How To Make the Best Iced Coffee

3:36 PM officenekomedia 0 Comments

It's summer, the time of year when we as a collective body of caffeine addicts all switch from hot cups to the refreshing crispness of coffee on ice. But it's so dang expensive (due to the fact that it actually takes more coffee, labor, and time to make it, but whatever).
It's time for that cuppa joe, but holy fried eggs on the sidewalk, it's too hot for hot coffee! You could get into your car and head to the nearest Starbucks, but the thought of those leather seats searing the backs of your legs is even less appetizing than sidewalk eggs. So why leave the comfort of your home? Make your own iced caffeinated beverage in your kitchen! It's very easy to do, and can save you time and money too. Read on: we'll show you a few ways to do this!

How to Make a Cold Brew French Press
(Makes 1 drink)
What You Need
1/3 cup whole coffee beans
1 1/2 cups cold water, preferably filtered
Ice, to taste
Milk, to taste
Sweeteners such as flavored syrups, caramel, or melted chocolate, optional
Equipment
Coffee grinder
French press

Instructions
Grind the coffee beans: Grind 1/3 cup of coffee beans until they are coarse enough to be filtered by the French press, yet fine enough to infuse well. On my burr grinder, I grind right in between middle and fine.
Combine the ground coffee and water in the French press: Pour the ground coffee into the French press and top with 1 1/2 cups of water.
Stir to incorporate: Gently stir the coffee with the water until well blended.
Put on French press lid: Make sure the plunger is in the up position.
Place the French press in the refrigerator and steep overnight: Leave the plunger in the up position so the grounds infuse the water overnight.
Plunge to separate the coffee from the grounds: The next morning, plunge the French press to separate the coffee from the grounds. 
Make your iced coffee: Fill a glass with ice cubes and fill partway with milk. Fill the rest of the glass with iced coffee. Stir to combine and enjoy!

Recipe Notes
Large Batch Iced Coffee: If you have a larger French press, you can make a larger batch of iced coffee using the same ratio of ground coffee to water. Plunge and transfer any unused coffee to a new container. Iced coffee can be kept refrigerated for about a week.
Iced Coffee Variations: If you have a sweet tooth like me, you may want to stir in a spoonful of cajeta caramel or chocolate fudge. Sea salt or cinnamon also make a nice touch.

Tips
If you prefer sugar with your iced coffee, mix it in while the coffee is hot, as it will blend better; or try mixing the sugar with the milk before mixing it with the coffee.
Take any left over or unused coffee and fill into an ice cube tray, that way your next cup won't be diluted.

Warnings
Do not put a hot coffee pot directly into the refrigerator, the glass may crack, spilling coffee inside your refrigerator. This is called thermal shock, though you may use different words to describe it.

Cheers! 

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What is Kopi Luwak

3:09 PM officenekomedia 0 Comments

Ever heard about that coffee where cats or civets from Indonesia would eat coffee berries and defecate the beans, and have them picked up, collected, and processed by farmers and coffee producers?
If not, it’s called Kopi Luwak, also known as the most expensive coffee in the world.
Kopi luwak , or civet coffee, refers to the seeds of coffee berries once they have been eaten and defecated by the Asian palm civet . The name is also used for marketing brewed coffee made from the beans.
Producers of the coffee beans argue that the process may improve coffee through two mechanisms, selection and digestion. Selection occurs if the civets choose to eat coffee berries containing better beans. Digestive mechanisms may improve the flavor profile of the coffee beans that have been eaten. The civet eats the berries for the beans' fleshy pulp, then in the digestive tract, fermentation occurs. The civet's proteolytic enzymes seep into the beans, making shorter peptides and more free amino acids.Passing through a civet's intestines the beans are then defecated with other fecal matter and collected.
The traditional method of collecting feces from wild civets has given way to intensive farming methods in which civets in battery cage systems are force fed the coffee beans. This method of production has raised ethical concerns about the treatment of civets due to "horrific conditions" including isolation, poor diet, small cages and a high mortality rate.A 2013 BBC investigation of intensive civet farming in Sumatra found conditions of animal cruelty.Intensive farming is also criticised by traditional farmers because the civets do not select what they eat, so the beans are of poor quality compared to beans collected from the wild. According to an officer from the TRAFFIC conservation programme, the trade in civets to make kopi luwak may constitute a significant threat to wild civet populations.
Although kopi luwak is a form of processing rather than a variety of coffee, it has been called the most expensive coffee in the world with retail prices reaching €550 / US$700 per kilogram. The price paid to collectors in the Philippines is closer to US$20 per kilogram. The price of farmed (considered low-grade by connoisseurs) kopi luwak in large Indonesian supermarkets is from US$100 per kilogram (five times the price of a high quality local arabica coffee). Genuine kopi luwak from wild civets is difficult to purchase in Indonesia and proving it is not fake is very difficult - there is little enforcement regarding use of the name "kopi luwak", and there's even a local cheap coffee brand named "Luwak", which costs under US$3 per kilogram but is occasionally sold online under the guise of real kopi luwak.
An investigation by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Asia found fraud to be rife in the kopi luwak industry, with producers willing to label coffee from caged civets with a "wild sourced" or similar label. A BBC investigation revealed similar findings.
Kopi luwak is produced mainly on the islands of Sumatra, Java, Bali and Sulawesi in the Indonesian Archipelago. It is also widely gathered in the forest or produced in the farms in the islands of the Philippines (where the product is called kape motit in the Cordillera region, kape alamid in Tagalog areas, and kape melô or kape musang in Mindanao island), and in East Timor . Weasel coffee is a loose English translation of its Vietnamese name cà phê Chồn, where popular, chemically simulated versions are also produced.


Myths regarding a better brew with cat poop coffee
Many coffee brewers and processors believe that having cats create Kopi Luwak results in a better coffee product. They believe that since the cats choose to eat the coffee berries, the cats must be choosing the best coffee berry possible. After the cat eats the coffee berries and then poop them out, their digestive mechanism is then believed to improve the taste and flavor profile of the coffee.

Where is the Cat Poop Coffee Produced?

Kopi Luwak is mainly produced in Indonesia. The Indonesian island of Sumatra is the world’s largest regional producer of the coffee. There are also a few of these coffee farms in Vietnam and the Philippines.

Coffee that comes from cat poop can’t taste good, right?
Many people have mixed opinions regarding the taste of Kopi Luwak. According to the Specialty Coffee Association of America, this coffee just tastes like normal coffee beans.  However, most coffee drinkers are able to distinguish a distinct taste. The coffee has low acidity and little flavor, but it is very smooth.
Another thing about the taste of this coffee is that no two cups will taste exactly the same. Since the coffee beans go through a different cat’s digestive system, the tastes will vary. Since every cat/civet is different, it’s overall diet and even personal health is also different. These factors all can change the end taste of the defecated coffee beans.

Many people believe that this coffee is only sold and drank for it’s unique story (cat eating and pooping the beans), not the overall taste and superior quality. Essentially, it’s just known as novelty coffee that people like to buy and drink because it’s so unique.

In popular culture

  • In 1995, an Ig Nobel Prize was awarded to John Martinez of J. Martinez & Company in Atlanta, Georgia, for "Luak Coffee, the world's most expensive coffee, which is made from coffee beans ingested and excreted by the luak (aka, the palm civet), a bobcat-like animal native to Indonesia."
  • Kopi Luwak is also mentioned in The Bucket List (2008) as Carter Chambers (Morgan Freeman) reveals with great amusement of how the Kopi Luwak — enjoyed by Edward Cole (Jack Nicholson) — was produced; eaten and defecated by a jungle cat. Cole reacted in surprise "You're shitting me!" and Carter replied in jest "No, the cats beat me to it!".
  • Kopi Luwak coffee makes an appearance in History Channel's reality TV series, Pawn Stars (18 July 2013), with several characters refusing to drink it after learning how it is made.
  • In Franklin and Bash, Season 3 Episode 9, "Shoot to Thrill", associate lawyer/germaphobe Pinder and his law partner Stanton Infeld each drink Kopi Luwak. After Pinder learns of the coffee's origin he begins to vomit due to his extreme germaphobia.


Because of the rarity of this coffee, the price is quite outrageous. If you can find a vendor, the current cost for a pound of Kopi Luwak is around $300 or more. Some more adventurous coffee houses are selling it by the cup, but you won't likely find it at your local coffee shop just yet. The coffee isn't so spectacular that it's truly worth that amount of money. You are paying for the experience of enjoying such an unusual and rare delicacy.


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How to Make a Banana Split

2:33 PM officenekomedia 0 Comments

A banana split is an ice cream-based dessert. In its classic form it is served in a long dish called a boat. A banana is cut in half lengthwise (hence the split) and laid in the dish. There are many variations, but the classic banana split is made with scoops of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream served in a row between the split banana. In no particular order, pineapple, strawberry and chocolate sauces are spooned over the strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla ice cream. It is garnished with crushed nuts, whipped cream, and maraschino cherry.
The banana plant is not a tree, but actually a very large herb.

History
David Evans Strickler, a 23-year-old apprentice pharmacist at Tassel Pharmacy, located at 805 Ligonier Street in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, who enjoyed inventing sundaes at the store's soda fountain, invented the banana-based triple ice cream sundae in 1904. The sundae originally cost 10 cents, twice the price of other sundaes, and caught on with students of nearby Saint Vincent College. News of a new variety of sundae quickly spread by word-of-mouth and through correspondence and soon progressed far beyond Latrobe. A popular recipe published in 1907 called for a lengthwise split banana, two cones of ice cream at each end and a spoon of whipped cream in between with maraschino cherry on a top, with one end covered with chopped mixed nuts and another with chopped mixed fruits.
Strickler went on to buy the pharmacy, naming it Strickler's Pharmacy, while keeping his office on a top floor.
The city of Latrobe celebrated the 100th anniversary of the invention of the banana split in 2004 and, in the same year, the National Ice Cream Retailers Association (NICRA) certified the city as its birthplace. It is the place of an annual Great American Banana Split Festival and a keeper of the original soda fountain where the first now famous throughout the world confection was made.
Shortly after its invention by Strickler, a Boston ice cream entrepreneur came up with the same sundae, with one minor flaw — he served his banana splits with the bananas unpeeled until he discovered that people preferred them peeled.
Wilmington, Ohio also claims an early connection. In 1907, restaurant owner Ernest Hazard wanted to attract students from Wilmington College during the slow days of winter. He staged an employee contest to come up with a new ice cream dish. When none of his workers were up to the task, he split a banana lengthwise, threw it into an elongated dish and created his own dessert. The town commemorates the event each June with its own Banana Split Festival.
Walgreens is credited with spreading the popularity of the banana split. The early drug stores operated by Charles Rudolph Walgreen in the Chicago area adopted the banana split as a signature dessert. Fountains in the stores proved to be drawing cards, attracting customers who might otherwise have been just as satisfied having their prescriptions filled at some other drug store in the neighborhood.

Ingredients
1 banana
4 scoops of ice cream of choice (chocolate, strawberry, etc.)
Mini M&M's or any other candy of your choice
Whipped cream
Cherries
Chocolate, Strawberry, or caramel syrup
Sprinkles


Steps
1. Take a banana and peel the skin. Get a bowl and place the banana into it.
2. Get two scoops of your ice cream of choice and put them on one side. Get two more scoops and add them to the other side.
3. Get some flavored syrup and zig zag it around. (chocolate, strawberry, or caramel and/or all three).
4. Whip up some whipped cream and spray it across.
5. Sprinkle some sprinkles on top.
6. Finish the job by putting a cherry on top.

Banana split pie
The banana split pie was created by Janet Winquest, a 16-year-old resident of Holdrege, Nebraska. In 1952, she won a $3,000 prize in Pillsbury's Grand National Recipe and Baking Contest for the recipe.







Enjoy
Get a spoon and dig in.

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Rooibos Tea- The Red Bush of Africa

2:07 PM officenekomedia 9 Comments

Best of all, Rooibos red tea naturally contains protective antioxidants, as well as calcium, zinc and other nutrients. Discover for yourself how each of our soothing Rooibos red tea blends resonates with the wonders of Africa! 
Rooibos teas are a naturally sweet and sometimes nutty herbal tea made from the South African Red Bush often referred to as Red Tea or African Red Tea.  The rooibos tea processing method involves harvesting the red bush leaves, followed by grinding and bruising of the leaves. Then the rooibos is left to ferment and dried to yield a reddish brown needle-like tea.  Green rooibos tea does not have a fermentation step and thus has a lighter taste than red rooibos teas.  Both varieties of rooibos tea are caffeine free. 
The generic name comes from the plant Calicotome villosa, aspalathos in Greek. This plant has very similar growth and flowers to the Rooibos plant. The specific name linearis comes from the plant's linear growing structure and needle-like leaves.    

Production
Rooibos is usually grown in a small area in the region of the Western Cape province of South Africa. Generally, the leaves are oxidized, a process often referred to as fermentation in accordance with tea processing terminology. This process produces the distinctive reddish-brown color of rooibos and enhances the flavor. Unoxidized "green" rooibos is also produced, but the more demanding production process for green rooibos (similar to the method by which green tea is produced) makes it more expensive than traditional rooibos. It carries a malty and slightly grassy flavour somewhat different from its red counterpart.

Use
In South Africa, it is common to prepare rooibos tea in the same manner as black tea and add milk and sugar to taste. Other methods include a slice of lemon and using honey instead of sugar to sweeten.
Several coffee shops in South Africa have recently begun to sell "red espresso", which is concentrated rooibos served and presented in the style of ordinary espresso. This has given rise to rooibos-based variations of coffee drinks such as red lattes and red cappuccinos. Iced tea made from rooibos has recently been introduced in South Africa, Australia, and the United States. A variant of a London Fog, known as a Cape Town Fog, can also be made using Rooibos steeped in steamed milk with vanilla syrup.

History of Rooibos Tea
In 1772, Swedish botanist Carl Thunberg found the people of the Cape of South Africa were making tea from local plants, specifically, the rooibos plant.  By the 1900s, settlers of the Cape refined the curing process to make African red tea, employing similar methodologies of green tea processing. Soon after cultivation of rooibos red bush tea spread throughout South America and more recently, has broken into the American tea market for its unique taste and variety of flavors.

Rooibos Tea Preparation
Making rooibos tea is very similar to preparing any other herbal tea.  1.5 tsp of rooibos tea should be added for every 8 oz cup of boiling water.  The rooibos tea should steep for 5-6 minutes.  If left to brew longer, the rooibos tea should not become very bitter, as this type of tea has steeped for days in some South African households.  Many rooibos teas also taste great as an iced tea.  To make rooibos iced tea, just double the amount of tea used, steep at the same temperature and for the same length of time, then pour the tea directly into a glass full of ice.

Health Benefits Of Rooibos Tea
Caffeine free – The rooibos plant grows naturally without any caffeine.  This is important, as it means it does not need to undergo a chemical process to remove the caffeine.  It also means that anyone can drink it, including those who do not want to drink caffeine such as children & pregnant women.  The other key benefit of no caffeine is that rooibos tea can be drunk in unrestricted amounts, in fact, the average South African will consume 5-6 cups per day.
Contains powerful antioxidants – Rooibos tea contains a huge array of antioxidants, which help to protect the body in a number of ways.  Two polyphenol antioxidants called aspalathin and nothofagin are found in high concentrations in rooibos tea.  These antioxidants protect the body by fighting free radicals.  These are unstable cells, which attack healthy cells in order to stabilise themselves.  The polyphenols also have anti-inflammatory properties and can safeguard against heart disease.
Prevents against some cancers – Some studies have demonstrated a link between consumption of rooibos tea and a reduction of cancer-causing chemicals.  This is because of the high level of dominant antioxidants, some of which have anti-mutagenic properties.  This means that they defend cells & DNA against damage and inhibit them from developing into cancer.
High mineral content – One of the key health benefits of rooibos tea is that it contains several minerals that are vital to health.  These include: magnesium – essential for the nervous system, calcium & manganese – essential for strong teeth and bones, zinc – important for metabolism and iron – critical for helping blood & muscles distribute oxygen.
Improves circulation – One of the many potent antioxidants in rooibos tea is called Chysoeriol.  It can improve circulation by preventing the activity of the enzyme that triggers cardiovascular disease.  Drinking rooibos tea also lowers blood pressure and cholesterol.
Relieves stomach complaints – As rooibos tea contains high levels of flavonoids, especially one called quercetin, it has the ability to relieve numerous abdominal ailments such as cramps, diahorrea and indigestion.  This is because the flavonoids help to reduce spasm, inflammation and allergies.  It has also been widely stated that the health benefits of rooibos tea extend to alleviating colic in babies.  As it is totally caffeine free, it is perfectly safe for them to drink rooibos tea.
Aids absorption of iron – Unlike most black teas, which prevent the body from absorbing iron effectively because of the tannins they contain, rooibos tea supports the body in absorbing iron.  This is because rooibos tea contains less than half the tannins of black tea.
Can relieve skin conditions – A more recent discovery of the benefits of rooibos tea is that it can help you to look more beautiful!  Rooibos tea contains phenyl pyretic acid, which can help to improve acne, psoriasis and eczema.  You can apply a freshly brewed and cooled tea bag to the affected areas and it will soothe and heal any inflammation.
Can protect against Parkinsons/Alzheimers disease – drinking rooibos tea regularly can protect against a process known as lipid peridoxation.  This is where free radicals damage brain cells and nerve tissue.  If this is prolonged, it can lead eventually to progressive and deteriorating brain disease, such as Alzheimers.  Laboratory tests on rats showed little difference in brain function from a group of older rats given rooibos tea to the brains of newborn rats.
Encourages restful sleep – One of the many health benefits of rooibos tea is that it can be drunk as often as you wish and at any time of day.  Many people choose to drink it before bedtime as it can help with insomnia.  Due to its high mineral content and lack of caffeine, it helps people to feel calm and relaxed.

US trademark controversy
In 1994, Burke International registered the name "Rooibos" with the US Patent and Trademark Office, thus establishing a monopoly on the name in the United States at a time when it was virtually unknown there. When the plant later entered more widespread use, Burke demanded that companies either pay fees for use of the name, or cease its use. In 2005, the American Herbal Products Association and a number of import companies succeeded in defeating the trademark through petitions and lawsuits; after losing one of the cases, Burke surrendered the name to the public domain.

Grading
Rooibos grades are largely related to the percentage "needle" or leaf to stem content in the mix. A higher leaf content will result in a darker liquor, richer flavour and less "dusty" aftertaste. The high grade rooibos is exported and does not reach local markets, with major consumers being EU, particularly Germany, where it is used in creating flavoured blends for loose leaf tea markets. In development within South Africa are a small number of specialty tea companies producing similar blends.

Threat from climate change

The Rooibos plant is endemic to a small part of the western coast of the Western Cape province of South Africa, forming part of the fragile fynbos biome. It grows in a symbiotic relationship with local micro-organisms, and past attempts to grow Rooibos outside this area, in places as far afield as the United States, Australia and China, have all failed. Now, climate change may threaten the future survival of the plant and the R600-million Rooibos industry. Increasing temperatures and decreasing rainfall may result in the extinction of the Rooibos plant within the next century.

Legal protection of the name Rooibos
If passed by the parliament of South Africa, the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Bill of 2008 will provide for the protection and restriction on commercial use of the name Rooibos in that country. Similar legislation (protection of the names Champagne and Port for example) already exists in Europe. This is despite Rooibos South Africa's decision to contest the Burke trademark on the grounds that "rooibos" is a generic term, rather than claiming it as a geographic indication.

Did you know? 
  • In fact, Rooibos ice-cream was even served at the wedding of celebrity couple Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones.
  • Simon Le Bon, lead singer of top 80s band, Duran Duran, never goes on stage without drinking a cup of Rooibos first. (Then it must be good for the voice as well!)
  • Italian company, Bvlgari, has a series of tea-based perfumes with a hot seller called Eau Parfumee au The Rouge . This unique fragrance features notes of bergamot, orange, pink pepper, fig pulp, Yunnan red tea, walnut, musk, and of course Rooibos. 
  • At Stellar Winery, situated at Trawal north of Cape Town in Rooibos country, Hanepoot grapes are dried on a bed of straw and Rooibos tea before being crushed and made into organic wine. This infuses the grapes with the fragrance of Rooibos for their dessert wine aptly called “Heaven-on-Earth”. This might just be the secret recipe that helped Stellar to numerous awards at the BioFach International Organic Wine Awards in 2007.
  • Rooibos Espresso (trademarked as red espresso) has caught the world’s eye as an innovative product that makes tea trendy and cappuccinos healthy. It is Rooibos tea specially ground to be used in espresso machines and has won various awards such as the America Specialty Coffee Association’s ‘Best New Product’ in the Specialty Beverage category in 2008.
  • The Cederberg area, where Rooibos is grown, is one of the richest regions of Southern African rock art. The rock art, left behind by the San people who originally inhabited the area, is said to be from 300 to 6000 years old. Maybe drinking Rooibos tea inspired them.   
"Harvested from the mountainous Cederberg region of South Africa, Rooibos is a mellow and relaxing herb whose slightly nutty flavor offers hints of cherry and toffee. Moroccan Pomegranate infuses Rooibos with scarlet-red pomegranate flavor and tart hibiscus to create a delightfully fruity caffeine-free blend that you’ll savor both iced and hot." - Charlie Baden, Celestial Seasonings Blendmaster

For more informations:

...and a  Rooibos Tea! 












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