

    If you are looking for a fast, fresh and healthy lunch, taco salad is a perfect choice that is easily packable for work! With little more to do than chopping a few vegetables and opening some cans you can have a tasty, filling lunch. Keep it vegetarian, or with a little prep the night before, add grilled chicken for a hearty boost. This one may come together quicker than even your single-serve machine can brew!

     

    See below for a detailed recipe of this refreshed version of a favorite meal.

     

    Taco Salad

    Servings: 1

    Difficulty: 1

    Prep Time: 10 minutes

     

    Ingredients:

    2 cups shredded lettuce

    ½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved

    ½ Haas avocado, sliced

    ¼ cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed

    ¼ cup canned corn, drained

    1 teaspoon lime juice

    1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese

    Small handful of broken-up tortilla chips

    ½ cup salsa

     

    Instructions

    In a container, use the shredded lettuce as a base for your salad. On top of the lettuce, add in the cherry tomatoes, avocado, black beans and corn. Stir in lime juice, mixing the vegetables together. Lastly, sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese and a handful of tortilla chips to finish.

    Put the salsa in a separate container to mix in when you are ready to eat.

    Caesar Salad Sandwich

    A sandwich spin on a classic salad! Try this new take on Caesar salad for a simple, tasty lunch.

    See below for the detailed recipe of this new lunch staple.

    Caesar Salad Sandwich

    Servings: 1

    Difficulty: 1

    Prep Time: 5 minutes

    Ingredients:

    2 slices of bread, any kind

    1 tablespoon Caesar salad dressing

    3-4 leafs of Romaine lettuce

    3-4 ounces chicken, thinly sliced

    Grated parmesan cheese, to taste

    Instructions

    Spread a Caesar salad dressing of your choice onto on both slices of bread. Top one slice of bread with lettuce and then top with your thinly sliced chicken. Sprinkle the other slice of bread with enough parmesan cheese to taste, and then place the bread (cheese and dressing side down) on top of the chicken. Wrap your sandwich and it is ready to go to work with you.


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