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The Best Coffees in the World

When considering the best coffees in the world, I went to the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) for research. They are the organization that sets the quality standards for specialty coffee, which the public calls “gourmet” coffee. All specialty coffees use arabica beans. The other category of is the robusta bean, which is of inferior taste quality to arabica. Within these categories, there are several varieties of bean. Arabica beans are grown at a higher altitude than robusta.

Coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world and is graded in a similar manner as wine. This event is called a “cupping” and has a set of strict standards. Winning a cupping is very prestigious and has a direct effect on the prices a coffee grower can get for his crop.

History of these “cupping” winners has shown that three areas of the world produce the most winners. Interestingly, these regions have a very similar latitude when looking at the world map. The three regions are Ethiopia, Sumatra and Panama.

Ethiopian/Kenyan Coffee (Africa)

Ethiopian coffee is aromatic, highly flavorful, and also known to be some of the best coffees in the world. It is also the origin of all coffee. The Ethiopian people have a legend that says that a goat herder discovered Ethiopian coffee around 850 AD. This legend claims that the goat herder noticed that his sheep were very excited and nearly dancing after eating red berries from a tree. The legend of the founder goes on to say that the herder sampled the red berries for himself and took some of the berries home to his wife who insisted that he take them to the monks. The monks supposedly threw the berries into a fire and noticed the delicious smell that the berries produced. The monks are said to have removed the berries from the fire and boiled the berries in water to create the beverage that we now know as Ethiopian coffee.

Whether this legend is true, or in fact just a legend is forever a mystery. Regardless, Ethiopian coffee has been used for religious ceremonies. These ceremonies are still held today and if a guest is invited to participate in the ceremony, it is well known to be a very beautiful experience.

Locally, Ethiopian coffee is served with either sugar, or in some parts of Ethiopia, salt. Milk or any type of creamer is never used in traditionally brewing. The process of making the coffee varies by region. In some regions it is dry processed and in some other regions it is washed. The Ethiopian coffee found in stores today is dry processed.

The process is often grueling and coupled with with importing adds to the reason of why Ethiopian coffee can be expensive.

When consumers purchase Ethiopian coffee to be brewed at home, it is wise to consider fair trade Ethiopian coffee. The obvious reason to consider fair trade is so that the producers of this wonderful product can reap the benefits of their hard work. Ethiopian coffee has a rich, bold, and exciting history and a taste that has been favored by many people for a long time.

Sumatran Coffee (Indonesia)

Sumatran coffee comes from the island in Indonesia called Sumatra. The taste of Sumatran coffee is spicy, herbal, and very distinct. It is considered to be one of the best coffees in the world and was first introduced by the Dutch around 1699 when the Dutch wanted to keep up with the demand of coffee to Europe. The Dutch traders knew the difference between Sumatran coffee beans and other coffee beans by the appearance, which are irregularly shaped and bright green.

Sumatran coffee is one of the best coffees in the world and has a low acidity which makes it highly favored among other types of coffee. The beans are usually grown in full sunlight and with no chemicals. A highly popular type of Sumatran coffee, yet thoroughly disgusting in many peoples opinion, is the kopi luwak Sumatran coffee. The kopi luwak coffee is coffee beans that have been eaten by the small animal known as a luwak. After the luwak digests and excretes the coffee beans, local villagers collect the excreted beans and roast them. These excreted and roasted beans are said to cost about $300 a pound. Of course, not all of Sumatran coffee comes from the excrement of the luwak. There are many other varieties of Sumatran coffee as well.

Most of the Sumatran coffee beans are processed using the wet and dry processing method. This processing method is another reason why Sumatran coffee is so popular. Most other types of coffee beans are processed by using either a wet method or a dry method, hardly ever both.

When purchasing Sumatran coffee for use at home, a person should try to purchase fair trade Sumatran coffee. Fair trade beans can be found at various online retailers and also at gourmet coffee retailers. This insures that the growers benefit from all of the hard work that they put into growing this delicious coffee.

Sumatran coffee has a taste unlike any other and once you try it for yourself, you may find that it will quickly replace your current brand or at least be a coffee that becomes one of your favorites.

Panamanian Coffee (Central America)

Although Panama is the smallest of all coffee producing countries, they grow most of the best rated coffees every year. The coffee region surrounds the town of Boquete in the western province of Chiriqui close to the Costa Rican border. Some say Panama has the ideal micro climate to grow coffee receiving winds from the north along with a light mist and cool breeze. Most of the coffee is grown on farms and is called an Estate coffee which signifies the farm it is from.

The process includes hand picking, washing and sun drying. The farms work closely with the indigenous people enhancing the community with social, medical and educational services. Because of this, fair trade is not a concern. It is a harmonious relationship between farm and worker.

For years, coffee from Panama was not well known amongst the public but the quality was apparent to the traders. So much so, that one trader was caught selling the lower cost Panamanian coffee beans as Hawaiian Kona beans, a much well known high end arabica bean.

Currently, Panamanian coffee has come of age winning numerous cuppings to the point in 2003 when the competition was changed. Previously, each entry was individual and Panamanian entrants would win up to five of ten awards. Now, they have groupings and each group can produce up to two winners that move up to the next level.

It should be noted that although Panamanian coffee has been established as the best in the region, wonderful coffees do come from Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Columbia.

Even though most of the world favors the western coffees, a true coffee lover should be adventurous and taste the best coffees of the world. Try Ethiopian and Sumatran coffees along with those that are in close proximity to those regions. You may be surprised at what you have been missing.

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Gourmet Foods For Every Occasion

Enjoying fine food is definitely one of the pleasures of life. There is so much fast food and bland tasting dishes today because of the lack of time to really prepare food right, that when you do get to enjoy gourmet fine food, it’s a special treat.

So what makes any food or drink qualify to be called “gourmet”?

Well, in general it means that a particular food or drink is considered above average in quality, and will appeal even to those who have the most discriminating tastes. It also usually means that a lot of time and effort has gone into it’s preparation too.

What comes to mind when you think of gourmet foods? Here is a list of many fine foods and beverages that can be found in the gourmet food category:

1. Coffees – Gourmet coffees include many exotic coffee blends from around the world and flavored coffees. Frequently you can get a nice mixture of various gourmet coffees that allow you to sample them before buying more of each kind.

2. Teas – There are several specialty teas from all over the world that qualify to be called gourmet tea.They can be either green, black, oolong or herbal teas. Again, you can often get sampler packs of these exotic teas to try them out first.

3. Chocolates – Whether milk, dark or white chocolate,gourmet chocolate assortments often come with fruit, nuts, and cream centers that are just incredibly delicious.

4. Caviar – If you really want to taste the good life, enjoy any of the various kinds of caviar, from the American Golden to the Russian Dark variety. Of course this is one type of gourmet food that can get really pricey fast, but there is a caviar for pretty much any budget if you look carefully enough.

5. Seafood – There are lots of seafoods that have been specially prepared as gourmet foods including smoked herring, oysters, shrimp and lobster rolls and bisques. There’s lots more in this category too and again you can often get samplers for taste testing in advance.

6. Fish – Some of the favorite gourmet fish foods are salmon, tuna, and halibut.

7. Meats – This is one of the largest gourmet categories and lately has become very popular. Entries in this field include ribs, roasts, steaks, and even some dried and cured meats.

8. Poultry – There are any number of gourmet foods prepared with chicken, but duck and turkey is also top favorites for special dishes.

So where can you use gourmet foods? Almost any special occasion is a good time to include gourmet foods, drinks, or desserts on the menu. Everything from intimate dinners for two to large social gatherings are all acceptable places to include the delicious taste of gourmet foods to help make that occasion truly special and unforgettable.

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Candle Making Additives

There are eight distinct candle making additives used in the candle making process. Some makers choose not to use them at all while others take advantage of what each type of additive has to offer to their candle making process. Candle wax additives are inexpensive and work well if you are educated in how to use them and why to use each kind. (more…)

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New Year Resolution to Lose Weight and Get Fit

With the forthcoming New Year, many people make New Year Resolutions. The most popular new year resolutions are to lose weight, get fit, eat right and reduce stress.

All these four goals are actually intrinsically linked to one another. The lose weight, you must start to exercise more (get fit) and start to eat healthier, more nutritious foods to provide you with the energy required to be more active, without putting on even more weight. It is worth reminding you here that to lose weight may actually require you to eat a little more in the long term, assuming you do not exercise now. Stress can be caused by many factors, but generally people that feel that they are in greater control of their personal lives find it easier to control stress in their working lives. So being more confident as a result of being fitter and healthier can lead to a reduction in stress. So, how do you stick to the plan?

Let’s break the resolutions down, and look at each in isolation.

Lose Weight
OK, as already mentioned, to lose weight we merely need to increase physical activity and eat a healthier, more balanced diet. The best way to do this is to set yourself goals. If you know that your diet is not ideal, but are not sure exactly where you are going wrong, then you must keep a food diary for a couple of weeks at the start of the New Year. This will quickly highlight where you are going wrong. Make sure that you write down everything that you eat and drink during these two weeks. It is best to keep a note of when you eat too, so that at the end of the two weeks you will have a picture of your eating habits in the morning, afternoon and evening. Many people eat too much in the evening after a busy and stressful day. This is most likely going to be the area you need to concentrate on!

Get Fit
Getting fit is a life long goal for many people. So how do you stick to a New Year resolution to get fit? The best way is to set goals, write an exercise schedule (and stick to it) and keep a training diary.

Goals
Goals can be based on endurance (exercising for longer periods each session), strength (lifting heavier weights, or lifting more repetitions of the same weight), frequency (exercising more often, such as 3 times a week, twice a day). When setting goals, always set goals that are attainable. If you have not exercised for 5 years, then setting a goal of running 5 miles a day by the end of January, or running in the London Marathon in the Spring, will be very difficult to achieve. And failing your own goals does you no good regarding self esteem and motivation. So keep the goals simple. My personal goals generally include the following:

1. Exercising more each week (by attending an extra kick boxing class, or by going for a run at the weekends).

2. Lifting heavier weights – when weight training it is impossible to achieve this goal without a lot of hard work, so again I do not specify how much heavier the weights should be, but simply be happy if they are heavier after a month.

3. Performing more repetitions of an exercise. This is very useful when doing circuit training in the gym or at home. For example, you could aim to do one more repetition each day you exercise. This seems like a very small increase, but if you exercise 3 times a week, with just press ups, sit ups, star jumps and squat thrusts, and you start by performing 10 exercises of each in one session, then by the end of January you will be performing 22 of each. By the end of February it will have increased to about 35 of each, and by the time spring comes you will be performing maybe over 50 repetitions of each exercise 3 or 4 times a week. So, small incremental increases are to way to make steady, attainable, progress.

4. Exercising for longer. This can again apply to circuit training at home, such as exercising for an extra 5 minutes each session each week. So start by exercising for 15 minutes, and by the spring you will be exercising for 1 hour and 20 minutes each session, which could be 3 times a week! You will soon get fit, if you stick to the plan!. If you prefer to cycle, run, walk or swim for fitness, then the same applies. Spend a little more time each week, and the improvements will keep coming.

Eat Healthier
This is possible the hardest thing to do well. Most people are well aware of what food is good for them, and what is not. If you are unsure check out our diet pages. The problem is sticking to the plan.

 

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Raw food, less water

When you start eating more raw foods, you may find you’re not as thirsty or don’t need as much water or other beverages as you normally do. There are several reasons for this.

First of all, raw foods, such as raw fruits and vegetables have a higher volume of water in them, so your body is getting the hydration it needs from foods.

This doesn’t mean you should stop drinking water or juices. You don’t want to adopt some of the more radical elements of the raw food trend. First and foremost, listen to your body. It will tell you what it needs. If you’re overweight, sluggish, tired, depressed, your body might be telling you to make some dietary changes, and raw foods might be one way to alleviate some physical disorders.

But if you’re overweight and have symptoms of Type II diabetes, overwhelming thirst can be one symptom. When you start consuming more raw foods, with a higher fiber and moisture content, you may start to lose weight, and that can go a long way to reducing your blood sugars.

If you’re not overweight, or don’t have Type II diabetes, you still might find you’re not as thirsty as you normally are. First of all, if you’re drinking water and juices, you’re not consuming caffeine, which is so dehydrating and makes you thirstier. And by not consuming as much in the way of cooked foods or especially highly processed foods, which have astronomical sodium counts, you won’t be as thirsty either.

By consuming more raw, uncooked food, and pure water and fruit juices, you’re putting your body into balance. Keeping sodium to normal levels found in foods means you’ll start to require a more balanced amount of water. Don’t think of this as changing or taking away. Think of it as adding balance, and it will make the process of eating healthier much easier.

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Clean and Conscious Dining With Halal Foods

The process of preparing halal foods can be said to be multidisciplinary. The foods should not only be from good sources but they should also taste good. For example, the true taste of chicken biriani cannot be compromised. The spices must be in the right proportions and prepared at the right temperature. Presentation is also important especially for gourmet food and specialty food. Zabihah halal food distributors do justice to the ingredients they work with bringing out the true flavor.

Considerations must be made whether to have fully cooked or precooked meals. This is important with regards to frozen food which must be reheated. Some dishes go especially well with specific sauces. For obvious reasons, they are packed separately but they should be served in one dish. Some of the halal food like chicken nuggets can be taken as snacks. Others are the variety of gourmet food and so are served as appetizing entrees.

Frozen food is convenient for individuals and also for parties. You don’t have to be worried that guests will reject the food at the event you are hosting. The halal food is enjoyed both by vegetarians and beef eaters. The logistics of preparing food en masse is beaten hands down by the availability of frozen food. Call it modern convenience; you can now be the perfect host without having a clue on culinary matters. The makers of frozen food have explored the intricacies of world cuisine. They have the knack of producing the family meal that can bring a sense of nostalgia to many people.

Apart from the gastronomic experience, halal food is a health plus and a credit to the reduction of green house gases. This comes about due to the fact that halal food originates from farms that run on sustainable energy. Taking the entire subject of conservation and social responsibility to another level, bio-digestors and other sustainable energy sources are used. The source farms are a haven for clean energy. The animals themselves can be considered clean because they are never given antibiotics. The animals are of a natural size since they don’t have growth enhancers such as hormones. The goal is to culture food sources which are less fattening or pegged with risk indicators to cancers and other health issues. For the same reason, the sauces have no preservatives as they come from fresh produce which is not processed.

It is worth mentioning that meat from halal food is from animals that were not abused neither did they face animal cruelty. It thus gives consumers a clean conscious when choosing halal food from the frozen food section. The livestock such as lamb, cow and chicken are well treated and their animal rights are respected. The farms that are certified for halal food are currently small farms. However with the endorsement of conscious consumers they are growing larger and larger. For the health freaks or for persons who are ill, specialty food is also available. Many have seen the benefits of specialty food when they are ill and have continued taking it after full recovery.

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How to Make It As a Fitness Model

People that follow my stuff know I generally write about nutrition, supplements, training, and other topics that are more science based than subjective topics, such as what is covered in this article. I decided to shuck my science geek persona, and write on a topic I know will be helpful to thousands of would be and want to be fitness models. (more…)

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5 Unique Ways to preserve food

Most hated it when food was coveted proved to be stale even before it got eaten. Is not there a way to make food more long-standing so it can be enjoyed?

There. Some people found a way to preserve food freshness and make more long-standing. This of course also makes age consumption becoming longer. There are several ways that make sense, some are not. And some ways this is a unique way some people used to preserve food.

Buried

It feels terrible to imagine burying food then one day he unloaded from ‘grave’ and eat it. However, this method is still used today and is practiced in Korea know.

Is a way of preserving foods passed down by ancestors Kimchi Korea in order to stay fresh longer and age consumption. Initially, the land provided to bury kimchi salted or frozen, making it warm and dark place.

Then, kimchi jars put into dirt that protects from dust, light and oxygen can alter food. Left for several months, kimchipun eventually be consumed and stored in the fridge or cupboard to be enjoyed not just a day.

Dried

Remember how to manufacture salted fish? Yes, that’s right. By drying in the sun. Reportedly, meat drying in the sun after being given some of the material will make it dry naturally and automatically preserved. This food can then be consumed for some time due to decay very long walk.

Usually the food is processed in this way is bananas for sale, and meat or fish.

Using a technique Lye

Itself is a kind of alkaline lye whose function is similar to that used soap to dry clean or cleaner. When consumed immediately Lye is very toxic and dangerous, but Lye can be used to preserve food.

When combined with fat, it will react by starting the process of saponification. These reactions can usually change the texture, aroma and taste of the food, but will age much longer.

Not everyone should and can use Lye. And only a few foods that can be processed by Lye as changes they experienced.

Confit

Confit method is a method to cut her off oxygen so slow decay that occurs in food. Usually the food will be cooled and sealed in a container.

Aspic

Aspic is a method of preserving food with a texture similar chemicals similar to jelly. When applied to food, it will wrap around and be absorbed by the food and protect food from oxidation. Food will remain durable for longer.

Today, there are many ways a more modern food preservation. Even so, some food preservation methods above are still used.

Is there a way of preserving foods typical of the territory?

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Which Ingredients Make Good Pet Foods?

When you are considering which pet food to choose for your pet the most important consideration should always be the ingredients. The quality of the ingredients are what truly set premium foods apart from the poorer grades of foods.

When you look at a pet food label the ingredients are required to be listed in order of weight or predominance in the food. However, this can be slightly misleading. This is weight prior to processing. This means that if whole chicken is used in the food it may be listed first in the ingredient list, which sounds very appealing to the customer. Whole chicken contains a great deal of moisture. By the time the chicken is processed it weighs much less. For this reason, some people prefer to see things like chicken meal, or lamb meal in the first few spots in the ingredient list since these ingredients have already had the moisture removed from them prior to weighing for use in making the pet food.

According to the respected Whole Dog Journal, and other sources, for dogs it’s good to see multiple sources of animal protein in the first five ingredients of a premium dog food. It’s especially important to have a good source of protein in the first couple of ingredients. The exception would be with foods that are sold as pre-mixes, such as dehydrated or freeze dried foods, which are intended to be supplemented with protein sources by the owner. In these cases you would not expect to see protein sources among the first few ingredients.

Many concerned owners look for the following in their pet foods:

You should avoid generic ingredients such as “meat meal” or “animal fat.” Instead look for named sources such as beef fat, chicken fat, lamb meal, fish, etc.

Look for human grade, USDA approved ingredients. Pet food cannot, by law, be sold for human consumption, but look for companies that are committed to using human grade ingredients. You can also seek out hormone- and antibiotic-free meats. All poultry is already raised hormone-free in the U.S. but other meats are not necessarily raised this way unless specified.

Try to avoid foods that use corn gluten meal and other glutens. Many dogs are allergic to corn. Corn gluten is often a cheap protein filler and waste product from other industries. There can be similar problems with wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate, which are also used as fillers.

Avoid “meat by-products” and “meat digests.” When reading pet food labels look for specific, named sources of protein, such as lamb, chicken, tuna, beef, and so on. The term “meat” is a catch-all phrase that allows the pet food industry to be very unspecific about what kind of meat it’s using, so you don’t know what you could be feeding your pet.

There’s also a vast difference in preparation between “whole” chicken, chicken “meal,” chicken “by-products,” and chicken “digests.” Each term describes different preparation and parts of the chicken used. As a consumer and pet owner, you want to purchase foods which rely primarily on whole foods and meals. These are the foods which are closest to their original, live form and contain the most nutrition. By-products and digests contain necks, feet, intestines and other parts of the animal that you would not consider fit for human consumption.

Many foods may contain these ingredients as well as the more premium ingredients. But the primary ingredients you should look for should be whole foods and meals made from named meat sources.

Avoid BHA, BHT and Ethoxyquin. These are artificial preservatives and often used in poor quality foods. Ethoxyquin is banned in foods for human consumption except as a color preservative in spices.

Avoid artificial colors, sugars and sweeteners.

Another thing to watch for on the ingredient list is “splitting” — many times an ingredient such as corn is split into multiple listings — ground yellow corn, corn gluten meal, and other corn sources. Singly they are not a big presence, but added together, corn can become the biggest ingredient in your dog’s diet.

Taurine was added to cat foods in the 1970s when cats began going blind and dying due to taurine deficiencies. Dogs were thought not to need taurine but now links are being found that suggest they do require it. Some companies have begun adding it to dog foods.

Many people also prefer to buy from companies that have U.S.-grown ingredients. This isn’t simply patriotism. The United States has some of the strictest regulations in the world for growing and manufacturing foods. Some companies list the source of their ingredients on their Web sites but it is more difficult to find out this information from other companies.

Some people prefer to feed their pets so-called “exotic” protein diets — venison, buffalo, duck, trout, etc. They may be trying to find foods that won’t trigger allergies in their pets. In general, it’s considered good advice to avoid feeding your dog (or cat) such unusual proteins unless he or she already has an allergy problem. If your pet does well on a more common protein it’s a good idea to stick with it and save the exotic proteins for a time when it’s needed. That way you know you have some options if you run into problems. If your pet should develop an allergy to the exotic proteins you would have nowhere to go.

High protein diets are very popular at the moment. The old ideas about excessive protein possibly harming your pet’s kidneys seem to have been debunked. However, if you wish to try a high protein diet, or one of the new grain-free diets, make sure that you find a food that has the AAFCO Nutritional Adequacy statement. You want to make sure that you are feeding a food that is nutritionally balanced.

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Macaroni Schotel for the little guy

So that your child does not get bored with the menu that it was just, it is time we serve a delicious special menu for the little guy. Schotel macaroni can be served to infants aged 9 months to 2 years of age.

In addition, vitamins and protein in macaroni schotel proven to be consumed by the baby. Let’s peep the recipe.

ingredients:

-200 Grams of macaroni, boiled until soft porridge or can use basic macaroni
– Half btr onion, finely chopped
– 1 clove garlic, grated
– 1 pc small carrot, grated
– 1 pc small size potato, grated
– 1 tablespoon butter for sauteing
– 2 eggs
– 1/2 cup milk formula
– 100 grams of minced chicken / beef mince

How to Make:

1. Sauté onions and garlic in butter until fragrant. Enter the grated carrots and potatoes, stirring frequently. Then enter the liquid milk, chicken / beef mince, lift.
2. Add the eggs to the material he had been beaten off. Then pour in a heat-resistant dish. Steam until cooked. Remove and let cool.