Inside the world of professional coffee tasting
Techno music plays in the background as competitors sniff, slurp, and examine eight sets of three cups of coffee to identify the "odd cup out" in each group as fast and accurately as they can. This is a scene from the World Cup Tasters Competition, an annual worldwide event. When the timer starts, competitors jump to action around small soup bowls filled with coffee, rounded spoons at hand that they plunge into the bowls to spoon coffee from bowl to nose to mouth. This challenge is known as a "triangle test." Just a few feet away from the competitors, the crowds cheer and watch the action on a big screen.
"It's about accuracy first, then speed," says Jen Apodaca, who represented the United States at Berlin's 2019 World's competition. "If one competitor finishes in under two minutes, but they only get seven cups correct, they would place behind someone that took five minutes but got all eight cups." The World Champion in 2019, Daniel Horbat of Ireland, won with seven correct cups he identified within two minutes and 33 seconds. (We think the caffeine might have helped!)
The atmosphere of these competitions is very intense, and the competitors will go to great lengths in preparation for these events. "There are competitors that ate essentially chicken and rice for six months to prepare..." stated Apodaca. These tactics help protect taste buds, and some competitors go as far as wearing a face covering for up to a year before the event to protect their noses from intruding scents.
This competitive competition of sensory skills begins with the ceremonial method of tasting coffee called "cupping," a topic we've explored on our coffee knowledge blog. It's an intricate, multi-step process that coffee producers, baristas, buyers, roasters, and coffee enthusiasts use to identify and categorize different types of coffee.
Competitions like this can help individuals in the industry advance, and the practice of cupping can earn you the title of Q Grader. (A Q Grader is the equivalent of the wine sommelier within the coffee industry; they score the quality of roasted coffees. To achieve this title, coffee professionals must pass a total of 22 tests to prove that they have the sensory and coffee knowledge to grade coffee on the most impartial scale possible. It's a big deal! The testing is rigorous, and the candidates face challenges beyond merely "tasting coffee." For example, one part of the test consists of nine glasses of water. First, candidates have to identify which three are sweet, which are sour, and which are salty. Then, within those three sets, the test is to rank which glass from most to least sweet, sour, or salty. Q Graders evaluate the quality of a coffee and assign grades, which can help farmers earn more money for crops or learn about flaws within their crops to improve quality.)
Some people find this 'Speed Cupping' to be more than just a novelty exercise, including Shannon Cheney, Lab Director at Coffee Lab International. "That kind of competition is just fun for people...I learned so much at Worlds, so I definitely have advice for people who want to go for it," she says. It is an excellent opportunity to meet coffee lovers from all parts of the industry. Taking a top spot on the global stage does require some intense preparation, but that's the kind of dedication a world champion coffee taster might have to make.
Rest assured with Lola Savannah; there is no need for a fancy title or going through the guesswork. We take extreme pride and pleasure in top-quality sourcing coffee beans and roasting them daily to ensure that you get the freshest cup of coffee possible.
Rediscovered coffee plant could thrive in new climate conditions
There are more than
a hundred different species of coffee plants! However, the majority of coffee that we drink comes from only two species: Arabica and Robusta. These plants require specific altitudes and climates to flourish, so they grow in only select regions of the world, a topic we've discussed before.
But as the world encounters the effects of changing climate, it's becoming difficult to grow our familiar coffee plants like we used to. The good news is that scientists are identifying other species that can thrive in the warmer temperatures we're experiencing.
Aaron Davis is the head of coffee research at the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens in the U.K. He has discovered that some of these new species taste as good as Arabica but are more adaptable to warmer climates. Drought and increasing temperatures affect coffee crops in different areas, so Mr. Davis is turning to the Stenophylla species of coffee that was once widely farmed in West Africa.
"We were in contact with people that had a memory from their childhood of this coffee and said it was absolutely wonderful. But when we went out and spoke to farmers...nobody had any knowledge of it." Davis says.
A mission was dispatched to discover this forgotten species of coffee, and local experts teamed up with Davis's group to search for and find a Stenophylla coffee plant growing in a forest in Sierra Leone. The team harvested the coffee beans, roasted the samples, and tried the coffee created from this particular species.
"The aroma and the fragrance of the coffee was wonderful," Davis says. "It actually tasted like Arabica coffee."
The real difference is that Stenophylla can grow in temperatures up to 12 degrees warmer than traditional coffee crops can tolerate. Therefore, this would be a more climate-resilient crop for farmers and could help increase the cultivation and breeding of more coffee plants, which is excellent news for us coffee lovers!
At Lola Savannah, we're committed to being good stewards of our planet and its resources, and we'll keep you up-to-date on exciting developments. In the meantime, we invite you to check out our wonderful assortment of coffees from around the world.
What is single-origin coffee, and how is it different from a blend?
A goal of this blog is to provide inspiration for our great customers to try some new flavors, techniques, or coffee treats and drinks in your kitchen.
One result of this danged pandemic is that more people have been working from home---and therefore making their own coffee themselves these days, instead of heading to the neighborhood cafe. This has meant that coffee drinkers have had the chance to explore different coffees from what they had been used to. There's a whole wide world of coffee beans out there–and one option is single-origin coffee.
Most third-wave specialty coffee companies offer both single-origins and blends, so what's the difference between them, and what should you be buying and drinking?
What is single-origin coffee?
It's pretty straightforward; single-origin coffee comes from a single producer, crop, or region in one country.
"Single-origins highlight the terroir of a specific place — so how the coffee tastes in that place," says Jeremy Brooks, head of sourcing and green coffee buying at Verve Coffee Roasters.
"Single-origins are typically very expressive of the country where they're purchased from. [Anecdotally], Ethiopian single-origin coffee is like eating a peach. Whereas with blends, we can play around and position them in a way that actually gives you a little bit more of a dynamic range: Instead of having a peach, you have a peach cobbler."
blends contain beans from several origins, and the art comes comes from how a coffee roaster can build a flavor profile within a cup of brewed coffee by mixing and matching several different origins. "We're taking coffees that maybe have one attribute of chocolate or plum, and then you're building something to bring a coffee to a customer that would allow them to experience it in a certain way," Brooks explained.
There's still debate among professionals as to which option they prefer or think is better. "I think there is a time and place for everything," Brooks said. "Early on in my coffee career, I was a die-hard single-origin maker. I would only drink single-origins. As I developed my coffee career and I've also become closer to the sourcing and roasting side, I now understand the value in both. They both play an important role in sourcing and the supply-chain side of supporting farmers and kind of what you want to taste. Like anything in your life, it depends on your mood."
"Blends are a way that roasters communicate a vibe or something about themselves, something signature," Talitha Clemons, owner of the Oklahoma City-based mobile coffee company Bright Vibe Coffee and a coffee taster competitor, told HuffPost in a recent article. "Maybe [roasters] want to create something that will remind folks of time around a fire or of holidays. When you taste a blend called Fireside, Sweater Weather, or Tropical Weather, you are in a frame of mind to let that coffee take you to a place or a moment or memory, rather than focusing so much on given tasting notes. What is difficult for me is that a blend can contain multiple coffees, and you may get some information about the regions the coffee comes from, but the level of transparency changes."
While both single-origins and blends will appeal to different types of coffee drinkers, Brooks says that some people complain about how sour or acidy single-origins can taste. "It is a little bit more of a unique flavor profile that you have to grow to love," he said. "Sometimes people can take that as a negative. But, on the reverse, some people can say that blended coffees are boring, they don't have any flavor at all, that you have to put milk and sugar in them to make them taste good."
Brooks recommends preparing single-origins with paper filter pour-overs or a Chemex. As for blends, "If you're looking for something with more body and you're wanting the coffee to showcase a little bit more of that blend traditional flavor profile, using a drip pot or doing a French press is good with blends," he advised.
Single-origins tend to cost more than blends, and at the start of the pandemic, there was an increase in sales of single-origins. So perhaps home brewers are curious about specialty coffees. If you find yourself in a similar position, Brooks recommends that novices start with single-origins from Latin America, maybe Costa Rica or Colombia, with a mild taste. "They tend to be inherently sweet and approachable," he said. "As you progress, you can get into some of the more exotic profiles, getting into Africa, especially East Africa."
Whether you buy a single-origin or a blend, what's most important these days is supporting a company you can back. Brooks shared similar thoughts. "Whenever you're looking to buy coffee, you're looking at the underlying missions and values of the people who are buying the coffee and the coffee that you're drinking," he said. "If there's a coffee company that's buying amazing blends and they're paying their farmers really well, and they're making a blend, and that's your approach, I think as long as you're buying the coffee you know is supporting the long-term sustainability of the coffee industry as a whole, then you're doing your part. If some coffee companies are really doing that just through their single-origins, then I think you should buy single-origins. But if they're doing it through their entire buying philosophy, with their blends through their single-origins, I think it's perfectly fine to buy from either side."
The bottom line: Try something new once in awhile, and find something you can be passionate about.
At Lola Savannah, we want our customers to feel confident when they purchase and enjoy our coffee. We want to share our passion, and we hope that people will take the time to learn about this unique natural resource, how coffee is grown and processed, so that they can cultivate a genuine appreciation for coffee.
Feel free to browse
our selection of single origins, including coffees from Brazil, Costa Rica, Kenya, Peru, and more!
Does coffee enhance athletic performance?
If you were following the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games over the past couple of weeks, you had the opportunity to witness the world's greatest athletes compete after years of dedication and training. But could a cup of coffee be the secret to success for some of these gold medalists? A review from the latest published research by the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee has shown the impact coffee has on participants' performances in sports.
Research now suggests that caffeine intake can improve athletes' muscle strength, endurance, and various aerobic and anaerobic sport-specific benefits. Analysis of 21 studies suggests that caffeine has a positive effect on a range of exercise tasks. Dr. J. W. Langer, a nutritional expert of medical pharmacology at the University of Copenhagen, states, "Many studies show that athletes who consume caffeine before a race or sports event can go faster, last longer and recover more quickly than athletes who do not have the extra boost."
The International Society of Sports Nutrition, known as the ISSN, reviewed recent research and updated its conclusion that caffeine can enhance various aspects of exercise performance. The ISSN now claims that small to moderate amounts of caffeine can improve movement velocity, muscle strength, muscle endurance, sprinting, jumping, throwing performance, and aerobic and anaerobic sport-specific actions.
The results from a 2019 study on a group of runners showed the positive effects caffeine has while running a 5km race. The findings showed that a moderate dose of caffeine produced noticeable gains in comparison to a placebo. Additional research showed how consuming a strong cup of coffee an hour before a one-mile run can improve a male runner's performance by 2 percent. The evidence of this study concluded that participants who drank coffee were five seconds faster than runners who got a placebo---and four seconds quicker than participants who drank decaffeinated coffee.
The results of the research don't just end at running. Another study showed that drinking caffeine 50-60 minutes before playing football can produce valuable athletic improvements in performance, including jumping, repeated sprinting, and running distance.
Although further research still needs to be conducted to confirm and validate these findings, it's encouraging to see the benefits of coffee in real-life situations and its ability to enhance our lives. From our morning cup of coffee to the afternoon pick-me-up we crave or sometimes need, specialty coffee from Lola Savannah can not only lift our spirits but possibly add to the quality of our lives.
New Study: Can coffee reduce your risk of contracting Covid?
Great news for our avid coffee lovers: A
new study has shown that drinking a cup of coffee a day may reduce your chances of contracting coronavirus. Researchers from Northwestern University conducted the study and conclude that people who consume one or more cups of coffee each day have a 10 percent less chance of contracting coronavirus than individuals who do not consume coffee at all.
The results came from analyzing records of 40,000 British adults from the UK Biobank. The researchers studied the link between diet factors, like the daily consumption of coffee, oily fish, processed meat, vegetables, and fruit and the resulting rates of COVID infection.
The study found, "Coffee consumption favorably correlates with inflammatory biomarkers such as CRP, interleukin-6 (IL-6), and tumor necrosis factor I (TNF-I), which are also associated with COVID-19 severity and mortality." It further added, "Coffee consumption has also been associated with lower risk of pneumonia in elderly. Taken together, an immunoprotective effect of coffee against COVID-19 is plausible and merits further investigation."
Research also observed that consuming less processed meat and more vegetables can reduce your chances of getting infected by COVID-19. Consumption of at least 0.67 servings of vegetables could aid in reducing your risk of infection. (Guess what: your mom was right all along.)
"Although these findings warrant independent confirmation, adherence to certain dietary behaviors may be an additional tool to existing COVID-19 protection guidelines to limit the spread of this virus," the study added.
While additional research is needed to provide more insight, we will continue the fight against COVID. Here at Lola Savannah, we take pride in delivering the best quality coffee to help keep you motivated and feeling your best, and the research shows that the health benefits coffee can add years to your life; well, we consider that icing on the coffee cake.
The Process behind Decaf Coffee
It's a tale as old as time: You wake up in the morning, and the first thing on your mind is a fresh cup of coffee. But, for some people, it's not about the caffeine pick-me-up that coffee is known for; instead, it's about the ritual of drinking and enjoying a cup of coffee. Yes, we are talking decaf! Decaffeinated coffee, first created in the early 1900s, has been around for over one hundred years, yet the process of making this product hasn't changed much since its conception.
A complex blend of compounds, including caffeine and related molecules, are locked inside coffee and produce the distinct taste and flavor we know when the beans are roasted. So the process of removing a key molecule like caffeine from a coffee bean is no small task and can be pretty labor-intensive. On average, a single arabica coffee bean contains 1.9 milligrams of caffeine compared to a single robusta coffee bean that can have 2.9 milligrams of caffeine.
One technique known as the
Direct Solvent Decaffeinated Method removes caffeine directly from the coffee beans and leaves (most of) the other flavor compounds behind. This process is done by steaming or boiling green, unroasted beans to pull the caffeine from the bean interior. Then the caffeine molecules are typically washed out using solvents like methylene chloride or ethyl acetate. Like how sugar dissolves in water, the caffeine dissolves in the chemical wash, resulting in coffee beans with little to no caffeine compounds left.
Another method for producing decaf coffee goes some steps further to enrich the flavor. After the solvents have removed the caffeine compounds from the coffee beans, decaf companies brew a strong decaffeinated brew to soak the beans to infuse them with more aroma and flavor.
There have been a few technological advances we can thank science for, including a method called the
Swiss Water Process, which uses carbon filters rather than solvents to remove the caffeine from the fresh beans. However, this process does cost more.
And an even more advanced approach, which is quite costly compared to other methods, uses highly pressurized CO
2. This process is called the Carbon Dioxide Method and uses high pressured CO2 to adopt properties of multiple states at once, so it flows like gas but can maintain liquid density. In this form, CO2 binds to the coffee beans and removes the caffeine compounds from freshly water-soaked coffee beans.
But what happens to the caffeine that is extracted from coffee beans? Crude caffeine, as it is known, is a brown powder substance that contains all of the extracted caffeine, and it is a huge commodity that is sold to other manufacturers. In addition, crude caffeine is added to other caffeinated beverages like sodas, energy drinks, and candy and beauty products.
In the future, another hopeful source for decaf coffee is in newly discovered strains of
naturally decaffeinated coffee plants. These coffee bean strains would eliminate the extra processing that can affect the flavor, leaving a bolder decaffeinated brew. However, for various reasons, such as needing to scale up to commercial production, this commodity is hindered from entering the market.
Regardless of all the hard work that goes into decaffeinating coffee and all of the technological advances, many coffee lovers still feel that decaf coffee is subpar in taste and flavor compared to regular beans. Even with the 100+ years of experience, some coffee manufacturers haven't been able to perfect this practice of removing caffeine without altering the flavor profile to some degree.
As for Lola Savannah's offerings, our flavored decaf coffees use the UVVW process. We also offer one
Nevertheless, rest assured that Lola Savannah will always go the extra step in testing and tasting all of our blends, ensuring you have the best tasting cup of coffee, caffeinated or not!
Sustainable Upgrades to Your Coffee Routine
Coffee plays an enormous part in our everyday lives all across the globe. Just within the United States, we consume 400 million cups of coffee every day, resulting in coffee's being one of the most significant commodities to global economies. In this coffee knowledge blogpost, we discuss some of the environmental impacts coffee has so that you can make informed decisions to help combat these issues.
Coffee is cultivated in tropical regions called
the "Bean Belt," located around the equator, and in another post on this blog, we have explored the journey these beans take before ending up in our coffee cups.
Brazil, Colombia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Ethiopia are the world's top producers of coffee, and so "locally grown" coffee isn't an option for Americans. This means that there are large-scale consequences for our environment arising from just the global shipping of coffee beans from where they're grown to where they're consumed.
There is also considerable waste generated depending on the ways we choose to prepare and consume coffee. But with greater awareness, there are new options for coffee lovers to help reduce waste and create sustainable and responsible coffee routines.
Here is a list of practical tips for "green" coffee practices:
1. Choose consciously and conscientiously
A great way to positively impact the coffee trade is purchasing coffee with legitimate labels and third-party certifications. When a coffee product has authentic credentials, the production process has followed specific humanitarian and environmental policies. Some certifications you can look for when purchasing coffee include
- Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee brands follow a list of the Sustainable Agricultural Network's environmental, social, and economic standards. This alliance addresses deforestation, restricts the use of pesticides, and assures federal minimum wages for all employees.
- Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center Bird Friendly Coffee is another certification that products are 100% organic and 100% shade-grown coffee. This group aims to protect migratory birds' habitats, maintain healthy base soils, and use zero pesticides.
- Fair Trade Certified coffee has a primary focus on supporting workers in general and farmers specifically. A product is certified fair trade through Fair Trade USA and Fairtrade America, representing our country as a member of Fairtrade International. Fairtrade International sets a global stage for reasonable prices and provides funds for community development.
- A USDA Organic label verifies that farms follow an environmental standard, prohibiting synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Lola Savannah has several organic options.
2. Using Reusable options when possible
Although the environmental footprint of coffee goes far beyond plastic waste, there are still significant steps we can take to improve our impact. With 64% of Americans enjoying at least one cup of coffee per day, if we all made small steps towards sustainability, it could make a significant difference!
Disposable coffee filters require lots of resources to produce, and then they end up in our landfills. Many of these filters are also chemically bleached. Try replacing traditional coffee filters for compostable filters or reusable filters made from plastic, metal, or a washable fabric that you clean between uses. And if you can use an unbleached paper filter, that helps, too. And remember that you can compost paper filters---no need to throw them in the trash.
Coffee on the go can quickly add up to substantial global impacts. With 58 billion paper cups being thrown away every year in the United States, using your reusable mug can make significant changes. A durable, reusable mug for to-go coffee can eliminate 23 pounds of trash each year for a daily coffee drinker.
Another way to save on single-use packaging is by buying in bulk.
3. Be Mindful Of Waste
When you consider that the average mature coffee tree produces only around two pounds of coffee beans each year, a considerable amount of effort and energy goes into producing this unique commodity. It's important to acknowledge and pay our respect to those resources and to use every drop of what we brew. If you ever find yourself with leftover coffee, you can save it in the fridge for iced coffee later in the day or the next day. Or freeze it in an ice cube tray to add to cold brew or to jazz up smoothies! And of course, coffee is mostly water, so think about pouring room-temperature brewed coffee on acidic-tolerant plants in your yard.
Utilizing your used coffee grounds instead of throwing them out is another sustainable hack. For creative ideas, click here [Perri, please link] to read our blog post on ways to use your coffee grounds.
While we at Lola Savannah are always striving to make your morning coffee as simple as possible, we also think it's important to acknowledge our impact and to look for ways to improve our carbon footprint. We believe that small steps can have significant results, and that's why we are proud to carry several USDA Organic coffees, including some delicious flavored coffees that we think you're going to love too! So if you are looking to make some sustainable upgrades to your coffee routine, know that Lola Savannah is here to make that transition a happy, delicious one!
How drinking coffee every day helps connect our brain’s network!
Over 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed daily throughout the world. It's no doubt that people love coffee, and the research behind this unique concoction only continues to justify the fascination. The effects coffee has on our mental performance have been the subject of extensive research, demonstrating the positive impacts coffee can have on our alertness, motor control, and memory. A new study sponsored by the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC) discovered insights into the connectivity and functional changes within regular coffee drinkers' brains.
The findings concluded that regular coffee drinkers had a reduced degree of connectivity in the right precuneus and the right insular when at rest. This difference
improved motor control and alertness, helping them better react to a stimulus than non-coffee drinkers.
This study also found more efficient connectivity patterns in other brain areas, in the cerebellum and between the thalamus and the cerebellum. These connections improve motor control among regular coffee drinkers compared to non-coffee drinkers.
The findings of this study also showed an increase in dynamic activity observed in several cerebellar and subcortical areas of the brain among regular coffee drinkers. These produced effects including reduced mind wandering,
increased attention, alertness, arousal, and enhanced learning and memory. All in all, these changes imply an improved ability to focus by stimulating areas of the brain that include the cerebellum, striatum, thalamus, parahippocampus, and the lingual and inferior occipital gyri.
Interestingly, non-coffee drinkers could consume a cup of coffee and experience the structural and connectivity differences observed among regular coffee drinkers, which is a testament to coffee's powerful effects on our mental state.
This research ,conducted by Professor Nuno Sousa of the School of Medicine at the University of Minho, Portugal, and his scientists' team used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). This imaging system provided the means to compare the connectivity and structure of the brains of 31 individuals who drink coffee every day and 24 non-coffee drinkers. The scientists tested each of them first while the participants were at rest, while they were performing a task, and just after they had consumed a cup of coffee.
"This is the first time that the effect of regular coffee drinking on the brain's network has been studied in this level of detail. By using fMRI technology, we were able to observe the effect of coffee on the brain's functional connectivity and structure, and the differences between regular coffee drinkers and non-coffee drinkers, in real-time. These findings have – at least in part – helped to provide a mechanistic insight for some of the effects observed in existing research on coffee; such as improved motor control, increased alertness, and benefits to learning and memory."
Nuno Sousa, Professor of School of Medicine, University of Minho
While this may be no surprise to those who love a daily cup (or more!) of coffee, it still amazes us to see the new studies and research capabilities that modern technology provides us only confirm what we know to be true. Coffee makes the world run a little smoother, and here at Lola Savannah, we want to make the most of every cup!
Coffee Grounds to Water Ratio
One of the most common questions people ask when brewing coffee at home is the proper coffee to water ratio for a good brew. On today's "Coffee Knowledge" blog, we discuss the importance of measuring your doses of coffee grounds and water when home brewing.
There is a common misconception that the roast level determines the difference between a strong cup of coffee and a weak cup of coffee. Dark-roasted coffee is commonly described as being strong in flavor, when people in reality are trying to describe the smokey, "roasty" notes that dark roasted coffee carries. The term "strong" in the coffee industry describes the concentration of the brew based on the ratio of extracted chemical compounds from ground coffee to the amount of water.
In a recent post, we discussed the extraction of coffee grounds and the importance of a good coffee grinder to ensure an even extraction; the next step is zeroing in on your preferred dosage to impact the strength of the coffee in your cup. When you brew your own coffee at home, you get to control how strong or weak you want your coffee to be.
The brewing dosage standard for a 6 fluid ounce cup of coffee is 2 tablespoons of ground coffee. This ratio is based on the industry-standard coffee-to-water ratio called the "Golden Ratio" - 1 gram of coffee to every 16.7 grams of water. Here's
a link to a handy ratio chart for the "Golden Ratio" by manuelcoffeebrewing.com.
In the coffee world, it is universally accepted that brewing coffee by weight is the most accurate method. Measuring by volume always involves some small amount of eyeballing to get a level tablespoon or to get the right volume of water. This is why you see high-end coffee shops weighing their water and coffee grounds to get a consistently accurate read on their measurements. If you want to go that extra mile and add a small scale to your brewing process, it's a pretty simple addition to your routine, and it just might make your morning coffee experience feel like a science project. If this doesn't interest you, don't worry: you can still measure as accurately as possible to get near the standards of the Golden Ratio, and you'll be fine without the investment in a scale.
Nevertheless, the "standards" of brewing dosages shouldn't keep you from brewing coffee the way you prefer to enjoy it. These standards have been established as a baseline to develop sufficient coffee strengths, but they shouldn't keep you from exploring and learning about your personal coffee preferences. Dosages may vary based on your current brewing method, particular coffee characteristics, and experimentation on your part.
The "perfect" cup of coffee is itself a blend of both art and science. You can tweak a lot of variables, from the
roast level of the coffee to how and when you grind it, from the variety of the beans to the ratio between grounds and water. The most important thing is to enjoy what you create and drink. Coffee should be fun!
With Lola Savannah coffee blends, you'll surely find your sweet spot. Come and explore our website and add some fun to your coffee experience.
The best investment for Brewing Coffee at Home
This news may come as a surprise, but if you grind your coffee beans, your grinder is the
most essential tool in your coffee-making arsenal. An excellent coffee grinder can transform your coffee experience and can rival what you get from your favorite coffee shop. In a recent blog post, we talked about the advantages of grinding your coffee beans right before using them. So today, we take an in-depth look at coffee grinders. With your own reliable coffee grinder, you can experience full-flavored and fresh coffee whenever you want. And once you own one, you might never want to go back to pre-ground coffee.
The main advantage to grinding coffee beans yourself is that you can
set the grind size to accommodate your brewing method. For example, if you like to use auto-drip pots, the fine consistency of pre-ground coffee works well. But if you're using any other means to brew your coffee, such as a French press or a pour-over method, adjusting grind size is an advantage you don't want to miss out on. You just won't find varying grind sizes in pre-ground coffee, so having your own grinder is the way to go.
If you find the benefits of owning your a home coffee grinder alluring but still feel unsure on which kind of grinder you should buy (or have someone gift you!), keep reading as we explore what makes a coffee grinder useful, and which features are worth paying for. We won't discuss specific brands, but here are some key thoughts.
Blade grinders are the easiest to find, but they don't provide much of an improvement over pre-ground coffee beans. These grinders don't produce consistent, uniform coffee grounds. And that in turn causes the ground coffee to extract at different rates, which results in an unbalanced cup of coffee. Really, blade grinders chop more than they grind, and thus they don't allow you to set a grind size. If you do go with a blade grinder, you should probably have one dedicated to coffee. Otherwise, if you use the same blade grinder for a bunch of different items like spices, even if you wipe it out carefully you're still likely to get cross-flavoring.
Burr grinders are by far the better option. The burrs funnel the coffee beans down a pathway and grind/pulverize them to a consistent size, unlike the chopping action of blade grinders.
The next decision point is choosing between a
manual grinder or an electric grinder.
Manual coffee burr grinders are an excellent option for exploring this type of grinding without making a huge commitment or breaking the bank. These typically cost $20-$30, which is the same for an inexpensive blade grinder, but they perform much better than the blade grinders do. This option does require some elbow grease but can be added to your morning routine as a meditation ritual or an added arm exercise as a bonus! These grinders are very durable, lightweight, travel-friendly, and great for camping.
Electric coffee burr grinders offer fast and convenient results, but there are a few drawbacks to consider. First, they come at a much higher price point, and you'll find that you can quickly get to over $100. Less expensive electric burr grinders are sometimes built with cheap plastics, unaligned burrs, and poorly designed settings, and they can be quite loud. That noise can be a nuisance in the early morning hours. As often happens, you get what you pay for, and if your coffee and the ritual are important to you, you probably won't regret the investment in a higher quality burr grinder.
If you plan to travel with your coffee grinder or if you're a considerate early riser and don't want to wake up everyone else, a manual grinder would certainly be suitable. The same is true if you're not looking for a daily arm workout. For most folks, though, we suggest making the investment in a high quality electric burr grinder. And don't forget the Lola Savannah coffee beans for an unforgettable cup!
Whole Bean vs. Ground Coffee
The act of making coffee at home is a popular ritual in the US; according to the National Coffee Association (NCA), 79% of Americans prepare their coffee at home. From choosing your favorite coffee brand (say, Lola Savannah) to your favorite blends and brewing methods, the art of coffee making at home is a personal experience that has only gotten more serious with the start of the pandemic. But no matter how you drink your coffee, the best piece of advice to yield the most incredible flavor and aroma is:
Buy whole bean coffee instead of ground coffee. Here's why!
A recent article by
HuffPost interviewed coffee roasting experts and coffee quality pros. They agreed that whole coffee beans ensure the most outstanding flavor when it comes to making great coffee. Scott Buyington, the co-founder of Denver's Queen City Collective Coffee, told HuffPost: "A lot of taste comes from the smell. The grinding process starts to release a lot of those aromatics...so if you release the aromatics before you try the coffee, the taste is going to be more diminished, dull, and flat."
Research within the coffee industry has shown that after grinding whole coffee beans, the exposed surface area increases and starts to oxidize faster. Ground coffee packaged and sold has already lost some of its taste and smell, and based on how this coffee is stored, it can continue to lose these characteristics.
Although these experts do not specify when it becomes noticeable and claimed that the loss of flavor and taste characteristics is different depending on the coffee, the verdict is that taking the added time to grind your beans
right before brewing maximizes the coffee's original aroma and flavor and has bigger payoffs in the taste and smell.
But let's be honest, not everyone has room for a grinder, and some don't feel the need for another kitchen appliance. Other folks love the ease and convenience that ground coffee beans provide. And that's OK, too. At Lola Savannah, we encourage mindful storage practices, including storing ground coffee in a dark, dry place away from humidity. To read more on our best coffee storage advice, read the full blog post here.
Whether you're a die-hard ground coffee fan or enjoy grinding whole coffee beans yourself, we've got you covered at Lola Savannah. Either way, we always source the best and freshest beans and roast them daily to ensure a fresh cup of happiness every time.
Can Coffee help save our forests?
By now, you are most likely familiar with the benefits of drinking coffee to the human body. But now a new study in Toronto suggests that coffee can fuel more than humans;
it can also potentially help restore forests.
Researchers tested a theory in Costa Rica, where the ground was covered in coffee pulp for two years. The results were more vegetation, denser tree trunks, and greater canopy height on the trees.
This project started on a former coffee farm located within southern Costa Rica in 2018. The region had gone through rapid deforestation, and a significant amount of rainforest in the area had been lost.
To test the theory that organic waste could help in forest restoration, the researchers took two adjacent plots of land. They covered one side with coffee pulp, given to them from a "nearby coffee processing cooperative." This thin layer of coffee pulp was no small feat, taking 30 dump truck loads to cover the entire plot of land.
The researchers took a census of the plant species and measured the soil quality and trunk diameters. After the two-year experimental period was over, they returned to measure and record the results.
The land covered in the coffee pulp had significant growth in herbaceous plants, providing a plant cover to the land nine times greater than on the untreated plot. There was also a high percentage of carbon and nitrogen on the land treated with coffee pulp, which showed an increase in soil quality, revitalizing the previously damaged soil. The density of stems and tree trunks on the treated land was 16 times more significant, and the number of trees was vastly greater. The results were visible; images provided by drones showed the tree coverage, and the coffee-treated land had a more lush environment.
The results were provided in the
journal Ecological Solutions and Evidence and suggest that these techniques could help jumpstart forest restoration.
"While this single-site study points to promising outcomes for the use of an agricultural by-product to speed up forest recovery, well-replicated testing across multiple sites and over a longer period of time will be necessary to validate the restoration strategy," the researchers stated.
While there still needs to be more research on this topic, the prospects for coffee lovers are hopeful: repairing soils, strengthening forests, and doing our part. Maybe the coffee that we know so well for waking us up can be used to wake up our future forests. A bit of good news and another reason to drink Lola Savannah coffee. Cheers!
Differences between Cold-Brew and Iced Coffee
With spring in full bloom and summer temperatures nearing, coffee lovers are making the switch to cold coffee. What better time than now for us to discuss the differences between cold brew and iced coffee options.
When coffee is cold brewed, the coffee beans are brewed in cold water for an extended time, roughly half a day or more. On the other hand, iced coffee is brewed quickly, uses warm water, and is then poured over ice. You don't have to buy special coffee beans (but might we suggest some Lola Savannah!) to make either
cold-brewed or iced options, but the apparatus to brew each is fundamentally different, as are the flavors produced by each method. By understanding their differences, you can explore which brewing method is suitable for you.
To make cold-brewed coffee, you typically use a pitcher with a steeping filter made with mesh or stainless steel. This process creates a "coffee concentrate" that is then mixed with water or milk to create different beverages. This concentrate typically has a very high caffeine content and a strong taste; it is
not recommended to drink it independently without watering it down.
The steps are simple: fill the steeper with your favorite coffee, say Lola Savannah's
Texas Pecan, and fill the pitcher with the cold water per the recommended ratios. Shake the pitcher until the cold water turns to a brown color, although not all cold brew systems require this step. Then steep this concentrate for 12-36 hours, remove the filter, and dilute with water or milk/creamer of your choosing.
Here are some of the downsides seen to cold brewing:
-the long steeping period requires considerably more time when compared to iced coffee
-the filter can be challenging to clean
-you'll need to experiment with diluting your concentrate when you want a coffee beverage (but practice makes perfect!)
Iced coffee, on the other hand, is brewed the same way as you brew hot coffee. And these days, there are even special coffee machines that allow you to adjust and cool the water temperatures. If your brewed coffee is too hot, don't pour it over the ice immediately or you'll melt the ice too quickly and dilute your coffee. Instead, allow the brewed coffee to come down to room temperature (or pop it into the fridge to cool off further) before serving it over ice. Check to see if your coffee maker has temperature settings to make iced coffee at home more accessible.
Some downsides to iced coffee:
-coffee machines that feature temperature adjustments for brewing iced coffee are significantly more expensive than cold brew coffee makers
-iced coffee tends to get watered-down and diluted as the ice melts
-iced coffee is more acidic than cold brew
Each of the two methods results in distinct taste differences, and the equipment and time needed also vary. But regardless of your preferences, and regardless of the method you end up choosing, you'll end up with a great result when you start with any Lola Savannah coffee.
A Convenient Guide for Coffee Grinding
There is a lot to consider when looking for the perfect home-brewed cup of coffee. Even when you buy the best beans from your favorite coffee company (Lola Savannah!), other factors influence the result. There are different brewing techniques, ideal water-to-coffee ratios, water temperature, etc.
But have you considered the consistency of your coffee grounds? With 79% of Americans choosing to brew coffee at home, many underestimate the importance of getting the proper grind, or particle size, to their coffee beans. Let's uncover the importance of coffee grounds consistency and why it's a vital step in making great coffee at home.
While some households prefer buying pre-ground coffee beans, others prefer to grind their coffee beans at home right before making a pot or cup.
When coffee beans are ground, they are broken into much smaller pieces, and thus there is more surface area where oxygen can react with the cells and bring out that distinctive smell and lively flavor. Without the grinding step, proper extraction does not occur, and coffee tastes muddy, dull, and soapy. By grinding your beans at home, not only do you not risk losing any essential qualities of freshness but in fact you enhance the likelihood of getting the best-tasting cup.
And there's more: You can also adjust the coffee grind and experiment with different brewing methods that require different consistency of coffee grounds.
The type of coffee grounds you need for your brewing method can determine the extraction of your coffee. The two ways your coffee brewing can go wrong with the incorrect grind size are under-extraction and over-extraction. Under-extraction can occur when grinds are too coarse and results in a sour, acidic, or salty taste. With coffee grounds that are too fine, your coffee can be over-extracted, resulting in dull, bitter, or a dark cup with no distinct features.
A balanced extraction will produce well-rounded, sweet, and crisply acidic tastes. That's the goal!
Follow this simple guide to learn the main types of grinds and which ones we recommend for each brewing method.
EXTRA COARSE / COARSE
Extra coarse coffee grounds resemble the consistency of kosher sea salt. This consistency of coffee grounds is used for French Press and percolator and is also great for the cold brewing process.
MEDIUM-COARSE / MEDIUM / MEDIUM-FINE
Medium-coarse and medium grounds resemble the look of table salt, respectively. This consistency is best for drip coffee brewing methods.
FINE / EXTRA FINE
Fine coffee grounds resemble powdered sugar and are used for espresso brewing, Aeropress, and Turkish coffee.
When you know your preferred brewing method, dial in the consistency of your coffee grounds and keep your household stocked with the best quality coffee from Lola Savannah.
It may take some experimenting, and even a not-perfect cup of coffee is still pretty great.
At Lola Savannah, we work hard to ensure that you experience a consistently excellent cup of coffee, and we want to help make sure your cup of brewed coffee is as good as can be!
What is Coffee Cupping?
Most coffee lovers usually have a "go-to" coffee, whether it's a particular roast, brewing method, or -ahem- favorite coffee company. So what is it that draws you more to one coffee over another? The art of coffee cupping, the term for coffee tasting, is a complex skill to master. Producers and buyers around the world widely use the technique of coffee cupping to check the quality of a batch of coffee. In cupping, coffee's aspects include cleanness, sweetness, acidity, mouthfeel, and aftertaste. Besides being a quality control method, cupping is an excellent way to increase your knowledge about coffee. With practice, you can develop a palate for all the different hidden components within a simple coffee cup and distinguish what flavors draw you in most.
To start developing coffee cupping skills, we will begin with the basic guidelines to identify flavor profiles.
-Always taste coffee black, no additives. Cupping is best done with light or medium roasts, whereas dark roasts are more for tasting the roasting process than the actual coffee bean.
-Best to start with a clean palate and drink water before tasting
-When tasting, start slow with small sips. Then take a nice big slurp to swirl around in your mouth for five seconds, coating your mouth in the coffee.
-Have a flavor wheel handy; this will help you in recognizing the flavors
-Write down what you taste, identify whatever notes your senses pick up on.
So why is this method called "Cupping?" They named this practice after the specialty deep bowled spoons that professionals use to sample the coffee. First, they grind coffee beans to a coarse consistency, in which they pour over water that's just off the boil in a small bowl. After the grounds steep for three to four minutes, the infusion is mixed, and the foamy layer of coffee grounds is removed from the top of the cup using spoons. The coffee needs to cool before tasting, to allow the flavors to emerge fully.
It's a good idea to focus on typical flavor notes such as nutty, chocolate, or fruity when you are just beginning. Similar to wine, there are endless flavor notes since each harvest can be different. Flavors can be directly affected by weather, altitude, soil, and cultivar.
For a more casual cupping experience, brew up a batch of your favorite coffee using a French press or your preferred method of brewing and pour it into smaller cups. Take your time to appreciate how the coffee smells and the unique flavors on your tastebuds. You can discover nuances you never thought existed in a cup of coffee. If you feel daring, maybe try a new blend of Lola Savannah to put your new coffee knowledge skills to use!
Do you consider yourself a coffee connoisseur? The world of coffee is quite extensive. From the different types of coffee beans and countless creations you can make with coffee, sometimes it's hard to keep up. Here is a list of coffee vocabulary words you can add to your repertoire to talk up any coffee snob.
Acidity: This describes the sharp, snappy quality that makes coffee refreshing, a characteristic of high-altitude-grown coffee beans. Acidity is experienced mainly at the tip of the tongue and is not bitter or sour, as some people assume.
Affogato: Affogato is an Italian term that translates to "drowned." Typically prepared by pouring espresso over vanilla ice cream.
Aroma: This is the scent of brewed coffee, whereas the fragrance of coffee grounds before brewing is called a "bouquet."
Bag: Within the coffee industry, this refers to a burlap sack filled with coffee beans. The weight of a "bag" varies from country to country, but 132 pounds is quite common.
Barista: This term has gained widespread recognition through Starbucks but is an Italian word that refers to all people who make coffee as a profession.
Bitter: This is a characteristic of dark roasts but can also be the cause of over-extraction, too fine of a grind, or low coffee to water ratio when brewing. Bitterness is experienced at the back of the tongue and is a flavor studied among others within the coffee community.
Blend: This is a mixture of two or more different coffee types, typically from one region. This mixture adds depth and complexity to the flavor composition.
Body: This is known as the coffee's texture, the tactile weight in the mouth, and how it feels on the palate. You will see the body listed as a characteristic of different coffee blends; it can range from thin to medium, full, buttery, or syrupy. Discover which is your favorite by experimenting with different blends.
Briny: The refers to the salty sensation that can come from excessive heat after brewing. This characteristic is well known as "Truck-stop coffee," which occurs after a fresh coffee pot is continuously heated for a prolonged period after brewing.
Cappa (or Cappu): This is a short-expression for "cappuccino."
Crema: This is the caramel-colored foam that forms on top of an espresso shot; this occurs when colloids and lipids are forced out into emulsion with the pressure of an espresso machine. The cream acts as a "cap" that retains the flavors and aromatics within your espresso shot. Pro-tip, crema indicates a proper brew. Drink before the crema dissipates, or else you have waited too long!
Dark Roast: This is the term used to describe coffee beans roasted for an extended period to produce a more robust flavor.
Demitasse: A French term that translates to "half cup." Demitasse is a 3-ounce cup used for macchiato or espresso drinks.
Doppio: This is Italian for "double" and is used to order two shots of espresso.
Drip: This is a method of brewing coffee, where you pour hot water over coffee grounds using a French press or filter.
Earthy: This is a term used to describe coffee that refers to the damp earth or soil-like flavors. Earthy elements are typical in Indonesian coffees and have a fresh, smooth quality.
Exotic: This term refers to exotic flavors, often undertones or subtle notes in a coffee's overall flavor, such as "floral" or "berry" qualities.
Fair Trade: This is an economic program that ensures that coffee growers earn a proper minimum wage.
Flavor: When speaking of the flavor of coffee, it is describing all parts of the coffee experience, the aroma, acidity, body, and taste. It is the combination of all sensual elements when drinking coffee.
French Roast: This refers to dark roasted coffee beans, also described as a double roast. Produces a light body yet intense brew that has smoky-sweet characteristics.
Green Coffee: These are coffee beans that a coffee roasting company purchases; the seeds have a green color after being processed and dried. Once roasted, the coffee takes on a dark brown coloring.
Half Caf: This is when you mix half regular brewed coffee with half decaffeinated coffee.
Roast: Roasting is the process that involved heating green coffee beans till they darken and develop rich, complex flavors.
SCA: This stands for Specialty Coffee Association, the roasting institution and baristas' parent organization that upholds standards and practices in the coffee industry.
Spicy: This is similar to spice in other foods and drinks, spice flavors in coffee offer district and different tastes. Spices for coffee such as cinnamon, vanilla, chili, and chai can be detected in different coffee flavors.
Stale: When the coffee is left exposed to oxygen for too long, it becomes flat and loses its flavor. Leaving a bag of coffee open can cause coffee to go stale. Airtight containers stored out of sunlight is recommended to avoid stale coffee.
Sweet: This is a term to describe coffee that means smooth and free from any harsh flavors. This characteristic depends on the coffee bean's actual flavors and the specific roasting technique; it is more subtle than what we typically think of sugary sweetness.
Why we CRAVE coffee!
Did you know that Americans are the world's leading consumers of coffee? We consume up to 400 million coffee cups
every day. That's more than 146 billion cups of coffee per year!
What makes this elixir so popular and magical? Beyond the familiar aroma and the sophisticated taste, there are real medical and scientific reasons why your body craves coffee.
Coffee boosts energy:
When we are active, adenosine binds with its adenosine receptor, which then makes you feel drowsy. When we ingest caffeine, the receptor binds with the caffeine instead of the adenosine, which is why within 15 minutes of drinking a cup of coffee, you will feel more energized.
Caffeine also causes our pituitary glands to kick in; this in turn affects our adrenal glands. When stimulated, our adrenal glands produce Adrenalin, commonly known as the fight-or-flight hormone, which also gives you a burst of energy.
A study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health found that women who drink four or more coffee cups per day were 20% less likely to suffer from depression.
Strengthens your DNA:
According to a European Journal of Nutrition study, coffee drinkers' white blood cells are less likely to undergo spontaneous DNA strand breakage.
Coffee is also known to help suppress your appetite. If you're having a sugar craving or want to stop yourself from going for seconds at mealtime, try drinking coffee to help fill you up.
Caffeine can help with your workouts, stimulating thermogenesis to burn more calories and fat in your body.
Stimulates the central nervous system:
The caffeine in coffee is the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance worldwide. And it's 100% legal!
Coffee could be a lifesaver:
Studies have shown that drinking three to five cups of coffee a day can lead to 15% lower death rates.
Coffee contains hundreds of biologically active compounds, including caffeine, chlorogenic acid, trigonelline, cafestol, and kahweol. It has also shown its effectiveness in reducing the risk of Alzheimer's, heart disease, gout, type 2 diabetes, and Parkinson's in men.
Brightens mood and vigilance:
Research reveals that caffeine can increase the amount of serotonin released into the brain (our "feel good" chemical).
Improves short-term memory:
A study from Johns Hopkins University found that swallowing the amount of caffeine in one or two cups of coffee boosts a person's memory for new information by roughly 10 percent.
A significant source of antioxidant:
Coffee is rich in antioxidants and can deliver more of them than can a cup of green tea or a plate of fruits and vegetables. Your mom should be happy.
It's not hard to see why people love coffee! With the various medical benefits and the countless creations you can consume, you can't grow tired of this drink! And with Lola Savannah by your side, we will make sure you enjoy every single cup!
History of Coffee
Coffee has become such a staple in our modern-day lives that it's almost impossible to imagine a time before and without coffee. Coffee beans are the second-most traded raw material worldwide, second only to crude oil in value, generating sales over $55 billion a year. How did these unique beans become such a popular, recognizable part of our lives?
Coffee originated from plants in Ethiopia. These plants are evergreen, meaning that they have green leaves year-round. After three to five years, coffee plants start their flowering process, where small white flowers produce green berries. These berries mature over a year, ripen, and turn red.
Legend has it that, many hundreds of years ago in the Ethiopian highlands, a young goat herder named Kali saw his goats eating some berries they found on a tree, and he noticed that the goats then became so energetic they did not sleep that night. The young man decided to collect some of these berries and share his encounter with the local monastery. The monks became intrigued and experimented with the berries, roasting them and mixing them with water to create a delicious beverage.
By the 15th century, news of the energizing effects of coffee beans had spread from Ethiopia to the Arabian Peninsula. Initially met with controversy and banned on religious grounds, coffee finally got some respect when it was adopted to aid long prayer and study sessions. The popular beverage they called "qahwah" was consumed both at home and in the first coffee houses, public spaces for people to gather, socialize, listen to music, and talk about politics.
With greater travel from Europe to the Middle East in the 17th century, returning Europeans brought coffee back home with them. Once again, coffee was met with fear, and some priests even called it "the bitter invention of Satan." But when Pope Clement VIII tried coffee for himself, he found it so delicious that his approval resulted in its being made available to all Catholics. Soon after, coffee houses were opened in Western Europe and became centers of social activity.
In 1714, the Mayor of Amsterdam gave King Louis XIV of France a young coffee plant; the King added the plant to the Royal Botanical Garden in Paris. Eleven years later, a naval officer named Gabriel de Clieu decided to steal a seedling from the King's coffee plant and took it on a voyage to Martinique in the Caribbean. Gabriel's journey was quite treacherous, and he had to defend himself from attacks by fellow crew members trying to destroy the small plant. The trip was also interrupted by an ambush from pirates, and the crew had to spend a whole day defending themselves. Then a terrible storm nearly sank the ship, and the sailors lost most of their freshwater supplies. Gabriel had to share his water rations with the small seedling for the rest of the journey for them both to survive.
After Gabriel arrived in Martinique, he grew the plant and spread its seed. The coffee harvests that resulted brought such a profit for the French that King Louis forgave Gabriel for his theft and appointed him Governor of the Antilles. Within 50 years, over 18 million plants were on the island, and all the coffee plants across the Caribbean, South America, and Central American (now several hundred million at least) all originated from Gabriel's one stolen seedling.
In 1727 the Brazilian government sent Colonel Francisco de Melo Palheta to French Guiana to acquire some of these moneymaking beans for their economy. The story goes that the French Governor did not want to share the crop, but his wife was rumored to have had an affair with the Colonel and gave him flowers sprinkled with fertile coffee seedlings upon his departure back to Brazil. Brazil's coffee industry took off shortly after that and is now the globe's largest coffee producer, responsible for 30% of the coffee produced worldwide.
Coffee first came to New York, known as New Amsterdam at the time, from Europeans in the 1600s, but the settlers did not take to the drink rapidly. Tea was more predominant until the Boston Tea Party in 1773, where angry protestors boarded ships and destroyed a whole shipment of tea in response to King George III's expensive tea tax. The protest was one of the first events in the American Revolution and the War of Independence and paved the way for coffee to become an American staple.
Coffee continues to inspire and motivate our modern world, and its widespread popularity has made it the world's second favorite drink, second only to water. With such an extensive and rich history, coffee is likely here to stay. And we at Lola Savannah couldn't be happier or more proud to serve some of the world's best beans to you!
Zen and the art of Coffee Machine Maintenance
We are committed to providing you with the best quality coffee (whole bean beans or ground) so that you can have a fresh cup every time. On our "Coffee Knowledge" blog, we've discussed brewing practices and methods, but have you ever considered how maintenance affects a coffee machine's efficiency? Over time, your coffee maker can collect hard-water buildup, mold, bacteria, or clogs. Here's a no stress cleaning schedule that can help you with regular maintenance, which will help keep your coffee machine germ-free and working better to provide a better-tasting cup of joe.
Brewing leads to the buildup of coffee oils and grounds, and if they aren't removed regularly, your coffee may start to take on bitter or burned flavor-notes. Just like you wouldn't want to drink your coffee out of a dirty cup, we recommend cleaning your carafe and filter basket after every use. It should take only a minute of your time, but cleaning this one thing with some water and a mild detergent frequently can improve coffee quality.
Once a month, you should clean the filter basket holder and any parts that collect coffee grounds and buildup. We also recommend cleaning the water tank of your coffee machine once a month thoroughly. Empty the carafe and filter basket of leftover coffee grounds, and use a soft brush or paper towel to wipe down all areas. If there are removable parts to your carafe, disassemble them and hand wash these pieces with mild detergent. Wipe down your unit with a soft, damp cloth, allow to dry, reassemble, and you'll be ready to brew.
At Lola Savannah, our goal is to make safe, quality products that you'll be proud to serve to your family and friends, and we want to keep it that way!
Coffee Roasting 101
When Lola Savannah started in 1995, we had a simple vision: Roast high-quality coffee beans and have fun doing it. We take pride and pleasure in roasting quality beans daily in our Texas facility to make sure that you get the freshest cup of coffee possible. On today's blog, let's discuss the basics behind the mastery of roasting coffee beans.
Fresh green coffee beans have none of the characteristics of the dark brown, fragrant coffee beans we know and love these days. Green, unroasted coffee beans are rock hard and smell grassy. Unroasted coffee beans, when stored, lose flavor quality at a slower rate than roasted coffee beans, but it is roasting these beans that truly brings out the aroma and flavor.
When green coffee beans are brought to very high temperatures, they transform chemical and physical properties. Fun fact, roasted coffee develops 800 up to 1000 different aroma compounds!
Roasted coffee beans change in color ranging from a light brown, similar to brown sugar, to a rich black, and weigh up to 20% less after the moisture has evaporated. Properly roasted coffee beans are crunchy and ready to be ground up and brewed into a fresh cup of coffee.
Although some people still enjoy roasting their own fresh green coffee beans, commercial retailers started the distribution of roasted coffee products in the early 1900s. It takes a skilled eye to "read" coffee beans during the roasting process, and mere seconds make the difference between a ruined batch and a perfectly roasted batch of coffee beans.
Trust us in knowing we appreciate both the art and the science of coffee, and yes, we're still having a lot of fun doing it!
Coffee and Tea could boost life expectancy
As if we needed another excuse for drinking coffee, this
new study shows that extended life expectancy could be achieved by drinking coffee and tea every day. For years research has shown the many health benefits of coffee and tea, individually. Still, this new study shows how enjoying these two beverages throughout your day could lower the risk of premature death.
A study published in the journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care presented the data from a team of Japanese researchers who analyzed the effects of drinking green tea and coffee among 5,000 diabetic adults.
While most people consider themselves a coffee or tea person, the study results observed that premature death risks were the lowest among those who drink two cups of coffee and four cups of tea every day.
You might have heard some of the benefits of drinking coffee and tea in moderation. These drinks have shown that they can help regulate weight, optimize metabolism, and boost brain health. New research from the Fukuoka Diabetes Registry ran this study for five years. The researchers observed diet and lifestyle topics, including exercise, whether participants smoked, how much they slept, and their daily coffee and tea intake.
The study concluded that those who drank one cup of green tea every day had a 15 percent lower chance of early death, and those who drank two to three cups had a 27 percent lower chance, whereas drinking four cups had a 40 percent lower chance of premature death.
When it came to coffee, drinking one cup per day was observed to have a 19 percent lower chance of death, and those drinking two cups of coffee per day were linked with 41 percent lower odds of early death.
The people with the lowest odds of early death drank four cups of green tea and two cups of coffee every day.
Whether you drink coffee, tea, or perhaps both of these beautiful beverages, we've got you covered at Lola Savannah! So go ahead and pour yourself that second or third cup!
Best Coffee Storage Tips
There are a couple of misconceptions and myths when it comes to coffee storage. We're here to set the record straight with the best coffee storage tips!
Coffee beans are best stored in dry, cool spaces away from extreme heat and extreme cold. Perhaps you've heard that keeping your coffee in the fridge will keep it fresh longer, but in fact that's not true. Storing your coffee in the freezer or fridge does not promote ideal temperatures. Likewise, keeping coffee on a counter that gets catches sunlight isn't ideal, either.
We recommend storing coffee beans in a dry place, like a cupboard, in an opaque, airtight container. Unlike a clear or transparent container, an opaque container will block out sunlight and protect coffee beans from heat. Using an airtight container, you can protect your beans from oxidization, which can lead to staleness. The less oxygen, the longer your coffee will stay fresh.
And while you can control the humidity and light levels by storing coffee in your fridge, the temperature swings when you open and close the door accelerate the aging process, causing your beans to go stale faster. Another side effect of storing coffee in a fridge is that coffee beans tend to absorb other smells, which means that your coffee might take on different aromas and flavors from other items stored in your fridge. Garlic coffee? No thanks.
The general rules are: watch out for heat, light, air, and moisture to keep those beans fresh because when you're brewing Lola Savannah coffee, you know you're always getting the best!
How to repurpose used coffee grinds
Do you prefer fresh coffee that comes from grinding your coffee beans? Well, before you throw out those old used coffee grounds, consider some of these ingenious life hacks on how you can repurpose this precious resource!
-As a deodorizer-
Save your coffee grounds and keep a small can of them under your sink. Next time you chop an onion or fresh garlic, scoop out a small number of grounds, rub them over your hands, and then rinse for odor-free hands and fingers.
-In your garden-
Coffee grounds are highly acidic, for amazing blooms spread them generously over the flower beds of acid-loving plants, such as azaleas, rhododendrons, and Hydrangeas. Used coffee grounds are also a great component to add to compost, loaded with phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, and copper. Seedlings will enjoy a nitrogen boost by stirring grounds into the soil or adding to a watering can. When planting carrot and radish seeds adding a handful of coffee grounds can also double your harvest.
-As an exfoliant-
Caffeine in skincare is said to promote healthy, tight skin and also works great as an exfoliant. To make an exfoliating scrub, add coconut oil, vitamin E oil, or jojoba oil to coffee grounds and rub it over your skin while in the shower. You can also make your own gardener's soap to clean dirty hands. Melt a bar of glycerin soap and stir in ⅓ cup of coffee grounds. Pour this into a soap mold, let sit, then use after gardening or other messy household chores.
Repair small scratches or scuff marks on wooden furniture by mixing one tablespoon of coffee ground with one teaspoon of olive oil. Apply this mixture with a cotton swab, then wipe dry. Always try this on a small inconspicuous area to test results first.
It never ceases to amaze us the wonderful world of coffee and how it can improve our lives! Whether you try one of these hacks or not, we've always got you covered for the perfect cup of coffee at www.Lolacc.com.
Coffee Around the World
If you love coffee and traveling, this blog is for you! Coffee around the world looks quite diverse, characterized by different brewing methods and flavored with various ingredients. Today on our "Coffee Knowledge" blog, let us take a trip around the world exploring coffee drinks and be inspired to try something new!
In Austria, a popular coffee drink is Kaisermelange. This drink is prepared by adding a fresh egg yolk and honey to black coffee.
In France, Café Au Lait translates to precisely what it is, black coffee with hot milk.
In Germany, Eiskaffee is a tasty treat where vanilla ice cream is added to coffee.
In Hong Kong, Yuan Yang is a milky coffee drink made with a ratio of ¾ Hong Kong-style milk tea and ¼ coffee.
Italy has a delicious dark drink named Marocchino; this is made with espresso, cocoa powder, and a bit of milk foam.
Ireland, known for this popular coffee version, Irish Coffee is when cream and whiskey is incorporated into black coffee for an adult kick.
In Mexico, coffee is traditionally prepared as Café de Olla. This coffee beverage is brewed in a clay pot and has cinnamon sticks and piloncillo (unrefined sugar) for flavoring.
In Portugal, Mazagran is an iced coffee drink served with sugar and lemon juice.
In Spain and Vietnam, a popular drink both cultures share is coffee mixed with sweetened condensed milk. In Spain, this is called Café Bombón, also known as Ca Phe Da in Vietnam.
Where ever you travel, coffee is always a good idea! And when you can't travel, try one of your favorite Lola Savannah coffee blends in a new way with one of these globally inspired beverages!
Which home brewing method is right for you?
With so many different options today, the choice can seem daunting. Each home brewing process offers distinct advantages for different types of coffee drinkers. Whether you are exploring new possibilities, looking for an upgrade, or want to brush up on your coffee knowledge, let us walk you through the basics! Different brewing methods offer different results; some provide more control, while others offer convenience. Some are more suited for black coffee connoisseurs, and others offer various beverage choices with the click of a button.
First, let's talk about
Home Espresso Machines. Espresso machines, first invented in Italy in 1884 became a staple in cafes throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, and are now widely available for home purchase. Smaller and more user-friendly options are appropriate for home use. Espresso machines usually break down into three categories: manual, semi-automatic, and automatic. Most home espresso machines are semi-automatic, meaning you grind the coffee, load the portafilter, tamp, and press a button to start the shot. These machines give you a variety of control that can customize your espresso. Automatic machines are basically the same, but only require you to press the button once to start the process. With a home espresso machine, you can make beverages such as cappuccinos, lattes, and americanos. Although mastering this method takes time and practice, it allows you to experiment with coffee in new ways.
Then there are
Pod and Capsule Machines. If you still want to enjoy an espresso-style coffee experience but prefer more convenience, a pod or capsule machine might suit your needs.
These coffee machines offer easy preparation and minimal maintenance. Another bonus is the variety you can enjoy, such as brewing individual cups of coffee to accommodate any palate. Using these machines is simple: you insert a pod into the machine, press a button, and receive extracted coffee in seconds. With several presets to choose from, you can still customize your coffee to a certain extent, and with these machines' growing popularity, more coffee options are becoming available. If you haven't already, make sure to check out our unique selection of pods available at www.lolacc.com.
For those who enjoy a less intense brew than espresso,
Filter Machines and Batch Brewers are excellent choices. They offer a completely different type of coffee, are easy to use, and can provide a large amount of coffee in a short amount of time. Batch brewing is excellent for families that drink a lot of coffee because you can brew a whole pot at once and keep it warm for some time. Although this brewing process can sometimes take up to five minutes to extract, the longer brew time will also bring out the more complex and delicate flavor while offering a lighter and cleaner coffee than espresso. Filter- and batch-brewed coffee makes an excellent choice for those who prefer black coffee.
Using a batch brewer is simple. Add water to the tank, grind your coffee, and place it into a filter in the brewing chamber. After that, you typically press a button to start the brew.
However, using a predetermined coffee and water ratio will help you bring out the best characteristics in the coffee. While ratios vary from machine to machine, a coffee-water ratio of around 1:16 is often recommended.
Manual brewing methods, such as pour-over filter coffee and full immersion brewers, require more skill and technique but can unlock different cup profiles. Pour-over brewing extracts crisp, clear notes, more tea-like textures, and generally less acidity.
You will most likely need more equipment to successfully brew coffee manually, including a scale, a good grinder, and possibly a pouring kettle. These brewing methods offer different flavor profiles, and some people enjoy the intimate, manual process.
No matter how you choose to brew at home, we have you covered for all your coffee and tea needs at Lola Savannah!
Recycled Coffee Ground Clothing
For the last few years, innovative companies have been finding new ways of creating textiles to transition the fashion industry to a greener future. Plastic bottles, pineapple leaves, seaweed, and yes, even used coffee grounds are being transformed into functional, eco-friendly clothing items. From jackets to activewear, this trend has many benefits, and not just for the environment.
The coffee grounds used to create the yarn are taken and recycled from some of the world's largest coffee vendors, like Starbucks. This process gives a second life to coffee grounds that would have otherwise ended up in the trash, and the clothing created can be composted at the end of their life, giving it a circular lifestyle.
To create these garments, coffee grounds are processed in a low-temperature, high-pressured environment and made into yarn; this is then woven into a naturally high-tech fabric. The combination offers excellent natural anti-odor qualities, in addition to UV ray protection and quick drying time. It is naturally anti-bacterial and dries 200 times faster than cotton.
This innovative way to create textiles will surely delight coffee enthusiasts worldwide while also eliminating waste globally for a better, brighter future!
Is decaf tea and coffee bad for you?
Love your morning coffee or tea, but want to cut down on caffeine? Then decaffeinated varieties might seem like the perfect choice – especially if you regularly experience negative side effects after consuming caffeine, such as insomnia or feelings of anxiety.
But just how is caffeine extracted from your favourite hot beverages? And is decaf coffee or tea bad for you?
Indian Monsoon Malabar Coffee
In a previous post, we discussed coffee bean production worldwide and how a region's elevation affects different coffee profiles. Today we will cover a unique method of cultivating coffee that produces Monsoon Malabar coffee beans.
"Monsooned" Malabar is a process unique to India, in which harvested coffee beans are exposed to monsoon rain and winds for three to four months. These environmental changes cause the beans to swell and lose some of their acidity, which produces a beautiful flavor profile with a neutral pH balance.
This coffee is protected under India's "Geographical Indications of Goods Act" and is made exclusively in India on the Malabar Coast, near Karnataka and Kerala. This process dates back to the British Raj (when Britain ruled India, 1858-1947.)
When coffee beans were being transported by sea from India to Europe, the sea's winds and the humidity caused the coffee to ripen from fresh green to an aged pale yellow during the months-long sea voyage. During the monsoon season, the journey would take almost six months to sail around the Cape of Good Hope at the southern end of Africa. The coffee beans during this time changed in size, texture, appearance, and taste.
As modern transportation took root and the journey's length got shorter, the beans were better protected from weathering. However, the Europeans receiving these beans were displeased with coffee beans' shipments, which now lacked the same depth and character the weathered beans had developed.
This led to the invention of an alternative process to replicate the conditions from the sea voyage. They recreated this weathering process along the coastal belt of southwest India during the monsoon months. This new method created the same characteristic changes to the coffee beans and the same distinct flavor profile the Europeans had grown to love.
This unique blend is now created in India from June through September, where selected beans are placed in well-ventilated warehouses and exposed to moisture and monsoon winds for 12 to 16 weeks. This process involves careful sorting, repeated spreading, and raking to produce significantly larger, gold pale-colored coffee beans.
The result is a heavy-bodied, savory blend with a chocolatey aroma and notes of spice appreciated worldwide.
At Lola Savannah we always have some Monsoon Malabar in stock, and we invite you to try this special treat!
Coffee: Cultivating Change
This blog post features an inspiring story of positive change and how communities can come together over coffee.
Coffee has been an essential crop in Rwanda for centuries, but men predominantly governed this business. Traditionally, women managed the household and took care of the children while the men worked the coffee farms and handled business affairs. After the genocide in 1994, one of the darkest periods in their history, Rwanda is rebuilding its economy and its civil society by fostering community through Co-Ops of Women in the coffee industry.
After the genocide, women across the country found themselves in similar positions. Many of the country's men had been killed or imprisoned or had fled, leaving the fields untended, and coffee farms languished. The women left behind took on new duties and responsibilities, learning to grow and sell coffee to support their families.
When the women came together, they realized they could sell their coffee at higher rates collectively rather than individually. The women involved in these co-ops increase their earnings four-fold, and some have set up emergency funds accessible to co-op members in need.
These Co-Ops have helped empower women to take up a new place in society. These newly minted businesswomen are coming together, healing, and finding support after facing so much loss. One co-op named Hingakawa, which translates to "Let's Grow Coffee," consists of both Hutu and Tutsi, who have made "poverty their mutual enemy rather than each other" and aim to heal through leadership.
Chances are that if you've had a cup of coffee today, no matter where in the world it comes from, it was planted, picked, delivered, and/or harvested by a woman. Rwanda’s new women coffee farmers and business people have embraced equality and community in a time of need to rebuild their society and unite them when they needed it most. May they be an inspiration to all of us!
Types of Coffee
Coffee plays an undeniable role in our lives. Whether you’re an avid coffee connoisseur or you enjoy just the occasional cup, coffee has been widely appreciated since the 15th century and isn't going anywhere soon. So, where does this plant grow, and what makes it so unique? Today we’re sharing the basic breakdown of different species of coffee and where they are cultivated around the world.
Coffee is a shrub native to sub-Saharan Africa—now widely grown worldwide, primarily around the tropic belt that surrounds the equator. Referred to as the "Coffee Belt," these mountainous regions extend 30 degrees north and south of the equator and produce the world's most extraordinary coffees. In addition, high elevations provide the most ideal growing conditions for coffee trees. Lush volcanic soil and elevations over 1200m prolong bean development and enhance acidity and flowering. Africa, Indonesia, and Latin American benefit from these microclimates and represent the bulk of coffee growing regions.
There are several different coffee beans types, the four most popular being Arabica, Robusta, Liberia, and Excelsa. The beans most commonly roasted for consumption in the United States are Arabica and Robusta, the latter being more popular in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Here are a few keynote differences when it comes to these coffee beans.
Arabica has a sweeter, more delicate flavor and tends to be less acidic. These beans come from high elevations above sea level, with lots of rainfall. Brazil, known for its lush rainforests, is the foremost exporter of Arabica beans and represents 60-70% of the coffee produced globally.
Robusta is known for its robust flavor profile. Robusta coffees have higher levels of caffeine, which help this species grow because caffeine acts as a natural insect repellent. These trees are also very tolerant of being grown in many different altitudes and climates. Robusta coffee beans have a reputation for tasting burnt or rubbery. It is a popular choice where strong coffee is a cultural norm.
Liberica coffee beans are rarer, grown in such particular climates that production is too scarce to reach a global market. These beans are said to have an aroma that resembles fruit and flowers and has a "woody" taste.
Excelsa, a member of the Liberica family, is a very distinct variety. It is grown in Southeast Asia and represents the smallest fraction of the world's coffee production. This coffee bean has a tart, fruity flavor with a unique profile that has attributes of both light and dark coffees.
When it comes to finding your perfect blend, consider how you like to consume your coffee. Arabica is excellent for those who prefer a light coffee without having to add cream or sugar. If you prefer iced coffees or adding your favorite flavorings, Robusta's strong profile may be a better choice.
Explore the different options, and you will see for yourself that there's something for everyone in the coffee world! And if you have any questions,
we’re here to help!
Tips for the perfect cup of coffee:
Find yourself making more coffee at home these days? There’s more than one way to brew a great cup of coffee. Whether you prefer to use the drip method, a pour-over contraption, or a French press, we want you to get the most out of your favorite blends. Here are some pro tips to help you brew your best cup of joe at home!
- Store coffee in an airtight container, in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to preserve fresh coffee beans/grinds.
- Use fresh filtered water. Tap water can contain minerals, fluoride, and salts that can add unwanted flavors to your coffee.
- Do not use boiling hot water when brewing your coffee. Water boils at 212°F/100 °C, slightly above the recommended 200 °F/93 °C for brewing.
- If you’re using a coffee press, time your extraction. If you don’t brew long enough, your coffee can come out tasting sour; if you wait too long, your coffee can taste bitter and chalky. Four minutes is the recommended brew time for a coffee press.
- Lastly, clean your coffee making tools every day! Oils can build up in your grinder, so make sure to clean your grinder after each use and thoroughly wash your method of extraction (pour-over, drip, press, etc.). No need for soap, just make sure everything is clean of coffee grinds.
Whether you’re making a cup of coffee for yourself in the morning or entertaining with guests, we want to make sure each cup is as good as the last. Cheers!