Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Coffee: Regular, Unleaded, or BioDiesel?

Saw a post today on LowImpactLiving.com about a November 2008 article in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Chemists have proven what every coffee addict knows: Those beloved little beans are powerful. But it's more than just the caffeine--coffee contains abundant natural oils and antioxidants. Combine those qualities with the fact the coffee is the second most traded commodity after oil and it becomes clear: Coffee is uniquely qualified to start our mornings AND our motorized vehicles.

More on what makes coffee such excellent fodder for biodiesel fuel from ArsTechnica.com:

"Spent coffee grounds are about 15 percent oil, which is only slightly less than many of the other biodiesel feedstocks. Since the world produces over 16 billion pounds of coffee per year, there is a constant and cheap supply of solid coffee waste. Kondamudi, Mohapatra, and Misra [the researchers] also predict that biodiesel from coffee grounds would be more stable than those from other sources because coffee contains antioxidants that would slow down degradation."

The researchers found that biodiesel derived from the coffee grounds (100% conversion of oil to biodiesel) was found to be stable for more than 1 month under ambient conditions. What's the bottom line?

340 million gallons of biodiesel can be produced from the waste coffee grounds around the world. In the US alone, if spent grounds were converted into biodiesel and fuel pellets in the U.S., the scientists project that it would be possible to make about $8 million in profit per year.

Drink up! And save your grounds--they may just be the new black gold.

--scReaMing mOnkEy

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Now in Whole Foods!

The day before Thanksgiving is the single busiest day of the year for grocery stores.

Today was a big day for us, too! I went with Becca to stock our coffee at the Pikes Peak Whole Foods store on Academy. This was a risky move, not because of the immense traffic in the aisles or the barrage of questions from natural foods enthusiasts, but because Becca is the clumsiest person I know.

The store was abuzz with holiday shoppers looking for things like Gluten Free dinner rolls, turbinado sugar, and non-hydrogenated cool-whipesque products.

I was not much help in directing shopper traffic. I'm just a monkey. I told them where to find the Fair Trade bananas.

Mostly, I was amazed at how many people stopped me to ask where the coffee grinder is. All I could do was smile and offer apologies for my grinder ignorance. I really thought that people either bought whole bean coffees to grind at home or pre-ground coffees to save them the trouble.

So here's the news, buried at the bottom of the blog: Yours Truly now sits on shelves in Whole Foods. Come see me soon!

--scReaMing mOnkEy

Friday, November 14, 2008

New Bulk Bean Bag

Our new, biodegradable bulk bags arrived this week! We love them because the lining is made from corn. Once people take the tin tie off, the bags are completely compostable and earth-friendly. Those organic beans should feel right at home in these babies.

We're still exploring packaging options for the regular bags, but an eco-friendly bag that protects coffee from oxidation AND UV rays is quite a challenge.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

El Dia de los Muertos - Fair Trade Decor

Trick or Treat? Trick. All the way.

We decided to decorate our production manager's office for El Dia de los Muertos. While he was at the national renewable energy conference in Denver, we strung cobwebs and fair trade paper skeletons all over Brian's office. He was surprisingly happy about the effect, though the office does look a bit Rip Van Winkle-esque. It wasn't a comment on his age, so much as a chance to prank the eternal jokester with Papel Picado Mexican Streamers that we bought from Global Exchange. More on this haunting paper art from the Global Exchange Fair Trade Store:

Papel Picado is a traditional art handmade by artisans from Mexico. The brightly colored tissue (or in this case, booo-ti-ful black!) is handcut, using chisels and a top pattern as a guide. Although Papel de China (tissue paper) was originally brought to Europe from China and then to "New Spain" (Nuevo Espana), the indigenous people of Mexico had already been using hand made paper *(amatl), along with the tradition of cut decorative and ceremonial images, for centuries.

If you are taking young ones around for trick or treating this year, consider downloading Reverse Trick or Treating materials to promote Fair Trade chocolate in your neighborhood. Or just buy some to eat yourself--that's what I did!

The truth is that Fair Trade is a practice that everyone can get excited about--whether you prefer office trickery or fabulous treats.

--scrEAmIng mOnkEy

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

BuyWell sponsors $100 Fair Trade Recipe Contest at LowImpactLiving.com

Low Impact Living is helping to spread the word about the Fair Trade movement by hosting a Fair Trade holiday recipe challenge!

You can enter in the challenge by submitting a recipe idea for the holidays that features a Fair Trade item like coffee, sugar, mangoes, vanilla, cocoa, rice, or another Fair Trade Certified item. For a complete list of items, visit TransFair USA.

At the end of this challenge, they will compile a great list of recipes for the upcoming holidays that they will share. That's one way to make the holiday season more meaningful.

We will also be providing a fabulous $100 gift basket of small batch roasted Fair Trade coffee for the winner.

Deadline is November 17th, so start cooking!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Fair Trade Espresso Cream Cake

Our Customer Service Manager brought in this amazing recipe using our brand new holiday blend, "Celebrate." It's a lovely dark roast and makes great espresso--as well as cake, apparently. Here's a picture of the cake. I ate 3 slices. (Two of which I grabbed after everyone else left the kitchen to go back to work.)

Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cups sifted cake flour (about 5 1/3 ounces)
  • 1 1/4 cups Fair Trade sugar, divided
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 3 tablespoons Fair Trade brewed espresso, cooled
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely ground Fair Trade espresso (we tried "Celebrate")
  • 1/2 teaspoon Fair Trade vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Mocha Whipped Cream

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream (use a local dairy producer!)
  • *1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin dissolved in 2 tablespoons water and cooled
    (*optional--used to stabilize the whipped cream)
  • 2 teaspoons Fair Trade cocoa powder
  • 3 teaspoons super finely Fair Trade ground espresso
  • Fair Trade powdered sugar to desired sweetness

Preheat oven to 350° F.
To prepare cake, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Sift together flour and 3 tablespoons sugar; set aside.

Combine 1 cup sugar and egg yolks in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed 5 minutes or until thick and pale. Combine 3 tablespoons of brewed espresso, ground espresso, vanilla, and salt in a small bowl; add to sugar mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Sift flour mixture evenly over the top of egg yolk mixture; stir just until moist.

Beat egg whites with a mixer at high speed until foamy using clean, dry beaters. Add cream of tartar; beat until soft peaks form. Slowly add remaining 1 tablespoon sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Gently stir one-fourth of egg white mixture into batter; gently fold remaining egg white mixture into batter.

Pour batter into 2 9-inch pans. Bake at 350° for 30-40 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly in center. Cool in pan 1 hour; run a knife around outside edge; Cool completely on a wire rack.

For whipping cream, make sure cream is cold, and the bowl and beaters used are cold. Whip until soft peaks begin to form. While beating on high, add gelatin, add cocoa and espresso. Whip until stiff peaks form. Cover cake with whipped cream. Refrigerate.
--scrEAmIng mOnkEy