• Behind the Research to Save Coffee From Severe Weather Conditions

    by Amy Cimo | Aug 06, 2018

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

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

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

    An International Challenge

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

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

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

    Breeding Programs

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

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

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

    Worldwide Research Centers

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

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

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


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  • Community Coffee Helps Colombian Coffee Growers Remain Competitive

    by Amy Cimo | Jul 30, 2018

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

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

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

    Solar Dryer Project

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Effects on the Community

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

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

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


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  • How Science Is Protecting the Future of Coffee

    by Amy Cimo | Jul 23, 2018

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

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

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

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

    Climate Change Initiatives

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

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

    International Research Centers

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

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

    Better Plants for Farmers

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

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

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

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

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


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  • 5 Things to Do for National Anti-Boredom Month

    by Amy Cimo | Jul 16, 2018

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

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

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

    Be a Tourist in Your Own Town

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

    Study a Foreign Language

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

    Develop a New Skill

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

    Volunteer Your Time

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

    Celebrate With Tea or Coffee

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

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


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  • Serving Our Military

    by Amy Cimo | Jul 09, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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  • Celebrate the 4th of July With These Yummy Recipes

    by Amy Cimo | Jul 02, 2018

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

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

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

    Coffee Rubbed Pork Ribeye with Java Q Sauce

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

    Ingredients:

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

    For the rub:

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

    For the Java Q Sauce:

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

    Directions:

    Whisk together all ingredients for the rub.

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

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

    Brisket Sliders with Carrot Cilantro Slaw

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

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

    Ingredients:

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

    For the slaw:

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

    Directions:

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

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

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

    Red, White & Blueberry Cake

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

    Ingredients:

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

    Directions:

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

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

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

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


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

    by Amy Cimo | Jun 25, 2018

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

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

    Here’s what the researchers found.

    You’ll Be More Agreeable

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

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

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

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

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

    You’ll Be More Alert

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

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

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

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

    It’s Not Necessarily the Caffeine

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

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


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  • 6 Refreshing Ways to Celebrate National Iced Tea Month

    by Amy Cimo | Jun 18, 2018

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

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

    Rent a Kayak, Bicycle or Motorcycle

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

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

    Strike a Pose

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

    Camp Out in Your Backyard

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

    Pull Into a Drive-in Movie

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

    Take a Local Road Trip

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

    Pick Your Own Lunch

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

    Enjoy a Glass of Porch Breeze Tea

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


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

    by Amy Cimo | Jun 11, 2018

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

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

    For the Coffee Enthusiast — Community® Special Blends Sampler 

    specialblends-sampler

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

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

    GET IT

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

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

    GET IT

    For the New Dad — Stroller Cell Phone Holder 

    stroller cell phone holder















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

    GET IT

    For the Active Dad — Running-Shoe Lights 

    running shoes









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

    GET IT

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

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

    GET IT

    For the Bookworm — Coffee Book 

    coffee book

















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

    GET IT

    For the Tailgater — Igloo Trailmate Cooler

    igloo cooler













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

    GET IT

    For the Home Chef — Burger and Slider Press

    burger press













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

    GET IT

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

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

    GET IT

    For the Absent-Minded Dad — Tile Sport 

    tile













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

    GET IT

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

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

    GET IT





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  • Elevate Your Cold-Brew Coffee with These 3 Tricks

    by Amy Cimo | Jun 04, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Make It Fizzy

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

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

    Add Some Chicory

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

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

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

    Try a Splash of Coconut

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

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

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

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


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

    by Amy Cimo | May 29, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

    Community Coffee Company has launched a new “Fly More When You Buy More” campaign in partnership with Southwest Airlines®. In an effort to thank our customers, we’re offering the opportunity to get Southwest Rapid Rewards® bonus points with the purchase of specially-marked packages of Community® Signature Blend Dark Roast and Breakfast Blend single-serve coffee. From April through the summer, customers can earn 150, 200 or 500 Southwest Rapid Rewards® bonus points with the purchase of 12-count, 18-count or 80-count specially-marked boxes. To participate, enter the unique product code located inside each specially-marked package at CommunityCoffee.com/Rewards to receive a certificate via email to claim your Southwest Rapid Rewards® bonus points. A Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® account is required to redeem the rewards. Visit southwest.com/enroll to enroll.


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  • NOTES FROM OUR MILITARY: 6.1 MILLION CUPS OF COMMUNITY® COFFEE SHIPPED TO SUPPORT OUR TROOPS

    by Amy Cimo | May 21, 2018

    We have been thanking U.S. military personnel by doubling customer coffee orders for free through our Military Match program for almost a decade. Over 6.1 million cups of Community® coffee have given our heroes a taste of home and customers have reached back out to share their thoughts on the program.

    Susie’s Shipment

    Recently, Susie, a customer of Community Coffee Company, sent in a moving story about our Military Match program. Susie's brother is stationed overseas for the United States Military. Her sister-in-law had suggested sending him some Community® coffee for the long nights at work and to give him a taste of home. She sent him several bags of coffee through our Military Match program thinking the amount should last him several months.

    His response was heartwarming. He wrote of his long nights and longer days spent working together with Canadian and Royal Airforce pilots. Though the work is hard, the crew is fueled by Community coffee. "Your coffee has made a daily impact. Even the French staff officer has a great appreciation for the local Louisiana coffee.” Her brother says after all the planning is done for the day all the crew members look forward to partaking in the local brand which has become respected as the best there is. 

    Handwritten Notes

    At a Community Coffee Company employee event, our team members had the opportunity to personally show their support of our military heroes by writing “Thank You” notes to military personnel, which were then placed in our Military Match boxes and shipped to servicemen and servicewomen across the globe.

    Recently, we received a thank you letter from Chris, a U.S. Department of State diplomat, who has been serving overseas in various U.S. embassies. He has been our customer since 2006. He wrote to Our Company in response to the handwritten note that was delivered to him.

    “Someone took time out of their day to write a handwritten note to me, which I sincerely appreciate.  It was not necessary and I truly believe that their sentiments are completely genuine. This simple and kind act only reinforced to me that your company deserves my total loyalty. While you had a loyal customer before, this simple card only ensured that I will only buy your coffee in the future and if I run out, I will just wait until your coffee arrives to drink more. Please accept my sincere appreciation for your generosity, kindness, and simple humanity that you have shown to me and all the millions of military members over the long years.”

    • Chris, U.S. State Department and loyal Community® coffee consumer

    More than 2.2 million men and women serve in the U.S. military. By doubling orders for free, Community Coffee Company ensures all servicemen and servicewomen have the opportunity to get a taste of home. 

    Military Match Overview
    Customers purchase four bags or boxes of Community® coffee from CommunityCoffee.com/Military-Match for those serving in the military. The company then matches the order with four additional bags or boxes, ships the extra four items at its cost and sends a total of eight items plus a signature Military Match mug. The customer supplies the overseas (APO/FPO) or stateside military base address.

    Military Match Varieties Offered
    Customers have the opportunity to choose from their favorite blends which include a variety of sizes, formats and flavors. A complete listing is available at CommunityCoffee.com/Military-Match. Community Coffee Company encourages ordering at least 30 business days ahead of desired arrival date for some overseas destinations.



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  • How an Abandoned Trip to a Costa Rica Souvenir Shop Transformed a Couple’s Lives

    by Amy Cimo | May 14, 2018

    At its best, travel offers the chance to expand personal horizons through new experiences and the forging of connections with people in unfamiliar destinations. It just doesn’t always play out that way. Sometimes your life can change on the way to the souvenir shop.

    In 2005 as a second-year undergrad at the University of Virginia, Lyndsay Anderson traveled to Costa Rica on a spring break trip with 16 other students. Toward the end of the excursion, she and two friends set out to shop for souvenirs before heading home. They broke away from the group and stopped for lunch at El Coconut, a beachside bar and restaurant, where Lyndsay noticed a young man wearing a UVA shirt and a Yankees cap.

    “I was like, those are my two teams,” she says. “Who is this guy and how have I never met him? I introduced myself.”

    Steven turned out to be a recent UVA graduate visiting for a friend’s wedding. They struck up a conversation that proved to be quite consequential. “Seven hours later we hadn’t moved,” Lyndsay says. “We never bought souvenirs. I was supposed to use the payphone to call my brother, but I didn’t.”

    They ran into each other again at the airport and ended up spending more time getting to know each other. “He bought me a hotdog and beer with his last $1.50 and I remember thinking if this was our first date, we’ve got a lot of room for growth,” she says.

    They agreed to keep in touch but didn’t expect their spring break connection to develop into anything serious. “It was just cool that we could talk about UVA sports together,” she says. As it turns out, they were quite wrong.

    Though Steven was living two hours away from Lyndsay in Washington, D.C., the two stayed in touch and eventually started dating. Today they’ve been married for nine years and have two sons — all thanks to a chance encounter at a beachside restaurant thousands of miles from home.

    IMG_5287Lyndsay and Steven have returned multiple times to the town of Tamarindo, a popular beach destination on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, and have enjoyed drinks on the beach at El Coconut. “It’s really fortunate that the little restaurant we met in still exists,” she says.

    The couple now live in Sacramento, California, but continue to experience new destinations, including trips with their children. “That’s one of the reasons why my husband and I work so well — because we both love traveling and exploring,” she says.

     

    Community Coffee Company has launched a new “Fly More When You Buy More” campaign in partnership with Southwest Airlines®. In an effort to thank our customers, we’re offering the opportunity to get Southwest Rapid Rewards® bonus points with the purchase of specially-marked packages of Community® Signature Blend Dark Roast and Breakfast Blend single-serve coffee. From April through the summer, customers can earn 150, 200 or 500 Southwest Rapid Rewards® bonus points with the purchase of 12-count, 18-count or 80-count specially-marked boxes. To participate, enter the unique product code located inside each specially-marked package at CommunityCoffee.com/Rewards to receive a certificate via email to claim your Southwest Rapid Rewards® bonus points. A Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® account is required to redeem the rewards. Visit southwest.com/enroll to enroll.


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  • Celebrate Mom and Cool Off with This Refreshing Mint-Infused Watermelon Summer Salad

    by Amy Cimo | May 07, 2018

    Mother’s Day became an official American holiday in 1914 thanks to the efforts of West Virginia activist Anna Marie Jarvis, who had pushed for years to create a day to honor the mothers of the world and their impact on society. The tradition quickly spread internationally and has not only endured but grown in popularity over the past century.

    In Louisiana most years, summer heat is in full effect by the time Mother’s Day rolls around on the second Sunday of May — even though the first day of summer is weeks away. For a simple recipe to celebrate this holiday and also help keep you cool, we turned to Steve Diehl of Twine Market and Deli in Baton Rouge, which creates fresh dishes daily with an emphasis on using locally raised meat and produce.

    Diehl suggested a watermelon summer salad with mint vinaigrette, which the shop sells by the pound to hungry customers. The recipe combines the sweetness of watermelon with salty and creamy feta cheese — all topped with a bright mint vinaigrette that evokes the sunshine of summer. Cucumber, radish, tomato and thinly sliced red onion finish off this crowd-pleasing and refreshing salad.

    “It’s very summery,” Diehl says. “You’re going to taste the watermelon, and the cucumber and radish give a nice crunch to the salad. The mint vinaigrette rounds those flavors out nicely.”

    This easy-to-make salad is a perfect Sunday picnic dish — preferably after a comfortable breakfast in bed for Mom. We recommend pairing it with Community® 100% Colombia Altura coffee. Carefully sourced from the Andes Mountains, where the high altitude is known for developing a rich, bright and winey flavor, this blend will nicely complement the fruity summer flavors of this salad.

    Watermelon Salad

    • 2 cups watermelon, seeded and cut into cubes
    • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
    • 1 cup radishes, thinly sliced
    • 1 cup red onion, thinly sliced
    • 1 English cucumber, cut into cubes
    • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

    Combine ingredients in large bowl and mix thoroughly.

    Mint Vinaigrette

    • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
    • 2 tablespoons finely minced shallots
    • Ground black pepper, to taste
    • 1/2 cup olive oil

    Combine all but the olive oil in a food processor until minced, then slowly add olive oil until blended. If you don’t have a food processor, simply combine the ingredients in a bowl and whisk while slowly adding the olive oil. Toss the salad ingredients in the dressing.

  • How an Overseas Airport, a Stranger and a Hug Led to a New Perspective on Travel

    by Amy Cimo | Apr 30, 2018

    By the time Trish McFarlane stepped off a plane in Amman, she was exhausted and a bit disoriented from the 15-hour flight from Chicago to Marka International Airport, the bustling Mideast hub just outside Jordan’s capital city.

    FMBM-43018-1McFarlane, a human resources consultant who travels extensively for work, was on her way to Dubai for a major industry conference. The business trip was the Missouri native’s first to the Middle East, and she had by chance arrived on the same night as the 2015 Paris terror attack, which had ratcheted up tensions around the globe.

    As McFarlane walked through the terminal, she saw the images from the tragedy on television screens. The fear of the unknown from arriving alone in such an unfamiliar place loomed large. “I was very anxious and overly tired,” she says.

    McFarlane was still frazzled as she grabbed her luggage and headed to the ladies room, where she immediately encountered an older woman working as an airport custodian. They were the only two people in the restroom, and the stranger — whom McFarlane describes as “grandmotherly” — seemed fascinated by the Midwestern American who had just walked through the door. Neither of the women spoke the other’s language, but they did their best to communicate. “We were just trying to figure each other out,” she says. “I think she could tell I was nervous.”

    Then something remarkable happened. “She just walked up and hugged me,” McFarlane says. “Really hugged me — like your grandmother would hug you. And I just let her. I normally wouldn’t do that.”

    McFarlane says she’s not sure whether her own anxiety and fear of the unknown were so transparent that the woman felt the need to comfort her in an overt way, or if the woman was just extremely friendly by nature. Regardless of the motivation, the woman’s gesture helped put McFarlane at ease and move beyond any fear about how she would be treated traveling alone in an unfamiliar region of the world. She thanked the woman, who was smiling and nodding as McFarlane left.

    “It gave me such a great start to my trip because I went into the rest of my trip and had a wonderful time,” she says. “People on the whole trip couldn’t have been more wonderful to me. I was so paranoid about what other people thought about Westerners and it wasn’t that way at all. Everybody I met was so warm and welcoming to me. But I feel like it all started with her.”

    McFarlane says that beyond easing her immediate concerns about that trip, the moment was pivotal in transforming her approach to travel and allowing her to open herself up more to the idea of making connections with new people in unfamiliar places.

    “I realized you can be really nervous about something, you can be really apprehensiveFMBM-43018-2 about something, but you just have to remain open in the moment,” she says. “We’re really not all that different. You don’t have to speak the language, but you can make a connection with someone on that basic human level. It’s changed my travel outlook when I go anywhere now. I’ve been to a lot more countries since then and I’m always really open to those encounters and not afraid. She just changed me as a traveler. She was their best ambassador.”

    McFarlane, who while growing up near St. Louis traveled only to Florida every year for family vacations, now sees her trips as an exploration, as well as a chance to cultivate connections and build relationships with people from different cultures and backgrounds, experiences she relishes after having been raised in what she says was a “sheltered Midwestern town.”

    “Whether you’re going to London or Hong Kong or New York, you’re meeting people from all over the world and everybody fits,” she says. “I think that’s what I like the most.”

     

    Community Coffee Co. has launched a new “Fly More When You Buy More” campaign in partnership with Southwest Airlines®. In an effort to thank our customers, we’re offering the opportunity to get Southwest Rapid Rewards® bonus points with the purchase of specially marked packages of Community® Signature Blend Dark Roast and Breakfast Blend single-serve coffee. From now through the summer, customers can earn 150, 200 or 500 Southwest Rapid Rewards® bonus points with the purchase of 12-count, 18-count or 80-count specially marked boxes. To participate, enter the unique product code located inside each specially marked package at CommunityCoffee.com/Rewards to receive a certificate via email to claim your Southwest Rapid Rewards® bonus points. A Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® account is required to redeem the rewards. Visit southwest.com/enroll to enroll.


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  • Louisiana Beignets: How To Make the Traditional Sugar-Dusted Fried Dough Treats at Home

    by Amy Cimo | Apr 24, 2018

    The Louisiana tradition of beignets, the light and puffy fried-dough treats doused in powdered sugar, stretches back more than 200 years to the early days of New Orleans.

    Thought to be first introduced to the Crescent City by French-speaking immigrants in the 1700s, these square, crispy and chewy donuts truly became a phenomenon after they turned up in the city’s French Market coffee stands in the early 1900s. They remain a beloved treat to this day, enjoyed by the thousands daily in French Quarter cafes or among the oak trees in historic New Orleans City Park, often with a strong cup of coffee.

    That rich and enduring tradition inspired Community Coffee to create our Sugar Dusted Beignet blend. Made with 100 percent select Arabica coffee beans, this unique French-dough-flavored coffee is lightly dusted with powdered sugar for a delightful finish. For a more traditional combination with your beignets, consider our Coffee and Chicory blend. Our version of this Southern favorite combines rich, roasted coffee beans with high-quality chicory for a bolder, sweeter flavor than coffee alone. We recommend trying it café-au-lait-style with steamed milk for a time-honored New Orleans-inspired flavor.

    While New Orleans was the launching pad for the beignet tradition, the fried treats — which are now the official state doughnut of Louisiana — have spread far beyond the banks of the lower Mississippi. They also come in a range of shapes, sizes and flavors.

    At the charming Berrytown Corner Cafe in historic downtown Ponchatoula, Louisiana, the beignets are served bite-sized and stuffed with a variety of sweet surprises, from strawberry to white chocolate to real whipped cream.

    Their beignet bites come in servings of eight and are often paired with Community® Coffee and Chicory blend, says Berrytown owner Kathy Gueydan. They are among the eatery’s most popular items.

    “People eat them for breakfast, they eat them for lunch, they eat them as snacks,” Gueydan says. “They eat them with powdered sugar, without powdered sugar, with whipped cream. They are a great treat.”

    They’re also surprisingly easy to make at home. The key ingredient — other than large quantities of powdered sugar — is patience, particularly during the resting time recommended before cutting the dough into pieces and dropping them into the hot oil.

    So brew a cup of your favorite coffee, procure the largest bag of powdered sugar you can find and help continue a tasty tradition that has been part of Louisiana for more than two centuries. Just don’t forget to dust yourself off afterward.

    Fresh Beignets

    • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
    • 1 1/2 cups warm water
    • 1/2 cup white sugar
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 cup milk
    • 7 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 cup butter
    • 1 quart vegetable oil for frying
    • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

    In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let set for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, combine sugar, salt, eggs, milk and butter. Blend well. Mix in 4 cups of the flour and beat until smooth. Add up to 3 cups of flour to make a pliable, tender dough. Cover and chill for 2-24 hours.

    Roll out dough 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 2 1/2 inch squares. Fry in 360 degree F (180 degrees C) hot oil until golden. Drain onto paper towels. Shake confectioners' sugar on beignets. Serve warm.


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  • How Community Coffee Supports Louisiana’s Longest-Running Coastal Restoration Organization

    by Amy Cimo | Apr 16, 2018

    Coastal erosion has been washing away the Louisiana coast for decades, impacting the unique communities and ecosystems that help make our home state such a special place to live and work. A diverse and dedicated group of people has been pushing back against those forces in an effort to preserve the state’s fragile coastline.

    The nonprofit Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana (CRCL) has been at the forefront of the effort to restore and save Louisiana’s coastal areas for three decades. The organization is driving bold, science-based action to rebuild coastal Louisiana through outreach, restoration and advocacy.

    CRCL_GroupAs a Louisiana company with strong coastal roots, Community Coffee is proud to be a longtime supporter of CRCL and its important mission. We recently partnered with the organization for a promotion featuring Community® Amber Sunrise Blend to raise funds to support coastal restoration in Louisiana. For every dollar redeemed on specially marked packages, we provided a matching donation to land-preservation efforts along the Gulf Coast. Nearly 10,000 coupons were redeemed through the program.

    “Community Coffee has been a tremendous CRCL partner for a long time,” says CRCL Executive Director Kimberly Davis Reyher. “Their commitment to our coast and to Louisiana as a whole is inspiring.”

    The organization’s vital work continues to make a difference. Here are three innovative ways the CRCL is helping to protect the fragile Louisiana coastline.

    Restoring Coastal Trees

    CRCL has now planted more than 30,000 trees, hitting the milestone during projects ined-IMG_4862 the Lower Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes in southeast Louisiana as part of a long-running effort to restore trees damaged by hurricanes over the past two decades.

    Volunteers plant trees to help reduce impacts from storm surge and flooding, improve water quality and create habitat for fish and wildlife. Coastal forests in Louisiana offer protection from hurricanes and safeguard communities all along Louisiana’s coast.

    CRCL spokesman Jimmy Frederick says recent large-scale restoration projects have introduced additional freshwater into many coastal areas, allowing the organization to plant trees in spots where they would previously have been damaged by saltwater intrusion from the Gulf of Mexico.

    “The salinity around the swamp in that area has come down, so we can now once again plant cypress trees and black gum and maples and hardwoods that are really important to holding the soil but also breaking up storm surge,” he says. “It also knocks the wind down and really makes a difference for the communities to the north of those forests.”

    Frederick says the organization has been monitoring the trees for six years, and has observed an 80 percent survival rate. “It’s really making a difference,” he says.

    Oyster Shell Recycling

    ed-IMG_5268One of CRCL’s most innovative and successful initiatives, its Oyster Shell Recycling Program, collects used oyster shells from New Orleans-area restaurants to build and restore reefs that help protect Louisiana’s eroding coast line.

    “Instead of going to landfills, they are going back into the water where they belong,” Frederick says. “On top of that they’re helping to slow erosion by breaking up wave action and also acting as a little bit of a speed bump for storms.” In addition, the shells provide habitat for a new generation of oysters to thrive.

    The program has recycled more than a million pounds of oyster shells since it began in 2014. The first project built was a half-mile-long living shoreline installed in Biloxi Marsh, east of New Orleans, in November 2016. Frederick says the program is preparing to create an oyster reef on land owned by the Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribe in Terrebonne Parish.

    State of the Coast Conference

    In addition to CRCL’s work in the field, every two years it hosts State of the Coast, the largest conference of coastal professionals and decision-makers. The next event is set for May 30 to June 1.

    The conference includes a smaller event called Restoration on the Half Shell for Louisiana residents who want to learn more about the issue of coastal restoration.

    CRCL offers the half-day program in partnership with the The Water Institute of the Gulf and the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority. The program is intended for concerned citizens who are familiar with the problems facing our coast. “It’s for the person who wants to learn more about what Louisiana’s issues are with coastal restoration, how we are going to correct those problems and where the funding is going to come from,” Frederick says.


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  • April 30 is Oatmeal Cookie Day. Celebrate with This Decadent Recipe.

    by Amy Cimo | Apr 10, 2018

    Although the oatmeal cookie has been around for more than a century, it remains one of the most popular American treats — and for good reason. Adding oats to cookies is an excellent way to insert a healthful ingredient to as tasty treat, as well as a dash of texture and flavor that enhances a huge range of cookie types.

    To help celebrate Oatmeal Cookie Day on April 30, we turned to The Bistro by One Smart Cookie, a long-running deli and bakery in Marrero near New Orleans that has been making supersized, chocolate-infused oatmeal cookies for years. “We kind of do things a little differently here,” says general manager Tracy Autin. “We like to jazz things up.”

    The bakery adds coarsely chopped macadamia nuts and two types of chocolate chunks, along with plenty of oats, to create a multi-layered and thick oatmeal cookie that’s up to 4 inches wide — perfect for a special-occasion treat. “It’s chewy on the inside with a crunch on the outside, so it’s the best of both worlds,” Autin says.

    Autin says some home bakers may not want to use macadamia nuts, which can be quite expensive, but she notes that pecans and peanuts are good substitutes. Also, the chocolate can be omitted for a simpler but still sweet and satisfying cookie. “It works beautifully that way as well,” she says.

    We recommend pairing these decadent cookies with our Café Special® blend. Created for the finest restaurants, this welcoming, medium-dark-roasted coffee has full-bodied flavor with a smooth and balanced finish that will pair nicely with the sweetness of these cookies.

    Chocolate Chunk Macadamia Oatmeal Cookies

    • 1/2 cup shortening
    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
    • 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp baking soda
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
    • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
    • 2 1/2 cups rolled oats
    • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks (optional)
    • 1 cup white chocolate chips (optional)
    • 1 cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped (optional)

    Preheat oven to 325. In a large mixing bowl beat shortening and butter on medium until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add both sugars, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Beat on medium until well incorporated, about 2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix thoroughly, on medium, for 1 1/2 minutes. Add flour incrementally in three stages, stopping to scrape the bowl after each addition. Mix on low speed and stir just enough to incorporate the wet and dry ingredients. Add rolled oats, chocolate chunks, white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts. Stir by hand until well-incorporated.

    Using a 3 1/4 oz disher, drop leveled, measured amounts of dough onto a greased cookie sheet. Press slightly into a rounded shape, 3 inches apart. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes. Let stand 1 minute on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Makes 15 large cookies.


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  • COOKING WITH COMMUNITY® COFFEE NEVER TASTED SO GOOD

    by Amy Cimo | Apr 03, 2018

    During the 26th Annual WYES SEASON OF GOOD TASTES coffee and wine pairing dinners, held between October 2017 and January 2018, chefs were asked to use Community® coffee as an ingredient in one or more of their courses. The creativity of the chefs was quite tasty as each chef showcased their entries at a dining event. Each dinner guest was then asked to judge the dish on presentation, taste, originality and creativity of coffee usage to select the top performer.

    Susan-Spicer-MoleWYES and Community Coffee Company are pleased to announce Chef Susan Spicer of Mondo as the 2017 Cooking with Community® Coffee Contest winner. Chef Susan Spicer won for her Seared Duck Breast featuring Community® Signature Blend Dark Roast Coffee Mole served with a Poblano‐Pumpkin Tamale and Toasted Pepitas.

    At Mondo restaurant located in New Orleans, Chef Susan Spicer focuses on bringing her guests the best Louisiana fare with global influences. She has been kind enough to provide us a copy of her award winning recipe. Enjoy!



    Dark Roast Mole
    Provided by Chef Susan Spicer

    Ingredients:

    • 4 cups Community® Signature Blend Dark Roast Coffee
    • 3-4 dried pasilla chiles
    • 3-4 dried guajillo chiles
    • 2 dried ancho chiles
    • 1 cup onion, diced
    • 10 garlic cloves
    • 1 bunch of cilantro
    • ¼ cup toasted sesame seeds
    • ¼ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
    • 2 6-inch corn tortillas
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 3 whole star anise
    • 5 whole cloves
    • Salt to taste

    Directions:

    I first take all the dried chiles, remove the stems, and place them on a pan in a 375 degree oven.  Let them toast for 5-6 minutes or until aromatic. Then, in my slow cooker I place the toasted chiles, onion, garlic cloves, cilantro, corn tortillas and both toasted seeds with the Community® Signature Blend Dark Roast Coffee.  You want to make sure that there is enough coffee to cover the other ingredients.

    I make a satchel using cheese cloth and put the cinnamon stick, star anise and whole cloves inside. You can use a tea diffuser if cheese cloth isn’t available. Just break down the cinnamon stick to fit.

    I find the longer the ingredients are in the slow cooker the better. Overnight is best if possible. When making this recipe for the WYES dinner it was allowed to cook for a week in the slow cooker. I just added water when necessary. When ready, remove the satchel and blend ingredients in a blender until smooth. Add salt to taste. This sauce is rich and spicy. It can stand up to duck, beef or almost any game meat.


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  • Celebrate Easter Southern-Style with This Delicious Coconut Cake

    by Amy Cimo | Mar 26, 2018

    The Easter holiday offers an opportunity for solemn reflection and quality time with family and friends — as well as for plenty of tasty desserts. For Ruby Lange Buchanan, a longtime south Louisiana cook and collector of Cajun recipes, when she was growing up the springtime holiday was a time for a slice of special cake.

    “I can remember as a young girl going to my grandmother’s house for the holidays and looking forward to my aunt bringing a coconut cake,” says Buchanan, who is now retired and living in the historic district of Crowley, Louisiana.

    Buchanan, a native Cajun French speaker who was born in Erath, Louisiana, in the heart of Cajun country, keeps that tradition alive today, making the classic layer cake featuring white frosting and covered in coconut flakes. It’s a classic dessert that has graced Southern tables for decades. Buchanan was generous enough to share her family's recipe for this impressively moist and not-too-sweet cake that’s sure to wow your Easter guests.

    As Buchanan says: “Ceci est un bon gâteau (this is a good cake.) A classic!”

    Also, if you’re looking to spice up the traditional dessert a little, she recommends separating the layers with an easy-to-make pineapple filling that complements the coconut flavor at the heart of this recipe’s frosting.

    We second that suggestion and recommend pairing the cake with Community® 100% Colombia Altura coffee blend, which is carefully sourced from the Andes Mountains, where the high altitude is known for developing a rich, bright and winey flavor that plays well with the coconut. Other excellent pairings include Community® Breakfast Blend coffee, an aromatic medium roast, and Amber Sunrise™ Blend, our rich and vibrant seasonal blend for coffee drinkers who prefer a lighter roast with a smooth finish.

    Coconut Cake

    • 1 cup butter (softened)
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 3 1/2 cups flour
    • 3 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1 cup milk
    • 8 egg whites, beaten
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/2 tsp lemon extract

    Cream the butter and add the sugar gradually. Combine the flour and baking powder and add it to the mixture, alternating with the milk. Beat the egg whites until fluffy but not dry, then fold them into the creamed ingredients and add the flavorings.

    Bake in three greased-and-floured 9-inch cake pans at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool.

    Coconut Topping

    • 3 cups granulated sugar
    • 1 cup water
    • 2 tsp white vinegar
    • 3 egg whites, beaten
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 tsp lemon extract
    • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
    • 1 1/2 cup coconut flakes
    Combine the sugar, water and vinegar in a saucepan and stir over a low heat until a fine thread drops from the end of a spoon when dipped into the mixture. Beat the egg whites with cream of tartar 4-5 minutes until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar mixture, beating constantly. Add the vanilla and lemon flavorings. Stir in the coconut and spread on cooled cake layers. Garnish with coconut flakes.

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