Coffee Pancakes, Anyone?

What is your favorite breakfast combination? I have a lot, really. Bacon and eggs. Butter and toast. Pancakes, butter, and syrup. Of course, all of these go with hot steaming mugs of coffee. But what if you can have coffee pancakes in one of America’s favorite restaurants? I am sure that at this point, you have an inkling of what I am talking about – IHOP (International House of Pancakes). They have a current promo involving coffee and pancakes! Here is Marketwatch’s press release:

IHOP, one of America’s favorite restaurants for breakfast, lunch and dinner, is keeping the season sweet with its tempting new Coffee Cake Pancakes. Available into the New Year, Coffee Cake Pancakes bring together the flavors of the classic crumble cake and IHOP’s world famous buttermilk pancakes. And combined with a fresh, hot Never-Empty Pot(R) of IHOP’s International House Roast coffee, new Coffee Cake Pancakes are the perfect treat to get through the hectic holiday hubbub.

For a limited time only, new Coffee Cake Pancakes are available morning, noon and night at participating IHOP locations nationwide. Choose from three delicious flavors:

Lemon Blueberry Coffee Cake Pancakes: Two fluffy pancakes made with
lemon streusel, crowned with blueberry compote, more lemon streusel
and creamy whipped topping.
Cinnamon Apple Coffee Cake Pancakes: Two fluffy pancakes made with
sweet butter and cinnamon streusel, crowned with warm apple compote,
more cinnamon streusel and creamy whipped topping.
Pecan Streusel Coffee Cake Pancakes: Two fluffy pancakes made with
sweet butter, cinnamon and pecan streusel, crowned with more pecan
streusel, cream cheese icing and creamy whipped topping.

So how much is this going to set you back? The pancakes start at $4.99 and you can opt to get them a la carte or with combo meals. Bye for now – am heading to the nearest IHOP.

Changing The World Through Coffee

In the recent years, awareness about the environment and the harm that is coming to it has increased more than tenfold. People from different sectors are doing what they can to contribute to the conservation and preservation of our environment. The coffee industry is one of the forerunners of this movement.

I have to admit, though, that I had not heard of the company called Peace Coffee. They are based in Minneapolis and operate under the premise of fair trade. The issue about fair trade coffee and shade grown coffee. As opposed to coffee that is grown under the sun, shade coffee, as the name implies, is not exposed to direct sunlight. The result is that the coffee plants are healthier and cleaner – simply because they have less need for chemicals such as pesticides. Naturally, this kind of coffee is better for consumption, both for taste and health reasons. More so, the farmers and the environment where the shade coffee is grown are better off for it as well.

This is the whole premise behind Peace Coffee. Aside from the focus on shade coffee, however, they also engage in other practices that are environmentally conscious. This includes a large batch roaster which has a 150 batch capacity. As opposed to the average 50 batch roaster, their new roaster has to be in operation much less and saves on a lot of energy. Their delivery people either use bicycles or green trucks. More than helping the environment, though, Peace Coffee also helps the small farmers who have less chances of making a profit against the big coffee growers.

If you want to purchase Peace Coffee, just visit their online store and you can get your hands on some.

Coffee: The Ultimate Social Lubricant

When was the last time you had to tell someone that you needed “to talk?” This question poses so many possibilities, both positive and negative. When you have a positive purpose, then there really is no reason to be anxious. But what if the talk was something that would not sit well with you and/or the other party? What if the talk was about something sensitive that might make both you and the other person uncomfortable? I have been in those situations one time too many and they were not fun at all.

The next time you have to have a talk like one of those, I suggest making sure that there are plenty of cups of coffee to go around. Why? A recent study by psychologists suggest evidence that if a person is holding a warm object in his hand, he is more likely to think kindly of the other person he is interacting with. Of course, nothing beats a warm mug of coffee!

Lawrence Williams of the University of Colorado and John Bargh of Yale are the ones behind this study. They made use of iced coffee and hot coffee as the test materials. They then asked test subjects – the participants – to rate a person’s personality based on a set of fixed questions. They found out that the participants who held warm coffee saw the other person as “warmer.”

The bottom line is really the correlation between the temperature and the perception of another person’s “warmness.” I am not sure that they tried it with other drinks but hot coffee is good enough as a social lubricant for me!

Dunkin’ Donuts On The Attack

The coffee wars are far from over it seems. Just when I thought that the furor over the McDonald’s ads (which are supposedly jibes at Starbucks) was over, another party has joined the fray. Dunkin’ Donuts apparently commissioned a double blind test against Starbucks and guess what? They won.

Seattle PI has this report:

Dunkin’ Donuts says its coffee won a double-blind taste test commissioned by Dunkin’ Donuts. The research firm pitted Dunkin’ Donuts Original Blend against Starbucks House Blend. Of the participants, 54.2 percent chose Dunkin’ Donuts, 39.3 percent chose Starbucks and 6.3 percent had no preference. (Starbucks’ standard brew isn’t its house blend, but the Pike Place Roast blend unveiled earlier this year.)

“Try the coffee that won,” the Dunkin’ advertisement urges. “And see why America really does run on Dunkin’.”

A&G Research Inc. ran the test from May through June in Seattle, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami and New York.

Dunkin’ Donuts is really upping its efforts to spread the word and step on Starbucks as it goes along.
They have even created a web site called Dunkin’ Beat Starbucks. With the tag line “It’s just more proof that it’s all about the coffee (not the couches or the music)”, Dunkin’ is sending out a very strong message.

What does Starbucks have to say about this? Deb Trevino, Starbucks spokeswoman says:

“We more or less introduced the coffee culture to the U.S. and extended it across the country, and so one would expect that other folks trying to get into this business would look to us for a comparison.”

Now here is my question: Which coffee do you prefer?

Photo courtesy of Seattle PI

Want Smaller Breasts? Drink More Coffee!

I doubt that a large number of women would actually find my suggestion attractive but I would not be surprised if there were some who would actually get excited at this post’s title. Indeed, a recent study just announced that drinking more than 3 cups of coffee a day can reduce the size of a woman’s breast.

The study was carried out by researchers at the Lund University in Sweden and it involved almost 300 women, all of whom are coffee lovers. So what is the link between breast size and coffee intake? The researchers have not been able to pinpoint the exact cause but they believe that it is due to a genetic material that about half of the women in the world possess.

This means that not every woman who drinks a lot of coffee on a daily basis should worry about shrinking breasts (a nightmare in many people’s eyes, I suppose). More so, the researchers say that women who drink a lot of coffee need not worry that their breasts will disappear overnight. It is, after all, a slow process and is not even sure to happen in every case.

My thoughts on this? Again, don’t these researchers have anything better to study? Not that I am belittling the fact that coffee just might give people with larger than usual mammary glands a respite (if they wanted one, in the first place). It’s just that there are so many other things that they could focus on, like how coffee affects heart health. Still, I suppose, this kind of news will attract a lot of readers. In any case, I shall not stop drinking my daily cups of joe.

Do Libraries Need A Makeover?

Apparently, the Secretary of State for Culture of the United Kingdom thinks so. Andy Burnham, is spearheading a government proposal which will allow radical changes to the activities that can be held in the library. I don’t know if you have been to the library in a long time, but I am sure that you still remember certain things about it. Quiet, serene, and clean – those are some of the most common adjectives associated with the library.

Burnham’s proposal, if approved, would allow coffee franchises and other shops to be located in libraries. The re-examination of noise policies are also to be reviewed. The Independent has this story:

Under the proposals, libraries could install coffee franchises, book shops and film centres. Noise bans will also be reviewed. Mr Burnham will tell the Public Library Authorities conference in Liverpool that libraries must “look beyond the bookcase and not sleepwalk into the era of the e-book”.

“The popular public image of libraries as solemn and sombre places, patrolled by fearsome and formidable staff is decades out of date, but is nonetheless taken for granted by too many people,” he will say, adding that the sector would have to “think radical” to modernise. English libraries attract 288 million visitors a year but book borrowings have fallen by 34 per cent in the past decade and 40 libraries closed across Britain last year. The Society of Chief Librarians has warned libraries that they will die out unless they diversify.

This proposal is receiving mixed reviews. Naturally, purists feel that the developments will violate the whole idea of a library. On the other hand, I think that this could be a good thing to revive interest in libraries. After all, coffee and books go well together, right?

New Technology For A Perfect Cup Of Brewed Coffee

I have always perceived myself as a simple person. Even when it comes to coffee, I do not really pay that much attention to the technicalities – temperature, timing, and so on. All I know is that if a cup of coffee tastes good to me, then I am happy.

Purists would certainly scoff at my attitude but I am sure that they would be happy to know that there is new technology that has been developed to enable average people to brew coffee perfectly. Dubbed the ExtractMoJo(TM), the technology “combines a sophisticated coffee analytics software application and a specially designed, hand-held digital refractometer that enables users to quickly and simply calibrate their existing equipment to brew coffee that meets high quality, internationally recognized Gold Cup standards with cup-to-cup consistency.”

This was developed by the George Howell Coffee Company and free trial software is available at So basically, you still need brewing equipment. The product is merely a tool to help you calibrate what existing equipment that you have.

ExtractMoJo includes the ability to design, save, chart, print and recall unlimited coffee brewing recipes. ExtractMoJo improves coffee quality dramatically, allowing users to keep extraction and strength to the desired ranges, for consistently great tasting coffee without the guesswork and limitations of former techniques.

I guess that’s me – the guesswork part, that is. I do not know if I would be able to use this software. Perhaps those who operate cafes and restaurants might find better use for it than I would. Would you buy this software?

National Darkroast Day

When I read this e-mail in my inbox about National Darkroast Day, I initially thought that it was about some festival or celebration about coffee. I was wrong. It was actually a promotional e-mail about a new novel by August Adams.

So what is National Darkroast Day about? The synopsis of the book reads:

At the turn of the 21st century, the CEO of Darkroast Coffee—America’s largest and most popular corporation—launches a major holiday called National Darkroast Day. The holiday is supposed to be a national celebration complete with baristas, festivities, free coffee, and an entertaining Moon Laser Show. Secretly, National Darkroast Day is an evil plot to take over and destroy the entire country. A group of heroes must race against the clock to stop the CEO and save America. In doing so, these heroes unravel a blockbuster secret about Darkroast’s CEO and company origins—a secret that makes their battle a death-defying showdown against the ultimate enemy.

I have not gotten a copy of the book so I have not read the whole thing but reading the synopsis, it made me think of Starbucks for some reason. Now I am not saying that Starbucks is an evil empire trying to take over and destroy any country but the words “largest” and “most popular” seem to fit, don’t you think?

I went through some reviews at Amazon and it seems that people who have read the novel enjoyed it. If you like coffee and you would like an entertaining read, this novel just might do it for you.

Do You Know McDonald’s Is Serving Lattes?

Have you seen the latest McCafe commercials? I honestly think they’re ok. Apparently, though, some people think otherwise. They have taken offense at the commercials – supposedly, the commercials are treating people like “idiots.” I can see where this kind of thinking is coming from but I can also see why the ads were made that way. Take a look at one of them.

Anyway, going back to the rationale behind the ads. We have to admit, some people go to Starbucks and hang out there but they didn’t really like coffee in the first place. They have become victim to the coffee culture and Starbucks is the place to be when it comes to coffee. I can name countless people who claim to be Starbucks fans but never really drank coffee before Starbucks became “in.”

So, are people who go to Starbucks better than others? Perhaps. Then again, perhaps not. I think it is a matter of really liking the coffee. So wherever you get your coffee from, it should not really matter as long as you actually go for the drink and not for anything else. What say you?

Dunkin’ Donuts Ups The Pressure

The competition in the coffee market has never been this fierce. It used to be that there were only a handful of choices. With the coffee culture spreading like wildfire all across the United States, more and more shops – and gigantic chains – have been set up. The ever trustworthy Dunkin’ Donuts coffee is now facing tough competitors. That is not to say that they do not have their faithful followers behind them. Still, coffee sales probably have suffered because of the market.

So what is their strategy now? Bizjournal reports:

Dunkin’ Donuts will begin selling small lattes for 99 cents during the afternoon beginning today. It’s part of a campaign to lure consumers into a late-day coffee break that won’t set them back a big chunk of change.

The lattes will be sold at the discount price Monday through Friday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. The company is also selling an egg and cheese sandwich for 99 cents with the purchase of a medium or larger hot coffee. The sandwich typically sells for about $2. The promotion runs through Nov. 11.

You can’t beat 99 cents for a cup of coffee, can you? And it’s not like Dunkin’ Donuts’ coffee is bad – their coffee is actually quite good! How about the timing? Well, perhaps not too many people drink coffee in the late afternoon and it is a slow time for them. I don’t understand, though, I can drink coffee any time of the day. ;) I would certainly take them up on their offer!