Tuesday, April 30, 2013

125 Years of SD Bell's in Belfast

Thanks to the good people over at Tea Magazine for writing a review of the S.D. Bell commemorative book, Creating A Stir. This book chronicles the 125-year history of S.D. Bell & Co., from its humble Belfast beginnings in 1887 through wars, rationing, good times and bad to the thriving business and cafe today!

Best International Tea helped S.D. Bell expand in 2010 when it began importing the company's premium tea, coffee and chocolate, making them available for the first time in North America.

Please check out the Tea Magazine review, written by Dan Bolton, by clicking this link.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Is Your Morning Coffee the Best in Can Be?

I've always been lousy at making my own pot of coffee and wasn't sure how to improve - until now. Enter this handy ABC news interview with Major Cohen of Starbucks, who has more than 18 years of experience in the business.Cohen says for the ideal morning coffee, one does need to take it seriously and measure both coffee and water carefully.

Here are the five most common mistakes to avoid when making coffee and a bit on how to fix them. Check out the full article for more details on each of them.

1. Using unfiltered/tap water: A cup of coffee is 98% water - if your tap water tastes bad from the faucet, so will your coffee. Also consider temperature settings on your coffee maker if possible If coffee is not brewed at a high enough temperature it won't taste too good either.

2.Storing beans in the freezer: Coffee should be stored in a cool, dry place and definitely not exposed to the moisture in the freezer. Think about how the moisture condenses on the beans as you take them in and out of such an extreme cold environment.

3. Not using enough coffee per cup: Chances are you aren't using nearly enough coffee in your filter. The general rule should be two rounded tablespoons per six ounce cup of brewed coffee.If you like a weaker cup, brew it at full strength and dilute after with more hot water.

4. Using too much coffee: Conversely, using extra coffee isn't the solution to make a powerful cup or wake you up faster. While extra coffee does make a stronger cup it also makes a much more bitter an unbalanced cup. No good!

5. Using the wrong grind: Various brewing methods from the French press to espresso machine to your standard Mr. Coffee, all require different grinds. Follow the instructions on your device and grind your beans to the recommended texture.

And of course for the absolute best morning cup we recommend our SD Bell & Co. premium imported coffee! Try a bag today.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Health Benefits of Coffee vs. Tea

As purveyors of both fine tea and coffee, we see the merits in each of the beverages and partake in both regularly. We also love a good infographic so when we found this one detailing the relative benefits of coffee versus tea, we were pretty excited. This particular chart is great because it doesn't so much pit the two beverages against each other, but rather is extols the virtues and limited drawbacks of each. It offers fun facts, health benefits and caffeine content in various forms and brewing methods of both tea and coffee.
We think there's room for both drinks in a healthy diet, but if you currently have a health condition or are trying to ward one off, this chart also helps you see which of the two might be better for you.

For credit, we found the infographic here on Lifehacker. They grabbed it from Killer Infographics.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Coffee Terminology Trivia

Since Best International Tea has announced our line of premium coffees, I thought I'd keep with the coffee trend and share some "trivia" that will make for good conversation at your next dinner party or trip to the coffeehouse. Thanks to our friends at SD Bell for this great section of their book, "Creating a Stir,"  here's the backstor that you may not have known on some common terminology and brewing techniques:

Percolator: This describes a brewing method in which water is repeatedly boiled through a perforated chamber within a large pot, invented in 1865. Contrary to common misuse, it does not refer to the processes of filtering or plunging.

The Coffee Filter: In 1908, Melitta Bentz invented the coffee filter in Germany. She experimented using her son's school blotting paper to separate the coffee solids (grounds) from the liquid, ultimately inventing the method most of us use on a daily basis ... that is until the Keurig came around!

Cowboy Pot: This was the method of brewing for wild west cowboys in the late 1800s - Pour a good amount of coarsely ground coffee in a tin pot, fill with water and heat over the campfire until simmering.

Instant Coffee: The first instant coffee was invented by Japanese-American chemist Satori Kato in Chicago in 1901. It was later improved upon by English chemist George Constant Washington in 1906 using dried coffee left in his carafe. Instant coffee as we know it today was created in 1938 when American troops in Europe called for caffeine during World War II.

Cafe Americano: This is another coffee that has its origins in World War II. When American GI's were making their way through Italy, they found the traditional Italian straight espresso to be too strong. Baristas helped them out - and also teased them - by adding boiling water to their espresso and naming it an Americano.

Cafetiere: Often known as the plunger part of a French Press, which creates a popular cup of coffee. This method allows the coffee gronds to infuse in hot water before being separated by the plunging down of a gauze disk.