Coffee To Go

Java, Joe, Go Juice, Morning Mojo…   Whatever you call it, coffee is the stuff that millions of people worldwide rely on to kickstart their day and keep it buzzing along.   But coffee can fuel more than your body & brain — soon it could help rev your car too!

From Spent Coffee Grounds as a Versatile Source of Green Energy in the Journal of Agriculture & Food Chemistry, researchers at the University of Nevada revealed that they’ve found a simple means of extracting oil from waste coffee grounds to create a cheap, abundant, & very environmentally-friendly source of biodiesel.Latte with 2Dolphins logo

Although many different types of oils can be used to make biodiesel (including soybean, rapeseed, mustard, flax, sunflower, & palm oils) spent coffee grounds contain up to 20% of oil by weight, which is a comparable and sometimes higher yield than other feedstock.   Coffee-based fuel was found to be more stable than other biodiesels due to high antioxidant content and after oil extraction, the leftover grounds can still be converted to ethanol or used as garden compost.   It’s projected that 340 million gallons of biodiesel fuel can be extracted from the used grounds of the more than 16 billion pounds of coffee that’s produced globally per year.

I especially like how this closes the lifecycle loop on coffee beans:   First they’re used for brewing coffee; next as a source of oil for fuel; and finally as an organic fertilizer — which, in theory, could be used in growing more beans!

As if all that weren’t enough, this fuel reportedly even smells like…   brewed coffee!   So enjoy that latté — it may actually be good for the planet!

Related Trivia:
Ever wonder where the expression "cup of Joe" came from?   After Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels banned alcoholic beverages on bases & aboard ships in July 1914, disgruntled sailors began calling coffee (their next best substitute for booze) by the sarcastic nickname “Joe.”
 

A Cure for Starbucks Stagefright

Starbucks logoYou know how it is… You’re waiting in line at Starbucks and the self-appointed “guru of the ground roast” in front of you is rattling off the order for his signature morning java fix, “Double-tall, non-fat, half-caf, sugar-free vanilla, extra-dry cappuccino with caramel drizzle.”

What?!!

Not only do you not have a clue what half of what he just said even means, but most of the terminology defies conventional use of these words in the English language. Oh sure, Starbucks has little information booklets on the counter to help newbies learn how to order, but you don’t want to be the doofus standing around reading while everyone else is already enjoying their awesome drink, do ya?

RTFM? No way!

Your turn at the counter comes up, the ultra-hip barista eager to take your order, but you just freeze. Yup, you’ve got Starbucks Stagefright.

If you often find yourself stumped at the Starbucks counter, jonesin’ for some awesome, self-indulgent beverage (cuz, after all, Starbucks is freakin’ delicious!), but clueless because you don’t know the secret code or have a decoder ring, there’s hope for you yet… wikiHow’s How to Order at Starbucks guide will educate you on all the proper lingo so you’ll be able to order drinks just like the cool kids.

As for me, I’ll take a “Grande, 2-Splenda, Sugar-free Vanilla Breve latte, extra hot!”

Java Junkies Beware…

Turns out that Starbucks may be America’s biggest drug pusher according to Roger Downey’s article in Seattle Weekly, This Is Your Brain on a Frappuccino. According to Downey:

The U.S. government allocates many billions of dollars a year to the War on Drugs, but it spends hardly a penny on the most insidious, most omnipresent psychoactive drug of all. I refer, of course, to caffeine (C8H10N4O2), the little alkaloid that made [Starbucks].

On Becoming a Starbucks Barista

I stayed home from work today with a very nasty sore throat and a mild antibiotic-induced buzz.   After sleeping straight thru most of the morning, I finally mustered the energy to check email & such.   Came across Natalie MacLean’s wonderfully descriptive article “Calling the Shots” on her introduction to life as a Starbucks barista:

The store is filled with the cacophony of caffeine: the whirr of grinders, the rap-rap-rap of metal tampers, the crinkle of coffee bags opening, the steam-locomotive hiss of the milk frothers, the clink of spoons against mugs and the sighs of customers taking their first sips. Two baristas stand in the steam between the grinding and espresso machines, pulling levers and pushing buttons. They look like characters in a Dickens factory.