Saturday, September 13, 2014

Coffee Catch-up

I sometimes start my coffee courses with this song, though this video rendition is new to me. It is included for sheer fun, and also because of a pun that works between the lyrics and the title of this post.

As a compulsive blogger, I sometimes have waaaay too many tabs open on my computer, and right now several of them have to do with coffee. Taking the time to blog about each one would be a great way to procrastinate on other tasks, but I am choosing to employ the original meaning of blog a "web log" or simple listing of interesting sites encountered while browsing.

So with minimal commentary, here are a few disparate articles that have caught my attention recently.

Writing for Bloomberg, Marvin Perez explains how the climate-stoked roya fungus threatens organic coffee. This article is an excellent introduction to an issue that concerns many of my friends in Central America and should concern anybody interested in coffee and climate justice.

The blog PHYS.ORG summarizes a new report on the mapping of the coffee genome, which has interesting implications for understanding the role of caffeine as both an attractor of pollinators and a repellant for insect pests. I understood about 3/4 of this article, so I have shared it with colleagues in chemistry and biology with whom I have been in increasingly specific discussions of interdisciplinary undergraduate research on coffee and caffeine.

Writing for Serious Eats, coffee pundit Nick Cho describes how to make the best French-press coffee at home. I was going to write a whole piece explaining a couple of ways to improve on his advice, but this tab has been open forever, so I'll just share and move on. Except to mention that if your kitchen is cold, you should wrap a towel around the carafe as it brews, and that you can experiment a bit with brew times and grinds until you find what makes the coffee perfect for you. Starting with excellent coffee and grinding it for each preparation are given, of course.

Also open on my computer for a long time has been NY Times blogger Jon Grinspan's fascinating explanation of how coffee fueled the Civil War.

Finally -- and I did write that this is a disparate assortment -- Boston University graduates have created Coffee, a social-networking app for users of Apple mobile devices who are seeking employment. I do not have such a device and am not seeking employment, but among my students and alumni who might use this app, some are true coffee experts. My estimation of the app will be how well it helps them find coffee-related employment!

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