Coffee Fact Friday

Coffee grows on trees! They can be up to 30 feet tall, but they’re cultivated to stay about 10 feet tall for easy harvesting.

coffee tree

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The Down-Low on Decaf

Have you ever wondered why our decaf coffee just tastes SO MUCH BETTER than anyone else’s? (Please excuse our immodesty here; we’re usually pretty humble). Well, it’s because our coffee is decafpicstitchSwiss Water Processed, or SWP.

SWP is the only decaffeination method that doesn’t use chemical solvents. AKA we’re not adding any thing weird or unidentifiable to your coffee beans to extract the decaf. Instead, our beans are decaffeinated using good ol’ H2O. While many think that the name suggests that it uses Swiss H20 to take care of business, that’s not the case. It’s called Swiss Water Processing because the brilliant Swiss developed it–changing our lives forever. Thanks to SWP, people who love coffee can still get a decent cup even if they find themselves with a health issue that requires them to drink decaf. Delicious coffee and no heart palpitations. WIN!

So how does it work? We won’t get too technical on you, but let’s see if we can explain this adequately. Basically, the coffee beans are soaked in water, so the caffeine is extracted from the bean and into the water. This way, the coffee’s flavor components remain. That’s why our decaf still tastes like a single origin specialty coffee–because it is! We love science!

The caffeinated water that the beans were soaked in is then processed through charcoal to remove the caffeine. This way, the water can be used for the next batch of coffee. SCIENCE AND RECYCLING! Hooray. This almost makes me like decaf…almost.

Clipart Illustration of a Healthy Red Heart Running PastNext, the coffee beans are dried and rebagged. They’ll start a new life as 99.9% caffeine-free! Because it refuses to use any chemical solvents, even in the recycling of the water, SWP costs a bit more, but if you ask us, it’s totally worth it!

When you have a cup of our Sumatra Mandheling Decaf SWP it’s going to be heavy-bodied, rich, and syrupy–it’s the specialty coffee you deserve, even if you’ve been banished to the world of decaf.

Meet the Barista: Peter

Peter is currently the lone guy working at The Artists Hand. Such a brave, brave man. Peter’s full name is Keunho Peter Park. There have been many Spider-man references in the gallery…IMG_3133 sp

If I were writing Peter’s bio by myself, I would say that Peter is one of the nicest guys I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, and he’s handy, too. Our journey with The Artists Hand sort of started together. I recommended that he apply at The Artists Hand when the coffeehouse that I had been working in didn’t have any open positions. When the management position opened at The Artists Hand, I followed Peter. So, we started just a couple of months apart.

Most importantly, Peter LOVES soup from China King, and I bet he’d eat it every single day if I didn’t pick on him. But, we also love Mac n’ Cheese Fridays at 9th Street Deli. Ohhh creamy deliciousness! And, he really enjoys craft beers, which is why he loves working when the local beer club has its meetings.

When it comes to coffee, Peter’s got the best nose–I’m pretty jealous, and he’s also a coffee perfectionist. He pulls fabulous shots. FABULOUS. Now, let’s see what I missed.

Peter was born in Columbus, OH, but he grew up in South Korea. Every time that I see something cool that Peter has, it never fails that he bought it in Korea–crushing my dreams of ever owning the same thing. Apparently, we all need a shopping spree in Korea.

He went to school in Rochester, NY RIT, and he’s here in Indiana, PA to be in the Resident Artist program in the IUP Woodworking and Furniture Design Program. Peter loves woodworking and making furniture, and he also loves listening to music and playing music.  And, of course, Peter “LOVES COFFEE :)”, An excellent way to end a short biography, if I do say so myself.

Here’s Peter’s interview:

photo (16)What’s your favorite beverage to make?
I love to make small lattes. It requires a lot of finesse to make it, but it is fun to work on the craft of it–pulling the right espresso shot, steaming the milk, and perfecting the pour– and when you see that it is done right, you know it will taste right!
What’s your favorite beverage to enjoy?
My favorite drink is our Papua New Guinea – Cold Brew! It is dark yet smooth. It has a nutty and chocolate flavor, and it is very enjoyable when it’s ice-cold. Can’t wait for it to be summer time again!
Oh, Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun, please shine down on me! I can’t wait for summertime and cold brew either. Double the caffeine content, faster intake, great flavor. What’s not to love?!
What’s your favorite art medium?
I enjoy oil paintings as an audience. As an artist, I enjoy working with drawing materials like pastel, oil pastel, color pencils, etc.  
What’s your favorite thing about working at The Artists Hand?
The people I work with are just the best! Everybody is working with each other and everyone cares for each other. It is the best thing to have in a work place, and it makes you do the best job you can.
This is what I love about The Artists Hand, too, Peter. We’ve got a great team, and if I had my way, it would never change! The coolest cats work at the AH.
What are your dreams and aspirations?
My dream is to play an Art/music performance gig in The Artists Hand!
I bet that this is a dream that I can make come true in the very near future! Get those guitar practice sessions in! And now, for one last adorable picture of Peter who makes beautiful and fun pieces out of wood, some of which you can find for sale in our gallery. He also has his own website, check his stuff out, and try a drink crafted by Peter as well.
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Tea Profile: Gunpowder (Green)

Our Gunpowder tea is explosive! (We just thought that sounded appropriate with its name.) It’s name actually comes from the fact that the leaves are hand-rolled into tiny pellets that resemble gunpowder. Check it out:gunpowder comparison

Gunpowder tea comes from the Zhejiang province, China. We were going to show you a map, but the mountains in Zhejiang are just so darn pretty. 7282318404627617888

Back to the tea! When you have a pot of our Gunpowder tea, you can expect a full-bodied cup with a bit of smokiness and a smooth mouthfeel. You can also expect some health benefits!

First of all, Gunpowder is a zero-calorie treat! Watching your waistline? Gunpowder has you covered!

Gunpowder will also strengthen your immune system–something we all need at this time of year. Germs. Are. EVERYWHERE.

Now, for the bigger, long-term benefits of drinking this delicious tea. Several studies show that Gunpowder can reduce your risk of cardiovascular Healthy-Heartdisease. Yay, healthy hearts! Plus, there have been studies that show that drinking two to three cups of Gunpowder daily could help you to live longer. We want to live forever, so expect to see the baristas drinking LOTS of Gunpowder.gunpowder

And the best news of all? It’s Hot Tea Tuesday, so you can try Gunpowder for just $2 a pot, and hot water refills are FREE! How many pots can you get out of one of our loose leaf tea bags? We suggest that you research the answer yourself!

Tea Profile: Earl Grey Bravo

Allo, we’re featuring Earl Grey Tea today in honor of Hot Tea Tuesday (said in my best British accent which always comes out sounding more cockney than the Queen, I’ll keep practicing!). Earl Grey, as we know, or think we know, is popular in the U.K. Let’s learn more!(c) Paintings Collection; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Earl Grey is flavored with oil from the rind of bergamot oranges which are mostly grown in Italy. The tea  may have received its name from Charles Grey. Have duchessyou ever seen the movie The Duchess? The movie is based on Charles Grey’s illegitimate daughter with the Duchess of Devonshire. When Charles Grey eventually became Earl Grey, he apparently inspired this tea. Here are a few of the rumors:

  1. The earl did good deeds in China which resulted in his ownership of the recipe.bergamot-orange-3
  2. The blend was created by accident when a gift of tea and bergamot oranges were shipped together from diplomats in China. The fruit’s flavor was absorbed by the tea, and Earl Grey tea was born!
  3. A Chinese mandarin friend of the earl blended this tea to offset the taste of minerals in the water at the earl’s home. If this is the case, we should check out where the earl lived, and avoid it.

But, here’s where it gets interesting: The Oxford English Dictionary recently issued an appeal to find out when the earliest reference to Earl Grey tea occurred, and it appears to have been 1824. So, maybe it wasn’t the earl’s tea at all. But there’s still hope–Jackson’s of Piccadilly says that theyEarl_Grey_natural_flavored_black_tea introduced the blend in 1836 “to meet the wishes of a former Earl Grey”. We may never know the truth, but I digress (and this is what you get when you have a historian as your barista).

Our Earl Grey Bravo loose leaf tea is zesty with a citrus aroma and a rounded bergamot flavor that pairs well with its ceylon counterpart. It’s perfect for sipping, and it has enough caffeine to keep you alert whether you’re just people-watching out of our large front window or cracking open a history book (bonus points if you choose the latter!).