Pick your soundtrack, kick up your feet and enjoy your favourite brew. While sipping away, check out award winning illustrator Rachel Ryle. A self-taught artist who grew into an illustrator only a short time ago, Ryle often features the everyday comfort accompaniments to our life (aka: coffee) in her work.
Check out the Apple App Store to see her amazing new coffee ☕️ iMessage sticker pack! With it, every coffee drinker can further share their enthusiasm for the bean in iMessage. Ryle is also a social media maven of sorts, having been named the #1 Instagram account to follow by MTV & BuzzFeed.
video by: @rachelryle
Founded in 2016, South African company Black Insomnia shot to fame as producers of the ‘world’s strongest coffee’. Touting the product’s top spot on the caffeine scale, an official press release states: “None have been able to reach the unadulterated caffeine content that defines Black Insomnia, nor should any brand attempt to surpass this content in the interest of public health and safety.” The strongest roast available is at 702 milligrams per 12 oz cup – for perspective – a can of Coke only has 34 milligrams. The flavour of this constructed roast is best described as “indulgent, smooth, sweet and nutty”. Get yours now at amazon.com.
The next time you step inside your local cafe or roaster, look them straight in the eye and confidently place your order with a dash of knowledge and flair. Adding a few new words to your vocabulary could result in a whole new take on your favourite bean brew. Here’s what you need to know:
Arabica: The main cultivar of the coffee tree used for most specialty coffee.
Aroma: The smell of just-brewed coffee.
Bloom: Freshly roasted coffee is constantly releasing carbon dioxide. When ground coffee is combined with hot water, the release of gasses increases in what is called a “bloom”. “Blooming” essentially involves preparing coffee for extraction by sitting the ground coffee in hot water, forcing out that carbon dioxide.
Body: The weight of the coffee; how it feels in your mouth, from watery to oily to grainy.
Coffee snob: Folk who only drink specialty coffee and frown on those who don’t.
Crack (first and second): The sound made when coffee beans release gases during the roasting process.
Cup of Excellence: Although you may start referring to your own brews this way, technically it refers to the competition that determines the best coffee bean grown in a particular nation. It’s a not-for-profit program which directly benefits farmers from member countries, and the winners at Cup of Excellence fetch significantly higher prices at auction.
Cupping: The method used to judge the quality and characteristics of coffee beans. Coffee is coarsely ground, then exactingly steeped, scraped, sniffed and slurped.
Espresso: A short black, or 30 millilitre shot of coffee, extracted using an espresso machine.
Estate Coffee: Coffee that has all been grown in a certain region and processed in the same mill. Unlike single-origin coffee, estate coffee may be grown on several different farms.
Single origin: Coffee brewed from beans that have all been grown on the same farm, making it easier to generalize about flavour.
Smallholder farms: Small farms, mostly in developing countries.
Specialty coffee: Coffee that has been sourced with an extra focus on the quality of the bean, from crop to cup.
Third Wave: The new breed of coffee roasters who deal exclusively in specialty beans and who are totally devoted to getting the most out of them by whatever means, including varying roasts (particularly lighter roasts) and filter brewing.
Filter: Coffee that’s made by coffee grounds being steeped with water and passed through a filter to remove all the solid bits.
Green coffee: Un-roasted coffee beans.
Group: The handle of an espresso machine – the bit that holds the ground coffee and the conduit through which your espresso passes.
Micro-lot coffee: The most regulated of coffees. Micro-lot beans have all been grown in the same field, with minimal changes in altitude. All beans are picked on the same day.
Mouthfeel: It’s how the coffee feels in the mouth – maybe oily, bubbly or silky.
Peaberry: A coffee bean that hasn’t separated into two parts. It looks a bit like a football and is known to have an intensified version of the flavour profile of the rest of its crop.
Pull: Espresso shots are “pulled”. It’s a hangover from the days when machines were lever operated.
Artisanal coffee doesn’t have to be a lot of work. The Poppy Pour-Over Coffee Machine makes it as simple as a normal coffee maker. It features a built-in hopper that holds 1.25 pounds of beans, and a built-in burr grinder so you can wait to grind until you’re ready, ensuring maximum freshness. A 50 oz. water reservoir lets you make up to four servings without refilling, a charcoal filter cleans your water, and best of all, you can adjust the machine’s settings right from the Wink app, saving your favorites and sharing them too. And when it’s time to order beans and filters, no need to worry, the machine can take care of that too.
There is a coffee farmer in Tanzania with 10 children… and a legacy to uphold. His name is David Robinson, and he is the youngest of Rachel and Jackie Robinson’s three children. In “Of The Father And of The Son,” directed by Alrick Brown for Spike Lee’s Lil’ Joints series, viewers will visit with David in Tanzania, where he has been living for 30 years, and his mother and sister in New York, where they balance amusement and pride in his commitment to Africa. Sit back, relax and enjoy this one here.
Coffee is more than just a vessel for caffeine. A wide variety of beans, mix-ins and machines have recently turned coffee brewing into a delicate art. In fact, depending on how you make your morning cuppa, you’re toying with the flavor, nutrition and caffeine content. Here’s a look at seven common brewing methods—in order of most basic to most time-consuming—and what actually ends up in your cup. Check out this gallery from Paste Magazine to see see what’s actually in your cup of coffee.
It’s easy to forget that coffee comes from a fruit, since hardly anybody outside of coffee-producing countries ever gets to see it in its natural state. Coffee grows on spindly, bush-like plants, and its cherry-like fruit ripens over the course of several weeks approximately nine months after the shrubs’ jasminey blossoms bloom and fall. When ready for picking, most coffee cherries range in color from blood red to a kind of deep, smokey burgundy, becoming sweeter as they mature.
The fruit’s skin is taut and snaps like a bell pepper when you pierce it. Inside there’s a sweet, sticky pulp layer that tastes something like watermelon, rosewater, and hibiscus all at once. (And taster beware, as I learned the hard way: there’s not much meat behind that red skin, and chomping too hard could lead to some serious dental work).