I know I’ve mentioned this before, but in case you’ve forgotten: Coffee is My Religion. I say that only slightly kidding. Working for a decade in the specialty coffee industry in a number of different roles can do that to a person. I’ve experimented with giving it up completely, but ultimately decided that there will always be space in my life for coffee. It’s just too good to give up! The end.
One of the things you learn early on when you work in coffee for so long are the 4 Steps to The Perfect Cup of Coffee:
*Proportion — No cup of coffee will taste good if you don’t have the right proportion of grinds to water. There are lots of opinions on what is the perfect amount (2TBS per cup is my preference) but if you have ever tasted watered down mud that someone has called coffee, then you understand how important proportion is. I like my cup to be able to double as rocket fuel.
*Water — Did you know that 80% of your coffee’s flavor comes from the water you use? Don’t believe me? Use a metallic tasting water. BLECH!!!! And then scrub your tongue raw because, um…NASTY! The quality of your water is important when you are trying to brew a good cup. I’m not talking Holy Water here, but something that doesn’t have a flavor — so the natural flavor of the beans can shine through.
*Grind — The way your coffee should be ground depends on how you are going to brew it. There is no one-size-fits-all grind. (If you take ANYTHING from this post, please take that!) The grind affects how fast or slow the water moves through the extraction process. With a quick/pressurized extraction (like say an espresso machine) you need a finer grind, but if you were going to brew in something more relaxed like a french press where the coffee and water get to marinate together for a few minutes, then a coarser grind will do. But let’s talk about the most important, shall we:
*Freshness/Bean Quality— Freshness is obvious — please don’t drink that coffee that has been ground up and sitting on the shelf at Home Goods for the last year, ok? But I want to talk a little bit more about quality because all coffee beans are not created equal. Something that A LOT of us Paleo folk talk about when discussing what we eat is buying the best quality food we can; food that is humanely raised. Grass fed beef, pastured chicken, sustainable seafood — you know that drill. But I think it’s also an important conversation to have when you think about the coffee you are drinking. Where did it come from? Who is buying it? How was it harvested?
This October, Green Mountain Coffee® is celebrating Fair Trade Month through the “Great Coffee, Good Vibes, Choose Fair Trade” campaign. I was asked if I wanted to participate in it, and I happily, HAPPILY accepted the opportunity to talk about this topic because I think it is a label that you hear often, but might not really know what it means.
Here is some scoop:
Q: What is Fair Trade? A: Fair Trade is a global movement to help improve the lives of farmers and their families. It provides a fair price to coffee farmers, resulting in a great cup of coffee and a better quality of life in coffee-farming communities.
Q. How does Fair Trade Certified™ coffee benefit coffee farmers? A: Most family coffee farmers live in remote locations and lack access to credit, so they are vulnerable to middlemen who offer cash for their coffee at a fraction of its value. Fair Trade assures coffee farmers a fair price for unroasted, green coffee. Fair Trade also links farmers directly with coffee companies like Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (“GMCR”), creating long-term sustainability.
Q: What makes Fair Trade Certified coffee high quality coffee? A: Through Fair Trade, farmers earn better incomes, allowing them to hold onto their land and invest in quality. This results in great coffee for consumers.
Q. Why is Green Mountain Coffee committed to Fair Trade? A: Fair Trade is one critical way that Green Mountain Coffee provides consumers high quality coffee while helping to ensure a better quality of life for coffee farmers and their communities.
For part of that campaign I am hosting a fun giveaway that any coffee lovers among you will be interested in. Obviously, by purchasing Fair Trade Certified Green Mountain Coffee, you help coffee farmers receive a fair price for their beans, which means a great cup of coffee and a better quality of life in coffee-farming communities — and to bring more attention to the issue, this fall, award-winning musician Kelly Clarkson is teaming up with Green Mountain Coffee to share her experience visiting a coffee farm in Peru and the importance of Fair Trade. You can follow along with her adventures here .
In celebration of Fair Trade Month, Green Mountain Coffee is introducing Fair Trade Certified™ Three Continent Blend, which combines the flavors and aromas of three continents in one harmonious Extra Bold blend. You can enter below to win a Keurig® Brewing System and a Green Mountain Coffee® gift basket! If you are interested in entering, leave a comment letting me know: Are you a coffee drinker, and if so, would you consider buying fair trade coffee?
*For more info on Fair Trade and Green Mountain Coffee go to www.ChooseFairTrade.com.
Sweepstakes Rules: No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods: Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry. This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winner will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here. This sweepstakes runs from 09/18/13-10/31/13.