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  • Make a Perfect Cup of Espresso at Home

    Everybody loves a good cup of coffee. It wakes you up instantly, it tastes fantastic and you have to admit, the conversations over coffee are incomparable to any other beverage. Associate a cup of coffee with an intellectual, stimulating conversation about life, the universe and everything, with friends that matter the most. A cappuccino might make you more productive for a while, but nothing is as zesty and an instant kick like a shot of espresso. We’ve all been there: We spend so much time at coffee shops, but somewhere deep inside, we realize that these outlets are over-priced like much else on this planet these days. So we think, how difficult can it be to make a shot of espresso at home? What could possibly go wrong? We try that out and once we’re done, the concoction is nothing short of a deadly dosage of caffeine that tastes awful and leaves an even awful-er after taste. Here’s how to make that perfect cup of espresso at home. You’ll never have to go to a coffee shop again. All you need is an espresso machine and these handy tips. Here’s what you have to do:

    1.     Start out with water

    If you have an espresso machine at home, refrain from using tap water. You may not know this, but tap water contains a small concentration of limestone which deteriorates the quality of coffee. Use mineral water instead.

    2.     It’s all about the beans

    You cannot make good espresso without good quality beans. Can you make a beautiful gown without good fabric? The same concept applies here too and you cannot blame your coffee machine for this faux pas. Freshly roasted beans are your best friends because they give you a kick like no other.

    3.     Grinding the beans

    If you use pre-ground beans, you’re not doing it right. Grind your beans into a fine powder (but not too fine; it has to be just right) just before brewing. You’d want to select the fine grind setting on your espresso machine for the perfect result. Once ground, press the coffee with a tamper to ensure that the beans are evenly distributed in the filter. I’ll have you know that most chain coffee shops rarely tamp the coffee. Huh.

    4.     Water temperature matters

    The water needs to be just below the point of boiling. If the water is too hot, the espresso will taste bitter, if it’s cool, it will taste flavorless and blegh. Basically, the temperature needs to be just right.

    5.     Good mechanics

    The most important step is to clean your machine thoroughly once you’re done, because coffee remnants will make your next tryst taste a tad odd, and who wants that? Properly maintain your machine. Brewing pressure is all important and needs to be 15 bars or more for the greatest espresso ever! Once the foam, or “crema” at the top of your espresso starts looking more white than brown, remove your cup from the machine, and voila, your espresso is ready! Remember to clean the machine

    6.     When to drink

    Most people ignore this point, but it’s almost as important as anything else on this list. You must drink your shot within 20 to 30 seconds of you making it, while it’s still hot, otherwise it becomes bland and bitter. So drink it fast. It’ll taste way better if you don’t wait.

    So remember these steps, the next espresso shot you make at home will not disappoint. Also keep in mind that practice makes perfect. It’s fairly easy to make the perfect espresso cup at home, so go on. Give these tips a try!


  • Know Your Coffee Grinds!


    Coffee has been around for a long time ever since the 13th century, in fact. That’s how long mankind has had to perfect this aromatic cup of elixir. We’ve come a long way since then. Now you can become the perfect barista right in your own home with coffee grinders and coffee makers specially designed for family use.


    The perfect cup is all up to you and your preference of taste but did you know that a lot depends on the coffee grind? Here are the basics you should keep in mind to achieve that perfect cuppa.


    Grind that coffee to perfection! Mornings are generally a time of haste and we often don’t have the time to wait for that coffee to grind properly even after having been told many times - good things come to those that wait! So, let’s put that waiting into action, assuming you do want that “jump start” cup of Espresso. Just make sure you grind your coffee fine or super fine depending on whether you are using a stove pot or an Espresso machine.


    Coffee should be ground to match your favored brewing technique.

    Not so hard even for beginners! Easy-peasy, there are five basic coffee grinds. Here’s breaking it down for you.


    Coarse Grind

     A coarse grind has large chunky pieces of the coffee bean as it has not been crushed completely. It tends to feel like larger chunks of rock salt. A coarse grind is good when you use a percolator, the French press or a Toddy maker.


    Medium Grind

    The medium grind is simply ground a little bit longer than the coarse grind. It has the consistency of coarse sand or smaller chunks of rock salt and can be used with drip makers with flat bottom or cone shaped filters.


    Fine Grind

    The perfect fine grind feels like salt or sugar or finer sand. Stove top Espresso pots work great with this kind of grind.


    Super Fine Grind

    This kind of grind feels very fine and almost soft to the touch. It is almost like a powder but not quite and works brilliantly with an Espresso machine.


    Turkish Grind

    Of course this is the finest grind you can make and it feels finer than a super fine grind.  And guess what, the coffee grounds left after you drink your Turkish grind can be used for telling your fortune!


    Now there are basically two types of coffee grinders - The blade and the burr. A coffee grinder with a blade is quick but doesn’t always grind your coffee bean to the right consistency especially if you like it finer. Sometimes it burns the coffee bean too which isn’t always good for the taste of your coffee. So the blade is usually better for coarser grinds. It doesn’t do super fine very well. Bearing that in mind, the burr on the other hand takes a while longer to break that bean down but it can give you a coarse grind to a Turkish grind with absolute precision. And remember, the fresher the coffee grind the more flavor in your cup!

    Batatza coffee grinder

  • Coffee Cigarettes. A New Trend?

    Coffee cigarettes!? What's that? Have they come up with another bizarre coffee flavor? I've heard of some interesting flavors but never before a cigarette flavor. How good can that be unless you're a chain smoker? Never fear. This is something better than just another coffee flavor. Have you ever seen those smokers on their coffee break sitting outside on the steps with a coffee in one hand, a cigarette in their mouth and with the other hand they're catching up with the latest on their smartphone. Quite complicated isn't it? Listen to the solution some creative teenagers have come up with to help them multitask. Simple as smoking coffee! Yup that's right. They take ground coffee and roll it up in cigarette paper or they smoke it with a pipe. They claim it gives them an extra energy boost. Now that sounds like something to try. But I still like my cuppa coffee - wouldn't change it for some smoke.


  • Brew Your Coffee Better, Not Bitter

    Wine of Araby! You’re probably thinking of an exotic bottle of wine right now, right? But … that’s not quite what it is. Let me give you a few more hints. In ancient days, some called the wine of Araby the bitter invention of Satan that refreshes, energizes and fuels your creative juices, and fires up conversations. What is this wine of Araby?  Coffee, of course!

    In ancient Arabia, coffee houses were called ‘Schools of the Wise’. These were places where one could come, meet friends, gossip, dance, play chess or even conduct business. This was the original social networking platform and even after centuries, coffee continues to be the hot spot around which life happens. And a lot can happen over coffee, right? You can meet your future spouse, have your first date over coffee, find out that a friend is getting married, finalize business plans, enjoy stimulating conversations, launch a website, enjoy a sunset, contemplate on life as you watch it pass by. And if that’s not enough, Time magazine featured an article recently called “How Coffee Could Save Your Life” describing how a healthy habit of drinking coffee could decrease suicidal tendencies. For coffee lovers, the pursuit of that perfect cup of coffee is both elusive and exhilarating and Michaele Weissman, famous author and coffee connoisseur, has beautifully encapsulated this obsession in her book called God in a Cup. The title of the book and its journeys to distant places and exotic lands in pursuit of that “perfect cup” is something coffee lovers can truly identify with.

    But you don’t have to be a coffee connoisseur to be on a quest for that perfect cup! And you don’t have to be an Indiana Jones braving adventures in foreign lands to find a coffee shop that brews the perfect cup. I’ve discovered that you can have it right here, right now and right in your home. Here’s how...

    First grab a cup, sit down, relish the aroma, sip and relax. Now listen …

    You will need coffee, water and brewing equipment. Good coffee is a perfect blend of coffee, good filtered water (preferably RO), right brewing time, the right cup to drink with (smile …) and the right drinking time.

    The Coffee: You have to try out different coffees before you decide which one is the best for you. Go for a medium or lighter roast coffee if you want coffee that is less bitter. Ground coffee is what is popularly used, but try buying the original beans and grinding them just before you brew coffee. You would need a burr grinder which grinds the beans evenly but coarse. The finer the grind, the bitter it tastes. Oily beans indicate that the beans are fresh. Dry beans are stale. Store the beans in an airtight container to retain its flavor and not for too long. Ideally buy coffee every 1-2 weeks.

    The Coffee maker: You’d need to do some research, experiment and decide the right machine for you and your needs. DailyCuppaCoffee has a variety of home and office coffee makers along with all the accessories and you’ll probably find what you need there. Whether you use a percolator, regular drip, Melitta-style cone filters, French press or Aeropress, it’s important that you keep it clean. Rinse out all the grounds well and use a clean brewer, each time you make coffee.

    Water: The water you use makes all the difference in the taste of the coffee. Are you surprised that this can make such a difference? Filtered water, preferably reverse osmosis would be better. Chemicals and salts present in tap water affect the taste of coffee. Heating the water to the right temperature is the next important aspect. Over heating or under heating water both spoil the taste of coffee. The ideal temperature would be 1950 to 2050 F. Before you pour the water on the ground coffee allow it to rest a minute.

    The Right Proportion: The proportion of water and coffee is of utmost importance. You can follow instructions given by the coffee manufacturer or adjust the proportion according to your taste. Coffee aficionados suggest 2 tablespoons coffee for 6 oz of water.

    The Brewing time: This is the time the water remains in contact with the coffee ground. It can be anything from 20 to 30 seconds for an espresso or up to 5 minutes for a drip system. That makes a difference in the taste. So go ahead and experiment. Try adding a pinch of salt to the coffee grounds before brewing to make your coffee less bitter.

    Time to drink: Pour the coffee in a thick walled mug and drink it right away. If you keep it for more than 20 minutes, it will lose its flavor! And never, never, never reheat coffee! Did I say never? I mean … never! And again, never reuse the grounds. Use fresh grounds each time you make coffee.

    Added flavor: And then of course you can add steamed milk, cream, chocolate, a dash of cinnamon for that extra flavor.  Make it a latte, cappuccino or a mocha but whatever you add to it, it should not drown the coffee flavor.

    As much as you enjoy drinking coffee, making or brewing coffee at home is also a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Right from the lingering aroma which pervades your home and perks you up, to the taste that satisfies—there’s nothing like making a perfect cup of coffee at home.

  • 10 Good Reasons to Start a Coffee Business

    If you were to start a small coffee business in the United States, you would have a minimum of 200 million potential customers. It’s a market full of potential.

    To begin with, here are some facts and figures. The average intake of coffee in the United States of America has been on the rise in the recent past. Based on a study conducted by the National Coffee Association, statistics show that 83% of adults in the United States drink coffee every day.(1) That would amount to a little bit over two hundred million! (2)Obviously to cater to this rapidly growing need the coffee production has also increased immensely over the last few years. In fact, the annual growth rate of coffee shops is estimated to be 7%. (3)

    Here are 10 more good reasons you might want to consider starting a small bistro or cafe:

     1. After crude oil, coffee is the most sought-after commodity in the world

    The worldwide consumption of coffee was 135.6 million bags in 2010 and reached 137.9 million bags in 2011. During the last 12 years consumption increased at an average annual rate of 2.5% making coffee the second highest most traded commodity after crude oil. (4-5)

     2. USA is the leading consumer of coffee in the world

    America’s average consumption of coffee comes up to about 400 million cups per day. Multiply that by 365 and you have 146 billion cups of coffee per year. This makes the United States of America the world’s largest consumer of coffee.(6)

     3. High profit margin

    Once they are fairly popular amongst the local crowd the average coffee shop can serve up to 500 customers a day. So if your average cup of Joe costs $3 you can make up to $1500 a day (this is not including other drinks and snacks that those 500 people might buy along with their coffee). Being a coffee shop, you will have hardly any over head expenses compared to restaurants, so your daily profits are relatively high.

     4. The rise of the coffee shops

    In 2011, there were about 20,000 coffee businesses according to research carried out by the SBDC (Small Business Development Centre) network.(7) Since the annual growth rate of coffee shops is estimated to be 7% (after doing some math I figured out), by the end of 2013 there will be at least 22,900 coffee shops in the USA. The popularity of coffee seems to be ever increasing, so why not get in the game and become a part of that statistic?

     5. The coffee business is growing

    In addition to the ever increasing number of coffee shops in the United States, Starbucks has become the third largest restaurant chain in the USA. This is the result obtained after accounting for massive chains like McDonalds and KFC. (8) If that doesn’t say coffee is popular, I don’t know what will.

     6.The neighborhood hangout

    Seeing that coffee is an integral part of American culture it has held a very special place even in the social world. Coffee shops are a great hangout for youngsters after school and even for adults to unwind after work. It also makes for a convenient rendezvous. 

     7. Coffee Habits

    A lot of working people have fallen into the routine of picking up a cup of coffee on their way to work. Some even pick up coffee for their friends or colleagues every day. People also grab coffee on their way back home from work as a way to help them unwind after a long tiring day. So if you were to strategically position your coffee shop, you would get a lot of customers, and we all know what more customers means, right?

     8.  Low start up costs and little training

    The startup cost of a new coffee shop can begin on a small capital depending on how you handle your cash. You will need to invest in furniture and of course a splendid coffee machine. The rest is up to you. Creating an ambience in your little cafe doesn’t necessarily have to cost a bomb.

    The only training you will require is how to make a decent cup of Joe. Of course since it is a business you will need some training in the business field but if you are considering starting a coffee shop then you probably already have a business degree right?

     9. Coffee is versatile

    There is an endless list of the different types of coffees that are sold at coffee shops. Everything from hot, cold, with milk, without milk, with froth, without froth and flavored coffee can be found anywhere you go. So no matter what the temperature, or the time of day there will always be a coffee that suits your customers’ moods. Seasonal variations are always a hit  or you could even try weekly themes. There are plenty of versatile opportunities to market your goods.

     10. Share the love

    You have to love coffee! That’s the only sure-fire way to make your coffee business a success. Your passion will infect others and pretty soon, your little café will be the buzz on local social media networks.


    So, who’s up for it? Would love to hear your thoughts! 



     1. “Green coffee shops cut rubbish, but at what cost?” By Megan Snedden, 22 July2013.


    2. State and County Quick Facts, United States Census Bureau, http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html

    3.  http://coffee-statistics.com/coffee_statistics_ebook.html

    4-5. World consumption of coffee at 137.9 million bags in 2011

    Press Trust of India/New Delhi 30 May 12 | 02:43 PM


    6. http://coffee-statistics.com/coffee_statistics_ebook.html

    7. http://www.sbdcnet.org/small-business-research-reports/coffee-shop-2012

    8. Starbucks Is Third-Largest Restaurant Chain, Technomic Says, By Cecile Vannucci, 

    April 29, 2011, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-04-28/starbucks-is-third-largest-u-s-restaurant-chain-technomic-says.html

  • Maintaining your Coffee Machine

    Coffee makers are a great addition to your household and save you the expense and time of getting a coffee at your local café.  In order to keep your machine in good working condition it is important to clean and maintain your machine regularly.  

    Coffee oils, lime scale and water deposit build ups occur over time.  This will eventually affect the flavor of your brewed coffee.  

    There are cleaning solutions such as Urnex specifically made for coffee makers.  These or a solution of water and vinegar need to be run through the standard coffee cycle.  After finishing the cycle, run through the machine a couple more cycles of clean water to remove the remaining cleaning solution. 

    Removable parts should also be rinsed and cleaned daily and the machine should be wiped down on a constant basis.  Also consider using filtered or bottled water. 

    Regular maintenance and care is vital to keeping the performance of your coffee machine up to par.    It will extend the life of your machine, providing you with many delicious cups of brewed coffee!

  • Caffeine Revs Up Honeybees' Memory


    It turns out that, like humans, bees get a buzz when they drink caffeine, and it superchargers their long-term memory!  That spurs them to return to the same type of plant.  This boosts the plant's chances for pollination.

    One flower that naturally produces caffeine, not surprisingly, is the coffee plant.  But some citrus plants, such as orange and grapefruit, serve caffeine, too.

    When scientist Geraldine Wright first learned that certain citrus plants had caffeine in their nectar she began to wonder.  Why would a citrus plant produce caffeine?  It's a compound that's quite "costly" for a plant to make.  And the nectar is meant to attract bees - who actually eschew caffeine at high levels because of its bitter taste.

    Wright gathered nectar from three species of coffee plants and four types of citrus.  All of them, she found, contained very low doses of caffeine.

    She discovered that the caffeine helped a bee remember that the flower's scent promises a tasty payoff.  This makes the bee want to seek out those flowers.

    Bees and other insects are crucial to the life of plants.  Plant pollen sticks to their legs while they feed on a flower's nectar.  They then carry the pollen to the next bloom they visit.  This process is necessary for trees and plants to make fruit and seeds.

    Flowers are instilled with a whole range of tools such as color, design and scent to attract pollinators like bees, hummingbirds, butterflies and more.

    How could researchers tell that caffeine boosts a bee's memory?  In an experiment that used lab tools instead of flowers, they trained individual bees to expect a sugary drink when they smelled a certain floral scent.  Some bees got nectar-like concentrates of caffeine in their drink, while others didn't.

    They later exposed the insects to the same scent and watched to see if they extended their feeding tubes in response, a sign they were ready to sip.  After 24 hours, the bees that had gotten caffeine were three times as likely to remember as bees that hadn't.  After 72 hours, they were twice as likely.

    Quite impressive for an insect!

  • 5 Tips to Store Your Coffee and Keep it Fresh

    1. Get your beans fresh instead of ground, as coffee beans will begin to lose their flavor within a short period of being ground.


    2. Dark, cool and dry places are best for coffee storage.  Do not expose the beans to light, moisture or heat as this will reduce the freshness of the beans.


    3. Store coffee in glass or airtight containers to maintain its flavor.


    4. Coffee is best used within the first two weeks of roasting.  After that time it will begin to lose its freshness.


    5. Grind your coffee right before brewing.  As stated above, the ground beans tend to lose its flavor upon being ground.

  • How Green Coffee Assists Weight Loss

    green coffee beans

    Is it a myth or is green coffee bean extract a magic pill that really promotes weight loss? Well, studies seem to show that green coffee bean extract in its natural form and taken in the proper dosage, burns calories.  The Famous Dr Oz Show did its own experiments to see if this would prove true.  100 women were enlisted for the show and received either a coffee bean extract pill or a placebo without knowing which they were given.  Participants did not have to change their diet but did need to keep a food journal.  In two weeks the women who took the green coffee bean extract lost an average of double the amount of the group that took the placebo (who may have lost only because of the awareness the food journal created).

    Now let's clarify why green coffee beans can assist in weight loss.  The main component is Chlorogenic acid which is naturally present in the unroasted green coffee beans and helps burn fat. However, when coffee beans are roasted it removes the vital Chlorogenic acid.  Taken before eating, the key natural fat burning property in the unroasted beans, helps slow the release of sugar into the bloodstream and so promotes the burning of stored fat.

    While this may seem promising, Dr Oz warns that consumers should always be cautious when purchasing the supplements.   Look out for the list of ingredients which should contain the chlorogenic acid extract, which can be listed as GCA(green coffee antioxidant) or Svetol.  In general it is recommended to also contain at least 45 percent cholorogenic acid to have an effect and should be taken in 400mg per serving three times daily.

    So if the results are truly as the studies are testifying and you are ready to try something different, then green coffee bean extract may be a natural supplement you would like to include in your diet to aid your weight loss.

  • 5 reasons why coffee is more healthful than harmful.

    There are at least five reasons you should keep drinking your daily cups of coffee:

    1. Coffee may protect the liver and ward off cirrhosis and even liver cancer.
    2. Coffee is a lot more than just caffeine.  It contains antioxidants and other nutrients that make it a veritable competitor to the likes of blueberries and green tea.
    3. The long-held myth that coffee acts as a diuretic has been discounted, and although it does cause urinary urgency, coffee now counts toward our total daily fluid intake.
    4. Research has shown that coffee may protect against neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.
    5. Based on the results of 18 studies, involving almost half a million subjects, each additional cup of coffee per day resulted in a 7% reduction in the development of diabetes.

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