Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Not your average cup of joe

by Maggie Shea, Chef Magazine

For today's increasingly informed coffee-guzzling consumer, a watered-down cup of instant coffee just won't do. Whether stopping in at a café, having quick-casual breakfast or ordering a hot after-dinner beverage at a fine-dining restaurant, customers want their coffee freshly brewed--and it wouldn't hurt if it was fair trade and organic, as well.

To keep foodservice operators and aspiring baristas abreast of all things coffee, the Culinary Institute of America now offers a free online learning module at www.ciaprochef.com that tracks coffee from bean to mug. The e-learning module explores how coffee beans are produced, guidelines on being a barista, responsible coffee-growing practices, how to brew coffee beans properly and how to evaluate a cup of coffee. The program also examines coffee's compatibility with a range of cuisines and includes recipes and videos created by CIA chefs to provide techniques for cooking with coffee.

And for those looking to brew up new coffee offerings in their establishment, Chef Magazine has compiled a list of some of the latest coffee products, from fair trade and customizable to shelf-stable.

As the demand grows for socially and environmentally responsible coffees, Seattle's Best Coffee has responded by creating an entire line of Fair Trade-certified and certified-organic premium smooth-roasted coffees. The offerings include Fair Trade Certified Vanilla Bean, Fair Trade Certified Organic House Blend, Fair Trade Certified Organic Decaf Twilight and Organic Sumatra. For more information, visit www.seattlesbest.com/services/foodservice.

Specialty coffee roaster The Roasterie Inc. recently launched MyBlendCoffee.com, a Web site that allows users to create their own blend of coffee from their computer. After users answer a series of taste preference questions, MyBlend matches their preferences against thousands of coffee and roast combinations to identify the right blend. The site also lets users customize a a label with their own words and photos. For more information, visit www.theroasterie.com.

From Kraft Foodservice, The Maxwell House Coffee Co. has launched Classic Select Roast, a shelf-stable liquid coffee concentrate for operators with freezer and refrigeration constraints. The aseptic bag-in-box product, a blend of 100 percent coffee beans, has a 12-month unrefrigerated shelf life. It is available in both caffeinated and decaffeinated varieties. For more information, visit www.kraftfoodservice.com.


Few foods go better with freshly brewed coffee than a crisp biscotti. Tempt coffee drinkers with this recipe for chocolate biscotti drizzled with a sweet orange glaze.

Chocolate Biscotti with Orange Glaze
ConAgra Mills

Yield: 24 servings

Pam Original No-Stick Cooking Spray, as needed
2 3/4 c. Healthy Choice All-Purpose Flour with Ultragrain T-1
1 T. baking powder
3/4 c. Egg Beaters Original
1 c. granulated sugar
1/3 c. Parkay Original stick, softened
1 1/2 t. almond extract
2 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 c. sliced almonds
1 c. confectioners' sugar
2 T. orange juice
1 t. grated orange peel

Method (1) Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray baking sheets with cooking spray. Mix flour and baking powder; set aside. (2) Beat Egg Beaters, sugar, Parkay and almond extract with electric mixer at medium speed for 1 minute. Blend in flour mixture (batter will be stiff). Set aside 1 1/3 cups batter. Stir cocoa into remaining batter. Using wooden spoon, work almonds into chocolate dough. (3) Roll chocolate batter into 2 12-inch by 1-inch logs on baking sheets. Carefully spread reserved white batter evenly over top and sides of each chocolate log, forming two 13" by 2" logs. (4) Bake 20 minutes, or until golden brown and almost firm to the touch. Remove from oven, place baking sheet on cooling rack, and let cool about 5 minutes. Reduce oven to 300°F. Using a serrated knife, cut each loaf into 12 biscotti. Place biscotti cut-side down on same baking sheet; bake 10 minutes. Turn biscotti over once; continue baking additional 10 minutes, or until slices are crisp and dry. Remove from oven; let cool completely on wire rack. (5) Stir together confectioners' sugar, orange juice and orange peel. Drizzle over each biscotti.

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