Blustery Days

We have been having some insane weather again here in Portland;
seriously crazy winds and oh the rain!
When you hear there’s a tornado only 80 miles away,
you know these are bona fide Blustery days!
My solution of course is to hunker down with a nice cup of coffee,
and you guessed it, curl up with a good
There is a beauty to the sights and sound of rain, and a
magic that is there if we wait for it.PWHydrolRainfall

Allow yourself to really hear the howling winds, and whooshing leaves.
We are surrounded by strong powerful forces.281624235_7529784383_z-editedTake your own sweeping breath of strength, and embrace it.

Sure it can be dangerous and it can make you sad and soggy. But now, what better excuse for a hot cup of your favorite steamy drink, and a cozy sweater or blanket to melt the brittleness away.
The beauty is in the opportunity to appreciate our conveniences,
and to embrace an opportunity to slow down.Piglet-Blustery-Day.gifSo take a moment, stop and smell the sweet dewy breeze
(or gusts if you are anywhere near pdx.)
If you can take the time to read or write
(or meditate in the way that suits you,)00d19f0fdbc9d711061194d882230dd4I think you would be glad you did.
For those without that ability, just take a moment to stop,
reflect for a moment, and breath in the day.Rainy-days-quote-image-hd
And treat yourself to something hot, be it cocoa, tea, or coffee!alphabetcity
I’m reading “The Wisdom of The Shire”
on these blustery days.
What are your favorite rainy day reads?

rainy day quote by maya angelou


Monday Meet n’ Greet

Cafe Book Bean

Lets get to know each other:
Share about your love of books and/or coffee/tea!
Source: Cafe Meet n’ Greet:

Coffee Alternative

Heaven forbid
you should need
to stop drinking
coffee, or
find yourself
without it!smoked_butterscotch-citrus_green_tea_latte1

However, if you had to drink something else, or if you just like to mix it up, what would you choose?

View original post

Top U.S. Coffee Houses

Coffee culture is booming and with it more high quality coffee houses are opening. Each have there own style, coffee blends, unique menu items, and techniques.


There are many great coffee houses, however I chose to highlight a few that stand apart. These coffee houses are well known for uniqueness, quality, popularity, and dedication to the art of coffee.

Here are my top picks for Noteworthy Cafes in the U.S.:

Madcap Coffee (Grand Rapids, MI)
17160486-standardMadcap Coffee has won me over by offering tasting flights, use of latte art, and serving espresso in snifters.Madcap-Coffee-table-of-cups

However, what really set them apart most of all was implementing a zero waste policy; trading trash cans for bus bins and sorting all of their trash into compost and recyclables.

Heart Coffee
(Portland, OR)
original-5983-1404617574-3Coffee drinks & gourmet baked goods offered in stylish, industrial-chic quarters. Taking an absolutely obsessive approach to excellence and quality in roasting and brewing, Heart Coffee is one of the best cafes in the U.S. Try the affogatto; espresso dolloped over homemade coconut ice cream.

1369 Coffee House
 (Boston, MA)
the-139-coffe-house-in-cambridge1369 serves up Espresso drinks alongside homemade soups, sandwiches, and freshly baked pastries. Locations in Inman Square (1369 Cambridge Street) & Central Square (757 Massachusetts Ave). download (5)


It is a top-notch coffee house that draws local creative types and features a gallery.


Everyman Espresso (New York, NY)
fromthegroundup_6_everymanespressointerior.jpgCoffee & espresso from direct-trade beans offered in a small, no-frills setting or to grab and go. Sam Lewontin was the champion of the 2015 Northeast Barista Competition. With his love for coffee and knack for mixology, he offers unique drinks at his SoHo coffee shop.

Everymans Espresso is also known for having the best espresso shot in New York. If that wasn’t enough they also have unique offerings like almond milk as well as sheep and goat milk.


Seattle Coffee Works (Seattle, WA)
Seattle-Coffee-Scene-Seattle-Coffee-Works-12A modest coffeehouse with an espresso bar & a slow bar for comparing single-origin beans. Seattle Coffee Work is located at 107 Pike Street close to the Pike Place Market.





They roast quality coffee, and boast direct relationships with farmers. Their impressive brew bar offers a “slow bar” utilizing Chemex, Hario pour-over,
Aeropress, and syphon brewing.

Peregrine Espresso
(Washington, D.C.)
Peregrine-Espresso-800x533.jpgConsidered by coffee connoisseurs as the premier place to go for a cup of delicious, micro brewed coffee. Peregrine Espresso is owned by husband and wife team Ryan and Jill Jensen, and has a strong focus on great service, education, and sustainability.They have both coffee and tea option, cold press juices, bakery items, sodas, and Mexican chocolate.

Café Grumpy
(New York City, NY)
location_chelseaOffering sandwiches, homemade pastries and cookies, excellent coffee, and a No Laptop Policy; this independently owned and operated cafe, bakery, and roastery is




a popular New York hangout.
Café Grumpy is also a Member of the Specialty Coffee Association of America.

Panther Coffee
(Miami, FL)

8023902019_280ec98f25_bThis coffeehouse first started as a cart on a bicycle serving cold brew at food truck roundups. Now with three locations, with more on the way owners Joel and Leticia Pollock have established themselves reputably in the coffee business. l-11

At Panther Coffee they roast their own beans, curated from small farms (such as Grupo las Cuchillas in Nicaragua.) The coffee shop also showcases information sheets about the growers; your cup’s story from plant to cup is entirely accessible.


The Coffee Fox (Savannah, GA)
IMG_5808A craft coffee house in historical downtown Savannah, Georgia featuring the pour-over coffee brew method as well as pastries, cheese boards, wine and (1)



A quirky coffee house in a charming town, what could be better. Aside from the enchanting atmosphere the cafe also offers a fun and interesting menu with items such as a Mexican mocha, cold brew coffee, and a horchata latte.
This is a coffee house worth visiting.

Barista Parlor
(Nashville, TN)
bbp31Nashville’s Barista Parlor does credit to the cities culture. It is housed in a former auto repair garage in Music City’s hip east side. The coffee house serves artisan espresso, as well as local seasonal cafe food.

Not only is the location hip with a cool industrial vibe, but they also offer unique drinks such as a bourbon vanilla latte.

Cafe Du Monde
(New Orleans, LA)
New-Orleans-Cafe-du-Monde-0414-1-lo-res - EditedCafé du Monde French for “Café of the World”, is a coffee shop on Decatur Street in the French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is best known for its world famous café au lait and its French-style beignets. The Original Cafe Du Monde Coffee Stand was established in 1862 in the New Orleans French Market.

Ritual Coffee Roasters
(San Francisco, CA)
0345b2414c34f54efdfcdc5acda86a83Ritual has been a pioneer in this delicious shift in coffee consciousness since they opened their doors on Valencia Street in 2005 and started what some call a coffee revolution in San Francisco.



Ritual’s San Francisco cafes are also known as popular hangout and working spaces for tech workers in the city.


I am sure there are so many coffee houses that are absolutely wonderful and I wish I could give credit to them all. The venues listed here came up reputably in my research for high quality unique coffee houses.

Please share about a great coffee house you have visited. What set them apart?

Monday Meet n’ Greet

Lets get to know each other:
Share about your love of books and/or coffee/tea!
Source: Cafe Meet n’ Greet:

Coffee Alternative


Heaven forbid
you should need
to stop drinking
coffee, or
find yourself
without it!smoked_butterscotch-citrus_green_tea_latte1



However, if you had to drink something else, or if you just like to mix it up, what would you choose?

Coffee Alternatives

smoked_butterscotch-citrus_green_tea_latte1No there is nothing wrong with me, and yes I still love coffee above all other drinks. However, now and then it’s nice to have something a little different. Also, there are some people who cannot have coffee, or just don’t like it, and I wanted to share some of the solutions I came up with during a time when I could not have coffee.

So here are some great alternatives to coffee:

This might be and obvious choice, but you can use tea in more ways than just steeping it. I will take the tea leaves and compact them into an espresso machine and make a concentration like espresso. Then I will make tea lattes with steamed milk and honey or agave, they are amazing. Tea is also awesome because there are so many varieties just like coffee. There are options for caffeine seekers, as well as soothing non-caffeinated options.
2013-02-24-7-tasty-teas-to-boost-your-health-typesoregon-chai-dirty-chai-recipeChai TeaAlso awesome, it is a black tea with spices, very good plain or as a latte.
Matcha Tea
Good as well but most people either love it or hate it, it’s very earthy tasting. It is a green tea ground into a powder. matcha

Matcha makes a nice frothy drink, and is extremely good for you as well!

Another great option. This is were you take steamed milk ( like what goes in a latte/cappuccino etc.) and you mix it with various flavoring.  Caramel, vanilla, honey, cinnamon, etc. you can experiment and make some pretty tasty drinks.

Another way to mix up the texture and flavors is to use milk alternatives like almond, cashew, and soy, they make for a nice variation.

Hot Cocoa
I 20120202-six-ways-to-spike-your-hot-cocoa-04-thumb-625xauto-217112know it seems like another obvious choice, but again play around with it. Make it from scratch with less sugar, so you can really taste the flavor of the cacao bean. Then add milk (steamed or cream, whatever your preference.) If you tone down the sweetness of your chocolate, you can add other flavors without making the sweetness over-powering. Try nutmeg, cinnamon, raspberry, caramel, etc. I enjoy mine with fresh mint!
61fcbb8640a40a6331fb2dbf1645a84668efa333Hot Apple Cider &/or Mulled Cider
I adore hot mulled cider (cider cooked and spiced with cinnamon sticks, allspice, cloves, orange slices.) Drink alone or for an unconventional twist add milk (almond milk is especially nice) and/or honey or agave (only if you like things super sweet, cider is naturally very sweet.)


178619111_XSCarob Powder
I don’t know much about this so I cannot vouch for it, but I’ve heard it come up a lot as a coffee and chocolate substitute (it is caffeine free.) It is said to be equally sweet and satisfying, and mix well with milk for a tasty drinkd401ff7c5b96a91e16ad8ac784c2fe2e. It is also supposed to be significantly healthier than cocoa powder (not to be confused with cacao.) Noted health benefits are: low in fat, high in fiber, and has calcium. I am listing it here based on what I have heard, but have never tried it myself. If it lives up to it’s claims than you could use it in the same ways I’ve mentioned for tea and hot cocoa.

If as a coffee alternative you are looking more for the energy booster, 
here are some great options: 

Wheatgrass juice
wheat-grass-juice-with-lemon-on-tableThis “fresh” juice is one of the best sources of living chlorophyll available. It is also full of great nutrients; it contains all minerals known to man, vitamins A, B-complex, C, E, l and K. It is extremely rich in protein, and has 17 amino acids. Very healthy, energizing, and cleansing.
Pomegranate (fruit or juice.)
downloadThis fruit is also pact with vitamins and antioxidants! Increases blood flow, fights bacteria, anti-inflammatory, improves memory, and the list goes on. However, most importantly, it is rich in dietary nitrates (which helps with fatigue.) It is very energizing and invigorating.
kombucha1This is a fermented effervescent tea, that is made from black or green tea, and is slightly sweet. It can be very energizing and revitalizing, however the effects seem to vary, as some people feel a sedative effect.
Via Wikipedia: kombucha is produced by fermenting tea using a “symbiotic ‘colony’ of bacteria and yeast.”

Another great option is green smoothies and juices. Here are some great ingredients for an energy packed drink.


Lemon: Has a lot of the same energizing components as orange but with a flavor that mixes very nicely with green smoothies.
Spinach: Helps fight the blues, and is loaded with antioxidants and folic-acid. Unfortunately I don’t really like the flavor in my smoothies, so I go with Kale.
Chia Seeds: Energizing due to their awesome ratio of protein, fats and fiber.
Chard: This is said to have a positive effect on mood, so, why not!
I also like to add nuts to my smoothies, if you don’t mind the texture. They add lean protein which helps keep your energy up. Almonds (brain food!) are my favorite, but cashews lend a more smooth creamy texture and taste.
One other option is to add Greek yogurt to a smoothie for extra protein and energy. It is also a great digestive aid.
greensmoothie.jpgSimple Energizing Juice:
Granny Smith Apples
It is very light, simple, and fresh, but packed with goodness!

Do you have any good energizing or relaxing alternatives to a cup of joe?

A Brief Origin of Coffee

images (1)The earliest origins of coffee are from Ethiopia. There is not an exact history about how people started roasting and drinking “coffee” only legends and myths. However, it was originally viewed as a food. The Ethiopians chewed the plant for it’s obvious stimulant properties, and also ate the fruit raw (the pulp is sweet and caffeinated.)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
They also pounded coffee cherries and mixed it with animal fat to mold into pellets. There are records that show the cherries were also used to make wine.

artists_thumbnailThe earliest use of coffee as a hot beverage entailed roasting the entire hull over an open fire and then mixing with boiling water for 30 minutes until a yellowish liquid came through.

9The drink stayed a green drink until aprx. the 13 century when they began to first dry the beans. With more  experimentation, the process was adapted further, and the practice of roasting formed.

22adf105-ebf0-4ca9-a446-e7a2789166dc Once coffee became the dried, roasted, and brewed drink we know it as today, it was mainly used for “medicinal” purposes and in religious practices. However, once it became increasingly popular, and a demand grew, the original coffee houses started opening.
Coffee-House1Persian cities became known for having stylish and elaborate coffee houses. They were reputed for serving coffee quickly and efficiently. They became famous social spots, where people gathered not just for coffee but also music, talking, and even dancing.

Turkish-CoffeeGradually the coffee house trend made its way to Turkey. The Turkish however drank just as much coffee in home as at coffee houses. This increased popularity and demand. By the 1600’s news spread and export and trade began throughout the Middle East; supplying Venetians and Europeans with beans.
download (1)
Eventually the coffee tree made its ways to the East Indian Dutch colony of Java. From there plantations started sprouting in neighboring colonies; Sumatra, Timor, Bali, and Celebes.

ExploreWithEd_FoodThrough the efforts of the British East India Company, coffee became popular in England as well. Oxford’s Queen’s Lane Coffee House, established in 1654, is still in existence today. Coffee was introduced in France in 1657, and in Austria and Poland after the 1683 Battle of Vienna, when coffee was captured from supplies of the defeated Turks.

The coffee economy was therefor set in motion and began to adapt and increase  more and more, as it is still increasing even today.

A beverage as black as ink,
useful against numerous illnesses, particularly those of the stomach. It’s consumers take it in the morning, quite frankly, in a porcelain cup that is passed around and from which each one drinks a cupful. It is composed of water and the fruit from a bush called bunnu.

— Léonard Rauwolf, Reise in die Morgenländer (in German)