So What’s So Special About Arabica Coffee

What’s So Special About Arabica Coffee Beans?

Have you ever wondered why it is that Arabica coffee is mentioned as a selling point on some coffees and why it seems to attract a higher price as well? A quick online search will return hundreds of results for coffees boasting ‘100% pure Arabica beans’ or ‘blended using Arabica coffee’.

The answer is a lot more simple than you might think. Most coffee blends are made using either Arabica or Robusta, and most of the time, a mixture of the two in varying ratios. Robusta cherries contain, on average, just over twice the caffeine of Arabica cherries (which you might think is a good thing!) and more caffeine that almost any other major coffee type. Caffeine itself has a slightly bitter taste, and this shows up in the blending process when Robusta is used, resulting in a bitter and slightly burnt taste. Arabica, by contrast, contains far less caffeine and therefore results in a smoother and less bitter flavor.

Of course, the blending and roasting processes can correct much of this, and so there’s no need to be put off drinking coffee that is primarily made using Robusta beans, unless it’s cheap and nasty coffee anyway. Generally speaking, the more Arabica that is used in a given blend, the smoother and less bitter it will taste (assuming it has been made properly of course), with 100% Arabica coffee being particularly sought after by many coffee drinkers.

Another factor that makes Arabica coffee more desirable than other types is that the plants it comes from are less hardy than Robusta coffee plants, and therefore they are more expensive to source. In some years with adverse weather conditions, the price will increase more than other types of coffee simply because the plants haven’t produced the same sized crop as normal. Arabica is also more susceptible to pests and needs very specific climactic conditions including soil with low acidity levels, an evenly distributed amount of regular rainfall and a temperature averaging around 20 degrees Celcius.

All of these factor contribute to a higher price, which in turn means it’s not used as much in cheaper coffee blends.

Robusta plants, on the other hand, can grow at lower altitudes and don’t require the same precise weather conditions to thrive. They are less vulnerable to pests and each tree can produce as much as double the crop of a similar Arabica tree. That’s not to say that Robustas are always inferior – like anything else, there is varying quality and the very best can produce an outstanding espresso for example, and there are also Arabicas that are of below average quality too. However, taken as a whole, Arabica is generally reckoned to be of superior quality.

Ultimately of course, all of this is irrelevant if you prefer the taste of something else. Try a 100% Arabica blend and then try a few with more Robusta and see if you can tell the difference – it should be quite noticeable. Most instant coffee (unless it states otherwise), together with supermarket own-brand ground coffee will be made up predominantly, or exclusively, of Robusta beans.

As with most things, you get what you pay for. So next time you see a coffee being advertised as 100% Arabica, at least you’ll know why you’re having to pay that little bit more for it.

A Single Leaf – So Many Types of Tea

When Europeans first became interested in drinking tea the only significant source available was from China. The Chinese were naturally very protective and secretive about their tea and would put forward misleading information about where it was grown, when it was harvested and how it is processed. One of these myths was that different types of tea were produced from different plants and this belief was sustained for many years. We now know, however, that regardless of type, whether it is green, white, oolong, black, yellow or dark, all true teas are produced from the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant.

In fact there are two main varieties of camellia sinensis recognised being camellia sinensis var.sinensis and C. sinensis var. assamica where sinensis and assamica suggest origins from China and India respectively. However, it is not as black and white as this may sound as some of China’s famous teas (such as Pu-erh tea) are made from the broader leafed assamica variety and the renowned Indian Darjeeling teas are produced from the leaves of the sinensis variety. Nowadays, there are many hybrids and numerous varietals that have been bred but essentially it is just the one plant responsible for the world’s favourite beverage.

So, if it is the same plant how come there are so many different types of tea? Fundamentally, it comes down to the way that the leaves are processed and the degree to which the leaves are allowed to oxidised (also sometimes referred to as fermented) during production.

For green tea there is no oxidation. Once the leaves have been harvested there is usually a short period where the leaves are left to wither but relatively soon after harvest they are subject to a process which is known as ‘kill green’. The purpose of this process is to kill the enzymes in the leaves that are responsible for oxidation and is achieved by the application of heat to the leaves. The way that this is done varies between producers and in different parts of the world and includes baking, frying or steaming, each with varying degrees of technological sophistication. Once ‘kill green’ has been completed the leaves experience several cycles of rolling and drying before the final product is completed.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is black tea which is left to completely oxidise. Once leaves are harvested they are left to wither for an extended period with the objective of reducing the moisture content in the leaves until they are soft enough for subsequent processing. The length of the withering stage will depend on temperature and humidity and may be as long as 14 to 20 hours. When it is judged that leaves have withered sufficiently they will be rolled for shape and to break the leaf cell walls in order to release the essential oils that will stimulate oxidation and give the tea its colour, strength, aroma and taste. The tea is then left to fully oxidise before the final drying, sorting and grading takes place.

In between green and black sit the oolong teas which, typically, experience anywhere between 10% and 70% oxidation. As this allows a reasonably wide range of possibilities, oolong teas can be found in the many shades between green and black with taste characteristics that are closer to one or the other. A typical oolong process involves sun drying and withering of the leaves before they are shaken to break the leaf edges to commence oxidation. The degree of oxidation is key to the appearance and taste of the final tea and when the desired level has been reached the leaves go through a ‘kill green’ process to bring the process to a halt. Oolong teas then go through many rolling and drying phases depending on the type of final leaf appearance that is required. In order to achieve the familiar ball or pellet shape leaf may require the leaves to be rolled up to ten times.

Choosing The Right Coffee Makers Machines – Factors To Consider

Many people find it difficult to start their day without coffee. It is one refreshing and energizing drink that makes your moments perfect. Though instant coffee is easy to prepare, you cannot compare its flavor with that of freshly brewed coffee. The sensational flavor you get from the brewed coffee is worth spending your time and efforts on.

Tips to Help You Chose the Best Coffee Makers

Making brewed coffee requires you to buy best makers machines. Some of the considerations to make when buying these machines are as follows:

– Size

There are many different types of coffee makers. You may want to consider the number of people who you will be preparing the beverage for. Smaller sizes are ideal for people living alone while larger sizes are ideal for a family.

– Designs

There are many different designs of coffee makers machines. Some may be programmable while others are simple to clean. Some can make different types of coffee such as cappuccino and latte. Others will do everything for you; from grinding the coffee beans to pouring the freshly made coffee to a cup. Go for the design that blends with your preferences, needs and tastes.

– Quality

Different materials of coffee machines cost differently, and will have different qualities. From the plastic materials to the stainless steel, you will find varied strengths in each of the machines. Always go for the best quality so that you can get value for your money in the end.

– Cost

You may want to consider the costs of coffee makers so that you can find the product that is within your budget. Smaller sized coffee machines cost less than the larger ones. Still, the best quality will be more expensive than the low quality. A comparison of prices between different vendors can help you find the product that has the best quality yet affordable.

Once you have selected the best coffee maker machines, you may be required to maintain it through easy procedures such as cleaning and storing it in the right places. This way, you can brew your coffee every day using the same machine for the longest time possible. The maintenance procedures are more often than not provided by many manufacturers.

Find Coffee Makers Online

There are many vendors willing to supply coffee machines online. Therefore it should not be hard to find these products. You must however evaluate the options available using the factors above and select the type that is perfect for you.

Five Easy and Healthy Recipes From the Japanese Cuisine

Japanese cuisine is vastly different in Japan from what you may see in America. In the U.S. it has been westernized and that can be fattening for you. Getting back to the basics of proper cuisine for the culture, here are five recipes that will introduce you to Japanese cooking in a healthy way.

The main staples of a Japanese diet are rice, fish, vegetables, soy, fruit, noodles and the famous green tea. That gives you a lot to choose from when it comes to preparing your meals. Most recipes can be adapted to different tastes. For example, if you don’t like radishes, substitute shiitake mushrooms or bamboo shoots.

Recipe 1 – Miso soup

This soup is a basic staple of the diet. It is made with soy paste that has been fermented. The soy paste is mixed in a broth called dashi. It can be made from various fish or seaweed. You could probably buy dashi stock along with the miso at any Asian market. Create it at home and add other vegetables that you like to adjust the taste. Soups are eaten at all three meals. The soy provides protein with very little fat.

Recipe 2 – Beef and broccoli

This is not the type that you are used to seeing in America. The beef is lean and cut into thin strips. Using a sharp knife and a frozen piece of meat allows you to cut as thin as you need and remove all excess fat. The meat is cooked with very little oil. The broccoli is steamed. The beef is laid over the rice so that it can soak up the juices.

Recipe 3 – Vegetable saut� (kinpira)

Any vegetables can be added to this dish. The main two are burdock and carrots. Burdock is a root vegetable much like carrots. They can be purchased as an Asian market. Both are cut into matchstick slices for ease and thorough cooking. The addition of soy sauce, sesame seeds and sake help to give the vegetables a rich flavor. Serve with rice.

Recipe 4 – Stir fry

This recipe requires very little oil in the wok. You can use a variety of vegetables: mushrooms, peppers, onions, zucchini, broccoli, carrots and more traditional Japanese vegetables. One of the sauces they love to add is soy sauce. It infuses the food so no additional condiments are needed. Eat with rice only or add seafood like shrimp.

Recipe 5 – Poached fruit

Dessert is usually a simple dish of sliced fruit. You can take an Asian pear and poach it in green tea infused with ginger and almond. The pears are poached in boiling tea with the added spices and sugar. You can serve this alone or with some green tea ice cream or sorbet.

It doesn’t have to be difficult to add the Japanese staples to your lifestyle. Adopting some simpler ways of eating can help keep you healthy and excite your taste buds.

Brief Information About Vegetable Soup Recipes

A great vegetarian soup recipe not only helps you to feel good but also increases your appetite for the main meal.

It’s not really tough to make vegetarian soups, you just need to follow some basic steps to make them. To start with you just have to use garlic, onions, other vegetables such as spinach, beans, green peas, cabbage. Now add vegetable broth or soup stock and other spices which can help you add your desired flavors. If you want to prepare a cold soup then add fruits such as watermelon or tomatoes to it.

Sometimes, if green onions, celery are also added along with onions it’s going to make much of the difference in taste. If little more herbs and spices like peppers, with mixes of oregano and rosemary are added it makes such a great savory taste that everyone at your home will enjoy. It is recommended to add an appropriate amount of spices as too much of them is not good for health.

The secret behind making a savory vegetarian soup recipe includes the one with good texture. Texture of a soup can however be improved just by thickening the soup. Oriental cooks generally use one secret item in their soup recipes which is flour or cornstarch which thickens the recipe without using milk.

Addition of cornstarch adds more texture or thickness to your soup. You just need to simply mix cornstarch with some warm water and then pour mixture while constant stirring into the soup this process helps to thicken it.

The best thing about soups is that it can be very well prepared ahead of time and kept in the freezer and served the other day. One thing to be kept in mind is that soup should be properly allowed to cool first and then only kept in the freezer. Also it should be chilled so that the excess oil from the soup is properly removed before freezing it. Keep in mind the container in which you will be storing the soup has enough space so that the liquid inside the soup can easily expand.

However non-vegetarian soups are made with difference, here meat is added to make it tastier. Apart from using spices, pepper and onions soya sauce is also added to give some extra flavor to it.

The much needed protein content in vegetarian soups are beans, chick peas, green peas which help to add flavor to your vegetarian soup recipe and also is a good substitute of meat.

Potato and Egg Salad

My grandmother is the queen of potato salad. I have yet to find anyone who can out do her in the making of potato salad. Not everyone can make it where it tastes good. Most recipes I’ve tasted are really bland. She is the go to person for this side dish, and there have actually been arguments over who was going to eat the last serving of it. I have tried to mimic her potato salad, but I guess its care and preparation that makes hers stand out. I can come close to it because I have watched her make it many times and know the ingredients she uses. She hasn’t made it in years due to her old age and can’t remember exactly how she makes it sometimes, but I can come pretty close to her version with her advising me how to make it. Here, I am going to share with you our potato salad recipe.

Ingredients

5 to 6 potatoes (preferably Idaho potatoes)

2 stalks celery

1 small onion

� green pepper

� cup sweet relish

� cup miracle whip

� cup mayonnaise

Half dozen hard-boiled eggs

2 Tbsp pimento

1 Tbsp mustard

Paprika

Salt and pepper

My grandmother doesn’t make her potato salad with anything other than Idaho potatoes; maybe that is why hers taste so much better than mine since I use whatever potatoes I have. Peel the potatoes, dice them, and put into boiling salted water. In another pot put eggs in the pot and cover with water. I add salt to the water because it’s supposed to help peel the eggs better. Cook potatoes until you can insert a fork but not falling apart. Drain the potatoes and put in a bowl and set in the refrigerator to cool. Meanwhile chop your onion, celery and green pepper. After your potatoes have cooled add the chopped vegetables to the bowl. Run cold water over the hard-boiled eggs to cool them off and remove the shells. Chop half of the eggs and add to bowl. Salt and pepper the mixture. Then add the mayo, miracle whip and mustard along with the sweet relish. Mix all the ingredients together. If it needs more salad dressing, add more to it as needed. Slice the rest of the hard-boiled eggs and layer them on top of the salad. Sprinkle the salad with paprika cover and refrigerate. The longer it sits the better it taste the next day.

Foods Necessary to Keep the Lungs Healthy

Indoor and outdoor air pollution affects our lungs on a daily basis. It is especially important for people who suffer from lung illnesses such as asthma or emphysema to take care of their lungs. Fortunately, there are several foods that are scientifically proven to keep your lungs in good shape.

Water- Nothing can live without water in some form or another. Water can help in a variety of ways. Drinking water helps soothe throat irritation and makes it more comfortable to talk, sing, or shout. These activities are vital because they exercise our lungs by pushing air in and out of our bodies at different rates, expanding and retracting our lung muscles and working the diaphragm. When a chest cold comes on, inhaling steam from a hot shower can help break up congestion in the sinuses and lungs, making it easier to breathe. Just drinking more water helps the body recover from illnesses that affect the lungs such as influenza and stops it from becoming pneumonia.

Carrots, Apricots, and Oranges- These orange colored snacks contain cancer fighting vitamin A which is important for repairing the lining of the lungs and the windpipe preventing lung infections which can be deadly for children with asthma. They also contain a good amount of vitamin C, an anti-oxidant which also has been linked to better lung function. It helps rid the body of toxins including what the lungs have inhaled throughout the day. Oranges contain iron which transfers oxygen to the bloodstream faster. Red and orange fruits and vegetables also contain carotenoids which have been known to assist in the prevention of lung cancer. All of these fruits and vegetables can be tossed into a salad for an easy lunch.

Onions- One of the cheapest and most variable vegetables is also one of the healthiest. Some experts consider onions a super food. It contains vitamins C, an antioxidant, B, which fights cancer, and queretin which helps prevent lung disease. Almost anything cooked on a stove requires onions for flavoring. They are excellent in stir fry, on top of meat, or deep fried in batter as onion rings.

Meat, Fish, and Eggs- Protein is an essential nutrient to every part of the body as it helps rebuild tissue and keep the respiratory muscles going even under distress. Fish contains fatty acids that reduce inflammation and healthy fats to maintain good muscle health. Most of these contain B vitamins which research suggests reduces the risk of lung cancer. For vegetarians and vegans, beans and fortified cereals are an important part of a healthy lung diet.

Dark Leafy Vegetables- Cruciferous vegetables like kale and broccoli have shown that they can reduce the risk of lung cancer by as much as half. They contain B vitamins like meat and eggs but are also rich in antioxidants which dispel pollution from the body. Out of all the dark green vegetables, broccoli is known to be the most beneficial when it comes to lung function.