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More coffee? maybe …umm… not

Yet another study tells us of coffee's health risks or is it its benefits?  Seems each day the media reports on a health study to assist us in our daily eating and drinking habits – often with conflicting information.

Perhaps we are back to that ancient Greek axiom: “Everything in moderation.” Read and wonder - and maybe drink up.

(S-R archives photo)

Does not drinking coffee make you …

… sometimes feel like an outsider?

Hall: Drinking Coffee The Waxy Way

Until recently, coffee was part of the glue that holds couples together. Previously, when two people moved in together, they were, without realizing it, creating several subtle tests of whether they could exist as a permanent pair. Coffee, for instance. If he likes his coffee dark and strong and she likes hers light and bland, they are confronted with a choice: They can each make their own separate pot of coffee. Or they can compromise on something halfway between the two.Or maybe it's not coffee. My wife doesn't care for coffee. I do. So coffee was not our test when we decided to pair up for life. Granted, her distaste for coffee seemed a bit strange to me. What kind of grown woman doesn't like coffee?/Bill Hall, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Do you and your mate share the same taste for coffee?

Roast House releases Congolese coffee

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Roast House coffee has released new coffee from the Democratic Republic of Congo that has local coffee lovers talking.

The coffee was grown by members of a cooperative of farmers called SOPACDI in the highlands of Congo near Lake Kivu. Years of conflict and civil war nearly destroyed the local coffee business and many growers were killed as they tried to protect their farms or smuggle coffee out of the country. The group supports the widows of men killed in the conflict and smuggling coffee with a premium price for their crops.

It is the first time coffee from the fair-trade cooperative was offered in the United States. Buyers grabbed it in less than 24 hours. Roast House, owner Deborah Di Bernardo, who had been looking for ways to support women who grow coffee and their families, is excited about the new coffee. They got just two bags, or about 280 pounds, of green coffee. But it's not just a good cause. The coffee is delicious, too. It features notes of tangerine and chai-like spices.

This promotional video was made by C3M Productions as Roast House released the coffee to their business partners. C3M shared it with us.

Roast House Congolese coffee is available in limited quantities and is only available as pour-over coffee, Chemex or French press because it is a delicate coffee bean and a light roast. The coffee is more expensive due to its limited availability.

Several coffee shops and restaurants began offering the Roast House Congolese coffee on Monday. Most shops are charging about $3 per 12-ounce cup.

Atticus Coffee & Gifts, 222 N. Howard St., (509) 747-0336

Boots Bakery & Lounge, 24 W. Main Ave., (509) 703-7223

Cannon Coffee and Cone, 1925 W. Fourth Ave., (509) 413-1898

Chairs Coffee, 113 W. Indiana Ave., (509) 340-8787

Manito Tap House, 3011 S. Grand Boulevard, (509) 279-2671

The Mason Jar, 101 F St., Cheney, (509) 359-8052

The Scoop, 1001 W. 25th Ave., (509) 535-7171

The Wandering Table, a traveling monthly dinner, www.thewanderingtable.com

Roast House will take telephone and email requests for the Congolese coffee and roast it to order, as long as it lasts. It sells for $15 per pound. Reach Roast House at (509) 995-6500 or orders@roasthouse.net. The microroastery is located at 423 E. Cleveland Ave., Suite C, in Spokane.

Boots Bakery & Lounge getting ready

Need a little pick-me-up? Head to Boots Bakery & Lounge in the former home of Rocket Bakery, 24 W. Main Ave.

Alison Collins, the former bartender at Mizuna's wine bar (and the genius behind their vegan carrot cake) has opened the new coffee shop, deli and lounge. The joint is open everyday at 6 a.m. and closes at 6 p.m. Sunday through Tuesday. From Wednesday through Saturday it is open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The place is still a work in progress, but renovations and painting have brought more light into the space. Those familiar with building owner Dan Spaulding's ecclectic style will notice his influence, especially in the inverted blender lights that hang above the bar. (Which he also assembled from collected pieces.)

Two murals are on the walls, one that is new and the other is actually an advertisement uncovered when plaster was removed. The giant bull was part of a billboard for smoking tobacco. Employees said the wall was once the exterior wall of an adjacent building that has since been demolished.

Collins invited local residents and artists to help design the booths in the bakery and lounge, so the seating is an array of brightly painted and adorned tables and high-back booths.

Collins said help from friends who have just been willing to just jump in and volunteer has been essential to the early sucess. While we talked last week, a friend was in the kitchen baking.

Perhaps Boots' specialty is the vegan baked goods, but there is plenty of vegan and vegetarian lunch fare in the case. Collins makes the dishes as inspiration strikes and depending on the foods she has available each day. Local farmer Brian Estes brings a weekly community-supported agriculture box from his garden that Collins uses in the kitchen.

Collins said many are asking for the same dishes to be made each day, but she said she is refusing to succumb to that request.

I tried both the “Tuno” noodle salad with mushroom sauce and the spicy barbecue tofu topped with espresso barbecue sauce. I didn't exactly get tuna from the first dish, but it was delicious nonetheless. I've been recommending the tofu to friends and plan to go back for more soon.

Collins said they're still filling in the space with more seating and finishing artwork and painting. Since I visitied, there has been quite a bit of progress on the new front deck. There's a large community table near the kitchen that groups have been using for meetings and book groups, Collins said. Call ahead to ensure the table will be open for your group and Collins can also make an array of small bites and snacks for you.

Oh, yeah! Cocktails. I guess I'll have to make a return visit.

Boots Bakery & Lounge is planning an early August grand opening. Reach them at (509) 703-7223.

Thursday Night Throwdown tonight at Indaba

Latte lovers: Drop what you're doing tonight and head to Indaba Coffee, 1425 W. Broadway Ave., for the second Thursday Night Throwdown Inland Northwest.
Thursday Night Throwdown is a friendly competition to see who can make the best latte art - whether you're a home barista or a coffee professional. The events started as an informal way for coffee pros to show what they were doing in their own shops and cafes, but has grown into a phenomenon in cities across the country.
TNTINW was started by Aaron Monheim and Bobby Enslow of Indaba Coffee in West Central Spokane. Baratza, Equator Coffees and Teas, DOMA Coffee Roasting Company and Victrola Coffee have also helped contribute to TNT, making it possible to host the event through sponsorships.
Spokane's Keaton Violet, of Madeleine's Cafe and Patisserie in downtown Spokane, won last month's head-to-head competition. He'll defend the title tonight.
“It is judged by the people who show up,” said Monheim. “It's really by a show of hands.”
He said they didn't publicize the first TNTINW. “It was supposed to be a dry run,” he said. But more than 35 people showed up for the event and 16 people competed.
They hope to have 24 people compete tonight. Qualifying rounds begin at 7 p.m. and the throwdown begins at 7:30 p.m. They'll also have an Aeropress competition tonight.
Monheim, who recently moved to Spokane, said he went to a Thursday Night Throwdown event in Seattle and thought it would be a great way to expand the coffee culture in Spokane.
They're planning the next TNTINW at the Doma Coffee headquarters in Post Falls. In July, it will be at Evans Brothers Coffee in Sandpoint and at Barracuda Coffee in the Tri-Cities in August.

There are more details about this at tntinw.wordpress.com or reach Monheim, who is the director of coffee education at Indaba Coffee, aaron@indabacoffee.com.

High Noon: Sugar Bad For Health, Too

If you watched “60 Minutes” Sunday night, then you know that sugar has joined the ranks of red meat, coffee, cigarettes and other foods that should be shunned like adulterers in an Amish village. New Food Police studies have found that sugary snacks and drinks share similar health risks with alcoholic beverages like Jim Beam and some of the stronger aftershave lotions. In discussing these findings, noted San Francisco busybodyologist Dr. Robert Lustig said he would like to see kids being carded when they try to buy Cokes. Once busted, a sugar delinquent would have to attend 12-Step “Sucrose Anonymous” meetings … SPEAKER – “My name is Harry, and it’s 10 days since my last Twix bar.” CROWD – “Hello, Harry!”/Doug Clark, SR. More here.

Question: How much of a sweet tooth do you have?

Back when coffee was just coffee






Did you recognize the Wicked Witch of the West?

Starbucks to raise prices in certain regions

Starbucks is raising some prices regionally as it faces tough competition and rising ingredient costs.

The Seattle coffee chain is raising prices about 1 percent in the Northeast and Sunbelt regions. Starbucks won’t disclose all of the states its raising prices, but the regions include New York, Washington, D.C., and most Southern states excluding California and Florida.

Other cities where it will raise prices include Boston, Atlanta, Dallas and Albuquerque, N.M.

The price for a “tall” coffee will go up 10 cents in the regions. But beverages that are “grande,” the next size up, won’t change.

Starbucks spokesman Jim Olson says the prices reflect competition in certain markets and higher costs for coffee, fuel, and other commodities.

The last across-the-board price increase was in 2007.

Catching a Midnight Train of Thought

 I woke up to feel my heart pounding, beating like a fist against the cage of my ribs, and for a moment I was confused. I realized I’d had a bad dream and just enough traces of the frightening things I’d imagined remained to poison the first moments of the morning. I tossed and turned for a while, trying to get back to sleep, but the damage was done. I was, for better or worse, awake and up for the day.

As I waited for the water to boil so I could press that first cup of coffee, I stared out at the sky watching it change as the sun rose slowly. I heated the milk, poured the coffee into a mug and sat down in my favorite chair by the big window in the living room to gather my thoughts.

 Just thinking of the list I’d made the night before of things that needed to be done made my heart pound again so I put it out of my mind and went back to gazing out at the quiet street as I sipped.

 Stress is a complex element in even the most ordinary life. It is a natural part of our existence and has been since the beginning when we worried that there would not be enough roots and berries to hunt and gather or that the wooly mammoth would win the fight.  Stress has evolved with us and has found a modern wardrobe in agitation about long delays in traffic or screaming headlines with bad news about the economy and the state of the world. It chases us a we take on complicated jobs, or think about keeping a job in an uncertain market. It settles on us as we fret about our children or a roof that will not last another winter; about cholesterol levels or the number on the scale. It nags us as we push a cart through the grocery story or fold the laundry or sit down to watch a movie.

 A certain amount of stress is, the experts say, good for us. It keeps us sharp and competitive. It feeds us the chemical cocktail our bodies need to navigate safely in and out of danger. But too much of anything is toxic. Even chocolate.

As I sat there, the dream began to fade as the sky lightened. Morning had broken its hold on me. The list, the more I looked at it and made plans for the day, began to seem more manageable. The coffee was good and hot and ideas began to percolate as I thought about the week’s deadlines.  

 Energized, comforted, I poured a second cup - my limit - and shrugged off the vague, nameless, fear that had shaken me out of a sound sleep. I was ready to take on the world again.

Cheryl-Anne Millsap writes for The Spokesman-Review and is the editor of Spokane Metro Magazine. Her essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” and can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com

Free drinks Wednesday at newest Dutch Bros. Coffee shop

Dutch Bros. Coffee will open a new Spokane outlet Wednesday at 402 S. Freya St. And in keeping with company tradition, the new store will serve free drinks all day Wednesday, from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.

This will be the fourth Dutch Bros. store in Spokane for local owners and operators Kevin and Kerry Parker, who opened the first local store in 2006.

“We’re very excited to open a new location in Spokane, and we owe it to our fans for being so supportive and allowing us the opportunity to continue to serve in our local communities,” Kevin Parker said in a news release.

Regular business hours will be Sunday through Thursday, 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Founded in Southern Oregon in 1992 by brothers Dane and Travis Boersma, Dutch Bros. Coffee is the country’s largest privately-held, drive-through coffee company. There are more than 160 locations in Oregon, California, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Colorado and Arizona.

‘Instant Human: Just Add Coffee’

Journalist Steven Smith said he is a caffeine addict. “As with all addiction, it defies real explanation. You know the taste isn’t great but I love the taste,” said Smith, temporary faculty lecturer of the School of Journalism and Mass Media. “It’s not always the best thing to consume, sometimes you get jittery and its keeps you from going to sleep, but its just become so much a part of my daily routine and my life that I can’t imagine being without it. I am an addict.” Smith said he started drinking coffee as a junior in high school and he probably drinks about three quarts of coffee a day — a consumption that has been consistent for the last 30 or 40 years. “I am a coffee slut,” Smith said/Rhiannon Rinas, RAWR, UIdaho Argonaut. More here. (photo illustration by steven devine | rawr)

Question: How addicted to coffee are you?

Lake City Has Own ‘Coffee Culture’

Item: 'Homey … but not home': Increase in local coffee shops keeping people connected, satisfying their caffeine fix/Alecia Warren, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: “Travel + Leisure” recently produced a list of the top towns teeming with soulful coffee shops. The winners included the obvious: Seattle and San Francisco. While the Lake City didn't make the cut, some might wonder why, as the coffee culture has been swiftly taking over here, Jenicek said.

Question: Is there a strong “coffee culture” in the Coeur d'Alene area?

Get Out! Java On Sherman Not Shut

Did you drive by Java recently and feel a sudden Bowl-of-Soul shaped hole in your soul that made you want to smoke a bowl of a different kind of soul when you saw the place locked up and emptied out? Relax, junkie. They were merely putting up a fresh coat of paint and had to close up for a bit to accomplish this task. You weren't the only one worried - I received several panicky emails wondering if i knew what was going on (I didn't) as well as several customers at my bar who were driven to drink over the situation. Well, they're always driven to drink, but as long as they don't drink and drive, I'm okay with that. Anyway, they are now open once again and life in Cd'A can carry on as normal/OrangeTV, Get Out! North Idaho. More here.

Question: How would you be affected if Java on Sherman ever closed its doors?

The Legislature rocks on

Although much legislative attention is being paid to solving the state’s budget problems, there is still time in Olympia for other weighty tasks. Such as what should be the state’s official rock?

If you said Heavy Metal or grunge or indie, put your iPod earphones back in. If you said “classic rock” put your earphones in and go look up the word “oxymoron” in Webster’s.

Not that kind of rock. Sen. Dan Swecker, R-Rochester, wants to designate Tenino quarry sandstone as the state’s official rock, primarily because it was used in a few buildings, like the Capitol and the Washington Monument. It probably has nothing to do with the fact that Tenino is in Swecker’s district.
Surely no right-thinking legislator from Eastern Washington, home of the world’s best volcano-formed basalt columns, would dare to vote for a sedimentary substance like sandstone.

Eight members of the House, meanwhile, want to designate coffee as the official state beverage. The same bill would recognize Washington as “the espresso capital of the country,” so apparently they include lattes, cappuccinos, and half-caff, triple-pump hazelnut skinny with a dollop of whip cream mocha-chinos as well as a standard cup of joe.

Could test whether the coffee lobby has the clout of some other beverages, like beer and soda. But when you come right down to it, all of those are just add-ins to the state’s most common beverage. Water.


Should Coffee Be Washington Drink?

Bills have been introduced in the Washington Legislature that would make coffee the official state beverage and Tenino sandstone the state rock. The Olympian reports the coffee bill was introduced by Rep. Barbara Bailey of Oak Harbor. The rock bill was introduced by Sen. Dan Swecker of Rochester. In other proposed legislation, Rep. Jim McCune of Graham has introduced a bill to make English the official language of the state/Associated Press. More here.

Question: What could be considered the state drink of Idaho?

Nic: Living With A Coffee Addict

My wife is an addict. She can’t go a day with out a cup (or seven) of hot black coffee. This doesn’t bother me. I adore the aroma of brewing coffee filling the house and I enjoy an occasional cup. But my wife has a problem. No, she doesn’t drink too much. I jest about her her being a coffee addict, but I know people whose java addiction is a serious issue that makes Bekah look like a recreational user. Bekah’s complication is not the rate of her consumption.  Her dilemma is the quantity of mugs used during the course of a day. She’ll brew a pot, start sipping her first cup and set it down somewhere to carry on with the rest of her day. An end table, the kitchen counter, the bathroom, window sills, on top of the TV in our bedroom - she’s fairly indiscriminate in where she abandons her cup of coffee/Nic, Rants, Raves, & Random Thoughts. More here.

Question: Are you a coffee addict? Do you leave your half-filled coffee mugs laying around everywhere?

Death by Caffeine

Here’s a handy dandly litte chart that will help you determine the difference between really wide-awake and you know– death.

According to the information provided I should be safe If I limit my coffee intake to less than 90 cups per day and keep my Monster consumption under 60 cans. I’m not too worried.

How much caffeine do you consume on an average day? What’s you preferred method of consumption, coffee, energy drinks etc?

Big Cups Of Coffee Need TLC To Finish

I’ve consumed a lot of coffee the last couple of days, hanging out with my kids in Cour d’Alene and Spokane. I always order coffee, never the mochas or sundry other drinks offered at the various coffee shops, in sizes from 8 ounces to 20 ounces. Usually, I ended up drinking the last half of the 20-ouncer cold, if i finished the drink at all. On Facebook, Cindy wonders about the need to have big cups of coffee in the morning: “Theoretically,” Cindy says, she “likes the idea of BIG coffee cups, but finds the coffee gets cold quickly. So, she fills the cup half full, and then wonders what is the point of having a BIG cup?

Question: What size of coffee drink do you order at your favorite coffee shop? Or what size of cup do you use for your own brew at home? Any secrets for keeping the coffee warm?

THE FIRST! - …something

Alright - so here’s the first official ‘Adventure of Chloe Rambo’…yet I still don’t have the right name for it…it’s gotta be something dynamic (!), something catchy (!), something memorable (!). I’m lovin’ all of your ideas! So I’m going for something like Anthony Bourdain’s ‘No Reservations’…that’s the absolute perfect title for his show. It’s hardcore like Tony, memorable like Tony, and has a neat-o double meaning…(cause we all know that Mr. Bourdain is wayyy to cool to make standard resturant reservations AND the fact that he’s pretty fearless in what he does…) I’ll keep thinking on the whole ‘title’ thing…

Anyways - I thought it would be pretty cool for the first un-named post to give all you Spokane-teens a taste…(or at least a description of the taste), of where I’m from.  So I hit up The Green Frog, an amazing little coffee-shop/cafe with mega-personality.

Complete with it’s own grocery, library, and post office, the town of Palouse, WA is one of the ‘more civilized’ places in Whitman County. (And only about an hour and fifteen minutes from Spokane…)  Now throw The Green Frog into the town’s mix and we’ve got a town that’s quickly becoming a musical and cultural hot-spot, all thanks to this little addition in the business community.

Not only do owners Tiana and Paula feature Thomas Hammer coffee, espresso, (*ahhh!) and gourmet teas - they’re also servin’ up warm soups, sandwiches, wraps, even homemade (and crazy-delicious!) baked goods.

But what makes this place so unique, so slammin’, so popular in a small-town area? 3 words baby:  Open Mic Nite.  The Green Frog puts on a live-music fiesta every first Friday of the month, while also featuring a smaller “Live Music and Pita Pizzas” every Thursday.  (These nights are super-popular…come early or stand.)

My Official-and-Total Favorite!: Warming up with a 12 oz. double Americano and an amazing ‘Cherry White Chocolate’ scone. (That’s what I enjoyed the day I took these shots!…yummm.) But if you’re hitting up for lunch, I always reccomend the mini-pita pizza. Perfect with melted cheese and fresh olives. Check out their page on Palouse’s website: http://www.visitpalouse.com/greenfrog.html. Over and out!

You got any skills to show off at an ‘Open Mic Nite?’  Where do YOU guys find the most scrumptious scones??


MikeK: Establishing Bladder Control

RE: DanG’s criticism of Councilman MikeK’s coffee break

More than a year ago, the LCDC installed an elaborate catheter and drainage system for me under the desks in the Council Meeting Room. It was expensive, but it allows me (with my admittedly small bladder) to drink more coffee than any small army could consume without having to get up and use the bathroom, thus ensuring I don’t fall asleep, and to solve another problem which I’ll also share in a moment. The problem we didn’t foresee is that the coffee intake system they installed doesn’t have near the capacity as the discharge system, so I have to continue to get up in order to keep the equilibrium of the coffee in-to-out ratio/Councilman MikeK, Huckleberries Online. Full post below.

Question: Do you have a problem with a council member leaving the chambers briefly to grab a cup of coffee and return?