Convenient Store: Canned UCC Coffee Is RTG

UCC Coffee

UCC Coffee

Wondering what the buzz is on canned UCC coffee with milk? Its real success as a company started in 1968 in Kobe, Japan, when Ueshima Tadao was drinking coffee-flavored milk on a train platform and suddenly began to wonder if there was a way to make a similar coffee-based product for people on the go.

Shortly thereafter, the world’s first canned coffee with milk was born. By 1970 UCC Coffee was well on its way to becoming one of Japan’s favorite drinks, and today, it’s sold in vending machines on thousands of street corners across the country.

Luckily, we didn’t have to travel all the way to Japan to sample UCC canned coffee. Sweet and creamy (without being too sugary), UCC Coffee is an uber-convenient option for anyone with access to Amazon.

Chill Out: How to Make Iced Coffee at Home

For many of us, homemade iced coffee just means taking adding lots of ice to hot coffee. Problems abound with that method, most glaringly, the fact that you’re almost guaranteed to have a super watered-down drink in mere seconds. That all changes when you learn the true secret of how to make iced coffee at home – doing it with cold-brewed coffee.

It takes a little forethought, but it’s worth it in the end.

Here’s the drill: Before you go to bed, combine 2 ½ quarts water with 5 ounces ground coffee in a large pitcher (or French press if you’ve got one), cover it, and let it get to work on the counter. In the morning, pour the coffee through a cheesecloth or coffee filter and funnel into another pitcher, and voila, fresh, not-hot. Pour in a glass with some ice and you’re good to go.

Want to get fancy? Invest in a cold brewed coffee maker like the Toddy T2N Cold Brew System or the Bodum Bean Ice French Press.

Pro Tips: A Beginner’s Guide to Coffee Cupping

“The blend is anchored by a decadently syrupy body, lifted by a zesty mandarin orange-like acidity, and finishes cleanly with hints of gingerbread and lemongrass.” — Intelligentsia Fruit Bat Espresso label

Coffee Cupping - Robusta Table

Coffee Cupping – Robusta Table (Photo: Flickr)

Coffee cupping became an industry standard in in the U.S. in the late 19th century, when San Francisco’s Hills Brothers started doing it to evaluate coffees for mass production. Cupping enables coffee professionals to more clearly identify nuances of flavor and aroma, and better explore the different characteristics of a particular bean. Today it’s still mostly practiced by professionals, but regular old joes like us can do it too (pun intended).

How to Prepare

First, coarsely grind your beans and place in a small bowl or glass. Pour almost boiling water over the grinds and let infuse for three to four minutes. Make sure the beans are scooped out before slurping your coffee. (And yes, the word really is slurp.) This is best done with a deep spoon, like a cupping spoon or a soup spoon. And here’s the fun part – slurp that coffee loudly! You want it to spread to the back of your tongue to get the full effect. When executed successfully, this will actually create a vapor, which heightens your sense of taste and smell. Then roll the coffee around your mouth, close your eyes, and let your creative juices flow!

Elements of a Good Cup

While you’ve still got that delicious mouthful, pay attention to the following elements of the coffee.

  • Aroma. Take time to smell the coffee, then write down what comes to mind. There are no right or wrong answers, these are all opinions, after all. Be literal, be sentimental, be anything you like—just jot down whatever feels right. Does it smell earthy? Floral? Medicinal? Woody?
  • Taste. Is it acidic? Bitter? Sour? Sweet? Velvety? Note what else you taste too – and this is the fun part. Is it chocolaty? Does it taste like Christmas? Is it nutty? Ashy? Malty? Does it taste like licorice, or does it remind you of walking through the forest? Take your time, and again, write down whatever comes to mind.
  • Body. Is it a full flavor? Bold? Rich? Thin? Bitter? You’re looking to describe how it literally feels in your mouth.

The more you cup, the more tastes and smells you’ll notice. You’re now on your way to becoming a Master Taster – congratulations, and keep slurping!

Know Your Joe: Getting Schooled on the History of Coffee

History Of Coffee

Coffee House, circa 1877

How long have people been appreciating the energizing beauty of coffee? Experts say we’ve been waking ourselves up with the stuff for the last 13 centuries. It all started in Ethiopia, 800 AD, and from there, spread around the world to become one of the most commonly drunk elixirs in the world.

We rounded up the real story of how this humble little berry came to conquer our thirst, with info on the history of coffee from the National Coffee Association and National Geographic.

It Begins: 800 AD Snacktime

According to Ethiopian legend, a goatherder named Kaldi noticed his goats getting unusually active after eating from a certain patch of red berry bushes. He decided to check the food out for himself, and experienced a similar burst of energy. A nearby monk saw what was going on and brought some home to share his brothers, who also discovered the berry’s naturally invigorating effects.

Meanwhile, historians have also found that other Africans around that time were eating concoctions of coffee berries and animal fat when they needed more fuel.

Cultivate This: 1000-1600

News traveled fast from there. Travelers hyped up the magic bean all the way across the Red Sea to south Arabia, where people began purposefully cultivating it. By 1000, someone had come up with the truly brilliant idea to roast the beans, and brew them into a steamy beverage.

Known as “bean broth,” coffee became an important part of the Islamic religious culture, and was drunk for both religious and secular purposes. As Islam spread throughout North Africa, the eastern Mediterranean, and India, so did coffee.

For centuries, people around this far-flung area enjoyed drinking coffee—without being able to cultivate it themselves. That’s because Arabia’s coffee growers figured out how to render the beans they exported infertile by pre-boiling them. According to the stories, that all changed in the 1600s when an Indian pilgrim named Baba Budan strapped fertile seeds to his stomach and smuggled them out of Mecca—and far, far beyond.

Can’t Stop Progress: 1615 to 1727

Once the coffee plant hit the borders, there was no stopping its momentum through India, out past Italy, completely through Europe, and well beyond. Historical records show a Venetian merchant’s account of bringing coffee into Italy in 1615. Soon after, in 1616, the Dutch created the first coffee plant in Europe. And in 1696, they opened up a coffee estate in the then-Dutch colony of Java, from which they sent bigwigs across Europe coffee trees as gifts.

One such recipient, Louis XIV, got his in 1714, and had it planted in Paris. Gabriel Mathieu de Clieu, a young naval officer, stole a sprout of that tree before sailing back to his station in Martinique. Within 50 years, the tiny sprout he planted ended up yielding as many as 18 million trees on the island, thus paving the way for expansion into Latin America.

Brazil Takes the Lead: 1727 to Well, Today

In 1727, Brazil enlisted Lt. Col. Francisco de Melo Palheta to procure coffee seeds from French Guiana. He was successful in his sly plan, which involved a little romantic intrigue with the governor’s wife. From the seedlings he brought back, Brazil soon took its place as the biggest coffee producer in the world.

Since then, their mass productions—and the other 70 or so countries around the world that also produce coffee—have turned coffee from a rarity available only for the elite into the average cuppa joe we’ve come to know and love.