In last month’s newsletter, we started our "Big Idea" Contest where we asked for your original ideas on what you think would make our site better. We realize coming up with ideas on the fly might have been too much pressure, so we’re extending our entry deadline until March 10th to give you time to get your creative juices flowing and let those ideas percolate and grow.
While we’ve already gotten a pile of great entries we want to make sure everyone has enough time to submit theirs. And, of course, if you’ve already entered, feel free to enter again.
Remember, the creator of the idea we judge to be the most innovative will win their choice of two pounds of free coffee each month for an entire year. So put those thinking caps on, nose around the site to see what is and isn’t there, and then join us in this game of high mental stimulation.
Click any "Big Idea" banner our website when the light bulb suddenly goes on. The winner will be announced in the March newsletter and start receiving their free coffee in April. ENTER HERE & WIN.
Whole Latte Love was invited to be part of TLC’s new show Town Haul. Be sure to set your DVR for our appearance in mid-April.!
By Carol Fingar
The Perfect Super-Automatic for the Technologically Challenged - Okay, I have to admit it. I’m a super-automatic virgin. While I’ve tinkered with them, read about them, even described them from a purely theoretical standpoint, I’ve never actually made a cup of espresso with them. Quite frankly, I’m very happy making espresso with a semi, because it’s easy. Put the portafilter in place, hit the brew button and espresso comes out, press the brew button again and the espresso stops coming out, pull my cup out from under the machine and voila! I’m done.
I’m a big fan of simple, which, of course, is the excuse I use to mask my inaptitude for the higher tech products of the world. Listen, my VCR has been blinking 12:00am for over nine years now, if that gives you any clue as to what kind of technological illiterate I am. And yes thank you, I am aware that no one even has a VCR anymore. Further testament to my lack of technical prowess.
But I am setting aside my fear of bells and whistles, gadgets and gizmos and diving into the high-tech world of the super-automatic. Which is supposed to be super easy, right? Yeah, we’ll see. Join me as I go through the machine as a true beginner. And kids, trust me when I tell you, if I’m successful, absolutely anybody can use it... Read More
"... I had mastered the machine. Alright, truth be told, I realized there really was nothing to it. It really was as simple as pressing a button."
By Carol Fingar - Farming has always been a hard way to make a living, but with the advent of corporate farming, it’s become near impossible. In the United States alone, small farmers have been getting overrun or swallowed up by giant corporate farms for years. The problem is that small, family-run farms don’t have the resources or crop size to sell directly to big buyers, so they are often forced to sell their goods to middlemen who buy from small farmers for pennies on the dollar. These middlemen then turn around, combine stock (a multitude of crops from a multitude of small farmers), jack up the prices and sell to the larger buyers. They make a hefty profit, while the small farmers are left to try to meet operating and overhead costs, usually finding themselves operating for years on end at a deficit. But this epidemic is neither limited to a particular crop or country. In fact, outside of the U.S., the conditions small farmers are forced to endure are even worse.
This dilemma is brutally apparent when we look at the small coffee farmers around the world. Operating at a year-end deficit is the least of their problems. Getting pitted against powerful, corporate mega-farms such as the large coffee plantations and estates, and the greedy, opportunistic middlemen, these farmers barely make enough to keep food on their table and a roof over their heads, not to mention medicine for when they’re sick or an education for their children... Read More
"This money not only helps guarantee them the money their crops are worth ... but it also provides them money for healthcare, education, environmental stewardship and economic independence."
By Sarah Ferguson - We’ve been told to stop in the name of love and convinced that hammer pants, banana clips, and the mullet were created in the name of fashion. In the name of health consciousness we’ve reaped the benefits of light beer, Olestra, and a handful of other things that may have some possible side effects such as [insert grotesque and unrepeatable list of gastrointestinal maladies (and possibly death) here]. The bottom line is that no matter how poorly executed, many things have been developed in the name of something noble. So it’s no great surprise that coffee fanatics have taken a cue from the great health nuts and fashionistas of the world and invented a few items in the name of coffee. And luckily, most of these gadgets have a bit more staying power than just about anything invented in the 80’s. So sit back with a cup of your favorite brew and check out what your fellow coffee lovers have been doing with their time.
Coffee Master The days of scrounging around for an organic no-fat raspberry truffle latte recipe are over; the Coffee Master has arrived. This electronic bad boy has 500 recipes ranging from classic coffee drinks, like cappuccinos and lattes, to delectable desserts. And its handheld size makes it portable. So when the wannabe barista at the local coffee house looks at you sideways when you ask for a mocha breve ... Read More
"Actually, I’m thinking I’d rather use it to keep my hands warm then set off some sort of chemical reaction to my stomach that makes it start gurgling and churning like a mouth full Pop Rocks."
By Cream & Sugar - Silvia sat languishing at the counter. A stunning woman, she was fiercely independent and extremely successful. She sipped slowly on her cappuccino, gazing absentmindedly at her law briefs that were spread out on the counter before her. Deep in her own thoughts, she never noticed the handsome stranger who had entered the café.
His 6’4" frame was topped with wildly wavy hair that surrounded his Roman features in a hazy chestnut halo. At present, his fingers were throbbing from this afternoon’s guitar practice, but as he entered the café, all his pain melted away. Her long lines and petite features stopped him dead in his tracks and all he could do was stare.
"Hey, Rocky!" The barista’s greeting broke him from his gaze. "You want your regular?"
With a nod and a wink to barista, he sidled up to the woman in the deep purple power suit. Suavely throwing a muscular leg over the stool, he began to spin around to face her. But alas, his Birkenstock caught on the edge of the stool and he ended up falling face first onto the floor at her feet... Read More
"Lay off, Rico Suave," she said as she jammed the file into her briefcase."