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Golden ‘Turmeric’ Latte: a delicious beverage for the health conscious

There are many people who love kick starting their day with a delicious cup of organic Quest coffee however, ending it the same way can cause disruptive sleep patterns for some. So do you opt for a cup of herbal tea or something packed full of health benefits?

Turmeric root, the main ingredient to a Golden 'Turmeric' LatteThe Sol Spice Golden Milk Turmeric Blend is the latest health craze and we can see why. Not only is to packed full of flavour, but it has a multitude of health benefits and medicinal healing properties to make you want enjoy this beverage day in, day out. Before bed, during the day, at the start of the day, twice a day; the preference is entirely up to you.

The Golden Latte on the shelves at Quest Coffee Roasters is gluten free, dairy free, paleo friendly, vegan, vegetarian, diabetic friendly and has a balanced, healing blend of:

  • Organic Turmeric;
  • Organic Coconut Powder;
  • Organic Sri Lankan Cinnamon;
  • Organic Ginger Powder; and
  • Organic Cayenne Pepper.

This beverage was traditionally known as ‘golden milk’ and turmeric has been enjoyed and used for centuries in Ayurvedic practices by healers all over the world. Many cultures use turmeric as a healing spice for its capacity to alleviate anything from the common cold or flu, sore throat and stomach aches to healing wounds thanks to the antibacterial and antimicrobial benefits it has. The blend of amazing flavour and spices makes it the perfect winter companion, warming you up from the inside out.

The other traditional uses for this blend are:

  • Anti-inflammatory;
  • High in antioxidants;130g Sol Spice Golden Milk Turmeric Blend take home pack
  • Antiseptic & analgesics;
  • Reduces join pain;
  • Lowers inflammation;
  • Balances blood sugar levels;
  • Anti-carcinogenic;
  • Helps maintain cholesterol levels;Promotes digestive health;
  • Liver detoxifier;
  • Regulates metabolism;
  • Weight management;
  • High blood pressure;
  • Memory & brain function;
  • Soothes inflamed skin conditions;
  • Nuerological disorders;
  • Lowers triglycerides.

Next time you are in our James Street café, make sure you do yourself a favour and try one of these incredible beverages. We like to describe it as a “man’s chai…bold and delicious!” We have 100 gram take home packs available in store and online (makes 33 servings) or, if you love it as much as we do, you can choose the larger 250 gram take home pack (makes 100 servings). Having this blend available at your fingertips allows you to enjoy this simple, life changing drink whenever you like.

Written by Therese Glowaski.

Going bald? We have the answer for you…

There are many interesting topics of conversation that are had in our James Street, Burleigh Heads, cafe. One that had us wanting to know more was the link between coffee and your hair. So after lots of theories going to and fro, we thought we would find out more about this interesting topic and share the results with you.

Healthy hair and regular hair growth relies on  vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. There are also other things that negatively affect hair growth including genetics, disease and more. All of that aside, caffeine may have a beneficial effect on your hair follicles to promote healthy hair.

The Research

Research

The International Journal of Dermatology published a study looking into coffee hair growth benefits as a possible stimulant for hair follicles. Their findings showed that caffeine works by blocking the effects of a chemical known as DHT which damages hair follicles; this is thought to cause Male Pattern Baldness.

Dr Tobias Fischer, a researcher at Germany’s University of Jena also studied the effect of caffeine on human hair follicle growth. His study consisted of taking scalp biopsies from men in the early hair loss stages. He put the follicles in test tubes with solutions containing different caffeine levels and left them for up to 8 days so he could monitor the growth. He found that “caffeine is a well-known substance, yet little is known about its effect on human hair follicle growth. Caffeine shows it’s a promising candidate for hair growth stimulation.”  When he compared the caffeine treated hair follicles treated to those that were untreated discovered that caffeine boosted the length of the hairs by between 33 and 40 per cent.

Caffeine Absorption

You can consume caffeine via food and beverages which will enter your bloodstream, and eventually reach your hair follicles. Combine that with a topical application of caffeine-enriched shampoo. This would allow exposure to your hair follicles to a high dose of caffeine, without causing the side effects that can occur due to consuming high doses of caffeine.

Researchers in Germany determined via their studies that caffeine delivered to the hair follicles after 2 minutes of shampooing allowed the caffeine to penetrate into the scalp via the hair follicles and outermost layer of the skin.

Could this hair be stimulated by coffee?

Could this hair be stimulated by coffee?

Side Effects

While coffee rinses or oils can help keep your hair strong and minimise hair loss, it can cause some people with hair colours like blonde, light red and light brunette, to darken slightly. It could also give some hair colours a slight reddish colour. On the other hand, regularly shampooing or rinsing with coffee will help to darken hair colours like brunette and grey.

Our conclusion is that this is a great reason to continue drinking coffee (not that we needed any excuses)!

Written by Therese Glowaski.

How to Brew the Perfect Aeropress

A great tasting cup of coffee is the way most of us like to start our morning. There are many ways of brewing at home, or on your travels, but one of our favourite choices would have to be the AeroPress way! It produces a superb cup of coffee every time and is so fast!

You can make from 1 – 4 cups of coffee per pressing, with each pressing only taking around 1 minute.

AeroPress Coffee Maker Components

Here’s our easy step-by-step instructions to brewing a perfect AeroPress:

1. Make sure your AeroPress is clean and completely dry before using, otherwise the plunger tip may not be able to form a perfect seal inside the chamber.

2. Remove the plunger and cap from the chamber.

3. Put a micro-filter inside the cap and twist the cap onto the chamber.

4. Put the ground coffee into the chamber: 1 scoop for each espresso (up to a maximum of 4 scoops). A funnel is provided for use with a coffee grinder. Use the scoop to measure the beans into the chamber.

Water Temperature: Everyone we tested, from coffee lovers to professional coffee tasters, preferred coffee brewed with the water temperature between 80° to 90°. Lower temperature makes a smoother brew so we recommend that you do not use boiling water.

5. Dribble the water slowly into the chamber for the first few seconds to wet the grounds. Then fill to the desired level. Never fill higher than number 4. The plunger can be used to measure water. Just fill to the appropriate number (you can also use the plunger to heat water in a microwave).

6. Stir the water and coffee together with the paddle for about 10 seconds.

7. Wet the rubber seal and insert the plunger into the chamber. Press the plunger. After the plunger has moved a short distance, you can feel the air pushing back at you. Continue pressing gently to maintain pressure and the air will push the brew through the grounds. The plunger will sink slowly and reach the grounds in about 20 seconds for a double, slightly less for a single or slightly more for a triple or quadruple. Then let the coffee drip for a few seconds. Invert the AeroPress as you lift it off the cup. Pressing slowly is the key to a rich brew and an easy push. If it feels too stiff, just press more gently.

AeroPress step by step instructions

8. Sit back, relax and enjoy!

9. CLEANING UP: Remove the cap, hold the AeroPress over the bin and press the plunger to eject the ‘puck’ of spent grounds.

Aeropress 'puck' of coffee grounds

‘Puck’ of coffee grounds

10. Leave the plunger pushed fully in and rinse the rubber seal. Brush or wipe it to remove the coffee oils. AeroPress IS NOT dishwasher safe. Always store the AeroPress with the plunger pushed all the way in, or completely removed, to avoid compressing the seal.

Re-Using Micro-Filters:

2000 filters use about as much paper as one city newspaper, so you don’t need to feel guilty about discarding filters. You can however re-use each filter many times just by brushing it off under running water. The choice is entirely up to you. When re-using a filter, remove the plunger and twist the cap containing the wet filter onto the chamber. This will keep it flat as it dries and you’ll be ready for the next pressing. There is a year’s supply of micro-filters with your AeroPress so you are set for a long time.

AeroPress Stainless Steel Filter

Stainless Steel Filter

Alternatively, you can purchase a stainless steel filter for a lifetime of AeroPress happiness!

Steeping Time:

If you’ve used a plunger in the past, you may be tempted to let the mix steep for several minutes before pressing. Long steeping, however, only adds bitterness and acidity and is not necessary.

Alternate way of brewing an AeroPress:

During those hot Summer months, we often feel like a cold coffee to avoid the heat. How about trying this inverted method of brewing an iced coffee with an AeroPress? DELICIOUS!!

AeroPress Brewed on Ice

Written by Therese Glowaski.

Suprising benefits that coffee has on your skin

We all know having good skin is hard to maintain with age…but why is this? It’s pretty simple really. We’ve all heard the saying ‘you need to take better care of yourself’. Well that isn’t easy these days; with all the rushing around we do, whether it’s shopping, dropping kids off at school and sports events, grabbing a quick bite to eat on the run, or getting a chance to put on good sunscreen etc…the list just goes on. So it’s no wonder our skin starts to lose its glow.

Well it may surprise some to find out that coffee can help in this rejuvenation process. Together with a healthy diet with lots of vegetables and fruit, coffee is also packed with antioxidants. Polyphenols are the main type of antioxidant found in coffee and this plays a big part in helping to reduce skin cell damage.

By having at least 1 good organic coffee a day, you can boost the antioxidant levels. Making sure your coffee is made with good quality, filtered water, is a vital part of this process as well. And no, coffee won’t dehydrate you either; that’s a myth.

Coffee Scrub

Another great secret getting out is the use of an organic coffee body scrub. This will really get rid of those dead and dry skin cells, leaving your skin feeling soft and smooth all over.

This treatment is not only for girls…it’s great for men to use as well.

Coffee Scrub Review

Here at Quest, we have developed a beautiful Lime and Coconut Coffee Scrub.

100% Organic Coffee Scrub made at Quest Coffee Roasters

It is all natural and organic and is great for gift ideas as well. You have to try it out so you can start getting that great skin now; it really works! And with Christmas just around the corner, it’s makes for a perfect Christmas gift.

Written by Paul Henley.

Matcha Green Tea; this ‘superfood’ really is super

We’ve been hearing about Matcha Green Tea and its amazing health benefits for a little while now, so we thought that we would dive in, before the hype engulfs everybody, and add this incredibly delightful drink to our menu here at Quest Coffee Roasters.

What is Matcha and where did it originate from?

Matcha Green Tea originated in Japan. The Japanese have been drinking this delicious green gem in their tea ceremonies for hundreds of years. It was used as an aid in meditation.

Monk in Meditation

Monks would drink matcha to remain alert, yet calm, during long hours of sitting. They know a lot about living long and stress free lives. It’s no surprise that one of their secrets is drinking matcha green tea.

Not only is it a superfood; it’s also super good for you and super cool!

Matcha v Green Leaf Tea: What’s the difference?

Matcha is finely ground green tea, is 100% organic and is packaged with no extra ingredients or additives. It is, however, very different from your average green tea due to the way it’s grown and processed. Matcha is carefully shade grown, allowing it to grow slowly. This increases the amount of chlorophyl and amino acid levels in the tea. Only the buds of matcha are harvested, whereas other ground teas may contain the leaves and stems – this would create a more bitter flavour. After matcha is harvested, it’s dried flat and then stone ground into a super fine powder which retains a bright green colour.

Matcha Green Tea Plantation

Green tea leaves have been cut and dried. Some would argue that this process can actually damage the antioxidants and reduce their overall potency. When you brew a cup of green tea, the water only extracts a small amount of the green tea benefits. The rest remains trapped in the tea leaves and discarded. The best way to take advantage of all that green tea has to offer is to consume the entire leaf.

Matcha Green Tea v Green Leaf Tea

What does it taste like & what’s the best way to enjoy it?

Like all green tea, matcha has slight grassy notes. It has a richer, almost buttery flavour and can be enjoyed as a latte or a frappe. We have both alternatives available in our James Street, Burleigh Heads cafe, so be sure to ask our wonderful baristas what their recommendation would be.

We have tried (and recommend) the matcha latte and frappe with Barambah Organic milk, as well organic rice and soy milk. Almond milk may be a particularly acquired taste for some, although we have heard that adding a little honey helps!

Matcha Latte & Frappe made at Quest Coffee Roasters, Burleigh Heads

Matcha Latte & Frappe made at Quest Coffee Roasters, Burleigh Heads

 Health benefits…what’s the buzz?

Well we certainly don’t claim to be scientists or experts in health and wellbeing, but we have done our research and this drink is just too good to pass up! Here’s why:

High in antioxidants: One of the biggest words in nutrition these days is antioxidants, a naturally occurring chemical compound that prevents chronic disease and aging. It has 137x more antioxidants than green tea alone! Basically, the more you have, the better your body is able to fight infections and disease.

Increased metabolism: Matcha is a great addition to any weight loss program due to its ability to boost your metabolism and burn fat. Better still, unlike many questionable quick fixes on the market these days, it won’t put any stress on your body, nor will it raise your blood pressure or heart rate.

Detox your body: That green stuff, chlorophyl, is awesome for helping to detox the body of toxins, heavy metals, poisons, dioxins and hormone disrupters.

Improve wellbeing: Matcha contains up to 5x more L-theanine than green leaf tea! Without getting too technical, L-theanine is an amino acid which is capable of inducing alpha wave activity in the brain. This can relieve stress, promote relaxation and make us more alert, yet calm, at the same time.

Increase energy levels: Matcha provides a sustained release of energy throughout the day, minus the jitters! One study suggests that this was caused from the caffeine, but they found that it was actually a combination of matcha’s natural properties. Another recent study found an improvement in physical endurance by 24%. That’s pretty awesome if you ask me!

Matcha Green Tea Antioxidants Comparison Chart

So next time you are visiting us, be sure to try out this incredible beverage. You won’t be disappointed!

Written by Therese Glowaski.

Our Quest Around the Gold Coast; Espresso Xcellence

Do you have an upcoming function and forgot to think about the addition of coffee? Special events and coffee go hand in hand…in fact, it’s nearly an expectation of the general public that they will be able to grab a delicious coffee at these occasions. The only thing better than having coffee available is having our delicious, organic, Quest coffee, ready for your enjoyment.

Our friends at Espresso Xcellence have got ‘mobile coffee’ covered; whether it be at a wedding, market, sporting event, school fete, community event, corporate expo, festival or any other event for that matter.

Espresso Xcellence at various locations serving Quest coffee

Espresso Xcellence at various locations, serving Quest coffee, delicious food and top notch service

They have their own supply of power, so you don’t need to worry about having a power source available. Just a quick phone call is all that is required to make the booking. Then you will have the Espresso Xcellence team ready to serve your customers with what the rumour mills says is…’the best coffee on the Gold Coast’.

Lou is available to answer any questions you have and secure that booking before it’s too late: the number to call is 0418 671 778.

Written by Therese Glowaski.

Our Quest Around the Gold Coast; Red Tractor Café

We’re back this month with our Quest Around the Gold Coast, featuring Red Tractor Café, which was established by chef Sam Perrin on 12 August with the values of fun, creativity and sustainability. This café may have only been opened a few months, but it has already made quite a name for itself – check out some of their great reviews on Trip Advisor.

Red Tractor Café believe that food should be enjoyed, rather than just consumed. They only use local and seasonal produce to ensure that all their dishes are full of flavour, while supporting Australian farmers. If it’s not in season, then it won’t be on the menu. Cooking with seasonal produce allows them to frequently add new dishes to their menu, so you’ll always have something new to try. There are plenty of vegetarian and gluten free options available also.

The bread used at Red TractorCafé is baked fresh daily, across the road at Mill Bakery, and they use the finest cheese from two local creameries, White Gold Creamery in Biggera Waters and Witches Chase Cheese at Mount Tamborine.

They make almost everything in house, which means better tasting food without the added nasties. Some of their homemade dishes include ice cream, granola, ricotta cheese, tomato relish, mayonnaise, cakes, muffins and the list goes on.

Delicious menu items at Red Tractor Cafe

Delicious menu items at Red Tractor Cafe

The Red Tractor team are passionate about their products and the environment. In addition to sourcing seasonal produce, they also use bio-degradable take away packaging and our very own Quest coffee. Their counter front is created by a local carpenter, using recycled pallets, and they will also reward you with a 10% discount for every brew if you bring your own take-away mug.

Red Tractor Cafe, Paradise Point

Red Tractor Cafe, Paradise Point

Be sure to check out Red Tractor’s social media platforms at Facebook and Instagram so you can stay up to date with their menu and latest specials. They currently have an offer of 25% off your total bill up until Sunday, 22 November, for breakfast or lunch. What an awesome deal! You’ll need to head over to Facebook to claim the offer.

Red Tractor Cafe Facebook Offer

Red Tractor Cafe Facebook Offer

If you find yourself up the northern end of the Gold Coast craving a good quality coffee and delicious food, be sure to stop in at this great new establishment. You can find them at 10 Grice Avenue, Paradise Point and they’re open 7 days, 6:30am to 3pm. Be sure to tell your friends that live close-by as well.

Written by Therese Glowaski.

Flat White, Latte, Cappuccino, Espresso and more…What’s the Difference?

Have you ever had one of moments when you just feel like something a little different for your daily caffeine fix? You look up on the board a little perplexed with the variety, and, with a line up behind you, decide to just opt for  your usual. Our baristas have a wealth of knowledge and are always happy to help you decide, so feel free to ask at any time.  We also thought we would help out and break it down for you.

FLAT WHITE:

The flat white originated in Australia so you will be hard pressed finding the exact replica anywhere else in the world. Sure you will find variations that will give you some enjoyment on your travels but the saying “same same but different” will spring to mind. In America, for example, their version of the American latte is nearly exactly the same as our flat white.

At the end of the day, a flat white is textured milk and an espresso shot with a thin layer of foam to finish off.

The flat white will be strong in flavour, combined with that velvety smooth feeling we all know and love.

Flat White made at Quest Coffee Roasters

LATTE:

The key to a great latte is in the art of steaming/texturing the milk. Texturing milk plays a big role in creating the perfect latte. Firstly, the most obvious, is to bring the milk to the desired temperature for drinking but it also creates micro foam. You can’t make micro foam without air being added into the milk – that all too familiar “hissing sound” you hear in the café is the sound of micro foam…that is when perfection is being made.

What is in a latte? Espresso shot, steamed milk and approximately 1cm of micro foam on top.

For those of you who wonder what the difference is between the flat white and the latte…it is quite simply the 1cm layer of foam.

Latte made at Quest Coffee Roasters

CAPPUCCINO:

The cappuccino is a traditional Italian drink and some would say that it is defined by its froth. The cappuccino is typically a stronger beverage.

It has three parts and is generally made with 1/3 espresso, 1/3 textured milk, 1/3 froth, then finished off with chocolate dusting powder. What makes the cappuccino special is the equal quantities of each component.

What you will most likely notice while consuming the cappuccino is that the foam is nice and stiff to begin with and finishes with a rich milky coffee underneath.

Cappuccino made at Quest Coffee Roasters

 

MOCHA:

This one doesn’t take much to explain…a mocha is just a cappuccino with chocolate. We know what you chocoholics are thinking…YUM!

LONG BLACK:

Pouring a double shot of espresso over hot water makes the popular long black. It is similar to the Americano except that the long black retains the crema (the glassy layer on the top of the drink) and has less volume, which gives it a stronger flavour.

The barista’s job is important, as they need to monitor the shot speed so that they can produce the best possible extraction. Allowing your long black to rest, as it cools from slightly boiling to a drinkable temperature, is the best way to enjoy a great tasting long black.

The great thing about a long black is that you are able to taste the undertones, flavours and sweetness of the coffee.

Long Black made at Quest Coffee Roasters

ESPRESSO:

Many people have the misconception that an espresso is a dark and bitter to burnt-flavoured coffee. Let’s clear that misconception up for you. Espresso often forms a bold, not bitter, flavour. It is quick to make, doesn’t interfere with flavour and is often referred to as the drink of coffee connoisseurs.

The big difference is that you get the same caffeine hit you would get in any other of the espresso-based drinks, minus the larger volume of liquid. It is therefore, quick, easy and convenient and packed full of flavour.

An espresso is meant to be intense and the art of the good barista is to create a balanced flavour. There are many factors involved in making a good espresso; the grind size, temperature, freshness of the beans and the length of the shot. A little more complex than it looks, right?

Drinking espresso is the best way to experience the true flavour of the bean; mild/medium/strong, chocolate or fruity, and all those special undertones.

It is best consumed straight away, before the gassy layer dissipates and the liquid cools down. A cooled espresso will taste completely different to a fresh one.

Espresso made at Quest Coffee Roasters

MACCHIATO:

Macchiato means ‘marked’ or ‘stained’. In short, it is an espresso with a ‘stain’ of hot milk (a dash of foam). The quantity of milk is just enough to stain the colour of the black coffee.

The macchiato takes the edge off an espresso, adding a different aspect to the drink. It is worth a try for the coffee enthusiast who enjoys a strong, full bodied flavour but is not a big fan of the straight espresso.

Macchiato made at Quest Coffee Roasters

AFFOGATO:

Last but not least, the delicious Affogato. This is really similar to the macchiato. It’s a coffee-based dessert for those times when you feel like being a little naughty. It’s quite simple really…a shot of hot espresso poured over a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Bon appetite!

Affogato made at Quest Coffee Roasters

Our happy baristas here at Quest Coffee Roasters are all about customer service and providing you with the best quality coffee. We have grown to understand that each individual has different likes and dislikes, and the perfect coffee isn’t just as easy as ‘black and white’. We have had so many different requests over the years that it would take a lot to surprise us.

So next time you are visiting us at our James Street, Burleigh Heads café, be sure to ask for your coffee how you like it best and we will be happy to accommodate. Don’t forget that we always have 4 different types of coffee to offer you until 3pm everyday.

Your coffee your way at Quest Coffee Roasters

Our “Quest” around the Gold Coast; Giri Kana Café

Do you ever find yourself out and about on a busy day in Southport, or nearby, longing for a good quality coffee but struggle to find one?

We’d like to introduce you to one of our valued wholesale customers, Giri Kana Café. Not only do they have a wide selection of freshly made vegetarian and vegan cuisine (with many organic and gluten free options), but they also have a plentiful supply of our very own, delicious, Quest coffee.

Healthy Sweet Treats at Giri Kana Cafe

Guilt free treats at Giri Kana Cafe

While their focus is on vegetarian and vegan dining, they have many customers who are not vegetarian and regularly visit just because they like the food! Girl Kana’s emphasis is on fresh and wholesome foods that are good for the body, as well as the mind and spirit…AND their food is cooked with love and devotion.

With more and more people turning to healthy takeaway options, this café should be at the top of your “must try” list next time you are in the Southport Area. After all, any food made with love is definitely worth trying.

Cuisine at Giri Kana Cafe

Savoury Cuisine at Giri Kana Cafe

Giri Kana are open for breakfast (6.30am-11am), lunch and dinner (11am-8pm) weekdays, 6.30am-3pm Saturdays and closed on Sundays. They are located on the Ground Floor of H2O Broadwater (Cnr Nind St and Gold Coast Hwy), 82 Marine Parade, Southport.

Check out their website for more information and a look at their menu. They are also on Facebook so you can stay up to date with all that is happening in the café.

 

Written by Therese Glowaski.

The 5 differences between Arabica and Robusta Coffee Beans

… and why we think Arabica Coffee (preferably Organic) is always the way to go if you want a super tasty coffee.

Time to learn something new about your beloved hot and cold beverage. You probably say coffee all looks a bit the same once it is roasted and it is pretty hard to see the actual difference but there are some significant ones and it’s helpful to know what they are when you are choosing a coffee.

Did you know there are over 100 different coffee species in the world? That said we only use 2 in commercial coffee production; the Arabica (Coffea arabica) and the Robusta (Coffea robusta). 

The difference between Arabica and Robusta coffee beans.

The difference between Arabica and Robusta coffee beans.

Here are the 6 main differences between the two mighty beans:

  1. Robusta beans have a much higher level of caffeine than Arabica beans, yes it’s almost double the amount.
  2. Arabica beans have a milder, more aromatic taste while Robusta beans have a stronger, harsher taste, with a grain-like overtone and peanutty aftertaste.
  3. When the coffee beans are un-roasted (green), the beans can easily be told apart by their difference in colour and shape as Arabica beans are a darker shade of green, flat and elongated, the Robusta beans have a more obvious round shape.
  4. Robusta is easier to grow on the farm, has a higher yield and is less sensitive to insects – the high caffeine level is a chemical defense for the coffee bean as this amount in the Robusta is toxic to bugs. Arabica coffee is also grown at a higher altitude (600 – 2000 meters) and in cooler sub-tropical climates while Robusta can be grown at sea level.
  5. Over 70% of the coffee grown around the world is Arabica. And although Arabica is generally known as the higher quality bean, there are many high quality blends of Robusta available on the market too.

So you want to know what we use at Quest?

We only use the best Organic, Fair Trade or Rainforest Alliance Arabica coffee beans available and roast them fresh for you daily. You can find them all here in the shop and we will make sure they will be on there way to you within 24 hours, or come in and say hi at our cafe on the beautiful Gold Coast; we are Burleigh Heads (20 James Street) and have a chat to our friendly baristas.

Fairtrade vs Rainforest Alliance; what’s the deal?

We all like to do our part where we can and when it comes to coffee, we often find ourselves looking for Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, organic, guilt-free coffee.

But do we really know what those fancy labels and certifications actually mean?

Much of our coffee is from places all around the world where the environment is endangered and workers earn only a few dollars for a gruesome day’s work. Coffee farmers have helped cut down tropical forests, and most of them use an abundance of pesticides. Not to mention, child labour is used far more frequently than you can imagine.

Finding coffee beans with labels promising social and environmental improvements is not difficult, especially in a city like ours where niche cafes are as common as a girls in bikinis.

So what is the best option; Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance Certified?

Fair Trade vs Rainforest Alliance Certified

Fairtrade pushes for better wages, working conditions, local sustainability and FAIR terms of trade for farmers and workers in developing nations.

Rainforest Alliance works towards conserving biodiversity and ensuring sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices, and consumer behaviour.

Both seem pretty decent, right? Let’s learn a bit more.

Fairtrade

Fair Trade Logo

Fairtrade is a worldwide organisation that aims to ensure that those who are creating the product are paid a fair wage for the work that they accomplish. Around 6 million people in developing countries benefit from the Fairtrade system. It  provides them with a fair practice for the product that they sell and also provides for investment in their local community. One more thing: Fairtrade prohibits child labour – yay!

When the product reaches the consumer – or in our case, when we buy our green beans – it is understood that there is a minimum price for each item. Goods can be sold for more depending on quality and demand, but never, ever for less.

However, there is some criticism. Some believe it creates a quality problem, where even poor quality products are still sold, because that minimum price must always be reached. Others say that because there are such strict pre-requisites, that it is restrictive of which producers are able to enter.

When it’s all said and done though, Fairtrade is still seen to be one of the most ethical trade systems available to the consumer.

Rainforest Alliance Certified

This coffee is rainforest alliance certified, Quest Coffee Roasters Queensland Gold Coast.Rainforest Alliance is more focused on the environment. It has five areas of focus: keep the forests standing, curb climate change, protect the wildlife, alleviate poverty, and transform business practices. As you can see, the focus here is very much so environmental, with only some of the focus given to the production of goods.

In regards to alleviating poverty, Rainforest Alliance claim the “Rainforest Alliance Certified” seal allows farmers’ products to reach new markets, negotiate better prices, and lift themselves and their communities out of poverty through investing the profit into their own community. Being part of a Rainforest Alliance Certified farm also means that employees receive decent wages (the minimum being $2 a day), respectable housing and healthcare and their children having access to education.

Like Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance does have some criticisms too. It has been dubbed as ‘Fairtrade lite’, allowing companies to be seen as doing something ethical, but at a cheaper price. The Rainforest Alliance Certificate also doesn’t provide a minimum price for goods, meaning that those who are involved are exposed to the fluctuations of the market. The minimum price for employees is also seen as being set too low. Finally, for things such as coffee, the Rainforest Alliance seal is used on products that use as little as 30% certified beans… this means up to 70% of that coffee does not necessarily meet their standards.

So what do I choose?

Personally, I don’t think one is significantly better than the other. Like everything, there are negative aspects. In this situation, Fairtrade has a lack of focus on the environment and quality control, while Rainforest Alliance maybe cares too much about the environment and not enough about its workers. However, products by both are good; great, even. Both are working towards a better world; a more sustainable world where the children and grandchildren of the workers are given much better starts in life.

Come in and have a look at the single origins we offer at Quest Coffee Roasters – some of which are Fairtrade, and some are Rainforest Alliance Certified. Being a coffee roaster where we import our own green beans, we take great time and care in which coffee plantations our products come from.

We all know coffee is a luxury, but appreciating the work that goes into each cup makes it even more special. By enjoying a Fairtrade single origin, you are helping a farmer make a living so that his family can be supported. Or by enjoying a single origin approved by the Rainforest Alliance, you are creating a more sustainable environment for the future generations. Both, in my mind, are equally important.

For more information on how we, at Quest Coffee Roasters, help our friends all over the world, have a read of our other blog articles, or come in and chat with us over a beautiful cup of coffee.

Written by Kristen Bohlsen.VARGINHA, BRAZIL:  (FILE) A rural worker selects arabic coffee beans, 23 Septembre 2004 at a farm near Varginha, in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. The 20% drop in the price of coffee in less than a month and the possibility of the United States rejoining the Coffee International Organization has shaken hardly the coffe market in the first days of July 2004. According to analysts, the drop of prices was mainly caused by the lack of frost in Brazil, the world's main coffee bean producer, which every year destroys much of the harvest.     AFP PHOTO/Mauricio LIMA  (Photo credit should read MAURICIO LIMA/AFP/Getty Images)

How to make the Cold Press (Toddy) Coffee

This blog post is the first in our series of “How-To’s”, so make sure you keep checking back for more handy tips on how to get the best out of your home brewing experience.

The Toddy Cold Brew System is designed to make “cafe” caliber coffee which can be served hot or iced cold.

The traditional hot brewing method creates a higher level of acidity in coffee, which can be difficult for coffee connoisseurs who have a sensitive stomach. In 1964 Todd Simpson, a chemical engineering graduate, developed and patented this cold brewing system. It uses regular coffee beans and yields a superior tasting cup of coffee and acidity levels are reduced by an amazing 67% compared to traditional hot brew methods. The coffee that is produced is bold, yet super-smooth.

The Toddy consists of: brewer with handle, glass decanter with lid (replacements available), 2 reusable filters, a rubber stopper (replacements also available) and the instructions and recipe booklet.

The Filters should be replaced after 10-12 uses, or after 3 months.

For the best flavour, start with plunger-ground coffee beans and filtered water.  The toddy brewing container is designed to hold 12 ounces of coffee and 7 cups (56 fluid ounces) of water.

For the perfect brew, steep your coffee grounds for 12-18 hours to create a smooth, rich flavour. After you have filtered and let your coffee concentrate flow into the decanter, it will stay fresh for up to 2 weeks in your refrigerator.

To serve, we recommend the following recipe:  in a 500ml jug, fill 1/4 ice, 100ml coffee and 150ml milk (if desired), then top with filtered water. ENJOY!

See below for easy, step-by-step instructions with pictures.

Toddy Brewing Instructions

Toddy Brewing Instructions

Burnt Coffee

Are you an early bird needing your take away caffeine fix just to make sure you can function during a hectic day? Or do you enjoy kicking back, relaxing at your favourite café on the Gold Coast sipping a double ristretto latte, while catching up with friends in the afternoon sun? We sometimes forget that the café and coffee culture we now see as normal is really only a thing of the last five years on the Coast.

New cafés and espresso bars are popping up everywhere and we are now able to enjoy their offerings of complex blends and outstanding single origin beans from exotic places like Guatemala, Ethiopia, Sumatra and Bolivia, with complicated estate names and abbreviations. The beans are roasted to perfection by a master roaster who takes great care to get the best flavour and balance of body and acidity in every batch of beans. The specialty coffee industry has definitely moved into the Gold coast and it shows no signs of going anywhere soon.

Which leaves you with 1 question:
With so many cafés on the Gold Coast, why is it still so hard to find a good coffee that doesn’t taste like it’s burnt?

First we need to get clear on what yucky burnt aftertaste actually is. The official term for that bad tasting coffee is “over-extraction”.  Some people might suggest it’s burnt milk, but milk actually smells like…well, burnt milk. You can recognise burnt milk for its sweeter taste and much thinner, less creamy texture.

Anyway, let’s just get technical for a bit. What does extraction even mean?
‘Extraction’, according to the very trustworthy WIKI, is “the percentage of the soluble coffee grounds that are dissolved in the water”. We also have to take into account which solubles are dissolved but, this has more to do with how the temperature changes over the course of the extraction. The ideal extraction yield sits around 18%-22% to get a well-extracted beautiful coffee. An over-extracted coffee tastes burnt because the bitter parts of the coffee have continued to be extracted after the sugars and acids extraction were mostly finished.

perfectly extracted coffee shot

Perfectly Extracted Coffee Shot made at Quest Coffee Roasters

I can hear you thinking, “thanks for the science class, but what does this all mean? What is my barista doing wrong?”

Here are the top three mistakes baristas make when it comes to burnt coffee:

1. First, a little more technical gibberish for you. A commercial espresso machine works by forcing steam/almost boiling water, through packed coffee grounds in the basket of a portafilter or group handle. When the water is not going through the coffee fast enough, the coffee gets over-brewed (over-extracted). It can only mean three things: the barista is packing too much coffee into the basket, the coffee is ground too fine or the barrister is tamping it too hard, restricting the water flow through the grounds. In an ideal world, every shot should be timed to make sure the extraction is spot on;

tamping too hard

Example of tamping the grind too hard

2. The group head where the portafilter locks into the machine is extremely hot. When the portafilter gets left in there too long before brewing, it will burn the coffee sitting in the basket, which results in bad tasting coffee; and

3. Last but not least, the biggest culprit and the one that is so very easy to avoid, a dirty and badly maintained espresso machine. Even the best barista has no hope of making anything half decent and consistent when the equipment they are working with is not serviced regulary.

dirty grouphead

Dirty Grouphead (this is obviously not how Quest Coffee Roasters care for their espresso machine)

Now that you know (and hopefully understand a little) of the science behind the extraction of great and not so great coffee, you can imagine the reasons why some baristas have an almost cult-like following. These baristas can extract the perfect coffee over and over again and create the perfect espresso, or the base for your favourite coffee to be enjoyed on the run or while relaxing and enjoying that great Gold Coast weather.

Written by Eve Henley.

latte art - made at quest coffee roasters

Perfectly extracted, delicious latte, made at Quest Coffee Roasters

 

 

Disclaimer:  This article was first published in QCMagazine in 2014

 

The Myths of Decaf

If you visit the social media pages on specialty coffee on a regular basis, you may be familiar with the phrases “Death before Decaf”. These phrases are mostly accompanied by a photo of a diehard espresso drinker who has the text inked into the skin of their bicep.

death before decaf tattoo

“Death before Decaf”

Or you may have seen the hipster barista at you local coffee shop pull up an eyebrow when asked for a decaf. This is the drink that is also referred to as “the why bother”.

the why bother look

The “why bother” look

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So we can conclude decaf is uncool, a coffee that is missing its most vital ingredient, CAFFEINE. It’s obviously something the drinker should be a little ashamed of. People rather die than drink decaf right? Wrong!

Whether you like it or not, we are currently witnessing a serious increase in decaf consumption. It is a trend that started not too long ago, possibly due to intolerance of caffeine in general, health reasons, pregnancy or people trying to limit their intake during the later hours of the day to not disrupt sleeping patterns. Some coffee lovers still want to enjoy the taste of their favourite beverage, so decaf is on the rise.

As there are many opinions about the good and bad of decaf, there seems to be equal amounts of confusion about the health benefits and the way it’s processed.

LET’S SEE IF WE CAN DEBUNK SOME MYTHS

There is no caffeine in decaf:

There are a couple of different standards worldwide with the US guidelines stating that coffee needs to be 97.5% caffeine free before it can bare the label decaf. The standard in Europe sits at 99.9%, so on and so forth.

Decaf contains harsh and/or harmful chemicals:

The decaffeination process has come a long way over the years. You can now enjoy the benefits of the Swiss Water and Mt Water Processed Decaf that gets rid of 99.9% of the caffeine and is certified organic. A lot of people still refer to the Roselius Process. Roselius’ method used benzene, which is a cancer causing chemical and therefore no longer commonly used. If you want to find a really great decaf using the Mt Water Process, click here. Here’s a flow chart of how the Mt Water Decaffeination Process works.

Mountain_Water_process_description

Decaf tastes bad:

When decaf was first developed, the process was harsh and stripped away a lot of the preferred flavours and aroma. The process these days is a lot more refined and we can preserve the delicate tastes in a bean all through the decaffeination and the roasting process. Decaffeinated beans go stale like other caffeinated coffee, and we see a lot of problems with cafes over-ordering decaf and letting it sit too long on their shelves. Rumour has it there are some cafes on the Coast that think it’s acceptable just using the last part of the shot to make an espresso coffee “decaf”. This results in a poorly extracted shot and a coffee with just below caffeine levels, but nothing close to decaf.

Decaffeination takes away all the health benefits of the coffee:

Most of the health benefits from coffee come from the antioxidants part of the polyphenols contained within the coffee. The level of caffeine within the coffee doesn’t make a difference to that, neither does the decaffeination process.

So do yourself a favour. Come on in to our James Street, Burleigh Heads, café where we serve a beautiful Mt Water Process organic decaffeinated coffee made with organic Barambah milk (or non dairy option) and have happy baristas that love making it fresh.

You can sit back and enjoy a coffee at any time of the day.

Disclaimer:  This article was first published in QCMagazine in 2014