Oct 1, 2012

Minimalist coffee shop prohibits sugar, milk and strollers

Gourmet coffee shops have been popular for the past two decades, but I notice that more people than ever are paying attention to the quality of the coffee these days and looking for more unique beans that taste better when brewed well and served black. Some people, however, are always happy to load up a cup of whatever coffee is in front of them (even if it is a great one) with sugar and cream until they can’t taste the coffee anymore. One coffee shop in Berlin, The Barn Roastery, has decided to put the quality of the coffee first – no exceptions. The coffee shop has issued a policy putting coffee first. They won’t add water to espresso shots and they won’t add milk to handbrewed coffee. The milk that they steam for lattes is only organic.

In addition to the coffee restrictions, they also emphasized that the cafe is “catered towards adults” and offers space where customers can talk in peace or spend time reading, relaxing or listening to music. They are prohibiting strollers (which can be quite large in many European cities where residents do a lot of walking) and urging customers to keep a close eye on babies and children if they bring them inside, partly to minimize crowding in the cafe and partly to keep the atmosphere cool.

I have a feeling that this would not a popular move if a coffee shop in the US issued similar statements. The coffee restrictions might be well-received if they had a loyal base of coffee-lovers already, but people do like their freedom to make their coffee to their own tastes. And the stroller statement is the kind of thing that always gets people riled up, even if it was meant with good intentions.

Sep 22, 2012

Double Coffee Affogato

Double Coffee Affogato

An affogato is an Italian dessert where a fresh shot of espresso is poured over a small scoop of ice cream. It’s a perfect melding of hot and cold for a coffee-lover. I usually make these with vanilla ice cream or gelato because vanilla and coffee is always a winning combination in my book. That said, you can really use any kind of ice cream that you think will work well with your shot. I would stay away from ice cream with big chunks in it (such as chunks of cookie dough), but other than that, there are many options.

This Double Coffee Affogato is for coffee lovers. It starts with coffee ice cream and is topped with espresso. You can buy the coffee ice cream – mocha would be a good choice, too – or use homemade. I opted to use my homemade Cafe Latte Ice Cream, increasing the coffee to two tablespoons for a stronger flavor. If you are using store-bought ice cream, pick a high quality brand like Haagen Dazs (they make my favorite coffee ice cream).

Coffee Affogato

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Sep 16, 2012

A Caffeine-Spiked Breakfast Cereal for Coffee Lovers

Cappuccino Crunch Cereal

Coffee is a breakfast staple for most of us, perking us up to get us through the morning with caffeine and, for me, with its familiar flavor. A coffee-loving food scientist from Hawaii has finally merged coffee with breakfast food and has come up with a line of coffee (and tea) flavored, caffeinated breakfast cereals. Capuccino Crunch comes in Cappuccino, Mocha, Kona Blend and Chai Spice flavors, all carefully developed over a period of about two years to ensure that the cereal delivers the flavors as promised. It’s an all natural puffed rice cereal – gluten free, low sugar and cholesterol free – that is flavored with 100% arabica coffee beans (except for the chai flavor), and the Kona flavor includes 10% real Kona coffee. A serving of cereal delivers about 25% of the caffeine found in a regular cup of coffee.

Tea lovers might also appreciate the fact that black tea and green tea are flavors in the wings, as is a decaffeinated coffee for coffee-lovers who want the flavor without the buzz. The packaging is done in coffee bags, which makes for a very attractive presentation, but means that you can only buy this cereal in very small quantities at the moment. Hopefully it’ll gain some traction with other coffee lovers and we might start getting a jump-start to the day with cereal and coffee sometime soon.

For now, the cereals are available online for anyone who wants to give them a taste.

Sep 6, 2012

Homemade Coffee Popsicles

Homemade Coffee Ice Pops

The only thing more refreshing than a big cup of iced coffee on a hot summer day is a coffee popsicle – assuming, of course, that you’re looking to have something with a little caffeine in it as your refresher! These coffee popsicles are easy to make and are probably a little bit better than the popsicles that you got from the ice cream truck as a kid, since they are made with all natural ingredients.

The mix for the popsicles is made with strong coffee, milk, sugar and a touch of vanilla. The finished popsicle is a bit like a plain coffee ice blended drink – good coffee and cream flavors, and a hint of sweetness. You can make it with brewed coffee, espresso or even instant coffee dissolved in hot water, and can alter the ratio of coffee-to-milk to suit your tastes. I also find that foods don’t taste quite as sweet when they are frozen, so I always make this mix a little bit sweeter than I would if I were drinking it hot, and recommend that you do the same for the best results.

I have a variety of popsicle molds in my collection, but you can easily make your own popsicles without a mold by following this tutorial if you don’t have any but want to try these on a hot day!

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