Coffee ( Discussing coffee. This includes selection of brands, methods of making coffee, etc. Discussion about coffee in other forms (e.g. desserts) is acceptable.

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Default RSS Coffee Feed - Coffee For Health :: Medical Effects Of Coffee :: Gourmet Coffee Gifts Are Perfect For Coffee-Lovers and Foodies! :: The Finest Gourmet Coffees :: What Difference Does Roasting Make to Coffee? :: Which Is The Best Keurig Coffee Make

## 2012-02-23, Thursday

### 09:50

[Coffee For Health][1] [[Food-and-Drink:Coffee Articles from][2]]

A lot of people start their day with a cup of coffee. For them coffee is life.
But the use of coffee on regular basis has been a topic of discussion and
contradictions for years. There are scientists, physicians, and various
researchers who believe that the coffee harms. Others, on the contrary, say a
lot about the useful properties of coffee. But, as usual, the truth is
somewhere in between.

[Medical Effects Of Coffee][3] [[Food-and-Drink:Coffee Articles from][2]]

Coffee is a complex mixture of chemicals and contains about 98% water in the
case when it is not roasted. Have you drank a cup of coffee and wondered what
it contains and does?

[Gourmet Coffee Gifts Are Perfect For Coffee-Lovers and Foodies!][4] [[Food-
and-Drink:Coffee Articles from][2]]

Gourmet coffee gifts and baskets are without a doubt one of my favorite gifts
to give and to receive! The great thing about these gifts is the ease of
making them. Making gourmet coffee gift baskets is so much fun and can be
quite inexpensive, and if you are short on time you can always purchase a
beautiful basket pre-made from a variety of online gourmet purveyors.

[The Finest Gourmet Coffees][5] [[Food-and-Drink:Coffee Articles from][2]]

There are those coffees that are so gourmet, and so delicious they belong in a
category all to themselves. I consider this category to be the category known
as the world's finest gourmet coffees, and not many make this elusive cut.
These are the coffees that go through very rigorous standards, are grown in
tropical and lush environments, and the most sought after of beans. Right away
three coffees come to mind: Kona, Jamaican Blue Mountain, and of course, Kopi

[What Difference Does Roasting Make to Coffee?][6] [[Food-and-Drink:Coffee
Articles from][2]]

A good roast is essential for great coffee. It is the roasting that gives the
coffee most of its flavour. The green beans undergo physical and chemical
changes which create, alter and balance components.

[Which Is The Best Keurig Coffee Maker?][7] [[Food-and-Drink:Coffee Articles

Coffee drinkers and coffee lovers are very discriminating people when it comes
to their drinks. They don't just get to drink coffee; they go for the best in
it. I can say this because I am like that myself. I am very discriminating
when it comes to the coffee that I drink. I don't just go for stuff that I
find anywhere. I make sure that I buy the highest quality that I can get.

[Learning How To Choose The Best Coffee Maker For Perfect Coffee Every Time -
Acting Professional][8] [[Food-and-Drink:Coffee Articles from][2]]

Learn in 3 easy steps how to brew a perfect cup of coffee every time. An
informed consumer is always the smart consumer. Acting like a professional in
your coffee circle will make you feel polished, and bring valuable knowledge
to the table for sharing over a steaming hot cup of gourmet java.

[That Seals It][9] [[Five Senses Coffee][10]]

![Ensure the rim of your portafilter basket is totally free of loose coffee
grinds before inserting it into the Group][11]

It's one of the most important parts of your espresso machine. It's also the
one of the simplest, cheapest, hardest working and probably the most
mistreated. I'm referring to the Collar Seal, also known as the Group Seal or
Group Gasket. They cost about the same as a regular burger meal, yet if the
collar seal fails to work exactly as designed, the shot is immediately wasted
and it's back to square one.

The role of the collar seal is to create a seal between the top of the
portafilter basket and the surface of the group head that surrounds the water
dispersion point. This ensures that when the brew pump is running and the brew
valve is open, all of the heated water has no choice except to travel through
the ground coffee and into the portafilter basket, therefore producing our

This all sounds simple enough except for the fact that the water is heated to
within 5 degrees of boiling and the pressure it is holding back is 130 pound
per square inch (psi). To give you some perspective, 130 psi is about the same
pressure you would experience if you were scuba diving at a depth of 300ft,
which also turns out to be the crush depth of a ping pong ball. For this
reason you should never place a ping pong ball inside your portafilter handle
while brewing a shot of coffee€¦

So how can we help this simple, yet critical ring of rubber do its job for
many months without leaking.

1. Ensure the rim of your portafilter basket is totally free of loose coffee
grinds before inserting it into the Group. The coffee particles will be
pressed into the relatively soft rubber of the seal causing a leak and over
time, permanently deform it. This can be achieved by simply wiping your
flattened hand across the top of the basket.

2. Do not allow your baskets to become damaged while knocking out the puck.
Dents and crack on the rim of your basket will prevent a good seal.

3. Allow the portafilter handles to rest lightly in the group while not being
used. Having the handle in tight for long periods such as overnight causes the
seal to compress and harden prematurely.

4. Clean the seals thoroughly at the end of the day with the tip of a cloth or
a brush designed for the purpose.

Every one of your humble collar seals will easily last several months if make
the small amount of effort required to keep them in top shape. If you do, the
only indication you will have that they are getting a bit old will be that
your handles are going around too far during use. Then, as your tech throws
them in the bin, pat yourself on the back before turning back to the grinder
and the lunch time rush.

[![][12]][13] [![][14]][15] [![][16]][17]


[Roaster Goes to India][19] [[Five Senses Coffee][10]]


We were pretty much up and running right from the start on our trip to India.
Early on the first morning we met Mr. Appadurai, the owner of Sangameshwar
Coffee Estates. We currently buy coffee from one of these estates, the Attikan
Estate, meaning 'fig jungle' estate as it's surrounded by dense jungle and, of
course, fig trees. Mr. Appadurai inherited the company from his grandfather
who had bought the farm from A.C. Morris in 1960.

The first stop on our trek to Attikan was the office and cupping lab of Mrs.
Menon, a very well-known and well respected coffee expert based in Bangalore.
We were greeted with a huge smile, given a warm welcome and, of course, some
coffee. It was the sweet, creamy, delicious traditional Indian coffee, with a
distinct lingering bitter caramel finish and hand foamed milk. We were also
able to check out her incredible lab setup, and meet her friendly staff. But
we only had a short amount of time because we had a long journey ahead of us
and had to be at the gates of the protected forest and wildlife reserve where
the 440 acre Attikan Estate is located by nightfall.

We travelled on the crazy roads for the next eight hours, weaving in and out
of traffic, dodging people, bikes, cars, animals and, of course, an out-of-
control cart pulled by cows. We hit the gates of the jungle just as they were
locking up (if you miss lock up, it's too bad €¦ turn around or sleep in the
car.) We were extremely pleased to make it, as the jungle is home to
elephants, tigers, leopards, snakes, wild boars and a whole list of sweet
jungle critters. It took the next two hours to climb the Biligri Hills or
White Hills (so-called because of the heavy mist that hangs over them.) In the
4WD we came across deer and a monster porcupine on the way. We arrived at the
Estate at around 7:30pm and as we rolled up, we saw an amazing old cottage (or
bungalow as it is known here). A.C. Morris built the bungalow in 1888 when he
established the plantation, and it is still in amazing condition, (although
without electricity or gas.) We were in for a treat. There was a generator for
a few hours at night and wood-fired hot water for the bathroom and kitchen.

The next morning we woke up and went for a walk to the front of the property
to look out over the plantation from the cottage - which is 5400ft up the
mountain. We set out on a hike around some of the plantation to check out the
twenty five different 'fields,' all which are harvested and processed
separately. (Three rounds for each field to ensure only ripe cherries are
picked). Each lot is different to the next in its characteristics, and a
sample of each field is sent to Mrs. Menon for analysis, grading and a full
report. She also records the flavour profile which buyers (like us) might be
interested in. The farm and production here is very organised and well
maintained. The trees are planted in 5ft by 5ft areas so they can be easily
harvested, which makes picking on this very steep and rugged terrain easier.

Next we went to check out the processing plant on the farm. Here the coffee is
sorted for floaters and such debris, pulped, fermented, washed and then dried
on raised beds. The drying continues on patios or 'barbeques' as they are
known as here. The coffee is then ready to be sent to the Lakshmi Coffee
Curing Works in Hassan.

Mr. Narayanan, the manager of the Coffee Curing Works, took us on a tour of
the works, where he explained that the coffee he receives from the
Sangameshwar Coffee Estates is all kept in separate individual fields or lots.
Their own coffee is also processed here and kept in separate lots. We went
from de-stoning the coffee and hulling the parchment coffee, through to
'polishing' (removing the silver skin) and getting rid of excess dust and the
like. Then the coffee is graded by machine and sorted for different defects
such as black beans etc. by a machine called Spectrum, which was imported from
Brazil. It uses a spectrometer to sort out the defects. After this, the coffee
comes out as 95% 'clean' or free of defects. Next it goes through a vibrator
which again sorts out chipped, triaged and damaged beans. By now, the coffee
is 98% clean or sorted. Lastly, all the coffee is hand sorted to be checked
off at 99% clean. It is a laborious task, but the final product is one that
was good enough to make our offering list as the Attikan Estate.

Next we made the journey to Karadykhan Estate, which is about two hours drive
from Chikmagalur where we spent two nights. We arrived at 11:45pm after
leaving Attikan at 8am €¦. A very long yet magnificent day. We spent the first
day looking at the Karadykhan Estate, Gungegiri Estate and Kondagkhan Estate.
They all fall under the Sangameshwar Coffee Estates' banner along with
Attikan. There was so much to see and it is an impressively organised and
transparent operation. We were able to see 'muster' which is the roll call on
all of these estates. Every worker is accounted for, where they will work on
the farm is noted, what they will do (weeding, shading trimming etc.) and how
long they work for is accurately recorded. So the coffee we receive is
traceable back not only to the field, but to each and every worker and their
name €¦ brilliant.

After heading back to Bangalore and spending a few hours wandering the
streets, we jumped on a plane and headed for the Araku Valley on the east
coast of India. We landed in Vishakhapatnam about three hours from Araku. I
have never seen so many cars, bikes, trucks, buses and people in my life; this
place was out of control €¦ and I loved it! We hit Araku at about midnight,
excited about what was to come the next day.

After our usual breakfast of dosa, idly, sambal and coffee, we jumped in the
jeep and headed for the first farm. There are close to 12,000 farmers here,
all with about an acre in which to grow their coffee. These farmers come from
about 600 different villages which are broken into 73 branches and looked
after by 24 board members. The board members and branch officers are elected
each year by the farmers themselves, ensuring that the needs of the farmers
are met and that they are getting well looked after. [Naandi Foundation][21],
the non-government organisation who oversees this project, has been helping to
build and develop an ethical and rewarding system for each and every farmer
here. This came after money lenders had these communities by the throat,
keeping them in constant debt, a cycle which has now been broken. Naandi
specializes in four areas within the communities here - education, livelihood,
nutritional security and health, particularly maternal health.

Both men and women are seen as equals in the eyes of the Naandi Foundation.
This means that the women who used to only come out of their houses to work in
the plantations (and work hard they do!) are now happy to meet with total
strangers, inviting us into their village, smiling and more than keen to get
into a few photos. This gender equality then flows on to the children. Naandi
fund all of the farmers' daughters' schooling through a programme called
Nanhikali, which means 'blossoming bud.' The programme includes books, lunch
and uniform right through to the end of high school. Naandi push hard for each
and every girl to be educated which in the past was unheard of. We were also
lucky enough to visit one of the villages' Early Childhood Education Centres -
these Centres prepare kids aged three to five for school €¦ and this was one of
the highlights of the trip! Naandi is a full life cycle project, running from
pre-natal care to early childhood and school through to the students finding a

Next we headed out to the coffee processing unit - or CPU as it's known here.
This central CPU was built in 2006 and was necessary due to the inadequate way
farmers were processing the coffee themselves previously. There is constant
development happening at the CPU with offices being built, and all kinds of
organic and bio-dynamic practices going on. All the water is recycled, all
manure and fertiliser is fully organic and it is all prepared here at the CPU
and distributed to the farmers. There has also been a development in mobile
phone technology; every Indian seems to have at least one mobile phone. Each
of the farmers have a phone and it contains a programme which allows them to
record details such as how much coffee they picked, when, what village they
are from, who they are, etc. As a result, a truck appears at the end of the
day to collect the coffee and take it to the CPU. The programme also allows
the farmers to be paid within 24-48 hours €¦ amazing!

There are also plans to grow and plant 6 million different fruit trees here by
2013 in amongst the coffee - not only to offer shade, but to help provide a
secondary income for the farmers. All in all, I'm looking forward to tasting
the next crop, and seeing the constant development that is happening here in

[![][12]][22] [![][23]][24] [![][25]][26]


[Locating a Decent Coffee During Mardi Gras in New Orleans][28]

This year I left the espresso comfort of Seattle and ventured to The Big Easy
for my first trip to New Orleans. Bringing my Rancilio Silvia and a pound of
espresso was not an option.




[Caffebene -- NYC -- Restaurant Review (New York Times)][35] [[Feedzilla:
Beverage - Coffee News][36]]

[Sewage's Toxic Smell, Smothered by Coffee (New York Times)][52] [[Feedzilla:
Beverage - Coffee News][36]]

[Wanna Espresso con Panna? (coffee-blog)][60] [[Feedzilla: Beverage - Coffee

[Extolling the Virtues of Home-brewed Coffee (coffee-blog)][67] [[Feedzilla:
Beverage - Coffee News][36]]









support, machine maintenance, portafilter, collar seal


/Portafilter-seal.jpg (Ensure the rim of your portafilter basket is totally
free of loose coffee grinds before inserting it into the Group)








Origin Trip, Coffee farm, India, Attikan, education




















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