Coffee may be the most popular beverage in the world. Recent statistics indicate that over 50% of the American population are coffee drinkers and this number would more than likely hold true in many other countries as well. This more than any thing else helps to explain why there is such a wide range of coffee makers available for purchase today.

With such a diverse range of coffee machines, there is more choice for the coffee drinking public than ever before. Main stream popular styles include the Automatic and Manual Drip, Pod, Automatic Espresso, French Press, Percolator, Stovetop Espresso and the Vacuum. Each one of these styles has some unique characteristic that are sure to appeal to a certain segment of the coffee drinking public.

Automatic and Manual Drip Coffee Machines

The most popular style of coffee maker continues to be the automatic drip coffee maker. The basic design is very simple and efficient. Add fresh water to the built-in reservoir, insert a filter in to the handy filter holder, measure your favorite coffee grounds and pour into the filter and then press the start button. Within minutes your senses are excited by the smell of freshly brewed hot coffee! Most models also have a built-in timer and a pot warmer included so that you can set your coffee to brew and be ready at any hour of the day or night, and kept constantly warm as well.

Manual drip coffee brewers do take a bit more work since you need to boil the water using another heat source, but after that it is basically the same coffee making process of putting coffee grounds in the filter and pouring the hot water through the filter so that the coffee liquid is collected in the pot or container below. One great advantage of the manual drip coffee machine is that is can go most any where with you as it is not dependent upon having electricity to operate so it is great for camping and other outdoor activities.

Pod Coffee Machines

These are becoming very trendy and popular in recent years. Working similar to the automatic drip machines, they feature the ability to use pre-packaged containers or pods of specialty coffees to brew great tasting coffee. With many reputable coffee chains such as Starbucks now selling their most popular coffee blends in the pod format, consumers can get the same tasting cup of specialty coffee at home that they had to go out and purchase before at a much higher price.

Automatic Espresso Coffee Brewer

Espresso coffee makers have become much more affordable in recent years and because of this, they are gaining in popularity amongst serious coffee drinkers wanting something more than just a normal cup of coffee. There are currently three types of espresso coffee brewers to choose from, namely semi automatic, fully automatic, and super automatic. As a rule, the more automatic the espresso maker is, the less you need to do to brew your coffee, but unfortunately the more expensive it is to purchase. For example, where a semi-automatic model will tamp the coffee grounds, brew the coffee, fill your cup and eject the old grounds, an entirely automatic model will also grind the coffee for you as well, and the super automatic espresso coffee maker will do all of the above plus having additional features such as built-in water filters and self-cleaning.

Stovetop Espresso Coffee Maker

The stovetop espresso coffee brewers are basically a manual method for preparing espresso coffee when you do not have access to an automatic version or an electrical source of energy. This makes it an ideal coffee maker for taking outdoors on camping or fishing trips if you feel the need to make an espresso cup of coffee. First water is placed inside the underside boiler and then a cone filter is situated inside the boiler and filled with coffee grounds. Next the top is lightly tightened and the brewer is place over the heat source. After a few minutes, once the top of the boiler is filled with the freshly brewed coffee it is removed from the heat supply and the coffee is ready to be served. Here again, the absence of any warming feature means the coffee has to be served immediately.

French Press Coffee Maker

Also known as “press pots” or “plunger pots”, the French Press coffee makers are not as common as they once were. Preparing coffee is more work than it would be using any of the coffee makers already discussed as it is a manual coffee machine. The pot is actually a glass or porcelain tube consisted of a stainless, mesh plunger that acts like a filter. To make the coffee you must first measure the coffee grounds into the pot, then pour in almost boiling water. After allowing the coffee mixture to steep for a few minutes, the plunger is then pushed downwards and the liquid beverage is forced into the waiting cup or container. As there is no built-in heating plate or element beneath the coffee container, you must serve the coffee beverage immediately or place it into an insulated container to keep it hot for later.

Percolator Coffee Maker

At one time percolator coffee makers were the standard type of coffee brewers in most households, a role now held by the automatic drip machines. Although not as popular today, they still have their place when a coffee maker is required that can brew large volumes of coffee rather than the 10-14 cup limit or less in most other popular coffee machines sold these days. Modern percolators are available as stove top models and electric and can be programmed like other automatic coffee machines. The coffee making process is based on running water continuously over the coffee grounds, held within a metal filter, as the water is boiled. One drawback of this method is that the coffee often gets stronger and more bitter tasting the longer it goes through the brewing cycle.

Vacuum Coffee Maker

Perhaps the strangest looking type of coffee machine is the vacuum coffee maker. Looking like something from a science fiction movie, the apparatus is made up of two overlapping containers connect by a siphon tube. The filter is located in the bottom section of the upper container. To brew coffee, the user first adds coffee grounds to the upper container, then pours water into the lower container. Next the brewer is placed on top of a stove where the water is then boiled and the resulting steam is passed along through the siphon tube into the upper container. After about 3 minutes the container is removed from the heat source and the steam condenses back into liquid water which is forced through the filter and back into the lower unit. Your fresh pot of coffee is now sitting in the lower unit. An interesting way to brew a cup or pot of coffee!

Needless to say, coffee lovers can select from a wide variety of coffee makers. From cheap stove top coffee pots to high end super automatic coffee machines, there is a coffee machine for every inclination as well as for every budget. Fantastic news! Now here is the unpleasant news. With all the many coffee machines to choose from today, even knowing the style you favor is not enough. Within each of the coffee maker styles noted above there are numerous different brand names and models to choose from.

Fortunately the Internet gives you a quick and really helpful way to unearth what’s presently accessible at what price. With a bit of time and investigating it’s also possible to weed out the junk from the best coffee makers. Merely go online and visit some coffee maker review websites. Please keep in mind that all coffee brewer review websites usually are not created equal, so you must take what you read with caution. For myself I’d look for coffee review sites where the reviewers include independent test data together with buyer feedback to provide unbiased and truthful information about the coffee makers being reviewed and rated.

Have you secretly longed to be recognized for your daily hard work in the kitchen? Do you imagine yourself a gifted cook a la Martha Stewart (without the ankle bracelet)? Well, guess what? There is a quick and easy way to showcase your culinary skills and display your special recipes. (more…)

It is well said that 2 is company and 3 is crowd. However, I do not think so. In fact, after 2 it is a group. That’s right. Once you are a group or a clan, everything falls your way. It is an immense pleasure and fun to be a part of a big clan with all the members sharing the common interest and passion towards the sports being offered at the Singapore bars. Being a couch potato at home, sitting before the idiot box and watching your favorite match series is only one side of the world. You ought to get out of your couch and visit the sports bars in Singapore. Only then can you understand the fun of watching the matches together. (more…)

When you want to get the best of your coffee then you should know about the different blends of coffee. You should also understand about acidity, aroma, bitterness, and nuttiness. Knowing these differences will make a big difference about how you pick your coffee.

There are many different types of coffee from all over the world. Coffee tastes differently from each of the different countries. Some of the most well known coffees are from Columbia, Mexico, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mauna Loa, Europe, and Italy. (more…)

Careers in the culinary arts go beyond basic cooking. There are a variety of specialized chefs that focus on anything from sauces to deserts. In bigger establishments there are chefs whose duties almost exclusively involve the management of other chefs and there can even be chefs who manage them. Here are some of the culinary world careers.

Executive chefs are going to be those chefs at the highest levels and are considered executives. Their main functions are to manage the chefs and preparation workers at a restaurant. They can also advance to be responsible for multiple restaurants in a chain. They are required to plan the menu, estimate food needs and cost plus supervise the staff of chef and other kitchen help. They are also responsible for the hiring and training of new chefs. They still may have some regular cooking duties or may just prepare certain meals and at special functions.

Sous-chefs are also managers but are below executive chefs. They are responsible for the direct supervision of the staff. They also play a hands on role in the training of new techniques, equipment and recipes. They also may be involved in menu planning, food and supply ordering. They are usually still required to prepare the main dishes as well as help in special events.

A saucier is exactly as is sounds, a chef whose main purpose is to prepare sauces and also dished cooked in sauces or gravy. Sauces are a foundational part of cooking so a saucier needs to be very knowledgeable. They need to know everything that has anything to do with the possible permutations and mixtures that go in to creating a fine sauce.

A garde manager, also known as a chef garde manager, is also used to describe a chef that is in charge of all colds foods. Garde is a French term for a pantry where cold dished are stored and prepared, prepared foods such as desserts, salads, sandwiches, dressings, cold sauces and appetizers. They are usually very skilled at using left overs in a creative way to invent new dishes.

A pastry chef may have the most delicious job of all. They have to make a variety of confections and baked items. This may include pastries but also cookies, cakes, chocolates, beignets and petitfours but they can routinely make any desert imaginable. Not only are the very knowledgeable of the flavors and tastes involved in deserts, they can also fill supervisory roles in establishment large enough to a pastry staff.

Upscale establishments the career an extensive wine list will employ sommeliers. Sommeliers are experts in wine and they routinely suggest wine for customers that are complimentary to their meals. While some may think that a job that requires you to consume and judge a ton of wine sound like a dream, it can be difficult work the needs a lot of practice and an abundance of knowledge. There are classes that can be taken that will focus on wine. They will teach you the chemistry that goes into making wine as well as how to properly taste wine. You will also learn how to judge wine based on its aroma, flavor, color and body.

Corn silk may now be associated with a healthy lifestyle and medicinal benefit, but, as an adolescent, my memories of the use of corn silk was as a cigarette alternative. I have been told tales of those people in the Dirty Thirties who regularly rolled this dried corn fibre into cigarette papers, since tobacco was prohibitively expensive. While I do not recommend this practice today, the anecdote illustrates that desperate people use creative tactics to achieve an end. (more…)

Coffee! The eye opening elixir. Coffee! Black, drinkable, the energizing drink that livens our lives. Coffee! A long history from an exotic unknown berry to a massive commodity production, back to exotic again. And what a past this bitter black beverage has had. The dancing goats, to high volume commodity sales, to the near extinction of the finest of quality coffee beans, the art of growing and handling coffee berries has never died. It has only been altered though out time.

Coffee! The eye opening elixir. Coffee! Black, drinkable, the energizing drink that livens our lives. Coffee! A long history from an exotic unknown berry to a massive commodity production, back to exotic again. One must hand it to that little coffee shop from Seattle that now encompasses the globe. They sure did take the world by storm. In one fell swoop that little coffee company took a commodity beverage and cast it back into the exotic drinkable realm where it was born from as well as distorting the beauty of specialty gourmet coffee for future generations. What is now perceived as a quality coffee bean has traveled back to the art of commodity coffee. The competition on the street corner for a drinkable cup of coffee has become fierce. Each brewer says that their brew is the “perfect cup of coffee”. However they all grab from the same commodity level stocks. Of course without these commodity grown stocks coffee would be in greatly diminished supplies. Yes, coffee is in diminished supply. That is the supply of good quality coffee beans had almost vanished over the last couple of decades as corner boutiques converted to the ravishing corner coffee shop.

There is a change! Finally there is a change in the air. The very small boutique coffee shop and coffee roaster is finally allowed the glory of finding high quality coffee beans once again. Small farm and niche green coffee beans are now becoming available to the fair trade coffee market. Quality organic coffee is being selectively grown just for the small independent coffee roasting operations.

Finally we have coffee drinkers who care more and more about the people of the Earth and the planet that we live on. We now have coffee drinkers who care about the survival of coffee farmers and the lands on which the coffee bean is grown. There are specialty coffee drinkers who cherish the survival and health of our mother earth.

Sustainable Organic Fair Trade Coffee is finally becoming a household request. Fair trade is good for the people. Organic coffee is healthier for you as well as giving health back to our planet.

Fair trade coffee provides a fair platform for the whole supply chain of this wonderful drink. Fair trade coffee beans mean fair prices for those who drink it. It may not be the cheapest coffee to buy however for the quality and sustainability the prices are equitable. It also provides better wages and living conditions for those who grow and produce the sought after bean. Fair trade is an agreement between farmers, workers, shippers, and consumers to care about each other and everyone involved. After all that is what community and health is all about.

Foresight by coffee growers proved beneficial. The few that saw a future for renewed exotic demand set course with new direction. Armed with a brighter knowledge these coffee plantations moved away from the distorted massive commodity market left to flounder by that little coffee shop from Seattle. These foresight seers set their sights on a smaller specialty marketplace. This knowledge was that there would be a need for finely grown and carefully cared for coffee beans. They knew that the land was important, that their community was important, and the survival of quality coffee was important. There would be a need for carefully grown, hand selected, artistically roasted, and rushed to the discerning consumers waiting coffee grinder and brewing system coffee. Out of the fair trade coffee supply grew the expertise to market the perfect cup of coffee. Quality fair trade organic coffee beans are available. Still a consumer can find the organic coffee they seek for their cup of coffee at the corner commodity brewer. Astute coffee drinkers find it a poor substitute for the real experience of fine coffee.

Those coffee drinkers with the discerning desire for the perfect bitter tinged elixir must still seek the out of the way roasters to fulfill their needs. They must discover the hidden gems in the coffee roasting world. And, yes, there are those little gems and merchants, imports, roasters, and sellers. And yes there are many who like yourself desire their cup of coffee to stand out as the pure enjoyment of a cup of coffee should be. After all tingling taste buds and allowing your senses to dance around the flavors of coffee is what life is all about. Allowing your mouth to wrap around the delicate chocolate or nutty earth flavors of the coffee bean and the smoky power of a fine roast is what we seek as a coffee drinker.

If, and when, you find that little quality niche coffee shop hold onto it tight allowing it to grow and become sustainable. Seek out the online coffee merchant that has done the leg work of finding the best roasters and fastest service. Get that cup of coffee. Get your organic blend. Get the roast you desire. Get the fair trade coffee beans you deserve. Don’t let go.

Yes, people drink coffee to stimulate their minds for the long stress filled hour of the day. Stimulating the senses is more important as well. Awakening the olfactory system with quality flavor from specialty hand selected coffee puts the shear aspect of the lowly commodity coffee production into a totally insignificant perspective. Hum drum becomes the everyday ordinary cup of coffee sold at all of the corner coffee shops. Taste bud boredom is a crime of depriving the human senses of ecstasy that we all crave and deserve. Alive taste buds cause the human being to be alive, excited, and adventurous in our every day activities. Start your day with an eye opening sense grabbing cup of coffee and know that your day will be brighter more enjoyable and full of experience. And further know that when you purchase great organic fair trade coffee that you are caring for the planet that gives us our daily life.

Nothing has been more distortive to muscle building information than the low profile prevalence of steroid use. What else can explain the vast amount of lousy and even useless training techniques for natural trainers that have become the prevailing wisdom in the bodybuilding industry? There’s an ongoing discord between fantasy and reality in what constitutes an effective natural muscle gaining routine. That discord is most likely attributable to the obvious yet often unaddressed contrast between the physiology of a steroid user and that of a non-user.

This contrast is the only explanation for bodybuilding’s longtime miring in misinformation; a muddling that’s often resulted in almost humorously contradictory recommendations and advice.

Here’s a list of strange observations I’ve made over the years that I think can be linked, either directly or indirectly, to some of that misinformation:

o In 1988, I attended a bodybuilding seminar put on by one of the top Mr. Olympia contenders of the time. When asked by an audience member about a specific workout routine, the pro bodybuilder answered that the workout schedule in question would be worthless for putting on muscle mass. Within a month, I saw that exact workout/recovery schedule being recommended in a bodybuilding magazine by the then-Mr. Olympia.

o In the ’90s, that same Mr. Olympia had a morning workout television program for mainstream fitness. During an episode, I heard him talk to Geraldo Riviera about the evils of “anabolics” (code-word for steroids). He was apparently trying to dissuade youngsters from using them. Yet he admitted within other mediums that he used them regularly (of course he used them; he was a pro bodybuilder).

o During the aforementioned seminar in 1988, that Mr. Olympia contender told the audience that when he began bodybuilding, he was able to put on “ten solid pounds of muscle per year”. He went on to reveal that in his advanced stages in the sport, he was lucky to add “two pounds of muscle a year”. These words were from an elite professional bodybuilder who admitted to regular steroid use. Yet we’re treated to claims of gaining “twenty pounds of muscle in twelve weeks” from average Joe’s on the Internet. (no wonder I don’t see pictures with these claims).

o In the late eighties, there was a bodybuilding book that claimed you could gain 30 pounds of muscle in six weeks from doing “super squats” and drinking a lot of milk. That book should have been titled ‘How to become an over-trained gasbag within a month and a half’.

o I’ve actually heard a top professional bodybuilder say he didn’t believe in over-training; only “under eating and under sleeping”. So, even though our bodies are designed to burn and renew a finite amount of energy each day, just stuffing them with more food than they can process and sleeping until we’re drooling on our pillows will compensate for excessive muscle teardown? A very misleading statement.

o In the early ’90s, a bodybuilding guru was espousing an extremely high calorie diet for gaining muscle. I think he was the guy who started the “no such thing as over-training – just under-eating and under-sleeping” nonsense. Anyway, in order to make sure we could all take in our recommended 10,000 calories a day, he’d sell MCT oil to everyone. Just dowse some on your meals and add a whopping 120 calories per tablespoon so you can be in an “anabolic state”. The funny thing was that he recommended doing aerobic exercise each day to burn excess calories. Now let’s see, I think I’ll spend money on extra calories so I can try to burn them off each day before I turn into Jabba the Hut. Yeah… that makes a lot of sense. Yet there were write-ups about this guy in magazines as if he were a genius.

o I read an old interview of Arnold Schwarzenegger in which he estimated that anabolic steroids only gave bodybuilders like him a five percent edge over what they’d accomplish without them. Did he expect readers to believe that? Why would anyone risk their health for such a meager boost? If that were true, couldn’t he find a way to make up that little five percent in a less destructive manner?

o Back when the andro thing was big, a bodybuilder who worked in a supplement store tried to talk me into buying some. He said he gained five pounds of muscle in three weeks from using it. I knew he wanted to get super big, so I immediately wondered why he wasn’t continuing to cycle it so that he could gain umpteen pounds for the year. I told him “I’m not impressed; I can gain or lose five pounds of water weight in a single day”. Within a few months, he did a steroid cycle. I wondered what happened to his belief in andro.

o A competitive, steroid-built bodybuilder who works out at my gym sidelines as a personal fitness trainer. I witnessed him simultaneously train two people on a leg workout that had those unfortunate clients wobbling for the door as if he’d turned their underpinnings into wet noodles. He’d coaxed them to perform set after set of forced reps on a leg press machine. They were shaking their heads in disbelief as he wore an expression of self-indulged smugness. I guess he forgot to tell them they’d need to make secret trips to Mexico in order to recover from such a “workout”.

Some of these are kind of humorous, but not that last one. I’ve seen too many people hand over their hard-earned money for instruction in natural bodybuilding from those who don’t build their own bodies naturally. That’s money being paid oftentimes to merely feed the ego of someone that probably knows less about your body than you do. In the case I described above, he sure doesn’t know enough about bodybuilding to realize that the simplistic “harder you train – the more you gain” mantra most often leads to wasted time and disappointment.

My advice to natural bodybuilders: Seek unorthodox methods for making muscle gains. The routines that keep getting regurgitated in mainstream bodybuilding and fitness magazines are usually not the most conducive to long-term muscle gains.

When brewing gourmet coffee, it’s essential to combine several factors that will make your cup of coffee a dreamy blend of flavor. Gourmet coffee is in and of itself delicious, but it’s even better when made a certain way.

Before getting started, be sure to select only the finest gourmet coffee beans. Look for your favorite brand of coffee or sample several new types of coffee. If you visit an online gourmet coffee retailer, you can try numerous types of imported coffee beans from places around the world such as South America, Central America, Africa, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and the North Highlands. You can also save money by finding an online store that offers high quality discount coffee beans. Determine how you will order your coffee – whether you would like ground coffee or whole bean selections. Many retailers allow you to order gourmet coffee both ways.

Brew with the Right Kind of Water

The type of water you use to brew gourmet coffee can make all the difference in its flavor. Tap water that has a strong, unpleasant smell or taste can negatively affect your coffee’s flavor. Keep in mind that your taste buds will be more sensitive when drinking a hot beverage such as coffee, so you’ll be able to detect any unpleasant impurities caused by your water. Opt for bottled waters instead, but avoid distilled water, as it doesn’t have the appropriate level of dissolved mineral solids, which are needed to give the coffee a fresh taste.

Even with the right quality of water, be sure to measure your coffee/water ratio appropriately. For optimum results, use two tablespoons of ground coffee per six ounces of water (or 3/4 cup water). This ratio produces strong, rich gourmet coffee while using only one tablespoon will produce weaker coffee. Another way to reduce the coffee’s strength is to dilute the coffee with a little bit of water after it has been brewed.

Order Fresh Coffee Beans

Whether ordering gourmet coffee online or buying in a nearby store, make sure the coffee has been freshly roasted. The absolute best time to produce coffee is within 12 to 24 hours of being roasted. Some online coffee roasters will ship your coffee beans on the same day the beans are roasted, giving you ultimate freshness. If you plan to grind your own beans, be sure to wait until right before you plan to brew the coffee. The freshness of coffee beans will start to decrease once the coffee beans have been ground.

Grinding Your Own Gourmet Coffee Beans

How you grind coffee beans will also make a difference in the coffee’s excellence. It’s important to know what type of grind you’ll need, whether a finer or coarser grind. A fine grind works best with the drip brewing method, while a coarse grind works well if using a French press. If you want a fine grind, then a common inexpensive blade grinder will suffice. With French press brewing, use a burr grinder.

Gourmet coffee also tastes best when brewed using clean equipment. Coffee makers can build up minerals, oils and residue over time. These will taint your coffee flavor and strength as well as hinder how well your equipment functions. Look for cleaning brushes and safe solutions for your coffee maker, and clean it often if you brew frequently.

When shopping online for gourmet coffee, be sure to try all a roaster has to offer. There are many flavored coffees today including chocolate blends, hazelnut, banana nut fudge, pecan, raspberry almond, cinnamon, vanilla, cookies and cream, creme brulee, English caramel, ginger bread, English toffee, etc. You should also try some espresso blends such as Italian espresso, Spanish espresso, and Vienna roast blend. Go online today to discover the gourmet coffee that excites your taste buds. You’ll never return to mundane coffee once you’ve tasted the best!

Want to know some interesting facts about culinary arts? Well, as most people know, the culinary arts revolve around culinary arts and food, and they include everything from restaurant management and hospitality management to food science and food safety. Someone who works in any of these areas is called a “culinarian,” and that includes everyone from food service workers to creators of the fantastic pastry arts. (more…)