Coffee Talk

Stovetop (mocha) vs Chemex Coffee

So Brevy has bit the dust. She (he) is no longer part of our family because now we not only have two various sized Moka pots, but we've invested in our own Chemex (or pour over) coffee pot. Both devices along with our standard coffee maker all have pros and cons. I would say if you are looking for a really neat, clean, and pure taste of coffee the Chemex is your man. However, if you enjoy that dark, rich, Italian style espresso taste, then it's time to brew with the Moka. Here's a great article explaining the benefits of purchasing both. Stovetop vs Chemex
I think our next coffee step will be a full coffee bar complete with a Vacuum Coffee Maker!

Moka Pot vs Espresso Maker

My dear friend Kyra and her husband Reid used to rave about their portable "Moka" that was essential to their trips back to the States. To the non-European ear, it would seem that they were speaking of a chocolate coffee beverage, the American "Mocha", pronounced the same way. After Reid convinced several of his family members to purchase their own Moka Pot, I thought it was crucial that I find out why it was better (his words) than my sweet Brevy (seen below) espresso machine. 

Here's a Moka Pot, and after reading the following article, I think we will have to purchase the very durable and portable espresso pot after all! But I'm not getting rid of Brevy (yet), don't worry.

Stovetop Moka Pot Discussion

Cappuccino Brownies: 

Cappuccino Brownies come from the "What's Cooking" Baking Cookbook, but I was lacking a few things and didn't want the rich icing so I will note the changes made: 

Generous 1.5 cups self-rising flour (I only had all-purpose which you can look up online how to add 1/8 teaspoon salt and extra teaspoon of baking powder)

1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa (plus extra for dusting)
1 C butter softened (I only had a half a cup so I used EVOO for the other half)
Generous C of sugar
4 eggs beaten
3 tbsp instant coffee powder dissolved in 2 tbsp of hot water

(CubBuster's) Icing

1/2 tsp vanilla
Confections Sugar
1/2 cup milk

Grease an 11x7 shallow cake pan and line bottom with wax paper. Sift flour, baking powder, and cocoa into bowl and add butter, sugar, eggs and coffee. Beat well with electric whisk or by hand until smooth, then spoon into prepared pan and smooth the top. 
Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until risen and firm. let cool in pan for few minutes then turn out onto wire rack and peel off lining paper. Let cool completely. 
To make frosting, beat all ingredients. Start with a cup of sugar and continue adding more as you beat with electric mixer until consistency desired. (I had it pretty light but thick enough to spoon out) drizzle over entire brownie block before slicing. It will be absorbed naturally by the brownie. ENJOY! 



Breville- the newest member of our family

My Sunday small-group, high school girls all went in together to buy Matthew and I a wedding gift. They could not have picked a better present. I never thought we'd get it off our registry, but now, I'm happy to say we have a new member of our family. The Breville Cafe Modena Espresso Machine. She's just beautiful. She's shiny. And she makes the best non-fat, pumpkin spice lattes in the world. Yes. I help her, but I can't take all the credit. If you are looking to adopt, here's a full description of all she can do: 

Breville® Cafe Modena Model ESP6SXL Espresso Machine

"This versatile machine is the perfect introduction to at-home espresso drinks, including delicious cappuccinos, lattes, mochas and more. Its pump draws water from the Thermoblock heating system at the ideal temperature for espresso extraction. A full 15 bars of pressure are maintained throughout the process to maximize crema and flavor. The stainless steel warming plate can warm up to two espresso cups. The hinged lid at the rear provides easy access to the 40-ounce removable water tank. The steam wand provides continuous steam for cafe quality drinks at home."

I know. Stop drooling and crying. Your day will come. Keep saving those pennies and know that it will all be worth it one day. The day you can finally say... 

Welcome Brevy. Welcome to my kitchen. Welcome to my world.


Thanks to The Pioneer Woman, I have found the perfect recipe for iced coffee! She even makes a month's supply at once... I knew she was on my blog roll-call for a reason! I could feel our connection when we met. Yes, there's a coffee connection that some people have..... or maybe its just coffee breath. 

Check out the recipe here 

Now, I still have to get some of that mesh cloth (for the pour-over) before I attempt this, and without a house-full of rugrats, like she has, I don't yet own containers that can hold 5 gallons of mac and cheese (as seen in her pictured recipe version), but I'm sure I can figure something out. :)  

Here's to the many beautiful ways to drink java!  Let me know if you put your own spin on it. I certainly will.... I see dark chocolate in my near future!

Coffee Talk Channel
Grad school has introduced me even more to the electronic media/communication world. Check out my digital film project entitled "Coffee Talk" as a dedication to my true love, and learn a little something while your at it. Sometimes the visual or auditory learners will get this a little easier than scrolling through this whole page!


The History of Coffee

Unfortunately no one really knows for sure who discovered the first coffee bean. There is both a popular legend that has become the title of many coffee beans, Dancing Goats, and then there is other evidence to point to a different origin of the coffee bean. Here are both, and you can decide what to believe....

According to a coffee history legend, an Arabian shepherd named Kaldi found his goats dancing joyously around a dark green leafed shrub with bright red cherries in the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. Kaldi soon determined that it was the bright red cherries on the shrub that were causing the peculiar euphoria and after trying the cherries himself, he learned of their powerful effect. The stimulating effect was then exploited by monks at a local monastery to stay awake during extended hours of prayer and distributed to other monasteries around the world. Coffee was born.

Despite the appeal of such a legend, recent botanical evidence suggests a different coffee bean origin. This evidence indicates that the history of the coffee bean began on the plateaus of central Ethiopia and somehow must have been brought to Yemen where it was cultivated since the 6th century. Upon introduction of the first coffee houses in Cairo and Mecca coffee became a passion rather than just a stimulant.

Regardless of how it was discovered, I am glad those coffee cherry plants gave way to such creative drinks and hang out spots today! Personally, I like to think it was the Dancing Goats that found it.. :)


Betty's Blend

As the Coffee CubBuster, I have to take a minute and salute Betty! Oh Betty's.... how I love thee....

Betty's General Store in Helen is the cutest old timey country store that also sells and brews there own beans. I can't go to Helen without buying some of those almondy, medium-bodied, rusticly fresh beans! I don't even think some of those descriptions are real words! Still, the store itself is like Disney World for me. I'm not exaggerating either. I don't know what it is..... You know when you go to that place that reminds you of your old grandmother's house with the calm and peace of a more simpler time filled with freshly squeezed lemonade, rocking chairs on the porch of her mountain house on the perfect fall day and she brings you out a warm homemade gooey chocolate chip cookie? Okay.... I went a little overboard and neither of my grandmother's lives in a place like that, but you get the picture. For some reason that I don't know why, that is how Betty's will make you feel! :)

I recommend a visit there asap-- although I've probably built it up so much that it's going to be a let down. Well, think of a place that makes you feel like I just described and take a day to visit it and breathe in a little deeper.

Thank you Betty for your store and for your awesome coffee!


Green Meets Coffee

If you have been to a coffee shop recently, you may have noticed that the baristas aren't automatically sliding a coffee sleeve on your to-go cup. They have taken the "optional" approach method in order to promote the newly popular "green" standards. Because those little cardboard sleeves aid in our ability to hold an extremely hot paper cup without burning our fingertips most people still grab one without thinking twice. Unless you have been a barista and burned your fingers so many times that they have developed an extra strength power against hot surfaces (speaking from experience), you will probably continue to opt for a sleeve no matter how many trees they may kill. Thus, in order to help preserve Ms. Mother Nature whom we have taken for granted in decades past, I introduce to you the new phenomenon--THE REUSABLE SLEEVE. These uniquely decorated cup-huggers come in a variety of materials including, cotton, knitted crochet, silicone, and other recycled materials fitting both paper and ceramic mugs. Although I have yet to see these ecofriendly gadgets take off in mainstream America, reusable sleeves are readily available for purchase in most local coffee shops today. I believe the obstacle holding back starbucks aficionados is the idea that you have to keep your reusable sleeve with you at all times. One never knows when a coffee craving will hit. Either that or the cute coffee sleeves are only fitting for the female coffee patron. Hopefully one way or another, our tree hugger friends will continue to promote "green living" as we seek to purify our world for future generations.
Challenge:  Try to skip the cardboard sleeve today and see how long you can hold your to-go cup before you have to grab a sleeve. Sounds like a fun little game doesn't it! :) 

Yours truly,
Coffee CubBuster


Q: Does decaf coffee contain any caffeine?

A: Yes. A study was conducted by the Journal of Analytical Toxicology to determine whether decaffeinated coffee had any amount of caffeine present. 

"Researchers purchased ten 16-ounce decaffeinated cups of drip coffee from coffee shops and restaurants and analyzed them for caffeine content. They found all but one -- decaffeinated Folgers Instant, purchased at a Krystal fast-food restaurant -- contained caffeine. The caffeine content ranged from 8.6 milligrams to 13.9 milligrams.That's about a tenth of the caffeine found in an 8-ounce cup (so 1/20th in equal sized cups of coffee) of regular drip-brewed coffee, which contains about 85 milligrams of caffeine. Researchers then tested several samples of decaffeinated espresso shots and decaf brewed coffee from the same Starbucks location to determine if caffeine content varied in the same drinks from the same location.

The results showed that the caffeine content of the decaffeinated espresso shots varied widely -- from 3 to nearly 16 milligrams; the caffeine content of the decaf brewed coffee ranged from 12 to 13.4 milligrams per 16-ounce serving" (info found at WebMD).  

So basically, you could potentially still develop an addiction to decaf coffee if you drink enough of it regularly and routinely. It's not all that much caffeine though, so if you are trying to wean off the stuff, it's a great way to go. Personally, I'd prefer to just have some  green tea (low caffeine) or herbal tea (no caffeine)  because decaf coffee/decaf espresso just doesn't taste as good in my opinion.


Can you drink under ground?

When you're in Greenville, South Carolina the answer is YES! If you happen to be in the cute downtown area of Greenville, stop by Coffee Underground and enjoy the quaint artistic atmosphere. Coffee Underground not only roasts a great bean, but they have grown to include a full menu, frequent local entertainment including, live music, poetry readings and other artistic talent, and best of all, they are tucked away "underground" at the corner of Main and (get this) Coffee Street! You can't go wrong with a location like that. It was meant to be...


I guess I've turned into one of "those" people that has the crazy novel-length coffee orders because those who've generously offered to grab me something as they "swing by Starbucks" look a little perturbed when I spew out my drink of choice description. I think it just happens after you work as a barista. You know exactly what you like and how to order it!

FYI... here are some coffee terms translated for the non-coffee drinkers (different coffee houses call them different things though, so this isn't an all-encompassing list):

"Shot in the Dark"= Coffee with a shot of espresso (for some extra umph)
"Solo" vs "Doppio"= one shot of espresso versus two (this is just good old espresso plain and strong)
"Americano"= Espresso with hot water (to cut the bitter espresso, but not desiring all the milk)
"Cafe Au lait" (pronouced cafe ole')/ "Cafe Misto"= Coffee with some steamed milk added to it (instead of the cold stuff you get at the counter for free)
"Dry latte" ="Wet cappuccino"= espresso with steamed milk and extra foam (mix between a latte/cappuccino which is my favorite by the way)
"Frappe/Frappaccino"= An ice- blended coffee drink with milk, sugar, and other goodness (not usually espresso based)
"Blended creme'"= This is like a smoothie (no coffee or espresso here my friends)
"Skinny"= nonfat milk and usually sugar-free syrup if available (just think about wanting your skinny jeans to fit better!)

Hope this gives you more confidence to visit your local coffee house and venture outside the "coffee of the day."


A great coffee shop!

If you haven't done so already, you need to stop whatever you are doing, get up, and drive to Roswell square. Well, if you don't live in the metro-Atlanta area, this may be a little tricky, so how about we limit it to those of you who are able to get to Roswell, GA?
There is an awesome coffee house called "Land of a Thousand Hills," and it is just that.... a land far far away from anything seemingly big-city. There slogan is my favorite-- Drink Coffee. Do Good. Each cup of coffee they make is "french pressed" (lesson coming soon on coffee talk page), and every latte and cappuccino has that amazing latte art (a sign made only by the great ones). They also sell some great paraphernalia and have live music every Friday and Saturday night. Trust me, it's SO worth the trip! You'll end up on one of the sofas needing to switch to decaf because you just don't want to leave


Q: What is the difference between a cappuccino and a latte?

A: Cappuccinos and Lattes are both made with espresso and steamed milk. A latte is one part espresso and one part steamed milk (with a tiny bit of froth on top if made correctly). A cappuccino is made with one part espresso, one part steamed milk, and the third part foam (lots and lots of froth!). It's more like snow in a cup if you ask me.... a pure delight when made right!


There is nothing better than a French Press cup of  Joe! A robust French roast will guarantee a cup of full bodied coffee. It's actually quite simple to do...
1. First you have to buy a Press Pot
2. Put in as many scoops of coarse ground coffee as you like (equal part coffee to water for strong, 1/2 for weaker)
3. Add boiling water to the grounds
4. Let steep 3-5 mintues. Coffee grounds will swell during the steeping time
5. Gently press down the plunger. The mesh filter will push the coffee grounds to the bottom and separate the liquid from the coffee grounds.
6. Pour into your favorite mug and enjoy!

Extra tip:
Did you know that you can request a "french press" at any local Starbucks or Caribou Coffee, and they will let you choose the grounds while you sit in house and enjoy 3-6 cups (based on the size you order) of your choice!?! I love doing this when I don't like the "coffee of the day" or if I plan to sit and read for a bit.