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schlitzAfter a number of unsuccessful changes to the brand, the Schlitz brewery (one of the oldest of the old school breweries) closed in 1981. First brewed in 1849, Schlitz beer was successful for over 100 years before changes in production (and the overall quality of the final product) killed the product’s popularity and, therefore, sales.  The brand changed hands twice - once in 1982 to Stroh and earlier this year to Pabst - and is now being brewed again and is in such high demand that stores are reportedly limiting the numbers of cases customers can buy at one time.

Though brewing operations are on the east coast, Schlitz is currently only available in Milwaukee, Chicago, Minneapolis and Western Florida.  Pabst is hopeful that the new old brew will be more widely available as brewing operations ramp up.

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Hawaii coffeeThese coffees come from India, Indonesia, New Guinea, and Hawaii. Those from Indonesia (Sumatra, Sulawesi, and Java) and New Guinea are perhaps some of the most famous. They are rich, full bodied, and have complex acidity. Mandheling from Sumatra is the most full-bodied in the world but has low acidity. Sulawesi Toraja is rich with a bit more acidity and Djampit from Java, though bearing more acidity, is a lighter brew. 

Finally, Kona coffee from Hawaii is worth its price tag. It is becoming harder to find in quantity. It is rich, medium-bodied, and extremely aromatic with floral undertones. 

Bag of CoffeeFrom the cradle of coffee origins, these coffees are luxurious and some of the most distinctly flavored in the world. Yemen Mocha is the most ancient coffee in the world. It does not have a syrupy, chocolate flavor, as its name might imply—though there is a hint of chocolate in its lingering, dry finish. Mocha coffee was named for the port of Mocha from which the coffee was shipped in ancient times. The coffee is medium to full bodied, with some acidity, and rich undertones. It is one of the few originally organically grown coffees in the world.

Ethiopian Harrar is an irregular brew, depending on how the coffee is prepared. It can range from strong, almost gamey flavor and roughness to a fragrant, rich, fruit-like cup. The difference is usually in whether these beans are washed or not. Other washed brews are Sidamo or Washed Sidamo (these are gentle, flowery) or Yirgacheffe or Yrgacheffe (rich, complex, flowery with a long finish).

Other African coffees are Kenyan, Tanzanian, Ugandan, and Zimbabwe coffees. Kenyan coffees are dry, full-bodied, and rich.  Tanzanian coffees are sharp, acidic, and medium to full bodied. Newer coffees like Ugandan Bugishu and Zimbabwe coffee are lighter and less rich than Kenyan.

Blue Mountain barrelMexican coffees are very mild brews, good for folks who take their coffee black and want a light, acidic coffee. Guatemalan coffees are world famous, especially the Antigua coffees. These are very acidic with a spicy or smoky tone. They are full bodied and rich.

Coffee from El Salvador is very mild and slightly sweet, in stark contrast to the rich, robust beans from Costa Rica. These robust brews can be found in specialty stores under these names: Tarrazu, Tres Rios, Heredia, and Alajuela.

Caribbean Coffees: Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee has had a lot of hype lately. It is indeed one of the premier coffee plantations of the world. A number of highland growers are labeling their coffees Blue Mountain, whether they are grown on the designated Blue Mountain estates or not.  The real Blue Mountain is designated Wallensford or Silver Hill Estate Mountain. It is smooth, well-bodied, rich and very expensive.

Santo Domingo coffee from the Dominican Republic can be found in stores as Bani, Ocoa, and Barahona. Bani is a mellow brew. Barahona is heavier and more acid coffee, similar to true Jamaican Blue Mountain. Haitian coffee is mild, light in body and acidity, with a soft, rich flavor.

Columbian coffee farmThere is good coffee coming from every part of the world, though some types have a bit more prestige than others. Latin American coffees are considered the best by many connoisseurs.

Columbian coffee is the coffee most Americans know about. But there are many different kinds of Columbian coffee which vary depending on where they are grown in that country. In general, however, Columbian coffees are full-bodied, with medium acidity, and modestly rich. Today, many of the ancient arabica coffee strains are being replaced with faster-growing, heavier-bearing plants. These new beans are inferior to those from older plants, but may soon flood the Columbian market. 
Brazilian Bourbon Santos is smooth, medium bodied, and has moderate acidity. Though good, it is still a plain cup and has only been a gourmet curiosity. 
Venezuelan coffee is remarkably low in acid. The finest, Meridas, has good body with light richness. It is good served straight without milk or flavors and is good in blends.
Chanchamayo from Peru produces a mild, light brew with a lot of flavor and aroma. It is often blended with darker roasts or as a base for flavored coffees.

Colored Coffee Cups=Coffee was first discovered around 850 A.D. by the members of the Galla tribe in Ethiopia who had observed goats having extra pep after eating the berries of a certain shrub. They mixed the ground up berries (or coffee beans) with animal fat and ate them. (Yes, they are berries, though we call them beans.)

Arab traders first cultivated the coffee plant around 1000 A.D. They roasted the beans and boiled them, serving them as a drink they called “qahwa” which means “preventing sleep.” Soon, coffee was traded and by 1453 found its way to Constantinople where the first coffeehouse was opened twenty-some years later.

Click to continue reading Origins of Coffee

Hicks Coffee“Ah! How sweet coffee tastes! Lovelier than a thousand kisses, sweeter far than…wine!”
From J. S. Bach’s “Coffee Cantata,” 1732

Oh, that rich aroma, wafting in from the kitchen, lures us from our beds. It tantalizes us throughout our day and into the late hours. It can found in any number of roasts, blends, and flavors and even in other delicious treats besides its popular liquid form.
Coffee, once only a Middle Eastern delight, is grown today in many countries. South America, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Africa, India, Sumatra, Java, New Guinea, and Hawaii all grow coffee. Much like hot peppers, each country’s unique growing conditions produce distinctive coffees. There are also decaffeinated versions and now new tummy-friendly coffees for folks suffering from GERD, IBS, and stomach problems.

Apple TreeThere are many different varieties of apples available today. Some are old favorites and others are a bit more difficult to find. 

Lady or Api apple. One of the oldest varieties, this apple dates from the first century A.D., but is not readily found in most supermarkets. Gourmet shops or fruit sellers in large cities often stock this sweetly tart apple. It is a small red or yellow apple with a red blush and is great for desserts and sauces. Because of their small size, Lady apples add a lovely touch to fruit baskets or are used as a garnish. They are available during the winter.

Click to continue reading A Guide To Different Apple Types

NY Apple AssociatonApples have been enjoyed by human beings since at least 6500 BC. Small burnt apples have been found in archaeological sites around lakes in Switzerland. There are wild apples or crab apples found in most countries of Europe, including as far north as Norway. It is thought that the first apple trees originated somewhere between the Caspian and the Black Seas. The Wild Apple, native to Britain, is the ancestor of all modern apple trees. The Romans grafted their premium varieties, including some from France, onto this wild stock  
Though small, bitter, wild Crab Apples were present in the New World when the Pilgrims came to America, they wrote home for seeds and cuttings from England. This established the early apple strains in New England. Later, colonists brought apple trees to plant in Virginia and throughout the Southeast. 
Legend tells of a Massachusetts man, Johnny Chapman, who traveled throughout what was then the West (Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois) in the early 1800s, planting apple trees. There is also a tale of a London sea captain who brought seeds to Washington state in 1820 that are reputed to be the initial stock for the booming Washington State apple industry.
Nearly 8,000 varieties exist today, but only about 100 are grown commercially in this country.  New varieties are being discovered as chance seedlings or intentional cross-breeding. Of the commercial crop, 61 percent are eaten fresh, 21 percent are made into juice or cider, and 39 percent are processed into a variety of apple products.

[Photo courtesy of the NY Apple Association]

Here on Food Squeeze, we will feature interesting food-related videos from time to time. This one is from the Cooking with Aphrodisiacs series, and takes a look at asparagus. Aside from the not-so-subtle forced overtones in regard to the shape of asparagus, the video does provide a bit of knowledge. For example, long ago, you could find asparagus stalks that grew 12 feet out of the ground, and has been grown as a medicinal herb for over 2,000 years. Check out the video above, and let us know what you think.