The most valuable part of the coffee plant are the coffee beans, but coffee beans don’t grow on trees ready to be picked and roasted. Coffee trees produce coffee cherries, a small fruit that contains the coffee beans. The coffee cherry is discarded after it has been processed to remove the bean and it is generally discarded. But there is one company that is trying to come up for a new use for those leftover cherries by turning them into coffee flour.
The gluten free Coffee Flour is made by drying and grinding up discarded coffee cherries, waste from the coffee bean harvesting process. It may sound like a stretch, but with the tremendous growth of the gluten-free flour market, there is actually a lot of potential for this unusual flour. Coffee flour contains 5 times more fiber than whole grain wheat flour, 84% less fat than coconut flour and three times more protein per gram than fresh kale. It is high in potassium and, like coffee, contains a bit of caffeine (although less than brewed coffee). It can be used in cooking and baking and, apparently, tastes more like roasted fruit than coffee. That’s certainly an interesting flavor profile for a flour and it could very well add a lot of complexity to baked goods. The flour is not yet commercially available, but it is being produced in Hawaii, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico and Vietnam, and should start showing up in products and on shelves sometime in 2015.
I was in Starbucks the other evening and the barista looked rather tired. I asked if he was feeling alright, and he said that he had been caught in a Frappuccino rush for the last hour and it was madness. It was an unusually cool April day in Los Angeles, but Frappuccinos never really go out of season here. In fact, Frappuccinos are one of the most ordered types of Starbucks drinks in Los Angeles in general.
The lovely map above (click to enlarge) shows the most popular Starbucks drinks from some major metropolitan areas across the country. The areas in blue all exhibit a distinct preference for cold beverages, whether blended or over ice, as they tend to have warm weather most of the year. The grey areas prefer hot drinks to cold ones. It’s interesting to see the trends, and I’d be even more interested to see more detailed maps with more specifics, too.
Keurigs can be used for making a variety of drinks, including coffee, hot chocolate and tea, but the machine is generally used for making the basics – black coffee, plain tea – and not for making fancier coffee drinks, like lattes and cappuccinos. This is because the machine doesn’t have the water pressure necessary to steam milk to a frothy consistency, though the water will get hot enough to dissolve the powdered milk found in some hot chocolate and mocha mixes. The Gevalia Kaffe Mocha Latte caught my eye because it promised to create a mocha with foam on top – and that made me curious enough to order a package to give it a try.
Where do you get your coffee in the morning? Depending on what region of the country you live in, your answer to this question might be very different from the next person. This Coffee Shop Geography Map (click to enlarge) shows the nearest coffee place among the popular coffee chains, within a 10-mile radius, all over the country. The map was put together by Flowing Data just to see where people like to get their coffee.
Starbucks was all over the country, of course, while some chains are regional – and those regional chains sometimes dominated the market in their local areas. Starbucks is strong in most major metro areas, but really dominates on the West coast. Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, a popular So Cal chain, is strong in the LA area, while Peet’s has a solid hold of the SF Bay Area and a few strong locations elsewhere on the West Coast. Dutch Bros dominates the North West. Seattle’s Best, which is owned by Starbucks, put up a good showing all over the country, even though it wasn’t the strongest in most markets. Tim Hortons had lots of fans along the US-Canada border and Caribou Coffee had a stronghold in the midwest, particularly around Minneapolis, where the company has its headquarters. It’s not surprising to see that the concentration of coffee shops mirrors the concentration of the population across the country. In the South West and North East, the density of coffee shops is much, much higher than it is in the plains states.