December 27, 2010

A Brief History of Coffee

This a sampling of Mokah’s new barista training manual. I thought I would start it out right with a little history (borrowed from The Coffee Book: Anatomy of an Industry From Crop to the Last Drop). Give us some feedback (like or dislike) via e-mail : Mokah@lifeindeepellum.com!!

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Contrary to popular belief, coffee has been around since before the times of Starbucks. Coffee has a history all its own, and to start this manual off on the right foot we will give you a brief overview of what, exactly, that history entails.

It is traditionally held that the first “users” of this wonderfully caffeinated drug were the nomadic mountain warriors of the Galla tribe in Ethiopia (the home of the coffee plant). Some 400 years (give or take a few hundred) before coffee was roasted and ground to make the popular drink, the beans were crushed and rolled into balls of animal fat which the nomads ate for some quick energy while on long treks. The fat combined with the caffeine and protein (found in the raw bean) made for a nice, although primitive, energy bar.

Another story surrounding the origin of the use of coffee holds that a young goat herder named Kaldi sampled some of this mysterious “red fruit” after noticing that his goats were eating it and acting strangely. Upon sampling the fruit, he himself gained a burst of energy and started to dance around with his goats! Kaldi started to indulge in this little fruit every day and soon caught the eye of a monk who decided to try it for himself. The monk thought he would boil the berries and make a drink to serve at the monastery, and before long devout monks were using the drink to stay alert during long nighttime prayers.

However coffee was first discovered, by the late 16th century it was a world-wide phenomenon that had become wildly popular as a cure for many ailments. Because of the prohibition of alcohol in Islamic countries coffee became a popular alternative, and people from all over Europe began to travel to the Middle East just to try this “drink they call Chaube [coffee].” This was also around the time the first coffeehouses were erected. In that day they were centers for people to gather, play chess, make music, sing, dance, and drink coffee. Coffeehouses were known as “schools of the cultured” and were popular among all different classes of people.

Although it was becoming widely known, coffee was an exclusive export of the Middle East until an Indian traveler named Baba Budan successfully smuggled out the first germinable seeds. Before then, those growing and selling the product were taking extreme measures to guard this hot commodity. They were not only prohibiting tours of the farms, but also boiling the raw beans before shipping them out to destroy their potential to germinate. Shortly after Baba Budan’s successful smuggling, Dutch spies did the same and started growing colonies in the Java region. This made coffee’s prevalence in the lives of countless people inevitable.

Coffeehouses were soon opening in England, and by 1715 there were 2,000 shops in London alone. Coffee in England is an interesting part of the story because of England’s high esteem for the drink as a healing agent. One doctor, in 1785, claimed that drinking coffee could cure one of an addiction to Opium. Coffee houses were multi-class in England, and this was one of the things that made it so appealing. One could always stroll into a coffee shop and find a variety of happenings going on.

The coffeehouse found a permanent spot in the lives of people a long time ago, and carries with it many more interesting facts (it is even rumored that the Boston Tea Party was planned in a coffeehouse). Today coffee remains a staple in the lives of many, and now you, by learning and refining the skills of a barista, will get to partake in its rich and diverse history.

December 21, 2010
This is the Mokah Coffee Bar 2010 Christmas gift guide. Buy one of these last-minute for a loved one, or buy them after Christmas with the money you get for returning those well-intended gifting mishaps.
For really great design that is extremely user-friendly there is no better company than Bodum. Here are a couple of options for those who love a good french press:
http://bit.ly/g4Sua0 - Bodum Red Brazil Press w/ 4 mugs
http://bit.ly/hRft1d - Bodum Traveling Press (Very handy for any student or commuter: just put in coarse ground coffee, add hot water, and take it with you! When it’s finished brewing, just press the filter down and enjoy.)
Most people who really like coffee are at least familiar with the french press method, but there are a few other brewing methods that have been gaining a lot of popularity in the specialty coffee world, and for good reason - these brewing methods are simple, fun, and they produce great coffee! Take a look at the Chemex (using the Hario Buono Kettle and Chemex filters) and the Aeropress (invented by this guy):
http://amzn.to/grhtUz - Chemex
http://amzn.to/gfxZuD - Chemex Filters
http://bit.ly/gKMMo6 - Hario Buono Kettle
http://amzn.to/g2cbgx - Aeropress
Next is a little something that any man will enjoy. We can’t really do it justice by describing it, just look at the link: http://bit.ly/i6BKsC
Last but not least, you can always drop in the shop and order a half pound or pound of our whole-bean coffee or a few ounces of our loose-leaf tea!

This is the Mokah Coffee Bar 2010 Christmas gift guide. Buy one of these last-minute for a loved one, or buy them after Christmas with the money you get for returning those well-intended gifting mishaps.

For really great design that is extremely user-friendly there is no better company than Bodum. Here are a couple of options for those who love a good french press:

http://bit.ly/g4Sua0 - Bodum Red Brazil Press w/ 4 mugs

http://bit.ly/hRft1d - Bodum Traveling Press (Very handy for any student or commuter: just put in coarse ground coffee, add hot water, and take it with you! When it’s finished brewing, just press the filter down and enjoy.)

Most people who really like coffee are at least familiar with the french press method, but there are a few other brewing methods that have been gaining a lot of popularity in the specialty coffee world, and for good reason - these brewing methods are simple, fun, and they produce great coffee! Take a look at the Chemex (using the Hario Buono Kettle and Chemex filters) and the Aeropress (invented by this guy):

http://amzn.to/grhtUz - Chemex

http://amzn.to/gfxZuD - Chemex Filters

http://bit.ly/gKMMo6 - Hario Buono Kettle

http://amzn.to/g2cbgx - Aeropress

Next is a little something that any man will enjoy. We can’t really do it justice by describing it, just look at the link: http://bit.ly/i6BKsC

Last but not least, you can always drop in the shop and order a half pound or pound of our whole-bean coffee or a few ounces of our loose-leaf tea!

December 2, 2010
November 19, 2010

This is a short excerpt from one of the coffee blogs I (Mimo) frequent. Apparently, this is big right now in Japan… I hope this trend makes it’s way east one of these days:

Hapineko!!!11!1! (Happy Cat)

Hapineko is a nekocafe, or “cat cafe” in english.  There are over a dozen of them in Japan, and each of them have their own set of rules and styles, but the one we went to had about 10 free roaming cats, all named.  We paid 10 Yen for a half an hour free-for-all, where we were allowed to pick up the cats, but only with 2 hands, and not from high places.  The coffee was complimentary.  At the end you get a postcard of one of the cats.  To answer the questions I know you have:  Yes, it is real, and yes, you should go, and yes these should exist in North America, and no, just because you have 15 cats at your house and make a bodum in the morning that does not mean you have experienced this.

(Read the article in its entirety here.)

November 17, 2010
During the week of Thanksgiving we will be closed Thursday, Nov. 25th through Saturday, Nov. 27th. Have a good time with your family and friends and we will see you again on the 29th!

During the week of Thanksgiving we will be closed Thursday, Nov. 25th through Saturday, Nov. 27th. Have a good time with your family and friends and we will see you again on the 29th!

October 13, 2010

This morning our good friend Aaron Garcia brought in a small treasure from the Big Apple. It was a jar (silk-screened and beautiful) of Stumptown Coffee Roasters’ Hairbender Espresso Blend. We ground it, smelled it, extracted it, and savored it. Every sip of this stuff was really as good as everyone says. I was delighted to detect notes of milk chocolate, citrus, and even a tinge of jasmine balance steadily on my tongue. It was wonderful on its own and just as wonderful as a cappuccino.

If you’re really nice I might share some with you. Maybe.

October 5, 2010

At Mokah Coffee Bar we are always looking for new, innovative technologies that help the world enjoy espresso (partially because we are completely obsessed with coffee and partially because we hope there are others out there who share that obsession).

One of the best inventions we have seen so far is the mypressi TWIST. This portable two-shot espresso maker is the best in the market. Going for as low as $129, it is powered by small pressure cartridges used in whipped cream makers and many other restaurant devices. All you do is put in your favorite espresso ground bean, tamp, add hot water, and pull the shots! You can make delicious, coffee-shop style shots anywhere!

This technology was invented for the purpose of allowing coffee farmers worldwide to taste-test their product the way it is most widely consumed. Typically, there is no access to electricity in the regions of coffee farms, but because the mypressi doesn’t require the use of electricity farmers can now perfect their bean by testing the flavor extraction of espresso style brewing and sell better quality beans at a price that is better for them and their families.

If you want to learn more about the mypressi click this link!

September 30, 2010
This is our first EVER blog contest… What is the contest? Whoever is the first to identify this fruit and its origin on Mokah’s Facebook page will be awarded one free drink of choice redeemable anytime between now and November 2010.
Look for more blog contests all month! Good luck!

This is our first EVER blog contest… What is the contest? Whoever is the first to identify this fruit and its origin on Mokah’s Facebook page will be awarded one free drink of choice redeemable anytime between now and November 2010.

Look for more blog contests all month! Good luck!

September 28, 2010

Mokah, je t’aime.

Love can happen between two people in a myriad of ways. Some meet through mutual friends, some by an act of sheer fate, and for some the routine of everyday life is pleasantly interrupted by love’s surprising spark.

Today Mokah got to witness the engagement of John Spriggins and Alishia Nelson! They met up here at the coffee bar for a business meeting back in January, and tonight at around 7pm John (quite smoothly, might I add) asked Alishia to be his wife. Here are some photos of the event. Congrats, you two!

September 15, 2010