Kitchen Affairs
   A Good Cup of Joe
September 24, 2009 - Vol 3, Issue 18        
In This Issue
Bring a Bag
NEW Fall Class Schedule Launches!
September Special
The Bean
The Roast and the Grind
The Brew
Smart Coffee Tips
Q & A's
Cookbook Review
Recipes for Sweet Treats
Store Hours
Now that it's Autumn again, please note that Kitchen Affairs is now open on Sunday afternoons from 1:00pm - 5:00pm. Stop in!
Shop Hours
Quick Links
Just in case you missed our latest TV segments on Ch. 7/WTVW, you can still access the recipes at our website.
Bring a Bag
Over $400 raised so far!

KA Chico Bag

Each time you make a purchase and don't need a bag, or provide your own, we will donate ten cents to the Tri-State Food Bank. If you don't need a bag, watch us drop a dime in the jar on the counter. We thank you, and the Tri-State's neediest families thank you, too.

Mike's Page
Those who know me, know that I enjoy musing and writing a bit. View "Mike's Page" at our website. Read more.
Morning Therapy
I Love Coffee
Some mornings it's the only thing that entices us out of bed - the anticipation of that first great cup of coffee! The total experience begins with a good dose of aromatherapy, the fragrance of the beans as they're scooped from their container into the grinder. Then it's the vibration of the grinder as it transforms the beans to their brew-ready stage. Next, the sound of water pouring continues to wake our senses. The second dose of aromatherapy floods the room as the brew is formed and the perfume released. Finally, it's time for the first sip - almost always followed by an "ahhh...." It's going to be a good day! In this issue, we indulge our passion for coffee by exploring just what it takes to make a good cup of joe - the bean, the grind, the water, and the brewing. And what goes better with coffee than just a little bit of sweet? We offer three recipes from a charming cookbook, Bite-Size Desserts, that will complement your coffee encounters in a most delightful way!

NEW! Fall Class Schedule Launches!
It's an exciting season ahead in our kitchen!  We think you'll have a hard time deciding which classes to take!  On the new schedule you'll find guest chefs, seasonal topics, and classes that will expand your skill and enjoyment of your own kitchen! Whatever your cooking interest, there's mst likely a class for you! Check out our website to see the entire Class Schedule and complete class descriptions.

Click on the class title for full information!
Call us at (812) 474-1131, or stop in the store to register!

BiscottiThursday, Sept. 24 - 6:30 pm - Simple Pasta
with David Pampuch. $42

Saturday, Sept. 26 - 9:30 am - European Fancy Cookies
with Cathy Webb. $40

Wednesday, Sept. 30 - 6:30 pm - Special, Animal Benefit Class: Deep Fried Turkey with Nicki Leathem. $55.

Saturday, Oct. 3 - 9:30 am - Traditional Cast Iron Cooking with Shelly Sackett. $40.

Chef AugeMonday, Oct. 5 - 6:30 pm - CELEBRITY CHEF CLASS - Chicken Tagine with Jean Pierre Auge. $55.

Tuesday, Oct. 6 - 6:30 pm - CELEBRITY CHEF CLASS - Lamb Noisettes with Jean Pierre Auge. $55.

Thursday, Oct. 8 - 6:30 pm - Pizza, Family Style with David Pampuch. $42.

Saturday, Oct. 10 - 9:30 am - Uniquely Sicilian Menu with Aimee Blume. $45.

Check our website, and call to reserve a place! (812) 474-1131!
September Special!
Saute Pan

Experience the Swiss Diamond difference! The patented surface is different from any other non-stick cooking surface. Diamond crystals are combined with nano-composites to form an extremely durable, non-stick surface. This special is a great way to try out Swiss Diamond technology and find your "new favorite" pan!

Coupon for Swiss Diamond Skillet
The Bean
CherriesCoffee beans are the fruit of the coffee tree, actually, more of a shrub. They grow in the tropics in a band on either side of the equator as seeds inside red fruit known as coffee cherries. Each fruit contains a pair of seeds, flat sides together. A coffee cherry with only one seed inside is known as a "peaberry" and is highly prized and uniquely marketed. Beans and brews are often sold by country of origin - Sumatra, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Columbia, etc. There are two basic types of coffee trees used for culinary purposes, those that produce arabica beans and those producing robusta beans. Arabica beans are the more favored fruit and produce the better coffees that most of us are quite fond of.  Robusta beans, easier to grow for a variety of reasons, comprise the more mass-marketed coffees.

Recently, coffee growing practices have received a fair amount of attention. Agricultural systems in the uniquely tropical coffee regions are growing rapidly to meet global demand. Here's a glossary of a few common terms associated with coffee bean choices:

Arrow made with Coffee BeansFair Trade - Fair trade certifications were established to provide a standard for ethical coffee growing. Beans with the fair trade designation are grown in working conditions that are safe and fair for the employees, produced through environmentally sound growing practices, and where the farmers are guaranteed a minimum price for their coffee. The fair trade label is determined by a third-party organization that inspects and certifies coffee growing operations.

Shade Grown - Naturally, coffee shrubs prefer a shady location with dappled light. However, some species can thrive in full sunlight. Shade grown coffee implies that the forests' upper canopy have been left intact and that the environment remains in its more natural state with minimal use of fertilizers and mass-farming techniques. Shade grown coffee may not produce in the quantities that full sun coffee growing conditions might, but does not reward commercial deforestation, and, therefore, is considered to be more friendly to the environment and protective of wildlife habitats.

Drying Coffee BeansOrganic - The "organic" designation for coffee beans also defines "how" the beans were grown - that is, without pesticides or chemical fertilizers. The choice for organic beans reflects personal health concerns and general environmental concerns. Organic beans are usually more expensive due to the increased costs involved in organic growing, certification processes, and the expense in providing an adequate motive farmers to grow organically.

From the tree, coffee cherries are picked as they ripen. Finer coffee beans are picked by hand. This is due to the variable ripening of the cherries where a look and evaluation is required for each pluck. Cherries that are underripe, or those that are overripe, will taint the final brew in undesirable ways. Perfectly picked coffee cherries are then processed in one of three ways:

Dry processing - In this method, cherries are placed on trays and dried in full sun for 10 - 20 days. The dried fruit pulp is removed by machine leaving the inside seed.

Washed processing - Through this method, the skins of the freshly harvested cherries are removed mechanically leaving the inside pulp. The berries are left to ferment in a tank for nearly a day, then are washed and dried. This method is considered preferable for finer coffees with added flavor gained from the fermentation step.

Green BeansSemi-washed processing - Similar to washed processing, just harvested berries are processed with both skins and the pulp removed. The beans are dried with no fermentation step involved.

From post-harvest processing, the beans are readied for roasting. They are sorted and graded according to their size, density, and color. Excellent beans are hand-sorted multiple times. As can be seen with each of these steps, the labor intensity of coffee is high!  On to where the "green beans" go from here!

The Roast and the Grind
Plenty of artistry has already gone into the coffee before it is shipped from the farm. But the fine craft continues as the beans proceed to the roaster. Coffee wouldn't resemble coffee if it weren't for the roast - bitterness, smokiness, floral overtones - it all gets built into the bean at the point of roasting. In fact, the same batch of beans can take on completely different characteristics when roasted differently. A coffee roaster heats the beans and moves them constantly to promote an even roast. During the first stage of a roast moisture is released from the bean. As heating continues, sugars in the bean begin to caramelize. Finally, during extended roastings, natural oils are released. The timing and temperatures of roasting will greatly impact the flavor and determine the type of roast moniker applied to the ready-for-market beans:
Range of RoastsDifferent Roasts:
Light roasts - As one might guess, light roasted beans have received the least heat and are pulled from the roaster before sugar caramelization has occurred.

Medium roasts - These beans have released their natural moisture and have some sugar caramelization, but no oils unveiled.

Dark roasts - This roast has continued longer to the point where the bean's natural oils have been released and the bean roasted to a darker color. Within this designation of dark roasts you'll find French, Italian, and espresso roasts.
Coffee is best enjoyed from freshly roasted beans. Choose your beans from purveyors that roast or purchase in smaller quantities thereby providing turnover and greater freshness.

Coffee from Kitchen Affairs

We are pleased to offer you freshly roasted varieties of fine coffees. Our roasters roast in small quantities for maximum freshness and ultimate control over the outcome. Among our coffee selections you'll find exquisite medium and dark roasts, flavored coffees, and some great blends. Once you taste our beans, we think you'll agree that it's the coffee to drink in Evansville!

The art of properly roasting coffee is similar to the art of finely blending wines, or whiskeys. Done incorrectly, freshly roasted coffee may be inferior in taste to commercially roasted beans. This is why we don't roast our own beans at Kitchen Affairs. We haven't the training and experience necessary to produce a superior-roasted bean. Instead, we buy coffee from 4 different commercial roasting houses, selecting only the best products each produces.

We also sell about a ton of coffee a year, literally! We're pretty sure that makes us the largest seller of whole beans in Evansville, and that means the beans you buy from us are always fresh. If beans sit too long in our bins, we grind them and donate them to local charity kitchens. We don't want to sell you stale coffee!

A NOTE ABOUT BLENDS: We sell a few blends in the store which are not available through our website. This is because we blend them ourselves. Among these are our most popular blends; our Nashville Blend (a flavored blend of hazelnut, vanilla and Kenya coffees) and Mike's House Blend (of both dark and medium roast beans, from 4 continents). These are available in both regular and decaffeinated versions. We also custom blend for our customers. Stop in and talk to Mike about creating your own "special" blend of coffee.

Grinding the Beans:
Grind whole beans just before brewing. This allows the nuanced flavors and volatile aromas to be retained and infused in your coffee. The fineness of the grind is determined by how long the coffee is in contact with the water during the brewing cycle. Finer grinds are used for drip brewing, where a coarser grind is suitable for French press brewing. Very fine grinds are used for espresso brewing.
Range of GrindsGrindersThere are many styles of coffee grinders to choose from; they generally falling into one of two categories:
Burr Grinders - This style of coffee grinder allows the most control over the grinding process. The beans are crushed between a moving wheel and a stationary surface. With a burr grinder you can variously adjust the fineness of the grind and achieve consistent results. Burr grinders may have either a wheel or conical style of grinding mechanism. Conical burr grinders are considered preferable, especially for darker, oilier roasts which may clog other grinders.
  Blade Grinders - Also called "impact" grinders, these machines use a metal blade to crush the beans. The fineness of the grind is governed by the length of operation, a potentially imprecise science. Impact grinders will also produce less consistency in the evenness of the grind.
When choosing a grinder, evaluate how it operates, durability of its motor, the heat generated (avoid burnt grounds), its capacity, and on/off safety mechanisms. Match your need for different grinds with the grinders' capabilities. Check Capresso's Features Chart.

The Brew
No pressure, but now the artistry of the final product is all on you! You've chosen the right bean, accomplished the right grind, it's time to brew.
Capresso MT500 PlusWater - Coffee is mostly water, so this is a critical step. Use freshly filtered water that has had any chlorine removed. Many simple water filtering systems are available that will yield great water for coffee and for general consumption. Do not use distilled water as it has no character. Softened water has too many minerals added and can prove to have a distracting taste.
How Much Coffee to How Much Water - This is a subjective topic -- general guidelines call for 1-2 tablespoons of coffee grounds for every six ounces of water. From that broad range of instruction, the ratio is governed by the type of bean, the grind, and personal strength and taste preferences.
Capresso TeamTherm
Brewing Systems: Gone are the percolators of the olden days that produced many a pot of questionable product. Today, brewing systems are built specifically to brew a better cup of coffee.

Drip Brewers - Drip brewing produces an excellent cup of coffee. Better machines will have good mechanisms for heating the water to the perfect pitch of 200°F.
  • Consider the filtering system deployed with each machine. A gold-filter is inert, and will not impart any taste to the coffee as paper filtering methods might. It's essential that any filtering mechanism be kept impeccably clean for the best tasting pot.
  • A thermal carafe will keep the coffee at the proper drinking temperature for about an hour. Preheat a thermal carafe by filling it with the hottest tap water available before starting the grinder. When the coffee is ground, and the brewer is filled with coffee and water, pour out the tap water, insert the carafe into the brewer and turn it on!
  • Timing and programmability features may be important to you; assess their ease of use.(However, we do not recommend using a thermal carafe in conjunction with a timer-activated brewer. The coffee just won't be hot enough to please you. (If the brewed coffee has to heat the insulating air between the walls of a thermal carafe which has been sitting overnight at 68 to 72 degrees. It will reduce the temperature of the freshly brewed coffee up to 15 degrees, enough to change "steaming-hot" to "slightly better than luke-warm").
  • Many drip brewing systems offer integrated coffee grinders - one less step.
  • Check out our insulated pump pots which will hold up to 3 liters of coffee, and keep it hot for up to 24 hours. We recommend a separate insulated pump pot or carafe, and a glass walled carafe in your brewer.
Capresso CafeEspresso Machines - A shot of espresso is the basis for many, many coffee drinks. Different from brewed coffee, steam is forced through dark-roasted, finely ground, tamped beans. Water contact with the grounds is about 20 seconds, hence the name "espresso." The result is an ounce of concentrated flavor savored directly or as the basis for a latte, cappuccino, Americano, breve, or a host of other coffee delights. Versatility is one of the primary reasons to have your own espresso machine. Choose a machine with durability, ease of operation, compatible level of automation, and the French Pressdesired accessories.
French Presses - Enjoying a recent revival, French presses are another great tool for making a good cup of joe. Utilizing a steeping method instead of drip brewing or forced steam, the press allows making and serving in a single pot. French presses are available in many sizes and styles, but all use a spring-powered method for corralling the grounds at the bottom of the pot prior to pouring.
Enjoy your coffee immediately after brewing! Hot plates or warming burners will lend a burnt flavor to the coffee. Instead, keep brewed coffee in insulated carafes.

Smart Coffee Tips
Wake UpTip #1:  Need additional help waking up and functioning in the morning? A programmable coffee maker prepped the night before is the best alarm clock and a kind way to face the day with immediate gratification.
Tip #2: Keep your grinder and coffee brewer immaculately clean! Coffee grounds left in the grinder will go stale and carryover that staleness in your next grind. Similarly, your coffee pot must be kept exceptionally clean in order to get the best brew. Coffee gets much of its flavor from the volatile oils released from the beans, but it's precisely these oils that can turn rancid and cause your next pot to be bitter and foul tasting. A good cleaning removes any residue, and any potentially offending oils. Clean your pot after every use and once a month brew a cleaning solution (usually some type of citric acid) through the system.
Tip #3: The best coffee is made from water that is heated to 200°F. Water boils at 212°F; the temperature should stay below that critical point. Never
allow the brewing water or coffee to boil, nor should coffee be reheated to the boiling point.
Tip #4: Steam or heat milk for coffee or espresso drinks to a temperature between 150-170°F. Milk easily gathers a scorched taste at higher temperatures than these.
Tip #5: Coffee isn't just for drinking, think of coffee as a flavor used to enhance all types of dishes. Use whole beans as a garnish and finely ground coffee as a seasoning to be incorporated into rubs, infused into syrups, or sprinkled as a topping.
Coffee To GoTip #6: Like wine, coffees pair differently with different foods. Generally, pair bold food flavors with a bold coffee, and delicate foods with a smoother coffee.

Tip #7:  Add a Tablespoon of very finely ground dark roasted coffee to your chocolate cakes or mousses, or fold it into homemade vanilla ice cream for a true taste treat. You can even add it to your pancake or waffle batter, and let your family try to figure out why they're so good.
Tip #8:  Add three or four whole coffee beans to cognac, brandy or sake before gently heating them. When you sip the drink, you will love the enhanced flavor.
Q & A's
Q and A LogoQ:   What is the cold-brewing process for coffee?
A:   Cold brewing of coffee uses medium ground coffee steeped in a glass jar at room temperature water for 3-4 hours, or up to overnight. The grounds are strained away and the coffee is ready for use. Some choose to use cold brewing techniques to form a concentrated coffee which is then blended with hot water by the cup and produces a coffee with no acids or oils to upset the stomach. We don't think the flavors are as robust as with a cafetiere (French press) or drip system, but if your physician is concerned about your coffee consumption, or if it causes you acid indigestion, this method may be just what the Doctor should have ordered!
Q:  A lighter roast means a weak coffee and a dark roast means a strong coffee, right?
A:  No, the strength of the coffee, weak or strong, has to do with the ratio of coffee beans to brewing water, and is not associated with the type of coffee roast.Cup of Coffee
Q:  Darker roasts have more caffeine than lighter roasts, right?
A:  No, wrong again! The darker the roast, the less the caffeine. Longer roasting affects the bean's caffeine decreasing it over time.  A bold flavor does not always equate with a bold caffeine effect.
Q:  What is cupping?
A:  Cupping is the process for coffee tasting and evaluation. Using both taste and smell, the aroma, body, acidity, flavor and finish are evaluated. Coffee cuppings are similar in many respects to wine tasting. There are good and bad coffees with a wide range of subjectivity throughout the spectrum of choices.
Q:  Is coffee brewed with a French press superior to coffee brewed in a drip machine?
A:  Neither method is superior to the other, but rather, it's a matter of taste. We think there is a place for both methods in the same kitchen. Brewing coffee for dessert using a French press is a delightful ritual and fits the leisurely pace found at the end of a meal. Coffee in a French press may cool more quickly than coffee brewed into a thermal carafe. Explore the newer double-walled French presses that address that issue.
Border of Coffee Beans
Cookbook Review
Bite-Size Desserts, Creating Mini Sweet Treats, from Cupcakes and Cobblers to Custards and Cookies by Carole Bloom. Copyright 2009. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ
CookbookBoth the title and the cover photo compelled us to look at this book further! We acknowledge, sometimes regrettably, that sweets are a treat to be enjoyed in moderation, so this seemed a perfect solution - bite-size! Ms. Bloom has assembled a treasure chest of mini-pleasures that delight the eye, satisfy the sweet tooth, and complement a great cup of coffee! The book honors traditional and classic favorites only now in miniature form, and includes some new treats that fare well in petite sizes. Cakes, muffins, tarts, galettes, cobblers, custards, cookies and candy - they're all there in miniature sizes. We appreciate the consistent organization of each recipe which begins with brief author's notes, yield quantities, an inclusive ingredient list, and very detailed instructions. Each recipe concludes with "keeping," "streamlining," and "adding style" tips that further enhance the success built into each entry. And, if the subject matter were not enough to entice us, the photography by Glenn Cormier makes this book an artistic delight suitable for any, well . . . coffee table!

Recipes for Sweet Treats
Recipes excerpted from Bite-Size Desserts, Creating Mini Sweet Treats, from Cupcakes and Cobblers to Custards and Cookies by Carole Bloom. Copyright 2009. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
Bittersweet Chocolate and Hazelnut Tartlets
TartletsBeautiful to look at and even better to eat, these little tartlets have a delicate crust featuring a hint of orange zest. The filling is a thick blend of a classic pairing -- bittersweet chocolate and roasted hazelnuts. The assembly of these tiny tarts was accomplished easily and the results were picture perfect and delightfully tasting.
Click here to view the full, illustrated recipe.
Click here for a printable version of the recipe.
Cinnamon-Sour Cream Cupcakes
CupcakesMoist beyond belief, these diminutive cakes offered the comfort flavor of cinnamon with just the right sweetness - reminiscent of our favorite sour cream coffeecake. The cinnamon-flavored chocolate ganache completed the moment. (The sturdy, small-sized silicone cups used to bake these cupcakes were perfect in this application).
Click here to view the full, illustrated recipe.
Click here for a printable version of the recipe.
Chocolate-Espresso Pots de Crème
Pots de CremeIt had been some time since we'd used our little pots de crème set. Finding this recipe inspired us to find our special lidded cups and experiment with this recipe. The results did not disappoint! Neither mousse, nor custard, the chocolate-espresso flavor caused swooning all around the table to the point of embarrassment. You'll enjoy and be satisfied with these dainty, but potent pleasures.
Click here to view the full, illustrated recipe.
Click here for a printable version of the recipe.

My grandmother used to say, "If you can see the bottom of the spoon through a cup of coffee, it's not strong enough." Of course, her spoons usually stood upright in the cup, but maybe that's a little too much coffee . . . Come share a cup with us!
Mike and Shelly Sackett

Kitchen Affairs
Woodland Center - 4610 Vogel Road
Evansville, IN 477
(800) 782-6762 / (812) 474-1131
Copyright 2009 - Acorn Advisors | Kitchen Affairs | 4610 Vogel Road | Evansville | IN | 47715