Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Springfield's First Food Day Celebration

This Saturday, the Springfield community came together to celebrate National Food Day for the first time.  It was $2 to get in and all the proceeds went to Ozarks Food Harvest. It was the perfect match for fundraising and fun!

I volunteered with the beau's pre-professional society and happened to be paired with some PRSSA members too. We had fun selling Smart chicken sandwiches and Quinoa salad from Momma Jean's. 

The Wilhoit Plaza was a great place for an outdoor event downtown! And the weather was beautiful, even in the middle of October.

I absolutely adored chatting with those girls. That is why I love volunteering. You never know who you will meet. 

Every moment is a moment for networking!

And Ozarks Food Harvest is such a good cause! I interned their the summer before last, and I just keep coming back because they are such a great community organization!

Do you have a place you always volunteer at?


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Thursday, October 20, 2011

My First Mug

Here is another story about a coffee mug in my cupboard. :)

I got this mug right before I left for college at Barnes and Noble. I remember realizing out of the blue that I did not have a coffee mug to drink my cup of joe every morning. I immediately went on a hunt to solve this problem.

It was my first mug, so a lot of thought went into the purchase. Today, it is still one of my favorite mugs in my cupboard. Who knew it would one day match the colors of The Coffee Ethic, where I work?

Do you remember the first mug you bought?


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Monday, October 17, 2011

Kitty's First Road Trip

So this weekend was Fall Break for MSU, and I had the privilege of going home with my beau and my kitty. 
It is a four hour drive to the City of Roses, but we all made it in one piece. Thankfully!

She liked hanging out on my beau's shoulder, and on the way home it was so hot she was panting like a dog. Did not foresee that problem in the middle of October...

The whole weekend was great!
I got a lovely bday gift from my lovely friend
(personalized Jones soda):

I got to visit my younger sister at her university SIU for the first time. She is a very dedicated athlete, even willing to wear the Saluki mascot head.
(She is on the right.)

 I also got a new computer!
I am a Mac girl from here on out, which hopefully means more reliable posting! ;)

Have a lovely week!

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

What is a Macchiato?

A common drink ordered in coffee shops is a

There is a lot of confusion about what a macchiato actually is, but that is because there is actually two types of a macchiato.

What most people think of when they think of macchiato is a caramel macchiato. However, a caramel macchiato is not the original macchiato.

Macchiato is Italian for marked with.
A traditional cafe macchiato is espresso "marked with" foam.

The drink is served in a small cup around 2 oz.
The temperature of the drink is a bit cooler than a cappuccino.
The milk helps cut the power of the shot just a little bit for a small but powerful drink.

Americans invented something called a latte macchiato, which means milk "marked with" espresso. It is essentially a latte, but the milk is put in the cup first and then the shots of espresso last. This is what has become the caramel macchiato.

So next time you go to order a macchiato, be sure to clarify if the shop does traditional cafe macchiatos or latte macchiatos.

Here's a hint:
If they put syrup in it, it is probably not a traditional one.
If you are looking for a caramel macchiato at a shop that only serves traditional ones, order a caramel latte. It is pretty much the same thing.


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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sledding is More Fun on a Volcano

My most favorite memory from Ecuador this summer is probably climbing the tallest active volcano in the world, Cotopaxi.

Only 7 of the 25 took the challenge. It was the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life. We all squeezed in a tiny van and drove out on a what some people call a road for about an hour. After that, we decided to climb to the hacienda.

After about an two hours, we made it to the hacienda (tiny little yellow house in the above picture). The path does not seem long, but it was. 

The combination of the altitude, strong winds with sand and snow blowing in your face, and sand for your foundation made it feel like eternity. Every step you made, you slide two steps back. About every other minute, I would take a 30 second break.

There were moments that I could not breathe.

After getting hot chocolate in our systems and resting in the hacienda, we decided we had to play in the snow. So we hiked another hour or so up the snow.

We each took turns sliding on our behinds down the snow.
It was so fun and rewarding!

The view was break-taking.
The feeling of accomplishment was overwhelming.
If I didn't have these pictures, I don't know if I would believe I really did it.
We even saw some foxes in the mountain.

I do not think any of us regretted taking the challenge.
It was definitely more fun to sled on a volcano.
That day is something I will never forget!

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Mug Story: South Korean Gift

So I have a weakness..

coffee mugs.

I have a cupboard full of them after only 3 years living on my own.
Some might call that a problem,
but each has a story,
so it seems impossible to part with any one of them.

Some people blog about the contents of their purse.
I decided to start a blog series about the contents of my cupboard.

So here is my first mug story:

This lovely mug is my most recent addition to my coffee mug family. My friend, Suzie, brought it back for me from South Korea this summer. It is a handmade, beautiful piece of pottery that I adore. It even matches my bowls. :)

My favorite part about it is the small handle.
I feel like it was made for my little fingers.
I love it!

Perfect for my morning coffee or evening tea!

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Saturday, October 1, 2011

"After the Harvest" Film at The Coffee Ethic

Last week, I attended a special event at The Coffee Ethic and Park Central Library in downtown Springfield, Missouri. They showed the film "After the Harvest" with a discussion led by Shawn Askinosie of Askinosie Chocolate and Jeff Taylor of PT's Coffee Roasting Company.

The movie asked viewers to think about the people who grow the coffee we drink every day and what their life is when coffee is not in season or 'after the harvest'. Some of the nonprofits featured focus on how to make the farmers' lives more sustainable by getting them more than fair prices for their product and teaching them how to grow other crops so they are not depended on just coffee.

So many farmers face what the video calls food insecurity, or not enough access to nutritious food.

Mallory Roth, event planner, listens to Jeff Taylor, co-owner of PT's Coffee discuss his experiences with coffee farmers.
Jeff started out the discussion explaining the coffee crisis of the late 1990's. He said that it was costing $1.50 for a farmer to produce a pound of coffee, and they only received about $0.50 per pound. Fair Trade rescued the coffee industry by creating a standard to pay farmers about $1.25 a pound.

The problem is that Fair Trade has not raised its price in a decade, but now the C-market value of coffee is between $2 and $3. So farmers are making more money when they sell to coffee producers that are not certified Fair Trade.

He wanted PT's Coffee Roasting Company to go up and beyond Fair Trade, so they established a Direct Trade program. In order to be a Direct Trade program, the coffee has to be the best of the best, a representative from the roaster must visit the farm annually, and they farmer must be paid at least 25% above C-market price. Taylor said often times they may pay closed to double C-market price. As you could expect, his farmers are doing well.

Shawn Askinosie, owner of Askinosie Chocolate, talks about the struggles in the cocoa industry.
 Shawn had a parallel but different experience in the cocoa industry. He said that the chocolate industry is about 15 years behind the coffee industry. Often times, farmers sell to someone, who turns to sell it to someone else, who sells it to a big company, who sells to an large chocolate factory, so the original farmer gets no where near the C-market value and the big chocolate company does not know all the behind the scenes. It can often turn into a chocolate mafia, where the farmers are in debt to people in the village who buy their cacao beans. 

Shawn takes a different approach. He goes directly to a farmer to negotiate a price. He said the first time he went to Tanzania he offered the farmer so much more than normal, when he returned the entire country's market value had increased.

Askinosie also has a program called Chocolate University where they teach students in the Springfield area about cacao farmers struggles in other countries. He said that he feels it is his responsibility to help the consumer resonate and connect with the product they are buying.

He asked the question with all of the stories of farmers in mind:

"How much would YOU pay for chocolate or a cup of coffee?"

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