Late last year NASA astronaut Don Pettit invented a coffee cup that will work in zero gravity!

“We can suck our coffee from a bag, but to drink it from a cup is hard to do because you can’t get the cup up to get the liquid out, and it’s also easy to slosh,” Pettit told Mission Control while sending a video of his new invention to Earth.

“The way this [cup] works is, the cross section of this cup looks like an airplane wing,” he said. “The narrow angle here will wick the coffee up.”

The result: space coffee in a zero-G cup.

You’d think the hard part about drinking a liquid from a cup in space would be keeping the liquid in the cup, but actually the hard part is getting the liquid out! Coffee, like most liquids, tends to stick to itself and the container it’s in, even rising at the edge of the cup it’s in (called the meniscus.)

By making the cup come together at a sharp angle on one side Pettit gave the cup a special edge that the coffee could climb. This encourages capillary action, a wicking effect to happen which delivers some of the coffee to the lip of the cup where it can be enjoyed.

Now let’s just hope someone can adapt this idea to a half-decent travel mug! Really! Please?

Kona Luna CoffeeHawaiian Kona coffee is no doubt one of the finest coffees in the world. Most major roasters will have a Kona coffee but today I’m trying a coffee from Kona Luna who specializes in only 100% Kona coffee.

I only got the chance to try the Kona Luna Peaberry from this roaster. Other peaberry coffees (which grows with one bean per coffee cherry rather than the typical two) I have had have been excellent but this is the first Hawaiian peaberry I have tried.

The peaberry has an excellent flavor with the complete absence of bitterness that is typical of Hawaiian coffees. The coffee is rich without being overwhelming and has a pleasant aftertaste which quickly disappears.

Many of these characteristics are typical of the better Hawaiian Kona coffees I’ve had but the Kona Luna peaberry has more richness and body than others. It’s clear that Kona Luna takes great care in roasting and packaging their coffees to preserve these values resulting in an outstanding coffee in the cup!

The $33 per pound price tag is a few dollars higher than Hawaiian Kona from many other roasters but this specialty roaster does a wonderful job preparing this wonderful coffee. For a special treat or a great gift for the coffee lover in your life Kona Luna Coffee makes a great cup.

A Pret creationAlex over at PositiveSharing.com always has great tips and info on being happy at work, but this article on hiring happy people at the British based company Pret A Manger particularly caught my attention.

Alex pulled just the right quote from this article from The Insider blog:

“You can’t hire someone who can make sandwiches and teach them to be happy,” says Jay, “So we hire happy people and teach them to make sandwiches”

This may seem like an oversimplification, but it’s true! I’ve always felt when hiring that you are much better interviewing the person first, then worry about their skills. I’ve seen folks with more experience than I come in to a job and have a negative impact on those around them and I’ve seen folks with practically no experience come in and do wonderfully.

The full interview with Pret’s Head of Communication Jay Chapman has some fantastic content and is well worth the read. sandwich

After hours of research and testing I have my Mojito recipe dialed in. Many recipes call for more lime, less mint, etc. This one is tailored to my taste, but should be a good starting point for anyone.

Fresh ingredients are key to this drink. Avoid bottled lime juice and use the freshest mint you can find.

To muddle the first three ingredients combine them in a sturdy glass and mash them up with a muddler or a wooden spoon. The idea is to extract flavor from the mint by squeezing it. The sugar acts as an abrasive to help the process. A muddler is just a stick with a rounded end used to mash stuff up so don’t hesitate to improvise.

In a good sized glass with a heavy bottom muddle together:

  • 1 rounded tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 10 fresh mint leaves
  • Juice of 1/4 lime

Add and stir to dissolve any remaining sugar:

  • 2 oz light rum

Strain this mixture into a pint glass 1/2 full of ice (preferably crushed.) Fill the rest of the glass with:

  • Club Soda

Optionally garnish with a mint leaf or the spent lime rind and enjoy the minty goodness! The recipe is easily multiplied and everything through the rum can be prepared ahead of time.

Ah, summer…

Luwak Coffee, the rare beverage made from beans found in the droppings of the palm civet, has become a perennial topic in popular media these days, but Paul Watson of the Los Angeles Times has written an outstanding article on the coffee.

A hungry luwakWatson highlights many of the concerns around Luwak coffee, which can fetch prices of up to $600 per pound.

Human hands don’t harvest the beans that make this rare brew. They’re plucked by the sharp claws and fangs of wild civets, catlike beasts with bug eyes and weaselly noses that love their coffee fresh.

They move at night, creeping along the limbs of robusta and hybrid arabusta trees, sniffing out sweet red coffee cherries and selecting only the tastiest. After chewing off the fruity exterior, they swallow the hard innards.

Beyond the unusual process it takes to create the coffee, Watson also mentions the love/hate relationship coffee farmers have with this animal, which can do serious damage to many crops, not just coffee. He also mentions that civets, which can grow to over 100 pounds and are themselves fairly tasty are often killed for food.

Watson quotes Canadian food scientist Massimo Marcone about the authenticity of the luwak coffee on the market and offers a description of authentic luwak coffee which echoes my review of the kopi luwak from animalcoffee.com.

“About 42% of all the kopi luwaks that are presently on sale are either adulterated or complete fakes, unfortunately,” he said.

Real kopi luwak has a top note of rich, dark chocolate, with secondary notes that are musty and earthy, the scientist said. An Indonesian coffee lover described the scent as the smell of moist earth after a rainfall, with hints of vanilla, that teases the palate for hours after the cup is empty.

Check out Watson’s full article on the LA times website. I have never seen a more complete article about luwak coffee.

Via Don Burleson

coffee, beverage, luwak, luak, kopi luwak, kopi luak, civet, palm civet

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