What Makes Hawaiian Coffee So Special?

Coffee was first introduced to the Islands by Chief Boki, the Governor of Oahu, in 1825. He acquired coffee plants in Rio de Janeiro while aboard a British warship, the H.M.S. Blonde. These first coffee plants were planted in Manoa Valley, on Oahu, where they flourished. From this original planting, coffee trees were introduced to locations around the Islands, including the now famous Kona Coast.

The coffee tree needs six specific conditions to thrive: rich soil, proper elevation (between 500 and 3000 feet is ideal), sunshine, cloud cover, rain and a moderate slope for proper drainage of roots. While some good coffee comes from climates which offer just a few of these conditions, The Hawaiian climate offers all six elements. This perfect blend of conditions provides coffee trees with the ideal environment, and allows Hawaii to produce some of the richest coffee in the world.

The growing season in Hawaii begins in January and ends in June. Coffee growers watch expectantly for coffee blossoms to appear on the trees after rains early in the season, and these flowers eventually turn into coffee cherries. Much like the grapes destined for fine wines, coffee cherries are allowed to ripen on the tree, under the close watch of the farmers. When they are bright red and ripe, each coffee cherry is harvested individually.

English Coffee

With English Tea being a very familiar term, English coffee may seem as contrary a term as Arctic bananas; however, England's impact on the coffee trade and the world of business is undeniable. The history of English coffee began in 1650 at Oxford University when a Lebanese immigrant opened the first coffeehouse on campus.

Initially, coffee was seen as novelty and a snake oil, if you will, as the proprietor touted many incredible medical claims. His English coffee was said to aid in digestion, cure headaches, coughs, dropsy, gout, scurvy and even prevent miscarriages. About the only claim that was accurate was that English coffee prevented drowsiness.

By 1700, however, coffee had become a very popular beverage and there were more than two thousand coffeehouses in London. Coffeehouses occupied more retail space and paid more rent than any other trade. They came to be known as Penny Universities, because for the price of a cup of coffee, one penny, a person could sit for hours and engage in stimulating conversation with educated people.

Each coffeehouse specialized in a different clientele. In one, physicians could be consulted. Other's catered to lawyers, actors, army officers, or clergy. English coffee became the beverage of business and one coffeehouse in particular grew into one of the worlds largest and most well known companies. Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse catered primarily to seafarers and merchants and he regularly prepared "ships' lists" for underwriters who met there to offer insurance to the ship captains. And so began Lloyd's of London, the famous insurance company.

Prior to the popularity of English coffee, beer, or ale, was the morning beverage of choice among the working class. The pubs and taverns were filled early in the morning with workers who stopped in for a few pints of camaraderie before heading off to the factories and shops around London.

One English writer wrote in 1624, "They flock to the taverns to dizzy their brains and a productionless society is the result." Fifty years later another writer credited English coffee with stimulating the economy as he wrote, "Coffee drinking hath caused a greater sobriety than has ever been seen in the business of London."

By the late 18th century the buzz of English coffee subsided and tea became the preferred British drink, due much in part to the outcry of women, who were excluded from the all-male society of the coffeehouse and complained loudly. A group of angry coffeehouse widows filed a petition with the English government to ban coffee on the grounds that their men were never at home and their duties as husband and father were being neglected. English coffee was not banned but the outcry did have repercussions on the coffeehouse business and men returned to the taverns instead.

By Randy Wilson

Choosing A Coffee Maker - Tips On Finding The Right Features

Choosing a good coffee maker is not a decision to be taken for granted. If you are going to spend money on your favorite coffee, you will want to make sure the coffee maker you choose is of good quality and has the features you want. The majority of coffee makers are generally quite good and you will notice no difference in the taste of your coffee from one brand to another. There are some basic features to look for when choosing a coffee maker and some luxury features that may give you a better tasting cup of coffee

The first decision you must make in choosing a coffee maker is what type of filter you would prefer. You can choose a basket type filter or a cone shaped filter, the difference in the two being different contact times between the coffee grounds and the water. A basket type filter seems to provide a longer contact time between the water and the coffee grounds, so if a basket filter is your preference, make sure you use coffee grounds that are fairly large. Cone type filters are generally less prone to spillage. If you are considering a gold tone filter, it will give your coffee a richer taste, but the upkeep may not be worth the small difference.

The color of your coffee maker is not a major concern, but keep in mind that if you choose a color that is pleasing to you, your coffee will seem to taste better. The only real issue involved in the color of your coffee maker is to remember that white stains easily and tends to look old rapidly. A dark color will look new a lot longer than a white coffee maker. Coffee makers with a pot that has a long neck will be harder to clean. If you cannot easily wash the coffee pot with soap and water, your coffee will taste stale over time due to the build up of residue that cannot be cleaned easily. Make sure your entire hand can fit inside the coffee pot to make cleaning easy.

Other than the basic features, which include color, filter, ease of cleaning, etc., there are some additional features that you may want to consider. If you don't mind your coffee grounds being exposed to air overnight, a timer is a wonderful thing to have. Timers will allow you extra time in the mornings and if you choose a coffee maker with an attached grinder, the noise would probably eliminate your need for an alarm clock. A feature that is often overlooked is the shape of the housing around the coffee pot. Many manufacturers are making the housing larger so that the coffee in the pot stays hotter. The housing area in any good coffee maker should cover at least half of the coffee pot, the keep heat in.

In general, coffee that is freshly ground tastes better. Grinders that are attached to coffee makers are a bit of a hassle. They make the coffee maker harder to clean and the coffee beans are not always ground uniformly. If you want a coffee maker with an attached grinder, look for a burr grinder rather than a blade grinder. You may also want to look into a coffee maker with a built in water filtration system. Filtered water does tend to make the coffee taste better, but purchasing distilled or purified water can serve the purpose just as well as a built in water filtration system.

For the perfect pot of coffee, the water temperature needs to be around 200 degrees Fahrenheit. In general, the less expensive coffee makers do not reach this temperature. Most of the better brand names will advertise the temperature you can expect your coffee to reach while brewing. Choosing the right coffee maker is not easy. Make sure you purchase from well-known manufacturers. You will be able to find replacement parts and will be assured of an acceptable level of quality. Choose a coffee maker that meets your basic needs and any has additional features you desire.

Make the Switch! Coffee to Tea

Having a hard time giving up your 4 cups of coffee each day? Evidence shows by switching to tea you can add some significant health benefits. The health benefit of drinking tea is chalked up to one explanation, antioxidants. Research shows that green and black teas have up to 8-10 times the antioxidants as fruits and vegetables which can add significantly to your health.

The research has found that regular tea drinkers - people who drink two or more cups per day - have less heart disease and stroke, lower cholesterol levels, and they may recover from heart attacks faster. You can find these benefits in black, green, oolong and even iced teas! Beware of doctoring up your tea with too much milk because this has been found to decrease the antioxidants.

Don't despair coffee lovers! There are some teas out there that you may find match up to your love of coffee. For instance, Chai tea uses ginger and cardamom which overpowers the taste of the black tea but offers a rich, full bodied taste which is perfect for coffee consumers! Vanilla nut teas also tend to override the black tea taste for a richer flavor. Try some tea today to better your health!

By Meri Raffetto

How Is Kona Coffee Different?

Like much of Hawaii, Kona offers ideal climate conditions for growing coffee. But there is something different about the Kona coffee cherries produced here that has earned this coffee a worldwide reputation for excellence. It might be the dark rich volcanic soil, which contains a perfect blend of acidity and minerals, and retains just the right amount of water. It could be the dependable cloud cover that rolls in each afternoon, protecting the delicate coffee trees from the glaring afternoon sun.

The difference could also lie in the care with which Kona coffee is handpicked, ensuring that only the highest quality berries are harvested for coffee production. Maybe it is simply the fact that 100% Pure Kona Coffee is rare and sometimes hard to find. The rarest of Kona Coffee beans is Peaberry, making up only four to five percent of the entire Kona crop each year. Peaberry is unusual because each coffee cherry contains only one bean, while all other types of Kona contain two beans per cherry.

There are many things that set Kona Coffee apart from other coffees. One thing is certain, though - unless the bag says 100% Kona Coffee, you are not getting 100% Kona Coffee. When you buy Kona Coffee from Maui Coffee Company, you can rest assured that our 100% Kona Coffee contains 100% Kona Coffee.

Coffee, A Brief Overview

The coffee plant has two main species. There is the Coffea Arabica, which is the more traditional coffee and considered to be superior in flavor, and the Coffea Canephora known more commonly as Robusta. Robusta tends to be higher in caffeine and can be grown in climates and environments were Arabica would not be profitable. Robusta is also typically more bitter and acidic in flavor. Because of this Robusta tends to be less expensive. High quality Robusta is also used to blend espresso for more bite, and to lower costs.

A little known fact is that some coffee beans improve their flavor with age. It is the green unroasted beans which are aged; the typical length of time is 3 years, though there are some houses which sell beans aged to 7 years. Aged beans have a fuller flavor and are less acidic.

Growing conditions, soil types and weather patterns during the growing season all contribute to the flavor of the bean, creating the differences in flavor from points of origin, such as Kenya or Brazil. However, roasting adds its own flavor, sometimes to the point that it is difficult to tell where the beans originated from, even by experienced cuppers.

The lighter the roast the more the natural flavor of the bean remains. This is why beans from regions such as Kenya or Java are normally roasted lightly, retaining their regional characteristics and dominate flavors. There is a method of roasting in Malaysia which adds butter during the roasting producing a variety called Ipoh White Coffee.

Beans roasted to darker browns begin to taste more like the method of roasting than the original flavors. Dark roasts such as French or Vienna Roasts tend to completely eclipse the original flavor. Roasting to whatever degree, while adding stronger flavor does not effect the amount of caffeine of the bean.

Fry pan roasting was popular in the 19th century, since the beans were normally shipped and purchased still in their green state. You simply poured the green coffee beans in a frying pan and roasted them in the kitchen. This process took a great deal of skill to do in a consistent manner. Fry pan roasting became much less popular when vacuum sealing pre-roasted coffee was perfected. However, in order to vacuum seal roasted beans, you had to wait for them to stop emitting CO2, as roasted beans do for several days after the roasting process. What this meant was that vacuum sealed coffee was always just a little stale as the flavors begin to turn bitter and deteriorate in just about a week after roasting.

Home roasting is once again becoming popular with the creation of computerized drum roasters which help simplify the process. There are some people who have found methods of effectively roasting beans using their hot air pop corn makers.

The region the bean is from as discussed before is a primary factor to the type of flavor you can expect from the brew, though it is very true that 'new' or unexpected tastes come from every region.

Arabia and Africa grow their coffee beans in high altitudes in the rich black soils of Kenya, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and Tanzania. The flavors of these beans are distinct and of legendary status.

The Americas coffees are grown in near rainforest conditions in areas such as Colombia, Costa Rica and Guatemala. Coffees of the Americas tend to be very well balanced and aromatic.

The Pacifics includes coffees from Sumatra, Java, New Guinea and Sulawesi, which are as various in flavor as the islands they come from.

Then there are the exotics such as certified Jamaica Blue Mountain and certified Hawaiian Kona. These are rare indeed and can go for as much as $60.00 per pound.

By Jerry Powell

Does Coffee Make You Fat or Help with Diabetes?

Who the heck knows?

According to two studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association the opposite is true and it states if you have diabetes you should get rid of caffeine.

Duke University Medical Centre in a 2004 study proved that caffeine ingestion significantly impairs the control of blood sugar and insulin after a meal.

According to one study, if you're under 60 years of age it can actually help you lose weight and over 60, well then you're on your own. A recent study provided by the International Journal of Obesity shows that with a study group of 7006 people, aged 32-88, there were significant interactions between age and caffeine and ground coffee. The study proved further that for people under the age of 60, caffeine and ground coffee would decrease the risk of diabetes as would ground decaffeinated and regular tea. However, it was concluded that the negative relationship between diabetes risk and coffee consumption only applied to those who previously lost weight.

Harvard School of Public Health researchers report that having more than four cups of coffee a day can be associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

University of Guelph Researcher, Terry Graham says, "We found that obese individuals have a resistance to insulin, which means they require higher levels of insulin to adjust their glucose levels. When given caffeine, their insulin levels go through the roof," says Graham.

Clearly, there are no real answers. It seems that caffeine studies need to be more conclusive and the control groups may need to be a little tighter. People who drink and eat caffeine may also be eating and drinking other ingredients in these studies, which may affect the results.

Diabetes affects 18.2 million people in the US, according to the American Diabetes Association. That's 6.3% of the population with known diabetes. There are still 5.2 million people who do not know they have the disease, that's 13 million Americans.

By Kate Simpson

Tips Kopi