Food has now become an art form. Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson are the big names in food and they create art with their foods.. In fact, Nigella has a book called ‘Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking. Then we have TV shows, like Master Chef which has tried to foster this idea, for instance in Master Chef there’s a segment called Food Art Finale Week during Season Six; in addition to this we have other TV shows that intertwine food with art, like Iron Chef and My Kitchen Rules. You get the point right? So with the fluctuation of art and food, drinks have been left behind. This is where I think that in the general hospitality market, Twinings has looked beyond the tea market and explored a broader area. I think that they have managed to bridge the gap that was missing. This missing gap is the idea that traditionally the advertisements pointed towards the notion of the, “relaxed cup of tea after a hard days work.” Thus, looking beyond this and reaching a broader market, Twining has effectively created a single minded proposition which is “tea is art” just like “food is art”. A clever proposition which has looked at the world beyond its niche market. Cheers,
Coffee is a luxury and art is a lifestyle for me. After spending a good year or so practicing my art I found that it was about time to combine the two, but is this a new pursuit; are art cafes, or drawings that deal with the influence of coffee on our everyday life new to us? These questions have suddenly come to mind, and I think that after having done some research it is easy to say that cafes are aesthetically important as they are a reflection of what people want.
Do you go to a cafe that is modern, with black outlines, minimalistic designs and wide spaces? or
The cluttered style cafe, with a bunch of pamphlets scattered around the floors, photos on the walls, a possible Che Guevara poster on the side, and staff with moustaches wearing revolutionary clothing or the like? How about
The vintage style cafe? With paraphernalia of popular culture.
Or something completely different?
These different cafe cultures show us that art is an experience that is infused in our every day life.
Once you’ve fueled yourself with your daily required dosage of coffee or espresso, it’s likely you’ll find yourself left with a pile of damp grounds. While you might be inclined to toss the whole mess into the trash, you should think twice before throwing out your grounds like they are yesterday’s news. Like the newspaper, coffee grounds are incredibly recyclable and can be used more than just once. There are many ways you can repurpose your grounds, including using them to beautify yourself, clean your home or help your garden grow. In addition there are some fun do-it-yourself projects you can do with coffee filters, coffee sacks (the jute ones that the beans get imported in) and coffee cups – but that is another story.
Use coffee to beatify yourself inside and out. Create a body or facial scrub by combining grounds with a small amount (just enough to adhere the grounds together) of olive oil and then rub the mixture over your face or rough patches of skin. Wash off the scrub after a few minutes to reveal smooth, exfoliated skin.
Brewed coffee and the grounds can also do wonders for your hair. Start with just-shampooed hair that has been allowed to dry. Then rinse your hair with about a pot’s worth of coffee or work wet grounds into your hair. Allow the coffee or grounds to sit on your hair for about 10-20 minutes before washing them out. This process will reduce shedding and leave your hair glowing. However, this treatment works best for brunettes or redheads as the coffee will slightly darken your hair.
Coffee can be used to dye a number of products, not just your hair. Soak your used grounds in warm water for a few minutes to make a dye that can be applied to cloth, paper and even eggs. Coffee grounds can also be used as a scratch filler for dark wood furniture. Simply rub in wet grounds that are the same color as the wood (dark coffee or espresso roasts work the best), let them sit for a few minutes and then buff them away with a wet rag.
Although it might sound weird, coffee grounds are a useful cleaning tool. To make less of a mess when cleaning your fireplace, place dampened grounds on the ashes to keep dust from flying into the air. You can use dry grounds to clean too – their abrasive nature is great for scrubbing pots and pans!
Keep animals and insects away from your garden by sprinkling coffee grounds around your plants and flowers. Cats, for one, don’t like the smell of coffee so the grounds will keep them from digging up your garden. In addition, Shane Genziuk from Ground to Ground points out that “coffee grounds are both acidic and abrasive,” which will ensure snails, slugs and ants won’t even think about going near or nibbling on your plants.
Not only can you reuse your coffee grounds, but you can recycle leftover coffee you’ve brewed as well. Share a drink or two with your plants (give them the same amount of coffee as you would water). Due to the acid and nitrogen content in coffee, it is actually beneficial to plants like roses and begonias. Just make sure the coffee is cooled first, since if it’s still hot it may hurt the plant’s roots. It is also important to make sure the coffee hasn’t been flavored or had sugar and milk added, which aren’t as good for plants.
Composting Coffee Grounds
Besides being great for reviving your houseplants, coffee grounds can also help your garden grow. While it is possible to add coffee grounds directly to your soil (after giving them a few months to break down) the best way to add coffee to your garden is by composting it. According to Science Daily, a team of compost specialists at the Oregon State University Extension say the best way to add coffee to your pile is by putting the grounds in an existing unturned pile, and covering them with leaves and then waiting three to six months for the grounds to break down and blend in with the rest of the compost.
The OSU Extension compost specialists have also been conducting a series for informal experiments on the effects of coffee grounds in compost. Thus far they have noticed that grounds allow compost piles to sustain higher temperatures, “reduc[ing] potentially dangerous pathogens and kill[ing] seeds from weeds and vegetables that were added to the pile.” In addition, the specialists “have noticed that the coffee grounds seem to improve soil structure, plus attract earth worms.”
If you are not an avid coffee drinker, visit a local café and ask them for their left over grounds. Many coffee shops will give their grounds away for free to reduce waste. The next time you have a cup of coffee, do your part to help the environment and recycle your grounds in a new way.
Brenna Ciummo is a writer for Seattle Coffee Gear and enjoys sharing her knowledge of all things coffee (and tea).
The article, ‘The Buzz about Doi Chaang Coffee’ is a great read. Anyone interested in the coffee industry will enjoy this. Most importantly, it is great to see that the coffee industry in Asia is rising as with good ethical business practices, comes community empowerment and consequently a decrease in poverty.
Here’s a glimpse of the article,
“The brand (Doi Chaang) has been rated in the top 1% of coffees worldwide by the leading independent Coffee Evaluator, and has won numerous awards for its Beyond Fair Trade business structure.”
Furthering this, it states that,
“Doi Chaang is the only single-estate, 100% Arabica, USDA Certified Organic, Fair Trade Certified and shade grown coffee grown in Thailand”.
Keep an eye out for the coffee, as I will be waiting patiently to try it, when I see it.
So… Halloween is back this year. Well, considering the apocalypse hasn’t come by yet, it seems like we’re safe for another year of festivities.
Having just said that, unlike most I won’t be jumping on the festival bus.. Living in Australia it’s not that much of a big deal, culturally. Nevertheless, it has come round and people are getting out their costumes, lollies and chocolates. Therefore, I have decided to remind people of their buying habits.
Don’t go buying the cheapest chocolates, please. Or for that matter, don’t go buying the most expensive chocolates either. Why think in money terms when you can simply think in humanitarian terms. It makes more sense anyway, since we are humans we should think in humanly ways.
Chocolates are a luxury for us in the Western World. For the producers it is work. Go fair-trade this year when thinking about buying chocolates for trick or treating.
I think you have all heard this before but here it goes once more:
Fair-trade protects the farmers by setting a fair price. This protects them from any “bad/unfair” business trading practices that is generally bad for the world. It is not just about being the saviour and acting heroic, but it is more so about the affect on global prices. Please check out my vietnam blog that explains that amount of coffee consumed by us, as well as the export and import technicalities..
Overall, this post serves as a reminder of the benefits of ethical coffee. Especially, as I have arrived at the end of my official campaign, it is an informal post, aiming to talk as opposed to tell. So please talk amongst yourselves about the benefits of fair-trade products this Halloween. And don’t forget to have a great time as well..
P.S I will probably be updating this Blog every now and again..
Vietnam is one of the largest coffee exporters in the world (only second to Brazil). Yet as we know, the coffee industry is versatile making coffee exports depend on various national and International factors, that range from domestic government policies to natural disasters. However, with the Fair-trade label protecting farmers and the production line, the level of inconsistency is minimised, albeit that’s not to say entirely solved.
Earlier today, I was exploring the Vietnamese production line and found that Vietnam is facing domestic issues through the introduction of new taxation laws. With these new problems and a history of difficulties that have ranged from the Vietnam War to internal political disruptions, local farmers and communities are working ever harder to support their families.
As there aren’t many documentaries readily available on the Vietnamese coffee production (a pursuit that I would love to work on in the future) I did come across this heart-warming short-documentary created by Nikole Lim. It’s called Brewing Hope,
This is also viewable on the website, that is worth checking out if only for the beautiful photography.
For the Latest news on Vietnam’s coffee production the article to read is called, “Vietnam’s Coffee Industry Rumoured to be Collapsing” dated 2/10/2013