3 Creative Coffee Cups to Inspire Your Kitchen

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Coffee, coffee everywhere, so many cups to drink. That pretty much describes my kitchen. On any given morning, I’ve got at least six or seven blends of coffee in jars on the counter, ranging from Sumatra to Highlander Grogg to Southern Pecan and Pumpkin Spice. We live and breathe coffee in our house. In fact, our mornings depend on it.

Which is why my other passion is coffee mugs. I can’t drink coffee out of just any mug. It’s got to be a little unusual, a piece of art in itself. Thanks to the Internet, I discovered quite a few coffee cups that practically reinvent the concept.

The Coffee Mug that Never Needs a Coaster

This coffee mug comes with a handle that makes the cup hover over its own coaster, so you can confidently set that cup on your Steinway piano and not worry about leaving a stain. Its dishwasher and microwave safe.

The Nordic Wooden Cup

Perfect for camping, this Nordic wooden cup comes on a string and can be hung from your belt for camping convenience. You never know when you’ll find a surprise cup of coffee, so it’s always a good idea to have a cup handy. The minimalist design will appeal to your inner Viking.

The Ninja Mug

Channel your inner Ninja on a Saturday morning. The Ninja Mug features all the accouterments for coffee stealth: a throwing star coaster, and katana spoon along with the ninja mask coffee coozie. Only a true master stirs his coffee with a Ninja sword spoon. Deadly and delicious.

Long Live the Cold Brew Coffee: A Refreshing Brew for Hot Summer Weather

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Summertime’s hot. You love a great cup of strong Ohio roasted coffee, but the heat leaves your kitchen feeling like the South American jungles where the beans were grown. How do you enjoy a great tasting cup of coffee that’s delicious yet refreshing?

You’ve got two options: iced coffee or cold brew.

Iced Coffee

With iced coffee, you start with regularly brewed coffee, whether it’s a flavored roast like Southern pecan or Sumatra, and you cool it down in the fridge and with ice cubes. To avoid a watered down coffee, always use coffee ice cubes. The trick is to take the end of a pot you’d probably just pour down the drain anyway and pour it into an ice cube tray. Still, some people think iced coffee still has a more acidic flavor. They prefer cold brew.

Cold Brew

Cold brew coffee is made without the heat. You simply grind the beans as fine as you can, mix them with cold water and let them sit for 12 hours so the grinds enfuse with the water. Generally, you want about one cup of coffee beans for every four ounces of water.

Here’s a great recipe for cold brew from Simply Recipes. **We have a cold brew recipe. You can link to the recipe on our website (look under recipes and grab the link)

I make a bunch over the weekend so it’s ready to go in the morning. It’s especially refreshing and satisfying on hot summer mornings. It saves me time and I’m not trying to slug a hot liquid in the heat of the day.

It’s still a good idea to further chill the coffee with ice cubes, ideally using coffee ice cubes. I really enjoy the taste of Highlander Grogg flavored coffee as a cold brew. I make sure the ice cubes are also Highlander Grogg for a truly exquisite, refreshing drink that tastes great all day long!

Happy brewing!

**Also, we use our medium roast (614) Blend for our cold brew – we make and sell this at the farmers markets. It’s unflavored. We offer syrups if customers want to add flavor to their cold brew.

The Steel French Press: The Solution to All of Life’s Problems

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The best coffee is made by a French press, no more argument to be made. Grind those organic coffee beans down, let it steep for 10 minutes, and you’ve got a great coffee as rich as the earth. Do it right, and you’ve practically got yourself a whole pot of espresso.

But let’s face it. Any French press’s days are numbered. And inevitably yours will come up, quite possibly on an otherwise gorgeous Saturday morning when you’ve got a houseful of guests.

Absolutely tragic is what it is. Shakespeare likely wept rivers of ink over the death of his first French press. I wouldn’t be surprised if King Lear was first inspired by a shattered French press in the sink. It’s enough to make any classic playwright’s day a living hell.

No matter how careful you are, glass shatters eventually.

The Unbreakable Steel French Press

The answer is a stainless steel French press. At $60 without the sale, this on Amazon costs a bit more than your average glass French press. But you buy it once and you’re set for life. There’s also this insulated steel French press available for about $45.

Plastic French Presses for Lightweight Camping

There are also plastic French presses available that are ideal for camping and backpacking. We do like their lightweight appeal, but could do without that plastic flavor for kitchen Ohio coffee. In the woods, however, plastic is light and fabulous.

Coffee Grinds 101: How Grain Coarseness Affects Flavor

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Does your significant other wonder why you grind the coffee for what seems like an eternity in the wee hours of the morning? Now you can answer, “Flavor, baby, flavor.” Yes, grinding organic coffee beans down to a fine powder does significantly affect its flavor, but powder vs. crystals ultimately comes down to taste preference and brewing duration.

The Big 3: Contact, Flow, Extraction

When it comes to choosing a grind size, consider these 3 factors: contact time, flow rate, and extraction rate. The fact is you’ll get an increased extraction rate with a larger surface area, which requires a finer grind. And the higher the extraction rate, the less contact time you’ll need. Finer grinds reduce flow rate, increasing the contact time.

So in other words, a finer grain is better in an electric coffee pot, whereas as crystals are ideal for steeping.

As coffee head and tech writer Taylor Martin explains in CNet.com:

“Knowing this, if you have a brew method with a short contact time, the grind should be finer. In an immersion brewer, which steeps coffee grounds in water for several minutes, the contact time is much higher and, thus, requires a more coarse grind than most other brew methods.

If the contact time is too high or the grind is too fine, it will result in an over-extracted brew which can be bitter. If the grind is too coarse or the contact time is too short, the coffee will turn out weak.”

Coffee Styles and Grain Density

And the type of grind you want also differs according to the type of coffee you are making. Turkish coffee requires extra fine grains. Pour over brews call for a medium to medium-fine grind. French press ideally uses a more coarse setting.

So to get the best flavor for your private label blend, grind according to the type of coffee and the duration of your brewing method. Coffee not only powers the daily grind, but actually requires its own special grind to achieve absolute perfection. Happy brewing!

How Does Water Quality Affect Coffee Flavor?

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You’ve got a French press, the finest fresh locally Ohio roasted coffee beans, even specialty coffee syrups, but did you know the quality of your tap water can also affect its flavor? And not necessarily in the way you think. Harder water can actually produce a stronger tasting more flavorful coffee.

So say Maxwell Colonna Dashwood and Christopher H Hendon, who recently co-wrote a book, “Water for Coffee” that scientifically breaks down just why tap water can absolutely ruin even the best coffee. The book is a more readable compilation of the discoveries Hendon made in his 2014 paper, the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry on how the effect of water hardness on coffee flavor.

Hendon discovered that the compounds in hard water tend to attach to the flavorful elements in roasted coffee beans during brewing. Water with higher levels of magnesium will likely extract more flavor from a coffee bean.

Soft or distilled water, conversely, does the opposite and has a harder time pulling the flavor.

Hendon is currently working on a paper to determine how brewing temperature affects flavor. “I’m trying to build a picture to show people that every aspect of coffee can be explored if you want,” Hendon told the Atlantic.

Coffee as Science

Hendon is quickly becoming the residential scientist of the specialty coffee industry, a field that is still on the frontier stage of science.

“Over time, we’ve struggled to achieve the same scientific rigor behind our industry that others, like wine and beer, have,” says Emma Sage, the science manager at the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), told the Atlantic. “Now we’re changing that.”

Want to learn more about how water affects your organic java? Check out the book on Amazon!

Coffee Made from What? 3 Gross Mochas We Can Do Without

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At Silver Bridge, we believe in a delicious cup of coffee, but there are some bizarre coffee concoctions best left to the pages of this blog than brewed in our kitchen. We’ll take a nice cup of Pumpkin Spice than something brewed from the poo of a Southeast Asian cat any day.

Even if they are organic, here are 3 weird coffee varieties we can do without.

Kopi Luwak Cat Poo Coffee

Kopi Luwak or civet coffee might be the rarest cup of coffee in the world, but you won’t find a drop of it in our kitchen. It’s brewed from the feces of a coffee bean munching cat. The beans are chemically altered by enzymes in the cat’s digestive tract, just as the chemicals in your stomach are likely altered after reading this.

If you can get over the kitty poo factor, there’s absolutely no acidic taste, due to the proteins involved. But we think we’ll just keep our $50, thank you very much. That’s what a cup of cat poo coffee goes for. Want to buy a pound for your brother in law for Christmas? That will cost you $300.

Monkey Spit Delicious?

Most people think monkey spit and coffee shouldn’t go together, and we tend to agree. But on one Thai island, it’s considered a delicacy. Formosan Rock Monkeys raided coffee farms on the island to get their caffeine fix. Farmers long considered them a nuisance, until it was discovered that the beans sucked by the monkeys had a nice vanilla flavor.

Apparently monkey spit brew is a highly sought culinary delight, as it can cost you $27 for just 8 ounces. Harvests range from about 8 to 600 pounds every year.

Low in Acidity, High in Elephant Droppings

The best part of waking up- coffee from an elephant’s butt? Perhaps even less appetizing than monkey poo coffee, Black Ivory coffee is harvested in Thailand from the dung of elephants. (Hate your job? It could be worse). It produces a delicate but complex taste without any bitterness.

But Silver Bridge, we believe great coffee shouldn’t come out of the butt of anything. We’ve found that the highest quality South American beans, hand selected and locally roasted to preserve their freshness, produces a great cup. We guarantee you’ll love our coffee from the first sip.

The Birth of Coffee: How the Coffee Bean Won America’s Heart

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Enjoying a freshly brewed aromatic cup of coffee as you read this? Thank a goat, the keen observations of a goat herder, and the brave curiosity of a priest open to experimenting with nature.

According to Ethiopian legend, a goat herder named Kaldi noticed his goats frolicking and full of energy after eating the red fruit of the coffee shrub. He tried the fruit himself and experienced possibly the first caffeine high known to man. He shared this discovery with the abbot of a local monastery, who brewed the first coffee concoction. That night, the monks pulled the first coffee all nighter, and coffee culture was born.

An Arabic Monopoly

The art of coffee roasting has its roots in Arabia. In the 13th century, coffee was enjoyed and praised by Muslims for its stimulant powers, which proved quite useful for long praying sessions. Beans were parched and boiled.

Arabs enjoyed a monopoly for a time on the coffee market. According to legend, not a single coffee plant existed outside of Arabia or Africa until the 1600s. An Indian pilgrim named Baba Budan smuggled fertile beans out of Mecca, fastening them to a strap across his abdomen. Europeans got hold of the beans. A highly competitive coffee market had already begun.

How Wholesale Coffee Won America

In colonial America, coffee was considered primarily a medicinal drink too expensive for day to day consumption. Spurred by the East India Company tea monopoly that inspired the Boston Tea Party and similar protests throughout the Colonies, New York’s first coffee roaster opened on Pearl Street in 1793. It sold wholesale coffee beans to taverns and hotels. A thriving market for coffee grew along the East River ports. But the coffee was generally of very poor quality. The beans were often old and damp from sitting in musty ships during months of transport.

Once steamships were invented, the quality of coffee improved and it began to be enjoyed by the general public rather than just the wealthy. As Central America coffee production began in the late 1950s, coffee became a quintessential American beverage enjoyed by all classes and lifestyles.