Premium Organic Peruvian Coffee

By Elizabetta Tekeste

Recently, I find myself in the mood to re-read one of my favorite novels, The Celestine Prophecy. So it seems fitting this week to highlight the backdrop for this incredible novel and its coffee. Grab your passports-we're taking a trip to plentiful Peru.

Peru is bordered by five South American countries, including; Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia and Chile. Not to mention a body of water known as the Pacific Ocean. Its unique positioning creates an environment that is ideal for superior cherries but the vast majority of Peruvian coffee exported to the Free World is, by and far inferior.

Don't get mad at the farmers- it's not entirely their fault. Theirs is a market economy where prices are determined by the supply and demand of goods and services. As the world demands more coffee, Peru quickly reacts and increases production of primarily poor quality beans. The surplus of poor quality beans in the market sends prices plummeting. The reduced market price per pound of coffee removes the incentive for farmers who prefer to produce premium, organic coffee.

It's a vicious circle at best.

The result at most Peruvian cuppings is lack of favorable characteristics. But when it's good, it's really good and definitely worth the money. The beans are Arabica, the altitude unmatched. So if you love coffee AND Peru- let your dollars do the talking.

This week, I'm on the hunt to support premium organic Peruvian coffee to drink while I re-read The Celestine Prophecy. What are you drinking?

Until next week, breathe well and be well!

Tea is Caffeine-Free, Right?

By Elizabetta Tekeste

This week I'm taking a departure from coffee to clarify a myth about caffeine in tea.

Here are the facts:

1) All teas come from one source, the Camellia Sinensis plant. The drink is a product of the leaves, buds and internodes of the plant.

2) The stimulant known as caffeine is present in the plant and as a result in all "tea" beverages.

The plant derives varieties of tea that include but are not limited to; white, yellow, green, oolong and black.

It's a popular source of caffeine. After water, tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world. So don't be disillusioned by it's delicate nature, it can be potent. If you wish to reduce your caffeine intake then tisanes and herbal infusions are what you're looking for.

Tisanes and herbal infusions may be fruit forward, chocolaty, herbaceous, floral and anything else you want them to be because they are simply a blend of flowers, fruits, herbs, chocolate and whatever else your heart desires. There is no shortage of combinations and flavor profiles at your local grocers or you can create your own at home - here is one of mine!

Now we're clear right?

Until next week, breathe well and be well!

Who Is Juan Valdez?

Coffee By Elizabetta Tekeste

That was the first question I had when I wanted to learn more about Colombian coffee. After all, the trademark logo of the handsome man, his mule Conchita and the Colombian mountains is recognized by tens of millions of people.

To my surprise- this is fictional character, the brainchild of a Manhattan ad agency. Mr. Valdez is officially the logo for the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia, a cooperative entirely owned and controlled by Colombia's 500,000 coffee farmers.

But what makes it special enough to have it's own icon distinguishing it as 100%-Colombian coffee?

In short, it's bright with great body. A description also suitable for a certain famous Colombian singer.

Colombia has been producing coffee for hundreds of years- you see the benefit of that experience in their micro-lots where exceptional batches are produced and picked with expertise. The European Union has granted protected designation to Colombia's coffee, recognizing its unmistakable quality.

The bean is the Arabica bean and seems to have reached Colombia by way of a traveler from Guyana who passed through Venezuela on route.

Today Colombia produces nearly 9 million bags of coffee a year so one individual really can make an impact!

Until next week, breathe well and be well!

I Love Cortadito

By Elizabetta Tekeste

There lies an island North of Jamaica and South of the US that's religious about their coffee. It's consumed first thing every morning, after every meal and when socializing.

Their best coffee beans come from the Sierra Maestra Mountains. Carefully cultivated, shade grown and sun dried to yield full-bodied coffee. The current embargo makes it challenging (less challenging if you're in Miami) to obtain authentic coffee beans from this part of the world. Have you guessed the country yet? Here is your last clue: the land is fertile and the people are warm.

If you guessed Cuba- you are correct!

Over the past 200 years Cuba has perfected the savior fair of producing, roasting, brewing and savoring coffee. Their premium beans have a distinct earthy and smoky flavor profile. And although you won't find their beans at your local grocers- living in America doesn't mean you are deprived of this experience in its entirety. Cuba's coffee culture is more famous than their coffee that's why coffee houses around the world serve cafe Cubano: an Italian style espresso sweetened with demerara sugar as it's being extracted. A sweet beginning, middle and end to your day- I think they are on to something here!

I'm partial to another Cuban style coffee, the cortadito; presweetened espresso "cut" with steamed milk. The ratio is 1:1 - 1:2 depending on preference. It hits the spot at four o'clock!

In Cuba, an offering of coffee is an extension of greeting and hospitality. It's considered rude to decline and equally rude to not offer coffee. The same is true in many countries including Ethiopia and Eritrea. Quite civilized behavior for so called "developing countries" no?

Until next week, breathe well and be well!

Panama, Producer Of The $8 Cup of Coffee

By Elizabetta Tekeste

In the fall of 2009 I tasted the best cup of coffee I've had to date. It was courtesy of a small country in Central America know as the Republic of Panama and it was nearly $100 a pound. I distinctly remember the clean, smooth and fruit forward characteristics of this maybe once-in-a-lifetime cup.

The lot was the Esmeralda Special, named after the region in Western Panama it hails from, Esmeralda Jaramillo Mountains. The bean is Arabica, a strain of the Ethiopian Gesha. It was brought to Central America nearly 50 years ago.

Although young, in the coffee world this coffee is the equivalent of Lady Gaga in pop music. A true star- it set its first record on the 29th June 2004 when it traded for $21 per pound. Two years later (30th May 2006) it sold for $50.25 a pound and the following year (29th May 2007) it sold for an earth shattering $130 per pound!

That's more than a barrel of oil! As I'm researching where to invest for my future and retirement I realize that people may not always buy that iPad...but they'll always buy that cup of coffee!

Until next week, breathe well and be well!