A coffee mug is just a mug, isn’t it?

by Cathy on September 23, 2014

I have never really thought much about coffee mugs until I ordered a dessert coffee at our favourite pub the other night. When the coffee came in a dainty stemmed coffee mug it was if the universe went out of whack. I just couldn’t relax or enjoy my coffee.  I like a wide mouth, large handle, flat bottom mug. For me coffee is about comfort so I want my mug to be comfortable to hold, easy to drink from and unlikely to tip over.

Statistics say that ‘Specialty Coffees’ sell better in specialty mugs

I mentioned this to the waitress and she explained that I am a minority. Apparently in the restaurant industry people want to feel special and like the sleek designer cups with the long stems and raised wine-like bottoms. She informed me that their marketing company had advised them to make the switch when they added the specialty coffee line to their menu. The coffee mugs came as a free incentive that was really popular in the industry. I wondered who the coffee mugs were popular with because I sure didn’t like them!

Though the marketers have the stats to back up their assertions, I have a bone to pick with stats. I believe statistics are based on the mean average and do not take into account variances. Perhaps in a downtown business coffee house where everyone is climbing the ladder of success, fancy sells. Perhaps for a set of matching china, new design sells. But everyone I know has that cupboard bursting at the seams with clunky or funky mugs that have sayings plastered on their sides, chips out of the rims, handles reattached and spider-veined staining that no amount of soaking or bleaching will diminish.

Have you ever noticed when you give your guests the choice to pick any mug from your cupboard they usually gravitate toward one certain mug from your entire collection? Rarely is it the fanciest mug in your cupboard. 

The absolute best is the one with the chip that always finds your lip!

For me it seems that no matter how often I tell myself I’m tossing the old mug with the ¼ inch chip, it always ends up back in the cupboard and is the first one pulled out for the next cup of coffee! Maybe it is the veins criss-crossing the bottom in chocolate streaks of old coffee that won’t come out, or it is the memories of friends and flavors that tie that mug to our home. But somehow, chip in the mouth or not, that mug stays with us year after year. It will take an intervention to let that mug go.

My friends come by to visit and with casual ease bypass my sparkling designer cups and head straight for comfort mugs. Each one grabs their favorite coffee mug, pours their own coffee (no matter how I try to protest) and find their favorite place to snuggle down for a visit.

What is that? Does the coffee taste better in a certain mug? Is there some mystical psychological connection with the taste and enjoyment of coffee and the attachment to a mug? I know for me, there is. I tried a test just of see if the mug makes a difference. I chose my favorite blend Jamaica Blue Mountain Estate and poured it into my finest mug, then poured one into my tried and true favorite mug. Everything else about the tasting was the same. I was shocked to find that the mug really did matter. Although both cups of coffee were thoroughly exquisite in flavor, my tried and true mug left me with a sense of satisfaction and relaxation.

And to me that is paramount in great cup of coffee!

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Exploring the Poetry of Coffee

by Carissa on September 11, 2014

A quiet corner, a steaming cup of coffee, and a book of poetry seems like a perfect retreat for me as these falls days approach.

The other day sitting with a gourmet cup of coffee at my side, I started wondering if there were any renowned coffee poems out there. As I searched for “Coffee Poems” I found one of the most quoted lines of a poem was by TS Elliot, in his poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” – “I have measured out my life with coffee spoons…”

Coffee has inspired great poets since its introduction to society. They have used coffee as their metaphors for life, love, and the pursuit of the meaning of life, but did they write poetry about coffee? Here’s what I found in my quest for Coffee Poems.

The Earliest Coffee Poems

The earliest Coffee poems sprung from the religious and political persecutions in Mecca. Taken from the article A History of Coffee in Literature  here is an Arabic translation of one of the first coffee poems published

In Praise of Coffee

O coffee! Doved and fragrant drink, thou drivest care away,

The object thou of that man’s wish who studies night and day.

Thou soothest him, thou giv’st him health, and God doth favor those

Who walk straight on in wisdom’s way, nor seek their own repose.

Fragrant as musk thy berry is, yet black as ink in sooth!

And he who sips thy fragrant cup can only know the truth.

Insensate they who, tasting not, yet vilify its use;

For when they thirst and seek its help, God will the gift refuse.

Oh, coffee is our wealth! for see, where’er on earth it grows,

Men live whose aims are noble, true virtues who disclose.

Through its long history coffee has become a beloved drink to every civilized nation on earth and as such the poets have embraced its essence as their own.

Many poems mention coffee, but few are about coffee.

I thought this would be a quick investigation into  Poems about Coffee, but I soon found that although I had read many poems by great poets, there were few poems listed that were specifically about Coffee. In researching coffee, I found the Coffee House was the place of Poets and coffee was an inspiration for metaphors on life and such, but was rarely the topic of the poetry. Yeats, the Irish Poet Laureate of the last century even has a Coffee House dedicated to his memory and poetry, yet I couldn’t find a single poem of his that speaks to coffee!

Here are a few of the poems of this century that have made the list!

The Morning Coffee by Ron Padgett

This is such a fun prose poem describing the ritual of making your morning cup of coffee perfectly! No matter how you make your morning cup of coffee, I’m sure it’s always a “nail you can hang the day on.” I often feel that coffee is “something to do between being asleep and being awake”. And what about your first sip being too hot and the last sip too cold? Padgett compares this to Goldilocks and the Three Bears with the in between sips being “just right” like Little Bear. This poem was written in 2013 so it is a fairly recent work and was published in Collected Poems by Coffee House Press in 2013.

My Uncle’s Favorite Coffee Shop

 This is one of those poems I spoke about when saying that the poets use coffee and the coffee house as a metaphor for life. Published in 1998, Poet, Naomi Shihab Nye uses the coffee shop to embrace the memory of her opinionated uncle’s departure from her life.

Over a cup of coffee

Written by Stephen Dobyns in 2001, this prose or perhaps free verse poem is a wonderful introspection of life using a cup of coffee as a spring board into these musings of life. Dobyns freely wanders from one triggered memory to another, each of which the reader can easily insert his own image into.

Coffee

Perhaps one of the best finds in this coffee collection. Richard Braughton, ranked in the top 500 poets of the world gives us “Coffee”. The poem is all about coffee, yet is not at all about coffee. The coffee is made and the coffee is consumed, but the meat of the poem is about the periphery of the scene he creates. If you are like me, you will definitely enjoy this read for the nuances that linger long after your last sip of coffee is done.

My Coffee is Finished and so are these Poems

Well, my search has given me some wonderful poems to dwell on, but my coffee is finished and I need to make another pot. After all of this fine verse, I deserve a cup that delights the senses. I need something aromatic with an exotic nutty essence full bodied and bold. Does that sound like a Specialty blend to you?

If you want to find the best gourmet blend to go with your poetry retreat be sure to check out all of our Coffees, including our mellow yet flavorful Coffee Blends.

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A Journey through the History of Coffee

September 11, 2014

Around the belt of the equator the most precious commodity is grown and distributed to all corners of the world. More precious than diamonds or gold, it has been cursed by religious zealots of all faiths and revered by people in all stations of life. It is Coffee. Coffee is indigenous to only a small […]

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Counterintuitive Tip: Drink Hot Coffee to Cool Down

August 13, 2014

I don’t know about you but this summer has been a scorcher in my neck of the woods! With little relief in sight we are all looking for something, anything, to cool us down. The last thing we would think to cool us off is a hot cup of coffee. But Thermal Ergonomic studies are […]

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Understanding the Fair Trade Coffee Market

August 11, 2014

Next to oil there is nothing as sought after as coffee. Next to water there is no other drink as in demand as coffee. So why are coffee producers struggling to stay in business when they have a market that is growing? The Reality of Small Coffee Farms Around the World Small family run coffee […]

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Coffee – The World’s Most Loved Commodity

August 6, 2014

Like Oil, Gold, Silver and Diamonds, Coffee is a commodity. Actually, there is more demand for coffee than any other commodity. Over 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed around the world every day. Because of the demand, coffee growth, production and sales are analyzed, hedged and agonized over in every trading house around the […]

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The Top 10 Coffee Songs of All Time to Sip By

August 5, 2014

We all have our favorite coffee beans, coffee shops, coffee mugs and even coffee tables and coffee books, but what about our favorite coffee songs? I searched everywhere for the most popular songs about coffee and one name kept surfacing, Bob Marley, with his One Cup of Coffee. Although it wasn’t always ranked as the […]

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Tips for Healthy Coffee Consumption

July 28, 2014

Last week we published a blog post about new coffee and health studies that all indicate coffee can be good for you. Feeding off that article let’s continue the conversation on coffee and health.  Of course there are studies that show that caffeine can contribute to any number of ailments when taken in excess. And […]

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6 Recent Coffee Studies That Show Coffee is Good for You

July 22, 2014

There has been an argument raging for years about whether coffee is good or bad for you. Some point to the insomnia that many coffee drinkers suffer from. Others talk about the refreshing buzz they get from a morning and mid-afternoon coffee break. Some say coffee contributes to high blood pressures, while others argue that […]

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Enjoy a Cup of Coffee Trivia

July 22, 2014

When looking for interesting information about coffee we found some interesting facts worthy of the Trivial Pursuit game! Like did you know that Sanka was the first coffee brand to produce decaffeinated coffee? Or that there are coffee trees that naturally grow decaffeinated cherries? These “decaf trees” are very rare as caffeine usually acts as a coffee […]

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