• Celebrate National Hot Tea Month with These Tips & Tricks

    by Amy Cimo | Jan 21, 2019

    Did you know that tea has been enjoyed for thousands of years? Though the origin of tea is long and complex, consumption of this delicious drink can be traced as far back as the Tang Dynasty. Today, hot tea continues to be one of the world's most popular beverages and is associated with a multitude of health benefits, including good heart health, weight loss, and immune system support.

    Celebrate National Hot Tea Month this January and elevate your tea by trying out some of our tips and tricks below!

    Use Quality Water
    The quality of water used while brewing plays a huge role in how our tea tastes. Tap or distilled water can sometimes leave your tea tasting dull, so opt to use filtered or bottled water instead.

    Watch Your Water Temperature
    Heating your water to the optimal temperature will ensure your tea is as flavorful as possible. If the water temperature is too low, the brewing process may not extract the tea’s full flavor. If the water temperature is too high, you risk burning the leaves, which can result in a bitter taste. For Black tea like our Porch Breeze™ Black Tea, it’s safe to bring your water to a boil. For all other teas (White, Green, Oolong etc.), your water should be under boiling.

    Time Your Steeping
    Different teas require different steeping times. Steeping your tea for too long can leave your tea tasting bitter, while not steeping it long enough can leave it flavorless or watered-down. For Green and White teas, the general steeping time is one to two minutes. Oolong and Black teas should be steeped for about two to three minutes, and herbal infusions should take about three to six minutes.

    Experiment with Additions 
    Though tea is tasty on its own, mixing it up with a few additions can boost your tea’s flavor even more. For a spicy kick, try infusing your tea with a stick of cinnamon or star anise. Add a dash of cayenne for heat, or a bit of coconut milk for a smooth, creamy texture. Fresh fruit or fresh herbs are also a great way to add more flavor to your cup. 

    Pay Attention to Storage
    Much like coffee, moisture, heat and light can comprise the flavor of your tea. To prolong the life and preserve the profile of your tea, store it in a dry, room-temperature area away from direct sunlight.

  • 100 Years, 100 Reasons: Family

    by Amy Cimo | Jan 14, 2019
    Family means everything to us. Since our start in 1919, Community Coffee Company has been family owned and family operated. Many of our employees have a deep family connection to the company and can tell stories about the days their parents and grandparents came to work at Community Coffee Company. We still work with many of the same family-run farms we’ve worked with for generations, and generations of coffee drinkers have trusted us to serve them only the best.

    Community Coffee Company was built by generations of the Saurage family—a family extremely passionate about creating a coffee experience that leaves a lasting impression. In return, our coffee has extended far beyond the Saurage family name and become central to a multitude of memorable moments over the past century.

    To help kick off our 100 Year Anniversary, we’re celebrating the reasons Community Coffee Company is important to your family. Check out the stories below, and let us know how Community has become a part of your family on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #100Years100Reasons.

    "I'm very proud of my children…You know why I know that they love it? I think that I may have put a little bit of coffee milk in their bottles when they were growing up. They have been drinking coffee since they were infants. And now that they're coffee drinkers, they're tasting coffee every week to make sure that what goes into our blend is the right coffee." –Donna Saurage  

    “I treasure the memories of sitting around the kitchen table at my mother's home with my mother, grandmother and sister drinking a cup of Community coffee and catching up with each other. My mother and grandmother are gone now. I plan to continue this tradition in the future with my twin granddaughters.” –Sheryl E.

    “My mom and dad used to make Community coffee every morning in an old aluminum drip pot…She then sent me off to college with a percolator coffee pot and a few bags of Community coffee for a lot of late night studying. Now married and 2 kids later, my wife and I make a pot every morning in a Bunn coffee brewer and we both have a few more cups each afternoon.”  –Jeremy L.

     “I live in Philadelphia, and when my nephew was born 15 years ago my mom wanted to fly down to see him. I offered to go with her even though flying terrifies me. I loved it there! After 3 days of drinking coffee at different times and places I wondered why the coffee, even though it seemed dark to me, was always smooth and tasty. My sister-in-law (she's a Louisiana local) told me it was Community coffee and took me to a little market to buy some for home.” –Frances S.

    “My husband and I were first introduced to Community coffee when we were on vacation and it ended up being the best vacation ever because we found a coffee that we could both agree on (which has not happened in over 20 years of marriage). You definitely brought us closer together now that our morning ritual is spent with each other and you. Thank you.”— Chantell M.

    “I grew up on a farm next to my grandparents in the rolling hills of North Louisiana near Toledo Bend. The first scent of every day was coffee...Community coffee. I've loved it all my life. A pot first thing...a new pot every time anyone showed up...I was thrilled to be old enough to bring each guest (cousin, aunt, the preacher) a cup just the way they liked it. My daddy always took his with 2 spoons of sugar.” –Beverly L.

    “I started drinking Community coffee milk at my Grandmother’s when I was around 3. She would get up early, 3:30/4am, make it in a drip pot and then I would help her roll out the biscuits. My dad was in the Air Force, so when he couldn’t be at his mom’s in Louisiana, Community coffee would be imported in to our home, wherever that was at the time. Community coffee drinker then, now and forever. Some of my fondest memories involve that coffee!”—Patti H.

    “We are from Iowa but several years ago were traveling to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. We have a friend that is a waiter at one of our favorite restaurants in Des Moines. Since he was born and raised in New Orleans, we asked what he would like us to bring back from his home city. Without even having to think about it or missing a beat he said ‘I would just love some Community coffee.’ Of course we brought several bags back for him and we have not drank any other coffee ourselves since that day.” –Pat W. 

    “My momma's shift as an RN started at 6:15am, 30 minutes away from our home. We were bundled up in our pajamas and dropped off at Grandma’s House where we dressed for school. The only thing she had that was hot at that hour was Granddaddy’s coffee (with chicory), so we got that with lots of milk and sugar. I eventually weaned myself off of the sugar…but I must still have my coffee, chicory, and milk every day.” –Denise C.

    "Most coffees we buy are from families. They're very involved with the product itself, and what makes a great cup of coffee. It is a family to family business—to find the best coffees, we have to rely on personal relationships, knowing who to go to to find the coffees that will suit us the best; for them to know us well enough to know what our expectations are. That way we reliably and consistently get the finest coffees in the world." — Matt Saurage 

  • Visiting Origin: A Colombia Journey

    by Amy Cimo | Jan 07, 2019

    By: Myrna Rombado, Green Coffee Buyer, Community Coffee Company

    Imagine traveling around Colombia for nine days on the hunt for the best coffee beans in the region that can live up to the high quality standards necessary to become part of Community® coffees. This is exactly what the Community Coffee team did in October 2019. Nine days, 7 planes, 3 cities, 3 towns, and 12 farms later- our team’s heads are still buzzing from the coffee sweetened with panela and handmade arepas, and our hearts are full from our interactions with the hardest-working coffee farmers and their sweet families who opened their homes to us.

    colombiablog4Our team included Community Coffee’s green coffee buyers, Mark Howell, and myself, Myrna Rombado. We were also accompanied by videographers John Jackson and Robin Vucinovich to help document the trip and the different stages of coffee production from picking, de-pulping, fermentation, drying and more.

    It was in the department of Norte de Santander where our journey began. Our goal was to check in with the communities of Toledo & Labateca, two humble towns situated on opposing faces of a mountain separated by a valley. It is in these often-overlooked communities where Community Coffee discovered the great potential of their chocolatey, full-bodied and winey coffees dating back to the early 2000s.

    Once we arrived to Toledo, we were greeted by all of the students currently enrolled in the school bearing the name of Community Coffee Company’s 3rd generation owner, Henry Norman Saurage III, Hogar Juvenil Campesino Toledito. This school is a safe haven and opportunity at a better life for children of impoverished coffee farmers to receive access to education, nourishment, and community support that they otherwise would not have.

    The success stories of these students is inspiring- with the current director a formercolombiablog1 graduate of the school herself. She was able to attend university and came back to run the school that had given her and her family members an opportunity at education years ago. Over the next few days, we would continue to hear stories of appreciation, whether it was for the new computer monitors in the technology classroom, or raised solar drying beds for their coffee farms, or our coffee purchases that support their families. We had more than a business partnership- we were family now, for over 15 years and counting. Hearing first-hand the appreciation that these local farmers had for Community Coffee greatly inspired me and made me feel so proud to be part of an organization that gives back and makes such a tangible impact on real coffee-producing families.

    coombiablog2The amount of care and attention to detail required to produce the highest quality coffees in Colombia was incredible to see in person. In the department of Huila, one of the best performing areas in terms of high quality and specialty coffees, we saw farmers utilizing innovative equipment such as brix meters, which measure the concentration of sugars in the coffee cherries to ensure they are harvested at the peak of ripeness. We also saw them experimenting with different colored mesh covers on their drying beds to see which ones provide the optimal amount of solar heat for even drying. The innovation and variety of techniques were evident throughout the fermentation, washing and drying processes. I will never forget one farmer’s set-up to save him an arduous walk through the steeply inclined hills of his coffee farm. Instead of hauling extremely heavy bags of coffee from his farm to his home, he designed a delivery system powered by a motorcycle, a wooden pallet, and cable-system whereby bags of coffee are zip lined through the farm and into the farmer’s backyard.

    We left Colombia with our bags a little lighter (we had to spoil our farmers with somecolombiablog3 Community® coffee gear!) and our belts a little tighter, but our hearts full and our spirits inspired and in awe by the hard work and dedication these communities put into producing the finest coffees for our customers to enjoy. We cannot wait to go back and see what new developments are on the horizon for Colombian coffee.

  • 10 Tips for Keeping Your New Year's Resolutions

    by Amy Cimo | Dec 31, 2018

    With 2019 less than a day away, now is the time many take to set goals for themselves in the coming year.

    Are you planning to make any New Year’s resolutions this year? If so, you’re not alone—about 40% of Americans make a New Year’s resolution each year, according to polling from the Marist Institute for Public Opinion. Though many of us start with the best intentions—whether it be to exercise more, make new friends, or finally take that dream vacation—most of us end up failing somewhere along the way. In fact, approximately 80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February!

    To help keep your 2019 resolutions on track, we’ve rounded up 10 tips for achieving some of the most common resolutions made each year.

    1. Save Money

    Almost 38% of Americans are planning to make this their top resolution in 2019. We all could save a little more money, especially after the toll holiday shopping can take on our wallets. To save on expenses, try cooking more at home. Adding a few healthy, low-cost meals to your routine (like soup or oatmeal) is a great way to keep daily costs in check. Don’t eat out much? Try to limit your spending on entertainment instead. Keep an eye out for free events in your community, like plays or concerts.

    2. Eat Healthier
    Eating healthier doesn’t mean you have to completely revamp your diet. Adding a fresh fruit or veggie to one meal a day can be an easy way to instantly add more nutrients to your regimen.

    3. Get More Exercise
    Fitting more exercise into your day can be tough, especially if fitness isn’t already a part of your daily life. Instead of setting a singular, lofty goal like exercising every day, focus on getting a small amount of exercise one or two days a week to help establish a routine. Feel like you’ve hit an exercise plateau? Try sipping a cup of Community® coffee an hour before you hit the gym—studies have shown that coffee can help improve athletic performance. Check out our blog post for more about the potential benefits of a caffeinated workout.

    4. Land a New Job
    Use the buddy system. Make your friends and family aware of your goal to find a new job, so they can motivate and support you, check in on your progress, and help hold you accountable. Friends and family are also a great first step in professional networking!

    5. Travel
    Taking time off of work and cost can be huge barriers to making your travel resolution a reality. If taking time off of work is a concern, focus on visiting new places that are within driving distance—traveling can be as simple as exploring a new restaurant in a nearby town. Signing up for cheap flight alerts like Skyscanner or Airfarewatchdog can make long-distance travel more affordable.

    6. Get More Sleep
    Since the blue light of phones, laptops and electronics can negatively affect sleep patterns, avoid screen time 30-60 minutes before bedtime. Going to sleep at the same time each night can also help establish a regular sleep schedule and regulate your body’s internal clock.

    7. Learn a New Language
    Learning a new language offers a multitude of personal and professional rewards, not to mention it can help keep your brain sharp as you age. As you begin to learn the basics, supplement your learnings by listening to the language conversationally, whether it’s in person or through radio and TV shows.

    8. Find Love
    Finding love is no easy task, but focusing on being present in the moment can create more opportunities for connection, says relationships researcher Justin Lavner, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology at the University of Georgia. If you find yourself in a social environment, try to eliminate distractions (like your phone) that can prevent you from immersing yourself in a conversation or engaging with those around you.

    9. Read More
    Start small. Avoid overwhelming yourself and set a goal that is easily attainable, like reading 10 minutes a day or finishing one book every month. Selecting books that genuinely interest you or subjects you know you enjoy can also make it harder to put them down.

    10. Feel Less Stressed
    Though there’s no way to completely limit the stresses of life, a few simple tricks can help you relax. Take a 5-minute break each day to focus on your breathing. Slowly breathe in through your nose, and try to breathe out of your mouth for 10 seconds. “Deep breathing counters the effects of stress by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure,” psychologist Judith Tutin, PhD, says. Setting aside a few minutes each day to meditate can also help ease anxiety.

  • Honoring Our Communities: A Year in Review

    by Amy Cimo | Dec 24, 2018
    In 1910, Norman “Cap” Saurage opened a small general store in the Dixie neighborhood of Baton Rouge. With a fresh pot of free coffee always available, the store became a gathering place for the community.

    By 1919, the coffee became so well-liked by the store’s customers that Cap started grinding and packaging the coffee himself. Cap decided to name the blend “Community Coffee” out of appreciation for his community of friends and the customers he served.

    Giving back and maintaining that commitment to community is more than important to us—it’s part of our DNA. In honor of the upcoming New Year, we thought we’d take a look back at how Community Coffee Company gave back to communities across the globe in 2018.

    Folds of Honor
    Through the online #CommunityCares campaign, Community Coffee Company and its amazing customers raised $20,000 for Folds of Honor. Community also donated an additional $5,000 in honor of Southwest Airlines® employees, providing a total of $25,000 to support educational scholarships for the children and spouses of fallen and disabled U.S. service members.

    Community Cash for Schools®

    This year, more than 800 schools throughout the Southeastern United States participated in the Community Cash for Schools® program and earned over $328,500 for their teachers and students. The top earning school, Sts. Leo-Seton Catholic School in Lafayette, LA, earned $6,800 alone! These funds are used for programs and initiatives that best serve students’ needs, like new playground equipment, textbooks, computers, whiteboards and school events. Check out our Community Cash for Schools® page to learn more.

    Hurricane and Flood Relief Efforts

    Together with The Salvation Army and the USO of North Carolina, we aided those affected by Hurricane Florence the best way we know how – with plenty of hot, fresh coffee. Community Coffee employees were on the ground days after the storm with the USO following the National Guard to support their rescue operations. We also supported recovery efforts related to the destruction left by Hurricane Michael in Florida. The Community Coffee trolley was in Tallahassee and Panama City, making sure that first responders, military personnel, and evacuees all had a hot cup of coffee to remind them that people care. Between Hurricane Florence and Michael, 46,000 cups of Community® coffee were served.

    Military Match
    With the close of 2018, Community Coffee Company shipped more than 6.1 million cups of Community® coffee to active-duty military personnel around the world through its Military Match program. The program, founded in 2004, puts an inventive twist on care packages and helps give troops a cup of home no matter where they are. When a customer orders four bags or boxes of Community® coffee from our Military Match program, we automatically double the order to any overseas or stateside military base address.

    In an effort to further its commitment to sustainability, Community Coffee Company’s Coffee Service Division moved to new eco-friendly ThermoLite™ cups this year. In addition, Community transitioned to LED lighting in its offices, plants and facilities, which saved 2.8 million kilowatts of energy and reduced its carbon dioxide emissions by 1,900 tons. Community also continued its support of sustainable sourcing and land preservation through a number of programs and partnerships, like its Toledo and Labateca program.

    USO of North Carolina
    For the past four years, Community Coffee has partnered with the USO of North Carolina to provide coffee for each of the USO of NC’s 10 locations and to fund critical programs and services for military families. This October, Community Coffee was the presenting sponsor of the USO of NC’s annual Salute to Freedom gala, which honors outstanding service members from each branch of the military. As a sponsor of this year’s USO of NC’s Holiday for Heroes event, Community also enabled 400 military families in Raleigh, NC to receive presents from Santa.

  • Coffee 101: The Aroma

    by Amy Cimo | Dec 17, 2018
    Nothing beats that inviting smell of freshly brewed coffee. But did you know that aroma plays a major role in the taste of your cup?

    Smell is very important to what we taste—it helps us taste complex flavors beyond the basic sensations we can directly perceive with our tongues (which are sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami). This is why your favorite foods can sometimes taste bland when you have a cold or stuffy nose.

    Roasted coffee has over 800 aromatic compounds, beating out every other kind of beverage. Even wine has only 200-300 aromatic compounds!

    The aroma of coffee is the release of these flavorful compounds into the air—which is why fresh coffee often has a stronger aroma than older coffee (and tastes better, too!) Generally, the aroma of a coffee gets stronger as the roast gets darker, because more of the compounds have been released and are detectable.


    Aroma is one of the primary determinants of a coffee’s flavor. In fact, aroma is one of the main categories used by coffee tasters (or cuppers) to assess the quality of a coffee.

    Light roasts tend to produce fruity, herbaceous and floral aromas that contribute to their fruity, acidic taste. Medium roasts, like our American Classic or Breakfast Blend, give off a nuttier, chocolatey smell. Dark roasts, on the other hand, generally have a spicy, smoky or toasted aroma. Our Signature Blend Dark Roast and Private Reserve® Louisiana Blend® are great examples of this.


    Oftentimes, the aromas of a coffee blend so well with its flavors that it can be hard to set them apart. But you don’t have to be a coffee connoisseur to identify a coffee’s aroma.

    The next time you brew your favorite Community® coffee blend, see if you can smell the difference. Give the air around your brewer a deep sniff. What do you smell? What does it remind you of? Is it strong? Take note of the aroma, and see if you notice anything different after you take your first sip of coffee. It’s as simple as that!

  • How to Host More Productive Business Meetings

    by Amy Cimo | Dec 10, 2018

    Meetings don’t exactly hold a glowing reputation in the minds of most modern office workers — and often for good reason. The average worker spends 21 percent of their time on the job in meetings, and they think a quarter of that time is being wasted, according a recent survey by Accountemps, an accounting and finance staffing agency with offices around the country.

    The reality is that office gatherings are often the most efficient way to communicate, collaborate and come to important decisions, so it’s not practical to do away with them entirely. But workplace gatherings don’t have to be a monotonous drain on employee morale. It just takes the right approach to make them work for your organization.

    We rounded up some expert tips to help you plan the most productive — and engaging — meetings possible.

    Be Clear About The Purpose

    Managers sometimes get in the habit of calling meetings whether they need to or not. In the Accountemps survey, 63 percent of attendees listed unnecessary meetings as a top issue. Creating a productive office gathering means first honestly examining whether it’s absolutely necessary to schedule it in the first place.

    “Before calling a meeting, ask yourself if the information can be shared via email,” says Josh Warborg, district president of Accountemps. Sometimes a phone call will do. However, if an issue can be settled quicker and more effectively with a group discussion, then schedule a meeting.

    Without a clear agenda, meetings can go on forever, or they may end without covering the essential points. “Have a very clear intention of the help you want from the group,” says Stacey Engle, executive vice president at Fierce Conversations, a leadership-development and training company. “I recommend preparation that outlines what the issue is, why it’s significant, the ideal outcome and what specific help is wanted from the group.”

    For maximum effectiveness, post the agenda in advance so everyone can prepare for the discussion, Warborg says. The Accountemps research backs up these suggestions: 47 percent of survey respondents said they can’t prepare for meetings because they don’t know about agenda items in advance, while 49 percent said agendas are ignored.

    Experiment With Your Meeting Structure and Style

    Once you determine that a meeting is indeed required, it’s time to decide who actually should join in on the discussion. Depending on your organization, there’s a good chance it doesn’t need to involve everyone. “Keep the list of attendees small — only invite the people who need to be there,” Warborg says. Even at online tech giant Amazon, CEO Jeff Bezos reportedly imposes a rule of not planning a meeting in which two pizzas aren’t enough to feed everyone.

    Shorter, more inclusive meetings that make space for everyone to contribute productively will leave employees with a more positive feeling after the gathering — especially if you take care to ensure the content of the meeting is relevant to everyone involved.

    Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment with the style of your meeting. If your team is struggling to engage in longer sit-down meetings, consider holding a shorter meeting without chairs in which participants stand up. There is some evidence that shows stand-up meetings encourage participants to work together, share ideas and produce higher-quality work versus sit-down meetings.

    Create an Inviting Meeting Environment

    Creating a collaborative atmosphere where divers ideas and opinions can be shared freely is key. The Accountemps survey shows that too many workers cite attendees interrupting each other as top drawback of office meetings. Whether it’s a decision-making meeting or a brainstorming session, make sure one opinion does not dominate so you can gather as many ideas as possible, Engle says. “Draw out the differing perspectives and don’t let one opinion dominate,” she says.

    Finally, it should go without saying, but organizations should take steps to provide comfortable physical space for meetings. That means a reasonable temperature and enough space for everyone to attend and contribute comfortably. For meetings that exceed 30 minutes, offering water, coffee or even light snacks is a great way to create an inviting atmosphere and encourage attendance. Offering a variety of options, including cold brew, can help make everyone feel welcome.

    There’s also a good chance including coffee in the meeting will lead to a more productive exchange of ideas. Research indicates that employees who drink coffee with peers before a group discussion are more likely to participate in the discussion and to have a positive view of both the discussion and their co-workers. The study also found that coffee drinkers were more alert during group discussions and provided better input. 

  • Giving a Homemade Holiday Gift

    by Amy Cimo | Dec 04, 2018

    Giving a homemade gift can be a great way to show someone you care this holiday season—not to mention it can be a bit easier on your wallet, too. Spending some time and effort on making a gift, especially if it’s a little personalized, can make it that much more meaningful.

    DIY doesn’t always equal inexpensive or thoughtful, so make sure to consider how your gift can match the interests of the recipient and check the costs of materials before you start crafting. We’ve curated 5 ideas below for easy homemade holiday gifts to DIY for your friends and family this holiday season.

    1. For the Foodie: Peppermint Chocolate Bark Who would say no to homemade treats? Anyone is sure to enjoy receiving a holiday-flavored dessert like a batch of this Peppermint Chocolate Bark, made with simple ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. Add coffee beans on top for an added crunch, or give it alongside a bag or box of our delicious Dark Chocolate Peppermint flavored coffee for an extra minty sweet treat.


    2. For the Book Lover: Yarn Ball Pom Pom Bookmark A DIY bookmark is a cute and inexpensive gift for a student, teacher, or anyone who enjoys reading. This Pom Pom Bookmark is especially easy, requiring only scissors and yarn, and you can customize it to the gift receiver’s favorite color. To make it extra special, pair it with a book you think they’d enjoy!


    3. For the Pet Obsessed: Custom Doggie Bow-Tie We all know someone who’s obsessed with their dog. Let their four-legged friend get all dressed up for the holidays too with this DIY Doggy Bow Tie. You can completely customize the size, fabric, color and more, so it’s sure to be the perfect fit!


    4. For the Fashionista: Brass Palm Leaf Earrings For the friend or family member who always seems to be perfectly on trend, try these Wire Leaf Earrings that are both easy to make and very in style. They’re sure to be impressed by how good they look!


    5. For the Environmentalist: T-Shirt Produce Bag Look no further than your own closet for a homemade gift idea –turn one of your old t-shirts into a produce bag. Not only is it easy and free, it’s doubly environmentally-conscious to upcycle a shirt you no longer wear into a sturdy reusable produce bag that the receiver can bring to the grocery store time after time.

  • 5 Tips for Cyber Monday Savings

    by Amy Cimo | Nov 21, 2018
    The day online shoppers have been waiting for all year is right around the corner: Cyber Monday! On Monday, November 26, savvy shoppers across the nation will scour the web hoping to find the best holiday deals. If you’re planning to participate this year, check out the tips below to get the most bang for your buck!

    1. Do Your Research
    To help calculate your savings, look for Cyber Monday announcements before the big day (like our promo for 33% off all online orders with the code SAVINGS). Though many retailers won’t publish Cyber Monday deals on their website ahead of time, some will announce deals on their social media channels or through online newsletters. Checking out last year’s deals can also give you a good idea of what to expect this year.

    2. Make a List
    Put together a shopping list before Cyber Monday to keep yourself on track and avoid overspending. Make note of the typical pricing for items so you can easily compare it with the Cyber Monday price and determine if they’re worth purchasing.

    3. Sign Up for Rewards
    Make the most of your online shopping by earning rewards with each purchase. As Entrepreneur writer Lydia Belanger points out, “If you’re not already using apps such as Ebates and Shopkick to get coupon codes and cash back on purchases, consider downloading one of them before you spend big on Cyber Monday.” Ebates offers a $10 bonus to new members, and after you spend $25 through the site, you can refer a friend for an additional $25 bonus. Don’t forget to check with your credit or debit card company to see if they’re offering any cash back deals, too!

    4. Create Accounts in Advance
    Many online retailers require you to sign in or create an account before purchasing. If you have an idea of which online stores you’re planning to visit on Cyber Monday, create an account before then to save time and streamline the checkout process. If you already have an account, make sure you know the username and password associated with it.  

    5. Start Early
    Last year, 81 million consumers shopped on Cyber Monday and spent an estimated $6.59 billion—a record for the most ever spent on the digital holiday. In order to avoid the stress of the dreaded “sold out” notification, start your Cyber Monday shopping early in the day. Plus, early morning shoppers generally land the steepest discounts.

  • Find Your New Favorite Thanksgiving Recipe

    by Amy Cimo | Nov 19, 2018
    Whether it’s grandma’s secret gravy recipe or a sweet spoonful of cranberry sauce, we all have our favorite Thanksgiving dish. An estimated 88% of Americans will chow down on turkey this year, and almost 50 million pumpkin pies will be eaten on the holiday. But did you know that the first Thanksgiving menu may not have featured turkey?

    Culinary historians believe that much of the first Thanksgiving meal consisted of seafood like mussels, lobster and clams, which were abundant in New England at the time.

    If you’re searching for some new and different Thanksgiving recipes, we’ve collected a few family favorites with help from our social media fans.

    Homemade Hoosier Pie
    This simple and sweet pie recipe comes from Nick's Kitchen, a historic restaurant in Huntington, Indiana. Pair with Community® Café Special® for a special post-dinner touch!

    2 c. heavy cream
    1/2 c. all-purpose flour
    1/2 c. brown sugar
    1/2 c. granulated sugar
    3 tbsp. granulated sugar
    1/2 c. whole milk
    1 tsp. vanilla extract
    1 store-bought piecrust
    1 tbsp. unsalted butter
    1 tsp. ground cinnamon

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. For filling: In a medium bowl, combine heavy cream, flour, brown sugar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, milk, and vanilla.

    Fit crust into a 9-inch pie pan and dot bottom with butter. Pour filling into crust. Combine cinnamon and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar and sprinkle on top.

    Bake pie until set and center is firm to touch, about 1 hour. Cool on a wire rack and enjoy!

    Oyster Dressing
    This Gulf Shore-inspired Thanksgiving recipe is by Lucy Buffet, owner of LuLu’s restaurant in Gulf Shores, Alabama and sister of musician Jimmy Buffet. “Usually, it’s all gone by the end of the day because the kids go back for thirds and fourths, just digging directly into the pan,” Buffet says.

    1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, divided
    1 (8-inch-square) baked and cooled cornbread, preferably on the sweet side
    15 slices white or wheat bread, toasted and cooled
    1/2 large white onion, finely chopped
    2 celery ribs, finely chopped
    1/2 large green bell pepper, finely chopped
    1/2 cup chicken broth
    2 dozen freshly shucked or jarred oysters, preferably Gulf oysters, drained and coarsely chopped (reserve the oyster liquor)
    1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
    1 tablespoon hot sauce
    1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
    1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped, or 1 teaspoon ground sage
    1 1/2 teaspoons truffle salt or sea salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper


    Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by 13-inch baking dish.

    Crumble cornbread into a large bowl. Tear toasted white or wheat bread into very small pieces, add to cornbread, and toss to combine

    Melt 8 tablespoons butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onion, celery and bell pepper; sauté, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Cover pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are almost translucent, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove cover, add broth, and cook, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, for 2 to 3 minutes. Continue to cook mixture for 1 more minute, then remove from heat, add to bread mixture, and stir to combine.

    In a medium bowl, stir together oysters, lemon juice, hot sauce, parsley, sage, salt and white pepper. Add to bread mixture and stir well to combine. If dressing seems too dry, add a little oyster liquor and up to 1/2 cup more chicken broth; mixture should be very moist.

    Pour dressing into greased baking dish. Cut remaining 4 tablespoons butter into small pieces and scatter over top of dressing. Bake until top and sides are browned, 40 to 45 minutes.

    Stuffed Cabbage
    This delicious recipe is from Tori Avey, author of The History Kitchen column for PBS Food and creator of the popular cooking blog ToriAvey.com. “Stuffed cabbage is a wonderful dish for the autumn and winter months,” Avey says. “It’s cozy and satisfying, and it’s also pretty healthy. It’s gluten free (when using certified GF packaged products), low in carbs, high in protein and full of fiber.”

    1 large green cabbage 3.5-4 lbs.
    1 lb ground beef, ground chicken, or a mixture
    1 cup cooked long grain rice, white or brown
    1/3 cup finely minced onion
    2 tbsp fresh minced dill
    1 large egg
    1 1/2 cups sauerkraut divided
    28 oz tomato sauce, divided 2 cans
    14 oz diced or crushed tomatoes 1 can
    2 tbsp fresh lemon juice or more to taste
    2 tbsp brown sugar or more to taste
    2 tbsp tomato paste
    1 tbsp paprika
    1 clove garlic minced
    1/4 tsp allspice
    1/2 cup chicken stock or water
    Salt and pepper to taste

    Rinse the cabbage clean, then immerse it in a large pot of boiling water and cook it for 4-5 minutes until leaves are soft and pliable, but not overly soft. Drain the cabbage in a colander and let it sit until cool enough to handle.

    Prepare your filling. In a bowl, mix together ground meat, cooked rice, minced onion, minced dill, egg, ½ cup sauerkraut (drained of juice), 1/3 cup tomato sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Peel off the large cabbage leaves from the head of cabbage, keeping only the leaves that are whole/intact and big enough to stuff. Chop up the remaining smaller leaves along with the core of the cabbage. Reserve.

    Place your large leaves on a cutting board. Take a leaf and pat it dry with a paper towel. Shave down the tough, thick part of the stem at the base of each leaf using a paring knife, being careful not to cut through the leaf itself. Repeat process for the remaining leaves.

    Place a leaf on the cutting board, stem end closest to you. Place 1/4 to 1/3 cup of filling at the base of the leaf, centered, about 1/2 inch above the edge. Do not over-stuff the leaves. Fold the base of the leaf up and over the filling till it’s completely covered. Fold the left edge of the leaf inward. Leave the right side of the leaf open. Continue rolling the leaf till it’s completely rolled up (with the right end still loose/open), then tuck the loose end of the leaf inward. Repeat for the remaining leaves.

    In a small saucepan, combine the rest of the tomato sauce with the diced or crushed tomatoes, lemon juice, brown sugar, tomato paste, paprika, garlic and allspice. Warm up over medium heat till bubbly and fragrant. Put remaining 1 cup of sauerkraut and the chopped cabbage leaves/core into the bottom of a pot. Spread the mixture out to create an even layer, then pour ½ cup of chicken broth or water over the top of the leaves.

    Add in the stuffed cabbage leaves, and top with the rest of the sauce. Heat the pot over medium high and bring the sauce to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to a slow simmer and cover the pot. Let the cabbage leaves cook for 2-2 ½ hours till the thickest parts of the leaves are tender.

  • Community Coffee Salutes to Freedom

    by Amy Cimo | Nov 12, 2018

    By: John Falkenbury, USO of North Carolina president and CEO

    Bagpipes. Colors. Uniforms. Service Anthems. These mark the beginning of the USO of North Carolina’s Salute to Freedom Gala each year. The gala is an opportunity for North Carolinians to come together in support of America’s service members and military families. Military members share stories of heroism and leadership, and attendees learn about how their support is making an impact on the lives of those who serve. It’s safe to say that the gala is my favorite night of the year. You can feel the Patriotism across the room, and I am so proud to be part of such a special evening.

    October 6, 2018, our team hosted the 14th Annual Salute to Freedom Gala at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel in Durham, North Carolina. Presented by Community Coffee for the 4th consecutive year, the event raised more than $300,000 for our military.

    web_usogala2018_347_mattAs Community Coffee approached its 100th anniversary, our team knew that we wanted to make a special presentation to recognize the company’s outstanding effort to partner with the USO of North Carolina and help strengthen those who serve. We were honored to host two generations of the Saurage family – Mr. Matt Saurage, and his mother Donna, along with the Community Coffee team. We presented Matt Saurage with a one-of-a-kind shadow box, highlighting the history of our partnership and all of the good that has come from it.

    Saurage took the stage and had one, strong and inspiring message for military members in the audience: “I respect and thank you for what you do in honor of our flag, for your service to our community and our country.”

    Guests enjoyed music, dinner and dessert accompanied by Community Coffee’sweb_usogala2018_577_coffee signature dark roast coffee, but most importantly, heard the stories of six outstanding service members from each branch of our military. Each service member was nominated by their command to be recognized for going above and beyond in and out of uniform. From volunteering at home and overseas, to jumping into action in emergencies, and even standing in the face of danger to save their brothers and sisters in arms - these service members stories reflected the upmost values of our military.

    They are the reason that the gala is so important. They are the reason that the USO of North Carolina and Community Coffee continue to team up year after year to make sure that we connect those service members to family, home and country.

    Outside of the gala, Community Coffee is the “official coffee of the USO of North Carolina,” providing coffee to 11 locations across the state. Additional support includes holiday programs for service members and their families to boost morale during a season that can mean separation for many military members that cannot return home for the holidays.

    USO TrolleyMost recently, the Community Coffee trolley deployed with the USO of North Carolina Mobile Center in support of National Guard service members that were working disaster relief after Hurricanes Florence and Michael. Soldier’s faces lit up every time that they saw the trolley and realized that they were about to receive a cup of warm, real coffee, rather than what was provided in their MREs (Meals Ready to Eat).

    Community Coffee customers carry on that commitment year round by participating in the military match program, which reminds service members that they are missed, loved and respected.

    As we reflect on an amazing year of partnership, and an amazing evening recognizing those who serve, we are so grateful for the kindness, support, and touch of home made possible by the Community Coffee team and its customers. We are honored that you have chosen us as part of the community you serve. Thank you for being the Force Behind the Forces!

  • A Guide to Grinding Coffee Beans

    by Amy Cimo | Nov 05, 2018

    Grinding your own coffee is one of the easiest ways to upgrade your coffee experience. The grind of your coffee beans has a huge impact on the flavor of your coffee, and once you’ve found your favorite brew method, can help you customize your perfect cup.

    Though it may seem a bit daunting, grinding your coffee beans is relatively easy with the right tools and knowledge in hand.

    Pick A Grinder
    The first step to grinding your own coffee is investing in a quality coffee grinder. Though many types of grinders exist, you’ll generally find two types of grinders: blade and burr. Blade grinders are functional and tend to be more inexpensive. However, consistency is key when it comes to grinding coffee beans, and burr models can provide a more consistent grind.

    • Blade Grinders: Much like a blender or food processor, blade grinders use fast moving blades to chop up the coffee beans into grounds. The longer you grind, the finer the grind size will be.
    • Burr Grinders: Burr Grinders work by pulverizing the coffee beans between two revolving discs or “burrs.” The size of the grind is determined by the distance between the burrs, which can be changed. The less distance between the burrs, the finer the grind size will be.

    Select Your Grind Size
    Next, you’ll need to figure out your grind size, which is determined by your brew method. Certain grind consistencies work best with specific brewing methods and help prevent over or under extracting the coffee flavor. For example, a coarser grind is generally recommended for French press brewing, as finer grinds can lead to a flavor that’s too bitter for many coffee drinkers.

    • Extra Coarse Grind: Cold brewing, toddy brewers
    • Coarse Grind: French press, percolators
    • Medium Grind: Drip coffee makers, manual pour overs
    • Medium Fine Grind: Siphon brewers
    • Fine Grind: Espresso, Moka pot

    Make It Fresh

    Once you decide on a grind size, be sure to grind your coffee beans right before brewing to keep your coffee as flavorful and aromatic as possible. Air, moisture, heat and light can all compromise the flavor of your coffee, so try to store your beans in an opaque, air-tight container at room temperature, like our Fresh-O-Lator® Canister.

  • Get in the Spooky Spirit with Halloween-Inspired Brownies

    by Amy Cimo | Oct 29, 2018

    Headed to a Halloween celebration this week? You’re in good company!

    According to the National Retail Federation, more than 175 million Americans are planning to partake in Halloween festivities this year. Total spending on the spooky holiday is estimated to reach $9 billion, and consumers are expected to spend $2.6 billion on candy alone. Americans will purchase nearly 300,000 tons—equivalent to the weight of six titanic ships—of the sugary sweets. Now that’s a lot of candy!

    Instead of bringing another bowl of candy corn to the party, try putting a spooky spin on some of your favorite recipes.

    Use red gel frosting to top baked goods for an easy gruesome look, like in this Bloody Good Cheesecake recipe. Add candy eyeballs to cookies or tarts for an instant mummy effect, or make marshmallows into ghosts with some quick chocolate piping.

    This decadent spider web-inspired brownie recipe is the perfect dessert to serve at Halloween get-togethers, and will keep your friends and family guessing about the secret ingredient—coffee!  Coffee is a great way to intensify and enhance the flavor of chocolate in recipes. (Check out our post “Don’t Just Sip … Eat Your Coffee!” for more on cooking and baking with coffee.)

    To complete the treat, we recommend pairing these brownies with a smooth, full-bodied dark roast, like our Private Reserve® Evangeline Blend™.

    Spider Web Swirl Brownies
    Serves: 12-16 / Prep: 15 Mins / Cook: 35 Mins

    • 1 cup unsalted butter
    • 5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
    • 2 tbsp. ground Community® Signature Blend Dark Roast coffee
    • 1 1/3 cups sugar
    • 1 1/2 tsps. vanilla extract
    • 6 large eggs
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
    • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

    1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 13x9 inch baking pan with baking spray.
    2. In a medium saucepan, heat the butter, chocolate and ground coffee on low heat. Whisk constantly until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
    3. In a large bowl, whisk together the chocolate mixture, 1 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add 5 eggs, one at a time, whisking until glossy and smooth.
    4. In a small bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture, whisking until combined.
    5. Spread batter into the prepared baking pan.
    6. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add remaining 1/3 cup sugar, remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and remaining 1 egg, beating until combined.
    7. Gently pour the cream cheese mixture into the baking pan. Swirl together using a knife.
    8. Bake 30-35 mins and let cool completely.
    9. Use a pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter to shape brownies, if desired.
    10. Enjoy!

  • St. Bernard Knows the Importance of Community

    by Amy Cimo | Oct 24, 2018

    St. Bernard School in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana is constantly searching for new ways to bring together family, friends, and faith. For years the school has participated in the Community Cash for Schools® program, but this year the school was thrilled to find that out of over 800 schools, they were one of our top earners. St. Bernard is excited to use the funds to thank students and parents for all the hard work they do.

    While many participants in our Community Cash for Schools® program use their earned funds to purchase books or tangible materials, the staff at St. Bernard decided to do something a little different.

    Community keeps the town of Breaux Bridge alive, and they are always looking for new opportunities to bring everyone together. St. Bernard School decided to use their earnings to host several events with a community focus. Tangible items will eventually need replacement, but the memories of these events will never fade for members of the Breaux Bridge community.

    St. Bernard School first hosted a Father Daughter Dance. The evening was full of dancing and good times to be had by all attendees. Next came the Mother Son Bowling event called Blessings and Bowling. These two events help to foster closer family relations.

    The final event the school chose to host had a spooky Halloween theme. The event was called Boo Bash. The Boo Bash gave children and their families from all over the community the opportunity to congregate at the school and trick-or-treat together. This event allowed children to show off their Halloween costumes while still being in a safe, family-friendly environment.

    Although the ways to spend their earnings are nearly endless, St. Bernard chose to help students and members of the surrounding community make lasting memories.  

    Learn more about the Community Cash for Schools® program at CommunityCoffee.com/CashForSchools.

  • Ways to Avoid a Caffeine Crash

    by Amy Cimo | Oct 23, 2018
    We’ve all been there.

    It’s Monday morning and you wake up exhausted. Maybe you had a busy weekend, or maybe you’re struggling with jet lag. Tackling the day seems impossible, so you enjoy a cup or two more of coffee than you normally would.

    Then, a few hours later, 1:00 pm hits and you start to feel tired. You check the clock and realize you’ve been hit by a caffeine crash.

    A caffeine crash typically occurs 3-4 hours after a person has consumed a moderate to high dose of caffeine and was previously in a tired state. Symptoms can include tiredness, irritability and fatigue.

    So, how can you avoid an afternoon slump?

    Don’t Consume Caffeine on an Empty Stomach

    Food gives us the energy we need to perform at our best and make it through the day. Enjoy a healthy protein-packed meal before your cup of coffee to keep your energy levels stable. Check out our morning time-saving tips to help make time for a nutritious breakfast.

    Spread Out Caffeine Consumption
    Avoid a midday crash by spreading your coffee consumption throughout the workday. Instead of loading up on coffee in the morning, try sipping one cup during the course of the day, or enjoying one cup in the morning and one in the afternoon. It may even make you a better co-worker!

    Stay Hydrated
    We all know that drinking about eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day is essential for our bodies to function properly. But did you know that it can help your caffeine consumption, too? Dehydration causes us to feel tired—meaning we’ll feel the effects of a caffeine crash even more. Staying hydrated may help improve concentration and keep us more alert throughout the day. 

    Get a Good Night’s Sleep
    Though it may seem obvious, getting an adequate amount of rest is crucial to avoiding a midday drop in energy levels. We usually drink the most caffeine when we feel tired, so we’re going to notice as soon as that temporary energy boost wears off. For adults,7-9 hours of sleep per night should do the trick. 

  • Coffee 101: The Format

    by Amy Cimo | Oct 15, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Make Mornings Easier with This Coffee-Infused Smoothie Recipe

    by Amy Cimo | Oct 08, 2018

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

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

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

    3. Stretch

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

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


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

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

  • How to Overcome Writer’s Block

    by Amy Cimo | Oct 01, 2018

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

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

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

    Gather Your Thoughts

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

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

    Embrace the ‘Zero Draft’

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

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

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

    Step Away for a Break

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

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

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

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

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

    by Amy Cimo | Sep 25, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

    Basil Coffee-Ade

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


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


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

    Sparkling Mint Coffee-Ade

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


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


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

    Light Coffee-Ade

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


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


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

  • The Difference Between Cold-Brew and Iced Coffee

    by Amy Cimo | Sep 17, 2018

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

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

    How It’s Made

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

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

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

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

    How It Tastes

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

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

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

    How Caffeinated It Is

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

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

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

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