Vegetarian Means Vegan, Right?

Actually vegetarians tend to differ from what Vegans consider themselves to be. The exact reasons for why, evade me at the moment.

I eat plenty of vegetables but also enjoy eggs so I think this means I may be a vegetarian but I am not a vegan because eggs are not on their menu. I need to watch my calories and weight.

Veganism, if I may, seems to be more like a religion than just a healthy eating regime. I think the term is applied to not only eggs but even to wearing things that may have once been alive, like leather.

I have no feelings on this one way or another and think our life choices are just that, our life choices.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Coffee - How To Make A Great Espresso!

By Marc Warren

Every barista (professional maker of coffee drinks) will have his or her method. Here's mine...

It all starts with water. No coffee grounds, no matter the quality, can overcome an association with poor water. It must be fresh and very hot. Yes, even water can get stale, thanks to mildew, poor cleaning practices, and inadequate filtering. The optimum temperature is 203F (95C), nearly boiling.

When selecting a bean, choose arabica. This bean is grown at a higher altitude which gives them a better flavor. Fresh is important so if you do not grind the bean yourself be sure you buy fresh grounds. You can tell its freshness by the aroma.

The robusta coffee bean is excellent for a nice hot cup of coffee to give you a boost for your day. This is because of its high content of caffeine. But these beans should not be used for espresso.

You want your beans to be ground in a burr grinder and not chopped. And the beans should be a French or Viennese roast because these are dark roasts best for espresso.

The distance between the plates determines the fineness of the granules. Sand grain-sized is good, powder is too fine, and small-gravel too large. Of course, the grind should not be exposed to air any longer than necessary. Coffee, like any food, will oxidize and absorb odors from the air. Neither is conducive to a good cup.

And, last but not least, a good espresso requires a clean machine of good quality. 'Good quality means: generates heat by boiler or thermoblock and is capable of producing pump pressure of 9 bar or better. A 'thermoblock' heats water as it passes through the machine on the way to the pump. Avoid the cheaper units that rely on steam to create pressure.

Now that you have gathered together the right equipment the rest is up to you the maker.

Start by running good clean water through the espresso machine to be sure it is nice and clean and to warm it up to get it ready for your coffee. Simply run clean water, no coffee, through the machine.

Put in your coffee and pat it down a bit. It should not be packed in to tight but it should not move around easily either.

Replace the coffee holder into the machine and secure it well. Then replace your warmed espresso cup into the machine and you are ready to turn the machine on to start the process.

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