Time Cupsoul: Weekend Reads [“The World Atlas of Coffee”]

Experiencing a time cupsoul is all about finding time that sparks inspiration, passion, illumination, serenity and escape. A visit to a coffee shop or chocolatier certainly may ignite this sense of creativity, but there is another avenue, via reading.

The World Atlas of Coffee” by James Hoffmann is a perfect example of a time cupsoul in a book. The design of “The World Atlas of Coffee” is stunning, filled with gorgeous pictures of coffee berries, coffee farms, latte art, and only the best high-definition images of the coffee world that a reader could hope for.

The book starts by explaining the current coffee scene, then discusses the tree (the fruit, the varieties, harvesting, processing, roasting, and of course, tasting…), and then, delves into topics related to consumption, all in beautiful detail, with paragraphs, pictures, drawings, and text boxes filled with tidbits and explanations.

12750299_225365661140616_940564778_n
Time Cupsoul enjoys “The World Atlas of Coffee” with cafe au lait

One element of the text especially relevant for Time Cupsoul is the chapter regarding brewing and drinks. Illustrations of popular espresso drinks are accompanied with the history and origin of liquid recipes, including the macchiato, cappuccino and flat white. Hoffmann provides insightful background on the name, contents and the drinks’ traditions to better equip a coffee lover with ideas for what to try next.

The subsequent part of the book is devoted to “origins,” which is most akin to a traditional atlas. Major coffee-growing regions are explored in fine detail, with maps showcasing the areas of cultivation and their flavor profiles, history of cultivation and/or drinking in the specific country, and bean traceability. As a reader, one can turn to the region (Africa, Asia, and the Americas), and then sort by country, such as, Ecuador, Colombia, or Indonesia, and discover at least a two-page spread of knowledge for each nation. Again, superb information for exploring new beans and roasts.

This book is so visually attractive that coffee novices will be delighted with the layout and typography. For coffee aficionados, this book is a gold mine.

In summation, “The World Atlas of Coffee” is filled with a great wealth of wonderful coffee information and Hoffmann serves it with an innovative atlas mentality (thus far only shared with “The World Atlas of Wine”). The amount of succinctly developed commodity research residing in one book is what makes “The World Atlas of Coffee” a beautiful addition to the coffee table, yes, and a book with an encyclopedia level of high regard.

For further information, an article regarding the opus (from the author himself), is found here.

Favorite American Chocolate Brands: Theo

The false traceability scandal at Mast Brothers Chocolate (summary here) recently turned a spotlight onto other United States chocolate makers. It is safe to say that Europe is cocoa’s “hub” in terms of (chocolate) bar-making history and manufacturer legacy. Yet, the USA has numerous large chocolate companies, and furthermore, birthed many specialty and smaller “craft” chocolate makers besides Mast Brothers within the past decade or two. Time Cupsoul sets out to explore the best of American chocolate in the coming weeks.

One place to find unique chocolate bars of all origins (bean and brand), is at specialty food stores, such as Fresh Market, Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. These store types each carry different selections of chocolate and sometimes, their own brand of bars.

Continue reading “Favorite American Chocolate Brands: Theo”

Time Cupsoul Tuesday Tune!

This video is bilingual! Wait for the English chorus 🙂

“I believe in love and I believe in luck. Just because I’m home doesn’t mean I give up. I’ll just sip on my coffee watching all of my worries go passing by. Even if it rains or the sun is shining, every dark cloud has a silver lining. Just sip on my coffee watching all of my worries go passing by.”

Dark Chocolate! Current Favorite: Justin’s

Starbucks’ breakfast containers sometimes include Justin’s brand peanut butter or almond butter packets and they are delicious. Naturally, dark chocolate peanut butter cups by the same brand immediately sparked my interest.

These peanut butter cups are delectable. The deliciousness of Justin’s creamy and wholesome organic peanut butter inside of a tasteful organic and fair trade dark chocolate cup is satisfying for sugar and salt lovers. Sea salt is balanced by bitter notes of dark chocolate and it just works. These unique peanut butter cups are great for a salty-sweet treat. Also of note is the thickness of the chocolate layers (and their strength) that gives way to a clean break/bite rather than crumbling. Note the clean-cut edges of the halves in the pictures. Basically, Justin’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups have good structural integrity. Good chocolate “snap,” beautiful presentation and salty-sweet goodness.

The cups are sold in United States specialty stores and are USDA Organic and use Rainforest Alliance Certified cocoa. Justin’s is based in Boulder, Colorado.