About Café au lait, A French Coffee Drink

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Café au lait is a French coffee drink. The meaning of the term differs between Europe and the United States; in both cases it means some kind of coffee with hot milk added, in contrast to white coffee, which is coffee with room temperature milk or other whitener added.

In Europe, "café au lait" stems from the same continental tradition as "café con leche" in Spain, "kawa biała" ("white coffee") in Poland, "Milchkaffee" ("milk coffee") in Germany, "koffie verkeerd" ("wrong coffee") in The Netherlands, and "café com leite" ("coffee with milk") in Portugal. In northern Europe, café au lait is the name most often used in coffee shops.

At home, café au lait can be prepared from dark coffee and heated milk; in cafés, it has been prepared on espresso machines from espresso and steamed milk ever since these machines became available in the 1940s – thus it refers to the usual "coffee + milk" combination, depending on the location, not to a specific drink.

"Café au lait" and "caffè latte" are used as contrasting terms, to indicate whether the beverage is served in the "French" or the "Italian" way – the former being in a white porcelain cup or bowl, the latter in a kitchen glass and always made from an espresso machine, whereas "Café au lait" might be espresso or dark coffee based.

In many American coffeehouses, a "café au lait" is a drink of strong drip brewed or French pressed coffee, to which steamed milk is added; this contrasts with a "caffè latte", which uses espresso as a base. American café au lait is generally served in a cup, as with brewed coffee, being served in a bowl only at shops which wish to emphasize French tradition. The term misto (literally, "mixed") is also used to refer to a café au lait, most notably by Starbucks.

Café au lait in New Orleans has been popularized in part by Café du Monde. There, it is made with milk and coffee mixed with chicory, giving it a strong, bitter taste. Unlike the European café style, a New Orleans style Café au lait is not made with steamed milk. Instead, the milk is warmed over heat to just below boiling. Inclusion of roasted chicory root as an extender in coffee became common in colonial Louisiana, and eventually was incorporated in its local variant of the French-style coffee drink. The bitterness of the chicory offsets the sweetness of the powdered-sugar-covered beignets, a common accompaniment. [source : Café au lait]

Café Cubano : The Traditional Cuban-style Espresso

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Café Cubano ( Cuban coffeeCuban espressocafecitoCuban pullCuban shot) is a type of espresso which originated in Cuba after espresso machines were first imported there from Italy. Specifically, it refers to an espresso shot which is sweetened with demerara sugar as it is being brewed, but the name covers other drinks that use Cuban espresso as their base.

Traditional Cuban-style espresso is made by adding demerara sugar to the container into which the espresso will drip, allowing the espresso to mix with the sugar as it is brewed – compare Vietnamese coffee preparation. Some people believe that this results in a smooth, sweet espresso.

A method commonly used to prepare a café cubano is to initially add only the first few drops of espresso to the sugar and mix vigorously. This results in a creamy, light brown paste. The remaining espresso is then added to this paste and mixed, creating a light brown foam layer, or espumita, atop the coffee. A proper cafecito can be made using either an espresso machine or an Italian moka potmacchinetta.

The heat from the coffee-making process will hydrolize some of the sucrose, thereby creating a sweeter and different tasting result than adding sugar at the end.

There are several variations of café cubano: Cortadito (espresso topped with steamed milk), Café con Leche (coffee with milk), and ColadaA common variant is that the drink is sweetened while the espresso is being brewed. In this version, the sugar (most often brown sugar) is packed above the coffee grounds in the espresso machine and allowed to pass with the hot water through the espresso puck while brewing.

It is common for Cubans to drink café cubano first thing in the morning, after meals and sometimes as a social and cultural activity. Whether someone comes to visit your home, or a chance meeting on the street, following the initial "hello," an offer is always extended to have a "café."

Gourmet Cuban restaurants will serve a patron a glass of water to cleanse the palate before drinking the espresso, although some Cubans think the water is to dilute the café once it hits your digestive system. For purist coffee drinkers, drinking water after the espresso brands one as a non-appreciative espresso drinker. In some circles, an acceptable end to a Cuban espresso is to lightly dunk the tip of a Cuban cigar in the bottom of the demitasse and then light it up. [source : Cuban Espresso]


Vietnamese Coffee : A Unique Iced Coffee Tradition

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Coffee was introduced into Vietnam by French colonists in the late 19th century. Vietnam quickly became a strong exporter of coffee with many plantations in the central highlands. The beverage was adopted with regional variations. Because of limitations on the availability of fresh milk, the French and Vietnamese began to use sweetened condensed milk with a dark roast coffee.

Vietnamese iced coffee, also known as Ca phe da or cafe da (Vietnamese: cà phê đá, literally "coffee ice") is a traditional Vietnamese coffee recipe.

"Vietnamese iced coffee with milk", also known as ca phe sua da or cà phê sữa đá It is also called ca phe nau da (Vietnamese: cà phê nâu đá, "iced brown coffee") in northern Vietnam.

At its simplest, Ca phe da is made with finely ground Vietnamese-grown dark roast coffee individually brewed with a small metal French drip filter (cà phê phin) into a cup containing about a quarter to a half as much sweetened condensed milk, stirred and poured over ice.

In the USA, Vietnamese-style coffee is sometimes confused with that brewed in Louisiana with French roast coffee with chicory. Vietnamese immigrants who came to the state in the late 20th century adopted New Orleans-style coffee because they were unable to get Vietnamese-grown coffee. The French roast style popular in Louisiana was similar to Vietnamese coffee in its relatively coarse grind; therefore it made an excellent substitute for traditional brewing in the single-serving filter/brewer. In Vietnam, however, locally produced coffees are characterized by medium roast and seldom contain chicory. [source : Vietnamese Coffee]

Discover A New Coffee Flavor Through Coffee Blends

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A coffee blend refers to the combination of two or more types of coffee or flavorings as a single brew. This combination of flavors helps to give the coffee a more complex taste, as well as allowing individuals or restaurants to create their own signature blend. Blends can include various types of coffee beans, flavors, or even non-coffee additions that are added directly into the mixture.

There are two kinds of coffee bean, each with its own distinct characteristics. Arabica beans are grown at high altitudes and are the highest quality bean. They have a smooth caramel aftertaste and a rich aroma that has become characteristic with fine coffee. Robusta beans, by comparison, are grown at lower altitudes and have a much stronger flavor. This bean is generally used in making instant coffee and lower grade commercial coffees. Some coffee blends may combine both beans in the same brew to take advantage of both unique flavors.

The type of beans used is not the only factor in choosing a coffee blend's flavor. Various types of roasting methods produce very different flavors and aromas. American roast, for example, is a medium roast that has a mild flavor. French roasted beans are heavily roasted and have a very strong flavor. Often beans that have been roasted differently are combined to create a unique coffee blend.

Various other flavorings and ingredients can also be combined with the beans to create more coffee blend options. Often vanilla, cinnamon, or hazelnut will be added to give a hint of their unique flavors to the brew. Milk, either as a creamer or frothed, is also commonly added to create common coffee drinks found in cafes the world over.

Make a coffee blend at home by experimenting with various flavors and spices. This can include creamers and milks, as well as seasonings found in the pantry. Nutmeg, cinnamon, and caramel are all common additions to coffee beverages. The possibilities are endless with just a little imagination. 

Coffee beans can also be roasted or brewed together with flavorings, like vanilla, to create virtually limitless coffee blend varieties. When roasted with these flavors, the bean itself takes on a slight hint of the ingredient. This allows one to discover which flavors combine the best, as well as how to create the perfect strength.

Creating a new coffee blend is a great way to suit just about any taste, as well as to create a brand for a restaurant or café. Many chains have crafted a taste so unique, it has become the trademark of that business. Anyone can do this for themselves with a little patience and a willingness to experiment. [source : Coffee Blends]

Ethiopian Coffee: The Beginning of All The Story of Coffees

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The story of coffee has its beginnings in Ethiopia, the original home of the coffee plant, coffee arabica,which still grows wild in the forest of the highlands. While nobody is sure exactly how coffee was originally discovered as a beverage, it is believed that its cultivation and use began as early as the 9th century. Some authorities claim that it was cultivated in the Yemen earlier, around AD 575. The only thing that seems certain is that it originated in Ethiopia, from where it traveled to the Yemen about 600 years ago, and from Arabia it began its journey around the world.

Ethiopia produces some of the most unique and fascinating coffees in the world.  The three main regions where Ethiopia coffee beans originate are Harrar, Ghimbi, and Sidamo (Yirgacheffe).

Ethiopian Harrar coffee beans are grown on small farms in the eastern part of the country. They are dry-processed and are labeled as longberry (large), shortberry (smaller), or Mocha (peaberry).  Ethiopian Harrar coffee can have a strong dry edge, winy to fruit like acidity, rich aroma, and a heavy body.  In the best Harrar coffees, one can observe an intense aroma of blueberries or blackberries.  Ethiopian Harrar coffee is often used in espresso blends to capture the fine aromatics in the crema.

Washed coffees of Ethiopia include Ghimbi and Yirgacheffe.  Ghimbi coffee beans are grown in the western parts of the country and are more balanced, heavier, and has a longer lasting body than the Harrars.

The Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee bean is the most favored coffee grown in southern Ethiopia. It is more mild, fruitlike, and aromatic. Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee may also be labeled as Sidamo, which is the district where it is produced. [source : Ethiopian Coffee]

The History and Technological Development of Coffee Vending Machines

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vending machine is a machine that provides snacks, beverages, newspapers, magazines, lottery tickets, gold, and other products to consumers without a cashier. Items sold via these machines vary by country and region.

The first recorded reference to a vending machine is found in the work of Hero of Alexandria, a first-century engineer and mathematician. His machine accepted a coin and then dispensed a fixed amount of holy water. When the coin was deposited, it fell upon a pan attached to a lever. The lever opened up a valve which let some water flow out. The pan continued to tilt with the weight of the coin until it fell off, at which point a counter-weight would snap the lever back up and turn off the valve.

Despite this early precedent, vending machines had to wait for the Industrial Age before they came to prominence. The first modern coin-operated vending machines were introduced in London, England in the early 1880s, dispensing post cards. The first vending machine in the U.S. was built in 1888 by the Thomas Adams Gum Company, selling gum on train platforms. The idea of adding simple games to these machines as a further incentive to buy came in 1897 when the Pulver Manufacturing Company added small figures, which would move around whenever somebody bought some gum from their machines. This simple idea spawned a whole new type of mechanical device known as the "trade stimulators". The birth of slot machines and pinball is ultimately rooted in these early devices.

The coffee vending machine technology has certainly encountered significant advancements in the past few years. As office businesses continue to grow from time to time, a lot of companies are offering their employees the comfort of using coffee vending machines in their premises. In line with these, many vending machine companies are exploring ways for the technology to be more efficient.

In the past years, vending machines were often considered as flawed due to weak kinds of drinks and lack of choices. However, with the technological advancements, vending machines now utilise tools to ensure that cups are loaded with the right quantity of coffee. Coffee dispensers nowadays also come in a wider variety of sizes and are in fact more cost-effective. In addition, modern units are available in different designs and features, with added tools for people to experience more comfort and convenience with every purchase.

Technological developments in coffee vending machines have also directed a broader selection of drinks available. These drinks range from fair-trade coffee, green teas, and hot chocolates. It is also usual for some machines to offer a variety of cold drinks such as filtered water and fruit juices. To cope with the improvements in the society, there are also hybrid types that are available in the market. This innovation offers the best quality caffeine drinks as well as a richer selection of teas and hot chocolates. Accordingly, since these advanced dispensers are more complicated in terms of function and mechanical details, they require more cleaning and maintenance than the ones in the past. [source : Coffee Vending Machines]