When I woke up this morning, some of my first thoughts were centered around the coffee bean; how beautifully brown it is, and how when toasted, freshly ground, and brewed, miracles happen. Yes miracles…. when freshly brewed coffee touches my lips, I somehow instantly go from being the human version of the “lil engine that could” to what singer R. Kelly described as ” being able to fly”. Each slurp and sip brings me into closer communion with GOD. Clarity comes in each and every swallow, and its in those moments that I feel my very best, … thus I think my most inspiring thoughts. A little deep I bet… but true. I am a loyal devotee to this thing called “java”, and I make no apologies. We found each other during my sleepless nights of culinary school, while bathed in moonlight I memorized terminology, and culinary formulas. It was coffee that was there with me, while everyone else slept sound in their bunks. In those moments, we had each other only. Our relationship began as a one sided situation; me using the coffee to help encourage my eyelids to stay open. That was primary…. But in the process of my using coffee, I fell in love with its flavor, its aroma, and color. She was my night nurse ** insert Beres Hammond here** It was then that I realized the coffee needed me just as much as I needed it. I found that it needed to be sipped, to be wooed, bl0wn on and teased. She and I made our love an exclusive one, and we were both better for it. I know you must think that I’ve gone way too far, gone way too deep. But my love is real, it’ s us against the world.
There are just as many arguments against the coffee bean as there are for it ( Trust me I wont harp on the cons) . Lets just start with the fact that coffee is cherished the world over. Its claim to fame begins with rich soil, in some of the warmest (tropical climates) climates and highest altitudes. It is here where the beauty of the bean is cultivated. My beloved bean is purported to be great to fight against depression (because of its mood altering effects), it is also believed to help the liver regulate itself, and may actually make you smarter ( temporarily improves your general cognition -which includes your reaction time, and logical reasoning). Time Magazine cites coffee as having the power to fight Alzheimers disease, decrease the risk of heart failure, ward off skin cancer, and believe it or not reduce the risk of diabetes. Thats all before you load it down with cream, sugar, syrup, Splenda, and anything else that may mask its glory. She .. the inhuman bean is rich in antioxidants, and bioactive compounds that assist coffee in being one of the most widely consumed beverages worldwide. So although the cons include discoloration of the teeth, increased risk of stroke (with daily consumption of more than 4 cups), and the risk of osteoporosis (because coffee is a diuretic and causes you to purge calcium through the urine), the pros outweigh the cons by far. But balance is key. As is with all good things . Whether you are in Ethiopia, Chile, Jamaica, or Ecuador, enjoy a cup of her loveliness while welcoming all good things into your day ( or late nights). Purchase a cup or bag of Starbucks ,Godiva, Illy, Cafe Bustelo or the like and join me in my praise of one of earths most coveted beverages. Heres a recipe from the Vegetarian Times for coffee lovers, who like me, are so so caught up with the coffee bean.
Chef Will Hall
Chocolate Ganache Truffles
Makes 25 truffles
- 5 oz. dark or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 3 oz. milk chocolate, chopped
- 7 Tbs. heavy cream
- 1 Tbs. light corn syrup
- 2 tsp. instant coffee granules
- 2 Tbs. whiskey or liqueur, such as Grand Marnier or Kahlúa, optional
- Confectioners’ sugar
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
1. Combine dark chocolate and milk chocolate in large heat-proof bowl.
2. Combine cream and corn syrup in medium saucepan, and bring to a rolling boil over medium heat. Remove from heat, and stir in coffee granules until dissolved. Pour hot cream mixture over chocolate, and stir gently until all chocolate pieces have melted. Let stand 20 to 30 minutes.
3. Add whiskey, if using, and stir 1 to 2 minutes with spatula or wooden spoon until chocolate mixture begins to thicken. Cover, and refrigerate 4 hours, or overnight.
4. Fill small plate with confectioners’ sugar, fill small bowl with cocoa powder, and line baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.
5. Dip hands in confectioners’ sugar. Roll small lump of chocolate mixture into 1-inch ball, then roll in cocoa powder. Place truffle on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining chocolate mixture, dusting hands with confectioners’ sugar to keep truffles from sticking. Refrigerate truffles until ready to serve.
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