Brazilian Coffee

Brazilian Coffee Fields

Coffee was introduced in Brazil by Francisco de Mello Palheta in 1727 from Cayenne, French Guiana. Today, Brazil is the world’s largest coffee producer and is becoming a significant player in the specialty coffee industry. Bourbon, Typica, Caturra, and Mundo Novo coffee varietals are grown in the states of Paraná, Espirito Santos, São Paulo, Minas Gerais, and Bahia.  Bourbon and Typica are the two most popular Arabica coffees grown worldwide, Typica being the base plant of many coffee varietals. The highest grade of well-known Brazilian beans, Bourbon Santos is a coffee to savor at any time of day.  It is smooth and pleasant with fruity notes, medium body and mild flavor. Next time you buy coffee, check the origin of the beans. It’s quite possible they will be Brazilian.

Meet Me in Idaho Springs: The Decision

The dilemma was Halloween.  In Idaho Springs if you didn’t dress up people asked if you had been ill.  Ricky’s trademark costume was a witch with long spider web fingernails and a hat that made it hard to walk through the average doorway, but last year the hat had blown off and landed in the street where it was trampled by a guy on a Vespa that was covered in orange lights.  So now she had no hat, and you couldn’t be a proper witch without one.  She was feeling a little panicked because tonight was the night that the Main Street businesses would be open for trick or treating and general milling around.  Asta was serving her “Creepy Caldron Coffee” that came with a plastic spider on the side of the cup, Josh and Michelli would be handing out miniature whoopee pies with cobweb frosting, and the brewery had some sort of bat-wing brew for patrons to sample.  Ricky made jewelry, all by hand with semi-precious stones and some intricate detail.  Trick or treaters to her studio would get their name in a drawing for a chance to win her onyx and coral pendant that she had just completed.  She called it “Black Heart” in keeping with the holiday.  She was expecting a crowd and couldn’t greet them without a costume.  That’s when she decided to go to the new consignment store and get a dress and possibly a wig that could make her look like her great Aunt Pearl.  She would put on too bright lipstick and tuck a hanky into her cleavage, and her witch shoes could easily double as Aunt Pearl footwear.  She ran across the street into the store, and there he was-the Ryan Reynolds guy, behind the counter.  She should have looked more closely at the card he gave her where it said he was the proprietor of “Repeat Performance”, the new consignment shop in town.  He was wearing a dark gray sweatshirt and jeans, and he looked like he belonged.  Ricky pulled his card out of her coat pocket and looked at his name.  If you were going to buy an old ladies dress from someone, it was only right to introduce yourself.

Pumpkin Spice Breve

Caffè breve is an American variation of a latte: a milk-based espresso drink using steamed half-and-half instead of milk. The snows bring with them a desire for warmth and comfort making this a perfect cold-weather drink – richer and slightly less sweet than a latte. For a special treat to welcome the autumn snow, try a Pumpkin Spice Breve from Java Mountain Roasters. It’s delectable ~ a bit like pumpkin pie in a cup. Do you love the winter weather? This will add to the joy of the season. Do you not? A breve is a truly wonderful way to console yourself. Drink up – you deserve it.

Meet Me in Idaho Springs: Good Answer

Ericka Van Dreyton was never one to take the bait, as it were.  This guy, who looked a little like Ryan Reynolds, by the way, obviously thought that his card left on the table was her cue to call him.  She’d been carrying the card around in her coat pocket for a week, and had decided she definitely would not call him … today.  Halloween was soon on the menu and in Idaho Springs that meant shop windows strewn with cobwebs and cat-sized spiders hanging from ceilings.  There was a festive spirit of goblins lurking around corners and ghosts dancing in the street.  Idaho Springs was a town built into the mountainside, houses tucked into the nooks and crannies, with hidden mines at the end of every other street.  Ricky looked across the way at the waterwheel that was still turning despite the cooler temperatures, the sun streaking its timbers with promise of a warm day.  She made a stop at the Wild Grape in search of a Birthday gift for her sister, then wandered through Canyon Outfitters to see if they still had the tooled, silver studded handbag that she had decided she couldn’t live without.  Purchases made, she stopped in for a hello to Asta at Java Mountain Roasters and one of her famous Pumpkin Spice Lattes.  The roasting was done and the whole shop was scented with coffee magic as one of the girls ground beans for a customer.  Ricky sat down at a table to wait for a break in the counter action and that’s when she spotted him, the Ryan Reynolds knock off.  He was going to think she was following him.  She walked over to his table and waited for him to look up.  “I just wanted you to know,” Ricky explained, “that I just happened in here.  I’m not following you.”  He smiled – disarming – annoying. “I didn’t think you were following me,” Ryan said.  “But it would be fine if you were.”  “Good answer,” Ricky said, then went and sat down at another table.

Caffè Macchiato

An espresso (or caffè) macchiato is espresso with the smallest addition of milk. The classic is a shot of espresso with a dollop of foam on top. 

Macchiato simply means ‘marked’ or ‘stained’, and in the case of an espresso macchiato, it’s espresso marked or stained with milk – only about a teaspoon. In fact, a caffè macchiato in Portuguese is named café pingado which means coffee with a drop.

For the coffee snob (which is not a bad thing, please keep in mind ~ it’s simply an elite group) one only drinks milk-based espresso drinks before noon.  The cappuccino (with more milk than the macchiato) is the first cup to linger over with your morning pastry. The macchiato is the second cup with a little less milk around mid-morning. That’s the drink to have at around 10 A.M. and  after that it should be espresso with no milk for the rest of the day. This is for the true espresso connoisseur, mind you.

For the rest of us who drink what we like when we like it, any time of day is the perfect time for a macchiato. Drink what suits your tastes, and then drink it often.

Caffè Americano

An Americano is a style of coffee prepared by adding hot water to espresso, giving a similar strength but different flavor from regular drip coffee. The strength of an Americano varies with the number of shots of espresso and the amount of water added.  The name derives its origins from WW2 when American GI’s in Europe would pour hot water into espresso to approximate the coffee to which they were accustomed.

An variation using the same ingredients is encountered with the Long Black. The Long Black is the same as an Americano but prepared in the opposite order. An Americano is created specifically by adding the water to an already extracted espresso. This process eliminates the foam. The Long Black is an espresso shot pulled over hot water thus preserving the foam (or crema).

The Americano is not a bad way to get introduced to espresso, if you’re not already an espresso fan. Since there is no milk, the flavor of the bean is truly preserved. You can have the barista vary the ratio of espresso shots to water until you have the perfect drink to suit your tastes.

Meet Me in Idaho Springs: Best Morning

It was the kind of day that reminds a person of why they live in the mountains, why the winter snow doesn’t seem that big, and the deer gobbling down your flowers every summer becomes unimportant.  It was autumn in the over-achieving, just off the highway, town of Idaho Springs, Colorado, the place you stopped on your way to the resorts to grab a bite to eat, but for Ricky, short for Ericka, this was home, and fall was the season of seasons.  Ricky stepped out onto Main Street and was immediately swept up in the buzz of folks setting up for the Friday Farmer’s Market, the kids carefully choosing their pumpkins for the upcoming carving contest.  Asta, from Java Mountain Roasters was launching her Autumn Gold blend for fall and you could smell the beans coming to perfection from the street.  Two doors down at the Main Street Restaurant, Josh’s “better than mom’s” cinnamon bread was coming out of the oven, ready to slice and slather with butter.  Ricky breathed in deeply and made a decision.  An Autumn Gold Americano with cream was exactly what this October morning called for.