• 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. 

    DISCOVER MORE HERITAGE | QUALITY | CONNECTIONS | GIVING BACK
     
  • 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.

    DISCOVER MORE HERITAGE | QUALITY | CONNECTIONS | GIVING BACK
     
  • 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.


    DISCOVER MORE HERITAGE | QUALITY | CONNECTIONS | GIVING BACK
     
  • 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!

    INGREDIENTS
    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

    DIRECTIONS
    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.

    INGREDIENTS
    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

    DIRECTIONS

    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.”

    INGREDIENTS
    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

    DIRECTIONS
    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.


    DISCOVER MORE HERITAGE | QUALITY | CONNECTIONS | GIVING BACK
     
  • 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!



    DISCOVER MORE HERITAGE | QUALITY | CONNECTIONS | GIVING BACK
     
  • 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.


    DISCOVER MORE HERITAGE | QUALITY | CONNECTIONS | GIVING BACK
     
  • 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!


    DISCOVER MORE HERITAGE | QUALITY | CONNECTIONS | GIVING BACK
     
  • 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.

    DISCOVER MORE HERITAGE | QUALITY | CONNECTIONS | GIVING BACK
     
  • 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. 

    DISCOVER MORE HERITAGE | QUALITY | CONNECTIONS | GIVING BACK
     
  • 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
    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.

    GROUND
    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
    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.

    INSTANT
    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
    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
    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.



    DISCOVER MORE HERITAGE | QUALITY | CONNECTIONS | GIVING BACK
     
  • 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!  

    QUICK COFFEE SMOOTHIE

    • 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! 

    DISCOVER MORE HERITAGE | QUALITY | CONNECTIONS | GIVING BACK
     
  • 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.”


    DISCOVER MORE HERITAGE | QUALITY | CONNECTIONS | GIVING BACK
     
  • 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. 

    Ingredients:

    • 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

    Directions:

    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. 

    Ingredients:

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

    Directions:

    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. 

    Ingredients:

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

    Directions:

    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.”


    DISCOVER MORE HERITAGE | QUALITY | CONNECTIONS | GIVING BACK
     
  • The Importance of Outdoor Time At Sts. Leo-Seton Catholic School

    by Amy Cimo | Sep 11, 2018

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

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

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

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

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


    DISCOVER MORE HERITAGE | QUALITY | CONNECTIONS | GIVING BACK
     
     
  • The History of Coffee & Chicory

    by Amy Cimo | Sep 06, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



    DISCOVER MORE HERITAGE | QUALITY | CONNECTIONS | GIVING BACK
     
     
  • Coffee 101: The Roast

    by Amy Cimo | Aug 27, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



    DISCOVER MORE HERITAGE | QUALITY | CONNECTIONS | GIVING BACK
     
     
  • Planning for the Perfect Road Trip

    by Amy Cimo | Aug 21, 2018

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

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

    Settle on the Right Soundtrack

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

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

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

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

    Eat — and Drink — Local

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

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

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

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

    Get Lost and Love It

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

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

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


    DISCOVER MORE HERITAGE | QUALITY | CONNECTIONS | GIVING BACK
     
     
  • 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.


    DISCOVER MORE HERITAGE | QUALITY | CONNECTIONS | GIVING BACK
     
     
  • 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.


    DISCOVER MORE HERITAGE | QUALITY | CONNECTIONS | GIVING BACK